Even Former Friends Abandon Syria’s Regime: Noe & Raad
As the death toll from unrest in Syria mounts, with perhaps as many as 2,000 killed in the past five months, Mideast commentators who support the Syrian regime have become increasingly rare.
Even the publications of Syria’s traditional allies, such as the Palestinian Hamas movement, whose top leadership is based in Damascus, are giving space to harsh indictments of those loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In the pro-Hamas, Gaza-based daily Al-Resaleh last week, columnist Moumen Bseiso wrote that the Syrian regime “is extremely hostile to the aspirations and rights of its people” even though it enjoys “an honorable record at the foreign level” as a leader of resistance to Israeli and Western agendas in the region.
In an unsubtle reference to Assad’s confident pronouncement to the Wall Street Journal at the beginning of the year that Syria was immune to the uprisings in the rest of the Arab world because of its foreign policy, Bseiso concluded that coexistence between the “course of domestic tyranny and foreign dignity … cannot last forever.” The values of “freedom, dignity and justice are absolute values and strategic principles that cannot be traded.”
Some of the strongest criticism has come from Saudi owned media, especially in the wake of Saudi King Abdullah’s recent call for Assad to “stop the killing machine” followed by Saudi Arabia’s recall of its ambassador to Syria.
In the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, one of the most widely circulated Saudi-owned dailies, 15 of the last 19 opinion pieces focused on Syria, with almost all arguing that the Syrian regime was unambiguously evil and would inevitably fall.
Among them was a piece by columnist and TV show host Hussein Shobokshi, who wrote: Even the most optimistic of observers couldn’t have imagined such a closing scene for the Syrian regime. The popular uprising there is glowing with determination and enthusiasm, as internal support grows alongside international approval and blessing.