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Syria - how should the West react?

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Syria - how should the West react?

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As thousands of Syrians flee from the violence into neighbouring Turkey, the lack of response from the West is in stark contrast to its reaction to events in Libya. So why is that?

Euronews has been speaking to Majed Nehmé, who runs the French magazine Afrique Asie in Paris.

euronews:
How do you explain the silence of the international community in regard to what is going on in Syria?

Majed Nehmé:
In reality, the world and the media are not silent, but the so-called international community is unable to take any action in the case of Syria. This is because Syria, or the Syrian regime, is fully protected by Russia and China.

The Russian Prime Minister showed it clearly when he said “we fell into the trap when we didn’t use our veto in the UN with regard to Libya, and we consider Syria as a strategic issue relating to our interests. We will not repeat this mistake.”

That is what a lot of countries are doing now, including South Africa which said that it too would not repeat its mistake regarding Libya. There is no will from the major players on the international stage to overthrow the Syrian regime.

All they want is for the regime to change its policy and move away from Iran’s policies. This is because Syria is an essential player that serves the West’s interests indirectly through what is called ‘stability’, but it seems that this picture is changing now after the protests that erupted in Syria some weeks ago.

euronews:
What is the strategic importance of this country, that makes the world fearful of the fall of its regime?

Majed Nehmé:
Firstly, because this regime has cooperated at all levels with the West. We know, for instance, that after September 11, Syrian secret intelligence cooperated a lot with the CIA to combat the so-called ‘terrorism’. Syria also cooperated in the Iraqi issue.

This kind of cooperation is why Israel prefers such a regime. Since the signing of the Treaty of Golan in 1974, there hasn’t been even a single shot from Syria against Israel, which means that Israel doesn’t want regime change, and its replacement by a different regime whose policies it doesn’t know. So the enemy you know is better than the friend you don’t know. This is the logic behind the international community’s silence. In addition, Syria isn’t like Libya. It is a strategic ally to Russia, and Russia is willing to veto any resolution against Syrian interests.

euronews:
Do you think that the regime will fall if these protests continue?

Majed Nehmé:
I think that the regime will not fall as long as there’s no split within the Syrian army or within the security services. Syria will go through a very long period of uncertainties because, unlike what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, where we saw that the army was against the security forces, and in Tunisia the army moved against the president, these scenarios haven’t taken place yet. But if one of these scenarios happens, the Syrian regime will fall very quickly.