No Ifs, No Buts, Bashar Al-Assad Must Go
No ifs and no buts, the brutal dictator of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad, must go. And do so now, without the delay or prevarication of even one more minute.
And so must every other dictator in every other part of the Muslim World. I wish I had the courage to name them all.
But my message to all dictators and autocratic and absolute rulers in all parts of the Muslim World, echoing what Moses, God bless him, said to Pharaoh so long ago, is: “Let My People Go!”
Mr. Bashar Al-Assad: Pack up and leave – when you can and if you still can.
And do so before your own people, and many others infiltrating the ranks of your people from outside, and all the foreign hands behind all of them, fill you with lead and cut you to pieces in public the way they lynch-mobbed Col. Qaddafi of Libya.
Regardless of all the complications surrounding the Syrian Situation today, here is something that must be said, and said as clearly and loudly as possible: Bashar Al-Assad, Be Gone!
He must pack up and leave from the backdoor – if that exit is still available to him.
Bashar Al-Assad Must Go Because …
He must go because he is a dictator and a corrupt and cruel one at that – all dictators are.
He must go because significant and sizeable elements of his own people seem to want him to go.
He must go, because among those who seem to want Mr. Bashar Al-Assad to go are the Ikhwan of Syria – and also the Ikhwan of Egypt. And the Ikhwan, by and large, are good and honorable people.
And the Ikhwan, wherever they are, at least in the so-called Muslim World, are mostly patriots, and they are not traitors in the employ of foreign paymasters.
And the Ikhwan are not full of self-hate against their own land and people; against their own culture and language; and against their own history and heritage.
Some may criticize the Ikhwan for their “over-religious” zeal and for their commitment to the sanctity of their Islamic past, but what perhaps no one can question is their untrammeled dedication to build a better future for their own nations, peoples and societies.
So, when the Ikhwan of Syria say, and when also the Ikhwan of Egypt say, Bashar must go, I echo their call and say: “Absolutely, Bashar must go!”
Elementary, My Dear Watson!
But to me, the most “elementary thing” – as in Sherlock Holmes saying to his friend, colleague and historian, Dr. Watson: “Elementary, My Dear Watson!” – in this entire episode is this:
“Bashar is a dictator and dictators must go, no matter where they are and no matter who they are. And no matter what disguise they wear.
Dictators must go because their time has come and gone, even though no time was or is really their time, and even though no place was or is really their place.”
Dictators in the Muslim World and Muslim Silence
But then the problem is that the phenomenon of absolute and dictatorial rule in the so-called Muslim World is alive and well. And these dictators and absolute rulers in the Muslim World exist in all sizes, shapes, colors and costumes.
Some of these absolute rulers and dictators are kings and sultans; some of them are so-called sheikhs; and some others are something else. But no Muslim ever speaks about them, especially not the Good Muslims.
Not even the goodly Ikhwan spoke up about them, leave alone against them. But, poor Ikhwan, they had their reasons, and those reasons were not hard to understand.
The Ikhwan had their back to the wall: in most places to the walls of prison and torture chambers at the hands of one anti-people, anti-nation dictator or another, mostly on the payroll of foreign paymasters.
And when the Ikhwan ran from the reach of their own dictators from their natural habitat in a place like Egypt, they ended up in the arms of these other dictators of royal heredity who for their own mixed reasons gave them a manner of refuge and afforded them safe haven of sorts, so long as the Ikhwan shut up and behaved themselves.
So, what were the Ikhwan to do?
Ikhwan and Muslim Royal Dictators
As to why these hereditary royal dictators let the Ikhwan slip into their midst is a question we can debate till the last camel is finally tied. Maybe they were just being smart and saying to themselves: Maybe Co-Optation of your enemies is not such a bad idea after all?
So, they said to themselves, these kings, sheikhs, sultans and other Muslim dictators and absolute rulers, Let us Co-Opt the Ikhwan and other Good Muslims. Give them what they need – security, a bit of money, and a very carefully limited and monitored platform on Islam, and that will keep them happy: at least for the time being.
That is one theory why silence reigns opaque and supreme among Good Muslims, including Ikhwan, when it comes to the hereditary royal dictators of the so-called Muslim World. Whoever kills the goose that lays golden eggs, right? And whoever bites the hand that feeds you?
Desperate to Destroy the Ikhwan
But these kings, sheikhs, sultans and other Muslim dictators and absolute rulers are neither totally naïve nor totally intelligence-challenged. And they receive the best intelligence about all the goings-on around them, and they get the best all-round tutoring from their friends and mentors in Machiavellian morals and methods.
That is why some of the more desperate ones among them wagged their tails so viciously at the prospects of an Ikhwan victory in the recent Egyptian elections.
To what degree they financed and directed the Mubarak military dictatorship and the post-Mubarak Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Field Marshal Tantawi is anybody’s guess.
Ikhwan Win Egypt
But then history took its course.
Elections came and went and the Ikhwan won. The Ikhwan swept the polls for both houses of Parliament in Egypt. Now, that is not how you were supposed to play the game if you were a Muslim.
