I don’t understand the logic of those who see the Syrian government’s war against proxy forces as a bid to “hold on to power”. Yes, the stamping out of protests at the beginning of the uprising was precisely that but how can the conflict still be seen through the lens of regime survival and not the survival of Syria as a nation-state? How can anyone not understand that even if this was the most brutal and corrupt regime on earth which is only pursuing its survival, those fighting and dying on behalf of it are resisting the most blatant form of NATO/GCC military intervention? I am not denying there is also a sectarian civil war which has assumed its own dynamic, and which Alawites have been dragged into, but the Syrian Army’s war is to some extent a war of liberation from these agents of the Empire and Israel— a war that seeks to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and regain its sovereignty from the colonizers’ grip. The fact that the larger part of the rebels are Syrian, and that some of these groups have their own agendas which merely “intersect” with NATO/GCC/Israel’s agendas, doesn’t detract from the liberationist thrust of this war. Whether wittingly or not, these armed groups are doing NATO’s and Israel’s dirty work and sparing them a messy invasion.
To all intents and purposes, this is an Empire-Israel backed insurrection and hence a NATO proxy war on Syria, regardless of the nationality of the proxies. Even Kofi Annan and Ban Ki Moon have referred to the war in Syria as an international “proxy war”. As such, there are no “defectors” in this war, only traitors.
Even siding with the homegrown opposition has become practically useless and in some cases, morally problematic as it has renounced dialogue with the government and rejects any power-sharing formula, while some of its once respected members like Michel Kilo have called for securing Syria’s borders with Israel.
None of this is to say that the military solution is the only solution. It isn’t and can never be. But it appears that an end to this war will require a comprehensive regional agreement between the great powers which will either come about as a result of a wider regional war involving Syria, Israel, Iran and Hizbullah, or as a result of a crushing defeat of the rebels. The latter will be impossible to achieve in the context of a sectarian civil war that also features the irrepressible force of salafist jihadis. Any agreement that is brokered will have to include the same groups the government is currently fighting—Hizbullah’s coexistence with March 14 collaborators who urged Israel to continue bombing Lebanon is a case in point. And this is the best case scenario.
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