Syria, gateway for peace in the Middle East

April 17, 2008 - 0:0

April 17 is the national day of Syria. A thorough study of Syria’s contemporary history shows that the Syrian nation has had a long, eventful journey on their way to independence and lasting security.

The Syrian nation’s two decades of struggle against Western colonialists, their eventual success in expelling the colonialists, and their efforts to prevent the Zionist currents from gaining influence in the Middle East are part of Syria’s brilliant record of resistance against injustice.
Syria is located in the geographical center of the Middle East region in the strategic Fertile Crescent. Colonialist powers have been eyeing the country for centuries.
Ancient Syria was a cradle of civilization. Archaeological studies in the Ugarit region show that the first system of writing was invented by the ancient inhabitants of the land which is now Syria. This alone indicates that Syria has a rich cultural and historical background.
Because of the country’s strategic position, after World War I, the victors sought to alter the Islamic-Arab cultural environment of Syria and to place an artificial border between Syria and other Arab nations.
Through the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, which created geopolitical borders between Arab nations, the colonialist states effectively divided the Middle East up amongst themselves.
After a while, when nationalist independence movements arose and all elements of Syrian society contributed to the creation of Islamic and nationalist resistance cells, the colonialists decided to partition Syria into Christian, Sunni Muslim, and Alawi majority regions.
But the Syrian nation forcefully opposed the plan and the country’s territorial integrity was maintained through the strength of their national unity.
After the colonialist powers quit Syria in 1946, they made another attempt to undermine the country’s peace and stability. Then the first attempt to militarily overthrow the Syrian government was made. Later the country was dubbed the land of coups because of the successive military takeovers.
The political reform current within the Syrian government began in 1970, just after Hafez Assad took power. The late Assad succeeded in devising a long-term plan for Syria’s political reconstruction. As a result of his actions, Syria was restored to its rightful place as an Islamic Arab country and Damascus became famous as the gateway of peace in the Middle East.
Assad’s ingenious policies in regard to the Zionist regime became a political standard not only for Syria but for the entire Arab world. The propaganda of the United States and the Zionist regime never succeeded in undermining Syria’s position as the leader of the Arab resistance front. The principles formulated by the Syrian leadership, which sought to expand the front and turn it into a strong regional movement, disconcerted the colonialist powers. In the early 1980s, Syria witnessed several bloody dramas but Assad’s strong leadership helped Syria pass through the tough times.
After the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, many Western countries expected Syria to fall because it had close relations with the Soviet Union. But Assad succeeded in keeping the storm outside the gates of Damascus.
Over the eight years of the Sacred Defense (1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war), despite the international pressure, the late Hafez Assad stood on the side of the Islamic Republic of Iran -- an act the Iranian nation will never forget.
Assad believed that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is the strategic depth of the Arab world and that Iran stands on the frontline of the struggle against the regime that occupies Qods (Palestine), and thus Arab countries should not do anything to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran. This approach has continued during President Bashar Assad’s term in office.
Syria has always defended Iran’s justified policies. This is the reason behind the establishment of the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut axis -- an alliance that altered many political equations in favor of the interests of the Palestinian nation and Lebanon.
Syria is currently a target of political and propaganda attacks by the U.S. and some Arab countries that have aligned themselves with the U.S. and Israel. Under these circumstances, comprehensive support of Syria is high on Iran’s political agenda.
As Syria celebrates the 62nd anniversary of its independence, it is an influential country in the Middle East region. Without the presence of Syria, every round of negotiations with the Zionist regime is doomed to failure because Syria has emphasized the need to liberate all Arab territories occupied by Israel above the need to liberate just the Golan Heights.
Iran’s deep, strategic ties with Syria can be a model for other Islamic and Arab countries.