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Megalomaniac vs. monomaniacs in Syria

Megalomaniac vs. monomaniacs in Syria

by Jamal Kanj
January 31, 2013

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has a penchant for blaming outside conspirators for the troubles in Syria.

While plausible, he is mistaken in linking public demands for political reform with presumed plots against his country.

His pompous speech three weeks ago on a political resolution for the carnage in Syria was preposterous.

After 22 months of killing and counter-murders, Al Assad still can't see the huge gap between what is best for his country and his dysfunctional rule.

He, like other dictators, is far removed from reality in "forbidden" palaces - surrounded by a culture of professional sycophants.

Unfortunately for the people of Syria they are caught between a megalomaniac leader and a monomaniac, exiled opposition guiding a "revolution" remotely from the halls of five-star hotels in foreign capitals.

Al Assad is supported by Iran and the self-professed "resistance block", while the opposition is a collage of incongruous actors ranging from totalitarian regimes, Western democracies and Al Qaeda-inspired fighters swarming into Syria from their underground dens.

The regime's artificial lifeline extended by Russia, China and Iran is perpetuating the divide among the Syrian people and disintegrating the country along ethnic and sectarian lines.

Based on the most recent count, more than 60,000 have lost their lives and 650,000 have become refugees in neighbouring countries.

The Syrian leader missed a great opportunity in March, 2011 to address public protests.

He relied instead on cruel military power to launch a crackdown on unarmed civilians.

Since 2011, the intensity of the conflict has grown linearly along with the growing level of repression.

Refusing to heed mass demonstrations demanding political reform, government suppression transformed street protests into armed revolution.

Failing to address genuine public frustrations, Al Assad provided the golden opportunity for foreign "conspirators" to plot against Syria.

Irrespective, it is unfeasible for these supposed foreign plotters to recruit millions of willing "collaborators" to bring down their own country.

Using Scud missiles and jet fighters against his own people simply presents foreign "conspirators" additional incentives to "recruit" amenable partners who seek heavy weapons to match the regime's tools of oppression.

Meanwhile, the international community is in no hurry to help put an end to the internecine fratricide.

While Russia wants to maintain a sphere of influence on the Mediterranean shores, Israel's (and therefore the Western) agenda is to prolong the conflict until Syria's military capabilities are destroyed and its people are polarised in a quagmire of mutual hate.

In 1982, Zionist protagonists commissioned by The World Zionist Organisation published "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties".

The document states: "The dissolution of Syria... into ethnically or religiously unique area... is Israel's primary target."

It also stated that breaking up Syria's military power was "the primary short term target".

Consciously or unintentionally, Al Assad and the opposition are contributing equally to Israel's 30-year-old vision to destroy the Syrian army and to bring about the fragmentation of Syria.

Regardless of the conqueror, Syria - even if it remains united - will emerge as a devastated nation that relies on international benefactors to rebuild its infrastructure and economy.

As such, Syrians will lose their bona fide national independence and their country will become a vassal state at the mercy of donor countries.

Instead of these bizarre jamborees pledging money to fuel the fighting, the international community (Russia and the West) must take concrete steps to compel Al Assad to dismantle his feared security apparatus and help establish a transitional government led by the home-based opposition, who remain steadfast to their convictions of non-violence.

Russia needs to realise that Al Assad is part of the problem, not the solution.

The West must also recognise that the detached, five-star hotel denizens have no tangible credibility at home either.

To paraphrase the speech by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at a Paris conference this week, escalating the conflict will only allow "extremism and terrorism" to prevail.

But to Israel's delight, the outcome of the conflict will leave the US and Russia, next to the people of Syria, as the biggest strategic losers.


Jamal Kanj ( writes a weekly column on Arab issues and is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. This article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

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