Waiel Awwad: A clash of global interests is playing out in Syria

Posted in | 16-10-2012 | 5907 viewed | Category: (Syria  Arab Spring  ) | comments:(3 )

 Tumult in Syria has been protracted and violent, apparently traversing a different trajectory from counterparts in Egypt and Tunisia. India-based Syrian journalist Waiel Awwad spoke with Sameer Arshad about why Syria\'s struggle has become so aggressive, the forces he identifies as being responsible - and the larger geo-political game he sees being played out in Syria:

It began as a call for democracy - since then, why has the Syrian uprising become so bitter?
Well, it started as part of the Arab Spring due to similar reasons elsewhere - social unrest, injustice, unemployment, inflation and the lack of freedom, besides concerns like the pro-American policies of dictators. The outcomes of revolutions in places like Egypt inspired Syrians to take to the streets. But the Syrian government was quick to respond to the social and political issues raised. However, since then, the likes of al Qaida have hijacked the protests, ironically with the tacit support of the West and some Arab states.
Why do you think that has happened?
Syria is the last country in the resistance against American interests in the region. The bigger plot is to take on Iran. Disintegration is part of the policy - that is why Syrian demonstrators are being armed. Over 10,000 mercenaries of 20 nationalities have been sent to Syria\'s second largest city, Aleppo. The skirmishes along the Syria-Turkey border are likely to escalate as part of the ploy to open another front for the Syrian forces and divert their attention. The West is doing in Syria what it did in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
But even if that is true, does this absolve the Syrian regime of its responsibilities towards its people?
The Syrian uprising was genuine to begin with, like most of the Arab Spring, but it has been complicated with the militarisation of the demonstrators. External support should be limited to help fair and transparent elections and let the ballot decide who is going to rule.
You\'ve mentioned your view about the USA\'s larger strategic interests in seeing the end of the Syrian regime. Would you elaborate?
American policy in the region is oil and gas-centric. Barring Iran, they have control over hydrocarbons across the region. Now, huge gas reserves - 1,450 cubic million feet - have been discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. Around 70% of these are within Syrian shores and the rest are in Gaza, Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus. Such interests would be unable to control these reserves unless Syria is controlled. This is also part of the policy to isolate Russia which is supporting Syria.
Thus, a clash of global and regional interests is playing out in Syria. This is no more a domestic and regional issue - this is the start of another Cold War.
In such a tense situation, how do you view India\'s stance on Syria?
India has taken a steadfast position, seeking adherence to the UN charter of non-interference in Syria\'s internal affairs. It has supported Kofi Anan\'s UN mission and rightly called for an end to violence from all sides and dialogue as the way forward.

Added By : Dr. Waiel Awwad

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