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Sunday , November 18 2018

Don’t let Syria be a ‘Somalia’

Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

STARTING from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and then Libya and Yemen, the United States of America has shouldered the responsibility of maintaining security and stability in these countries — besides helping their citizens get rid of dictators who ruled them to pave way for the establishment of democratic ruling regimes.

Yet, the US failed in all this, because it was actually keen on dismantling these countries. For example, it dismantled Iraq through a signature endorsed by Paul Bremer who tore apart institutions such as the security systems and the army. It then left the country in the hands of sectarian gangs from various doctrines and sects.

As for a poor country like Somalia, the USA did not even bother to form a legal power for maintaining security in some Somalian cities. Unfortunately, the US helped topple Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. It pushed tribal militias towards the battlefield to start one of the bloodiest and miserable tragedies in the 20th and 21st centuries, as millions became homeless and suffered from famine.  Add to this the piracy operations which have become an international threat.

Somalia has entered – under the current conflict of international interests – the phase of international oblivion. It is absent in the statements of American officials, unlike in the 1990s when officials did not sleep until they emphasized the need to bring security back to the African country; but nothing happened until now.

If the American fury over the Sept 11, 2001 incident led to the invasion of poor Afghanistan, which is now tired of the civil war while hoping to punish those behind the century’s crime; the invasion resulted in the collapse of institutions and absence of security after 14 years. The USA is now searching for a way out of the quagmire, even if it is through a bargain with Taleban and its ally al-Qaeda. What is the achievement of the USA other than tens of thousands of victims and wounded soldiers, as well as hundreds of thousands of Afghan victims including the injured and homeless?

Today, some people say Al-Assad must leave while others insist that he remains in power and the terrorist murderers move freely in the world killing innocent people everywhere. So, what is the achievement after five years of war there?

It is true that it has become necessary for the world, not only for Syrians, to solve the Syrian crisis. Will this be done according to the way of Paul Bremer in Iraq which was left in the hands of Iran, DAESH, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups that engage in corruption there freely? Will it be according to the Afghan way? Do Americans know only the phrase, ‘he must leave’, and after that, there will be flood?

If the international community is serious in solving the Syrian crisis, it must accept the reality that the regime is still in power since it controls the army, security systems and a reasonable percentage of Syrians who support him. This is in addition to hundreds of armed groups and militias such as al-Nusrah, DAESH, and sectarian militias of Iran like Hezbollah and Abulfadhel Al-Abbas battalions.

Who can fight against all these terrorist groups and get rid of them? Will there be an American or western invasion or any kind of alliance to control it? Until when will this war last?

These questions and many others need answers before anything else; because if the Somali, Iraqi or Afghani experience is repeated at a particular phase; in which the doctrinal Sunni-Shiite conflict is becoming serious with the support of Iran and Russia to achieve their goals, another war will erupt. It could be like the 100-year war, particularly in the midst of extremist mobilization against Christians, minorities in the region, Europe and the West. Can the world afford the price for that?

All parties should realize that the solution in Syria is possible only by protecting the institutions of the country. It needs a solution which can be used as a model for restructuring Iraq and maybe Somalia; otherwise, we will find ourselves in an empty circle or a black hole of ceaseless sectarian and doctrinal wars.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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