The Syrian Tragedy: German journalist about the situation in Syria

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Sideviews
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The independent German journalist Juergen Todenhoefer (Jürgen Todenhöfer) published another interesting article about the Syrian revolution and the hypocritically stance of the West. While we have to say sorry for the bad translation, we hope that it`s still interesting enough for some readers.

The German journalist and expert Juergen Todenhoefer (Jürgen Todenhoefer) wrote about the situation in Syria again and shared his latest opinions about the different sides and oppinions on the events in Syria.

THE SYRIAN TRAGEDY

by Juergen Todenhoefer (Jürgen Todenhöfer – source below)

There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. No one will be able to stop the triumph of democracy in the Arab world. Dictatorships are discontinued models.

How many other people I have made a very bad experience with dictatorships, too. With the Soviet Union, which announced after my march to Afghanistan, that they will lash me and also that they will fire at me. Later, with Augusto Pinochet.


For months, I was attacked by Western politicians because I had dared to negotiate with the dictator over the release of political prisoners. Also my two-hour meeting with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was and is strongly criticized. That it was about the accelerate introduction of democracy was not interesting for the critics.

Unfortunately, I wasn`t able to speak with (the former Libyan leader) Muammar Gaddafi. His troops were bombing us instead with rockets and grenades for hours. My friend Abdul Latif was killed. In Egypt, the thugs of the Mubarak-regime have beaten us, even just three weeks ago. No, dictators are not my friends.

I was excited about the democratic revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, because both were non-violent. Also the Syrian revolution would have my full sympathy, if they had remained free of violence and if this Syrian revolution wouldn`t be funded by the West.

But after the fall of Ben Ali and Mubarak, everything has changed a lot. Gandhi’s nonviolence was suddenly no longer in demand. And since Libya, the riots were not purely Arab riots any longer. The West, which had missed out on the developments in Tunis and Cairo through oversleeping, started suddenly to intervene strongly.

The West realized that they are now able to achieve all the goals, which they hadn`t accomplished by war, to achieve them by a crafty participation in the Arab uprisings. Especially the old goal of the U.S. neo-conservatives: a consistently pro-American Middle East.

Unfortunately, it`s not about democracy anymore. They only demand flawless democracy from enemies of the West, such as Syria – because they are considered as a convenient lever for the overthrow of the “enemies” of the West.

So, the American journalist Charles Krauthammer and Senator (Sen.) Joe Lieberman are thrilled to see that the demands for democracy fit to the strategically goals of the United States; at least, when it`s about the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his country Syria – quite unlike the other dictators of Arabia. These Arab dictators are also no real “soft-hearted humanitarians”, but they need them as allies.

The priority is the correction of the fatal results of the war of Iraq, which was “unfortunately” won by Iran, the principal enemy of the United States in this region. The influence of Iran increases since then over Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – even to the Shiite regions of Saudi Arabia. Ironically, the former U.S. president George W. Bush has bombed the Iran into this pre-eminence. The overthrow of the Syrian President a-Assad provides the historically chance to correct this strategic own-goal of the United States in the Middle East.

Just few days after the beginning of the Syrian unrest, modern weapons have reached the hands of those rebels over Qatar. At the same time, a gigantic (and maybe never seen before) media campaign was started against Assad`s Syria. Their main sources are unverifiable movies made by mobile devices. (To be honest and as an addition, these movies would even deliver better quality in general in Syria… so something is really “fishy”)

One of these alleged Syrian videos on YouTube, which was also broadcasted on German television, was in reality from Iraq in 2007. The U.S. channel ABC had to apologize that they have also (falsely) sold a video from Lebanon (2008) as a reportage about the Syrian unrest.

Also the observers of the Arab League observer mission, who are mainly skeptical about the Syrian regime, reported that they have discovered several times, in reviews of explosions and violence in Syria, that these reports were fictions. Every second information, which I have checked during my four-week stay in Syria, was false.

That doesn`t change anything on the right of resistance against the Syrian dictatorship, on their right to democracy. Syria belongs to the Syrian people and not to a single family. If the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was trained in the West, shares the same opinion, he must put himself at the head of the democracy movement in Syria.

But what if al-Assad already tries to do so? What if the popular uprising in Syria, unlike in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, is not a classical popular uprising, but a revolt of strong local groups, which are facing, at least, as strong pro-Assad groups, who also want democracy, but with the Syrian President al-Assad?

A Marxist pediatrician, who had to stay in the dungeons of the father of Bashar al-Assad for 14 years, told me, that the only one, who could bring democracy to Syria by peaceful means, is Bashar al-Assad. As an opposition politician, it’s not easy for him to say that. But after all, it`s the reality in Syria (for Syria).

But al-Assad also bears responsibility that the initially peaceful demonstrations became a violent revolution. His security forces have shot too early on peaceful demonstrators. This is totally unacceptable.

But also the heavily armed rebels – some from Libya, Iraq and Jordan – are not only using violence as self-defense. In the Syrian city of Homs, a supporter of the Syrian President al-Assad led me into the room of his three year old daughter. Snipers fired from a tower block into the nursery, to dampen his enthusiasm for al-Assad.

The Observer-Commission of the Arab League reported about serious attacks by the rebels on civilians. The final report (of the observers in Syria) describes an example of the bombing of a bus in which eight Syrian civilians were killed, women and children. It`s no more sure who kills more civilians in Syria – the state security forces or the rebels.

