What will be the future of the region ….a competition or a conflict? المنطقة إلى أين… تنافس أم صراع؟

يناير 22, 2017

 

Written by Nasser Kandil,

This question is not proposed in the beginnings of the Arab Spring which seemed that it was foreshadowing of a call for a change (revolution) before it becomes clear that it is foreshadowing of a chaos and mystery, that affect the fate of the national entities which emerged after the two World Wars taking them away from the dream of unity towards fragmenting the fragmented and dividing the divided, and driving them into civil wars after destroying the national armies which often were symbols of the repression of the central state, but soon they became symbol of the national identity which is threatened of demise in favor of ethnic, sectarian, and tribal identities, and combating identities that are involved in fateful wars till the death, till the protection of the survival of the entities which were generated by Sykes-Picot as a project of fragmentation became a national demand that worth the enormous sacrifices, as the preservation of the armies has become an issue of the preservation of the backbone of a  regressed country that is threatened of passing away. This question is not proposed too especially after the wars of the US Empire which aim to create a new World system that is based on the collapse of the system which was expressed by the engagement rules after the Second World War, and was known as the Cold War, in addition to what was proposed on the people in our region especially options that their sweetest were bitter, such as the standing against the wars after the fall of Berlin Wall defending on regimes from which their people were suffering, or the standing in the bank of the war of independence where there was no place for life, freedom, independence, and identity. The imperial project carries its philosophy to the new world and it foreshadows one of its bilateral at the spokesman of Francis Fukuyama; the end of the history and the fall of the identities, and what does it mean the unilateral savage globalization or the clash of the civilizations according to Samuel Huntington, a clash in which the people and the nations which stick to privacy and identity are crushed, and their fate is not better than the fate of the Indians as the original indigenous of the country, those who stick to a life style, culture, and a behavior that it is inconsistent with the unified collective identity and which is proposed to be applied on all humans at the end of the history.

The question is proposed after there was a justification to propose it, the US imperial project is cracking and the question became legitimate, To where America is moving. The Arab Spring has got a distorted outcome which is ISIS, an accumulative outcome of the overwhelming chaos which the region has entered or which inserted to it. Thus the normal question becomes: To where the region is moving after the failure of the US imperial project, the failure of the Arab Spring and the anticipated victory on ISIS. The questions starts from determining our awareness which has changed in us, is it enough to answer the question without the ill awareness that the wars under the name of the victory on others are our wars instead of our peace, construction, development, knowing that originally they are our countries, and communities?

When Thomas Friedman tried in his book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” to formulate the concept of the globalization which was adopted by the US wars in developing what he has started in the openings of New York Times promoting for these wars in the era of the US President Bill Clinton which Europe was its arena, before it was the turn of Asia in the era of George Bush, he considered that the Olive tree is a symbol of identity and privacy, while the Lexus car is a symbol of luxury, concluding that there is no place in the new world for the private identities but to follow the luxury, generalizing the slogan uproot your olive tress by yourselves and follow the Lexus before this car uproots your trees, because your olive trees have no place in the world of tomorrow in both cases. Thus the US wars, then its Arab Spring or its smart war and later the birth of ISIS reveal three dangerous facts. First, the Lexus car was employed by the olive tree to uproot the trees of others for its account. In our region the only tree which is allowed to be left is the Israeli tree, so it is not a coincidence the rise of the US globalized imperial project with the declaration of Israel of its intention to develop the identity of its project for more vulgarity in persisting in the private provocative identity which is different to Friedman’s recipes and launches its project as a Jewish state. The second fact is that the seek to destroy our national olive trees was in favor of our other olive trees which do not produce fruits, they are our fighting and killing identity, where the clans, tribes, sects, and doctrines have got all necessary sponsorship to grow at the expense of the national state, and thus having parties, armies, flags, and states. The third fact is that ISIS as an accumulative legitimate outcome of the failure of the two projects; the imperial military and the  revolutionary intelligence; Summer and Spring, has got its strength from a distorted example of an obscure identity in history to the extent of suffocation in the form and the content, but the surprising fact is that the end started in the state of origin of the savage globalization by returning to the racist crude private identity,  which depends on its olive tree, as an example produced successively by the formations of the rising political speech in the West from America Donald Trump to Britain which got out of the European Union towards France which is more French, less European, and less global as described by Francois Fillon the luckiest presidential candidate.

In the equation of the conflict of the identities the danger of the fall of the seek for luxury, civilization, and modernity becomes present, and the balance between formulating the identity that is able to meet the challenges and the accord of the facts of history and geography at the same time in a spontaneous way becomes the politics. While the small wars inside the borders of the countries in order to fragmentize and dispel them or between the countries in order to waste their resources and to arouse their tribalism become the clearest expression of the non-politics, and because it is impossible after all of what has happened to talk about a friendly game of chess which according to its result the stones are re-arranged as in the first half, while in the war, the second half is waged from where the first half ends no repetition from the beginning, so it must be said that there is a project that was defeated and there are forces that win, but there is no later project that wins. It is clear from the approach of the international regional scene that those who stood in the bank of the US wars have put themselves in the bank of losers, in return today they are weaker than producing a project, since their project has fallen, because the American is regressing to inside the borders to reform himself, while the countries which antagonize and resist the US project can boast that they are in the bank of winners, but they cannot claim possessing a project but just having a golden vocabulary that forms one of the pillars of the desired project, it is the resistance, it is a vocabulary for the territory, its conflicts and identities, but it is not a sufficient vocabulary to describe the project of the national identity and the project of the national state or the forms of the alliances and the reconciliations which form politics while formulating the project items.

The fate of the region between the competition and the conflict depends on two things, first will those who were defeated commit suicide and run an adventure and a risk generalizing the example of ISIS and pushing more geography and capacities in its account, thus it will have new reasons of power, as having control over the cultural and intellectual background that is consistent with its project and the most important oil wealth in the region from Libya to the Gulf?, or will they have the courage to get out of war with determining the losses and engage in the regional settlements in which the competition is revolving, but  through a political mind as in the scientific politics. Second, and the most important is do those who won and accumulated the surplus of power have the humility of victory, thus they succeed in tuning the surplus of power into additive value. The most important additive value is the national settlements, thus the victory turns from the victory of forces into a victory of a project that has visions of forming the national state.

