Sherien Al-Hayek
Translated by: Rana Issa

26 September 2013

Before we start analyze international opinion about a possible American strike on Syria, we have to agree on two things:

First, taking a serious position on the Syrian problem today is not an easy piece of cake for the Syrians to start with and for those who are following the Syrian problem generally. However, it seems summarily easy for those with prefabricated truths.

Secondly, the weight of the Iraqi experience sticks to the hinges of this world. Any discussion on Syria leads to recollecting the Iraqi war, whether the discussants are with or against the eminent strike. Therefore we have to admit that the Iraqi war resembles to a large extent what is happening in Syria: Dictatorship, existing sectarian tensions, foreign intervention, American and International interests, anti-war demonstrations, etc. The crucial factor that tips the balance however is that Iraq was not in a state of revolution for two years prior to American intervention. Therefore any talk about «a coming war» on Syria seems to be a prefabricated cliché. The war is not coming: the war in Syria is going into its third year in a few months. Moreover, according to the American definition, the attack on Iraq was preemptive, while the one that may happen in Syria is belated indeed. The occupation of Iraq was excused with the fear that Saddam Hussein can act brutally and use chemical weapons, whereas Asad’s brutality has been going on for two years has been met with silence. Things started getting serious only after his 31st use of chemical weapons within Syria and after the death of more than 100,000 people with all kinds of weapons.

Comparing Syria with Iraq is very superficial because, contrary to most American wars in the world, any intervention in Syria will not be taken as a mere humanitarian front against an inhumane war led by the United States. Furthermore, if one reads the United States position on Syria accurately in the past two years one would know that the US did not want to intervene in Syria. It has always preferred to rather find suitable allies that would take orders from it without any direct intervention. However, what changed in the past weeks was that Assad forced the US and its red line to respond to his exceeding degrees of insolence that mock the boundaries that allow him to kill whoever he wants. The US found itself unable to ignore what was going in its negotiations with Russia.

To be rather brief, if the US wanted to wage its war within Syrian lands, it would have been able to do so and would have capitalized on the events from the first day of demonstrations. More than that, it would have been able to do exactly what it did in Iraq, and would have found enough excuses to please Human Rights organizations. This however was not its goal. If the US intervenes today, it does so not in order to service the rights of the Syrian population, nor because it seeks direct interests in Syria, but it intervenes to readjust the situation, and to confirm to Russia that it remains the strongest power in this world, where Russia’s obstinate support of its spoiled son, Bashar al-Assad, will no longer be tolerated.

From this position one could question the parties, groups and even the individuals that have come out in demonstrations against the American intervention in Syria, under the banner of «anti-imperialism»: Is it possible to re-chew the same piece of food chewed in Iraq before and accept the stereotypical view of the «American Imperialism»? Is it possible to ignore more than a hundred thousand casualties killed by the Assad just because he is classified as «anti-Imperialist»? Lastly, what kind of «war» are they against to have ignored the Assad’s war for two years, and then go out onto the streets today to oppose «the coming war»?