Foreign Intervention in Syria: No Room for Equivocation

Ibrahim Al-Amin

Article posted on Al-Akhbar English, 01 November 2011

Syria today is approaching a new crossroads... These fears are not based on a general reading of the situation, but on concrete evidence reaching several regional capitals about the course that the US, Europe, and their Arab clients have decided to take on Syria. These countries are acting, of course, in collaboration with various parts of the Syrian opposition. Most prominent of these is the group that is now part and parcel of Western plans and has a controlling majority in the Syrian National Council (SNC)... Either way, it is their ideas and slogans that will be turned into a plan of action based on the concept of replicating the Libyan experience in Syria — without, of course, considering the dangers or the consequences.

Some, of course, have been quick to argue that the West is not interested in attacking Syria because it does not have Libya’s oil or money. This is an attempt to pull wool over our eyes by pretending that Arab oil states are not themselves deeply involved in this scheme... In terms of regional politics, and in other respects, Syria is a strategic prize that makes it infinitely more valuable than the riches that some oil kingdoms and emirates may possess.

The experience of Lebanon is far more applicable to Syria than the experiences of Egypt or Tunisia, or even Libya or Yemen. This is due to the country’s sectarian divisions, political alignments, and regional role, as well as the nature of foreign interests involved. Any intervention – in whatever form – by the US-European Western alliance in league with the Gulf states and Turkey must be utterly condemned and rejected. Any equivocation on the issue of foreign intervention amounts to tacit acceptance of it. All current forms of foreign-sponsored sabotage in Syria (weapons, money, incitement, etc.) should also be resolutely opposed.

Some Arab players are actively attempting to prepare for military intervention in Syria on behalf of the West. This role, the worst-kept diplomatic secret in the region, should no longer be shrugged off or covered up. We should firmly oppose the siege to which Syria is being subjected, including economic and political sanctions. We should also be more discriminating and wary of being misled. This applies to the tales about militarization being told by various opposition groups and anti-Syrian Arab media.

Virtually every gunman these days is being portrayed as an army defector, presumably to convey the impression of a split in the military in order to encourage one in real life. Similarly, while reports have started to indicate that around half the people being killed are members of the army or security forces, the headlines remain the same: “20 Killed in Syria,” the implication being that the regime killed them.

Syria’s enemies have been furiously making the case for economic and financial sanctions as though this were a Syrian popular demand, while trying to delude public opinion that these sanctions would only target the regime, its institutions, and leaders... sanctions in fact target the population, and especially the merchant class, in order to turn them against the regime.

Turkey and the Gulf states are clearly seeking to establish powerful footholds inside Syria – as they did in Libya – so as to be able to influence the country’s future and undermine its regional influence. It is no coincidence that the US, Europe, and their Arab clients want Israel to maintain a low profile so that its involvement does not discredit the regime’s enemies. We saw the same spectacle in Lebanon after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The West and the Arabs tell Israel to keep quiet, "We’re doing the job you want done.” But the same problem could recur. If the combination of opposition and external military, security, and economic pressure fails to bring down the regime, Israel will be revisited and asked to revert to its preferred war-waging role. For Syria, quite simply, is a central pillar of support for the resistance against Israel.

It takes no great effort to appreciate that Syria is going through the hardest of times at present. What happens there now has consequences for everyone in neighboring countries. There may be some in Syria who have grown weary and who will rely on the devil to get rid of the regime. We can never accept that, for we know what it means.