Syria – A Prize For…?

Jan 8 2013 / 5:23 pm

By Iqbal Jassat

While Syria has become synonymous with death and destruction and an enormously costly struggle for control of arguably the most strategic country in the Arab world persists, it is amazing how much of the world’s media fails to provide context.

For starters, it has reduced the battle as one where warring factions are projected as being unanimous in their demand for Bashar Assad’s head on a platter.

It implies that Syria is not any different to Tunisia, Egypt or Libya and that removing its leader is all that’s required for a successful revolution.

In the absence of reference to the fact that the Assad regime has been built on a dynasty that is deeply entrenched in the military and economy of the country, it would be naïve to believe that a couple of defections will loosen Bashar Assad’s ruthless grip and lead to his fall.

The regime’s history has been marked by being courted by competing powers before, during and following the cold war. This romance necessitated both superpowers to at various intervals turn a blind eye to its repression and merciless massacres.

In addition, the low intensity struggle waged to dislodge Assad has for decades been framed in a narrative which media subjectively portrayed as being anti-West, thus allowing the regime’s multi-layered instruments of power to intensify levels of repression in order to extinguish legitimate demands.

It’s a story told over and over in relation to all other client-states of western powers: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, the Gulf kingdoms and North African states straddling the Mediterranean.

Opposition to these dictatorships have always been viewed in western capitals as detrimental to their interests, thus allowing oppression to prevail without redress for victims.

Tunisia and Egypt are classic examples of the double standards that have now come to haunt western liberal democracies. For decades Ben Ali and Mubarak felt secure in the knowledge that as regional policemen of the military-industrial giants in the west their violent assault of fundamental human rights would be viewed as a necessary evil by their patrons.

Syria has had a similar tale except that its unique reshaping of Arab politics, gave it a distinct advantage above its neighbors.

One such example can be cited from the fact that it broke ranks with the Arab league by opposing Iraq during its invasion and war on Iran. This role didn’t sit well with western imperial goals to exterminate the Islamic Revolution at any cost.

The foremost reason has been that the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty, robbed both Israel and the west of a formidable tyranny able to do their bidding to stay in power.

It immediately posed huge challenges in the way Assad exploited fresh opportunities to exert Syria’s dominance in the region and particularly in Lebanon.

The current relentless crushing of all signs of life in parts of Syria where rebel formations hold sway, is unfortunately reflective of policies embedded within western state structures. It embodies a norm encouraged by the west to snuff out whoever poses a threat to its interests. See Bahrain and Yemen to understand the immorality of double standards.

In Syria’s own neighborhood take note of western ties to Israel in relation to the long-suffering plight of Palestinians. Wherever you look, double standards stares you in the face. Legitimate freedom struggles whether waged by Yasser Arafat’s PLO or by Hamas was declared terrorism.

The Assad regime fell out of favor mainly due to its manipulation of power in the region and an unwillingness to forsake the Golan Heights captured and occupied by Israel since 1967.

By refusing to play the game according to Israeli dictates, all Arab dictatorships run the risk of losing “friends” in the west. In fact pressure on newly formed governments following revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt to conform to western/Israeli interest is clearly evident.

The context of the battle for Syria and the role of former colonial masters alongside America and the Zionist regime of Israel is totally absent in media coverage and analysis.

Lack of substance in most western media commentaries would lead many to ponder whether Iran and Hezbollah are out of touch with the dynamics on the ground.

Who indeed is on the right side of history?

Is it a determined Assad who regards an equally determined opposition as terrorists?

Is it the west and Israel who believe that an armed insurrection can be used as cannon fodder to achieve regime change?

Is it an anxious Saudi Arabia, keen to obstruct domestic demands for change and guided by “friends” in the west to fan flames of sectarianism via its military aid to some rebel formations?

Range of probabilities that exist are in many ways ironic. A supreme irony of course is the idea that western support for those it views as arch-enemies and terrorists is not far removed from its bitter recent experience in Afghanistan.

As the battleground widens allowing for further wanton destruction, it remains to be seen whether Assad’s reign will be short lived or not and whether his inevitable fall will offer Syria as a prize to the west instead of to those in the trenches.

– Iqbal Jassat is an executive member of the advocacy group, the Media Review Network: www.mediareviewnet.com. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

image_pdfimage_print
Posted by on Jan 8 2013 . Filed under Articles, Commentary . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 . You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Comment

Please insert the correct number.


5 + 5 =

The Free Zone | Blog

  • July 31, 2015

    Hamas: 'Settlers, Soldiers' Legitimate Targets after Infant Killing

    Palestinian political factions strongly condemned an arson attack carried out by settlers which killed a Palestinian infant on Friday, holding the Israeli leadership fully responsible for the brutal attack and calling for revenge. - Hamas said that the killing of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha in the Nablus village of Duma makes all "Israeli soldiers and settlers legitimate targets for resistance." - A spokesperson for... More →
  • July 31, 2015

    EU Calls on Israel to Halt Settlement Expansion

    In the wake of the Israeli government's announcement that it is going to build more than 800 new housing units in settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the EU has called on Israel to halt all such expansion. The Europeans believe that an increase in the size of the illegal settlements, reported Qudsnet, undermines the prospects for an end to the conflict based on a two-state solution. - "The latest... More →
  • July 31, 2015

    Ultra-Orthodox Jew Stabs at Least 6 at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

    At least six people were stabbed at an LGBT pride parade in Jerusalem on Thursday, local media reported, citing Israeli police and paramedics. The suspected attacker, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, has been arrested. - Police said that six people have been injured, adding that two of them were in serious condition. - "We were prepared for every scenario, but our perimeter was breached. This is a severe, hard incident, which... More →
  • July 30, 2015

    Israel Moves to Legalize Gitmo-style Force-feeding of Hunger Strikers

    The Israeli parliament has passed a bill that allows the force-feeding of Palestinian prisoners who resort to hunger strikes to protest their administrative detention without charge. The national medical association said the procedure amounts to torture. - The 120-seat Knesset approved the controversial bill, with 46 legislators in favor and 40 against it. Called “Law to prevent harm caused by hunger strikes,” it... More →
  • July 30, 2015

    Hamas Rejects Fatah's Demand to Hand over Rule of Gaza

    Hamas officials on Wednesday rejected demands by Fatah leadership to hand over rule of the Gaza Strip and called for an "uprising" against Palestinian Authority security forces. - Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad had said on Sunday that Hamas "foiled" efforts towards a unity government, and that the group must hand over rule of the Gaza Strip as a condition for forming the new government. - Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri... More →
Support Palestine Chronicle
Support Palestine Chronicle
"The Palestine Chronicle is a beacon. History, witness, analysis and ways forward are here, written with authority and humanity. Long may it publish." — John Pilger.
Subscribe to Newsletter
Enter your email address to subscribe to our mailing list.
Email:
separator
Chief Complaint
Return: A Palestinian Memoir
Idea of Israel
Disclaimer RSS Feed Contact us Donation Popup
© Copyright 1999-2015 PalestineChronicle.com. All rights reserved
Powered By MediaSeniors