By: Michel Kilo
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper
There are three lies that are being repeated by western politicians and experts whenever the issue of Syria is brought up in order to justify their reluctant positions towards its crisis, or to defend themselves by finding and fabricating Syrian specific “difficulties” that are impossible to overcome or deal with given the resources, capabilities, plans and measures that are available to countries of the world. These lies claim:
1) That the Syrian community is composed of various sects and ethnicities, as if this composition were new, or as if it had been established during the reign of “al-Baath” Party over the past half century, and it had not existed before. These people talk about divisions within Syrian society even though they profess ceaselessly that Syria has always been the homeland of coexistence and diversity, and it has always been considered the country of any person who has entered it and lived in it, regardless of their original nationality, and that is true.
Syria has always been a country of diversity and coexistence, whether between sects and religions or between civilizations and ethnicities, and its doors have always been open to strangers, who have been intertwined into its fabric and have mostly become part of it. That is evident in the names of Syrians who belong to different religions even within a single family. For instance, the Kilos, the family to which I belong, are divided into Christians and Muslims in the city of Latakia, where we address the Muslim members of the Kilo family as ‘cousins’, and they do the same towards us, for we and them are one family that shares the joys and the sorrows, as in everything that is useful or harmful. Whenever you ask a Muslim or Christian member of the Kilo family about the degree of relationship with anyone that bears family name Kilo, the answer is always: “He is my cousin”. Moreover, we are from an area called Jabal Al-Akrad (Mountain of the Kurds), which has been under bombardment by the regime forces for over a month. Although no Kurd lives there anymore, none of the locals from this area denies its name. For whenever asked about his local dwelling, he would say that he is from Jabal Al Akrad, in the eastern region of Latakia, which is inhabited by Sunni Muslims, Alawites and Christians of all sects in peace and harmony. My father, may he rest in peace, used to tell us the tale of the shrine in the village of Kinsba, where he was born, which used to collapse every time, until the Muslims and Christians decided to contribute in rebuilding it, and it has never collapsed ever since. One calls it Yahia’s shrine whereas another calls it John’s shrine.
Sects did not emerge under “al-Baath” Party. Sectarianism, indeed, has developed thanks to its policies. This is the problem facing our country nowadays, among a whole lot of other problems sponsored by the allegedly secular party that has counted on sectarianizing the state, the government and their institutions in order to save its skin in case the people rose against it. And there it is, desperately trying to utilize the regional and sectarian grudges it has sown into the souls in order to shatter popular unity and transform the struggle for freedom into a mad sectarian fight among Syrians. Western “experts”—instead of noting this development, understanding its reality, and knowing that it would vanish with the demise of the regime that has nourished it for almost half a century and worked hard to promote it, feed it, and transform it into an abyss between citizens that is impossible to bridge—you see them considering the beautiful Syrian diversity as a structural problem that cannot be overcome. It is regarded as the reason for divisions among Syrians, even though this diversity has always been there without the Syrians being divided or unable to coexist in peace and integrate under its umbrella.
2) That the Syrian Army is powerful to such an extent that it is undefeatable: it possesses an aerial defense that is superior to its Pakistani counterpart (hallelujah!), weapons of mass destruction scattered in different locations, highly trained forces, etc… When Iraq was attached by the Americans, it had 625 Air Defense missile bases, and it was unable to shoot down a single American plane, yet Syria has less than a quarter of that amount. Although some of Syria’s Aerial Defense weapons are relatively modern, they are not modern enough such that they cannot be attacked, especially that they are from the Russian second generation, not the first. As for the weapons of mass destruction, they say that Syria today possesses a stockpile that is no less than what was possessed by Iraq. However, the American leaders at the time belittled the strength of Iraq, on the one hand, and compelled the media to exaggerate its size, on the other, just as they are doing today with Syria, but for the sake of not attacking its regime. When the Americans decided to invade Iraq, the Iraqi army was unable to do anything against them, and the commanders of Republican Guard divisions said they found themselves under a flood of bullets that prevented them from communicating with their attendants standing in front of their offices. I am definitely not calling for a military intervention, but emphasizing that an intervention has not occurred, not because of the strength of the Syrian Army, but because whoever possesses the decision to intervene in Syria wants the regime to continue destroying Syrian cities and villages in order to drop it out of the balance of power and control in the region for a very long time. And since this is being performed by the regime’s army, no one will put an end to the destruction before it completes its objective. Then they would enter to expel Assad claiming that Syria’s army is flimsy, untrained, weak, and lacking any of the elements of power.
3) The impossibility of unifying the opposition: When the Syrian National Council (SNC) was formed, many westerners proclaimed that the Syrian opposition has unified to an extent that allows providing a national cover for any foreign military intervention. However, when the SNC urged them to intervene—leaders of the SNC spoke of promises they received regarding this issue—they used the non-unity of the opposition, divisions within Syrian society, and strength of the regime’s army as excuses. Today, after the unified opposition issued a national declaration defining the identity of future Syria and providing a unified vision for the transition—in the presence of western and Arab delegations and Ambassadors and with the blessings of Turkey’s Foreign Minister, who hailed this unifying move—they discovered a new lie: the Free Syrian Army is infiltrated by Al-Qaeda, as if they had not recently paved the way between Benghazi and Tripoli with aerial strikes for “Al-Qaeda” to advance from eastern Libya towards the west, and as if they had not been aware that leaders from “Al-Qaeda” who had been in Guantanamo detention center, have played a major role in leading the battle against Qaddafi’s forces! The westerners know that the battles in Syria are being led by Army officers who have never been affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and fought by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Syrians, whom it is impossible for Al-Qaeda to have succeeded in recruiting and leading just in the past few months. Yet, as an excuse for not acting to stop the official madness that is storming its people in all cities, towns and villages, you see them today exaggerating divisions among Syrian people and the strength of the regime and transforming Al-Qaeda into a scary beast that is holding the revolution in Syria.
Dear Gentlemen: Use a different needle to weave. For if your interests require intervention, you would have said that Syria is unified by its diversity and awaiting the intervention; and that its army is dilapidated and helpless, and its revolution is clean of any trace either of “Al-Qaeda” or any other organization!