What has been done by the Bashar Al-Assad government in the besieged city of Homs confirms that its policy is to stretch out the crisis for as long as is possible while it manipulates the world community.
Following its pledge to evacuate the inhabitants in the town and to offer a secure exit, Al-Assad regime seized the opportunity to imprison many of them. This follows the worsening of the conditions in Homs, to the degree that many of its people are surviving by eating cats and dogs. Al-Assad went so far as to attack the UN convoy that protected the civilians leaving the besieged city, in defiance of the world community and with contempt for the deal signed at the first round of Geneva peace talks.
In the recent Geneva II talks, the fundamental message that Al-Assad wished to convey was obvious; he will not move an iota from his position nor surrender any degree of authority, no matter how small. In the meantime, the West has shown total weakness in the face of Iran’s Al-Assad lobbyists, exposing their real motives behind this concession that was negotiated over the corpses of the Syrian people.
What occurred recently in Homs has revealed the hypocrisy of the international community when dealing with humanitarian situations. Western governments do not hesitate to take action when the humanitarian situation demands it in other places. In a place like Homs, however, which is being strangled by starvation and a siege, the West’s motivation and approach are completely different; it is Al-Assad who has been left to decide who remains in the city, who leaves and who is detained. His regime began by refusing to allow humanitarian aid to reach the people in Homs and insisted that its citizens leave the city instead; the West agreed. It then said that the men allowed to leave must be of a specific age group; the west agreed. Only when Al-Assad imprisoned the rest did the West denounce him.
The so-called world community is in reality part of the plot being played out against the Syrian people. The manner in which peace talks are being conducted proves that a solution acceptable to the people takes second place to one which satisfies the Syrian government and its Iranian allies. The aloofness of Al-Assad’s envoy in Geneva is perplexing to say the least and raises big doubts. Indeed, the envoy is confident enough to make gains rather than offer concessions. Moreover, the government is now demanding that the opposition be labeled as “terrorists” while it blatantly rejects any plans concerning a transitional authority. The situation in Homs is a clear example of the humanitarian catastrophe that the people of Syria are facing. Homs is also one of the scenarios that the government relies on to coerce the oppositions to sign an agreement and to use as a tool in negotiations.
The victims are now being portrayed as the villains in Geneva, which is just what Al-Assad wanted. Let the world ignore those who are being killed daily by explosive barrels and those dying of hunger and lack of medicine. What the Al-Assad government wants is to be seen as the champion fending off “terrorist movements whose aim is to target the West if victorious in Syria”. As the “war against terror” continues, this could be the perfect moment for the West to turn the tables and convince its people about the identity of the real culprits in this war.
Geneva II is little more than an ambush for the Syrian people and opposition, precisely as predicted by the Syrian fighters, the only effective force on the ground long before the talks started. Let us hope that the opposition in Geneva acknowledges the serious crisis it is facing and withdraws before it is too late.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.