What is going till now in Lebanon nationally and what will be the consequences of the war in Syria regionally and internationally encourage talking about the preference of the competition to the conflict especially in the light of the scarcity of resources which affect everyone. The wars have their bad consequences on us, so the final word will be what will Iraq do nationally and regionally? Do the main players in it have the ability to raise their regional limits towards the integration with Syria which alone forms an attractive pole for the renaissance project, and the ability to reduce their national limits towards formulating courageous settlements that re-attract those who suffer from the concern of marginalization of politics, as well as innovating solutions for the projects of separation, secession, and division by promoting the characterization of the unified Iraq in which it stays away from the rules of the conflict of the divisional identities, and thus the revenue of the concession for the national consensus will be bigger than the revenue of the virtual division, or a dream, or an illusion of separation?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

المنطقة إلى أين… تنافس أم صراع؟

يناير 14, 2017

ناصر قنديل
– لا يُطرح هذا السؤال مع بدايات الربيع العربي الذي بدا مبشراً بدعوة للتغيير والثورة قبل أن يتّضح كمبشّر بالفوضى والغموض الداكن يلفّ مصير الكيانات الوطنية التي تولّدت بعد الحربين العالميتين، ويأخذها عكس حلم الوحدة، نحو تفتيت المفتَّت وتقسيم المقسّم وإدخالها في حروب أهلية بعد تدمير الجيوش الوطنية التي غالباً ما كانت رموزاً لقمع الدولة المركزية، وسرعان ما صارت رمزاً للهوية الوطنية المهدّدة بالزوال لحساب هويات أتنية وعرقية وطائفية وقبلية ومذهبية، هويات متناحرة متورطة بانفعال غرائزي قاتل في حروب حتى الموت، حتى صارت حماية بقاء الكيانات التي ولّدتها «سايكس بيكو» كمشروع تفتيت مطلباً وطنياً يستحق التضحيات الجسام، كما صار الحفاظ على الجيوش قضية حفاظ على عمود فقري لدولة تتداعى مهدّدة بالاندثار. ولا يطرح السؤال أيضاً بعد حروب الإمبراطورية الأميركية لإنشاء نظام عالمي جديد تأسيساً على انهيار النظام الذي عبّرت عنه قواعد الاشتباك بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية وما عُرف بالحرب الباردة، وما صار معروضاً على الشعوب في منطقتنا، خصوصاً من خيارات أحلاها مرّ، الوقوف بوجه حروب ما بعد سقوط جدار برلين دفاعاً عن أنظمة أذاقت شعوبها الأمرّين، أو الوقوف في صف حرب استتباع لا مكان فيها لحياة وحرية واستقلال وهوية. والمشروع الإمبراطوري يحمل فلسفته للعالم الجديد ويبشّر على لسان فرانسيس فوكوياما بإحدى ثنائيته، نهاية التاريخ وسقوط الهويات، وما تعنيه العولمة التوحشية الأحادية أو صدام الحضارات وفقاً لصموئيل هنتغتون، صداماً تُسحَق فيه الشعوب والأمم التي تتمسّك بخصوصية وهوية، ولا يكون مصيرها أفضل من مصير الهنود الحمر، كسكان أصليين للبلاد، كل البلاد، وأي بلاد، يتمسكون بنمط عيش وثقافة وسلوك، لا تنسجم مع الهوية الجامعة الموحّدة والمعروضة للاستنساخ على البشرية في زمن نهاية التاريخ.

– يُطرح السؤال وقد دار الزمان دورة كافية لتبرير طرحه، فالمشروع الامبراطوري الأميركي يتهاوى والسؤال صار مشروعاً: أميركا إلى أين، والربيع العربي نتجأ،تاستولد حمله الشرعي بمولود مشوّه هو داعش، كثمرة تراكمية للفوضى العارمة التي دخلتها المنطقة أو أُدخلت إليها، ليصير السؤال الطبيعي المنطقة إلى أين، بعد فشل المشروع الإمبراطوري الأميركي وفشل الربيع العربي والانتصار المنتظر على داعش. والسؤال يبدأ من تحديد قدرتنا على وعي الذي تغيّر فينا، وهل هو كافٍ لنجيب عن السؤال برؤيا تستشرف ولا تعيد إنتاج وعي الذات المريضة بعيون مريضة، لتنتج باسم الانتصار على حروب الآخرين، حروبنا نحن، بدلاً من سلامنا وعمراننا، وتنميتنا، وبالأصل دولنا، ومجتمعاتنا؟

– عندما حاول توماس فريدمان في كتابه سيارة اللكزس وشجرة الزيتون، أن يصيغ مفهوم العولمة الذي تحمله الحروب الأميركية، في تطوير لما بدأه في افتتاحيات نيويورك تايمز ترويجاً لهذه الحروب في عهد الرئيس الأميركي بيل كلينتون وكانت ساحتها أوروبا قبل أن يحين دور آسيا مع جورج بوش، اعتبر أن شجرة الزيتون ترمز للهوية والخصوصية، وسيارة اللكزس ترمز للرفاه، مستنتجاً بحصيلة كتابه أن لا مكان في العالم الجديد للهويات الخاصة بل للحاق بركب الرفاه، مطلقاً شعار اقتلعوا أشجار زيتونكم بأنفسكم والتحقوا بركب الركض وراء اللكزس قبل أن تقتلع اللكزس أشجاركم، فزيتونكم لا مكان له في عالم الغد في الحالتين، لتتكشف الحروب الأميركية ومن بعدها ربيعها العربي أو حربها الذكية، وختامها ولادة داعش، ثلاث حقائق خطيرة: أولها أن سيارة اللكزس كانت تشتغل لحساب شجرة زيتون بعينها يُراد اقتلاع أشجار الغير لحسابها، وفي منطقتنا الشجرة الوحيدة المسموح ببقائها هي الشجرة «الإسرائيلية»، فليست مصادفة أن يتزامن صعود المشروع الإمبراطوري الأميركي المعولم مع إشهار «إسرائيل» نيتها تطوير هوية مشروعها لمزيد من الفظاظة في الإمعان بالهوية الخصوصية المستفزة والمغايرة لوصفات فريدمان وتطلق مشروعها كدولة يهودية. والحقيقة الثانية أن السعي لتدمير أشجار زيتوننا الوطنية كان لحساب أشجار زيتوننا الأخرى التي لا تنتج ثمراً، وهي هوياتنا القاتلة والمتقاتلة، التي حظيت عشائر وقبائل وطوائف ومذاهب بكل الرعاية اللازمة للنمو على حساب الدولة الوطنية لتمتلك كل منها أحزاباً وجيوشاً وأعلاماً ودويلات. والحقيقة الثالثة هي أن داعش كمولود شرعي تراكمي لفشل المشروعين الإمبراطوري العسكري والاستخباري التثويري، الصيف والربيع، استمد قوته من نموذج مشوّه لهوية غارقة في التاريخ حتى الاختناق في الشكل والمضمون، لكن الحقيقة المفاجئة هي أن النهاية بدأت في بلد المنشأ للعولمة المتوحشة بالعودة للهوية الخاصة الفجة والعنصرية، لكن المستندة إلى شجرة زيتونها، في نموذج تفرزه تباعاً تشكيلات الخطاب السياسي الصاعد في الغرب من أميركا دونالد ترامب إلى بريطانيا الخارجة من الاتحاد الأوروبي وصولاً لـ«فرنسا الآتية»، كما يصفها فرانسوا فيون المرشح الرئاسي الأوفر حظاً، أكثر فرنسية أقل أوروبية، وأقل وأقل عالمية.

