As the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants began carrying their slaughter in the Middle East, “they might have surprised many of the countries present here, but not…us,” the Deputy Prime Minister of Syria told the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring today that the time has come for the world to stand united and tackle the threat head-on.
“We have spoken on more than one occasion and on more than one international platform about the grave danger of the terrorism striking Syria,” said Walid Al-Moualem, who is also Syria's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, recalling that his country had long stressed that terrorism and extremist ideologies do not recognize borders.
Telling the Assembly that ISIL is “unrivalled in funding and brutality”, he said that in Syria and Iraq, the group is enslaving women, raping them and selling them in slave markets; it is cutting heads and limbs, and it is teaching children slaughter and murder; and destroying historical and cultural monuments, as well as Islamic and Christian symbols.
And all of this has been happening before the entire world and the countries that have always said they are fighting terrorism, Mr. Al-Moualem said, asking the world body: “Is it not due time…for all of us to stand as one in the face of this serious menace of terrorist Takfiri ideology worldwide?”
“Has not the moment of truth arrived for us all to admit that ISIL, A1-NusrahFront and the rest of A1-Qaeda affiliates, will not be limited within the borders of Syria and Iraq, but will spread to every spot it can reach, starting with Europe and America?” he asked, calling on the world to rally against the groups as those organizations themselves had “rallied extremists from all comers of the earth and brought them to one spot to train and aim them, and later to re-disseminate their ideology and terrorism through those extremists back to wherever they originated from?”
Mr. Al-Moualem said some might recall that the Security Council in mid-August had adopted a resolution to stem the flow of extremists and eventually eliminate them. “It is true that to arrive late is better than [to never arrive at all]. Indeed, this UN resolution… came too late.” The question now is whether everyone is serious and resolute about its implementation.
“But since its adoption, we have not seen any serious move to implement this resolution. Furthermore, we have not felt any real sense of the danger to work on its basis on the part of regional States that were and are still providing…support to these terrorist organizations,' he said, adding that Syria is also witnessing on the part of the United States administration “a double standard policy and alliances to score certain political agendas, particularly through supporting with money, weapons and training of groups they call moderate.”
“This is a real recipe for the increase of violence and terrorism, shedding of Syrian blood, prolonging of the Syrian crisis and demolishing of the political solution at its basis. This behaviour creates a fertile ground for the growth of these terrorist groups that commit the most heinous crimes on the Syrian territory,” said Mr. Al-Moualem, emphasizing that the “the enslaved women are looking forward to us to see what we will do for them, their sisters and their children. The sons and daughters of the victims beheaded by [ISIL] are waiting for our actions, and for our reaction in the face of the atrocities committed daily by this terrorist organization, A1-Nusrah Front and others.”
He said that while military strikes must coincide with the implementation of Security Council resolutions, the international community must also work hard to disrupt and drain the resources of terrorist organizations. “Striking terrorism militarily while some States are continuing their support of terrorist groups will create a whirlpool of which the international community will not exit in decades.”
As for the ongoing Syrian crisis, he said that his Government had agreed to attend the UN-backed peace talks, known as “Geneva II”, “although we are convinced that the crisis is a Syrian one and should be resolves on Syrian territory.” Yet, when Syrian authorities had arrived in the Swiss city, they were confronted by a delegation that was not negotiating on behalf of nor supported by the Syrian people, but which was carrying out the wishes of its “Western masters.”
In any case, Syria continues to believe that the process cannot fully move forward until the terrorism in the country is rooted out. Now of course, the entire international community considers terrorism the most pressing threat of the day. “Once again, we emphasize that we are ready, and even are striving, for a political solution in Syria and in dialogue with all honourable national opposition members opposing terrorism in Syria, and among Syrians themselves and on Syrian territory.”