Middle East

Will Turkey and the Arabs come to the aid of the Syrian people in their moment of need?

After spending months observing the callous slaughter and atrocious carnage of innocent Syrians at the hands of Assad’s brutal regime, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait finally mustered enough strength to lift themselves from paralysis and undertook the ignoble deed of recalling their ambassadors from Damascus. Even in their terse statements, one finds little solace for the Syrian people. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands before its historic responsibility toward her brothers, demanding the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, and the use of reason before it is too late,” Abdullah said in a statement read on Saudi state television. The pitiful remark that has taken months to transpire is by all accounts another bloody stain on the three monarchs that not only share much of the same features as Assad’s oppressive regime, but are exemplary masters in their own right at crushing domestic opposition. Hence the muzzled criticisms and restrained gestures dressed in velvet gloves are hardly going to halt Assad’s rivers of blood.

Then there is Turkey, which has been so boisterous in its chastisement of Assad that many poor souls in Syria have been longing for Erdogan to intervene and rescue them from the barbarism of the Assad’s Alawite clan. Members of the clan are responsible for spearheading Assad’s war machine and are notorious for their hatred towards Sunni Muslims. They routinely torture and taunt their victims about their deen prior to executing them in cold blood.

On August 9th 2011, the Turkish foreign minister Mr. Davutoglu visited Assad to supposedly deliver a stern message from Erdogan to stop the horrific bloodshed. He was bluntly told by Assad that Damascus “will not relent in pursuing the terrorist groups in order to protect the stability of the country and the security of the citizens.” In other words leave us alone to kill whomsoever we like.

Out of the four regional countries that have hitherto expressed their displeasure towards Assad’s regime, Turkey is best place to put an instant stop to the carnage. This is because Erdogan domestically is stronger than ever before, and has achieved the near impossible feat of not only marginalizing the army’s role in political life, but has replaced the army’s leadership with handpicked generals. This means that under Erdogan’s stewardship the executive, the judiciary, the army and much of the civic institutions can be galvanized to support an immediate intervention in Syria, and put an end to the targeted massacre of Syrians. Recent history is also on Erdogan’s side. In 1998 Turkey amassed 10,000 troops at the Syrian border and threatened to invade, unless Damascus surrendered the then PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Damascus quickly capitulated and asked Ocalan to leave, who was eventually apprehended in Kenya. And in the month of Ramadan, Erdogan will enjoy the whole hearted support of the whole ummah if he were only to take a small step in this direction. If this was not enough, then Erdogan could also borrow a page from the so called doctrine of humanitarian intervention invoked by Britain and France to invade Libya. He is sure to find little international opposition should he opt for this route.

With all of the odds stacked in his favour, Erdogan continues to drag his heels, as if the spilling of Muslim blood at the hands of Assad is novel spectator sport. This is very reminiscent of the Jewish state’s slaughter of Palestinians in 2009, followed by Erdogan’s fiery rhetoric, which in the end was capped by inaction.

In this respect Erdogan, is no different to other rulers of the Arab and Muslim world who are often found floundering at the time of the ummah’s need, despite the capability of their armed forces and the political reality of the situation in their favour. This is because Erdogan and other Arab rulers do not serve the ummah of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Rather, they are servants of foreign powers, and are the leading custodians of their master’s interests in the region. They are mere puppets who speak and act when they are told and not before.

In the case of Syria, America is giving Assad enough time to put down the uprising with tacit support from Turkey and Iran. At the same time, the US is exploring alternative political solutions to Assad’s regime- again with Turkey’s and Iran’s full cooperation. This is the ugly reality of the situation that faces the innocent people of Syria.

The only salvation for the people of Syria and for that matter the entire Arab and Muslim world is to cease in the engagement of useless pursuits such as beseechment of Western powers to rescue them from tyrant rulers who in the first place were installed by West. Instead the people of the Arab world must work to find salvation in the restoration of the Caliphate. For only the Caliphate on the way of the prophethood can give them protection, dignity and justice.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “The imam is a shield behind whom the people are protected and fight.” [Sahih Muslim]

14 Ramadan 1432