They Do Not Believe Themselves |
Al Hayat - 09 September, 2012
Author: Walid Choucair
The rhetoric in defense of the Syrian regime is becoming full of talk about confronting the American-Israeli plot, in explaining how the pro-Syrian camp supports the Syrian regime and justifies its ignorance of the massacres that the regime is committing, and the atrocities it is causing. Meanwhile, there is growing frustration and accusations that the United States administration is leaving the Syrian rebels to their fate in confronting the regime and that Washington is not taking the initiative to intervene to bring down Bashar Assad, as it did in Libya.
However, the two types of rhetoric contradict the reality, which is not very difficult to discover. US foreign policy is in a coma that Washington has induced, because of the presidential re-election campaign. This is the short-term situation. However, these two readings ignore the reality of changes in US foreign policy toward the region, which reduce the level of interest it has in the Middle East, bringing it to the bottom of the international priority list.
Neither type of rhetoric wants to believe that the US is staying away from the region for several reasons. One of them is the strategic change that Washington decided in moving its concern to the Pacific, with the goal of competing with China for influence in the countries surrounding it, and dividing up the benefits of this influence with Beijing. In addition, America has experienced huge failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. This goes beyond the electoral campaign, in its depth and strategic aspect.
The first type of rhetoric, that of resistance and confrontation, which ascribes everything to the US-Israeli plot, is not even believed by those who promote it. They do not even believe that they defeated US policy in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza, and that another era has begun. The other type of rhetoric ascribes the American stalling to a conspiracy against the Syrian people, in cooperation with Israel, because Washington's interest requires that Assad survive. This group does not want to believe that the uprising of the Syrian people, and before it those of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, has taken place despite the western and American support for changing the Assad regime and other regimes for decades, and that people have risen up for dignity, which has changed international stances and imposed change. Also, they do not want to believe that the reduction of the American role means that a new regional formula should take its place, with the peoples of the region having a big part in it, since these peoples revolted against their rulers who enjoyed foreign backing. They do not want to believe that this formula is what should govern the region's problems and issues, such as Egypt's return to wielding its historical weight in managing the region's affairs. These people also do not believe themselves, and that they have risen up against tyranny and authoritarianism with their own power, and without support, whether from the US or others, and that this requires a new type of relations with the Great Powers, and role in building the region's future.
In fact, the White House is busy dealing with an economic crisis. Some of them blame the administration for not daring to remove Assad, while others in Washington believe this to be considerably wise, especially there are those in the military who believe that the American president who decides to go to war "should be examined by a doctor."
America's interest in Syria is limited to the aspect of keeping Iran, the country with the greatest influence in Syria, busy with the Syrian crisis. This is because Washington is working to weaken Iran's influence in the region, more than anything else, because the US' domestic priorities and its shift of focus from the Middle East to the Pacific. Thus, the US is letting the Syrian crisis take its course, while being determined to see a group of "recommendations" form, in its eyes, a set of controls over developments underway in the countries. These recommendations include safeguarding the Alawi and Christian minorities, because this will help re-order Syrian society after the regime falls, and not seeing the army disintegrate, to avoid the experience of the Iraq, which was very costly. Other goals are to prevent al-Qaeda from organizing itself in Syria, and finding mechanisms that ensure control over the Syrian army's chemical and biological weapons, so that they are not used and do not fall into the hands of Hezbollah, or Islamist extremists. Finally, there is the call for the opposition to unite, whether politically or militarily. In all of this, Washington is relying on regionally influential countries, while waiting for Russia to change its stance on the regime and play a role in changing it.
The American role in Syria resembles a case of resigning the country to go further in its crisis, until further notice. Thus, portraying the situation as a confrontation against an American plot represents exaggerating things and scaremongering, to cover a stance of support for the regime and against the people, because the regime's fall will weaken Iran in its negotiations with Washington.