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Realpolitik in Syria, please!
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on the human rights’ concerns in Syria, first drafted on Feb. 9,
published on Feb. 10, 2012

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Russia and China's veto of a UN Resolution that was calling for
Syrian President al-Asad to step down has caused quite a bit of indignation in the international community. Does
this lead Noah denkt™ to feel uncomfortable
with its own stance in this issue?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Obviously, we are aware that our position in this is pretty delicate. Hence, we
continue to follow the situation in Syria with a lot of interest. Up until now, however we have not seen or heard
anything that would have us change our opinion

AE: So you still don't think that a more active support for regime change in Syria would satisfy several interests
that West has in Middle East?
Nd: What interests do you have in mind here?

AE: Well, it is quite obvious that a pronounced anti-Asad stance would not only promote the idea of democracy
and human rights but it would also help the West to get rid of a destabilizing force in the region that among others
had no qualms to resort to terrorist tactics when pursuing its interests. Thirdly, it would also serve to weaken
Iran's international reach at a time when virtually everybody is concerned about that country's nuclear ambitions.
And, finally, it would help to mend the always fragile diplomatic relations that the West has with the Arab world,
especially after the controversial Iraq invasion.
Nd: There is, certainly, some truth in what you point out here. But if we go down that list of yours we will also find
that none of the points you raise are safe and secure plays.

AE: Why don't we go down that list then?
Nd: Okay. To your number one, pertaining to the promotion of human rights and democracy:
We have already
pointed out in our prior dialogue that it is by no means certain whether a post-Asad-Syria will be a stable one.
There are in deed suggestions that a post-Asad-Syria might just as well disintegrate and turn into another
Lebanon. That, however, would imply that the new Syria would become a perfect safe haven for all kind of
“destabilizing forces”, including terrorists. As far as Iran is concerned, it cannot be denied that a fall of Asad in
Syria would seriously harm that country's ability to spread the Islamic revolution elsewhere. But would that also
imply that it might now become more amenable to Western demands? Isn't it just as well possible that the loss of
an important ally will increase its sense of isolation which would in turn lead to an even greater ambition on its part
to obtain nuclear weapons? And lastly, diplomatic relations with the Arab world will always be fragile, come what
may. So that final argument of yours should not be taken too seriously anyway.

AE: Let's stay with the Iran issue then, since that country is not willing to cooperate with the international
community under any circumstances. It is, therefore, hard to see, why we should tread carefully when dealing with
that country’s sensitivities.
Nd: Because ambiguity doesn’t really help either when you try to promote democracy and human rights.

AE: But didn’t you yourself point out that
the idealism of states can only go so far? Would it therefore not make
sense to take advantage of a golden opportunity to further Western interests in an otherwise volatile region?
Nd: Well, we continue to believe that in this case the best way to promote Western interests is to let things play
put out its own accord. And that is because of two reasons: First the odds are somewhat stacked against al-Asad
anyway. And secondly, any alternative power structure needs to prove its metal first before it can credibly clam to
be able to substitute the current regime and pacify the country at the same time.

AE: We doubt though that internal pressure alone will be sufficient to make al-Asad go away. For that, the
insurgents will need international support.
Nd: Well, if that is true, let others, in particular the Arab League, do what is necessary here to make change

AE: All you are being asked to do is to endorse a call for regime change in Syria. Is that too much to ask?
Nd: We do not see why anyone, including the Arab League, would need anyone's support to do what it deems
necessary to do here. After all, they, Saudi-Arabia that is, didn’t wait for Western approval either when it sent its
tanks to Bahrain.

AE: In other words, you tacitly do support the regime change efforts of the Arab league?
Nd: Well, let's put it like that: We do not have too much against them, at this point in time.
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