Why Assad Must Go
“It is too soon to say,” this was said by the master of turning a phrase, Zhou Enlai, the vice president of China under Chairman Mao, when referring to the French Revolution 1798.
As the Arab Spring unfolds and the bitter realties amidst the chaos of the post pharaoh Arab world unfold, there will be times of euphoria, as we experienced when Mubarak, Ben Ali, Saleh, Gaddafi and soon inshaAllah Assad, crumbled into the dustbin of history.
Conversely there will be times of doubt and uncertainty; SCAF taking over from Mubarak, Rachid Ghannouchi of Tunisia having secret meetings with Israeli officials, anarchy in Libya and a weak government in Yemen.
In the background, Israel and its' war with Iran (yes it's already a war- assassinations, trade embargoes, threats to bomb Iranian cities, electronic warfare and war mongering behaviour in western capitals).
However, none of these are reasons enough to not support the population of Syria over throwing Assad. It doesn’t matter if Assad is close to Hizbollah, it doesn’t matter if Syria has close ties to Iran and Israel wants to isolate Iran. The reason it doesn’t matter is because Israel doesn’t matter.
Israel doesn’t matter to the people of Syria, while they are being bombed in Homs by the pro Iranian Syrian army, Israel didn’t matter when Gaddafi snipers blew the brains out of unarmed protestors in Benghazi and Israel didn’t matter when Mubarak tortured cyber activists and Muslim brothers and sisters for speaking up against his abuses.
For fear of having the interest of Muslims being hijacked by the west and Israel, we cannot give up our support for the Syrian people and their legitimate need for justice and democratic and representative leadership. Sacrificing Syrians in the hope that Iran (or amazing Assad), will somehow become the defence of the Muslims is weak thinking.
We must now be brave, be honest and we must now trust the Muslims to make up their own minds on how they run their own lives. We need to look to contemporary examples and see that when Muslims are granted freedom from tyranny, they don’t become less critical of Israel and the West. Turkey has made giant strides under a democratic leadership to represent Muslim public opinion.
That hits the moral crux of the argument for western Muslims. If we support the overthrowing of tyrants, are we really helping the enemies of Islam to further humiliate and subjugate the Muslim world? By that moral question, we must ask, “Are dictators like Assad, protectors or predators?”
Muslims can’t have it both ways, blame the current crop of appalling, soul destroying despots for failing to protect Muslims and then complain when these leaders are being overthrown. One of the salient features of all tyrannies is that by definition, only the institutions of the state are those that can ensure the regimes survival; once they are swept away, they are replaced by an ensuing vacuum while the people decide what to do. Now that vacuum can be manipulated by the west, it can be taken advantage of by the Israelis and Saudis, by the Iranians, by the dredges of humanity, venal and the corrupt; but it can also be filled by Muslims, believers, those who are devout, pious, just and honest. The fear of the unknown is not a reason to support the known and it's definitely not a reason to override the prospect of a bright future.
The legacy of Assad, will be broken bones and crippled children, that we know.
The legacy of the Arab Spring... it is too soon to say.