Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Cost of Delaying...

The late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi described the rebels as Al-Qaeda terrorists and tried to exploit his contacts with Western intelligence agencies to promote his image as a leader in a war on terrorism. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, while combating the rebellion repositioned his troops to make way for Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists to control cities and provinces in his country to continue his control over the country. Yemeni troops are now locked in bloody confrontations to uproot the extremists from their recently-established strongholds. Now, Syrian leader Bashar Assad seems to be doing the same. Car bombs have hit buildings housing offices of security agencies in Damascus and Aleppo claiming the lives of many people. Damascus was quick to accuse Al-Qaeda, and few days later a previously unheard of group calling itself the An-Nussra Front and alleging to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda, posted a claim on the website saying it was behind the bombings. A day later the same group disassociated itself from the bombings.

The Syrian regime efforts to associate the opposition with Al-Qaeda are getting indirect support from the West with statements made every now and then by officials speaking about “a presence of Al-Qaeda in Syria,” but without knowing what they are doing exactly. It is strange that Al-Qaeda, known to have the United States and the West as its arch enemy, chooses to take on the Syrian regime that is known for its animosity to the West. Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Syria was widely known by the intelligence community in the West and by the Iraqi government to be a main passageway to Islamic militants in route to carry out attacks and suicide bombings against U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq. Also, a year after the Syrian troops were forced out of Lebanon by the Cedar Revolution in 2005, a group calling itself Fateh Al-Islam suddenly appeared in northern Lebanon at Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. The group’s leader, Shaker Al-Absi, had just been released from a Syrian jail, and most of the group’s members came via Syria. Although the group claimed to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda, nevertheless, Al-Qaeda never adopted it. This was then a simple message to the international community that with Syria out, Lebanon has become vulnerable to extremist forces. With a similar scenario now in its own country, the regime is playing the same game: Me or Al-Qaeda?
The cost of delaying the intervention seems to be by far outweighing the cost of a near swift intervention, whether via a United Nations Security Council Resolution or via an international coalition that will include Arab forces. Waiting two more months until the end of the mandate of the UN monitors whose presence in Syrian cities for over a month has not deterred the regime from its daily killings is just prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people and giving the regime more time. Efforts to get the regime to adhere to Kofi Annan’s peace plan have proven futile. The international community has always adopted a policy of no negotiations with those who support terrorists to avoid being blackmailed by those forces who support violent extremists. It is time to do the same with the Syrian regime.

And I am listening this is this old or young music? I like it very much!