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Even silence has a price to pay

January 30, 2014 - 12:21:09 am
Organisers of the Geneva II Conference on Syria have depicted Geneva II as the best and the only solution to the crisis.

Calls and invitations to the conference rained on everybody as if it was a wedding party everybody must be invited to and they did not want to forget anyone.

However, they forgot while they were so busy sending invitations, booking hotels and preparing transportation for guests the day thousands of Syrians were dying and millions were suffering from hunger, cold and deprivation in tattered tents, trying to survive in every possible way.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, sent an invitation to Iran to attend peace talks, but after the Syrian coalition threatened that it would boycott the conference if Iran attended, Ban revoked the invitation.

He did not tell us who asked him to invite Iran to attend a conference on an Arab country that does not share borders with it, nor is it linked to its people in any way. 

Iran will try to foil all efforts at the conference, because it wants to send the world a message that it is the dominant player in the region, and there will be no agreement without its approval.

Therefore, the Syrian regime will act accordingly in the conference, and that is why the first Syrian statement included that President Assad’s ouster would not be on the table for discussion in Geneva.

And then Foreign Minister Walid Muallem started listing charges during his long speech to point out that the conference was a failure. He charged the opposition with treason and betrayal. 

He said no one outside Syria had the right to call for Assad’s ouster and that many countries that attended the talks had blood on their hands.

What do we expect from a regime that makes such charges against its opposition? Does Muallem want the conference to succeed?

We must admit that Iran is President Bashar Al Assad’s main backer and the one that controls the situation in Syria. We also must admit that all the aid sent to the Syrian regime by Arab leaders over the past 40 years contributed to crimes committed by the oppressive and sectarian regime that ruled Syria with an iron fist.

The silence of Arab leaders during the massacre of Hama in February 1982 was to humiliate the Syrian people. The blood of 30,000 victims and 130,000 since then is on their hands. They forgot that silence is a crime.

In his interview with Al Mayadeen channel, Al Assad said the Syrian regime had experience in penetrating extremist groups. He said he would do the West a favour by striking Islamist movements in the region.

This was a reminder of what he had done for decades. He tried to overcome his rivals in the region, as his prisons were full of young people who had tried to enter Iraq to fight the US occupation, people who worked in the relief field and people who were sent by the West to get tortured in the cells.

Not many have realised that clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the rest of the resistance groups intensified before Geneva II to weaken the coalition and weighing it down with infighting and disintegration.

So the coalition’s attendance was weak, unlike the Syrian delegation smiling all over the conference, pointing out its successful mission before the conference even started.

We will not forget that the Syrian regime has allies in Russia and Iran which issue messages describing the opponents of the Syrian regime as terrorists, extremist groups and wahhabis.

The messages never changed, and they found ears in EU and other countries to listen to them because of their abundance and good formulation.

On the other hand, messages that support revolutionaries are not connected. They contradict each other, sometimes change their course, without any warning. The front that supports the ouster of Al Assad has a vague identity, no unified speeches and the disagreements within have became clear in all speeches and actions.

The emergence of a strong Syrian personality that can reunite supporters and push away non-Syrians who talk so much in vain is an urgent requirement, so that everyone can realise that there is a centralised authority in the conflict, not a multiplicity in leadership.