Arab foreign ministers met yesterday to discuss the repercussions of the U.S. raid on Syria, as they did before to discuss the U.S. attack on Iraq. The result was known in advance: a complete disability to stop the strike or provide an alternative political solution doable on the ground, save for some futile slogans.
Everyone is inside Syria, except an Arab alternative. The Bashar regime is killing people every day, while the Arab world is watching. Terrorist militias entered Syria with Arab and Qatari funds to deduct from the great Syrian revolution. Like Hezbollah, Iran sent its Revolutionary Guards to fight there and support the deadly sectarian system, not to liberate Jerusalem as they had claimed.
After Nasser, the Arab world saw clones like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya's Gaddafi and Syria’s Assad, all of which were failed authoritarian regimes. Saddam Hussein fought Iran and Kuwait, not Israel, Bashar al-Assad fought Lebanon, not Israel, and Gaddafi fought in Africa and supported terrorism in every country in the world, but did not fight Israel.
Nasser, on the other hand, fought only Israel. He nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956. He did not invade neighbors like Sudan to claim he was fighting colonialism. Then he won the Suez canal battle, but lost the 1967 War and offered to step down. Later, he rebuilt the Egyptian army to win the 1973 War.
Can we say Bashar al-Assad actually fought against Israel? Did he present a way out of the Syrian crisis? Did he step down like Mubarak or escape like Ben Ali to prevent the bloodshed of a hundred-thousand Syrians or keep the rest of his army that fought against his own people and not Israel?
He did not. And so he bears responsibility for all the devastation and murder in Syria.
Turkey is present in Syria, Iran plays a role there and so does Israel. The United States and the West will strike certain military installations there but will not topple the regime or invade the country. All this is happening as the Arab world is absent.
There are many alternatives other than the Nasra Front and its terrorist allies that the Arab world should have come up with instead of supporting the armed jihadists and watching the United States strike an Arab country and kill its civilians. One such alternative is to support elements within the Syrian army to stage a coup against Assad in order to preserve what is left of the country and the army.
The Arab alternative should have been an extension of the Egyptian project, whereby a regime may fall but the country remains for us all to save, unlike the U.S. project that demolished the state and the army in Iraq, leaving behind a million people dead.
Some still defend Assad, thinking of him as a deterrent force, while others defend the Syrian revolution from an Islamic jihadi perspective. Between those two, the majority of Syrians who supported the revolution and rejected an American, Iranian or Qatari intervention have been lost. They waited for an Arab alternative that never came.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm