Italian parliament urges increasing pressure on Syria

Resolution cites Assad payments to protesters to storm Israel’s border; "Only policy of sanction, condemnation" can halt human rights violation.

Anti-Assad protest in Syrian city of Hama 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Anti-Assad protest in Syrian city of Hama 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – Lawmakers in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday calling for the international community to ratchet up its pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end his government’s repression of democracy activists, as well as Iran’s and Hezbollah’s influence in Syria.
Fiamma Nirenstein, vice president of the chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee, in an interview to The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, described the resolution as a trailblazing document and an “in depth examination of how Syria is one of the worst dangers in the Middle East.”
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The deputies agreed that “only a correct policy of sanction and condemnation” can halt “the violation of human rights, which has always been perpetrated by the Alawite regime,” according to a translated copy of the three-page resolution obtained by the Post.
Assad is a member of the heterodox minority Alawite strand of Islam, and his family has controlled Syria since 1970.
“The possible fall of Bashar Assad’s regime would be a lethal blow for the Islamic Republic, which defines the protests in Syria as a ‘plot of the West,’” the Italian legislators agreed.
US officials have asserted that Iran’s government is working with Assad to clamp down on Syria’s democracy movement.
The Italian resolution was formulated late last month.
According to Nirenstein, “not a single member voted against” it on Wednesday and the results are “fantastic.”
Speaking to the Post from the Chamber of Deputies, she added that Syria is “endangering the freedom of Lebanon” through its support for the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hezbollah’s accumulation of “40,000 short- and medium-range rockets.”
While the European Union has sanctioned the Assad government for suppressing pro-reform demonstrations, the Italy’s Chamber of Deputies appears to be the first European parliament to issue a sweeping criticism of Assad’s blood-soaked repression of his population, as well as to condemn Syria’s efforts to target Israel and destabilize the Middle East.
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East
According to the resolution, “Palestinian-Syrians repeatedly tried to march across the border between Syria and Israel and swarm into the country; according to intelligence sources, the Damascus regime offered $1,000 to each protester willing to go to the border to provoke the reaction of Israeli soldiers so as to distract the world’s attention from the massacres perpetrated in Syria against the anti-government protesters.”
Syrian opposition groups, and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, noted that the Assad government paid Syrian farmers and Palestinians living in Syria to storm the demilitarized zone on the eastern edge of the Golan Heights.
The Italian resolution also calls for “work to prevent Syria from introducing foreign powers and security forces into its territory to crackdown on its protesters.”
In addition to increased sanctions against Assad’s government, the Italian lawmakers ask that Syria permit a UN mission access to the country to investigate the human rights situation.
The deputies also advocate a broad-based international effort to force Syria to end its campaign of violence against its people.
The Italian legislators deemed the efforts of the international community, including the United States, “to engage in dialogue with the present Syrian regime... unrealistic and unfeasible.” The resolution underscores the Syrian- Iranian alliance as a source for volatility and jingoism in the region.
According to the resolution, “Last February, some days after the fall of Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, two Iranian war ships went through the Suez Canal for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and docked at the port of Latakia in Syria.
“Following their arrival, on March 2, Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Assad signed a protocol to immediately start work to transform Latakia Port into a military base for the Iranian Navy, with the possibility to accommodate war ships, submarines and batteries to launch missiles against ships and air crafts,” the legislators said.