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Monday, June 17, 2024

A new phase in the crisis in Syria

By Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine Staff Writer

It seems like the conflict in Syria has entered a new chapter. The Western powers are now openly advocating regime change in Damascus. This new factor has placed foreign intervention closer than to where it has ever been. At the cornerstone of this new phase lies the Houla massacre, which took place on May 25 and which left 108 people dead, execution style. Although the blame was immediately pointed at the Damascus regime, there are several accounts that vehemently dispute this assertion. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a leading German newspaper, Syrian guerilla groups working as Sunni sectarian death squads, religiously cleansed much of Houla’s Shiite Muslim minority. The German daily claimed its sources were not derived from the Damascus regime, but from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), the armed opposition funded by the rich Gulf States. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung went on to say that “French religious groups in Syria” have also confirmed the shocking truth.

Alex Latier from the WS website has seized on the revelation, for its implications would go far beyond the atrocity in Houla. “They [would] undermine the rotten foundations of the US-led campaign for war with Syria,” asserted Alex, “The media uncritically reports opposition accounts of the killings and Western denunciations of Assad to cynically present arms support for the opposition—or, possibly, a US invasion of Syria—as acts of conscience to halt a humanitarian disaster,” he added.

This new wave of anti Assad campaign, one must say, has another aim. It is aimed at disarming Russia and China’s opposition, forcing them into abandoning their position against a possible US-led military intervention in Syria with the unique goal to overthrow Assad and replace him with a stooge, pro-US client regime.

The mainstream media never seizes to beat the drums of war, parading gruesome pictures of lifeless bodies of men, women and children lying face down with their hands tied against their backs. It is all part of an all-too-familiar script meant to show the diabolical face of the Syrian government.  So, the Houla massacre is a pivotal part of this campaign, and the Russia-China duet appears to have been neutralized, being forced to sing in decrescendo, although they still maintain their opposition to military intervention.

It is an open secret that in the corridors of the United Nations as well as in diplomatic venues of Washington, Paris and London, the issue of invading Syria has grown loud and clear, even before the Houla massacre. Less than ten days before the massacre, news media reported that the United States had been coordinating a surge in weapons supplies to the FSR. The Saudi and Qatari monarchies will pick up the bill as Washington through its proxies funnel the weapon supplies.

To dramatize the dangerous stage play, shortly after the preliminary reports of the massacre, The United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, and Canada swiftly expelled their Syrian ambassadors in protest.

Western hypocrisy and the Sino-Russia dilemma

These uproarious political scenarios underline the hypocrisy of Western diplomacy, which accuses Russia of arming the Assad regime, while Washington’s wealthy Arab allies flood “rebel” guerrillas with weapons. All this is taking place right after the Saudi monarchy brutally suppressed protests in Bahrain to save the Al Khalifa family, a dynasty that has been in power since the 17th hundreds.

What started as an Arab Spring setting out to uproot corrupt despotic regimes in the Middle East is now being hijacked by foreign interests totally at odds with the interests of the thoroughly exploited masses of the oil-rich region. Preying on sectarian divides to achieve this end, the Western powers fueled Islamist and tribal elements against Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who was toppled by NATO and Islamist-rebels in a bloody war that left 50,000 souls dead. In Syria, they are mainly relying on Sunni elements like the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, financed by the anti-Shiite Saudi monarchy. What a Machiavellian double standard!

Can the Western powers succeed as they did in Libya? It is difficult to say. The opposition is fragmented and the Syrian army is battle-tested, although it has been under pressure by the opposition forces lately. On the political front, the Syrian National Council, the umbrella group which represents the political mouthpiece of the FSA handpicked a new leader on Sunday. His name is Abdelbaset Sieda, a Kurdish dissident and professor of Arabic. He ran for the post unopposed and promised after his election to “expand and extend the base of the council … so it will take on its role as an umbrella under which all the opposition will seek shade.”

Observers say he was elected precisely because he is who he is: a non-Arab aloof figure, completely inoffensive and perhaps the best choice for a severely disorganized opposition, as assessed by Victor Kotsev, a contributor for Asia Times Online. We are assisting at an Iraqi scenario, where Jalal Talabani, a non Arab like Sieda, was placed at the presidency as a figurehead in an attempt to suppress sectarian strife.

In the next few days, events will unfold according to how China and Russia resist to this latest surge of diplomatic salvos, and that also will determine the future of Assad. Clearly, the Syrian people deserve something better than Assad, but not an illusory democracy through the wreckage of thousands of deaths and destructions that will result in the aftermath of a NATO intervention in Syria.

Note: Dr. Ardain Isma is the chief editor for CSMS Magazine.


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