The way it works is: People take part in elections; win majorities; form governments; and live happily ever after. But not if you are a Muslim – a real Muslim that is, like the Ikhwan for example.
The Election Protocol for the Ikhwan and other Good Muslims is: Be nice; enter elections, which, you are predestined to lose; you then take to the streets and spend your days protesting the results, while others, some of them in foreign pay, rule and plunder your country and send it to hell in a handbasket.
Those are the rules of the game of elections for Muslims – Good Muslims, including the Ikhwan.
The Ikhwan in Egypt bucked that trend. And they did so without much ceremony or fanfare.
After being locked out of Egyptian public life for over 60 years, and crammed in jails and tortured and hanged and killed, no sooner was the heel of the boot of oppression eased off their neck a bit, they waltzed into the public square and decisively swept every election that was in sight.
What were the poor frightened hereditary royal Muslim dictators to do?
Mega-Billion-Dollar Funds to Tarnish Ikhwan Image
In response, they set up mega-billion-dollar special funds for undoing the damage. And that was going to be done by tarnishing the good name of the Ikhwan and de-legitimizing and, where possible, nullifying their electoral victories.
And that is precisely what the absolute Muslim royals did.
So, their echo-chambers inside and outside Egypt started to say the most outlandish things about the Ikhwan and their election victories. The mega-billion dollars coming out of the pockets of the royal dictators, money that they took out of the pockets of their own people, were having an effect.
The maligning and badmouthing of the newly elected Egyptian Parliament continued till it was dissolved by the SCAF in cahoots with a Mubarak-era court. Heroic efforts on the part of the newly elected president, Dr. Morsi, to recall and revive the parliament proved futile. Five billion Egyptian pounds spent on parliamentary elections which the Ikhwan won so decisively went down the drain.
The mercenary media on the local front filled the airwaves and newspaper pages with sheer nonsense about the Ikhwan and their role in Egypt in general and their role in the recent elections in particular.
Dr. Morsi’s Delusion of Immunity and Imperviousness
In the meantime, Dr. Morsi seems to embrace a different kind of delusion. He seems to go about his daily business as if he is immune from all attacks from the bad people around him and he is impervious to all enemy conspiracies to destroy him and his presidency and also, if possible, to assassinate him.
He seems to think he is marching in the footsteps of the Sahaabah, and he is doing the right thing, and therefore he has to disregard all security imperatives and walk among the people and talk to them in the streets and mill and mix with them freely and without inhibitions or restraints.
Dr. Morsi and Dr. Katatni Reach Out to the Royal Dictators
And then Dr. Morsi also seems to be embarked on a different kind of crusade: to save the royal dictators from extinction and soothe their fears. To accomplish this end, he receives and humors one set of them from one place and then goes and coddles another set of them in another place.
He probably said to them: Hey this is not the end of the world; we are all Muslims; we can all get along just fine; and we are not going to rock the boat. Not now anyway. Right now, there are so many other boats we have to worry about.
And no doubt the totally terrified and dumbfounded royal dictators said to him: You sure, we can really have a break? You are not going to destroy us using a magic wand like Moses used to destroy Pharaoh?
And Dr. Morsi said to them: You kidding me? We are believers and brothers – just keep them dollars coming. A wink and a nod!
Masterstroke of International Diplomacy
More respectful and reasonable voices would call this a masterstroke of diplomacy by Dr. Morsi. Nothing new to Dr. Morsi and the Ikhwan though. The Lower Chamber of the Egyptian Parliament, headed by Dr. Katatni of the Ikhwan, before it was dismantled first by SCAF and then later by a corrupt Mubarak-era court, was the first to defuse a diplomatic bomb in public view.
And here is how it went: Disgruntled Egyptians with frustration eating their innards for decades of abuse and insults at the hands of the absolute royals and their dictatorship machines launched demonstrations in front of the royal embassy in Cairo and called the king an Israeli stooge. In response, the royal ambassador to Egypt packed up and went home.
All hell broke loose, as they say. It was then that Dr. Katatni of the Ikhwan, took a gigantic delegation of both houses of parliament and prominent citizenry and went to appease the raging royals and bring back the royal ambassador.
I think this is what happened, and it makes perfect sense.
The absolute royal dictators – terrified out of their wits about their inability, and the seeming reluctance or inability of their friends and masters, to control events in Egypt, came to the conclusion that these mad Mullahs in Egypt were not really that bad after all. They seem to be willing and able to make a deal.
Maybe we can do business with them.
That is how the hereditary royal dictators of Islam may have reasoned in their own minds. Or maybe that is how they were coached and briefed by their foreign mentors and masters.
Or, on the other hand, chalk it out to sheer genius on the part of the Ikhwan – and Dr. Morsi and Dr. Katatni and others – that things with the royal dictators turned out the way they did.
Islam to the Rescue?
Or, as usual, blame it all on Islam.
