August 29, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 4104

Reflecting Possible Change in Hamas Stance, Movements' Columnists Attack Assad: You Will Meet Same Fate as Ousted Tyrants

August 29, 2011
Syria, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 4104

During what appeared to be the last days of Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi's regime in Libya, several articles appeared in the Palestinian daily Falastin, which is close to Hamas, attacking Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad as heading a tyrannical regime that uses violence against protestors. Writers called on Assad to learn a lesson from the fates of Al-Qadhafi and other toppled rulers, to stop the bloodshed, and to relinquish power so that the Syrian people could choose a new leadership. One writer criticized Syrian security forces for harming Islam, and claimed that this would only accelerate the fall of the regime.

It should be noted that Hamas' Political Bureau is based in Damascus, and that since the onset of the unrest in Syria, Hamas officials have refrained from responding to the unfolding events. In addition, according to unconfirmed reports, Iran has ceased its financial support of Hamas due to its lack of support for the Syrian regime.[1]

Following are excerpts from the articles:

Columnist to Assad: Stop the Bloodbath and Step Down

Falastin columnist Mustafa Al-Sawwaf wrote: "After six months in which the blood [flowed] like rivers, tens of thousands were killed and injured, and Libya was almost completely destroyed – Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi, the Libyan dictator, has been toppled... This tyrant will fall and his time will end. He will meet the same fate as the Arab tyrants who came before him – Mubarak and Ben 'Ali – and those who follow in their footsteps.

"If this is the end, why don't the other Arab leaders – kings, emirs, or presidents – rush to meet the demands of their peoples?... The events in Libya are a strong message to those who did not understand the message of Ben 'Ali and Mubarak. Al-Qadhafi and Assad have [bathed] in the blood of their peoples, and failed to learn a lesson from recent events. They insist on challenging the will of the peoples who confront these regimes bare-chested, and thousands of whom have died as martyrs...

"Assad of Syria – do you still not understand? Have you not seen or heard what has happened to the others like you? Have you not learned your lesson? [Will you not] stop the bloodbath in Homs, Latakia, Hama, Rif Dimashq, Deir Al-Zour, and other cities in Syria?... Will you not... flee before the hand of popular justice is upon you? Are you not content with the amount of blood, dead, injured, and destruction [that has already been caused], and will you not leave the Syrian people alone which has lived under you and your father's rule of iron and fire?

"O Arab tyrants, what harm would it cause if you let your peoples choose their own leaders? Are you a divine decree from heaven, which only death can end?... Are you waiting for your peoples to rebel against you, only to become [drenched] in their blood before they uproot you? Do not think that you are totally protected and do not think that you are strong, because the people is stronger than you. Do not think that the West or the East can protect your regimes – be they monarchical or constitutional – since it is [their own] interests which rule the West and the East. Without any interest, they will deliver you to your people free of charge and abandon you.

"Make haste and ask your peoples for forgiveness, and give them what they want in good will, before they take it by force, just as the evil spirit is taken from the body. Is there a single wise man among you, 'or are there locks upon [your] hearts?' [Koran 47:24]"[2]

The Syrian Journey of Freedom Continues – Despite Violence and Terror

In her article in Falastin, columnist Lama Khater described the joy the Arabs felt at the advance of the Libyan rebels toward Al-Qadhafi's compound, and wrote: "Our attention was divided [between Libya]... and Syria, where endless pain overshadows [glimmers] of hope, which emanate from the bountiful blood [of the dead], and from the Syrian people's determination to continue [their] journey of liberation. It [continues] despite the fact that the reign of violence and terror has only grown stronger, and despite the fact that for five months now, we have seen crime and the forfeit of human dignity. Their journey of freedom continues despite the fact that the rulers in Damascus flout the laws of the universe, and despite their unshakable faith that their oppressive totalitarian party is the fate of Syria, its land, and its people... and that the laws of their regime are above dignity and the right for freedom – and even above the laws of history, which do not grant immortality to any regime or ruler even if they are just, let alone when they oppress, usurp, and desecrate that which is sacred.

"The developments in the Libyan revolution and its tendency toward armed [conflict] were the scarecrow used by many to weaken other Arab revolutions, especially that in Syria... [There were those] who scared the Syrians with talk of civil war, foreign intervention, and foreign control of the country's [free] will and resources – as though under Al-Qadhafi, the resources of Libya did go to the people; as though [Libya] had freedom of will and decision. The situation in Syria is identical, aside from some differences stemming from its status and regional alliances.

"But the truth is... that any regime which is hostile to its people and alienates the honor of the latter; that disparages its blood or the things it holds sacred in order to strengthen its rule – cannot be of any benefit to its peers and cannot take upon itself the greater concerns of the ummah. Free choice cannot coexist with oppression, and the subduing and suffocation [of the people], and cannot entail the trampling of all morals, professional deceit, and fabrications aimed at evading the moment of truth and the moment for change." [3]

Assad's Regime Is Forcing Syrians to Commit Islamic Heresy

Following the publication of a video in which Syrian security personnel force citizens to say: "There is no God but Bashar and Maher Al-Assad,"[4] 'Issam Shawir, another columnist for Falastin, wrote: "President Bashar Al-Assad rules Syria. Of this there is no doubt. The army, security apparatus, shabiha [plainclothes security], and those who defend the regime all get their orders from the president. The crimes committed in Syria appear on satellite TV channels. We can see citizens whose honor is harshly degraded, on top of the incessant bloodshed that does not differentiate between big and small. The incomprehensible thing is that people, subjected to torture and humiliation, are forced to commit blatant heresy, as the army forces the youth to distort the shahada [the Islamic declaration of faith] by testifying that [there is] no God but President Bashar and his brother Maher [rather than saying, 'There is no God but Allah']...

"We have seen many forms of violence used by regimes against rebels in the Arab countries. However, we have not seen any attacks against religion... We have not seen mosques desecrated and their minarets damaged as an explicit target of the shooters of bombs and hatred...

"President Bashar Al-Assad has promised to enact reforms... However, we wonder why he hasn't instructed his shabiha and gang members to immediately cease all acts of aggression against Islam... We believe that these phenomena of heresy will accelerate the fall of the regime, beyond forfeiting the blood and honor of the Syrian people. The oppression will not last. Allah, who granted victory to the Egyptians, Tunisians, and Libyans, will [likewise] grant victory to the Syrians and Yemenis and any people that desires honor, freedom, and to get rid of a [tyrannical] ruler."[5]

Why Does NATO Not Intervene in Syria?

Falastin columnist Majid Abu Murad wrote: "The main question which occupies the Arab citizen is why do the European and international responses to the events in Syria whittle down to condemnation and denunciation, and do not involve direct action to stop the Syrian bloodshed? Are the resources and the wealth of the land in Syria not enough for NATO's ambitions, and are they not inviting enough for it to perform aerial attacks on the regime as happened in Libya? In my humble opinion, the solution in the case of Syria and other Arab countries is the rise of a new reliable leadership from among the Arab peoples, so that we can close the lid on the period of oppressive regimes and those who deal in the blood of their innocent people... Until we reach the hour of rescue, in which we will bid farewell to the period of popular oppression, we will bless Libya. Soon, Syria and Yemen will follow."[6]


[1] Reuters, August 21, 2011.

[2] Falastin (Gaza), August 24, 2011.

[3] Falastin (Gaza), August 25, 2011.


[5] Falastin (Gaza), August 25, 2011.

[6] Falastin (Gaza), August 26, 2011.

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