The Hezbollah leader’s comments about the situation in Syria, saying that the Syrians have only two options; either reform led by Assad or the path of carnage, i.e. the revolution, means that Hassan Nasrallah wants to tell the Syrians in all simplicity that the choice is simple: “Bashar or destruction”!
When Nasrallah says that “what is happening in Syria today is not demands for reform or democracy”, and that the Syrian people are faced with two choices, “one that is serious about reform” led by the authorities, or the choice of “destruction at the hands of forces who are readily providing weapons, money, explosives and even terrorists”, this means that Nasrallah is like an Assad regime tank that roam the Syrian streets emblazoned with the words “Assad or no one”. The difference is that Nasrallah is roaming the media satellite channels, conveying the same message written on the tanks that are killing the Syrians, yet how many deaths of our fellow Arabs are these satellite channels responsible for?! Nasrallah is adopting the same point of view as the Assad regime, namely that all that is happening in Syria today stems from external funding and Al-Qaeda terrorism. Indeed he is acting just like Bashar Al-Jaafari, Assad’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who promoted an unprecedented lie that Al-Qaeda was the product of a Western-Arab alliance against the Syrian regime!
In reality, Nasrallah’s recent words are aimed at two groups of people, firstly toward the security forces in Syria, who are witnessing continuous divisions. Those who are very familiar with Syrian affairs know that the Syrian army watch Al-Manar and Al-Alam television channels more than any others, and therefore Nasrallah is trying to convince them of the need for stability, that Assad is the one who will undertake reform, and that anything other than this is an act of sabotage from the outside. The other people that Nasrallah wants to address through his discourse are those within Lebanon itself, to whom Nasrallah wants to say that the departure of Assad will mean that Hezbollah will not hesitate to repeat what it did in May 2008, when it occupied the Sunni part of Beirut. We can see that Tripoli in Lebanon has already been ignited by violence, thus confirming Assad’s threat that he will burn the region, and Syria before that, if the tyrant is forced to leave his country!
This is what Nasrallah wants to say in all simplicity to Assad’s forces and to the Lebanese, i.e. it is Bashar or destruction. Nasrallah is part of a political and media machine that is maneuvering vigorously today in defense of Assad, and like Nasrallah there are others in Iraq and elsewhere, all of whom are moving under the Iranian umbrella. The reason for this current move is Assad’s belief that an opportunity has opened up in front of him to escape, owing to the political changes in Russia and France that will require time to settle, and through exploiting America’s preoccupation with its election dates. However, the good news, which is of course bad for Nasrallah, Assad and others, is that the torch of the Syrian revolution is still burning and moving from hand to hand in Syria. Most importantly, the international community is aware of the severity of the “Bashar or destruction” equation, and that the rapid fall of the tyrant of Damascus will protect Syria and the region from a grave cost, and this is what we have said again and again.
The writer is the editor in chief of Asharq al-Awsat. The article was published in Saudi's Arab News on May 15, 2012