As most people know, the [written and spoken] rationale for including Hizbullah on the US State Dept.’s —and other western nations— list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, is its resistance to Israeli aggression. As such, pressure on the EU to designate Hizbullah a terrorist organization on account of its role in resisting takfiri forces in Syria, can only mean one thing: that for now at least, the “rebels” in Syria are as strategically valuable to the imperialists as Israel. If fighting the rebels earns Hizbullah the same criminalization as does its resistance against Israel, then surely fighting the takfiris is a resistance duty. Excerpts from AFP: "But mounting global concern over the Shiite group’s active support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has finally swayed even the most reluctant EU nations into shifting gear. "Hezbollah’s role in Syria convinced member states it was time to act," one diplomat said. During a visit to Brussels in March, Israeli President Shimon Peres urged the EU to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list… arguing that its intervention in Syria against anti-Assad rebels was enabling the group to spread its reach."
We do not regard this uprising/ insurrection to be a Zionist one solely on account of Israeli and Syrian opposition figures’ open love for one another. Nor is it solely on account of the Zionist state’s official support for this opposition and their shared interests in toppling the Assad government and destroying the Syrian Arab Republic.. What really makes this a Zionist uprising is the fact that in just two years it has achieved the same strategic objectives that Israel sought hard, yet failed to affect in over 60 years of its existence. And it has succeeded in achieving Israel’s goals almost exclusively with sectarianism, which has effectively become the new Israel in our midst. No Israeli invasion, attack, occupation, annexation, settlement construction, humiliating peace, or hasbara [Israeli PR] campaign, was ever able to force resistance movements like HAMAS to change their priorities and abandon their erstwhile allies; or to persuade the Arab people that the Assad government, Iran and Hizbullah are their primary enemies as opposed to Israel; or to reduce anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism to the politically incorrect “old school” politics of a bygone era; or to elevate the statuses of once despised Arab monarchs to regional liberators; or to render Shi’ism as the cancerous cell in the region rather than the Zionist entity. An uprising which not only collaborates with Israel but serves its strategic interests can only be a Zionist uprising. And the worst part is, that we have reached a point where such labeling is no longer taken as an insult or seen an accusation.
Not that we needed confirmation, but al-Mayadeen TV reports that the FSA media spokesman described to Israeli Channel 2, the “great joy which filled the hearts of the Syrian revolutionaries and fighters” after Israel’s attack on Syria. He further acknowledged that prior to Israel’s military intervention, the rebels were in a state of “despair” on account of the military successes the Syrian Army had scored [in Qusayr particularly]. Mayadeen reported elsewhere that the prominent Syrian opposition figure, Kamal al-Labwani announced that the “Syrian people” were “happy” that Israel hit Syrian military facilities. Enjoy your Zionist revolution.
There is no greater distortion of reality than to portray the war in Syria as one fought between two warring sides. There are no two sides inside Syria; there is simply Syria and the enemies of Syria. As such, when we call for a dialogue between “the two sides” we are not referring to the two sides of Syria, or two camps within Syria, as though there were some political or moral parity between them, but to the side that represents the Syrian Arab Republic and the side that represents those who want to destroy it. The fact that some of Syria’s enemies happen to be Syrian does not make them any more representative of one side of Syria than their Arab and American masters. Yes, the war is taking place on Syrian soil and it does possess characteristics of a civil war, but it remains a war ON Syria and not one between two sides of Syria. To state otherwise is to confer popular legitimacy and sovereignty on those that pursue the destruction of the Syrian state.
I just read these very moving words written by a student blogger who recently graduated from Damascus University’s School of Architecture: ” [Who] Will tell the world about the students who had to leave so early because the US and its Arab and Turkish allies thought we don’t have democracy.. We had democracy when me and my friends of all sects sat on this table every day, spoke about everything, studied, spent the best times ever.. now .. this blood is not democracy.” I don’t think one can find a more workable definition of democracy than this one.