– مع معادلة صراع الهويات يصير الخطر سقوط السعي للرفاه والتمدن والحداثة حاضراً، ويصير التوازن بين صياغة الهوية القادرة على ملاقاة التحديات ومواءمة حقائق التاريخ والجغرافيا في آن واحد بصورة غير مفتعلة، هو السياسة. وتصير الحروب الصغيرة داخل حدود الدول إمعاناً في تفتيتها وتشتيتها، أو بين الدول تضييعاً لمواردها واستنهاضاً لعصبياتها، التعبير الأوضح عن اللاسياسة. ولأنه يستحيل بعد كل الذي جرى الحديث عن لعبة شطرنج ودية، يُعاد بنتيجتها رصف الحجارة، كما في الشوط الأول، بينما في الحرب يُخاض الشوط الثاني، من حيث انتهى الشوط الأول لا تكرار بالبدء كما بدأ، وجب القول إن ثمة مشروعاً هُزم، وقوى انتصرت، لكن ليس ثمة بعد مشروع ينتصر. والواضح من مقاربة المشهد الدولي الإقليمي أن الذين وقفوا في خندق الحروب الأميركية وضعوا أنفسهم في صف الخاسرين، وبالمقابل فإنهم اليوم أعجز من إنتاج مشروع، ومشروعهم قد سقط، لأن الأميركي وهو عمود خيمتهم يرتدّ إلى داخل الحدود لإعادة صياغة ذاته، بينما بالمقابل تستطيع الدول التي ناوأت وقاومت المشروع الأميركي أن تباهي بوقوفها في ضفة النصر، لكنها لا تستطيع ادعاء امتلاك مشروع، على أهمية امتلاكها مفردة ذهبية تؤسس أحد أركان المشروع المنشود وهي مفردة المقاومة، لكنها مفردة للإقليم وصراعاته وهوياته، لكنها ليست مفردة كافية لتوصيف مشروع الهوية الوطنية ومشروع الدولة الوطنية، ولا أشكال التحالفات والمصالحات التي تشكل السياسة بعينها في صياغة بنود المشروع.

– المنطقة بين التنافس والصراع وقفٌ على اثنتين، الأولى: هل يذهب الذين هزموا إلى الانتحار، ويخوضون مغامرة ومخاطرة تصعيد نموذج داعش وضخ المزيد من الجغرافيا والمقدرات في حسابه ما يمنحه أسباب قوة جديدة من عيار سيطرته على بيئة ثقافية وفكرية تنسجم مع مشروعه وثروات النفط الأهم في المنطقة من ليبيا إلى الخليج، أم يمتلكون شجاعة الخروج من الحرب بتحديد الخسائر والذهاب بعقل سياسي بمعنى السياسة العلمي نحو الانخراط في التسويات الإقليمية، التي في قلبها تدور المنافسة. أما الثانية والأهم فهي هل يمتلك الذي انتصروا وراكموا فائض قوة تواضع الانتصار، فينجحوا بتحويل فائض القوة إلى قيمة مضافة، والقيمة المضافة الأهم هي التسويات الوطنية، ليتحول النصر من نصر قوى بعينها إلى انتصار لمشروع يملك رؤيا بناء الدولة الوطنية؟

– ما يجري حتى الآن في لبنان وطنياً، وما تذهب إليه معادلة الحرب في سورية إقليمياً ودولياً يشجّعان على الحديث عن ترجيح كفة التنافس على الصراع، خصوصاً في ظل شح الموارد التي يقع الجميع تحت أثقالها، وقد أكل ما مضى من الحروب أخضر بلادنا واليابس في البشر والحجر، لكن تبقى الكلمة الفصل لما سيفعله العراق، وطنياً وإقليمياً، وهل يملك اللاعبون الرئيسيون فيه قدرة رفع سقوفهم الإقليمية نحو التكامل مع سورية الذي ينشئ وحده قطباً جاذباً لمشروع نهضة، وتخفيض سقوفهم الوطنية، نحو صياغة تسويات شجاعة تستعيد الواقعين تحت قلق التهميش إلى السياسة، وتبتكر حلولاً لمشاريع الانقسام والانفصال والتقسيم بتوصيف للعراق الموحّد، يبتعد عن تلازمه مع قواعد صراع الهويات البينية بين رابح وخاسر فيها، فيصير عائد التنازل للتوافق الوطني أكبر من عائد الانقسام الافتراضي أو حلم أو وهم الانفصال؟

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The Proxy War on Syria: the culprits and their intentions ~ [part 5]

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We have published and re-published, over the past years, many posts about the “Proxy War” against Syria, but this series of five articles by the Belgian author Bas Spliet, in our opinion sums up well the whole matter, from the beginning to the present day. (SFP-WP)

NOTE: this is the last part of a five-part series entitled ‘The proxy war on Syria‘. To consult the previous four parts click here

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By Bas Spliet, ScrutinisedMinds

The so-called Syrian “civil war” is not in any way, shape, or form a natural development. The US, NATO and their regional allies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel) have played a key role in the emergence of all anti-Syrian extremist groups, including Daesh (or IS/ISIS/ISIL). Without foreign involvement, this war would simply not have occurred. Consequently, if the ongoing financial, armaments-, and ideological support to the insurgents would finally be brought to a halt, the suffering of the Syrian people will be over soon.

Rather than a conflict between Syrians, this is a war on Syria. Because an Iraqi-style invasion was off the table since the public is reluctant to boots on the ground, the foreign powers involved decided to wage a proxy war in which each has its own role. While the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund death squads that serve as proxy armies to overthrow the Syrian government, Turkey and Jordan host military bases in which the CIA and US special forces train Syrian “rebels” (including later Daesh militants) and serve as crossing points for foreign jihadis (see part 3). Besides training and funneling arms to the insurgents, the US – and the West in general – is responsible for shaping public opinion in support of the war. A final co-conspirator that should not go unmentioned is Israel. The Zionist state has a more hidden hand in this proxy war, as it can use its powerful lobby groups in the US to push its agenda.

