Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nothing New From Assad

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad did not mention anything new in his recent speech. He only turned the entire scenario back to square one in a country overwhelmed by constant killings, repression and displacement. He regards the peaceful and unarmed opposition as lawbreakers. He threatened to take the harshest measures against them in the coming days if they continue to call for the ouster of the government, which has been terrorizing and killing citizens over the last four decades under the pretext of protecting the country and preparing for the great liberation that might never take place.
Al-Assad is known for his ability to analyze problems, but he does not provide appropriate solutions, considering he is an ophthalmologist. He shares this feature with former Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser who was a military officer, not a doctor. The two leaders rose to power in different eras. Abdul Nasser played with the emotions of the citizens to serve his government. He led the nation towards the worst situation, during which he took advantage of the disasters to serve personal interests.
The current situation in Syria is different from that of Egypt in 1967. At the time, Abdul Nasser used defeat and loss of territory along the Egyptian-Israeli border in favor of his government by pretending to contemplate on resignation in front of the beleaguered citizens. He used this tactic to rescue his government from total collapse.
On the other hand, Al-Assad is currently facing a revolution against the government, yet he employs the Byzantine method to talk about the angels rather than listening and responding to the demands of the citizens. Tanks are all over the villages, while the guns of security forces are aimed at innocent people. He has not even bothered to ask himself why the Syrians face gunshots while baring their chests.
Al-Assad’s recent speech had similarities with the statements issued by former Tunisian president Zine El-Abiden Ben Ali before he left Tunisia and former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak prior to his ouster. However, some aspects of Al-Assad’s speech were different, such as those concerning the armed extremist destroyers who spread violence and attack people.
This is like the statement of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi on his alleged preparations to lure Libya into civil war by challenging the popular revolution. Some of the utterances of Al-Assad seem to imply danger to Syria, especially since he considers about 64,000 people as destroyers and lawbreakers. It means the massacre is at an early stage. Civil war is in the offing and the government does not care about accountability to the international community, which is still hesitant in taking a stand on the issue. This has prompted the Damascus government to continue spilling blood of the innocent under the slogan, “War against lawbreakers”. The government uses reform propaganda, as well as draft bills and calls for national dialogue, to justify its atrocious acts.
The worst aspect of the government’s actions is its attempt to jeopardize everything and its unorthodox manner of blaming others for the negligence and crime by claiming there is a conspiracy against Syria. Who will conspire against a government that kills its citizens? Is it the United Nations secretary general who tried to convince the government to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to some Syrian cities? Is it Congo, Zimbabwe or other countries, which have criticized the heartless suppression and demanded an end to the massacres?
Damascus has closed doors between the government and citizens for several decades, because it intends to isolate itself from other Arab nations. It has lost the ability to guarantee protection for citizens and Arabs in surrounding countries. The government has been swimming against the tide for a long time at the expense of the economy. Al-Assad has repeatedly warned on the possible collapse of the economic and political sectors, yet he willingly surrendered himself to serve as an instrument for the implementation of the expansion plans of Iran.
For the citizens, the government has become a thing of the past and efforts to revive it have proved futile. The Syrians will not tolerate submissiveness, since they have identified the road towards freedom. Immediately after the president’s speech, the citizens organized protests to express their disappointment. The government is at a crossroads and it needs to quickly look for a safe way out.
-This commentary was published in The ARAB TIMES on 21/06/2011
-Ahmed Al-Jarallah is the editor-in-chief of The Arab Times and of the Kuwaiti daily Assyassah

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