We are starting to hear talk of the need for Syria to return to the embrace of the Arab states and to take its vacant seat in the Arab League after a seven-year absence. The League suspended Syria’s membership after the Assad regime lost its legitimacy due to the massacre of its people and destruction of the country. The oppressed Syrian Revolution is almost eight years old and those closest to Syria conspired against the revolution even before those further away. No revolution in the world has made as many sacrifices as in Syria; the people have sacrificed the blood of a million martyrs and hundreds of thousands have been either imprisoned in the Damascus killer’s prisons or turned into refugees.
However, some have overlooked this and are longing for the return of the killer Bashar Al-Assad to the Arab League after his “rehabilitation”. Who asked for this? Israel. It is no surprise, as the Assad regime under Bashar and his father before him has acted as a border guard for Israel. For over 45 years, not a single shot was fired by a Syrian soldier at the Israeli enemies occupying Syrian territory. Furthermore, when Israel attacks Syria with its planes and missiles — they once reached the presidential palace, and the latest (but not the last) was admitted by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week — there is no adequate response or retaliation. This is even more striking given the fact that Assad promotes himself as the only “resistance regime” in the Arab world; he claims that he will retaliate at the appropriate time, which is not yet.
According to Middle East Eye, there is a joint Gulf-Israeli plan to rehabilitate Assad and return him to the Arab League in order to marginalise the regional influence of Turkey and Iran. The news website also reported that Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen met secretly with senior intelligence officials from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt last month in order to discuss ways to confront Turkey’s influence in the Middle East. Cohen sees Turkey as the real threat and main potential military opponent, not Iran; the latter’s strength is fragile, while Turkey has much greater capabilities. The intelligence allies discussed a specific plan that aims to counter Turkish influence and concluded that Assad needs to be rehabilitated and back with the Arab League.
The question that comes to mind is why do they fear Turkey and why are they hatching plans against it? It is clearly because under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has returned to its Islamic approach and roots, after abandoning some of Kemal Ataturk’s secular legacy. Therein lies the reasons for the fear that it will be capable of breaking the international balance of power followed since the Second World War which has refused to allow a strong Muslim country to have any real influence in the world. Hence, the powers that be refuse to allow Turkey to impose itself as a major international player, and are ganging up in order to marginalise it and rein it in. Perhaps US President Donald Trump’s most recent threat is the best proof of this; he said that he would “devastate Turkey’s economy if it attacks the Kurds in northern Syria.”
They also want to weaken Turkey militarily in a confrontation in northern Syria under the pretext of protecting the Kurds and the integrity of Syrian territory. Everything is possible given Trump’s manipulation of all parties concerned and the stalling of his withdrawal from Syria despite announcing that it would happen within a month, followed by “spread over three months”. Trump also told Erdogan that, “Syria is all yours” before the hawkish US national security adviser, John Bolton, said from occupied Jerusalem that America’s withdrawal is dependent on Turkish assurances about the Kurds’ safety in Syria. President Erdogan regarded this as an insult to Turkey and refused to meet with Bolton.
Last month, the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister confirmed that the Kingdom does not mind Syria returning to the Arab League. Similar statements were made by the UAE, which reopened its embassy in Damascus. In addition, the UAE deputy director of intelligence visited Damascus and stayed for a whole week. Of course, Bahrain followed suit, while Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, said that Syria must take a number of measures in order to rejoin the League, but did not state what they are. According to the report by MEE, Egypt wants the Syrian government to make a public statement that its main enemies are Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. This report is given weight by the fact that Ali Mamluk, Assad’s security adviser, made a public visit to Cairo recently, and it wasn’t his first; he also went there over a year ago.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s visit to Syria last month was a prelude to Syria’s return to the Arab League; leaked details circulated by some newspapers suggested that the UAE paid Bashir $1 billion to visit Damascus. The main purpose of his visit was to break the international isolation imposed on the murderer Bashar Al-Assad by almost every country in the world. Bashir’s move is expected to be followed by similar visits from the heads of some Arab states; the President of Mauritania is already on his way.
It is not surprising that the Gulf States are running towards Syria in support of Bashar, as it serves their interests in the region. They also see it as a victory for the counter-revolutions that they led against the Arab Spring in order to protect their crumbling thrones.
To be completely honest, I do not care whether or not Syria returns to the Arab League. In my opinion, the League was stillborn upon its establishment in 1945 by the post-war British occupation in order to divide and rule — a classic British tactic — the Muslim world into Arabs and non-Arabs. The move was intended to provoke national conflicts and ethnic disputes after dividing them with the Sykes-Picot agreement and the destruction of the Ottoman Empire following World War One. They distributed the Ottoman legacy amongst the colonial countries and broke them up into states and mini-states.
We might well ask what the Arab League has done for Arab causes and issues, beginning with the main focus of the Muslim world, the situation in Palestine. The League turned the Palestinian issue from a Muslim cause uniting the Ummah into an Arab cause, and then reduced it to a purely Palestinian cause. The people of Palestine were then in turn reduced to one organisation, which it called the Palestine Liberation Organisation. What did it do regarding the repeated wars waged by Israel on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? What did it do about the Israeli-led siege imposed on Gaza and supported by neighbouring Arab countries? What did it do in the face of the Judaisation of Jerusalem and normalisation with the Israeli enemy, given the fact that it came up with a slogan of “no reconciliation, no recognition, and no negotiation”? This was used by the Arab League and promoted at its August 1967 summit, but now it stands idly by as normalisation and recognition of the same enemy are both well underway.
What did the League do in the face of the US invasion of Iraq and Arab countries opening their airspace to US aircraft, allowing American troops to use their land to invade a sovereign Arab state and member of the Arab League? What did it do with the Arab Spring Revolutions? Did it support the Arab people who demanded freedom, human dignity and social justice, or did it support the fascist dictatorships?
The answers all indicate that the Arab League was established to work against the will of the Arab people and, in doing so, to serve the Arab tyrants and dictators. Hence, it is logical for it to side with the murderer Bashar Al-Assad and open its arms to embrace him while abandoning basic values and principles. The League has allowed the Syrian people to die of torture, starvation and thirst in refugee camps, shelters, the diaspora and in prisons. Its leaders have no sympathy for those closest to them, as the former are the first to conspire against the latter and have betrayed their revolution.
This reminds me of the first slogan chanted by the protestors at the beginning of the revolution in March 2011: “We have no one but God.” Only God can unite their ranks once again and allow them to continue their revolution, defeat the murderer Bashar, and liberate Syria from this tyrant. Only then will the world surrender to a new Syria, a free Syria, not Assad’s Syria. The world will always deal with the side that is victorious in a battle, regardless of who wins. It only deals with the strong and powerful and does not care about values and principles; it is governed by “national” interests, not international laws and conventions. That is why it is running towards the Damascus killer.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.