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Arab American Media: Don't Turn Syria Into Another Lybia

Posted: Feb 24, 2012

Editorial Note: Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s assault on the besieged city of Homs has left what human rights groups say are as many as 7000 dead, including American journalist Marie Colvin and French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik. The assault is the latest in a now 12-month old civil conflict pitting the autocratic ruler against rebels determined to end his decade-long presidency. Representatives from over 70 nations have now gathered in Tunisia for a “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting, which includes former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At issue is what kind of intervention, if any, should be taken. New America Media asked members of the Arab American media for their views.

Osama Siblani, Publisher, The Arab American News, Dearborn, Mich.

I’m against an intervention. I think what’s happening is a concerted effort to remove the Syrian regime. It’s a bloc for them [Western powers]. They’re trying to bring [Lebanese militant political party] Hezbollah down by knocking out the link (Syria).

I’m not saying that I don’t think reform is needed. But destroying the country isn’t the way to do it. Intervention is not going to stop the killings, it’s going to increase the violence. Intervention will create a catastrophic situation for the region and I believe they (the West) will not intervene. They will probably supply weapons and training, but it’s not going to be a war like in Libya or Iraq.

The Arab world is being fragmented and destroyed, and we have no idea of where we’re heading. I’m totally against revolutions… I’m for evolutions.

What happened in Libya changed my mind completely and I don’t trust many of these (Western nations) they’re going after their own interests and they’ve been doing so for years and years. Why the change of heart right now?

Fatima Bakhit, Publisher, Al Enteshar Newspaper, Los Angeles, Calif.

I am 100 percent in every way against any military and or foreign intervention in Syria. Syria is it’s own country, with it’s own people, government, and has a long history as one of the [world’s] oldest civilizations.

An intervention could precipitate a larger war, considering the roles of China and Russia. What’s more, this current situation in Syria and the Arab world is reminiscent of the Sikes-Pikot Treaty [signed in 1916, at the end of WWI, and resulting in the dismantling of the Turkish Ottoman Empire] in further dividing the Arab world in accordance with Western interests.

Look what happened in Iraq and look what happened most recently in Libya. Arabs are fighting against each other, [Arab] society’s divisions are growing deeper and Western and popular Arab media -- such as Al Jazeera and Alarabiya -- powered by Qatari and Saudi money are fueling it with sensationalism.

Ahmed Tharwat, Host and Producer, BelAhdan, Minneapolis, Minn.

A military intervention, especially by the West is not necessary. There are other means to stop the slaughter. I would say there should be some kind of intervention, but by a regional power, and perhaps the West can help facilitate, but should not lead it.

The main concern is how to stop the onslaught. Bashar Al-Assad is running out of options. When someone is slaughtering their own people, there should be an intervention, and certainly countries in that region would understand the situation best.

America is not qualified to intervene as they would do so only out of self-interest. If there is a military intervention this may trigger civil wars in the region. But we certainly don’t want to see another Libya.

Mansor Tadros, Publisher, Future Newspaper, Chicago, Ill.

The point at issue is that we are actually in need of reform. But at what cost?

Yes, Arabs want to see change in Syria, internal change, but I don’t support any military interventions. I support Syrians and recognize their struggles, but it is shameful that Arab media like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya are exaggerating the news as is the Western media.

Yes, there have been killings, but there are flaws in their reporting. An idiot can even see through it, but many people unfortunately do not. And we know what happened in Iraq. I have been to Iraq many times on business post- Saddam Hussein and the divisions that have been created since are devastating.

This is not to defend Saddam, but it is critical we recognize what happened to Iraqi society after the West’s military intervention. As Americans, we suffer from these actions, spending billions on countless lives lost.

I’ll never approve of Western forces turning Syria into another Iraq, or as we’ve seen most recently what’s happened in Libya. I’m happy that people in the Arab world are finally calling for change, but with the situation in Syria, and elsewhere, intervention won’t solve anything.

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