Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami
The fourth leg of Arab awakening or spring, when arrived inside the hinterland of Syria, was narrated jointly by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) as a revolution against the four decades of autocratic rule of Baath Party, controlled by the Alawai/Nuseyri, an offshoot of Shiet Islam, to which Al-Assad family belongs. It was fervently hailed by the top echelons in the US and European capitals, and who consecutively asked and advised and even threatened Bashar Al-Assad to step down and pave the way for democratic transition in the country. However, Al-Assad did not budge to the demands and open threats of the western powers-- thanks to Russia and Iran for their material support and to China for its moral support.
After months of unproductive peaceful protests of the people and subsequent heavy handedness of the Syrian authorities turned the public anger into mass uprising. When Bashar Al-Assad failed to heed the popular demand, it was turned into armed conflict, primarily between the loyal forces of Al-Assad and the deserted soldiers and officers from the Syrian Arab Armed forces. Escalation and longevity of the Syrian conflict turned it into a total civil strife where lines were explicitly drawn between the Shiet-Alawi block and the Sunni block in the region.
Fighters from around the world started assembling in Syria to fight their holy war; predominantly Sunnite opposition attracted thousands of Sunni fighters from many parts of the world. And, Al-Assad regime got fighting support from the fellow Shiet Lebanese group- Hezbollah, many Iraqi and Iranian Shiet groups, and most importantly the Islamic Revolutionary Corps Guard (IRCG) of Iran.
After Syria turned to regional quandary, the US as well as the Western powers withdrew their miniscule material and thin moral support from the opposition fighters on the name of Al-Qaida and the spread of radical Islamic powers and their eminent takeover of Syria if Al-Assad would be ousted.
The US-Russian agreement on the dismemberment of Syrian chemical weapons laid the foundation for Al-Assad’s tacit support by the western powers. Ghouta chemical attack on Civilian population by the regime, where more than 1200 people were killed, many of them being women and children, went in deaf ears to the US-EU policy makers. The aforementioned agreement provided the regime with a license and sanctity to kill the civilian population with lethal conventional weapons.
Suffice it to say here that the next stop of Syrian quagmire will be its new narrative ‘war on terror’ very soon. The false pretext of war on terror will allow the western powers to support the Al-Assad, and that will be a well calculated strategic shift in the region.
Many observers believe that the fate of Geneva-2, the upcoming January 22 meeting of global and regional powers to solve the Syrian quagmire, will be the same as the much touted Oslo-2 where the Palestinians got nothing but the continued apartheid and aggression from Israel.
Infighting between the so-called Al-Qaeda affiliated groups and the relatively moderate groups has intensified before the proposed meeting of the world powers on Syria. It seems that either the infighting going on by the western demand to purge the liberated countryside from hardliner fighters before Geneva-2 or Assad's Mukhbarat (intelligence) might have infiltrated in a big way to benefit from 'divide and rule' among the different groups of fighters.
With such dramatic descriptions, Bashar Al-Assad may very soon regain absolute favour with the United States and other western powers in his "fight against terror” And that may very well integrate Al-Assad with the US’ global ‘war on terror’.
Thus, it is evidently clear that with their changed narration of Syrian tragedy, the US-EU may come in the open and back Bashar Al-Assad’s regime on the pretext of war against terror.
The western media in general and the US media and think-tanks in particular, have already modified the narrative from "revolution" (short time) to "civil-war" ( although it was never a civil war like Somalia or Lebanon), and now, they may change it to the classical "war on Terror".
On the name of global war on terror and containment of radical Islam and Al-Qaeda, Al-Assad may soon start getting unwrapped material support from US like the Iraqi ruler, Nouri Al-Maliki, who has got lethal support in the form of weapons to kill his Sunni opponents in Iraq. He may also get drones and sophisticated F-16 fighter planes also.
Iranian defense or a combined regional Shia defense of Al-Assad regime is a mix of geostrategic imperativeness and religious fraternity. The “Twelver” Shia of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Nuseyri’s/Alawites of Syria who dominate the Assad regime have vast differences in religious practices and rituals. Although Imam Sayyid Musa al-Sadr of Amal movement fame and Ayatollah Hassan Shirazi in the politically motivated Fatwas separately declared the Alawites to be Shia Muslims during the 1970s, yet this was done to support the Assad regime by giving them religious legitimacy; this was also the Syrian constitutional obligation that only a Muslim can become the president of the country.
Sunnis in Syria saw an opportunity to get rid of the Alawi/Nuseyri regime in the wake of Arab spring. Iran’s dilemma and duality had come in to open when it supported Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in its ascendance of power in Egypt while opposed the same MB in Syria. This is not the first instance that Sunni majority of Syria have revolted against Al-Assad’s rule. The entire 70’s saw the People’s opposition of the regime culminated in the brutal crackdown in early 80’s by Bashar’s Hafez Al-Assad. It is worth mentioning here that Hafez has killed nearly 40000 people when he raised the entire old city of Hama to quell the MB-led revolution against his rule in early 1980s.
The Western powers’ intrigue to get the Syrian crisis longer and let it turn into a full blown sectarian war has claimed more than 100 thousand civilian lives. Assad’s forces have besieged the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus where many people starved to death.
Without any doubt, the exasperated sectarian tone of Syrian crisis is being fueled by global powers to set their regional agenda that has already engulfed Iraq and Lebanon in its trajectory.
We may recall the 16 November 2011 statement of one of the senior most defense advisors of Israeli Government, Amos Gilad, saying thus: “The downfall of Assad will mean the end of Israel; the aftermath of the downfall of Assad will be catastrophic for Israel. It will lead to the end of Israel and will result in the appearance of an Islamic empire in the Middle East “
In his interesting confession on Wednesday, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, said that several Western intelligence services had visited Damascus for discussions. His comments were broadcast a day after the Wall Street Journal reported that French and Spanish spy services had made contact with Assad's government. French media have carried similar reports.
The hyperbole of ouster of Assad has died down and the talks on radical Islamist takeover have spread in western media outlets and diplomatic circles. To end the horrible conflict, a new scenario may emerge with a virtual geographic division of Syria between the pro-Assad and anti Assad forces, but that would hardly be an aspired solution of Syrian conflict; it would rather be a continuation of a quasi-permanent fratricidal Shia-Sunni sectarian war for decades to come in Syria, culminating into major cartographical changes.
With the sordid western backing on the pretext of fighting against the spread of terrorism, it is most ironical that after so much of bloodshed and devastation, Al- Assad who had earlier been threatened by the US and other western powers to step down for the sake of democracy, is still holding on to power in an anarchic and devastated Syria. Thus, the tragic turn of the scenario, caused by the western powers’ blatantly changing motives, goes to vindicate their heinous designs against the humanity of the third world countries.Last Mod: 31 Ocak 2014, 23:45