Bahrain can play key role in Syria crisis
Gulf Daily News, Manama, Bahrain
Bahrain can "punch above its weight" to help resolve the crisis in Syria, according to a leading Washington consultant and former official in the Clinton administration.
Morris Reid believes the world has a moral obligation to unseat President Bashar Al Assad, whose forces are accused of killing hundreds in a chemical weapons attack last month.
Mr Reid, who was a senior Democratic strategist in President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, was in Bahrain as part of a regional "listening tour."
"The world can't stand by when people are being annihilated," he told the GDN.
"We as a civilised society, as a global society, have to step up when human lives are in danger."
Mr Reid said Bahrain could play a key role in helping resolve the crisis by using its influence with other Arab states.
"I have always thought that Bahrain could punch above its weight and because it's one of the countries in the GCC that's friendly with almost everyone -- everyone loves Bahrain -- I think it could certainly play a larger role behind the scenes," he said.
He said President Al Assad was fast approaching "a Hitler situation" and needed to be stopped. "Assad is moving in that direction with the extermination of people," he said.
"When you see that type of thing going on, you have to step forward.
"People turned a blind eye to Hitler and it snowballed and got out of control. We can't let these types of things get out of control."
He also explained the importance of opposition forces properly preparing for the downfall of the Assad regime to prevent a potential power vacuum such as that witnessed in Libya two years ago. "If they don't have a plan in place they will fracture, it will cause instability and give rise to more problems in the region," he said.
Iran would capitalise on any such opportunity and this should not be allowed to happen, according to Mr Reid.
"Iran is a cancer. Cancer is not a disease that anyone wants and when it spreads, it's a killer," he said.
"Iran is having a destabilising effect on the region, it's very clear they are doing it in Iraq, they are doing it in Lebanon and now they are doing it in Syria.
"Anywhere you have cancer you have to cut it out. You have to get rid of it.
"Clearly Iran is not for democracy and freedom, and if that's what the world is for, then that's what the world needs to stand for."
A report by UN chemical weapons inspectors states there is "clear and convincing evidence" that surface-to-surface rockets containing Sarin were used in last month's attack in Damascus.
It was unveiled by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the Security Council meeting in New York yesterday. The report's release comes two days after Russia and the US agreed on a framework for the removal of Syria's chemical weapons, averting military action if Assad turns over his weapon stocks to the international community for destruction.