Russia, Assad and the ''Unique Ability''!
11 July 2016
By Tariq Alhomayed
When you see the diplomatic activity regarding the Syrian crisis,
American-Russian activity in particular, you expect something to happen.
However, a careful reading of US – Russian statements do not indicate serious
action. This is confirmed by the course of events; the Assad killing machine
has not stopped and neither has the flow of fighters affiliated to Iran. In
addition to this, ISIS still exists.
These pointless statements about the Syrian crisis are not limited to the
Americans and Russians only. For example, the British Foreign Secretary said
that ''Russia in particular has a unique ability to persuade the Assad regime
to end the carnage and return to the negotiating table'' at a news conference
on Tuesday with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry. It is clear that
Washington shares the same view and is still trying to convince Moscow of the
need for Bashar Al-Assad's departure.
The question here is: ''What ''unique ability'' does Moscow have?'' Is it
possible to believe the Russians on the basis of words? What have the Russians
accomplished in Syria except for keeping the situation the same? Assad has not
gained victory, just as Russia has been unable to defeat ISIS, break up the
opposition or stop the Assad killing machine.
With the approach of US elections, the European crisis that resulted from
Britain voting to leave the EU and the political earthquake taking place in
Turkey, diplomatic talk about the Syrian crisis is merely comprised of
statements that are practically worthless in terms of stopping Assad's killing
machine. If the west was serious about the situation, we would have at least
seen real support for the opposition, serious demands that Iran stops sending
fighters and weapons to Syria and serious demands and pressure to expel
Hezbollah, ISIS and Al-Nusra Front from the country. We would have also seen
international human rights organisations and the Secretary-General of the UN
Ban Ki-moon do much more. However, until now we have seen nothing.
It is clear that all parties involved are not serious or unable to do
something as long as the US administration does not seriously intend to make a
move to stop the Assad killing machine. As for the Russians, Assad, Iran and
its followers, they will not stop as long as no serious steps led by America
are made in Syria. The Russians, Assad and the Iranians are not interested in
statements. They may even interpret them in a different way and think that
they must continue what they are doing, and therefore the statements are not a
What we must remember is that Assad, his allies and Russia, only understand
the language of actions, not statements. As long as no action is taken by the
West, particularly America, we should not expect serious solutions in Syria.
Rather, we should expect more suffering and dangerous security implications on
the region, and the west in general.
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.