Reports like this just make me want to face palm myself until I turn blue. So apparently, this entire war has been one big false flag op launched by the Syrian govt. When massacres are committed in Alawite areas, they are committed by the regime to discredit the rebels. When pro-regime figures like Sheikh al-Bouti are assassinated, the culprit is always the regime, which is trying to incriminate the rebels. When universities in government strongholds are shelled, (first Aleppo and now Damascus) it is clearly the work of the regime which is desperately trying to turn the population against the rebels, because it is only logical to assume that the terrorists and thugs are popular in government strongholds like Damascus and areas in Aleppo. The regime is forced to adopt the false flag op as its main modus operandi, a la Mossad and the CIA, because the rebels have been so peaceful and popular among the Syrian people that atrocities must be created to tarnish their otherwise unsullied reputations. And if it was the rebels, then it was surely a “misfire” because all their terrorists attacks and executions which they proudly brandish before the cameras are mere accidents.
Of course this begs the question: if all casualties in Syrian government strongholds were killed by the regime itself, and all regime supporters were assassinated and massacred by the regime, and every atrocity against the regime’s supporters has been a false flag op, then who exactly have the rebels been fighting? It seems the Syrian government has been at war with itself this whole time.
Excerpts from the piece: "Anti-regime activists accused the regime of launching the attack to tarnish the opposition’s image. Elizabeth O’Bagy, who studies the Syrian rebels at the Institute for the Study of War, said it was not possible to determine who was behind the attack, but it appeared to fit the regime’s pattern of escalation. In other aspects of the war, such as the use of airstrikes or Scud missiles, the regime has gone from trying to target rebels to more indiscriminate attacks on civilians, she said. "Because of the fact that it does follow regime behavior, it is more likely to be a regime attack," she said, while acknowledging it could also have been a rebel misfire."
Bet you didn’t know that sectarianism is the new moderation. Note how neither AP nor media which carried this story put quotation marks around the word “moderates”, but are all too eager to do so when referring to “terrorists”. Apparently, when suicide bombs, car bombs, summary executions, beheadings and rape are systematically perpetrated by the rebels against Syrians who don’t support them , then that violence is merely so-called terrorism and warrants quotation marks, especially since the Syrian government refers to it as such. But when the US specifies it is training “largely…Sunnis” to “bolster” the rebels then we must take their secularism and moderation as a given because the US said so. We must cast aside any apprehensions about how fighters selected exclusively from one sect can avoid being sectarian, and ignore the fact that sectarianism and religiosity are not synonymous considering that sectarianism characterizes many non-religious and non-jihadi types too, as the ‘75-‘90 civil war in Lebanon readily demonstrates .
In any case, I am sure the Syrian people will prefer to have their wives raped, their homes looted and their relatives killed at the hands of secular moderate rebels rather than al-Qaeda ones. So nice to have that option now.
Both the designation of the US citizen, Ghassan Hitto as “interim Prime Minister” by the SNC, and Aron Lund’s myth-shattering report “The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist”, make it increasingly clear that the Syrian opposition (and by Syrian opposition I mean the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition) today is little more than a PR stunt engineered by the US & allies and sustained by corporate media and a slick social media campaign. As detailed by Lund’s study, the FSA is nothing but a branding operation which refers to the uprising in general, or more specifically, to the non-Islamist rebel groups. Elsewhere, Lund asserts that “virtually all of the major armed groups have by now declared that they want an Islamic state,” suggesting that most of the rebels belong to Salafi and Salafi jihadi groups. In other words, the notion of a secular armed opposition is a media creation.
Add to the myth of the FSA , Hitto’s appointment as PM of Nothing Really, and one begins to understand just how much more of a psycho-ops than a pysch- ops campaign we are dealing with, which aims to remold reality in the crudest attempt at wish fulfillment and mass-delusion. Not even language has escaped the new psycho-ops, as concepts like legitimacy have now been re-conceptualized to mean whatever- the- US-recognizes, such as when it arbitrarily decides that the SNC is “the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people”. So over and above the concepts of “popular legitimacy” and “constitutional legitimacy”, we now have the oxymoronic notion of “external legitimacy” which can seemingly exist without either of the other two types.
Just to put things in perspective: The Syrian government is not up against some fantasy Syrian “opposition” but against foreign- backed Salafis, Jihadis and al-Qaeda inspired groups who are not merely Islamists but vehemently sectarian Islamists whose modus operandi includes terrorist bombings and executions. And there is no actual Syrian executive other than President Bashar al-Assad. And no amount of psych-ops or psycho-ops will change either of these facts.
