Pakistan First

The liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian government forces has united two seemingly disparate groups who are essentially using the same sectarian incitements. On the one hand, there are Pakistan’s banned outfits. On the other hand are established and budding members of the civil society intelligentsia who are using the same rhetoric of banned sectarian terrorist organisations in their prejudiced commentary on Syria.

As Pakistanis, we must work focus on our own problems before concerning ourselves with the problems of other countries. This reasonable principle was upheld when our parliament refused to give in to an over-eager Prime Minister who wanted to involve Pakistan in Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case when it comes to our selective response on Syria. The lobby that wants us to support the various Al Qaeda and ISIS factions in Syria includes not just our banned organisations but civil society commentators who identify as “liberals”. Amongst the latter group, there are more-loyal-than-the-king courtiers who feel that by supporting Al Qaeda in Syria against the UN-recognized government, they will earn brownie points with their media and NGO contacts in the United States.

They should realise that after the recently concluded elections, the situation has changed. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had made regime change in Syria the central plank of her aggressive foreign policy. She was defeated by President elect Donald Trump who opposed sending further arms to ISIS and Al Qaeda factions who are fighting against the Syrian Government. Both Democratic and Republican members of the US House of Representatives oppose further involvement in Syria. These include Rep Tulsi Gabbard who has recently presented a Bill to the US congress on curtailing arms sales to ISIS and Al Qaeda linked groups in Syria. It seems that our pseudo liberals did not get the memo!

When Muslim brother countries like Saudi Arabia make an alliance with Israel against Syria and the Palestinian cause, we must advise caution instead of jumping in Pakistan must not involve itself in regime change wars. We are still suffering from the last time we embarked on such a project in Afghanistan. The regime change conflict in Syria has been brought by the same Neoliberal-Neocon lobby that brought the world the disastrous regime changes in Iraq and Libya. These two formerly secular countries hosting diverse religious groups and sects have been devastated due to these regime change conflicts. Instead of imposing Western-style democracies, the disparate proponents of regime change have actually created ISIS and strengthened Al Qaeda.
We are now living in a world where the same Al Qaeda that attacked the United States on 9/11 is now being funded by US tax payer monies. Similarly, entrenched Gulf dictatorships and monarchies that have stifled democratic reforms in their own countries are demanding a curious blend of democracy cum theocracy in Syria. The New Times, CNN and Washington Post that cheerlead the illegal invasion of Iraq on the basis of the False claims of WMDs now wants the global community to do the same in Syria.

As Pakistanis, we should have none of it!

We have still not recovered from the last time a military dictator collaborated with the CIA to launch extremists into Afghanistan for “Regime change” there. At that time, at least some of our liberals opposed such an intervention while the Jamaat e Islami supported it. Now we have pseudo liberals who have gone further than the Jamaat e Islami in supporting GCC-US funded Al Qaeda and ISIS proxies in Syria. There is ample evidence on our social and electronic media where a combination of (pseudo) liberals and sectarian extremists are peddling the most unsubstantiated and irresponsible news reports from biased and invested Western media to incite more violence and hatred against minority sects and religions in Pakistan. Al Jazeera and other opposition groups publically advocated for the genocide of minority sects and religious groups in Syria. In Pakistan our so-called liberals are promoting these hateful and inflammatory materials.

As Pakistanis, we request our fellow citizens to concentrate on the issue of homegrown extremism instead of fanning the flames of sectarian bigotry in Syria. For an objective assessment, we request viewers to study both sides of the conflict and not just rely on discredited media conglomerates like the New York Times. In 2003, Judith Miller of the New York Times lead the campaign for the illegal invasion of Iraq on the basis of False evidence. Instead of simply accepting CNN, Al Jazeera, the New York Times and the Washington Post as the Gospel, we must also objectively see what RT, Syrian News, PressTV, Sputnik etc have to say on Syria.
Similarly, we must also study leading blogs like The Intercept, 21st Century Wire, Consortium News, Global, Huffington Post, The Duran and Salon have to say on Syria.

Instead of mostly relying on pro-Al Qaeda outfits like the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR – a one-man show based in Coventry, UK and NOT Syria), we need to see what prominent journalists like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett have to say on the situation – unlike SOHR, these journalists actually operate out of Syria and specifically Aleppo.