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Is It Enough To Expel Assad’s Ambassadors? – OpEd

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By Tariq Alhomayed

If this storm of expulsions of Assad regime ambassadors and diplomats had taken place eight months ago, then this would have affected or perhaps had implications on the Assad regime, however the expulsion of Assad diplomats and ambassadors from western capitals today, nearly 14 months into the Syrian revolution, and after the death of more than 13,000 Syrians, is not helpful.

The expulsion of diplomats and ambassadors is something that should take place in order to isolate the regime of the tyrant, and remove its legitimacy, however this — of course — is something that was already a reality more than eight months ago. We must also not forget that the Gulf States have already taken the initiative and implemented this step, along with some other Arab states.

Whilst the Arab League — with all its faults — has already frozen Syria’s membership, however now after all this we see the major Western countries, along with Turkey, taking this step today after a torrent of Syrian blood has been shed. So, of course, this is something that is not helpful, because it has come too late! As a senior Arab diplomat told me, the step taken by the Western states to expel Assad’s diplomats also means that the international community does not intend to take serious steps toward the tyrant of Damascus, despite all these successive massacres. Indeed, the world is now waking up to a new massacre, and just days after the Houla massacre.

Therefore, if the international community is unwilling or unable to carry out genuine military operations to stop the Assad killing machine, particularly as the US president is preoccupied with the forthcoming elections, then the West and the Arab world must do their duty and confront the Russian support being given to the regime of the tyrant of Damascus. What is happening in Syria must not be blamed on Assad alone, but also Moscow, because Russia’s support of Assad has transgressed all lines, to the point that even the Russians themselves are aware of this, and their diplomatic language defending Assad is now weak and confused.

The best example of this can be seen in the statement issued by Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov who justified his country’s position toward the situation in Syria by saying “there is a medical term ‘do not harm’ and it is time to remember it. The most important thing is to be realistic about what is happening in Syria.” The reality is that anybody who is keen on peace in Syria, as well as the survival of the Syrian state as a whole, not to mention the security of the region, is now aware that the only solution for Syria is to topple the rule of Bashar Assad, and as soon as possible, otherwise we will pay a very steep price, and this is what we — and all rational people — have been saying for quite some time.

From here, if the international community does not want to take a military position, or impose buffer zones or humanitarian corridors on Syrian territory in order to provide safe zones to protect Syrian military defectors, as well as Syrian political symbols who may want to defect, by establishing — in other words — a Syrian Benghazi, then they — as well as the Arabs — must take a serious position toward Russia in order to stop its support of the tyrant of Damascus and his killing machine. As for expelling ambassadors and diplomats, this is something that is not helpful today, and it is completely insufficient, particularly as it will not stop Assad’s killing machine, which is the most important thing.

The author is editor in chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Write to him at [email protected]



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Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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