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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Syria at a dangerous crossroad

By Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine Chief Editor

Despite a certain fatigue visibly shaking the anti-Assad movement, the people across the country are not backing down. The sadistic regime in Damascus is betting on time and on its political relations with the BRICS nations made of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to continue to kill unpunished. Last week at the United Nations, BRICS was quick to take revenge for their lost of Libya, blocking a UN resolution aimed at punishing the Damascus regime. Of course, the UN resolution spearheaded by France and The United States was indeed full of immorality and double standards, and it only offered lip service to the Syrian people. Nonetheless, BRICS opposition to the measure offers Syria the excuse it needs to continue massacring innocent men, women and children. The article that follows is a reflection made by Dr. Ardain Isma on the vexing issue in Syria.


Just as everyone has expected it, the regime in Damascus is embarking upon a public relation scheme, playing a nationalist card in a last attempt to steal the initiative by redirecting the social revolt toward the west, away from the hellish realities on the ground. This was the scene on Monday when hundreds of Syrian government agents stormed the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. They smashed windows, spray-painted walls. Obscenities and graffiti were the order of the day. Artists drew pictures of dogs to refer to the US ambassador.

It was the same faith that threatened the French Embassy. Luckily, Guards at the French Embassy fired in the air to ward off the attackers. In the Morning Eyes, we predicted it last week. (See Syrian President Bashar Assad at a deadly crossroad) This dramatic escalation in tensions was triggered by the US and French ambassadors’ visit to the city of Hama, a stronghold of the surging opposition to Assad. Syrian authorities were quick to throw their crocodile cry, calling the US Ambassador Robert Ford a Proconsul want-to-be. It was also reported that Ford’s residence was attacked on Monday.

The U.S. and France, the two countries in the forefront of the charge against Assad, have accused Syria of being too slow to respond to the attack, implicitly saying that it was engineered the Syrian secret service agency. Both Paris and Washington demanded that government abide by its international obligations to protect diplomatic missions and allow envoys freedom of movement.

For years, Syria-U.S. relations have been pretty rocky, entangling into a mutually inclusive mistrust. But Monday’s attacks were the worst such violence since 2000, when a stone-throwing mob attacked and vandalized the U.S. Embassy and ambassador’s residence over American and British airstrikes against Iraq.

A diplomatic challenge for The United States

The attacks pose a renewed challenge to the Obama administration. “The White House has criticized the Syrian regime’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests but has refrained from calling for an end to the Assad family’s four decades of rule, seemingly wary of pressing too hard as it tries to wind down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and faces criticism for being part of the coalition battling Moammar Gadhafi in Libya,” said an editorial on Yahoo News. That is part of the reality. The other part lies in the fact that the Syrian leadership—although sadistic and downright fascist—represents no threat to the Israeli northern border. The latter part is an unspoken consensus of the bewildered US policy in the Middle East.

Now, there are new calls from Congressional Republicans, pressing the administration to recall Ambassador Ford from Syria. The United States spent 5 years without its ambassador in Damascus in protest of Syria’s alleged role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Beirut. But an ally of Iran that supports the Islamic militant groups Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Syria has always perceived in Washington as an antithesis to the US interests in that part of the world. And Syria’s geostrategic ambition—wanting to be a regional power—has further exacerbated the already strained relations.

A diabolical operation

Ironically, Monday’s violence coincided with the government “sponsored talks” in Damascus on possible political reforms after four months of unrest. This is the first time such show was put on display. No one believed it, and within the main opposition factions, it was a complete boycott. In fact, those who showed up were nothing but Government crafted opponents totally discredited in the eyes of the population. While they were talking “peace and democracy,” the boogeymen were out in force, cracking down on demonstrators across Syria.

It was reported that before the embassy attacks, Syrian troops stormed the country’s third-largest city of Homs with armored personnel carriers and heavy machine guns. According to human rights activist in the region, at least two people were killed and 20 wounded. The Local Coordination Committees, a group that tracks anti-government protests in Syria, also reported gunfire and a “massive wave” of arrests and raids in the Jabal al-Zawiya region in Idlib province, near the Turkish border.

Clashes between protesters and Assad’s supporters have resulted in the deaths of 1,600, in addition to 350 members of the security forces. Syria learns its lesson from its western counterparts. Using carrots and sticks, the leadership believes, is the prime tools against a mortal enemy. The question is: will it work?

Note: This article was first published on The Morning Eyes www.themorningeyes.com


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