(Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat)
22 July 2016 – 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 deterrent.
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.