Saturday 23 February 2013

Russia, U.S. and “Friends” get SNC slap in the face

The Syrian National Coalition, the country’s opposition umbrella group, has finally given Russia, the United States and the so-called “Friends of Syria” group a kick in the teeth.
The Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces said it was turning down invitations to visit Moscow and Washington and suspending participation in the “Friends of Syria” conference due in Rome next month.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page late Friday night, the National Coalition described the deathlike “silence of the international community over daily crimes committed against our people” as “complicity in the slaughter of Syrians throughout the past two years.”
The statement said, “Hundreds of defenseless civilians are being killed by Scud missiles.
“Aleppo, the city of history and civilization, is being systematically destroyed.
“Add to this millions of refugees and displaced and hundreds of thousands of detainees, wounded and orphans.
"In protest against such shameless international stance, the coalition leadership decided to suspend its participation in the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Rome and to turn down invitations to visit Russia and the United States.
“We hold the Russian leadership ethically and politically responsible for the most part because they continue to back the (Damascus) regime with arms.
“We also urge people around the world to regard the week of March 15-22, which marks the Syrian revolution’s second anniversary, as a week of mourning and protest.”
Kuwait’s Muslim scholar Dr. Ghazi al-Tawbah, writing for last week, wondered if “Friends of Syria” conferences were not in reality meetings of “enemies.”
The Syrian opposition, he said, has been telling its “friends” for two years -- at successive meetings in Tunis, Istanbul, Paris and Marrakesh -- what it needs to protect the Syrian people.
All the Syrian opposition got in return was “hollow promises.”
Dr. Tawbah wrote, “Opposition leaders told their hosts opposition forces needed some qualitative weapons to face tanks and warplanes. They said setting up an interim government needed safe zones and a budget of $500 million to meet the Syrian people’s needs. They explained the Syrian people suffered 60,000 fatalities, 140,000 wounded, 60,000 disappeared, 140,000 detainees, 720,000 refugees, two million displaced and four million in need of humanitarian aid.”
The “friends” having offered zilch, “we are justified to ask: Were these ‘Friends of Syria’ conferences in the past two years meant to be meetings with the friends or enemies of Syria?”
Friends, Dr. Tawbah opined, “are supposed to answer their friends’ pleas. But why is that not so with Syria of all the Arab Spring countries?”
Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s analyst, author and kingpin of the impending Al Arab TV news channel writing today for pan-Arab al-Hayat, says, “Raising funds nowadays is tough, given the global economic slowdown.
“At the (January 30) Kuwait conference, the United Nations sought to raise $1,2 billion in humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Since then, it received not more than 20% of the pledges made.
“So who is going to come up with the billions needed to rebuild Syria?
“Even if Bashar (al-Assad) were to succeed in putting down his people’s revolution, the region’s states and leaders won’t rehabilitate him or return him to their fold. Nor will they bear the cost of seeing him survive without victory or defeat.
“Accordingly, it is time to focus on the benefits of seeing him out and the establishment of a friendly, democratic and popular regime. All regional countries will draw benefit from this happening, except Iran.
“If truth were told though, losing Syria is better for Iran long-term. Losing Syria would bring Iran down to reality instead of continuing to live its pipedream of reversing 1,400 years of history. Iran would revert to its regional size, concentrating on its people’s wellbeing.”
With Assad’s exit, Khashoggi continues, “Jordan would be relieved of its northern neighbor’s plots and resultant security and intelligence costs. It would have a neighborly country complementing its economy and agriculture. Jordan and the new Syria would connect with Lebanon in a Bilad al-Sham economic triumvirate without border or regime change.
“Saudi Arabia would also be relieved of security strains the Baathist regime posed on and off in Lebanon or in connivance with Iran – this, without Saudi Arabia being able to isolate, or dissociate from, Syria.
“After all, Syria represents Saudi Arabia’s strategic and economic expanse and its doorway to Turkey and Europe.
“A free, democratic Syria with a market economy would certainly be good news for Saudi Arabia.”
Khashoggi says if Turkey and the Arabs choose to boost their support of the Syrian people, they could induce U.S. President Barack Obama not to wait any longer and to put his weight behind the Syrian revolution independently of the UN Security Council.
“Precedents of ‘Special Operations’ behind the Security Council’s back are many,” Khashoggi remarks.