Last Updated: Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:07 am (KSA) 08:07 am (GMT)

Who in Syria is seeking external support?

Elias Harfoush

Since the beginning of the Syrian regime’s crisis with its people, this regime never backed away from its constant stand claiming that the events in Syria are a result of a conspiracy sponsored and supported externally and with the aim of toppling the last strongholds of “resistance” in the area against the American-Zionist invasion, according to what they say.

This stand was reflected through the regime’s political and security-related actions vis-à-vis the revolution. It was also reflected through the positions of the internal and external forces vis-à-vis the Syrian regime. These forces considered that confronting the protests with the conspiracy theory actually aims at gaining time and at hindering any real change in Syria.

Perhaps the most prominent manifestations consisted of Damascus’ reaction to the exceptional resolution of the Arab League; that of suspending Syria’s membership at the league as long as the oppression of the protesters goes on. Through this resolution, the Arab ministers proved that they do not care for the tale of the Syrian regime about the “armed terrorist groups;” and that they consider that the opposition’s demands must be met through dialogue if possible, or through direct coordination with the opposition in case the regime rejected dialogue as per the latter’s response to the demands of the Arab ministerial committee.

But the regime does not believe that there is an internal problem in Syria and considers that the people calling for reform are masking some external objectives aimed at toppling it. It only saw the Arab position as part of the same external conspiracy, which turned the ministers into tools for the American project. Syrian officials directed a stream of accusations at the Arab ministers, and this was the same kind of accusations that the regime is directing against its opponents. Had the Syrian delegate at the Arab League, Youssef al-Ahmad, been in possession of the same security branch that is readily available for the “order keeping” forces in Homs, Hama, Deraa and others against the protestors, he would have definitely dealt with the Arab ministers in Cairo following the same manner that these forces are using to deal with their opponents.

There is a proof to that the Syrian regime has disregarded the demands and figures of the opposition; and that talk about reform, dialogue, the need to change and all this sort of promises is unserious. The proof is that the head of the regime has denied, through his latest interview with the British Sunday Telegraph, any knowledge of these opposition figures. When President Al-Assad says that he never heard about someone called Borhan Ghalyoun for instance, in addition to the other opposition figures (the majority of which were hosted at the Syrian prisons in the past decades), then one can judge the seriousness of this regime in establishing a balanced and responsible dialogue with a potentially tangible outcome with these opponents.

The Arabs and the west have so far given the Syrian regime one chance after another in order to implement its promised reform project. Instead of making use of this time to carry out a political change, the regime only made bets on hushing the protestors through arms and terrorizing them through death threats.

At a time when the regime was accusing its opponents of seeking external support against its “resistance,” it seemed to be the only party playing the external card and placing bets on it. Minister Walid al-Muallem stressed on this bet yesterday in the framework of his ruling out of any external interference. He said that “Syria is no Libya” and he explained that by saying that Russia and China are opposed to military interference in Syria and that their position will remain unchanged, and that the European economic incapacitation will prevent the countries of the European Union from spending any additional money on an adventure in Syria. In addition, any interference in Syria will set the entire region ablaze, create an earthquake and unleash the fire of Hezbollah in the direction of Israel as per the threats of President Bashar al-Assad on several instances.

So who is seeking external support? Is it those who are placing bets on the Arabs’ terrorization and the western incapacitation and the Russian support; or those who are rejecting the military interference in the Syrian affairs despite the bloodshed among them and those who are calling for nothing but protection, through any possible means, of the civilians who have been so flagrantly abused by the regime?

The writer is a prominent columnist. The article was published in the London-based al-Hayat on Nov. 15, 2011.

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