Should the West Stay Out of Syria?

Article Summary
The increasingly frequent Western calls for intervention in Syria are reminiscent of the buildup to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, writes Samir Karam. But even while the US and Europe engage in indirect intervention by helping rebels, polls show there is little domestic appetite for another foreign war.

It is quite unexpected for anyone who has spent more than 50 years as an impartial political analyst to be compelled to take a biased stand against any foreign intervention that favors the Syrian counter-revolution. 

This is the reality of the personal dilemma that stems from the term “revolution,” which has been continuously used to describe the counter-revolution in Syria for over a year now. However, the counter-revolution has not been satisfied with being described as a counter-revolution, particularly in light of the events in the last two years across the Arab nation. The phrase “Arab Spring” was recently coined and it has become the talk of the town during the last couple of years. Yet, the unprecedented insistence on using the term “revolution” to describe a counter-revolution remains more evident in Syria than in any other Arab Spring country.

Meanwhile, the signs of foreign intervention are looming on the horizon because of the insistence of diplomats and officials from several countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Libya, Yemen and Egypt. Such insistence is supporting the call from the US, UK, France, Holland and Israel to fuel the revolution in Syria. It seems the world is being subjected to drastic changes on a global scale, due to imperial and colonial countries unexpectedly turning into revolutionary nations that embrace revolutions and the principles of liberation. However, governments that defy the imperial regime and its military allies have become obsolete regimes that resist revolution and cling to power.  

Of course, this Arab Spring has not yet yielded the hoped-for results. In fact, the US and European imperial regimes and their allies have exerted considerable efforts to regain control over the Arab nation. They are supported by Arab oil kingdoms and emirates, as well as the new “revolutionary countries.” These new revolutionary countries are now looming on the regional political horizon, following a conclusive military intervention or, let us say, an intervention that did not require armies, a naval fleet or an air force. Unsurprisingly, the subsequent public and secret visits paid by US and European military leaders to the Middle East were abound with instructions and recommendations.

All such conspiracies are taking place while hundreds of Arabs are slaughtered and intervention forces are in complete safety. We hear every day, or maybe every hour, that Syria might enter into a civil war unless the counter-revolution forces score a victory, as like in other countries of the Arab Spring. However, it is now obvious to any genuine patriot and nationalist that Syria is, indeed, facing a civil war. Despite the fact that Syria may seem to be a defiant country where the counter-revolution might fail to achieve its goals, the civil war will continue as long as arms smuggling and funding are encouraged. These actions are encouraged by the Arab oil kingdoms and emirates, in addition to the US, France, UK, Italy and other western nations. This is a bid to nurture slaughter and violence in this war-tattered country where the victims are only Syrians!

Alas! The necessity for foreign intervention in Syria is still under debate, as if such intervention is not already taking place and consequently causing the bloodshed of hundreds of victims, every day and every hour.

It is undeniable that the US is orchestrating the indirect foreign intervention and calling for a direct foreign intervention. However, it is curious that the US justifies its call for a direct foreign intervention by claiming that if Syria remains as it is now, the whole region will be prone to increased violence. This statement has been reiterated by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on several occasions. In fact, Clinton delivered an explicit speech stressing that the US stand in favor of a foreign intervention in Denmark (on May 30). During her speech, she denounced Russia and China’s stance against foreign intervention in Syria. In view of Clinton’s statements, it is crystal clear that the US is trying to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria.

In the Libyan scenario, NATO established a new “revolutionary” regime, with the assistance of the US, UK, France and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Before long, the regime gained the support of European countries and other allies without any reservation. Such unconditional support was provided at the request of US military officials and CIA leaders, who visited the region and gave their instructions to Cairo, Riyadh, Tripoli,, Rabat and every member state of the Arab League. They also gave instructions to Ankara, which thus far seems very enthusiastic about a direct military foreign intervention into Syria. The US secretary of state stressed, in an unprecedented, outspoken manner, that the US was planning for a military intervention in Syria. However, Clinton warned that the situation in Syria was more difficult than the Libyan case. According to her, Syria is larger both in terms of geography and in population. This is not to mention that the country has much more complicated circumstances and better military readiness. “We consider all such matters. In fact, all manners of urban, humanitarian and military planning are well under way,” stated Clinton. Furthermore, Clinton was keen on mentioning Iran’s undeniable presence in Syria. “We are taking into consideration Russia’s warning that foreign intervention could spark a regional war. We are also aware of the overwhelming risks we might encounter … We know that the situation could worsen,” added Clinton.

Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN and the second most influential diplomat after Clinton, gave a statement following Russia and China’s vetoes on the UN Security Council resolution that called for foreign intervention in Syria. “The most likely scenario in Syria could be a surge of violence and bitter strife that is nurtured by uncontrollable arms smuggling. It may include several countries in the region and the sectarian strife may worsen to the extent that the crisis would cross the Syrian borders into other countries in the region,” noted Rice. “Consequently, members of this [Security] Council and members of the international community will then have to decide whether they are willing to take a step that is not in compliance with the Annan Plan and the Security Council’s arrangements,” added the US Ambassador to the UN.

Rice’s statements complement Clinton’s comments, mainly by warning the region’s countries that they must be well prepared in case the Syrian crisis reaches them. Rice’s statements also stressed that foreign intervention in Syria would not wait for a UN Security Council resolution. Patrick Martin, a journalist from the US, described Rice’s statements as reminiscent of the foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration. It is most notably evocative of the “coalition of the willing” principle, which Bush used as a pretext to justify the US-led war in Iraq. Such a coalition is open to any country that is willing to invest its military resources. This is a bid to avoid a veto inside the Security Council that would block another aggressive US-led war in the Middle East.

The most startling revelation that can be interpreted from the US Ambassador’s statements is related to their poor knowledge and lack of information regarding the Syrian opposition groups. Such groups are numerous and deeply divided, as well as being located in different cities. The US information on the Syrian opposition is superficial compared to the information that the US collected on Libyan opposition parties.

Rice’s statements are no less militarized than the statements of the US military chief, General Martin Dempsey, who confirmed to Fox News that the military option is always considered and might be adopted in Syria, at a certain stage, due to the massacres that are perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Dempsey’s statements follow the Houla massacre, which was misused, on several occasions, to blame the Syrian regime instead of the armed opposition. However, this accountability strategy has lost credibility with time, even among US commentators and journalists.

Concerning the Israeli stance on the issue, the statements by Israel’s deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, reflect Israel’s growing interest in a foreign intervention in Syria. “The foreign intervention in Syria has become inevitable. The West must intervene, directly or indirectly. We should also think about how we can provide help. We should, at least, be prepared to offer help and open aid corridors,” stated Mofaz straightforwardly. In his statements issued on May 31, Mofaz was keen on stressing that Israel’s readiness might compel the country to open its borders with Syria along the occupied Golan Heights. Such statements don’t conform at all to the typical Israeli policy, mainly since they refer to “aid corridors”, which represent a flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Israel intends to use such corridors to dispatch all forms of aids to the Syrian opposition. As for Israel’s official condemnation of the Houla massacre, it apparently aims to throw Arabs into a state of emotional turmoil. During Israel’s war on Gaza, the Israeli’s massacred more than 1300 Palestinians by the end of year 2008. 

Is it not quite natural to see Israel this enthusiastic about foreign intervention in Syria, mainly because of its staunch support of US foreign policy in the Middle East? Could one buy the claims of the so-called spokespeople of the “Syrian rebels,” who are scattered throughout Paris, Cairo and London? Amid the outbreak of war, revolution and counter-revolution, countries that have already expressed their readiness to intervene in Syria avoid talking about their domestic public opinion of such an intervention. They do this in order to conceal the tactics of the intervention, if not to escape the fact that they cannot guarantee the success of it.  However, there are several agencies who conduct their work with the laws of information and data exchange, whether at the pleasure or to the dismay of the aforementioned countries and their power elite. For instance, the Pew Research Center published the results of the poll on what the US role should be in the Syrian crisis, under the current circumstances. According to the poll’s results, only 25 percent of Americans supported a direct US intervention in Syria, whereas 64 percent of Americans called upon the US to put an end to the massacres. A 1999 poll showed that 47 percent of Americans supported the US intervention in Kosovo. Yes, this is how democracy standards, mainly those related to foreign hegemony, are defined in the US. 

Found in: un security council, un, syrian regime, syrian opposition, syrian, houla massacre, foreign intervention in syria, assad regime, assad

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