Q: Why the United States did not wait for a Security Council resolution to attack Iraq, but more than a year after the beginning of the crisis in Syria, it is still dawdling and refrains from an explicit military strike against the Arab country?
A: I think due to developments in many Middle Eastern and North African countries during the past one and a half years, including developments in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen and even in counties which were not swept by the wave of popular revolutions, the influence of the US, in particular, and the West, in general, has been waning in these countries.
The West, especially the United States, is determined to create a new balance in the regional power equation. This is why they came up with a hasty plan for military intervention in Libya. Of course, at that time, European countries, especially France (under the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy) appeared more radical than the United States and in some cases they even towed the United States behind them in Libya.
The situation in Syria, however, is quite different from other countries in the Middle East in terms of geopolitical conditions, and can be somehow compared to the situation in Egypt. This is why due to their high sensitivity, political developments in Syria are very important for the West and all regional states.
The United States and some European countries have a plan to treat Syria in such a way as to undermine the resistance front against the Zionist regime of Israel. In other words, by mounting pressure on the government of Bashar Assad, they want to firstly, cut the relationship between Tehran and Damascus and, secondly, render the Syrian government unable of facing the Zionist regime’s extortionist policies in the region.
On the other hand, despite all human rights slogans shouted by the West, they are currently equipping the Syrian opposition inside the country in order to push the current crisis toward a full-blown civil war. Worst of all, the foreign forces are currently fighting the Syrian government in the name of the people of Syria. The next important point is that both the United States and Israel are willing for internal conflicts in Syria to continue in order to deepen religious tensions and regional power rifts as much as possible. They want both sides of the conflict, that is, Salafi groups and al-Qaeda on the one hand, and the Syrian government, on the other, to suffer from the conflict. This is exactly the same regional goal that the United States, the West and some of their regional allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey pursue in the region.
Here, I put the highest emphasis on the situation in the region and what is directly related to [anti-Israeli] resistance. Although the structure and conduct of Bashar Assad’s government and the way it has chosen to interact with the people of Syria are open to criticism, there is another reality on the ground. Is Syria the sole country with such a regime?
Nobody can deny the reality that most Arab countries in the region are ruled by totalitarian regimes. Why the West has established close ties to other regimes and is only mounting all kind of pressure on Syria? The question is in the nature of Syria’s relations with Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah and the approach taken by them to the Zionist regime of Israel.
Syria is totally different from Iraq and Libya. European countries and the United States managed to get the Security Council pass a resolution on Libya and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) entered the scene on the basis of the Security Council’s resolution. On the other hand, they were able to liberate the important city of Benghazi in Libya. Now, they are trying to create conditions similar to Benghazi in Aleppo which would pave the way for their military intervention [in Syria]. However, they have not succeeded to do it so far.
Another important point is that Obama is approaching new presidential election in the United States and is already too much preoccupied by domestic problems to give priority to foreign ones. On the other hand, before the recent presidential polls in France, the former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, pursued recklessly ambitious goals with regard to regional and international issues. In practice, the new president, Francois Hollande, has adopted a different policy compared to his predecessor. Sarkozy led the Western military coalition in the war on Libya while Hollande is not pursuing that policy with regard to Syria.
This is why Qatar and Saudi Arabia have practically taken the lead among member states of the Arab League and the regional countries. Even the recent resolution which was passed against Syria by the UN General Assembly was drafted by these countries. Therefore, conditions are totally different from Libya.
Another issue which should be added to the set of conditions which make up the current situation is the issue of economic stagnation and crisis in Europe. This issue will prevent member states of NATO from launching a reckless attack on another country.
On the other hand, one more worrisome issue which has been rumored far and wide is that when Assad goes, radical Salafi groups and even al-Qaeda may have a share of the future government of Syria and this issue can further worsen the ongoing crisis in the Arab country and even lead to more radicalization of conditions in the whole region. As violence has intensified in Syria, great concerns have been created about post-Assad Syria by the Western countries and the Zionist regime of Israel. All these factors have caused the West to act more cautiously in relation to Syria.
Q: What will be possible consequences and results of the General Assembly resolution which was passed last Friday?
A: According to the Charter of the United Nations, decisions made by the General Assembly lack executive guarantee. Only those resolutions passed by the Security Council are binding, but those of the General Assembly are mostly recommendations. Therefore, it seems that as long as the Security Council has not adopted any resolution on Syria, military intervention in this country will not be legitimate. Russia and China have already taken clear negative stances on three previous resolutions [on Syria] which were considered at the Security Council. Therefore, the new resolution adopted by the General Assembly does not provide authorization for military intervention in Syria. However, such resolutions are mostly meant to forge some kind of international legitimacy for more serious action in Syria.
Q: Some analysts compare the situation in Syria with such countries as Yemen, Libya, and even Iraq. How do you forecast the country’s future outlook in view of the current escalation of violence?
A: The final outcome of conflicts which have started in Damascus and Aleppo since two weeks ago will be very critical and determining. If the current situation continues for some time, we will see gradual escalation toward a full-blown civil war in the country. However, if the conflict calms down [the situation will improve in favor of the Syrian government] because this seems to be the last shot at the Syrian government by the West whose main goal is to create a new Benghazi in Syria.
The model of Iraq is not comparable to Syria, especially taking into account that the heavy war and hefty investment made by the Americans in Iraq was not what they originally expected.
Syria’s future course will be very difficult and complicated. However, it is not totally clear what model will be finally applied to this country.
Perhaps none of the models which have been implemented so far [in other countries] would be applicable to Syria.
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