Every time the Gulf States’ rulers justify their support for violent
rebels in Syria or the military regime in Egypt by appealing to the unalienable
right of peoples to basic rights and representative governance, they legitimize
the Arab Spring in the eyes of their own peoples, too.
The only way to start a war against
another country without UNSC authorization is in self-defense. The President
needs to make the case that the Syrian government is an imminent threat to
United States’ national security. He needs to make that case to the American
public and Congress.
What would stop Iran, Russia, China or
any other country from supplying weapons to opposition groups in Bahrain, Saudi
Arabia, or even Turkey, where legitimate protest movements have risen up and
were met with brutal repression by government forces?
The peculiar enthusiasm of former colonizers of the Arab world, like
France, for recognizing Syria’s representatives without waiting for the Syrian
people to decide through ballots (not bullets), has delegitimized the Coalition
in the eyes of many Syrians.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar insist that Bashar Assad step down
or be removed by force because the Syrian people want him gone. Yet, they
ignore the fact that the Arab peoples want them all gone, not just Assad.
Syrian state-controlled media blames most of the deaths on armed groups (which it calls terrorists). These allegations have awakened Russia’s dormant–but not forgotten–memory of the Saudi-American alliance that created the Mujahidin networks in Afghanistan, which in turn defeated the Soviet Union.
If the Gulf Cooperation Council wanted to support democracy and stability, they would have invested in Tunisia and Egypt. Instead, they are investing in regimes that mimic their own Umayyad model of governance.