10 Observations about Syria

1. While close to a hundred thousand people have been killed and millions of innocent civilians have been made homeless, the so-called international community, including the mis-named United Nations, has proven itself incapable of taking any effective action to end the Syrian conflict.

2. The real winners to date apart from Bashar al-Assad and his cronies are Iran and Russia, who have systematically protected their interests in the region.

3. Ultimately, the Middle East is about spheres of influence. The US Administration and its allies were swiftly able to bring about the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. In Syria they have proven to be indecisive and ineffective.

4. While some dictators may fall following popular revolutions, others have staying power when there are international interests around to ensure that they are not toppled.

5. Like so many other Arab states in the former Ottoman controlled Arab Levant, Syria, which was established following the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, has been shown to have no real national identity. Like Iraq and many other Middle Eastern countries, it is simply an amalgam of tribal, ethnic and religious groups. Without a dictator in control it falls apart.

6. Syria may be added to a long list of politically volatile countries in the Middle East and North Africa. By contrast, Israel is the only true democracy in the region and enjoys a boisterous yet stable form of government.

7. The Hezbollah, which proclaimed itself to be the true guardian of Lebanon and arch enemy of Israel, has been prepared to take up arms against fellow Muslims who are fighting for freedom and has done so at the behest of its Iranian paymasters. The true face of Hezbollah that has now emerged has made it many enemies in the Arab world.

8. Those who are fighting against the Syrian regime are consistently referred to by the media as being “rebels”. For instance, “Syrian rebels lose strategic town in boost for Assad” (Reuters). Or, “Syrian rebels have taken over a UN-run border crossing” (BBC). The terms “freedom fighters”, “activists” or “terrorists” are not generally used. What’s in a name? Everything.

9. The social media may help to bring about a revolution, but they don’t necessarily ensure its success. Ask those who protested at Tahrir Square, or those currently on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara.

10. For years the international community, encouraged by the Arab world, argued that the Israel-Palestinian conflict was the main source of instability in the Middle East. Does anyone still really believe that?

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