Across the Bay

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

PSP Responds to Issa

It seems I'm not the only one to take apart Rep. Issa's op-ed.

Bahaa Abu Karroum, editor of the Progressive Socialist Party's website, penned a response of his own in An-Nahar entitled: "Why Everyone Must Not Talk to the Syrian Regime."

Here are some translated excerpts (emphasis mine):

In fact, there seems to be a clear misunderstanding of the position of the Syrian regime towards fundamentalist movements in general.
To say that the regime in Syria is secular and in opposition to the ideology of al-Qaeda and [Islamic] fundamentalism has no practical justification even if this explanation sounds logical to a large extent and is held by many officials in the West.

After the rise of political Islam in the region and its taking the lead in the camp of resistance and rejectionism, and since the regime in Syria belongs to a paradigm left over from the Cold War era, the regime has sought to present any alternative to its rule as unacceptable to the neighboring Arab states and the international community alike. And it therefore supports and harnesses this unacceptable alternative and actively seeks to keep it and develop it as the regime aborts all the other liberal and democratic alternatives. Moreover, this regime does not fear fundamentalism because it has the example of Hama, should anything emerge to threaten the regime.
What are the results of talking to the Syrian regime?
The Arab summit did not succeed in dissuading the Syrians from pursuing their policies despite all the criticism, wishes, and even tough talk that the Syrians heard. And instead of heeding the Arab will, the Syrian leadership considered the summit an Arab "rapprochement" towards Syria in order to break its isolation.

As for Lebanon, what was before the summit remains the same after it. Rather, the regime breathed easier and openly rejected the tribunal and escalated its plans in Lebanon. International delegates, including the UN Secretary General, also failed to dissuade the Syrians from opposing the international tribunal.

So, one must ask: if talking to Syria doesn't change anything, and if it reflects negatively on Lebanon, and pressures the dissidents and imprisoned intellectuals in Syria, and either way Syria never responds positively to any of the international community's demands, then why talk to Syria?