Arab media push for US intervention in Syria

Gulf backed pan-Arab media leads media blitz; articles focus on shaming Obama into action using moral arguments.

US destroyer launches cruise missile 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US destroyer launches cruise missile 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Arab media calls from the Sunni world for US intervention in Syria are at a fever pitch since pictures circulated last week of victims of an alleged Syrian chemical weapons attack. The Gulf backed pan-Arab media lead the media blitz.
The articles before and especially after the alleged Syrian chemical attack focus on shaming US president Barack Obama into action using moral arguments. The other kind of article that has appeared is one that shows Saudi Arabia as valiant for standing up to the US for its support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for its lack of support for the Syrian rebels, and for leaving it to face the Syria/Iran/Hezbollah axis alone.
In an article on Friday in the Saudi backed Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, Haitham al-Maleh writes that “the Syrian revolution remains without real allies.”
He says that the West is equivocating on whether to come to the Syrians’ aid, but has still done nothing.
“No one in the world is willing to lend a hand. Everyone is discussing whether or not to provide military and humanitarian aid,” says Maleh.
He goes on to add that the Syrians are left alone to fight against Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis (from Yemen), and Iraqi Shi’ites. And all the while “the West finds pretexts to refrain from arming the rebels,” such as the claim that radicals are part of the opposition.
“The West resorts to these pretexts to refrain from arming the rebels, ignoring the daily bloodletting of Syrians,” he says.
Saudi backed Al-Arabiya ran an article on Sunday by Faisal J. Abbas, which mentioned how Obama ignored his own red line over the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s regime. But in reality this is not the real issue, he says. The real issue is that far more people – over 100,000 – have been killed without the use of chemical weapons.
“Is the loss of life less significant when people are tortured to death in prisons, run over by tanks or fired at by Syrian regime fighter-jets?” he writes adding that despite this, intervention now would be “better late than never.”
Writing in the popular London-based Arab daily Al-Hayat on Sunday, Mostafa Zein is cynical about Obama’s motives for not intervening.
He writes that Obama is only interested in supporting his country’s interests and the current “chaos spreading in the Middle East secures such interests, without him having to pay a single dollar or lose a single soldier.”
The other argument presents Saudi Arabia as standing up against the Syria/Iran/Hezbollah axis and supporting the Syrian rebels without the required aid from the West.
Asharq al-Awsat ran an article by Abdul Rahman al-Rashed on Sunday, which was also reposted on the website of Al-Arabiya, arguing that Saudi Arabia is “surrounded” by enemies.
“As for Riyadh, the situation has become dreadful. Khomeini’s Iran is east of it, the Brotherhood’s Egypt was riding the Iranian wave west of it and Iranian Maliki’s Iraq is north of it. It’s a siege surrounding Saudi Arabia like never before in the region’s history,” writes Rashed.
He goes on to note that the failure of the Syrian rebels means that Iran is allowed to dominate the region through various countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Egypt and Sudan. And the Saudis have been brave in confronting the challenge: “This is something that is impossible for Saudi Arabia to give in to, no matter how much tensions it would cause in its relations with the US.”
Michael Young, writing on the NOW Lebanon website, states that it is possible that at some point “the Obama administration will grasp the devastating impact of the fact that it has undermined in just five years the central role the United States played in the Middle East for over six decades, and that this will lead it to respond militarily in Syria.”
He notes that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States stepped in to aid the Egyptian army after threats to cut off US aid began emanating from Washington. And in Syria, the Saudis are also taking the lead.
He goes on to conclude: “America has rarely seemed so indolent in the face of barbarism. Is Assad right in expecting no better than empty posturing from Washington? Or will the most overrated of American presidents be shamed into action, if only to salvage his collapsing reputation?”