Excellent response by Adel Samara to the statement by leading Third Wayers on Syria, the “Anti-Imperialist Camp”:
Dear Comrades in the Anti-imperialist Camp,
Your appeal “Syria: for a political solution. Yes to democracy, no to foreign military intervention!” (see below) reflects a deeply humanitarian attitude towards a conflict that has become of great concern for all progressive forces world-wide.
You are right in stating that war against (not only in) Syria must stop for the sake of the Syrian people, the popular classes, women and children, and in the interest of the entire region as well.
It is not, however, enough to have a humanitarian stand that is not class and gender-based, especially when it comes from anti-imperialist forces.
It is obvious that the war is against Syria more than it is in Syria. It is a counter-revolution war launched by foreign regimes from the capitalist West to the backward pre-historic Arab regimes.
War in Syria will never stop unless war against Syria stops. The counter-revolution is in real war against Syria. The core imperialist regimes through their intelligence services, military experts and suppliers of war machines and facilities (weapons, technical/logistical tools, training…) will profit of that war as long as Arab regimes of the dark ages especially of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and AUE are paying the cost and even bribes to those recruited from Syria and dozens of other countries from all over the globe to commit most hideous crime against the innocent Syrian people. Turkey is also in a state of declared and de facto war against Syria.
Your point against foreign intervention is also most correct and timely, but foreign intervention is not limited to NATO intervention by air force or white–European soldiers on the ground. Arab rulers are destroying Syria on behalf of the white imperialist masters. It is a new form of imperialist aggression.
Your declaration lacks another important point. It lacks a cry to all peoples of the world and especially those of countries whose rulers are in war against Syria. Those peoples must flood into the streets of their capitals and cities demanding an end to their ruler’s intervention in Syria and an end to war against Syria as a capitalist business camouflaged by democracy.
It is really strange and shameful, that some peoples of western countries call themselves Civil Societies, while their regimes are launching a real and media war against the Syrian people!
What is more astonishing is that you ignored in your declaration the bitter lessons of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya that foreign aggression will never bring democracy to countries that are ruled by non-democratic regimes. This is not to mention that most of the countries which intervene in Syria do not allow the most basic human rights and are fighting secular Syria by fatwa from uncivilized and uneducated sheiks.
Finally, it is not understandable that your call did not touch upon the double repression of women by the invaders in Syria and how women emancipation, though relative but substantial, in Syria will be under the rule of the fundamentalist politicized Islamic regime?
While I worried for a couple of days about use of the chemical weapons red herring as a pretext for a US/NATO invasion, my fears dissipated today because of two factors that had escaped my mind or I hadn’t given attention to:
First is the very high probability of Russian and Iranian (and very likely Hizbullah along Lebanon’s border with occupied Palestine) direct military intervention in the event of US-NATO invasion of Syria. This has surely been one of the main obstacles thus far to a US led invasion. Like people, the behaviour of states, is guided by two main considerations: physical security and ontological security; that is, security of their identity. When a conflict threatens both, it becomes all the more existential. Make no mistake about it: If the US and/or NATO invade Syria this will not merely be construed as a threat to Iran’s and Russia’s strategic interests in Syria and the region, but as an existential battle. An attack on Syria will be construed as an attack on Iran and Hizbullah, and a grave threat to Russia’s security. The origins of both the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hizbullah lie in their resistance to imperialism and Israel and as such, their raison d’être would be called into question if they took a back seat and allowed the Empire to destroy Syria, empower Israel and control the region in one fell swoop.
Neither Russia nor Iran can countenance a US-led world order, with the Arab world entirely under its hegemony, or the idea that the West can pursue regime-change at will. Iran would be severely weakened by an invasion of Syria and would be seen as low-hanging fruit ripe for invasion and overthrow.
Russia would view an attack on Syria as potentially destabilizing for its own security due to the threat from Islamists in Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus who would be emboldened by an Islamist or jihadi take-over of Syria. It would also invite western meddling in Russia as it would for Iran, and is therefore an issue of national sovereignty for both.