Nothing is more absurd, disturbing and disillusioning as marking as “the anniversary of the Syrian revolution” the same date which signaled the wholesale destruction of the Syrian state; the fratricide that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people; the rise of Salafi-Takfiri terrorist groups and sectarian militias; the end of communal coexistence; the violation of a once powerful nation’s sovereignty by the US-NATO-Arab alliance and the influx of foreign fighters they have trained and dispatched; the substitution of a secular, anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist political culture with its antithesis— the culture of blind sectarian hatred which looks to reactionary Gulf monarchies as its point of reference, a culture whose leading figures, activists and intellectuals beg imperialist powers to invade their country whether directly or by proxy while assuring Israel of their pacific intentions. March 15 marks the day that made March 14 [i.e. the day that launched Lebanon’s own US-Wahhabi backed movement whose raison d’etre is the destruction of the Resistance] pale in comparison. No matter what the outcome of this ugly conflict is, March 15 will forever be remembered by the free world as the day that signaled the loss of Syria as we know it. And shame on every Arab and leftist who commemorates this day as anything less.
Aside from the shameless hypocrisy of the British and French decision to arm the foreign and local terrorists and executioners in Syria, aka, “Syrian rebels” or “resistance fighters” as they are now officially called, another stomach-churning aspect of this joint announcement is the language French and British leaders used to justify their intent to violate the EU arms ban. When asked yesterday if the UK would be willing to break the ban, David Cameron responded "We are still an independent country. We can have an independent foreign policy…” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius responded to the same question today by asserting that “France is a sovereign nation,” adding that both France and were prepared to “lift the embargo” even if there was no international support for the decision.
So while the White Man’s sovereignty is not dependent on any international consent for its existence, anti-imperialist nations like Syria do not enjoy a similar right to issue such self-proclaimed professions of sovereignty like France can or chart an “independent foreign policy” like Britain’s. The sovereignty of insubordinate nations like Syria is not merely dependent on the “international community’s” [shorthand for US and Europe] recognition but can be trampled on with impunity and justified in the most counter-intuitive and morally bankrupt terms. More than this, imperialist powers not only get to dictate and violate other nations’ sovereignty, but also to invoke the term as a legal and political defense when rationalizing their own disputed intent to destroy another nation’s right to remain sovereign.
One need only look up the concept of sovereignty in the White Man’s very own introductory text-books to see how brazenly hypocritical the western approach to Syria’s sovereignty is. Quoting from Michael Roskin et al’s “Political Science: An Introduction”: “Sovereignty means “national control over the country’s territory, boss of one’s own turf. Nations are very jealous of their sovereignty and governments take great care to safeguard it. They maintain armies to deter foreign invasion, they control borders with passports and visas and they hunt down terrorists.”
Yet bizarrely, when a state like Syria which still enjoys [international] legal sovereignty and has a seat at the UN, tries to reassert “control of its territory” and “be the boss of its own turf” by “hunting down terrorists” and foreign fighters, it is not merely denied this right but threatened with invasion and punished with externally funded, armed and trained proxies. But what else can the Empire do when its ultimate aim is not regime change but to strip the Syrian state itself of sovereignty by plunging it further into an endless and bloody civil war that can only result in the destruction of Syria the state?
The old colonial powers stage a comeback: the UK and France, whose sovereignty doesn’t rely on the approval of other nations, according to its FM (in contradistinction to anti-imperialist nations’ like Syria whose sovereignty can only be determined by western powers it seems) are in a huge rush to arm Salafi Takfiri and Wahhabi terrorists and just plain old sectarian executioners. You see, even if they end up in these “wrong hands” as Hague admitted recently, its well worth the “balance of risks”. This balance is so lopsided, that these same groups which the respected British charity, Save the Children, has accused of using children as human shields, soldiers and informers, are now lauded as “resistance fighters” by Hague and Fabius. Apparently the only way to stem the bloodshed and defuse the regional sectarian war that Hague brazenly warned of last week, is to arm sectarian child killers, executioners and terrorists. Way to go leaders of the “civilized” liberal western democratic world! Abu Qatada is surely beaming at you with pride.
