Opinion

The Great Debate

If Egypt falls, Syria must follow

By Guest Contributor
January 28, 2011

EGYPT/

By Farid Ghadry, a Syrian-American who co-founded the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) dedicated to freedom and human rights in his native country, blogs at ghadry.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

When watching the riots in Tunisia and Egypt, the question on everyone’s mind is, what outcome will these organic and popular uprisings will produce?

The world may be witnessing a new dawn in the Middle East fostered by enlightenment or a new Egyptian government trailing behind Syria as the latest conquest the Mullahs of Iran can claim is the result of their wise policies.

With Hezbollah’s latest dismantlement of a Lebanese government, aided by the complicity of the Assad regime and an Egypt whose future remains uncertain, it is essential for US and European policy makers to view Syria as a clear and present danger rather than the country stabilizing the region. No matter what happens, Egypt is a changed country. If it falls in the “L” column, Syria and Iran will play an essential role in supplying Egypt, as they did to Hezbollah, with the necessary tools to destabilize North Africa. This outcome will place a heavy military burden on Israel, the result of which may engulf the region with intermittent wars for many years to come.

As the world watches images of Egypt erupting, similar images are being reproduced in Syria. We have witnessed today many demonstrations in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamoshli. With 10,000 IRGC (the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution) personnel residing permanently in Syria, we also witnessed them, mixed with Syrian Army Battalions, deploy in several cities around the country. Yet, the international media, and al-Jazeera especially, have gone dark on Syria.

Instead of supporting a similar organic uprising by a people whose 65% of its citizens were born enslaved living in total misery, the world seems oblivious to the pain Assad inflicts on our people. I believe this is a major mistake. One that Syrians, Israelis, Lebanese, and Americans will pay a dear price for.

With Syria becoming free and falling into the hands of its people, a major supply line to Hezbollah and possibly Egypt will be disrupted. The fall of Syria might also save Egypt from a possible takeover by the Mullahs. This scenario is basked in pessimism but when was the last time the west received good news from the Middle East?

Al-Hurra, a US-funded TV station, has been slow in responding to any threats affecting the Syrian regime. Why? Because planted within its Virginia offices are sympathizers and supporters of Assad and Hezbollah. The last time al-Hurra broadcasted a negative story on Syria was in 2005 due to pressure from the Bush administration.

If al-Hurra covers the demonstrations happening in Damascus, it will encourage Syrians to rise against Assad. And while many pundits and experts will capitalize on Assad’s propaganda that his alternatives are hardcore Islamists, the reality is that Syrians are mostly secular people. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood cannot possibly muster more than 10% of the votes but the mere thought that some analyst could be wrong has frozen our intellect to the point where we view Assad’s evil as a stabilizing factor. The question becomes: Are you really willing to bet Egypt on Assad’s stability? The time has come for true leadership in the region.

Photo caption: A protester walks in front of a fire in downtown Cairo January 28, 2011. President Hosni Mubarak ordered troops into Egyptian cities on Friday in an attempt to quell street fighting and growing mass protests demanding an end to his 30-year rule. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Comments
19 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

With all due respect Mr. Ghadry,

I am not sure what do you gain from your call to destabilizing Syria. The recent turmoil in Iraq created a regime that is on the edge of being a fundamentalist and is pro the fundamentalists in IRAN. That turmoil caused 500,000 deaths or more. Would you like that to happen in Syria?
Although it has numerous flaws, the Syrian regime made Syria the most secular country in the world in its respect to all religions. Syria welcomed the Lebanese Muslims and Christians when Lebanon had turmoil in 1976 and later. In particular Syria protected the Lebanese Christians in late Seventies. Syria welcomed Iraqis Muslims and Christians when Iraq was in turmoil in 2003 and later. The Syrian GDP is on the rise and the income per capital has increased in the last 10 years more than 5% a year. Would you like to replace that with a prehistoric fundamentalist regime whose command comes from the greatest criminal in history and who is hiding in the mountains of Pakistan? Would like to have a regime like the Taliban in Syria? Such a regime will bring much greater miseries from the miseries you mentioned in your article. You are indirectly calling for the slaughter of 2-4 million Syrians when the new “fundamentalist” government takes over? I hope you do not want to have that many people’s blood on your hand.

Posted by FerasM | Report as abusive
 

There are some very interesting points in his article.

Posted by Ikaros7 | Report as abusive
 

Welcome to 2011.

