Egyptian Crisis gives Syria Time to Talk about Democracy

November 28th, 2011

Published on ZNet, by Robert Fisk, November 24, 2011.

Egypt is the best thing to happen to Syria for a long time. Just when Western leaders – and Qatar – were hounding President Bashar al-Assad for his brutal suppression of opposition demonstrations, along comes the latest crisis in Egyptian cities where security men brutally suppress opposition demonstrators who want the army to obey the orders of a real democratic parliament and to stop posing as the “guardians” of a new constitution.  

Of course, Syria is not Egypt, which, I suppose, accounts for the mouse-like silence of the Obamas, Clintons, Camerons, Sarkozys and the Emir of Qatar over events in Cairo.

This gives yet more time for Damascus to talk about democracy, reform, pluralistic politics and a new constitution while its army fights the armed insurgency that has spread from Homs – a city that is now the centre of a vicious sectarian war. Is it still possible, conceivably, that President Assad will use this tiny bottle of oxygen from Egypt to prove that he really – really – means what he says about democracy, pluralism, etc? … //

… Dr Mokdad believes foreign journalists should be in Syria, but tells me he does not want me to risk my life in Homs and that “the British Government will blame us if you are killed”.

Cameron: War looms in Syria:

David Cameron urged world leaders to “engage” with Syrian opposition groups yesterday as he warned the country was on the brink of a full-scale civil war.

The Prime Minister praised interventions by Turkey and the Arab League against Bashar al-Assad’s brutal suppression of protests. Speaking alongside Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Downing Street, he said: “Today we had important discussions on Syria, where now a full-scale civil war is a real possibility.

“The world now needs to get behind with concerted pressure on the regime and positive engagement with the opposition, who can represent Syria in an inclusive transition,” he added.

“Syria is now at a dead end so change is inevitable,” Mr Gul had earlier said. (full text).

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