By: Randa Takieddine
The Syrian uprising has showed the luck of Bashar Assad with his allies Russia and Iran, and also his enemies, namely public opinion in democratic countries and a weak American president. The Russian proposal to deal with Syria's chemical weapons, which Russia provided itself to kill the Syrian people, has saved President Obama from his hesitation and delay in launching a military strike against Syria in order to deter it from using chemical weapons once again against the Syrian people.
Since the outset, Obama has certainly not wanted to be dragged into intervening militarily in Syria. He began with proposing a congressional vote, which would take time because the members would have to return from summer vacation. Then, the Russian proposal has now appeared to save him from this, by putting off the congressional vote and giving more time to Assad to murder and oppress, with the help of allies who have proven that he can rely on them more than the orphaned Syrian uprising can with its allies. On the ground, the Syrian rebels have been left alone by a western public that only sees extremists Muslims and jihadists. This public is not bothered by an oppressive regime that uses Scuds and aircraft against its people, because it does not care, unlike leaders such as Francois Hollande and his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.
The military strike that has been discussed by Obama, Hollande, and the Europeans will not serve as a solution in Syria, but rather the implementation of Geneva 1, and getting Assad and his group out of power. Abandoning it does not change much, but Assad's avoiding punishment for what he has done to his people has become a reality, as a result of the lack of concern by international public opinion, and the sudden awareness by the Syrian regime of the importance of the western media. The regime is granting entry visits from the world's "free" media to offer its version of events on the ground. In recent days, the Syrian regime was afraid of a military strike, so it penetrated American, British, and French media to convince the public that the Syrian regime was innocent and that it is fighting extremist Muslim terrorists from al-Qaeda and other groups, and that there is no revolution in the country. It seems as though the Syrian regime benefited from the expertise of its Lebanese friend Michel Samaha, who is under arrest, in how to deal with the western media so as to broadcast the regime's versions of events. The worst thing about this struggle is that public opinion in the west does not care about the massacres and is not concerned by the deaths of 1,400 people by Russian-made Sarin gas, as long as it is far away, in Syria. As long as there are extremist Muslim jihadists, let the regime stay – this is the lesser of two evils for the west.
However, Hollande and Fabius have shown notable human feelings and bravery in front of a public that is only concerned with its local interests; it opposes a military strike and the punishment of Assad. Unfortunately, the French public is mixing between domestic policy and Hollande's foreign policy stances, and is not following its president's option due to purely domestic reasons.
But Hollande's weakness in the polls has not stopped him from taking a brave and humanitarian decision vis-à-vis the regime's actions in Syria. He has acted with awareness, responsibility, and determination. The French opposition right has been disappointing, as it engages in political maneuvering to exploit the opportunity to criticize a Socialist political rival and disregard what is happening in Syria. This is with the exception of the former foreign minister, Alain Juppe, who once again has shown that he is a statesman.
Now, it has been proven to the world that whatever massacres take place, and whatever the death toll in Syria, no one can save the true Syrian Revolution except the rebels themselves on the ground, and friendly countries such as France and some influential Arab states. They are giving the rebels the weapons they need to deter the regime and its people from conducting aerial bombardment. The French president had already committed to this promise if the punishment via air strikes did not stop. This is because Hollande is truly convinced that there will be no political solution without changing the balance of power in military terms in Syria. For this to happen, how many additional victims must be killed every day by the weapons of a regime that is continuing to act in a certain way because it knows no other?