Posted by gramps | Report as abusive
 

Mr Ghadry:

Egypt can easily end up an Islamic theocracy, as the Islamic Brotherhood is the strongest and most organized political opposition in Egypt.
Secondly, this remains the case in Syria. You maintain that Syria is “mostly Secular”. When is the last time you were in Syria?? That was not my experience as a Syrian Christian facing discrimination at every turn before the Assad family came to power. It is Assad that provided Syria the secularism you speak of.
Minorities in Syria have nothing to fear of the current regime in Syria and they have everything to fear of a Islamic Brotherhood lead Syria.
The border with Syria and Israel is Israel’s quietest border. The Syrian regime is stable and people in Syria need jobs, population control, not “democracy” like in Iraq.

Posted by osu789 | Report as abusive
 

Dear Mr. Ghadry, you are missing one thing which is the israeli protection to the syrian regime. It was the israelis who brought the assads to the regime back in 1970 and they are keeping them there ever since. They brought them as a reward to giving up the golan heights during the 1967 war, during which hafez el assad was the commander in chief of the syrian air forces and who refused the orders of the syrian president to use the airforce to strike the approaching israelis. And we all know that for the time being, israel, iran and syria are allies against all “Sunni” countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the Sunnis in Lebanon. As a proof to what i’m saying, you can check Dr. Mark Gopin (a jewish hakham and director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution) who told “Al Ra’i” newspaper that it was them who aborted in 2005 George Bush and Dick Cheney’s plan to change the syrian regime.
And as long as the syrian and iranian regimes are serving the israeli purposes they will always stay in place.

Posted by ZiZ | Report as abusive
 

The Arab regimes will not repeat the mistakes of the Shah.Remember Algeria. This eruption had better stop, else the bloodshed will be horrendous.

Posted by Biscayne | Report as abusive
 

Whatever you might like to believe, one thing is clear — change (be it democracy and liberty or fundamentalism) doesn’t come from without, it comes from within. War is not the answer to human problems, it is a reflection of them. Foreign armies (Taliban or US) do not bring change, they bring destruction. This world will be far better off once people realize they are the only ones with the real power and it is they who must decide their own fate, no one else.

Posted by PJW5552 | Report as abusive
 

What a load of nonsense, written by an obvious American and Israeli crony, as is the case with the majority of the so called Syrian opposition abroad, who have no credibility in Syria, and have never been heard of there. The Syrian people are as sick of them as they are of their own government, just a bunch of circling vultures looking for their next meal. FYI, Hezbollah enjoys high popularity amongst secular Syrians not for their religious beliefs, but for their resistance to the murderous Israeli war machine, it’s beyond politics and religion, it’s a core struggle for Arab rights. There are no demonstrations in Syria at the moment, no police or tanks on the street, and AlJazeera is the only news channel that enjoys any sort of credibility in this region, as it properly addresses the plight of the Arabs, and doesn’t just toe the line of America and Israel.

Posted by EdwardDark | Report as abusive
 

The Muslim world has enjoyed the greatest stability and progress under the Khilafah. The occupation and division of the Muslim world under the Sykes/Picot agreement was a calculated effort by the colonialist at dividing and conquoring the Muslims. These divisions have been enforced by the colonial puppets like the Mubaraks and Assads.

Muslims must realise that true progress can only be achieved under the banner of Islam and not false ideas like nationalism, patriotism, socialism, secularism etc. Muslims have an obligation under the shahada to accept Islam as the only system to live by and call for. Ya Allah give the Muslims the Khilafah.

Posted by SaeedK | Report as abusive
 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farid_Ghadr y

Do you know who Farid Ghadry is?
Do you know that he is an pro-Israeli and a member of the AIPCA?
Do you know how representative that is in the Arab world?
Do you know that this self-styled champion of Syrian and Arab freedom goes by the name of Frank Ghadry in the US?
Do you know that he has been out of the country since the age of 10?

Reuters tells you “The opinions expressed are his own” in the preamble to Ghadry’s article. But then someone has to pick his article amongst others, don’t they? Someone has to promote his, ie Israel’s, cause.

Do you know the reason why Al-Jazeera is so popular amongst Arabs who have become disillusioned with Western media since the first Gulf War? You’re looking at it right here.

Posted by Farfoor | Report as abusive
 

The Egyptian Government is seen as a puppet of the US.

The Syrian Government is not seen as a puppet of the US and can even use the antagonism of the US towards Syria as an excuse for its poor performance. So it seems that the Syrian Government will probably survive because of its stance against Israel and the US.
Jordan will probably be the next to fall.

