The difference between Bahrain and Syria

Why do you support the opposition in Bahrain and not in Syria? The answer is simple. I don’t support any opposition just because it is an opposition...

That would be as stupid and illogic as supporting any government just because it is a government. I try to base my political positions on principles. You can’t be pro-government in all cases and you can’t be pro-opposition in all cases. You have to analyze each case before you make up your mind in accordance with your basic principles.

There is a huge difference between the popular revolution in Bahrain and the so called “uprising” in Syria. In Bahrain the overwhelming majority support the revolution, in Syria the majority support the government of Bashar al-Assad. In an article published the British paper The Guardian (17/1 2012) journalist Jonathan Steele notes the fact that most Syrians back President Assad.

Another difference is in the relations to the US of each respective state. The Bahraini regime has excellent ties to the US. Bahrain has a large US military base. The US has deployed security operatives on the island to help suppress the opposition. Syria has no US military presence and instead of suppressing the opposition, the US is fueling it in every possible way.

The US provides all kinds of aid to the Bahraini armed forces. The U.S. Office of Military Cooperation in Bahrain is attached to the U.S. Embassy in Manama. Military exercises are conducted on a regular basis to increase the Bahraini forces readiness and improve coordination with the U.S. and other GCC forces. The Bahraini regime also sends personnel to the United States for military training. The Syrian military on the other hand has no relations whatsoever to the US.

Bashar al-Assad is perceived by many Arabs as an icon of anti-Imperialist resistance while the Bahraini king, Hamad bin Khalifah, is just another corrupt and despised tyrant. In fact, Assad today enjoys large popular support in Syria and in the Arab World.As late as 2009, a public opinion poll conducted by University of Maryland in cooperation with Zogby International Foundation for Polls held in six Arab countries that are considered moderate (as opposed to radical) and Western-friendly (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) showed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the most popular Arab leader.

What about Israel? As an anti-Zionist, an opponent of World Zionism and the Zionist regime currently occupying Palestine, I have to take this aspect into consideration when I analyze the situation in both Syria and Bahrain. On July 18 2009 Bahraini prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifah announced in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post that Arabs and Israelis must put their differences aside, i.e. submit to the status quo. According to Wikileaks, Bahrain's King Hamad boasted of his ties with Israel's intelligence services and told his government to stop referring to the Jewish state as the "Zionist enemy," a leaked US cable from 2005 showed.

Syria on the other hand is an ally of Israel’s arch enemy, The Islamic Republic of Iran, and a supporter of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. Syria is in a state of war with Israel and has refused any peace deal which does not include the return the Golan Heights. One of the obvious aims of the US and Israel in destroying Syria is to isolate and eventually crush Hezbollah, the only Arab army that has managed to stand up against the Zionist war machine.

The opposition in Bahrain is a genuine popular movement against an unpopular US and Zionist backed tyrant while the opposition in Syria can be divided in to two main parts. A genuine part which is peaceful, against foreign interference and for democratic reforms and a not so genuine part which is militant, dominated by not so democratic Wahhabi fanatics and Muslim Brotherhood activists, funded and armed by foreign powers, including the Saudi and Qatari Wahhabi dictatorships. This part of the opposition is completely opposed to dialogue and democratic reforms.

Some elements within this disingenuous opposition, which does not seem to have the welfare of the Syrian people as its first priority, are reaching out to the Zionist enemy. Yitzhak Herzog, an alternate on Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee who has previously held ministerial posts, has said the Syrian opposition wants to be friends with Israel.

Zionist media has been working around the clock to demonize the Syrian government while at the same time ignoring the Bahraini uprising and the Saudi crackdown and invasion. It is quite clear which of the two, Assad and Al-Khalifah, the Zionists prefer.

I hope these points answer why I as an anti-Imperialist, a democrat and an anti-Zionist support the immediate overthrow of the Bahraini regime but not the Syrian. This does not mean I think everything is fine and well in Syria. It needs peaceful democratic reforms which will make Syria even stronger and more capable of leading and inspiring Arab and Islamic resistance.

Author :Mohamed Omar
Mohamed Omar is a Swedish freelance writer


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