It’s interesting to note here, that neither Russia nor Iran are hiding their involvement in Syria; while Iran has admitted to the presence of “advisors” in Syria, the Russians periodically leak then deny various stories implicating them in military involvement in Syria. While this is clearly psychological warfare, it is the kind that is grounded in reality.
Second, is the nature of the threats to invade. There seems to be deliberate indecision on the issue as revealed by NBC’s reports this week: “On Monday, US officials said the Syrian regime has ordered its Chemical Weapons Corps to “be prepared” which was interpreted to mean get all the precursors and pieces together to at least begin preparations for weaponization.”’ But then the same article reports that ” a senior defense official told NBC News on Tuesday” that “There is no evidence yet that the Syrian military has actually begun the process of mixing precursor chemicals to produce deadly Sarin nerve gas.”
And then on WednesdayNBC reported that: “As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the “precursor” chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.” In short, on Monday US officials accused the Syrian government of preparing the Sarin, then on Tuesday officials said no they weren’t and then on Wednesday they claimed they were pouring the chemicals into bombs. Coupled with news of talks on Syria between Clinton and Lavrov in Belfast today, such flip-flopping may well signal bargaining maneuvers. Viewed in this context, threats of impending invasion may well be a convenient ruse to raise the stakes for Russia and Iran so as to improve the US’ bargaining position in what could be the beginning of a lengthy grand bargain process.
In an unusually guarded tone Clinton reportedly said that while ” the U.S. believes any transition to a “democratic, unified” Syria “cannot possibly include Assad,” the U.S. intends to hold “every party to the same standard” of human rights and democratic values. “This is not just a one-sided dialogue” against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, she said.
The State Department’s plan to designate the al-Nusra Front as a Foreign Terrorist Organization must be viewed against this backdrop. The insurrection in Syria may well be “constructive chaos” but it is chaos nonetheless. Attacks by Al-Qaeda-affiliated and jihadi groups have only increased in intensity and scope. Their readiness to turn their suicide bombs on western and US targets in a “liberated” Syria is surely a reality that at least some of US officials are increasingly wary of. Add to that the threat of a regional or even, an international, war breaking out in the event of an invasion, and the chemical weapons-invasion threat begins to sound increasingly hollow. When you are bargaining from a position of relative weakness or compromised strength, saber-rattling is not mere psych-ops but an effective policy tool.
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.
Ok so how does a Third Wayer process the shooting down of the Turkish (i.e. symbol of NATO) warplane? However they view this, there must be some complex mental acrobatics at play. I mean I know they staunchly oppose military intervention and would doubtless want this plane shot down by someone. But how do they rationalize the fact that it was shot down by the Syrian Army, in other words the regime? Do they silently cheer on the shooting? Or banish such enthusiasm from their minds/hearts? Or do they wish it was the mythical, Utopian Third Way force in Syria shooting it down and hence reject both the Army and the Turkish plane while supporting the anti-aircraft missile that shot it down?
AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ. Arguably the BEST analysis on Syria written so far, by al-Akhbar’s editor-in-chief, Ibrahim Alamine. To date, all of Ibrahim’s predictive analyses on Syria have proven true and if you bear this in mind while reading this piece, you will realize just how much worse the crisis will get and just how far reaching its implications for the entire region will be:
“ A year and a half into the Syrian crisis, events are being driven by calculations that are not entirely under American control. Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have acquired their own agendas too. And they are poised to engage fully in the ongoing war in Syria.
Work is currently underway to link these groups to each other under a joint command overseen by the armed forces of these countries, and to supply them with new kinds of sophisticated arms. We will see weapons taken out of the Gulf states’ vast stockpiles for tests on Syrian soil, and an armed popular revolution proclaimed.