An op-ed today in al-Akhbar referred to Israel as “the enemy” in Arabic. Although use of this term to describe Israel was once very common in Arab popular parlance and in local media, its use in this context has significantly decreased since the Syrian uprising. Once a term reserved almost exclusively to Israel, the concept of the enemy from without has been fast replaced by the enemy from within in both pro-government and opposition circles. While government supporters can hardly be faulted for depicting the Zionist-normalizing, NATO-loving FSA as an “enemy” force, especially given its proxy status and military links with Syria’s strategic enemies, as well as its intent to destroy Syria as a state, it is both morally inexcusable and intellectually indefensible for Syrians and Arabs who profess enmity towards Israel, to use this term to describe the Assad government or Hizbullah or Iran, all of whom have paid a high price for confronting the Israeli enemy both politically and militarily.
The danger of such labeling can hardly be overstated in this case; the link between power and language has been well documented by the likes of Michel Foucault and Edward Said. As these thinkers have noted, language creates not only knowledge, but reality itself. The resulting discourse, which becomes internalized by its subjects shapes their assumptions, values and cultural habits. In short, it changes and re-fashions their political identity and beliefs.
To be more accurate, this discursive onslaught began in 2005 when the Lebanese became divided over whether Syria or Israel was their real enemy, with some March 14 politicians referring to the Zionist entity as “our neighbor”. But irrespective of this semantic divide and March 14’s collaboration with Israel during the July war as Wikileaks documents later revealed, not once did Hizbullah refer to the opposing camp as “the enemy”,” and settled on terms like “ our opponents/rivals” and “the other camp”. Compare this to the Syrian opposition camp today, whose leading “intellectuals” and activists in the Arab world have no qualms about speaking of the “Shia enemy” or the “Iranian enemy”, or cheering on the FSA who issue empty threats to attack Hizbullah and assassinate Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah.
By redefining the concept of the “enemy”, both the Syrian uprising and to a lesser extent, its US- engineered counterpart in Lebanon, have succeeded in reversing decades of Arab political socialization, whereby those who prioritize resistance to Israel and the US are mocked and dismissed as old-school anti-imperialists, or more disparagingly by Third Wayers like Bassam Haddad, as “Fumigating Anti-Imperialists”.
The Arab Spring may not be a revolution in the economic or political sense of the term, but it has achieved a semantic revolution which, if left unchecked by counter-hegemonic forces, will lead to the full intellectual and political colonization of the Arab mind and the Arab identity.
'The bombing, blamed on “terrorists” by both the regime and its opponents…The attack was “carried out by armed terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda that receive financial and logistic help from abroad,” the foreign ministry said, using government terminology for rebels.' You read that people? According to AFP, the Syrian Foreign Ministry is clearly using biased terminology when it describes the nihilistic violence which claimed 60 innocent lives today as “terrorism.” This type of “terminology” is strictly reserved for the Syrian “regime” which is so detached from reality that it is misreading and mislabeling as terrorism, the freedom-seeking struggle of “rebels”— a term which AFP suggests is a far more accurate term to describe the perpetrators of this bloodbath. Clearly, the Syrian government’s definition of terrorism represents a significant departure from the prevailing legal and linguistic consensus on the term which defines it as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies…. motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.” After all, the US Defense Department’s definition cited here only refers to violence that harms US interests. All other acts which fit neatly into this definition are liberation struggles led by rebels not terrorists. And so long as the religion they are motivated by is House Islamism, it’s all good.
Addendum* : AP also made this disgusting attempt to sanitize today’s terrorism as guerrilla warfare : "But the recent bombings and mortar attacks suggest that instead of trying a major assault, rebel fighters are resorting to guerrilla tactics to loosen Assad’s grip on the heavily fortified capital." See “rebels” are “resorting” [i.e. being forced to] adopt “guerrilla tactics”, with all the positive liberationist connotations such a term conveys.