The big question of course remains: what’s at stake?

Pipeline geopolitics

Although wars for resources are illegal under the UN charter, petroleum issues appear to play a major role in much of the global conflicts of recent decades. As journalist John Foster brilliantly stated: “Where there is war, oil, gas and pipelines are never far away.” Indeed, when you look beneath the surface of the wars in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Afghanistan, you will find oil, gas, and contested pipeline routes.[1]

The same is true in the case of Syria. All regional powers that have in one way or another been crucial in the rise of the armed opposition in Syria – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey – have one major thing in common: they are all eager to construct a gas pipeline to the European market that would cross through their countries. In 2000, Qatar proposed to construct a pipeline from the world’s richest gas repository it shares with Iran to Europe. The proposed route for the pipeline would pass through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey, all of which would of course profit extensively from transit fees. The EU and Turkey were particularly anxious, as the project would relieve them from Russian gas, of which they are the biggest consumers.[2]

Syria, however, rejected the pipeline deal in 2009, as Qatari gas would undermine the gas export to Europe of its longtime ally Russia. Instead, Assad decided to back another pipeline project, which would transport gas from the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf gas field through Iraq and Syria to the ports of Lebanon. This would make Shia Iran, not Sunni Qatar, the principal supplier of gas to Europe, which further enraged Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US.[3] The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline would also jeopardise another Western-backed gas transportation project, the Nabucco pipeline, which is set to connect Azerbaijan gas with Europe through Turkey.[4]

The American role in these obscure political games should not be underestimated. In 2001, then US Vice President Dick Cheney presented a report published by the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy – two of Washington’s most prominent think tanks – that hinted Iraq’s oil policy to be a threat to America’s national “energy security.” By now, it is widely acknowledged that opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a primary mover for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[5] In 2008, by the time the US had left the country in ruins, RAND Corporation – another influential US think tank – reaffirmed that control over the Persian Gulf resources remained “a strategic priority” in America’s “long war.”[6] To extent this control, the think tank recommended the US 1) to support “conservative Sunni regimes” (i.e. the Gulf monarchies) and 2) to employ a “divide and rule” strategy by using nationalist jihadis as proxy-forces.[7] Indeed, this is exactly what the US has been doing in Syria.

The balkanisation of the Middle East

Although pipeline politics was certainly one of the, if not the, covert cause of the proxy war, there is a more long-term objective, too: the breaking up of Syria. After decades of imperialism in the Middle East, Syria remains the only stronghold of secular Arab independence, which makes her an obvious target for the powers that shouldn’t be. As hinted by retired four-star US General Wesley Clark, who served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander during the 1999 Kosovo war, Syria was already on the Pentagon drawing board during the very onset of the fraudulent “war on terror.” When he was interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now in 2007, he said that in the aftermath of the 2001 9/11 attacks a general of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told him that the Ministry of Defense had decided that “we are going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and finishing off [with] Iran.”[8] Accordingly, as revealed by Wikileaks cables, William Roebuck, at the time chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Damascus, advised his superiors in 2006 to effectively destabilise the Syrian government by coordinating more closely with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to fan the flames of sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Syria.[9] Essentially, this cable puts the groundwork for fomenting a civil war five years before the actual eruption of violence. These two revelations are of course only words and should not be interpreted as solid evidence. However, it does give a stimulation to dig a little deeper.

In early 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that if the Geneva peace talks fail, partitioning Syria “may be the best way to end the war.”[10] UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura, however, acknowledged that both the Syrian government and the armed opposition groups present at the Geneva peace talks reject federalism, let alone partition.[11] As balkanising Syria would happen along sectarian lines, and as it would leave a large amount of the country’s national resources to only a small percentage of the Syrian population, endless conflict between weakened enclaves would be the expected outcome.[12] So, if breaking up Syria is a recipe for never-ending war and is opposed by almost all Syrians, why did Kerry brought it up?

Well, how do you figure out the real objective of US foreign policy? Look at their think tanks of course. Indeed, six months prior to Kerry’s statement the Brookings Institute argued for the establishment of Western-backed safe zones, which would eventually develop into more or less autonomous area’s.[13] In October 2015, the author of the Brookings article, Michael O’Hanlon, specified his vision of Syrian balkanisation:

“One largely Alawite (Assad’s own sect) [sector], spread along the Mediterranean coast; another Kurdish, along the north and northeast corridors near the Turkish border; a third primarily Druse, in the southwest; a fourth largely made up of Sunni Muslims; and then a central zone of intermixed groups in the country’s main population belt from Damascus to Aleppo.”[14]

From 2013 onwards, variations to this plan (e.g. a threefold partition into an Alawitistan and Kurdistan aside from a Sunni heartland) have repeatedly been proposed by US establishment figures.[15] Kerry’s “plan B” thus sounds an awful lot like the “plan A” of a number of US strategists, policy makers, and imperialist organs. The fact that upper neocons like Henry Kissinger and John Bolton have supported the breaking up of Syria as the best possible outcome should tell you enough.

The idea to weaken a sovereign nation by exploiting sectarian division, ethnic tension and internal violence is not new. The US and its allies have used the tactic throughout history in various parts of the globe, including in Africa, Latin America, and the Balkans. In the case of the Middle East, the carving up of the Arab world was brought up for the first time in Anglo-American strategist circles by British-American historian Bernard Lewis. Lewis, a British military intelligence officer during World War II and longtime supporter of the Israeli right, wrote an article as far back as 1992 called Rethinking the Middle East – published in Foreign Affairs, the quarterly of the Council on Foreign Relations – in which he predicted the “lebanonisation” of the Middle East:

“Most of the states of the Middle East – Egypt is an obvious exception – are of recent and artificial construction [sic][16] and are vulnerable to [“lebanonisation”]. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the nation-state. [sic][17] The state then disintegrates – as happened in Lebanon – into a chaos of squabbling feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.”[18]

According to Lewis, American policy is mainly aimed at preventing regional hegemony (whether in the form of pan-Arabism or in the form of one strong regional power) that would establish monopolistic control over the Middle Eastern oil reserves. The US does not pursue this policy of “lebanonisation” in a classical imperial fashion, hints Lewis, but instead by invigorating Islamic fundamentalism, as religious opposition groups are the only ones that have at their disposal a network outside the control of the state.[19]

This is essentially what happened in Iraq, and what is happening now in Syria. The US and its allies are doing everything they can to exploit sectarian tensions in order to break up existing sovereign Arab nations into small and inter-fighting weakened microstates. The very first time this tactic was described in detail, however, was not by an American strategist, but an Israeli one. To understand why all the above-mentioned leads back to an Israeli paper, a deeper look into Israel’s role in Middle Eastern conflicts is essential, however.

