Backing freedom fighters, not military intervention |
Arab News - 13 June, 2012
Author: Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
Henry Kissinger, who was US Secretary of State more than three decades ago and who is still one of the most influential men, opposed calls for military intervention against the Assad regime in Syria. However, he wrote in the Washington Post that military intervention to topple the regime would serve the US strategic interest aimed at besieging Iran.
His opinion also synchronizes with the need to stop massacres against the Syrian people irrespective of the fact that he does not approve of military intervention to topple the regime. He based his opinion on the fact that military intervention is legally incorrect, as what is happening in Syria is an internal matter, and that the desire of the Syrian people to turn to democracy is not a justification for any American military intervention.
Kissinger cited a number of reasons against intervention in Syria. He questioned: If America is serious in its intention to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, why does it then drag itself into Syria? He recalled that the US had supported the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, who later turned against it and became a real problem for the administration. He warned that intervention in any country to bring down its regime without having an alternative could be a serious risk. He also said the American public opinion had no "appetite" for any more military interventions.
What Kissinger wrote is important, although it is an echo of similar opinions expressed by many other people. Its importance comes from its timing. The Obama administration was expected to announce its policy vis-à-vis the Syrian regime during the past few days. We were waiting for the administration to declare its support to the Syrian people to overthrow the regime. Responding to Kissinger, I will not discuss the concept of direct military intervention because this is not what is needed at the moment. However, it is necessary to support the Syrian people so that they can defend themselves and confront the regime’s brutal forces. We are aware that some support is being extended to the freedom fighters including information, finances and weapons, but this support is very little.
Kissinger was right when he said it was not America's job to intervene in countries’ internal struggles to determine the regimes they wanted, but he was wrong to consider Syria a case falling under this criterion. Practically, the regime, as we know it, finished last year. The Syrian state now is not the same that ruled for more than 40 years. We are now talking about a regime that has completely failed or is on the verge of collapse. In fact, the country is almost in a state of civil war.
For this reason we expect all parties to cooperate with each other for defusing the crisis before it snowballs. These parties should help the Syrian people choose the regime they want. The regime itself knows well that it is finished, and what it is doing now is part of the pre-funeral arrangements. The regime wants to disintegrate the country, making it another Somalia. The freedom fighters want to inherit the regime. They want the entire country all for themselves. Therefore, when we talk about the toppling the Assad regime, we are not in fact advocating intervention in a stable country to change its regime, as Kissinger had implied.
In fact, everybody is now intervening in Syria for this purpose, including Russia, Iran and the Islamic jihadists. They want to have a say in Syria after Assad. Why then do we leave Syria an open table for these bad parties, which are in disagreement with the majority of the Syrian people? The regime has destroyed itself when it favored a military solution over a political one. The regime failed when the demonstrations against it started to increase, mass deflections started in the army and the Free Syrian Army came into being. Now there are military operations in about 70 percent of the country. This simply means that the regime has lost its legitimacy and control.
Supporting the Syrian freedom fighters can serve the following important purposes: Confirming the legitimacy of the opposition and reducing the opportunities of the other suspicious opposition groups. We should not forget that Iran had used Al-Qaeda against its Iraqi allies in Iraq and its Lebanese allies in Lebanon.
Iran might also be behind some of these groups in Syria. The military intervention would preserve the unity of Syria and compel the freedom fighters to come to terms together to maintain the country's institutions, including the armed and security forces. This will ensure the stability of Syria and its neighboring countries. These objectives serve the world community and before that, the entire Syrian nation. The alternative will be the disintegration of Syria. Everybody will be a loser then.