ISSN 2330-717X

Capture Of Homs Marks West’s Defeat In Syrian Crisis – OpEd


By Mohyeddin Sajedi

While the Syrian administration has announced its acceptance of a six-point plan by the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, the Western governments, Turkey, and Arab states are trying to preempt Annan’s statement, due to be issued on April 2, 2012.

The next move of these states entails holding the “Friends of Syria” summit prior to the previously agreed schedule in Turkey. The last meeting of this group in Tunisia did not yield satisfactory results.

The efforts by the US, the European Union, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to unite the Syrian opposition and pressure the opposition in the Istanbul meeting seem to have gone nowhere. Some of the opposition leaders and the Kurdish groups have abandoned the summit in protest to its undemocratic atmosphere. More important, however, is that the “Coordination Committee” and other opposition groups in Syria preferred to sit the summit out.

The Arab League summit that was held in Baghdad on Thursday, March 30 denotes the transition of the rotating presidency of the Arab League from Qatar to Iraq. Over the past year, the Qatari government exploited its financial power to influence the league and adopt extreme measures such as calling for the removal of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iraq, like Qatar, is a wealthy country, but Baghdad does not harbor an extreme stance regarding the Syrian regime.

A security report reveals that, given the fortifications of the Syrian armed opposition in the Baba Amr district of the city of Homs and the their advanced communication equipment, Qatar always insisted that this city will resist the Syrian Army and will be a launch pad for the advance of the Syrian opposition toward Damascus. As soon as the Syrian Army captured Baba Amr things changed and Annan was tasked with solving the Syrian crisis in a political and non-military manner without the removal of Assad from power.

This report adds that tens of French, British and Arab citizens have been seized by the Syrian Army in Homs. It also says the army have taken possession of weapons made in the US, Europe and even Israel. NATO military leaders had been in touch with and guiding the Syrian armed opposition through advanced communication apparatuses via a US satellite. These devices were also in contact with French satellites, whose mission was to monitor any movement in Syria and Lebanon.

Some weapons seized in Homs are so advanced that cannot be possibly used by ordinary people or gunmen belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, or al-Qaeda. They should have been used by trained Western gunmen.

A few days before the final pullout of the armed opposition from Homs, Western intelligence agencies started to destroy those weapons and equipment. US drones failed to destroy them by sending software virus signals. The Syrian army command had established special equipment close to Baba Amr to prevent exchange of information between American planes and their advanced equipment on the ground.

After the US drones failed, the cyber army of Syria analyzed and deciphered data in those equipment which revealed information whose disclosure will possibly have negative consequences for the US government and NATO. After Tel Aviv was informed that the Syrian army had seized Israeli weapons in Baba Amr, they allowed Maariv daily to publish a report saying that Qatar had purchased a great quantity of weapons from Israel.

Armed opposition and other opposition groups are too weak to be able to overthrow Bashar Assad. This would be only possible through a coup d’état by the Syrian army which would not be possible without foreign intervention. The foreign intervention, in turn, can be only successful when there are profound rifts in the Syrian army causing military officials to lose control of anti-aircraft and anti-missile weaponry. Therefore, Western governments currently say nothing about overthrowing Assad and the Arab League has refused to include it in its resolutions. However, political, diplomatic and economic pressure is still mounting on Syria and Kofi Annan has entered the scene to implement the new political initiative.

Now, the US ambassador in Syria and a number of human rights organizations claim that the Syrian opposition has committed human rights violations. Some analysts believe that the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy’s opposition to giving visa to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is in line with the changing attitude of the West toward the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Sarkozy and Qaradawi had common positions on Libya and Syria. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have also resumed political contacts with Syria.

The visit paid by Bashar Assad to the city of Homs, especially the ruins of Baba Amr neighborhood, was aimed at both showing his power inside the country and sending the message out that NATO’s plans in Homs and Idlib province have been foiled.

What is now important in parallel with Annan’s mission is taking measures by Damascus to prove its practical commitment to the new initiative and implement political reforms which will lead to profound changes in the country.

Mohyeddin Sajedi is a prominent Iranian political analyst who writes extensively on the Middle East issues. He also serves as a Middle East expert at the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies in Tehran.

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