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Yes, the al-Assad regime is afraid! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Now we see the regime of the tyrant of Damascus issuing an apology to Turkey via the United Nations, pledging that there will be no repeat of the mortar attack that struck Turkish territory causing the deaths of 5 Turkish citizens. This was an incident that prompted Ankara to respond by bombarding the Syrian border, so what does this al-Assad apology tell us?

The simple answer is that the al-Assad regime – both that of the father and the son – is “not ashamed to be afraid”, to use the colloquial Arab saying. So the regime of al-Assad the father avoided confronting the Turks after they threatened Damascus over harboring [PKK leader] Abdullah Ocalan. Whilst today, Bashar al-Assad also rushed to apologize to Turkey! However this incident explains the reason why al-Assad is persisting in carrying out crimes against the Syrian people. The major reason for this is that al-Assad has, until now, yet to see any real indication of foreign intervention in Syria in order to serve as a deterrent and put an end to his crimes, whether under the umbrella of the UN Security Council or outside of this framework. In this case, if al-Assad saw, for example, [foreign] aircraft entering Syrian airspace or his troops being easily overcome, he would certainly flee his presidential palace. Therefore all the talk that al-Assad is heading a strong and intransigent regime is nothing but propaganda to justify the lack of international intervention to put an end to his crimes, particularly as we have seen al-Assad demonstrate his weakness and rush to apologize following the first Turkish bombardment!

Al-Assad’s apology to Turkey was not just because of this bombardment, but also because he is aware that Turkey’s parliament had released the hand of the Ankara government to launch strikes against his regime, authorizing this for a period of one whole year. Al-Assad was gambling on political division within Turkey, from the opposition and others, tying the hands of Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and preventing him from taking any military decision against Syria. However the Turkish parliament’s decision had released the hands of Mr. Erdogan, and this serves as a clear message to al-Assad that the Turks are behind their government, and there is no room to play on or manipulate this issue. This is precisely what is missing in the international position today towards al-Assad’s crimes, for so long as there is no decisive international resolution against al-Assad, or an effective alliance of the willing to put an end to his crimes, the tyrant of Damascus will not hesitate to commit further crimes against the Syrian people.

Therefore, the lesson that we can learn from the latest Turkish position towards al-Assad is that although al-Assad is afraid, he will not desist from killing his own people. This is something that was confirmed during the Hafez al-Assad era in Syria with regards to the issue of Abdullah Ocalan, as well as following Israel’s Deir Ezzour operation during the Bashar al-Assad era. This is not to mention the US raid on the Abu Kamal terrorist camps and the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon against the backdrop of Washington’s threats against al-Assad following the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

Everything that has happened tells us that the criminal al-Assad regime only understands the language of force, and that diplomacy does not work with it. This is because al-Assad believes that diplomacy is the art of laughing at others, or as Colonel Gaddafi associate Abdelsalam Jalloud said in his recent interview with Al-Arabiya TV, “the tyrant believes that diplomacy is lies.”

To conclude, al-Assad only understands the language of force, anything other than this is a waste of time.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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