Syrian Political Adviser Bouthaina Shaaban visited India last week to seek support from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the ongoing Syrian conflict. Her visit to India is part of the BRICS countries’ tour she is doing. Confronted to the rise of violence in the country in which there were more than 70000 deaths and one million refugees since beginning of the conflict, and to the Western countries’ support to the rebel forces; Syrian government is looking for alternative support from the international community.
Bouthaina Shaaban is trying to convince the BRICS nations to make a strong decision in the forthcoming meeting and support political solution in Syria. She revealed during a press conference on 8 March that a six-point plan including immediate end of violence was designed in Geneva in June 2012. However, this plan was not agreed by Syrian opposition and Western countries who added another condition of President Bashar al-Assad’s dismiss.
This demand from the ‘Western forces’ is seen as threat to Syria’s sovereignty. Independence of Syria is a point Shaaban insisted in order to convince India and other BRICS countries to help her government overcome the crisis it has been facing since 2010. Russia and China’s veto at the UN Security Council has already limited the armed intervention in Syria. But Brazil, India and South Africa are three democracies who could choose to support the Western democracies against the Syrian government. Well aware of that, Shaaban did not mention the political system of her country as such, but highlighted her commitment to Syrian people. “I do not believe at all that the issue is either the President or the Syrian system. The issue is Syria and its people,” she said before pointing out the limits of the Western democratic commitment. Shaaban added, “Western forces speak about human rights, freedom and democracy, but I would just invite you to think about what happened in Iraq.” Concerning her own country, she insisted on the lethal role the democratic powers are playing with the help of their not-so-democratic/secular allies as Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Bouthaina Shaaban’s visit aims at countering the Western and Gulf countries’ influence and she seemed rather content. She praised the government’s understanding and will to end violence. She underlined the importance of BRICS on the international scene as they have a more balanced point of view and they ‘are introducing reason.’ However, according to her, India and the BRICS in general are not heard enough in the international community. She said that BRICS should be fully aware of their powers and be able to take a clear position in favour of Syrian government.