Why the West fears the removal of Assad

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Why the West fears the removal of Assad
Saudi Gazette, May 20, 2012

SYRIA’S Bashar Al-Assad has proven that he is no different than his late father Hafez Al-Assad when it comes to brutality against Sunni Muslims.

The family has exploited Syria’s riches, patronized the Christians into believing they have Syria’s protection, consolidated Alawite power and murdered with impunity any rivals or movements, especially those from the Sunni majority.

It was 30 years ago in February that Hazef Al-Assad brutally launched the massacre of more than 25,000 Sunni Muslims in Hama. That event marked the unveiling of the true monster Hafez Al-Assad, who had taken power in a coup of the Baath Party in 1970.

Now, Bashar Al-Assad, the “eye doctor,” is following his father’s bloody footprints, focusing on the Sunni unrest in Homs and raising the level of outrage ordering the killings of hundreds of children.

The Assad family is like a “mafia,” an immoral crime syndicate that will go to any length to defend their power and their money. Like the mafia, they put a pretty face forward and are conscious of how they are portrayed in the media.

Despite the brutality, the West seems reluctant to take the Assad family out.

Part of the reason is the West’s increasing unease and even fear stemming from the pro-democracy movements and their results, and especially how those results might threaten Israel.

Because in the end, despite all the rhetoric, all the military clashes, and all the pandering to the “Palestinian cause,” Assad’s Alawites have never really been concerned about Palestine or the Palestinians or even Arab unity. It’s just been a good cause that they could use as a narcotic to feed their people, to keep them blind to the Assad family’s mafia-like crimes.

The West didn’t see democracy as a threat to their interests or to Israel when Tunisian democracy exploded in a dramatic way and sparked the Middle East movement.

But they see a real threat among the attitudes of the people in Egypt where Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak milked the country for power and wealth too, at the expense of Arab honor. Sadat was the first to cross over and surrender to Israel. President Jimmy Carter was desperate to entice Sadat into a peace with Israel to bolster his own failing administration.

Sadat took the bait and sold his soul to the devil for a measly sum of 500 million American dollars that has steadily increased over the years to more than $1.5 billion. The funds didn’t go to the Egyptian people, who continue to live in relative squalor, but rather to fuel his personal luxurious lifestyle as the celebrity of the West’s infatuation, and to bribe the military.

Some report that the military leaders rivaled Sadat and Mubarak in how the money was exploited for their own personal wealth.

Unlike in the Gulf states where wealth came from a natural resource owned by the landowners that was sold as a commodity, oil, Egypt’s obedience to the foreign policy needs of the West was a largesse in the form of Western monetary bribes.

The West has both fears and hopes in Syria. America and Israel view Syria as one of Iran’s strongest allies. But democracy in Syria could result in a government that reflects the will of the Syrian people, who are clamoring for justice in the region against Israeli war crimes, militarism and nuclear hypocrisy.

Syria could go the way that Egypt is slowly moving, rightfully questioning the one-sided peace accord signed by Egypt with Israel and make Israel, once again, the region’s most important threat to true freedom in the Arab World.

Israel could easily step down as the number one threat to the Arab World simply by pursuing a genuine policy of making peace with the Palestinians. But Israel’s agenda is to confiscate as much land as possible under the public relations spin that the Palestinians are the terrorist threat and that the settlers are merely religious pilgrims seeking to find freedom in the West Bank.

The Israeli settlers, who number nearly 500,000, are a military terrorist enterprise that continues to assault and kill Palestinian civilians with the backing of the Israeli military and government.

Israel could end its conflict with the Arab World by simply being honest and by evacuating all of the lands it captured in the war it launched in 1967 and recognize a sovereign, independent Palestinian state.

But Israel is enjoying the turmoil in the region and slowly finding ways to co-opt Arab governments. Syria’s fate, however, is the fate of Israel.

If the Arab World can crack Syria’s dictatorship and give the Syrian people a true voice, it would become a model for the rest of the Arab World and pressure Israel to do the right thing.

— Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist and radio talk show host. Reach him at www.RadioChicagoland.com __

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com