By Arab News
By Tariq Alhomayed
Nearly three days after the Arab Summit in Baghdad was adjourned, Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki launched an attack, more like a personal attack, on both Saudi Arabia and Qatar — which he described as “these two countries”, in defense of the Baathist regime of Bashar Al-Assad! Al-Maliki did not only attack Saudi Arabia and Qatar, but he also said, in reference to the despotic Assad regime: “The regime did not fall, and it will not fall, and why should it fall?”
Yes, he said why should it fall? After nearly 10,000 Syrians killed, and a million are in need of immediate humanitarian aid, in addition to more than 100,000 refugees, Al-Maliki — who previously accused the Assad regime of being behind terrorism in Baghdad, and threatened to resort to the UN Security Council because of this — today speaks of the Syrian regime saying “why should it fall?”
The truth is that what Al-Maliki is doing is a sign that the current Iraqi government cannot be trusted, under any circumstances, for several reasons.
If Al-Maliki is concerned for the safety of Syria and the region as a whole, which itself is unbelievable, when he warns that any attempt to topple the Assad regime by force will lead to “a wider crisis in the region”, then what about Al-Maliki’s party itself, which came to power in Iraq as the result of the United States, a foreign intervening force that brought down Saddam Hussein?
Likewise, the Al-Maliki government has remained in power as a result of Iranian pressure, despite Al-Maliki losing the elections and coming second behind Iyad Allawi, so how can he fear for the region now if Assad is overthrown by force?
How can Al-Maliki attack Saudi Arabia and Qatar following the Arab summit in Baghdad, after both countries attended the meeting, and especially given the positions of both countries in the days leading up to the event.
Meanwhile, ahead of the summit Al-Maliki had announced that his government could not defend Assad. So how, nearly three days after the Baghdad summit, can Al-Maliki turn on Saudi Arabia and Qatar today? Of course, this is clear deception, and evidence that Al-Maliki’s government cannot be trusted. Had he attacked “these two countries” before the Baghdad summit, then matters would have turned out differently.
Most important of all, in addition to the fact that we cannot trust the Al-Maliki government, is that the Iraqi government is trying to secure a safe passageway for the transfer of Iranian weapons to the Assad regime, and this is what a witness — a dissident Syrian official — reported to the Friends of Syria conference in Istanbul.
Consequently, how can we trust the so-called democratic government of Iraq, which hunted down Iraq’s Sunnis under the pretext that they were affiliated to the Baath party, whilst defending the Syrian Baath party today, and securing a weapons route for it? What unites the Baghdad government and the Assad regime apart from sectarianism?
Therefore, sanctions must be imposed upon Nuri Al-Maliki himself, not Iraq, and the Gulf States must begin to boycott Al-Maliki and his government.
Even the Iraqi presidency of the Arab League does not bear the same value now, given Al-Maliki’s dishonorable defense of Syria. We must punish all those who stand with the tyrant of Damascus, firstly the Al-Maliki government.
We must commence a boycott in order to prevent the emergence of a new Saddam Hussein or Bashar Assad.
The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Write to him at [email protected]