Divide and conquer: Israel’s role behind the scenes[20]

“Senior IDF officers and those close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, such as National Security Advisor Ephraim Halevy, paint a rosy picture of the wonderful future Israel can expect after the war [with Iraq]. They envision a domino effect, with the fall of Saddam Hussein followed by that of Israel’s other enemies: [the PLO’s Yasser] Arafat, [Hezbollah’s] Hassan Nasrallah, [Syria’s] Bashar Assad, the ayatollah in Iran and maybe even [Libya’s] Muhammar Gaddafi.”[21]

Aluf Benn in Ha’aretz, one month before the US invasion of Iraq

“After the war in Iraq, Israel will try to convince the US to direct its war on terror at Iran, Damascus and Beirut.”[22]

Uzi Benziman in Ha’aretz’, just after the US invasion of Iraq started

The power of the Israel lobby in the United States is like an elephant in the room: it is practically impossible to disregard its presence, but still, people are afraid to talk about it. For those of you that are not aware of the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and their fellow Zionist lobbyists, I strongly recommend you to read The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy, an in depth article by distinguished American professors John Maersheimer and Stephen Walt that is essential in understanding Israel’s role in past and current crises in the Middle East.[23] The two professors, both specialised in international relations, came to the conclusion that the central focus of US foreign policy in the Middle East is not in its own national interest, but instead lies in its relationship with Israel.[24] Writing at the height of the US occupation of Iraq in 2006, Maersheimer and Walt put forward a myriad of evidence that Israeli pressure in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks was absolutely crucial in the final push towards Washington’s decision to invade Iraq.[25]

British-Israeli journalist Jonathan Cook further corroborates this thesis in his eye-opening book Israel and the clash of civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the plan to remake the Middle East. When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, Cook argues, it broke with its traditional policy of rewarding and punishing strongmen and resorted instead to regime overthrow and direct occupation. This policy change, which predictably brought sectarian divide with it, was opposed by the oil industry as well as the US State Department, however, as both preferred the old tactic of replacing Saddam Hussein with another US handpicked dictator. Rather than the oil giants, Cook concludes, it was the Israel lobby that persuaded the neocons that this new policy of invasion and occupation would be beneficial not only to Israel, but to American interests too.[26]

As substantiated above by Gen. Wesley Clark, but also by Maersheimer and Walt’s paper[27] and by many other analysts and commentators, the neocons and Israel never had the intention to end the “war on terror” after Iraq and Afghanistan were left in ruins. Rather, they saw war with Iraq as the first step in an ambitious campaign to remake the Middle East. With Saddam Hussein out of the way, they turned their sights on Israel’s other regional adversaries, Iran and Syria.

As was the case with the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Israel’s role in the current Syria debacle at first seems minimal. Indeed, aside from a few occasional airstrikes,[28] giving medical treatment to wounded jihadis,[29] and once in a while funneling weapons to Syrian rebels,[30] it does not have a direct role in the proxy war. That does not mean that Israel is not a fierce supporter of Assad’s overthrow, however. Israel would undoubtedly gain significantly from the breaking up of Syria, which has always – contrary to many of its fellow Arab states – remained a fierce opponent of the Zionist state. With regards to the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, the destabilisation of Syria could allow Israel to finalise the land grab it started decades ago. Also, the Israeli government has recently granted a US company the right to explore oil and natural gas in the Golan Heights.[31] If Syria ceases to exist as a sovereign state, and Israel’s illegal annexation of the area is no longer contested, opposition against this move might fade away too. More importantly, Israel is afraid of the so-called Shia land bridge, which connects their propped up number one enemy, Iran, with Hezbollah through Iraq and Syria. The destabilisation of Syria and the consequent breaking up of the Shia land bridge would not only kill the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline project, it would also destroy or further isolate three of Israel’s main enemies: Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran.

Last but not least, Israel would be the first in line to benefit from the disintegration of sovereign Arab nations, because as long as Arabs fight among each other, they cannot, and will not, unite in their struggle against Zionism. This brings us back to where we dwelt off: the balkanisation of the Middle East. Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with a past in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, published the very first detailed plan to break up Iraq and Syria along sectarian lines in the journal of the World Zionist Organisation in 1982, long before it gradually found its way to Anglo-American think tanks.[32] The paper, called A strategy for Israel in the nineteen eighties, argues that in order for Israel to become an imperial regional power, it must effect the division of all existing Arab nations into microstates based on ethnicity or religion. Consequently, Arabs would be left inter-fighting and severely weakened, which would enable Israel to “ottomanise” the Middle East: that is, recreate the state of affairs that existed before the arrival of the European colonists, but with Israel replacing the Ottoman Empire as the dominant power exercising hegemony.[33]

If Israel achieves its objective of becoming the uncontested ruler over the Middle East, it might be able to realise its dream of “Greater Israel,” which according to Zionism’s founding father, Theodor Herzl, extends all the way “from the Brook of Egypt [i.e. the Nile] to the Euphrates.”[34] The actual annexation of such a large piece of the Arab world is of course (or so I hope) likely never to happen. But still, “Greater Israel” is very much present in Zionist mythology.[35] Therefore, as biblical references and mythology are often used in legitimising the Zionist colonisation of Palestine, the dream of “Greater Israel” might as well serve as an incentive to destroy all of Israel’s neighbour states, regardless of the human lives it would cost to achieve it.