This Islam, that Ikhwan stalwarts seem to profess so publicly and brazenly, and in whose name they suffered endlessly, for close to a century, the Islam that teaches “Treat well those who treat you badly” – or as the immortal Qur’an puts it: Idfa’ Bil-Hasanatis Sayyi-ah.
So, at least for the time being, and at least on the surface, it is all quiet if not actually hunky-dory on the Royal Dictator Front. But not where Syria is concerned.
The royals want their pound of flesh from Bashar Al-Assad. Not necessarily for any beef of their own that they may have with Bashar Al-Assad, but for a whole lot of other reasons.
Syria Question or Iran Angle?
The most real and powerful of these reasons seems to be the fact that Bashar Al-Assad for whatever reason is a friend of Iran, whom they hate with a passion, both under their own steam as well as in compliance with the policies and directives of their foreign masters.
For 30 long and terrifying years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been a thorn in the flesh of all neighboring kings, sheikhs, sultans and other Muslim dictators and absolute rulers and in fact a real mortal threat to their very existence.
The logic has been simple: If Iran-style politically aware and active Islam takes hold in their lands, they have no choice but to go.
The choice before them was stark: It is they or real Islam that taught people to fight for their rights and freedoms.
Muslim Royal Dictators Did All in their Power
That is why these royal dictators and their cronies all around, and their foreign mentors and masters, did their very best over the past 30 years to destroy Iran.
To begin with, they got the great big Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, to wage a most brutal eight-year war on Iran leaving millions of Iranians and Iraqis dead or maimed.
Then they got their foreign masters to invade and destroy Iraq and hang Saddam, when Saddam got a bit too big for his own britches and invaded Kuwait.
Then they made noises that they would want their own nuclear weapons if Iran ever got close to having one, even though as things stand they have to hire foreigners to fly their F16 fighter planes and do pretty much everything else for them, and even though they have been living happily ever after with hundreds of nuclear weapons in the possession of the only nuclear power in their neighborhood, Israel.
And their kings have been repeatedly urging their friends in America to “cut off the head of the snake” of Iran.
And they have been shelling out billions upon billions of dollars to keep everyone everywhere happy and contented and quiescent, not the least their own people.
Olive Branch or Manna from Heaven?
So, this olive branch coming from Dr. Katatni, Dr. Morsi and Ikhwan was just too much good news for the royal dictators. It was Manna from heaven. If nothing else, it was some much-needed breathing room. Hudnah, I think is what they call it in their language.
So, some of them rushed to deposit some none-too-shabby chunks of their people’s money, which they never showed to their own people, into Egyptian public depositories. And the new Islamic Egypt, under the Ikhwan, needed all the money it could get.
And if this was the way how God Almighty had decided to bring some of that money into the empty Egyptian coffers, so be it. Who can question God’s will, right?
So, “Hallelujah!” or whatever the Islamic equivalent of same that Ikhwan might be expected to say.
Shared Focus on a Common Purpose
And they are all focused on a common purpose now: Bashar Al-Assad must go.
Ikhwan are quite vocal about it because they think that is the right thing to do.
The royal dictators, just like their foreign mentors and masters, are gung-ho on it because that will contribute to the security of Israel, weaken Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon and make it easier for Israel and America to destroy Iran.
So, even though they come from different places, they are all headed in the direction of the same goal. And that goal is: Let us try and push Bashar Al-Assad out.
China and Russia Refuse to Play Roulette
A further complication arises from the fact that neither Russia nor China are willing to play the usual roulette that they routinely used to do until now, resulting in the destruction of one Muslim society after another over the past 25 years.
That is partly because both Russia and China have significant interests of their own riding on the outcome of the Syria situation. And they are both big and grown up enough now to be able to stand up for themselves and defend their own interests.
Today’s Russia under Putin is a different country than it was under Yeltsin or even under Medvedev. And China is now much stronger and wiser and more self-confident that it was a decade or two ago. So, neither of them is willing to cede the so-called Middle East back to the monopoly interest of the US and Israel.
The Islamic uprisings stirring in some of the Arab lands have added a new dimension to the equation. With the Ikhwan winning Egypt, the noose around the neck of Bashar Al-Assad is now complete. Turkey has been on board the anti-Bashar ship a long time now, albeit quite ineffectively.
The Gamble Iran Lost
Sadly, Iran lost a huge and historic gamble on the Syria front.
Instead of keeping the larger and the more long-term picture in mind and working to liberate the Syrian people from the grip of a brutal dictator, it sided with the dictator Bashar Al-Assad. In doing this, Iran compromised its own credibility and leadership in the so-called Middle East and the world and quite possibly damaged also its vital security imperatives.
Whether this was born of an obsessive distrust of its neighbors and others elsewhere, and whether or not it had anything to do with the Shi’a-Sunni issue, Bashar Al-Assad being an Alevi-type Shi'a, the damage done to Iran’s interests is enormous and will take years of skillful work to mend.
Complications or Not, Bashar Al-Assad Must Go
So, these are some of the complications that surround the Syria question. But complications or not, the fact is that the time has come for Bashar Al-Assad to be gone.
He is yesterday’s news and has no place in today’s world.
© 2012 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.