President Assad’s dubious definition of homogeneity

Iran is mindful that there are zones where it is not welcomed for “Israeli” reasons.


2017/08/27 Issue: 121 Page: 6


The Arab Weekly
Khairallah Khairallah



Syrian President Bashar Assad, at a speech open­ing a foreign affairs conference, said a real achievement had taken place since Syrian socie­ty had become “healthi­er and more homogeneous.”

We’re not sure what kind of “homogeneity” the Syrian president was talking about. Was he referring to getting rid of those Syrians he didn’t like and who rebelled six years ago for scraps of their dignity? Or maybe he was talking about the outcome of submitting the Syrian people to his Iranian- and Russian-made repressive apparatus?

Does Assad’s “homogeneity” amount to killing half the Syrian population, destroying major cities, subjugating Damascus and Latakia and changing their demographic make-up to forever eliminate the Sunni majority in Syria just to please Iran and its expansionist plan?

The dust has not settled yet in Syria. The familiar Syria is probably gone forever, exactly like Iraq. The images of hot, loud nights in Damascus and Latakia being circulated around the world are a mere cover for a major crime against a country that has been divided into five colonies if not more. Each one of the five colonising powers is trying its best to plant roots on Syrian land.

It is no longer a secret that Turkey is controlling 2,000 sq.km of Syrian land if we believe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is also well known that Assad wanted to go to Aleppo at the end of last year to give a “victory speech” but the Russians refused to let him make the trip to please the Turkish side since the latter had helped the former kick out opposition forces from parts of Aleppo in preparation to hand the city over to those loyal to the Syrian regime under the supervi­sion of Moscow.

It is no longer a secret also that the United States has established several bases in Syria, especially in fertile, oil-rich areas such as Hasakah. There are no indications that the Americans intend to leave Syria in the foreseeable future. They might leave when some of their specific interests, such as the Kurds and their future in the region, are secured.

Many areas in Syria are under direct Russian control. The Russians hold the coastal zones and have an airbase at Hmeimim that even the Syrian president cannot visit without explicit authorisation from the Russian com­manding officers. Russia also controls zones in southern Syria within the frame­work of an agreement with the United States and Jordan.

Most important of all is the close coordina­tion between Russia and Israel. We, of course, understand that the main objective of this cooperation is to ensure that Israel’s demands are met. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are good buddies and meet regularly. It goes without saying that Israel maintains the freedom to launch air raids on southern Syria whenever it deems it opportune.

Next to Russia, the United States and Turkey, you have Iran, which is trying to join Syrian lands to Lebanese land under Hezbollah’s control. Iran wants a permanent foothold in Damascus and has its own militia in Syria in addition to the various sectarian militias from Lebanon and Iraq under its control.

Of course, Iran is mindful that there are zones where it is not welcomed for “Israeli” reasons. So it goes the extra mile to compensate for the loss by pushing Hezbollah militia in specific zones in Lebanon and Syria.

If we must speak of “homoge­neity” in Syria, it must be between the occupying powers. The Syrian regime has chosen to solve its problems in worse ways. It has chosen to ignore two simple realities. The first is that it is a sectarian regime and the second is that it has always been an illegitimate regime. The regime is the product of a series of military coups that began in 1963. The conspiring officers never intended to relinquish power and never intended for Syria to develop.

This was not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that Assad shows the world that he is completely cut off from Syria’s realities and the world. Five colonis­ing powers are backing his regime and he speaks of Syrian “homogeneity.” This regime will remain in place until Syria is dismantled brick by brick. It can’t be otherwise since Barack Obama chose to ignore the “red line” he set for Assad four years ago.

Four years ago, Assad resorted to chemical weapons to extermi­nate his own people. The fact that the United States refused to make good on its warning and deal the regime a final blow shows that the United States was more interested in getting rid of Syria than in getting rid of its regime.

Yes, Assad can indeed boast of a “greater homogeneity” in Syria but he must be referring to the coexistence of different colonis­ing powers on Syrian land. His job is to hear and obey.


Khairallah Khairallah is a Lebanese writer.


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