Posted by Sinbad1 | Report as abusive
 

Gandhi wrote ” Whan I dispare, I rember that all through histroy the ways of truth and love always won. Ther have been tytants and murders, and for a time they can seem invuncuble, but in the end they fall. Think about it always.” that said WHY and how can anyone be surprised?
While we have our wants and needs so to have others and although I see the precived fear the time of is now for honesty about expections that the land grab in the middle east is over, President Carter is the man with answers and no one wants to go there if we dont turn to Carter the light of any hope in Egypt will be lost just as the 30 year opening has gone so to will ANY hope go..
Good luck seeing truth..with deep sadness jw

Posted by jophoenix | Report as abusive
 

@ d3v: right on brother, go do an internet search on Mr Farid Ghadry.

You will understand everything, including how you are being hand-fed your news by the media.

Posted by Farfoor | Report as abusive
 

Good article, must address the maturity, or coming to age of the Arab world. That means the Arab world can no longer be run an unpopular group, Military or religious. This is a clear message to the Mullahs of Iran, they have now been put on notice. So it should be clear to the Syrian dictator, the age of blaming all the wrong on the Jewish state makes no sense. The only way to protect the people and their leaders is to elect from the populace leaders for a predetermined period.
Manipulation of media and manipulation of the thougts of people in the age of the internet, is plain ridiculous and will recoil at the instigators.
This said, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Katar are using TV to penetrate and influence the Arab Public beyobd their countries, or their legitimate borders.
They forget that they are sitting as ilegitimate governments themselves (not elected).
The Arab world is definitly gaining education and thus, ultimately, will gain the right to chose.

Posted by Mico | Report as abusive
 

This article has major grammatical and stylistic problems. The first two paragraphs are hardly up to the standard of professional writing.

Posted by mheld45 | Report as abusive
 

We are all spectators now… how quickly we forgot Tiananmen Square where the regime used the military to quell the protests. This is clearly an option for the Egyptians – it worked. Is there any doubt that it North Korea wouldn’t go this far? The irony is that if the military is used, the USA can be blamed, if it isn’t and an Islamic regime replaces the current one, the USA will be blamed as well. It’s a no win scenario for the West. Frankly, the Egyptians have the constitutional right to internal strife under the philosophy entrenched in the US constitution expressed as the right to bear arms.

Posted by Albertabound | Report as abusive
 

Is Syria ready to be a Democracy? I think yes. FerasM do not be afraid, trust in the light that is more powerful than the darkness. Iraq was sabotaged by the Saudis, who influenced the Sunnis in Iraq, that is why so many people died. The Saudis do not want a successful Democracy in Iraq. Iran would sabotage a Democratic Syria, because it is not in their interest.

Posted by altruistic | Report as abusive
 

I was in syria a week ago for 40 days. I am a syrian american and have resided in america for 35 years.
I have never felt more safe in any country I have visited other than syria. They do not tollerate violence, theft, or any petty crime. The citizen or tourist is treated with the utmost respect. My children can walk the street at midnight with no fear. They have the best technology available in stores for less than we do in america. They have access to the internet and all satelite channels.
They have more fruit and vegitable variety available than I’ve seen in america at cheap prices. They have the best dining experience even at a fast food restaurant.
They are generous and helpful people and they love thier leader Bashar al assad who in my opinion is the most genuine good hearted and generous leader in the world.
And his wife is second to none in relation to humanitarian works in syria and abroad. Not to mention the helpful police and dedicated millitary. I am now working on leaving america and relocating in homs.

Posted by abulandalus | Report as abusive
 

I have gone through the article and the comments of my learned commenter friends.

The entire contents of the article becomes very clear that out of political acrimony the article was presented to damage a harmonious political system already working that has the support of all the religious entity living in Syria may be to politically gain advantage to clime to power. However I will leave the matter here and ventilate that the article surprised me and will do the same to other readers too.

Everything is fair in war love and politics should not mean to destroy a genuine good working system however old or new the system may be would be considered to be fair for a politician first the public thereafter.

The political leader must have farsightedness progressive vision for the well being of the nation not for personal political gain to make wealth at the cost of the nation’s depredation in any form.

I would think the the Syrian government should carry out effective reforms so the job and per ca pita income increases further and any other immediate necessary reform that is required.

However, having said all the above I must reveal the fact that because of the article and discussion the author will be informed and realize certain aspect of the issue more vividly before embarking into action and avert confronting the dire consequences.

Posted by KINGFISHER | Report as abusive
 

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