The US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who seems to be very fond of throwing around warning at others, including Pakistan, of serious consequences, just said in the Syrian context “Our message to those who give the orders and those who carry them out: Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences.” I am not too happy over the term ‘killing your own citizens’ as if killing citizens of other countries is a virtue. I suppose the United States officials do need this differentiation of the victims into ‘your own’ and ‘other citizens’ because without this, the Americans themselves would be facing the most serious consequences for killing citizens of other countries almost on a perpetual basis. First of all, they founded their state on the graves of indigenous people of America, the Red Indians, whom they hunted down to near extinction. Also, US is the only country on earth that displayed the extreme cruelty of actually using nuclear weapons, not once but twice, and on civilian population. As if that was not enough, the country has been actively and perpetually launching invasions on various countries in the world, not because they posed any threat to it, but just to establish its rule over the globe. A country that maintains eleven aircraft carriers, and has military bases around the globe, could not possibly have world peace as its top priority, especially when we know that in the one region that it has been involved with in peace-making efforts, Middle East, it has done just the opposite through its biased policies. All its favours like economic and military aid, as well as unqualified support on the diplomatic and other fronts, have been for Israel, which it has encouraged to take over more and more of the Palestine territory, in its efforts to negate the chances of the formation of a viable Palestinian state. Lately, its victims have been mainly Muslim states like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Syria and Iran lined up for future assaults and other Muslim states to follow. So, when leaders of a country like United States say how grieved they are over the plight of Syrians, they hardly sound convincing.

A bunch of clowns, some misguided, short-sighted and selfish Muslim states included, led by the US, have been actively engaged against Syria, providing arms, ammunition, financial aid, communication equipment, even saboteurs to the opposition, thus encouraging them to take a tougher stand against the Syrian authorities, thereby inviting greater degree of retaliation, thus increasing the level of bloodshed, to the misfortune of all Syrians. This was followed by their frontman, Ban Ki-moon, taking up the issue on their behalf but these attempts failed in dislodging Bashar al-Assad because of widespread support he enjoys among the Syrians and the fact that they could not manage to convince China and Russia to go along with their nefarious designs to weaken yet another opponent of Israel.

It is nice that now a better person like Kofi Annan has taken over the Syrian problem and is trying to solve it in the best possible manner. It might perhaps be too much to expect from the so-called ‘friends of Syria’, but still it would be better if they laid off for a while and let Kofi Annan do his job in peace. I am sure Bashar will know now that things cannot go on like they have been in the past. The Syrian opposition, or at least the sensible people among them, will also realize that a Libya-like quick-fix is out of question in Syria. With Bashar as well as his opponents scaling down their expectations to realistic levels, I feel Kofi Annan might just succeed in bringing peace to Syria where these characters have utterly failed, mainly because of their insincerity and evil designs: to put another country on a path of destruction, like they did in Iraq, and others for their selfish and personal motives, including sectarian feelings, while feigning to be the biggest well-wishers of Syria and Syrians. Syrian referendum as well as the acceptance of peace plan by Bashar are hopeful signs and with a bit of patience and realism on all sides, an arrangement could be worked out that would meet the genuine aspirations of the Syrian people, while reducing the unnecessary death and destruction to the lowest possible levels. I hope good sense prevails.

S.R.H. HASHMI,

Karachi, April 2