The Arab nation is witnessing one of the worst phases of its political, military and social life. Sectarianism is tearing apart its social fabric, instilling the roots of hatred amongst the people; Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen are good examples. Meanwhile, ethnicity is intensifying the idea of separation, and one area is being divided into many weak and fragile entities that others take control of. There are fierce wars taking place in our Arab region and the victims of these wars are the Arab people, their historical memory, wealth and institutions.
A brutal war is occurring in Syria, and it is being led by Russia in the air and sea. Meanwhile, on the ground, we see legions of Iranians and sectarian militias from Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as other militias from around the world. They act under air cover provided by the missiles and bombs of Russia and Bashar Al-Assad’s regime as they seek revenge against the Syrian people. Their brutal forces have killed over 30,000 civilians in Aleppo, destroying private and public property and displacing more than 40,000 people from the city and its suburbs. They have sought refuge in Turkey to escape from the death and destruction. The most accurate reports on the situation in Syria estimate that the number of those killed by the Assad regime and its allies stands at 500,000 since 2011; there are also 8 million refugees.
Tough questions need to be asked as the people are slaughtered while their rulers stand and watch. Hasn’t the disaster befalling the Syrian people, including the Russian-Iranian occupation, stirred the emotions of the Arab leaders and people from Oman in the East to Morocco in the West? Russia, Iran and Israel are attacking Syria; America, Iran and others are attacking Iraq; and Israel is attacking the West Bank and Gaza; and this is being met with complete silence from the beggar leaderships. Aren’t there any civil society organisations in the Arab capitals who are staging protests about what is happening to our people? Why don’t the Arab Writers Union, the Teacher’s Union and all the other trades unions voice their rejection of the foreign occupation of Syria and Iraq and the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people? Has our nation been struck by disgrace and helplessness, making it emotionless and unwilling to defend its people?
Bashar Al-Assad and his supporters are gloating over their victories against their opponents in Aleppo, Dara’a, Homs and other areas that were under the control of the national opposition. They should reflect on the fact that these victories were not achieved by their own actions or strength, but by those of Iran and Russia with their hateful sectarian militias. Assad shouldn’t feel elated by a victory achieved by the Russians. He and his cronies should hang their heads in shame; what their own army couldn’t do had to be done by the Russians, Iran and its mercenaries to protect them from the Syrian people.
Neighbouring Iraq has fallen under Iranian occupation, but I do not want to re-open the wound of this by talking about the American and British occupation, its reasons and its consequences. Now Syria is under Russian-Iranian occupation.
What has the Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Elaraby, done in his capacity as an expert in international law and the UN Charter, and the precedents adopted in cases similar to the situation in the Arab world today? Why hasn’t he proposed to the Arab governments which are still independent, such as Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt, that they call on the UN General Assembly to convene under the “Uniting for Peace Resolution”? This is essential given that the Security Council has failed to implement its resolutions regarding Syria, Iraq and Palestine, and failed to deter Russia and Iran from occupying Syria. It is time to dismiss Elaraby because he has not proposed any initiative to resolve any of the Arab region’s problems, and has not challenged, even verbally, the Russian-Iranian occupation of Syria and Iraq. Nor has he called out Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as well as its Judaisation of Jerusalem.
The only Arab country to stand up to Iranian expansion is Saudi Arabia. Along with its supporters, it is fighting a brutal war in Yemen against Tehran’s proxies in order to restore the legitimate leadership after it was attacked by the bilateral pro-Iran alliance between ex-President Saleh and the Houthis. The GCC countries are standing by Saudi Arabia, while Egypt remains quiet in the face of all that is happening in the Arab arena.
The ruling regime in Damascus has lost whatever legitimacy it had left after handing over its power to the Russians and Iranians, allowing them to do whatever they want to Syria. Calling for the UN General Assembly to meet under the Uniting for Peace Resolution in order to save Syria from the Russian occupation is now an Arab necessity.
Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadid, 8 February, 2016
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.