Tuesday, August 23, 2011
By Hussein Shobokshi
Last Thursday was as a noteworthy day in the course of the Syrian revolution, against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The more international stances towards the Syrian regime intensified, in both quantity and quality, in support of the revolutionaries' demands, the more the al-Assad regime became more stubborn and obstinate in its repression and brutality against its own people. The US, Britain and France have explicitly demanded that Bashar al-Assad immediately step down, whereas Spain and Portugal demanded that the grip is tightened on the Syrian regime, so as to force it to stop killing and repressing its people. Switzerland has recalled its ambassador in protest against the Syrian regime's practices, and Tunisia has acted likewise. An extremely significant set of economic sanctions was declared by the European Union and the US, with the aim of stifling the regime economically. Even Japan, the politically reserved and conservative state, issued statements demanding al-Assad's instant departure. In fact, the necessity and inevitability of the departure of the bloody al-Assad regime has achieved a faster and more significant international consensus than the mobility the world garnered in its confrontation with the vengeful Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.
Amidst such mobility, an odd incident occurred in Israel at the hands of an anonymous group from Gaza, who carried out an attack in the Israeli town of Eilat, from Egyptian soil. Armed Palestinian troops, as every one knows, are affiliates of Syria, and mobilizing them at this particular time is reminiscent of when former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein fired 'Scud' missiles on Israel, in a last-minute act of "resistance". Today, we see the drowning Syrian regime teetering on the brink, in the same manner as the Titanic ship when it crashed against an iceberg and was flooded with enormous amounts of water. At the time, the passengers in the upper decks were completely oblivious to what was going on underneath, and continued to emphatically deny the situation until the ship sank and lay at the bottom of the ocean.
The Syrian regime's last-minute resistance is intended to reshuffle the cards and involve a major Arab state like Egypt, to make it adopt a neutral position and preoccupy the public with the Israeli issue. Israel is a criminal state with a black record full of assassinations and violations of regulations, laws and treaties, yet the Syrian regime has surpassed Israel in terms of the crimes it has committed against its own people, something which history cannot even document the full extent. There is no room today to support Bashar al-Assad, or remain silent about the crimes of his regime. Today, after ambassadors were recalled from Syria, free countries are obligated to expel their Syrian delegates and representatives from whatever institutions present on their soil.
The international community's consensus on al-Assad's departure, and the widespread demonstrations inside Syria, in terms of both quality and quantity, emphasize that the demand to topple a regime that lost its legitimacy and humanity, two characteristics it never had in the first place, was indeed a fair and a moral one. What is astonishing is that the Syrian issue and the need to support the Syrian revolution have become public demands in the Arab world. In mosques, people pray to God in support of the revolutionaries, donations, either financial or in kind, continue to be made, aid is on the rise, and pressures are being mounted on governments to besiege the Syrian government and expose its crimes without leniency. The Syrian revolution's poet, Ibrahim Qashoosh, who was slaughtered by the bloodthirsty Syrian regime when his throat was slit and his body was thrown into al-Assi River, once sang "Now leave Bashar." Now the entire world is repeating the same song after the issue transformed into a global political cause. We must put an end to a regime that has brought shame and embarrassment to the world, and now is the time for it to go.
-This commentary was published in Asharq al-Awsat on 22/08/2011- Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. He hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa