The Muslim East (Middle East) has been in the throes of revolutionary fervor for more than six months. Two dictators have been driven from power; others are teetering on the brink while some are also fighting back with mixed results. Two countries, however, stand out in the turbulent region — Libya and Syria — for their own peculiar reasons. In both, opponents of respective regimes are not only armed but also enjoy massive external support. It is to this aspect that we need to turn our attention, especially in Syria.
First, let us get the facts straight. There are no representative governments anywhere in the Arab Muslim East. Even the geographic and political map of the region was drawn up by the colonial powers to serve their own interests. Despite their physical departure, the (neo)colonialists have continued to exercise considerable influence in all these societies. Countries that attempt to break out of such stranglehold — Islamic Iran, for instance — are subjected to sanctions, sabotage, and even military attack. Only the people’s support has enabled Islamic Iran to defend itself against these aggressive moves of the predatory powers led principally by the US.
In Libya, Western colonial powers are directly involved in overthrowing the regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi. We have discussed in this issue the reasons behind the West’s involvement. In Syria, too, external players are involved in exploiting the people’s legitimate grievances to advance their own agenda. Let us be clear: President Bashar al-Assad is not democratic; he inherited power from his father in 2000 but unlike other Arabian rulers, Bashar enjoys considerable popular support. He was not appointed by his father to take over; the Syrian army asked him to give up his practice as an ophthalmologist in London and return to Damascus to lead the country. Until recently, he walked in public without bodyguards. One can hardly find this kind of openness anywhere else in the Muslim East whether in Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Morocco. So why is the West so exercised about the plight of the Syrians and not that of the people of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, or Bahrain?
Syria stands apart from all the other countries currently facing upheavals; it is part of the resistance front against Zionist Israel. The Syrian uprising is phase three of the US-Zionist war on the resistance front that comprises Islamic Iran, Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Palestine. In the first phase launched in 2006, the Zionists attempted to destroy Hizbullah; instead, the Israeli army was badly mauled in the 33-day war. In December 2008, the Zionists invaded the tiny enclave of Gaza in the second phase of their operation. Gaza was considered a soft target and the aim was to wipe out Hamas. The Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Jordanian dictators and monarchs all backed the Israeli onslaught. While 1,400 civilians, one third of them children, were murdered in Gaza and much of its infrastructure was destroyed, Hamas survived the ordeal. Syria is the third installment of this war whose ultimate target is Islamic Iran.
Enough evidence is available (see Crescent International, May 2011) to confirm involvement of external players like the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and members of the March 14 group of Lebanon in the Syrian uprising. Now, unfortunately, Turkey has also joined this camp against Syria. One wonders how Ankara would justify its zero-problem policy with its neighbours based on its reaction to events in Syria. Armed saboteurs have been smuggled into Syria from Jordan. Daraa, the Syrian town nearest to the Jordanian border and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, was the first to stage an uprising. Last month, more than 120 Syrian policemen were shot dead in the border town of Jasr al-Shughour. This was a professionally planned military operation that could not have been carried out by ordinary people. Were Israeli commandos involved in the attack? And what is Turkey’s motive in joining the anti-Syrian front with the likes of Zionist Israel and Saudi Arabia? The Turkish aid flotilla that was at the center of an international campaign last year when the Israeli navy attacked the Mavi Marmara in international waters in May 2010 did not join the international flotilla this year. What is the real reason for the withdrawal of the Turkish contingent this year as peace activists from around the world, including the Tahrir, a boat from Canada, is heading for Gaza?
People’s struggle for their rights and dignity must be supported everywhere regardless of their origin or locality but as the Rahbar of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei pointed out in his speech on June 4 in Tehran, not all groups would be supported. He was speaking during the commemoration ceremonies for Imam Khomeini and outlined four fundamental principles. He said that Iran would support any movement that was Islamic, mass-based, and anti-US. He then added a fourth: Islamic Iran would not support any movement that was backed by the US or Zionist Israel. It should be clear to Muslims everywhere that the US and Israel cannot be their friends. There is ample evidence to prove this point and any Muslim that believes otherwise is either naïve or a paid agent of the West.
Those leading the anti-Assad movement in Syria must explain where they stand vis-à-vis their relations with regimes like Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh. It is not surprising that such elements are trying to give the movement a sectarian twist, almost certainly at the behest of the Saudis that have always used this card to divide the Ummah. Will Muslims wake up and realize what is afoot or be dragged into a sectarian quagmire from which nobody will emerge unscathed? Further, do Muslims wish to join a US-Zionist-Saudi-Lebanese-Jordanian alliance against Syria so that the strategic advances of Hizbullah and the Palestinian people are wiped out to protect Zionist Israel?
There is more to the Syrian uprising than the Western corporate media or the tribal-owned al-Jazeera are letting their readers/viewers know. It is important to be properly informed to reach the correct conclusion.