30 August 2013
It is likely that a Western strike against the Syrian regime is imminent. While we do not find reason to lament strikes against a criminal who has killed, tortured, and humiliated Syrians for nearly 30 months, we neither find reason to rejoice at this extremely delayed punishment, served not for the use of chemical weapons, which have in fact been employed since the beginning of this year, but rather for his recklessness in widening the scale of his use of these internationally prohibited weapons. We do not rejoice specifically for this reason.
The regime is not being punished as a way of holding it accountable for its crimes after killing over 100,000 Syrians. Rather, it is being punished because it transgressed the boundaries defined by the world powers that be, such that other thuggish regimes do not entertain the thought of following the Syrian regime’s example.
The speed of preparing for the potential strikes and their direct association with the recent chemical carnage in Eastern Ghouta weighs the matter in favor of the possibility of an imminent punishment, the purpose of which is to reign in the thuggish regime for its violations of Western «red lines» rather than punishing it for crimes against subject citizens. Now, it has become embarrassing, and continued silence towards the behavior of «Chemical Bashar» and the murderous regime over which he presides is tantamount to a threat to the authority and credibility of these powers, as well as the disintegration of international order.
As such, we cannot rejoice in the imminent strike against the regime, though we understand the rationale underpinning the sentiment. In the motivation for this strike, we do not discern the pursuit of justice; nor a display of human solidarity; nor standing by the side of those who have revolted against a brutal, tryanical regime; nor the West’s delayed sense of responsibility for the destruction of our country beyond any possible repair in the foreseeable future. The powers that be are resorting to the use of force against our local thug for their sakes and not ours. We are not saddened, but we are not happy, either.
We fear, however, that an iminent strike that aims to discipline the regime but that is not part of a larger strategy to rid Syria of Assad would prolongate both the status quo and international disengagement from the Syrian matter rather than a reversal of this policy.[..1]
It is not irrelevant to suggest that the purpose of the imminent strike is saving the regime from itself, allowing it to undertake the «good fight» as defined from an American and European perspective: fighting al-Qaeda and the Salfist-Jihadist organizaitons. Perhaps intervention also seeks to push the regime to Geneva II from a weakened position and bring it to accpet a political exit that may be based on the participation of «moderate» opposition figures in power in return for restructuring the political system in Syria around the mission of fighting jihadists. This may require sacrificing «Chemical Bashar»; however, it would be for salvaging his regime, army and security apparatus in particular.
This will not fulfill the aspirations of th Syrian people, nor will it provide for the conditions necessary to face nihlist groups that represent a grave danger to Syria and the Syrian society long before they become threatening to Western forces. The international inertia vis-à-vis the Syrian regime provided favorable conditions for both the continued killing of subject citizens and for the birth of nihilist, violent groups.
Therefore, we find no reason to be enthusiastic about punishing the regime into reforming its behavior and renewing its mandate around the task of fighitng terrorism. What we see and what we can discern in the record of the events of the revolution and the pre-revolutionary era is well demonstrated: the longer the Assadist regime remains, the more violence and nihilism in the country. Therefore, getting rid of the Assad regime is consequently the prelude to getting rid of terrorism.
Syrians do not need the West to shoulder the burden of toppling their regime. They have been revoluting against this regime for the past two and a half years. They have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of their goal: Many have fallen [died] to get rid of the regime. What they need is serious support in this herculean task that they have shouldered alone and that they continue to do on their own.
The time has come for Syria and the world to turn the page on this criminal episode and for Syrians to be assisted in making their new beginning, a very difficult beginning no doubt. It is in the interest of all—Syria’s and others’— for Syrians to be helped rather than allowing for prolonged strife and the continued reign of this regime of terror. This potential Western strike could acquire a global, humanitarian, and Syrian legitimacy because if it commensurates with the aspiratation of Syrians for a new beginning and achieving the first purpose of their revolution. However this will not happen without providing international support. Short of such support, the international community will merely be paying lip service to a slaughtered people and it will be granting the regime a cause and a victory. Anything that falls short of toppling the regime after the internaitonal strike will be deemed as a victory to this regime, and it will further push the Syrian situation down an endless, rotten road.
In short, a good strike is one that disarms the Syrian regime and deter its ability to kill Syrians and destroy their society, and the bad strike is one that saves the status of Western powers but does not impair the regime’s ability to kill and destroy.