Also more than 1,000 Syrian soldiers and policemen, who were lured into ambush and killed, are no legitimate goal of a democratic revolution. They are human beings, too. The Syrian President al-Assad asked me if the German Chancellor would view idly, when dozens of her soldiers and policemen are killed daily.

In Syria, a complicated, dirty three-way fight takes place. On one side, strong parts of the population, especially in Idlib (Idleb), Homs, Daraa and Hama, are fighting for a democratic Syria without al-Assad.

At the same time, an undeniably great sections of the Syrian population, especially in the capital Damascus and Aleppo, even in Homs, are for a democracy with al-Assad. In some parts of the Syrian city of Homs, which I have visited twice, are still large posters of the image of al-Assad. In 70 percent of the city of Homs, life runs its normal course.

In this confrontation between pro- and anti-Assad groups, the United States strongly intervene from the beginning. Whoever calls this three-way fight just a “popular uprising”, has not understood the complexity of the situation in Syria. The West makes it itself to easy when he divides Syria into good and evil.

Some Arabs have already noticed that there are forces in the West who want to steal their revolution. As once Lawrence of Arabia, who also pretended to want to free them and afterwards betrayed the Arabs to the UK. In last fall, some Qatari officers were beaten in Tobruk, because they have occurred too bossy and colonialist.

Overall, the “Lawrence of Arabia”-strategy, however, still works excellent. Many Arabs don`t realize that the West has never delivered freedom to them, but always wanted to dominate them. Their dictators, appointed as champions of democratization in Syria by the West, play their parts with enthusiasm.

The West protects them with modern weapons against the democratic virus which has also spread to their countries (Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia…) – because of their willfully participation at this “game”. Almost generous, these dictators in the Gulf States are called “security partners” and “anchors of stability” by the West. Even those, who still agree to the beheading, stoning and flay of somebody.

I think this cynical policy is short-sighted. Their indiscriminate sympathy for brutal rebels, which are paid by foreign powers, is short-sighted. Revolutionary romanticism is a lie. Like in a war, those revolutionary violence usually doesn`t mean heroism, masculinity or idealism, but blood, misery and suffering.

Anyone who doubts this should come with me to the hospitals where the victims of those revolutionary battles are stored: tattered children and dying mothers, mutilated teenagers. Already with the thought about these homes of misery, I feel sick. There is an alternative to these mindless mutual killings. This alternative is called: negotiate, negotiate and negotiate. Negotiations are almost always better than war. Are we still able to say that even in these belligerent times?

In the Libya of Muammar Gaddafi, a negotiated solution would have been a Herculean act. In Syria, it`s not a Herculean task. Many Syrians make a huge difference between the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime – like the Marxist pediatrician. The situation in Syria is fundamentally different from the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

There, the uprising was directed especially against the ruling head of state for decades. In Syria, the criticism is directed mainly against the corrupt system, rather than on the relatively young president. (We have to say that also the Syrian society in general, has to be blamed for this.)

The position of the Syrian President al-Assad has even become stronger in recent months. More and more Syrians are afraid that their country descends into a chaos like Iraq.

The Syrian President al-Assad has offered a dialogue to the opposition already months ago. In one week, there will be a referendum about the new democratic constitution in Syria. Al-Assad also plans general elections and no later than two years, free elections, which he may lose. No Arabic dictator has ever committed to such a comprehensive reform program.

Of course all this is not sufficient. It doesn`t delete ten years of dictatorship. But why don`t we take al-Assad at his words and ensure that these upcoming elections will reflect genuine democratic standards?

Why are our democratic heroes (in the West) not demanding such referendums in Saudi Arabia or Qatar? Instead, they disqualify the referendum of Bashar al-Assad as a “ruse” and “tactical maneuver”. This is too easy. Is our Foreign Secretary (German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, very controversial and narcissistic…) not able to just shut up for one day?

The Syrian opposition abroad, some of which lived for so long outside of Syria, that their children are not able to speak and understand Arabic, rejects any dialogue with al-Assad. On his hands there is blood.

But we (Germany) have negotiated with the leaders of the Soviet Union, who had infinitely more blood on their hands? Our leaders bow to George W. Bush to this day, while on the hands of George W. Bush, there is the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. And what`s about our Peace Nobel Prize-owner Barack Obama, who orders to kill Pakistani civilians by drones almost daily. He still fights “his” war against Afghanistan, which has already cost countless lives of women and children every year. Are we not able to see the beam in our eye?

Yes, Assad is politically responsible for any civilian who died in the Syrian Civil War. (To be honest, it`s still no real civil war) Just like Obama for the children killed in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the German government for the deaths of Kunduz. But these are no reasons not to negotiate. You have to negotiate with the enemies you have.

The smartest suggestions were made by Russia. Russia has invited all parties to Moscow to engage in dialogue. I would have never imagined in my life that there will be one day where I would prefer Russian foreign policy over Western policy.

But like a huge chorus, NATO blames the Russian government that their behavior (on the Syrian situation) was and is a “disgrace”. Why? Syria needs this dialogue between the warring groups so damn quick. This is the only way to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

But the West is already miles away from such a wise placement. The West prefers to operate in the Syria conflict with a policy of interests and to play with the fire. This game could break the country and could also cost the lives of countless Syrians. Even for the about two million Syrian Christians, the consequences would be disastrous – as in Iraq.

The democracy will prevail also in Syria in the end. The only question is how many people have to die for it. And whether the democratic Syria will also be free in foreign policy. Or whether the “model Lawrence of Arabia” is able to celebrate another triumph (in the Middle East).

Source: Jürgen Todenhöfer / Facebook / FAZ

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