Oh goodie, a Third Way petition I can tear to shreds. But not now, will save for my later articles….
Preamble to the Int’l Solidarity Initiative with the Syrian People after the massacre of Houla
Carlos Varea, Santiago Alba, Moreno Pasquinelli, Wilhelm Langthaler
The Annan plan is not able to stop the repression and the killing – as the last massacre in Houla has shown. The political responsible for this is the Assad regime as it continues to negate the legitimate democratic demands of the Syrian people. It is targeting all political expressions including peaceful demonstrations and all expressions of popular organisation.
Thus the Assad regime is pushing the country into sectarian civil war. With its marauding Shabiha militia it is lending political ground to armed sectarian forces backed by the Gulf States which search to retaliate in the same way and are calling for a foreign military intervention.
The only way to avoid the scenario of sectarian civil war, which will mainly help Israel, imperialism and its Gulf proxies, is an all out popular revolution involving the broad masses engulfing all confessions. Therefore the latest strike movement shaking Damascus shows the way forward potentially marginalising the foreign backed Taqfirist sectarian forces.
We fully recognise the right to armed self-defence against the regime’s repression but we still believe that the military escalation is to the detriment of the popular mass movement. It does not help to break up the sectarian armour of the regime, to the contrary, which remains its prime safeguard. Only a democratic mass movement can convince all social and communitarian sectors to join the revolutionary camp en masse. To isolate and eventually defeat the Assad regime is first of all a political and not a military question that means to create a broad as possible consensus across the confessions.
No to foreign intervention
No to civil war
No to sectarianism
For a popular revolution to topple the Assad regime
For democracy, social justice, peace and national sovereignty
International Solidarity Initiative with the Syrian People
As democratic, peace-loving and anti-colonial people we are very much concerned with the escalating conflict in Syria and especially with the growing international meddling which could lead into a confessional civil war to the detriment of the Syrian, Palestinian and other oppressed peoples of the world at large.
When the Arab popular revolt toppled the western-backed tyrants in Tunisia and Egypt, electrified the oppressed masses across the Arab world and eventually reached Syria, we all hoped for a quick victory of the democratic movement.
But soon the Assad regime revealed itself to be unable and unwilling to positively respond to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for freedom and social justice. All promises for more rights turned out to be empty. The only answer has been severe repression, drowning the democratic movement in blood. Thousands have been killed, and tens of thousands injured or arrested.
Nevertheless, the movement in the streets continued to peacefully face the guns of the regime for many months despite the utmost imbalance of force.
Sooner or later there came up forces responding by force of arms. While self-defence against ruthless repression can only be legitimate, some tendencies went further, setting in motion a dangerous escalation. It is not only a spiral of violence, but also sectarianism and the call for foreign intervention – a line which used to be taboo at the onset of the movement. While the ultimate responsibility for this degeneration lies with the regime and its refusal to implement the demands of the masses, this line of the opposition has a share in the violent conflict.
This situation has been fuelled by various foreign forces, first of all from the Gulf, but also by Turkey as well as by the west in order to further their interests. They thus have been pushing the country to the brink of sectarian civil war. The foreign-backed opposition became the objective sibling of the Assad regime.
But the domestic democratic opposition is still there and out on the streets sticking to its original principles summed up in the three NOs:
• no to violence and civil war
• no to sectarianism
• no to foreign intervention
We wholeheartedly support the popular movement for democratic change because we fully respect the national sovereignty of the Syrian people to decide upon its future. It is the only force able to achieve a democratic, peaceful and anti-imperialist solution.
Given the growing international involvement from different sides the situation is tending to develop into a sectarian civil war. This is being countered by the democratic opposition who asks for international solidarity. We therefore support the various calls for dialogue and negotiations which require significant and immediate concessions by the Assad regime:
• stop the killings and the repression
• release the political prisoners
• allow for peaceful demonstrations, freedom of expression and the formation of parties
Either the regime will give, at least partially, in to the popular demands or the democratic forces will be able to enlarge their popular consensus necessary to advance the revolution. In both scenarios the popular democratic forces will score points while the categorical refusal of negotiations only helps Assad and the forces striving for civil war as well as imperialism and Zionism.
At the end, all this should lead to a democratic constituent assembly as proclaimed by the “Damascus Declaration” in 2005, the intellectual precursor to today’s mass movement. Also the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have been inspired by this demand as a guiding star. Those who rant about democracy and refuse a constituent assembly, will be exposed sooner or later.
The peaceful advance towards democratic change will greatly strengthen the Syrian people’s ability to defend its national sovereignty. Only the mobilised people can confront the Zionist and imperialist enemy – something the tyrant Arab regimes were never capable of, despite their loudmouthed declarations.