I was going to deconstruct this delusional rant , point by point but then realised that as Borzou’s post below indicates, it would be in vain as he is clearly impervious to logical reasoning or empirical evidence. How dare this native informant masquerading as a respectable journalist (who interviewed me numerous times in the past btw) lecture us on journalistic ethics? How dare he judge what constitutes extremism on behalf of Syrians who are being raped and executed solely on account of their sectarian affiliation? How dare this colonized House Iranian claim we “make cursory mention of the regime’s brutality”’ because we “won’t have any credibility if you don’t”? How dare he say this when he is the one absolving the barbaric groups that make up the FSA from their heinous war crimes. How dare he think we give a damn about appearing credible to the white man, as if corporate media represents the zero point of neutrality; as if Borzou and his ilk are the measure of objectivity and methodological rigor. We acknowledge the regime’s excesses because unlike MSM and its information warriors like Borzou, we can be objective even when we aren’t neutral, not because we seek recognition from the mainstream media spin machine. This post below is nothing but a cheap shot at colonizing reality, or reality enforcement administered by imperialist lackeys like Borzou who have lost all credibility as an independent journalist in the eyes that count: OUR eyes.
This is my guide for Syria analysts and journalists who want to defend Bashar Assad while continuing to retain their credibility in the West.
1. Keep mentioning Jubhat al Nasra and other Islamic jihadi groups without mentioning that the vast majority of armed groups are not nearly as extreme, are mostly locally based folks defending their towns and villages.
2. When referring to the armed opposition keep using the magic word: AL QAEDA
3. Make cursory mention of the regime’s brutality (you won’t have any credibility if you don’t) but avoid resurrecting the roots of the conflict in peaceful opposition to Bashar’s dictatorship. Avoid mention of wanton use of air power against civilians in bread lines and in their homes.
4. Keep talking about NATO, the Gulf countries and Western support for opposition; that will boost Bashar’s anti-imperialist creds among the campus leftists.
5. Focus on faults of incompetent and disorganized Syrian opposition abroad instead of networks of activists and homegrown civil society already establishing governance inside.
6. Frame Russia as an honest broker trying to peacefully resolve conflict instead of a shrewd chess player that doesn’t give a damn about Syrian civilians and murdered tens of thousands of Chechens in an attempt to put down a rebellion in the 1990s.
7. Keep warning about consequences of Syria state’s collapse: sectarian war, refugees in Europe, rise of an Islamist state.
8. Keep raising rare instances of rebel misconduct and faked videos and frame them as emblematic of the overall opposition.
9. Make the opposition look intransigent; they’re the ones who won’t agree to a peaceful settlement, not the president who did no reforms for 10 years and dispatched shabiha to murder peaceful protesters when they spoke out.
10. Pray to God (even if you are an athiest) that the rebels don’t get to Damascus, open up the files and find out what you did for the regime, the details of conversations on how you got your visas and your access to officials.
It has become increasingly clear that the proxy war on Syria is not merely intended to unseat the Assad “regime” with the sole aim of weakening the Resistance axis. The ultimate goal of the US-NATO-GCC-Israeli axis is, as Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly warned, to destroy the only strong army in the region, besides Israel’s, and in so doing, to dismantle the Syrian state as was the case in Iraq and Libya.
This objective is all the more apparent when one considers how the Syrian Arab Forces’ rank and file is predominantly Sunni (see this BBC report here if you need mainstream media confirmation of this) and consists of all sects. As such, the Syrian army represents all Syrians, not merely Alawites. This objective is also evidenced by the fact that this army is not fighting merely to protect the Assad leadership as the opposition and its backers would have us believe, nor is it reducible to an armed militia of the regime’s.
Irrespective of whatever atrocities may or may not have been committed by individual soldiers, as an institution, the Syrian army is fighting both Syrian and foreign rebels who have collectively instituted a reign of terror in areas under their control, far more brutal and repressive than that practiced by the regime in the past. In confronting groups who harbor sinister and divisive ambitions, the army seeks to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity, national sovereignty and communal coexistence.
No army fights an internationally-waged war like this one, for two years straight, simply to preserve a regime. No army fights to the death with minimal defections [compared to other Arab countries] for anything less than a national cause, and that cause is Syria.
It is no coincidence then that Iran, Hizbullah and Russia, as well as nationalist opposition figures like Haytham Manaa and regime insiders like Farouk al-Sharaa, have called for the preservation of the Syrian Arab Forces. All those who want to see the army defeated and who reject the dialogue initiative proposed by Iran and others before it—an initiative which could very well result in the opposition winning the presidency and making significant gains in parliamentary elections— are effectively advocating the wholesale destruction of Syria as a state and not merely the overthrow of the Assad regime. The irony is that in such a non-state, they will achieve neither power nor victory, only division and bloodshed. Such is the nihilistic character of the Syrian opposition.