Those who still buy Assad’s anti-imperial rhetoric should know that the old man whose story is mentioned above was imprisoned simply because he and other fellow citizens organised a small rally to denounce the illegal US invasion of Iraq.
In fact, it is not uncommon to find prisoners - including some of those I met in Sednaya prison** – whose only “crime” was to help Palestinian groups. How could a regime that claims to be anti-Israel not even dare to protect itself against the frequent Israeli air incursions throughout the past decade?
I remember vividly the day I was released, when Israeli warplanes bombarded a site inside Syria under the pretext that it was being used to train Palestinian fighters. Syria’s response on that day was mute – as had always been the case. Finally, it is no secret that Syria, like many other Arab countries, cooperated closely with the US in the so-called “war on terror”. I am only one of few living examples of this covert cooperation.
** Human rights activist Maher Arar is the publisher of Prism Magazine, and first came to public attention after he was rendered by US authorities to Syria, his native country.