Yassin al-Haj Saleh
September 19, 2015
Since the early days, the West’s handling of the Syrian conflict has had a set of characteristics that raise questions about the political and intellectual credibility of the elite and political leaders in the West. The first of these characteristics is dealing with outcomes, not the roots and causes, and consequently being narrow minded politically, considering a thin slice of the present myopically, not only without historical depth, but also without even an understanding of the ongoing conflict and its dynamics. Secondly, the Western powers’ policies are not rooted in clear values of justice, freedom and human dignity. They often lack a political vision of the conflict, confining themselves to a “crisis management” approach, which ignores the moral dimension and deals with the latest developments, and in the longer term construes to make obvious issues mysterious and complex issues even more complex. The third characteristic is the fractional perspective that divides the conflict into disconnected parts, and deals with some parts but not others, resulting in even more difficult situations. A fourth characteristic related to the previous one, is the fragmented vision, in particular the lack of a global perspective when handling problems that are global in part and have become even more global during the four and a half years of conflict.
A prominent example of dealing only with outcomes is the European security policies towards Syrian refugees. It is considered a humanitarian problem disconnected from its political root. The most prominent example of fractional perspective is the focus, since a year and a half, on ISIS, the nihilist frenzied entity combining being a terrorist organization, a fascist regime, and a settlement and displacement colonialist. It is well known that since about a year, the United States has led an international coalition fighting a war against ISIS, which according to Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff and Julia Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister, can last for generations. On the other hand, the Assad regime is being forgotten. Business is even carried on with it, and politicians and “experts” encourage considering it as an ally in this war. This is not only an unfair and irresponsible attitude, the holders of such an attitude are not only much worse than a bunch of Arab politicians who carried on business with Nazi Germany during World War II (Arabs did not have comprehensive information then, and their countries were governed by European colonizers), but from a practical perspective, by which those politicians abide, it is a failed and unfruitful policy.
The root of the problem in Syria is a tyrant regime that has governed the country for 45 years and always shown a willingness to murder its subjects on an industrial scale. Extremist organizations, including the al-Nusra Front and ISIS, have emerged, like their emergence Iraq and in Afghanistan, because of the devastation suffered by the country, the society and the economy, not through foreign occupation of Syria, but so to speak, through “internal occupation”. On another hand, these nihilism organizations greatly benefit from the deprivation of Syrians of international justice, protection and support, which they demanded without a response. People withdrew their trust of a global justice that does not care about their pain. This has provided a suitable environment for the work of Islamic entities investing in the global disappointments of our communities to justify their aspirations for unrestricted authority.
However, since those nihilist organizations originated, a more complex situation arose: A junta regime that unrelentingly murders dozens, sometimes hundreds of its people on a daily basis, using barrel bombs, chemical weapons, warplanes, tanks and artillery shelling, as well as siege, starvation, torture and murder under torture; and a nihilistic terrorist entity that exercises spectacular violent, competing with the Assad regime in murder, albeit with a lower record of victims: 1 to 7 to date.
What could be a solution is to eliminate these two criminal forces, not only one of them. Since the emergence of ISIS, the solution of the Syrian problem is no longer tied to the overthrow of the Assad regime, the primary goal of the revolution. It is no longer possible to build a new Syrian majority or a new Syrian coalition around this goal. On the other hand, it is not possible to build a Syrian majority around combating ISIS only, while keeping the Assad regime, the root of the problem that killed and caused the death of about a quarter of a million Syrians. The Americans, who wanted to train 5,000 “moderate” fighters on condition they solely combat ISIS, got 60!
What a new Syrian majority can be based upon is a major historic compromise that turns the page of the criminal dynastic Assad regime, and links this goal to the engagement in a liberation war against ISIS in order to destroy this racist terrorist entity, to retrieve the occupied regions of Syria (and Iraq) and expel foreign jihadists.
Building a Syrian majority is the earnest measure of a policy to effectively address the Syrian problem and establishes a different new Syria. The United Nations, Western powers and, of course, the Arab countries can help. Every passing day makes the situation worse and more difficult to treat. The situation has reached the current deadlock due to the disability of international justice and the lack of political vision in the first place.
Leaving the Syrians without help led to awful circumstances, the emergence of ISIS, the deterioration of global humanitarian and political standards, and the rise in the level of hatred in the world. From a just and fair Syrian revolution worthy of solidarity and support, we have today reached a global crisis, handled by a failed, elitist crisis management approach. There is a lack of a global perspective in dealing with a problem involving tyranny, discrimination among the population, settlement colonialism, terrorism, and failed international justice. The Syrian problem is considered as the problem of the Syrians alone, possibly a Middle Eastern problem, which could be addressed by a combination of war, without political vision or a just cause, and arrogant and stupid diplomacy. This narrow perspective is a global problem, such as the Syrian problem itself is.
I mentioned above an example of dealing with the results, i.e. the European and Western asylum policy, a policy that could only be described by disdaining words. I also referred to an example of fractional dealing, i.e. separating the problem of ISIS from the Assad problem. However, the example that demonstrates the dwindling human conscious is that the Western solution to ISIS is Bashar al-Assad, as we, the Syrians, understand from Western powers dealing with our struggle. It is hard to find enough words to express the extent of moral inferiority of this position. I say again, it is much worse than the Arabs support of Hitler 75 years ago.