To date, the Yinon plan is the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous Zionist strategy for the Middle East. Its significance for Syria is enhanced by its date of publication, as it is written around the time of the US-backed 1982 Muslim Brotherhood’s insurgency at Hama, where sectarian tensions were exploited on a similar level as today. According to Yinon:

“Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula. […] The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan.”[36] (emphasis added)

Ironically, according to Yinon, “this state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run.”[37] I wish he could have personally told that to the family members of the hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians, let alone to those of the over a million Iraqi war casualties. Indeed, imperial Zionists are only interested in “peace and security” for Israel, i.e. the downfall of everyone who denounces Zionism, i.e. the dissolution of all independent Arab states, i.e. Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

This is not just an old plan which “conspiracy theorists” recovered from the dust bin. Yinon’s strategy falls perfectly in line not just with what has happened to the Middle East since its publication, but, as we saw in the previous paragraph, it also corresponds to many statements made over the years by both Israeli and US-NATO strategists, think tanks and officials. Most recently, Israel’s right-wing Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, reiterated that the balkanisation of the Middle East would be vital to Israel’s “national security” in December 2016:

“Many of the countries in the Middle East were established artificially, as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and based on colonial considerations that did not take into account the pattern of inhabitance and the deep sectarian rifts within the respective societies. Thus, to genuinely solve the region’s problems, borders will have to be altered, specifically in countries like Syria and Iraq. Boundaries need to be redrawn between Sunnis, Shia and other communities to diminish sectarian strife and to enable the emergence of states that will enjoy internal legitimacy. It is a mistake to think that these states can survive in their current borders.”[38]

Taking all of this into account, it might be easier to grasp why Efraim Inbar, an Israeli think tank director, believes that the destruction of Daesh would be a strategic mistake for his country, saying that “allowing bad guys to kill bad guys sounds very cynical, but it is useful and even moral to do so if it keeps the bad guys busy and less able to harm the good guys.”[39] It also might be easier to understand a leaked email from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from 2012:

“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. […] It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible to undermine Israel’s security. […] The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. […] The rebellion has now lasted more than a year. The opposition is not going away, nor is the regime going to accept a diplomatic solution from outside. With his life and his family at risk, only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s mind.”[40] (emphasis added)

In other words, as the New Observer put it: “Destroy Syria for Israel.”[41]

Conclusion

The decision to invade and occupy Iraq was only made when two neocon goals, US control of oil on the one hand and Israeli regional dominance on the other, merged together in one shared vision.[42] Similarly, I would argue that both pipeline geopolitics and the US-Israeli goal of balkanising the Middle East were on their own necessary but insufficient conditions for this proxy war to take root. Only when the opportunity presented itself after Syria refused the Qatari gas pipeline, but also when other factors – like the Arab Spring protests and the Gulf’s desire to export Islamist fundamentalism across the region – merged together with the US-Israeli desire to break up Syria, could this conspiracy unfold. Therefore, not too much effort should be put in figuring out who is dominating who. It is more important to understand that the US, NATO and Israel work together as one force, and with their regional allies, in destroying Syria. This force – or more accurately, the powers behind it – are trying to achieve global dominance by systematically targeting independent nations. Syria, however, is one of the few nations left that stands defiant against giving up its pride and sovereignty. For instance, it still has a state-owned central bank, is not in debt with the IMF, and has banned genetically modified seeds.[43] Unfortunately, the Syrian population has paid a high price for being proud of their independence. Coupled with the dire consequences of US and EU sanctions (that punish ordinary Syrians instead of the government, as acknowledged by the UN),[44] the brutal proxy war has left millions of Syrians impoverished and starved, millions displaced, and hundreds of thousands dead.

Syria is not the first country that has been targeted in the war of terror, though. Over the last 15 years alone, The US-NATO-Israel alliance has been responsible for making life for the Palestinians even more unbearable; for the ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan, a direct result of the US invasion and occupation; for destroying Iraq, leaving over a million of its inhabitants dead; for turning Libya from Africa’s richest country into to a failed state; and now for openly provoking war with Iran. Since 1945, the US has launched countless overt and covert campaigns to overthrow sovereign governments, in which it is responsible for the deaths of an estimated 20 to 30 million people.[45] And yet, we keep giving them moral authority over the world. Time and time again, we fall for the same trap, thinking that the annihilation of yet another nation is yet another miscalculated mistake. Is this not the definition of pure insanity?

Where is this leading? What are the ramifications of the war on Syria on a global scale? Are we heading towards a World War III scenario? And more importantly, what is the solution? I guess an afterword is necessary.


Notes

[1] John Foster, “Where there is war, oil, gas and pipelines are never far away,” The Ecologist, 04.03.2014, http://theecologist.org.

[2] If you want to read more about the overlapping history of imperialism and pipeline geopolitics in Syria, I highly recommend Robert F. Kennedy’s (cousin of late US President John F. Kennedy) article “Syria: another pipeline war,” Eco Watch, 25.02.2016, http://ecowatch.com.

[3] Kennedy, “Syria: another pipeline war.”

[4] Greg, “The destabilization of Syria – who gains?”, Passion For Liberty, 14.09.2013, http://passionforliberty.com.

[5] Nafeez Ahmed, “Iraqi invasion was about oil,”  Guardian, 20.03.2014, http://theguardian.com.

[6] Christopher Pernin et al., Unfolding the future of the long war: motivations, prospects, and implications for the U.S. army (Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, 2008), 174.

[7] Pernin et al., Summary of Unfolding the future of the long war, 16.

[8] Amy Goodman, interview with Wesley Clark, Daily Show, Democracy Now, 02.03.2007, available online: “Gen. Wesley Clark weighs presidential bid: ‘I think about it every day’,” Democracy Now, 02.03.2007, http://democracynow.org.

[9] William Roebuck, “Influencing the SARG in the end of 2006,” 13.12.2006 (Wikileaks, Cable 06 Damascus 5399 a).

[10] Patrick Wintour, “John Kerry says partition of Syria could be part of ‘plan B’ if peace talks fail,” Guardian, 23.02.2016, http://theguardian.com.

[11] “Syria government, opposition reject federal system: De Mistura,” Press TV, 17.03.2016, http://presstv.ir.

[12] Maram Susli, “Kerry’s plan at balkanizing Syria,” New Eastern Outlook, 29.03.2016, http://journal-neo.org.

[13] Michael O’Hanlon, “Deconstructing Syria: a new strategy for America’s most hopeless war,” The Brookings Institute, 30.06.2015, http://brookings.edu.

[14] Michael O’Hanlon, “Syria’s one hope may be as dim as Bosnia’s once was,” Reuters, 06.10.2015, http://blogs.reuters.com.

[15] Brandon Turbeville, “Kurdish ‘federalization’ reminiscent of Kerry’s plan B, Brzezinski, NATO plan A,” Activist Post, 18.03.2016, http://activistpost.com; Steven MacMillan, “Creating Sunnistan: Foreign Affairs calls for Syria and Iraq to be balkanized,” New Eastern Outlook, 31.12.2015, http://journal-neo.org.

[16] Contrary to what is often asserted, Syria is an exception too. The term Syria dates back to Roman times, and has been used to describe the area for thousands of years. If Syria is not a historical state, no state is.

[17] The previous articles of this series have shown that there is a very strong sense of national identity, and that the Syrian government enjoys major popular support, in spite of the fact that it is severely weakened.

[18] Bernard Lewis, “Rethinking the Middle East,” Foreign Affairs 71, no. 4 (1992): 116-7.

