The political temperature has increased considerably in Western capitals because of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons in Douma, Eastern Ghouta and the subsequent airstrikes carried out by the US, UK and France. The US, Britain and France all jumped at the opportunity to ‘muscle’ in on Syria. Britain and France jumped on the bandwagon and added more noise to the drums that are already beating.
As Muslims living here in Britain, it is important to consider the following points when reacting to this new march towards war in Syria.
1- Western nations are driven by perpetual interests not human life.
Going back in history we heard the same arguments leading to the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, with tyranny and human life presented as the main motives. However, we are all aware that the real motives were economic, geopolitical and strategic. Human-life figures were not significant in Western calculations. Likewise, the war in Syria has been raging for over seven years, 500,000 have been killed, millions displaced, chemical weapons have been used repeatedly and foreign mercenaries are running riot. Russia has been killing indiscriminately, while the US has not only stood idle, but given the green light for this human disaster and intervened to discipline Russia and Iran when they have stepped a foot outside the strategic plan drawn by the US. So, let’s not be fooled once again by Western lies and propaganda which hide their true motives and interests in striking Russia.
2- Muslim states are colonial tools to safeguard Western interests.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the middle of rising tensions between the US and Russia, has refused to break relations and offered his services to mediate between the rival powers. This is quite a shocking posture given the fallout in Douma with Russia fully backing the Syrian regime. One would have expected President Erdogan to have taken firm political action. Given that a week before, there was a conference in Ankara – bringing Turkey, Iran and Russia together over Syria. Such firm action would be wishful from a leader who talks the talk but fails to walk when it is required. However, when it comes to Turkish national interests President Erdogan sends Turkish troops into Afrin but remains idle when Muslims are slaughtered in Douma and in the rest of Syria. Likewise, the other Muslim states are a disgrace – the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman is more interested in eating French cuisine and signing multibillion dollar arms agreements with the same Western nations that have terrorised the Ummah via dictatorial regimes, than reacting to the pain and suffering in Syria.
3- The Syrian regime is not the real enemy; it is colonialism.
Sometimes we get engrossed in the crimes of insignificant figures such as Bashar al-Assad, missing the real picture – colonialism. Colonialism forms the backdrop of not only Syria, but the rest of the Muslim world too. Colonialism is the real enemy as it is preventing the Muslim world from breaking free intellectually, economically, politically and militarily. This is what the Ummah needs to focus on and realise. It is the US which has held strategic influence in Syria since the time of Bashar al-Assad’s father. Pre-Syrian conflict, the Assad’s were known as one of the favourite families in Washington with frequent visits and dinner with US officials. However, colonialism is not loyal to its agents and is willing to discard them for perpetual existence and we see this via the various peace talks (Geneva, Astana, Sochi, Ankara), with colonial powers ready to preserve the system that has served them well – with or without Bashar al-Assad.
4- US vs Russia
Whilst Russia saw an opportunity to punch above its weight in Syria, it aides the US in its dirty work in safeguarding the Syrian regime and destroying the organic resistance. Russia has failed to exit the US defined parameters, differing with the US over operations and tactics as opposed to strategy. The US realises Russia wants a share of the cake in Syria and is willing to give it naval/military bases in Tartus and Latakia; however, the US is prepared to discipline Russia when it wants more than is offered – this being one of the goals behind the limited strikes we see in Syria. Also, a sub goal behind the limited strikes can be seen through the new appointments in the US administration and them being a muscle-flexing manoeuvre. Appointments such as the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and the new National Security Advisor, John Bolton, known for his hawkish views – sending a strong message to adversaries such as North Korea, Russia and China.
5- Let’s not be bitten by the same hole twice.
As a Muslim community we need to be politically aware of the plots, plans and games of the colonial powers to avoid falling into their traps so that we can remain consistent on our path to revive the Ummah. This requires us to make issues such as Syria a discussion point in the community, so that the true reality can be ascertained rather than the false propaganda and misinformation that we hear and read. As a community we need to take the following steps:
a- Expose the double standards and hypocrisy of Western foreign policy as demonstrated over what we see in Syria, so that as a community we don’t become a fifth column for colonial agendas abroad.
b- Not be silenced in speaking over Syria or other Muslim issues by internal colonial instruments of oppression such as Prevent and Contest.
c- Encourage mosques to address Syria in Friday prayers so that the community is aware of the plots and plans of colonial powers in Syria.
d- Become a politically active community in addressing global Muslim issues and looking to Islam for solutions, rather than failed pragmatic solutions such as lobbying the UN or MPs.
e- Advocate the establishment of the Khilafah in Muslim lands to eject colonialism, so that as an Ummah we can determine our own political destiny.