De Mistura and the ''Foreigners'' in Syria -- By Tariq Alhomayed
16 March 2016
By Tariq Alhomayed
The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the fate of Bashar
Al-Assad will be determined by the Syrians and not foreigners. In an interview
with TV channel France 24, he said ''Can't we leave the Syrians to actually
decide on that? Why should we be saying in advance what the Syrians should
say, as long as they have the freedom and the opportunity of saying so?'' Who
is de Mistura referring to?
Certainly, he meant the Saudis, Americans and the Europeans who say that there
is no place for Assad in any political transition process. However, are de
Mistura's comments acceptable in principle and considering the circumstances?
Yes, certainly, and his statements are incredibly rational. De Mistura must
name these ''foreigners'' and demand that they leave the Syrians alone to decide
their fate! Will he dare to? I dare him!
It is clear that de Mistura is talking about those who defend the Syrians and
not those who defend the criminal of Damascus, Assad. There is not a single
soldier in Syria who belongs to the armies of countries defending the Syrians,
of which around 400,000 have been murdered at the hands of Assad. In Syria,
the Russian air force, terrorist Hezbollah militias, other Shiite militias and
fighters from Iran are all defending Assad and killing and torturing the
So, does de Mistura intend Arab and western support for the moderate Syrian
opposition? Everybody knows, and the facts say, that this support did not
begin until Assad started to use violence and began his killing machine which
claimed and is claiming the lives of innocent Syrians who peacefully
It is assumed that de Mistura, who has visited and visits Damascus, knows that
the Syrian capital is now under the protection of Iranian forces, that the
skies there are under the protection of Russia and all of this is in defence
of Assad who has killed 400,000 Syrians. What foreigners is the international
envoy talking about? Would Assad be able to stay in Damascus for an hour
without Iranian and Russian support? Would Assad have survived until now
without Iranian militias and some mercenaries in order for de Mistura to
demand that ''foreigners'' leave the Syrians alone to decide their fate?
Certainly not, and this is why what de Mistura is saying is really astounding!
If the UN envoy wants to know what the Syrians want, the answer is the
departure of Assad, for Iran and Russia to stop intervening in the Syrian Arab
Republic because they are the foreigners, not the Arabs. De Mistura must
publicly demand that the Russians and Iranians vacate Syria and leave its
inhabitants alone- and the matter does not stop there. De Mistura must also
aspire to uphold international law which he represents; take a tough stance
against Assad and his Russian and Iranian partners killing Syrian civilians
and demand that Assad be internationally punished for using chemical weapons
at different stages and even after the Russian Brokered agreement for Assad to
surrender his chemical weapons was made. De Mistura must do all of this- it is
his job. He should do his job instead of making vague statements that are
nothing but pro-Assad.
Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat.
Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and
current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous
positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the
first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a
bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah.
He is based in London.