Thursday

The Syrian Revolution: Victim of International Conspiracy?

The following is a translation of an op-ed by Moroccan writer Fouad Al-Fatahi which appeared in the newspaper Akhbar al-Yawm al-Maghribiyya on 6 March 2012.

Syria: The Revolution Confronts International Conspiracy

In a few days, on March 15, the Syrian Revolution will commemorate its first anniversary, and after a year, no foreseeable exit has appeared to free the Syrian people from the dark tunnel they are now in. In fact, up to this point, Arab and Western nations have worked together to attempt to abort this revolution, allowing Syria's dictator to remain in control.



This occasion raises a fundamental question. Why, after long months of killing and destruction, hasn't Syrian Revolution succeeded like the Arab Spring's other uprisings? Why has the International community failed to move with the same strength, resoluteness and speed as it did in Libya?

Just as the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya raised the spirits of Arabs everywhere, the Syrian revolution has bled their hearts. The heinous crimes committed by the Bashar the Terrible on the world stage have changed our joy to sorrow and mourning.

The world's powerful nations -- the United States and European Union being the two powers most capable of intervening and solving this international crisis through various diplomatic, military and more secretive means -- have made no moves. So far, they have been unwilling to stop the genocide being waged against a defenseless people who want to live under a regime that values human dignity.

The statements by Western and Arab officials broadcasted by news networks merely condemn the violence carried out by Syria's Saddam. Similarly, the measures adopted to respond to the situation, including the latest Arab initiative, are ineffective and doomed to failure. Such efforts cannot override Russia's and China's Security Council vetoes, which prevent official reproof of the Assad regime as well as any form of international intervention.

At this point, one important truth must be emphasized. If the international community truly wanted regime change in Syria, it would act to prevent Assad's troops from spreading death and destruction throughout the country. The number of ambassadors that have remained in Syria to this day proves it does not. Even the countries who recently recalled their diplomats, such as the United States, the Gulf countries and Britain, have done so purely over security concerns.

The conspiracy between the nations pulling the strings in Syria is shameless. They seek to abort the revolution and seize the Syrian people's right to rid themselves of the barbaric, Alawite gang responsible for abominable acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Unfortunately, the international community's political calculations have kept the Syrian issue at a standstill. To the West, talk of human rights and self-determination has no value above its interests.

Today's tragedy, which is a disgrace to the 'civilized world', is that the Syrian people are alone in their struggles against a criminal regime that kills its citizens in cold blood. To this point, the world's conscience has not been moved to stop the terrorists governing Syria.

Are not Syrians human? Or do the West and the Arabs prefer Assad's violent regime to the peaceful Syrian people? How is it possible that in an era of human values we can witness daily acts of genocide while Arab and Western leaders watch and wait without being moved by feeling or conscience?

And why hasn't the International Criminal Court begun an investigation of these crimes? Are the crimes that have been committed in Syria less atrocious than those that occurred in Libya?

The situation in Syria reveals the international community's ugly face. Though it claims to support human rights and weeps over them at forums and conferences around the world, in reality, it refuses to move to defend these rights and freedoms when they are violated in the developing world.

And when there is an intervention, it always serves the interests of the international community and is to its avail.

While this piece has its flaws, it's representative of a point of view that tends to dominate political discourse in Morocco, and the Arab world as a whole.

Conspiracy theories are very popular in the Arab world. As Americans we often scorn conspiracy theories because they are irrational (though, as we know, Americans are not above believing in them). In Arab countries, and others in the developing world, the colonial and post-colonial experiences trained generations not to trust the media or the government. On the contrary, in America the idea that our government is lying to us or that media is deliberately misleading us doesn't hold very much traction.

From this point of view we can identify room for the conspiracy theory, which offers simple and broad conclusions to explain the otherwise complex realities of global politics and economics. If you can't wrap your head around the fact that a group of terrorists from the Middle East managed to destroy two of the largest buildings in the world, then believe that it was an inside job. See what I mean?

Despite the weaknesses in the author's argument, there is good reason to ask why America's and Europe's position on the Arab Spring is so inconsistent. Arabs have been listening to pro-democracy evangelism for the past decade, and now don't understand why, in the moment of their greatest need, that rhetoric is not being backed up by real action.

The answer is that international politics is driven by very complex interests and factors that change almost constantly. It's not merely about supporting democracy, there are many other considerations at work. Then why the rhetoric?

As this piece shows, America and Europe's prestige is eroded by its political hypocrisies. Democracy may be the best form of government, but it is certainly not above the power plays and intrigue that have characterized politics for centuries. 

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