Last Updated: Sat Apr 14, 2012 14:51 pm (KSA) 11:51 am (GMT)

Mr. President, return to the Syrian issue!

Tariq Alhomayed

I could not stop laughing when media outlets published the news of North Korea’s long-range rocket launch failure; the rocket flew for 120 km before breaking up into four pieces.

This was less a rocket launch and more a fireworks display, or as Adel Imam said in his famous film “Al Safara Fil Emara” (The embassy in the building), “don’t exaggerate the issue so much!”

The reason for this laughter was that the US administration wanted to turn the North Korea rocket launch into a political issue that Washington could utilize to draw attention away from what is happening in Syria, with regards to the crimes being carried out by the forces of the tyrant Bashar Assad. Washington sought to call a UN Security Council meeting, and the Obama administration preoccupied the world with the issue of North Korea’s rocket launch. This reached the point that the White House issued a statement saying that despite the failure of North Korea’s rocket launch, this nevertheless represented a “provocative action” that “threatens regional security (and) violates international law.”

The Obama administration considers the failed rocket launch, in which the rocket itself broke up into four different pieces in the sky, to be a provocation that threatens regional security as well as a violation of international law, whilst the death of more than 11,000 Syrians at the hands of Assad regime forces, not to mention the one million Syrians who are in need of immediate humanitarian aid, does not represent a violation of international law or a threat to regional security, and this is not mentioning Assad forces violating Turkish and Lebanese territory! This is truly puzzling, and even abhorrent! Saudi monarch Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Abdullah was right when — commenting on Russia and China’s double veto — he said that the international community’s confidence in the UN Security Council has been shaken, and this, of course, represents a very dangerous state of affairs!

Assad has failed to abide by Annan’s cease-fire, he did not abide by the article that called on him to withdraw his troops from Syria’s cities, allow demonstrations to take place, and permit the entry of international press (to Syria); this is not to mention releasing detainees and other requirements of the Annan initiative. Indeed Assad has failed to abide by any previous initiative, however despite all this, the Obama administration wants to preoccupy the world with the issue of North Korea’s “toy” rockets, under the pretext of protecting international law and regional security! Therefore one can only inform Mr. Obama that the North Korean experiment failed, and it was ultimately revealed that this (long-range rocket) experiment was as lacking as North’s Korea’s infrastructure — particularly as the country is in dire need of food aid today — therefore there is no longer any excuse to draw the attention of the world away from the need to confront the unprecedented crimes being committed by the tyrant of Damascus in our region. So Mr. Obama, please return to the Syrian issue today, particularly as it is more than enough that the international community has, over the past year, provided Assad with one opportunity after another — or shall we say a license — to kill more Syrian people, and we are now hearing talk about new observers being sent to Syria! However the reality of the situation is that what is happening in Syria today represents the true violation of all laws, and the real threat to regional — and Mediterranean — security.

Mr. President, return to the Syrian issue, for all excuses have been exhausted, even the North Korean rocket was revealed to be a “toy”, whereas what is happening in Syria is the real crime!

The writer is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq al-Awsat. This article was published in Arab News on Apr. 14, 2012

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