By Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief
The responsibility to destabilize Syria lies solely on the shoulders of Bashar Assad. He is brutal and his regime is murderous. He has usurped the rights of people and denied them of their basic dignity. He is staying in power because those opposed to him are not very well organized and those who claim to be supportive of justice have priorities other than justice. Moreover, the dictator has access to weapons of destruction including chemical gas and no one can stop him from using these weapons as the events of the last one week have demonstrated.. He is supported by his neighbors such as Iran and Hizbullah because in his ascendency they see their interests preserved and protected. China and Russia see him as a pawn to check the United States in this long game of political chess. The people are paying the price. Millions have been killed and made refugees. The agony and pain of those uprooted from their homes is unspeakable.
Syrian Americans by and large are seeking US intervention in Syria. A majority of Muslim Americans are also supportive of this action. Depending on the nature and scope of the US mission in Syria, the situation might either bring about the desired change or further destabilize the region.
Let us be very honest about our mission in Syria. We are not going to save human lives. If human life were our concern, we would have supported the Palestinians, the Bahrainis, and the Saudis, to name a few, who have been struggling for their human dignity. Moreover, we are the ones who have often been accused of promoting the culture of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places through our policies that we describe are rooted in our national security interests..
Our argument is that the use of chemical gas is a red line for humanity. Britain and Russia were the two main sources from where Assad obtained chemical gas. If we were really concerned about it, we should have stalled its supply to the murderous regime. We should have acted when the gas was being supplied to the murderer. During the last two years, hundreds and thousands of people have been killed, yet, we remained silent on the situation. What moral right we have to talk about chemical gas attack, when we encouraged Saddam Hussain to use it against his own people and against Iran. Moreover, we are the only nation in the world that has used the atomic bomb against its enemies.
So we are not going there to save human lives. We are going there to ensure the following.
1. We create a regime that we could use for our political purposes in our fight against Iran and Hizbullah.
2. We could control the supply route of arms to Hizbullah from Iran.
3. We could use Syria as a base to foment trouble in Iran.
4. We could also monitor Turkey and check its political strides.
5. We could provide intelligence information to Israel to serve its political interests.
6. We could also provide protection to the monarchs of the Gulf against an ever increasing danger from Iran and Hizbullah.
7. We could also check the Russian and Chinese encroachment in the Middle East.
8. We could use the local regimes in the gulf to ensure that militancy against the US and Israel is curbed in its infancy.
Syrian opposition is not mature to take an independent stand on regional issues. Even if it comes to power after Asad, it would indulge in political bickering and fighting on non-issues neglecting the real issues of people. It is a coalition of people who want revenge, not a coalition of people who want to build a society based on justice and fairness. Obviously, such a coalition has the potential to will become pawn in the hands of those who would provide it the political support.
So what is to be done?
1. Rather than targeting Syrian infrastructure, any military strikes should target the culprits. The mission should be to arrest him and his cronies and try them in international court of justice for crimes against humanity.
2. The Syrian coalition should expand its base and move from the tactics of revenge to the strategy of nation-building where everyone should have a share regardless of their sect, religion and ethnicity. Proportional representation would serve the interests of each religious and ethnic community.
3. The refugees should be rehabilitated in their homes as soon as possible and for that reasons all the assets of this regimes should be confiscated and the wealth stored in foreign banks should be brought back to the country.
4. The coalition of Syrians should ensure its own independence and cultivate good relations with Iran and Hizbullah as two important neighbors.
5. People of Syria should be taken into confidence by through a process of decentralization of power to allow their maximum participation.
But the number one priority is to remove Bashar Assad. Once he is captured alive, his cronies would be eager to testify against him. This is what we should ask the United Nations to ensure.