Those Who Have Emerged Victorious against the People of Syria

Thursday, 5 July, 2018 - 12:15 Issue Number [14464]

Arabic is one of the world’s most beautiful languages; it is exceptionally rich in meanings, eloquence and insinuations.

It is quite capable to portray defeats as victories, submission as shrewdness, treason as farsightedness, and lying and delusion as mainstays of politics, being the ‘art of the possible’.

Recently, in some of our bereaved ‘Mashreqi’ Arab countries, we have limited extremism and terrorism to one sect over another which is no less extremist and is as prone to engage in acts of terror. We have also accepted in neighbouring countries a tacit foreign occupation whereby the henchmen who provide its façade outbid patriots with claims of ‘liberation’!

Thus, in a gloomy, sinister and risky atmosphere, from where there is no way back; foreign collusion added to misreading the situation; lies were being peddled as negotiations, and conspiracies took the shape of peace initiatives. Here we are today facing a new demographic reality.

This demographic reality, actually, came as a surprise only to our naïve Arab public which is still fooled by fake, glittering slogans. Worse still, some continue to justify the justifiable after the emergence of sad truths, and deals tied up over rivers of blood and fractured homelands.

The accelerating pace of events in southern Syria clearly points to how the international community is destroying an uprising of a people who revolted to defend their dignity.

It has taken the international community 7 full years to annihilate an honourable uprising against a regime the US State Department - in particular - kept accusing, one year after another, of supporting terrorism. This same regime is now openly ‘the solution’ in Syria. It has become a security partner that “guarantees stability and moderation” against terrorism!

Now it is, openly, not just a ‘mailbox’, but a strong link between the regional powers. As a result, submission has now become the only option left to the people who rose against its murderers in the name of ‘reconciliation’ in new, yet old, political vocabulary.

In its issue dated Thursday June 28th, The Economist, the respectable British magazine, published a brilliant report under the title “How a victorious Bashar al-Assad is changing Syria”.

This report sums up the reality that the “Sunnis have been pushed out by the war. The new Syria is smaller, in ruins and got more sectarian”.

The magazine published figures and information about destruction, displacement and population exchange. About the city of Homs, where Al-Assad’s regime achieved, thanks to the international collusion, its first demographic ‘victory’ against its people, the report says: “Homs, like all of the cities recaptured by the government, now belongs mostly to Syria’s victorious minorities: Christians, Shias and Alawites (an esoteric offshoot of Shia Islam from which Mr Assad hails).

These groups banded together against the rebels, who are nearly all Sunni, and chased them out of the cities. Sunni civilians, once a large majority, followed. More than half of the country’s population of 22m has been displaced—6.5m inside Syria and over 6m abroad. Most are Sunnis”.

Although, this may be just one little part of the report, it nevertheless gives a clear idea of the overall picture. It also tacitly hints that the international community may not be unhappy about what has been going on in Syria. At least, some leaders of Western Europe would rather accept a dictator than deal with another flood of refugees.

Well, personally, I think the issue is much bigger than this, and that Al-Assad regime - of Hafez and later Bashar - has never changed. I also think that the international community’s negative position, particularly, towards the political Sunni Islam, has not changed much between that of William Gladstone in the 19th century and Barack Obama’s in the 21st century.

There is a firm belief that the problem lies in Sunni Islam, specifically, its demographic and political ‘weight’, as well as its geographical area. Sunni Muslims make up around 75 % of the World’s Muslims, and they are the geographic neighbours of populations of other faiths.

It is the ‘scarecrow’ in the non-Muslim religious conscience, and the ‘invading Islam’ against who threat the Crusades to ‘free the Holy Land’ were launched. It is the Islam that attacked Europe twice: the first through Spain and France in the 8th century; and the second with the conquest of Constantinople in the 15th century followed by advancing to attack Vienna (in 1529), and more than a century later fighting the Battle of Vienna (1683). Finally, it is the “suicidal” Islam – to quote Barack Obama – that was accused of being responsible for the September 11th attacks in America.

As such, the notion of ‘The Alliance of Minorities’ may not be an empty slogan after all. Indeed, this is what all the major global powers seem to agree on.

China has a problem with the Sunni Uighurs seeking the independence of Xinjiang (East Turkestan); and India’s hard line Hindu Prime Minister Narendra Modi has built his legitimacy and popularity on fighting the Sunni Islam of the sub-continent in the country that lived under Gandhi’s tolerance and Nehru’s democracy. In the West, Europe - and recently America - have had a history of confronting it in Asia and Africa, while one must not forget Russia’s old and new tsars who fought long wars against Sunni Islam in the Volga basin, the Caucasus and Central Asia, the latest being the Chechen War.

So, Obama has not been the only leader who has justified siding with Iran’s mullahs, although he may be the first to claim that their regime was not “suicidal” like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Such a view is shared by many, although only Vladimir Putin has managed to become a major global decision maker among them.

Incidentally, few years ago, a former British cabinet minister visited Asharq Al-Awsat offices in London, and during the visit we discussed on the Syrian crisis with her. The former minister was one of the leading sympathizers with the Kurds during their war with the ex-Iraq president Saddam Hussein; and later she was among the leading supporters of toppling Saddam’s regime, and fundraisers during the blockade imposed on Iraq before 2003. However, the moment we raised with her the issue of Syria, she strongly defended Al-Assad; refusing any comparison between the Iraqi and Syrian scenarios. In fact, she insisted that the Syrian refugees “must go back home, because they will be safe under the regime”.

Such inverted logic has been parroted by many Western political and religious leaders.

These are the ones who are not only letting down the Syrian people, but also defeating their uprising.

These are the ones who are preparing a fertile ground for dangerous, destructive and hateful future radicalisms, the whole world – including the Muslim populations – are better off without.