[19] Lewis, “Rethinking the Middle East,” 107-16.

[20] Please note that this is by far the most controversial part of this series. There exists a taboo on scrutiny of Israel in academia and mainstream press, especially in the US. However, the true reasons behind the proxy war on Syria would not be fully revealed – at least in my opinion – if I would leave aside Israel’s role behind the scenes. I would like to stress with the strongest possible emphasis that this part is not in any way, shape or form motivated by antisemitism (after all, Arabs are Semites too), nor by any other kind of hatred. To the contrary, I regard all my fellow humans as equal, and it is precisely that principle which encouraged me to write about topics like these.

[21] Aluf Benn, “Background enthusiastic IDF awaits war in Iraq,” Ha’aretz, 16.02.2003, http://haaretz.com.

[22] Uzi Benziman, “Corridors of power – who will give the go-ahead?”, Ha’aretz, 21.03.2003, http://haaretz.com.

[23] John Maersheimer and Stephen Walt, “The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy,” Middle East Policy 13, no. 3 (2006): 29-87.

[24] Maersheimer and Walt, “The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy,” 30.

[25] Maersheimer and Walt, “The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy,” 53-8.

[26] Jonathan Cook, preface to Israel and the clash of civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the plan to remake the Middle East (London: Pluto Press, 2008), 13-4.

[27] Maersheimer and Walt, “The Israel lobby and U.S. foreign policy,” 58-61.

[28] “Israel joins forces with ISIS? Tel Aviv bombs Syria for sixth time in 18 months,” 21st Century Wire, 20.01.2015, http://21stcenturywire.com; Leith Fadel, “Israeli air force attacks Syrian army in the Golan Heights,” Al-Masdar News, 17.09.2016, http://almasdarnews.com.

[29] “Report: Israel treating al-Qaida fighters wounded in Syria civil war,” The Jerusalem Post, 13.03.2015, http://jpost.com.

[30] See for instance: Majd Fahd, “Syria’s security forces confiscate huge amount of Israeli ammo,” Al-Masdar News, 27.04.2016, http://almasdarnews.com; “Large amounts of munitions, including Israeli-made weapons, seized in western Sweida,” SANA, 14.02.2016, http://sana.sy.

[31] Daniel Graeber, “Cheney-linked company to drill in occupied Golan Heights,” Oil Price, 22.02.2013, http://oilprice.com.

[32] Oded Yinon, “A strategy for Israel in the nineteen eighties,” Kivunim, translated by Israel Shahak (Massachusetts: Association of Arab-American University Graduates, 1982).

[33] Noam Chomsky, Fateful triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians (London: Pluto Press, 1999), 767.

[34] Theodor Herzl, Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, vol. 2 (New York: Herzl Press, 1960), 711.

[35] According to several passages in the Old Testament, the ancient kingdom of Israel allegedly compromised a large part of the Middle East – including parts of present-day Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia – under David and Solomon. The map of this “Greater Israel” is also projected on the smallest Israeli coin, the 10 agora. Furthermore, almost 70 years after its inception, Israel has not yet defined its borders.

[36] Yinon, “A strategy for Israel in the nineteen eighties,” paragraph 22.

[37] Yinon, “A strategy for Israel in the nineteen eighties,” paragraph 22.

[38] Avigdor Lieberman, “Israel’s national security in a turbulent Middle East,” Defense News, 02.12.2016, http://defensenews.com.

[39] Efraim Inbar, “The destruction of the Islamic State is a strategic mistake,” BESA Center Perspectives, paper no. 352 (2016).

[40] Hillary Clinton, “New Iran and Syria 2.doc,” 2012

 

(Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton Email Archive, U.S. Department of State, case no. F-2014-20439, doc no. C05794498).

[41] “Clinton: destroy Syria for Israel,” The New Observer, 22.05.2016, http://newobserveronline.com.

[42] Cook, Israel and the clash of civilisations, 86-91.

[43] Adrian Salbuchi, “Why the US, UK, EU & Israel hate Syria,” RT, 09.09.2013, http://rt.com.

[44] Rania Khalek, “U.S. and EU sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and crippling aid work, U.N. report reveals,” The Intercept, 28.09.2016, http://theintercept.com.

[45] James Lucas, “Study: U.S. regime has killed 20-30 million people since World War Two,” Signs of the Times, 24.04.2007, http://sott.net.


SOURCES:
By Bas Spliet, ScrutinisedMinds
Submitted by SyrianPatriot 
War Press Info Network at :
https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/proxy-war-syria-5/
~

99 عاماً.. نزيف وعد بلفور!

نظام مارديني
تسعة وتسعون عاماً على الوعد المشؤوم، بعد قرنٍ على «سايكس بيكو» الذي «أعطى فيه مَن لا يملك، لمَن لا يستحق»، وحيث وضعت فلسطين رهينة استعمار استيطاني، وحيث تهافت الجراد اليهودي من كل دول العالم إلى أرضنا المقدسة.

هل نلوم أجدادنا وآباءنا، رغم أننا ندرك ما كانت حالهم، حين وضع مصطلح «المسألة الفلسطينية» قيد التداول.. وحيث كانت الغيبوية التاريخية، والحضارية، تطبق علينا بعد خمسمئة عام في «الثلاجة» العثمانية؟ وحيث ظل المصطلح يتفاعل زهاء قرن إلى أن فعل ما فعله الثنائي «سايكس – بيكو» في إعادة ترتيب عظامنا.. أجل عظامنا التي لا تزال تعمل قبلياً – حتى الآن! غريب أن يتعاطى بعض شعبنا في سورية الطبيعية بكل تلك اللامبالاة، بل وبكل ذلك التواطؤ، مع الذكرى المشؤومة التي وضعتنا، شئنا أم أبينا، في بطن الكارثة!

منذ نحو قرن زرعوا قنبلة «وعد بلفور» لاستنزافنا بل ولتحطيمنا. كل ما يمكن تصوّره، فعله ذلك الوعد فينا، وبدا، كما رأينا بالعين المجردة، كما لو أن الغروب الكبير للقرن هو الغروب الكبير للأمة.

تذكرون دافيد بن غوريون، وهو النبي المسلّح، كيف بدا وقد تلاشى قائلاً: «أذهب وفي ذاكرتي كل ذلك الدم». فيما قال عزرا وايزمان «تلك الأحذية التي تقود أرواحنا»، ومن دون أن ننسى مناحيم بيغن وقد التفّ ببطانية الصوف خوفاً من كل تلك القبور التي تلاحقه. مات أيضاً داخل بطانية الصوف.. كلهم ارتطموا، أخيراً، بدمنا وتناثروا!

