Arabs should not be sending troops to Syria

The last thing Syria needs from the Arabs is a military intervention, which would be useless.
Sunday 13/05/2018
Military equipment handed over by Jaysh al-Islam fighters to the Syrian government forces in Al-Dumayr, last April. (AFP)
Enough weapons already. Military equipment handed over by Jaysh al-Islam fighters to the Syrian government forces in Al-Dumayr, last April. (AFP)

If the Arabs hope to return to Syria, which is natural, I wish they would do it by not sending troops there.

The Syrian crisis does not need additional complicating factors and neither do the Arabs. If Arabs previously saw it fit to abandon Syria to its fate, they will not be able to regain it by adding to the chaos in that devastated country.

Besides having to deal with the evils of its own regime, Syria is also a battleground for the conflicting interests of the Syrian opposition groups and their regional and international backers.

The only Arab interest in Syria should be that it comes back to the Arab fold. What goes on between the Syrian regime and its opponents is an internal Syrian matter. It has always been that and still is.

The Syrians led to managing their own discord wisely and with the interests of the country at heart, which opened the gate for foreign meddling. So, here we are witnessing Syria, government and people, incapable of even taking their own selfie. The fate of Syria is no longer in the hands of its own children.

Syria does not need more troops. The number of armies, militias and gangs in Syria is enough to raze ten countries.

What Syria needs from Arabs is their empathy and company. Syria is alone. The state was dismantled and citizens lost. Syria needs the wisdom and experience of the Arabs. It needs their fidelity because what brought Syria down was ingratitude, scheming and meanness. No wonder it has become a haven for bloodthirsty terrorists and their barbaric practices.

The most important aspect of the notion of the Arabs reclaiming Syria is that the idea must emerge from the Arabs’ need for Syria. When we recognise that, we are on the right track to counter Iranian infiltration in Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world.

A Syria free of Iranian presence is crucial for the completion of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz’s project for a modern Saudi Arabia. It is crucial to the United Arab Emirates to stay on its path towards progress and modernity. It is crucial to Egypt to preserve its creative society and innovative spirit after getting rid of the insanity of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Arabs need Syria perhaps much more than Syria needs them but the Iranians, Turks, Russians and Americans don’t like this equation.

Seeing that the Arabs were in no hurry to intervene in the Syrian crisis, those parties rushed in and caused the destruction of Syria and prevented the Arabs from playing a vital or effective role in deciding the Syrian crisis.

The same scenario played out in Iraq with the result that Iraq is no longer useful to anyone after severing its Arab roots and with the state cut off from its citizens.

The last thing Syria needs from the Arabs is a military intervention, which would be useless. The Arabs do not really need to look for a role in saving Syria. That role is already there. Everything on the ground is crying out for the return of Syria to its seat in the Arab League. Such a move would be like admitting wronging the Syrians, who are paying a heavy toll for crimes they did not commit.

What was forgotten the day the crisis started between the Syrian regime and its opponents was that the country is not encapsulated in that regime and its opponents. Syria is the political entity represented by its Arab people who contributed so much to today’s Arab nationalism.

Readmitting Syria into the political body representing the Arab world does not mean overlooking the crimes against humanity perpetrated there nor does it imply that the Arabs are siding with one Syrian party against the other. It means recognising the Syrian people’s right to be represented in the Arab world by their government. It means that the Arabs preserve their right to ask that government to account for its mismanagement of the crisis.

When the Arabs readmit Syria in their midst, the Syrians will recover a bit of their dignity and the Arabs will have a chance to play a constructive role in Syria.