Efforts have been made to prepare northern Lebanon, and other parts of the country, to take part in this showdown, either by providing whatever support they can to the Syrian oppositionists, or by opening new fronts in order to keep Syria’s allies occupied. This can only be done under the banner of sectarian conflict. The Lebanese, like the Syrians and the Iraqis, will be made to pay more in both lives and property. Most ominous is that the countries now providing open-ended support to the armed opposition in Syria have decided to up the attack with a campaign of assassinations, bombings and disturbances aimed at sowing chaos and extending the conflict to the entire country. This while putting together large brigades of fighters capable of occupying entire districts or towns, and dealing blows to the army and security forces powerful enough to undermine their support for the regime.”
If I read one more article entitled “what do we do about Syria?” like this Foreign Policy series ”What the Hell do we do About Syria?”, I don’t know what I will do. I mean it was less offensive in the past when they used the passive narrative voice “what TO DO about Syria”? But this haughty imperial tone spoken in the first person is so much more offensive.
What do WE do about you, that is the question. What do we do about the traitors in our midst is another prospective title. But YOU don’t get to do anything. It’s our region, not yours.
And then look at the contributors to this Foreign Policy series, a former US army commander, and some text- book case House Arabs. How dare they call themselves “journalists”, “scholars” and “research fellows”, when they readily accuse the regime of the Houla massacre and when they cite the 13 000 killed statistic as though either of these were an established fact.
I know that neither I nor any of my colleagues on this side of the divide would dare make such brash claims about “knowing” who committed the Houla massacre or how many civilians the opposition killed.
Where are the standards for scientific research and analysis? Where is the empirical evidence? At the BBC? Or the SOHR? or with the eye-witnesses selected by opposition-affiliated fixers and activists?
Would they count statistics from SANA as evidence? Would they count testimonies selected by the government—which is a party to the civil war and hence, a side just like the opposition is—into account? We don’t even dare count these as evidence.
This is an outrage to academia, to journalistic integrity and to every western standard of objectivity and balance I have internalized since I was a child. Time to deschool ourselves from this tyranny of “balance” and “credibility”, this tyrannical consensus reality they have manufactured, this awe we have for their institutional “prestige”. They are all liars. Simple.
Time to set our own standards of what counts as knowledge and reality.
My last post before I retreat for the next couple of days to finish up some work. Both sides preparing for a possible showdown. Ali Larijani threatens war on Israel in case of invasion of Syria, which I am confident isn’t mere hyperbole or saber-rattling:“US military officials probably have a poor understanding of themselves and regional issues because Syria is in no way similar to Libya, and (the effects of) creating another Benghazi in Syria would spread to Palestine, and ash rising from the flames would definitely envelop the Zionist regime.”
Susan Rice, threatens to unleash sectarian warfare in the region (this woman always has a habit of making veiled threats. She threatened more violence after the last terrorist attack for example): “In the absence of either of those two scenarios there seems to be only one other alternative, and that is indeed the worst case,” Rice said, adding that it was unfortunately looking like “the most probable.” “That is that the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies,” she said. “It involves countries in the region, it takes on increasingly sectarian forms, and we have a major crisis not only in Syria but in the region.” In such a case, Rice said, the Annan plan would be dead and the Syrian violence would become “a proxy conflict with arms flowing in from all sides.”
Rice concludes with threat of invasion (one of my readers suggested I stop using the term “intervention” as a euphemism for invasion and he/she is right): “And members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they’re prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council,” she said.
Not that I think that this is more than saber rattling, but again interesting to see how Houla massacre serves no one but the military interventionists:
The escalating “atrocities” in Syria could end up triggering a military intervention, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Fox News on Monday — following the massacre that left more than 100 dead.
“You’ll always find military leaders to be somewhat cautious about the use of force, because we’re never entirely sure what comes out on the other side,” he said. “But that said, it may come to a point with Syria because of the atrocities.”
The new brand of Amerikan Islam—Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood calls for military intervention in Syria. It is safe to say that whether former regime strongman Shafiq or MB candidate, Mursi win the runoffs, Egyptian foreign policy will not be a significant departure from that of the Mubarak era:
“The Muslim Brotherhood calls on Arab, Islamic and international governments … and the people of the free world to intervene to stop these massacres, especially after the failure of international forces and international monitoring to stop them,” spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in a statement.