Finally, someone is talking sense

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Abdulrahman al-Rashed


By : Abdulrahman Al-Rashed


I recently read a statement by Saudi diplomat Prince Turki Al-Faisal that carries several meanings. He said: “Europe complains of the big number of Syrian refugees. The solution is simple. Take one Syrian refugee, that is Syrian President Bashar Assad and you’d be done with the problem of another 10 million Syrian refugees.”

This is literally true, because the struggle in Syria is because of Assad. It is also true in general terms, as there are direct solutions, instead of the complicated ones that politicians have sought that are irrelevant to the original problem.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement calling for supporting the fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and cooperating with them falls within the context of a direct solution. While arguing the case for military action against Daesh, he said there are around “70,000 Syrian opposition fighters — principally the FSA — who do not belong to extremist groups and with whom we can coordinate attacks on (Daesh).”

He clarified that the majority of the FSA are soldiers that defected from the Syrian army and have nothing to do with extremist ideology. Cameron’s statements came during a 10-hour debate in the House of Commons regarding Syria, in which he attempted to convince MPs to approve British airstrikes against Daesh in Syria. The debate between the British politicians was a heated one as usual. Assad attempted to thwart Cameron’s proposal by granting the BBC an interview that was broadcast the same day as the debate in the House of Commons; however, he failed.

Cameron defeated Assad’s logic, and MPs voted for military intervention. His justifications for intervention and vision of a solution are clear. Cameron sees that the problem in Syria is in both the Syrian regime as well as terrorist organizations. As long as fighting Daesh has become necessary for the security of Britain, Europe and the world, the solution is in supporting Syrian nationalists, like the FSA, and this can be the basis of a solution for the Syrian struggle.

The solution, which the Russians resorted to, and which some western governments no longer mind, is cooperating with the Assad regime to fight Daesh. However, this solution will fail as even if, in the best-case scenario, it resolves half of the problem and eliminates terrorist groups, it actually maintains the origin of the problem and the major source of tension, namely the regime.

Therefore, no matter what they do, terrorism will emerge again as long as the cause is there. What Cameron is calling for is supporting Syrian nationalist powers that are willing to fight terrorists to defend their land, and can establish a new government that represents all the Syrian people.

The solution, which the Russians resorted to, and which some western governments no longer mind, is cooperating with the Assad regime to fight Daesh.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

It’s true that the situation in Syria has become complicated; however, resolving it via the Russian approach of fighting Daesh and letting the Assad regime rule further complicates it. This proposal actually adds fuel to fire. We think the Russians who adopt this proposal, which is similar to Iran’s, will change their stance now that they deal with facts on the ground. Cameron indirectly spoke about this on Wednesday when he said the Russians have also begun to deal with the FSA and to recognize its presence.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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