Commentary: What Does the Syrian Crisis Promise?


By Edmond Y. Azadian

While the US news media is lulling the public with a profusion of coverage in the case of sexual abuse by assistant football coach of Pennsylvania State University, Jerry Sandusky, another blood bath is in the making in the Middle East.

An artificial crisis has been concocted to topple the government in Syria. Recently, the US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, visited Detroit, a major hub of the Arab community in the US, to give an overview of the American government policy regarding the Syrian crisis. He outlined the US goals under the following four points: 1) stop the violence; 2) start political transition; 3) produce a representative government with respect for human rights and 4) make sure the Assad family leaves. “We are preparing a war crimes trial,” he said.

What is the guilt of the Syrian government or, for that matter, its president, Bashar al-Assad?

Syria is one of the last bastions of Palestinian support, as Libya and Iraq are now out of the equation in supporting the rights of the Palestinian people.

The other fault that the Syrian government has is its legitimate demand for a portion of its sovereign territory, namely the Golan Heights, which was occupied and annexed by Israel. Those who are planning to topple the Syrian government overlook these issues while shedding crocodile tears for the lack of human rights of the Syrian people. Turkey has no better record on human rights as the slaughter of Kurds continues, but selective justice is the order of the day in world politics.

Despite the partial withdrawal of the US troops from Iraq, the bloodbath there is continuing and the country is split in three ways; Kurdistan is semi-independent, Nouri al-Maliki’s Shia regime is veering towards Iran, while a revenge policy of repression is in place in the Sunni section of the country. The Maliki regime, like Hamid Karzai’s in Afghanistan, survives on the tips of US bayonets. Two million Iraqis were killed during the war, many more refugees fled the country, 4,500 US troops lost their lives and 50,000 veterans have been maimed and still, democracy is nowhere to be found. The Christian churches are routinely bombed and the Christian minority has been decimated. This is the outcome of the Cheney-Bush policy. President Bush, who claimed that he coordinated his policies with his Lord, most certainly will need to do a lot of explaining to his Lord.

Libya is doing no better and is on the brink of territorial disin- tegration, with rampant killings abounding.

These two cases are enough to figure out what can and will hap- pen in Syria, where Christian communities — and especially

Armenians — have been enjoying a prosperous and secure life. Ambassador Ford admitted that arms are flowing into Syria and armed bands are being trained in the US and elsewhere to invade a sovereign country under the banner of democracy and human rights. In neighboring Turkey, when Kurds resort to arms to defend their dignity and human rights, they are labeled terrorists.

This is the irony of the situation.

The ambassador further elaborated on the US-Syrian policy, adding that should Russia and China continue vetoing the proposed resolutions against the Syrian government at the UN Security Council, the US has no choice but to act outside the UN. Any other country resorting to that option could be labeled an international outlaw.

Since all the outside interventions have not yet resulted in the downfall of the Assad regime, Turkey has been assigned to provoke a border war with Syria by sending a warplane in Syrian territorial waters.

Now the shooting down of that warplane will constitute an attack on a NATO ally to justify an armed response.

Russia is concerned the Arab spring is closing in on its borders and its only naval base outside its territory is in Tartous, Syria, which is being endangered. Moscow also already sees the writing on the wall that this Western thrust towards its borders will have a domino effect, because next in line will be Iran, which is a tough nut to crack, with unforeseen ramifications in the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, has outlined his country’s policy in an article which appeared in the June 20 issue of Huntington Post. Russia’s policy consists of the following demands: 1) there should be a political transition, and Russia is not committed to this regime; 2) this is not simple and no option is perfect; 3) human rights issues are of grave concern and Christian minorities are at risk if the regime changes the wrong way; 4) a civil war will be a catastrophe and 5) Russia does not trust the UN resolutions, because they are used as pretexts for armed intervention. In other words, he said, Russia is looking for a transition which will not result in destabilization.

During the recent G-20 Summit in Mexico, the Syrian crisis was a hot-button issue agitating the leaders of the participant countries. It looks like Russia will initiate a conference, inviting Turkey and the permanent members of the Security Council.

Meanwhile blood is flowing in many Syrian cities. Armed gangs are involved in the mass murder of the innocent people to create panic among the civilian population.

Armenians have been seeking refuge in neighboring Lebanon and Armenia, and the last stable and culturally-organized diasporan community in the region is being dismantled.

Meanwhile, “human rights” and “democracy” are marching over the pools of blood.