At the same time, revolutionary democratic change will give a massive push to the Arab popular revolt at large, defeating further western backed dictatorships like in Bahrain, Yemen or Morocco and deepening the already successful uprisings as in Tunisia or Egypt towards the necessary economic transformation against the local and global oppressors and in favour of the popular masses striving for more social justice and equality.
Last but not least the Syrian revolution will succeed to ward off foreign misuse and sectarian civil war will thus massively contribute to the weakening of imperialist influence and predominance in the region and ultimately across the whole world. All those fighting against the ruling global oligarchy thus are on the side of the Syrian democratic and peaceful revolution also for their own interest.
We therefore intend to compose an international solidarity delegation to the Syrian people with the aim of expressing our support for democratic change from within, including dialogue and negotiations. It is important for us to concretely show to the Syrian people that there is not only the so-called international community led by the neo-colonial powers of the west and its Arab proxies who want to weaken an independent Syria, put it once again under its full control and therefore also risk a dreadful sectarian civil war. Such powers want to help Israel while we want to broaden and deepen the global struggle against Zionism. At the same time we want to strengthen the awareness of the people of the world that the popular movement is not an appendix of the west of the type of the coloured revolutions but that there is a powerful independent democratic, multi-confessional and anti-imperialist wing to which we want to lend a voice by visiting it.
Endorsers Int’l Solidarity Initiative with the Syrian People
Following the list of the first signatories of the International Solidarity Initiative for the Syrian People.
• Leo Gabriel, journalist, social anthropologist and member of the International Council of the World Social Forum, Vienna, Austria
• Moreno Pasquinelli, Anti-imperialist Camp, Assisi, Italy
• Carlos Varea González, university professor and leading member of the “Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq” (CEOSI), Madrid, Spain
• Santiago Alba Rico, Spanish writer, resident in Tunis, Tunisia
• Franz Fischer, Palestine activist and CC member of the Labour Party of Switzerland, Basel
• Thomas Zmrzly, spokesman of “Initiativ e.V.”, Duisburg, Germany
• Mustafa Ilhan, journalist, Kurdish activist, Aachen, Germany
• Wilhelm Langthaler, Anti-imperialist Camp, Vienna, Austria
• Mohamed Aburous, Austrian Arab Cultural Centre (OKAZ), Vienna, Austria
• Qais Abdalla, Iraqi activist, Vienna, Austria
• Imad Garbaya, Tunisian House Austria
• Leonardo Mazzei, editor of the website www.antimperialista.it, Lucca, Italy
• Nasir Loyand, foreign relations responsible of the Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA), Jallallabad
• Atilio A. Boron, political scientist, Buenos Aires, Argentina
• Carlos Taibo, writer, publisher and professor of Ciencia Política y de la Administración en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
• Carlos Fernández Liria, writer and professor of Filosofía en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
• Gilberto López y Rivas, research professor at the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
• Luis Alegre Zahonero, profesor de la facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
• Teresa Aranguren, journalist and writer, Madrid, Spain
• Juan Carlos Monedero Fernández, titulary professor de Universidad Departamento de Ciencia Política y de la Administración II Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología Campus Complutense de Somosaguas, Madrid, Spain
• Jorge Riechmann, poet writer and titulary professor de Filosofía Moral Departamento de Filosofía UAM, Madrid, Spain
• Javier Sádaba, philosopher, Catedrático de Ética y Filosofía de la Religión en la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid y miembro del Observatorio de Bioética y Derecho de la Universidad de Barcelona, Spain
• Ignacio Gutierrez de Terán, arabist, professor de la UAM, Madrid, Spain
• Jaime Pastor, proffesor en el Departamento de Ciencias Políticas de la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
• Samah Idriss, writer and editor, Beirut, Lebanon
• Sara Hassan, Egyptian activist, Amnesty International, Vienna, Austria
• Gernot Bodner, Agro-physician, docent at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
• Fouad Ibrahim, democratic oppositionist from Saudi Arabia, London, England
• Said Shihabi, leader of the “Movement Free Bahrain”, London, England
• Anton Stengl, publisher and translator, Munich, Germany
• Zouhaier Maghzaoui, Popular Movememnt, Tunisia
• Wolfgang Gombocz, retired University Professor, Graz University, resp. Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Graz, Austria
• Chihab Krainem, student at the university of Vienna with Tunisian background, Austria
• Elisabeth Lindner-Riegler, high school teacher, Vienna, Austria
• Haytham Manna, spokesman of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NBC)
• Michel Kilo, senior democratic activist and founder of the Syrian Democratic Platform
• Ayham Haddad, MD, activist