بعد مئة عام على وجود هذا السرطان في جسم أمتنا، وهو يتغلغل، ولكنه سرطان شظايا. أجل وكيان شظايا. الجميع ضد الجميع. حزب العمل قد ترهّل وتناثر، الليكود يتهاوى. إنها الحرب الحامية الوطيس. مَن ضد مَن؟… وفي نهاية المطاف، يتبارون: كيف نقتل الفلسطينيين بصورة أفضل؟

الأيام الأخيرة أثبتت كم أن الفلسطينيين الذين، لهذا السبب أو ذاك، وما أكثر الأسباب، عاشوا بين التشتت والشتات، بحاجة إلى أن يصبحوا ساعداً واحداً، أجل نقولها بالفم الملآن، لأن هناك مَن عمل، وعلى ذلك النحو المنهجي اللامرئي، على تحويل الفلسطينيين «شعوباً» معَدّة للتقاتل في ما بينها. ولكن التقاتل حول ماذا؟ هل تريدون أن نستفيد من تجربة هوشي منه وكيف وحّد ثلاثة عشر فصيلاً فيتنامياً تحت مظلة الفيتكونغ! كانت المسافات كبيرة بين الرجال، لكن القضية كانت كبيرة، تمثلاً باللحظة الفيتنامية الكبرى، لماذا لا تكون اللحظة الفلسطينية الكبرى؟

هذه أيام دقيقة وصعبة، بل وخطيرة، مادامت الذئاب تقف على كل المفترقات، من العراق وسورية ولبنان والأردن وفلسطين.. بل تقف على كتفي سوريانا لتغتال ما تبقى من مقاومة في هذه الأمة. هذه لحظة فلسطين.. فلسطيننا، فمَن يلتقطها؟

يقول الزعيم أنطون سعاده: «نحن أمام الطامعين والمعتدين في موقف تترتّب عليه إحدى نتيجتين أساسيتين هما الحياة أو الموت».

فمَن يصرخ: أيها الفلسطينيون استيقظوا. قبل الدولة، قبل الايديولوجيا، قبل خرائط الطريق وما أكثرها وقد تحوّلت إلى خريطة… قطع أوصال الفلسطينيين ، اجلسوا حول طاولة مستديرة، إذا لم يكن باستطاعتكم الجلوس إلى طاولة مستطيلة، ولا تخرجوا من المكان قبل أن تحرّروا – أو توحّدوا – فلسطين في داخلكم. حينذاك تصبح لكم خريطة طريقكم، وهي غير التي تطبخ في الأقبية!

وأيضاً للزعيم سعاده: «لو وجد في سورية رجل فدائي يضحّي بنفسه في سبيل وطنه ويقتل بلفور، لكانت تغيرت القضية السورية من الوجهة الصهيونية تغيّراً مدهشاً».

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History Repeats Itself for the Kurds: the West Is Once Again Forsaking ‘Its Own’

History Repeats Itself for the Kurds: the West Is Once Again Forsaking ‘Its Own’

DMITRY MININ | 12.09.2016 | WORLD

History Repeats Itself for the Kurds: the West Is Once Again Forsaking ‘Its Own’

The bizarrely intertwined events of the Syrian conflict are suddenly playing out in a less than logical manner, but in fact this big reversal for the Kurds – who make up about 10% of Syria’s population – is no surprise. Although they’ve not lost a single battle and have made real gains in their fight against the Islamic State (IS), they have suddenly found themselves forced to abandon the vast swaths of the territory they had liberated east of the Euphrates.

Now that the Turks have invaded Syria, there is no more talk of granting the Kurds the status of a separate federal region within a new Syrian state – something the Kurds very much want – much less the independence for which many of them have secretly dreamed.

It is already clear that Ankara’s primary goal is not to fight IS, but to neutralize the Kurds. The Kurdish plan to unilaterally proclaim the establishment of a federal system in early October looks belated and out of touch with reality. Their hopes of seamlessly linking together all the Kurdish cantons across northern Syria now also look illusory. However the real problem is not Turkey, but the fact that the Kurds’ former patrons in Washington have decisively quashed all their aspirations.

The Kurds have once again been cynically used and left with nothing. The duplicity and poor choices of their allies are a curse that has plagued Kurdish history, possibly dating back to the era of the legendary Kurdish military commander Saladin (Salah ad-Din), who vanquished the Crusaders.

A prominent columnist for the Washington Post, David Ignatius, in an article with the indicative title, «The U.S.’s Syria Policy Rests on a Treacherous Fault Line» reminds us that until quite recently the US military consistently claimed that the Syrian Kurds were «the strongest force against the Islamic State.»

During the relentless fighting of 2014-2015, that force liberated vast territories, including the major cities of Al-Shaddadah and Manbij, strategically encircling the capital of IS, Raqqa, from the distant outskirts. Ignatius writes that he personally visited US training camps in northern Syria, where American instructors praised the courage and daring of the Kurdish fighters, viewing them as the backbone of the attack on Raqqa.

For a time, the Turks, although hostile to the Kurds, accepted this alliance. But all that changed after the failed military coup in Turkey. The «allies by proxy», trained by the Americans and hailing from various Syrian factions, now found themselves on opposite front lines. That was when US Vice President Joe Biden came to Ankara to lend his support to the steps taken by the Turkish government and demanded that the Kurds withdraw from Manbij and pull back across the Euphrates.

It goes without saying that this was a true breach of faith – something that has become an ignominious tradition. Ignatius writes that «Western powers over the past century have used Kurdish fighters when it suited their purposes, and then abandoned them when neighboring powers objected.» That is what happened after 1918, when the allies of the Entente ignored US President Woodrow Wilson’s promises to create a national home for the Kurds. In 1947, the British allowed Iran to wipe out a Kurdish republic that had been established within its own borders.

In 1975, despite promises to support Iraq’s Kurds, the Americans, along with the Shah of Iran, allowed Saddam Hussein to savagely crush their rise. But not long before that, in 1973, the leader of the Iraqi Kurds at that time, Mustafa Barzani – the father of the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani – pinned his hopes on American decency and stated, «America is too great a power to betray a small people like the Kurds.» But according to Ignatius that was a serious mistake.

One would hope that today’s Kurdish leaders would not repeat the errors of their fathers. One need only remember how, speaking about the deception of the Kurds in 1975, Henry Kissinger stated bluntly, «Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.» And aren’t all the current actions by the US administration in the Middle East in line with this extremely utilitarian recommendation?

Der Spiegel also believes that the Kurds have been the biggest losers from the new turn of events in Syria. Until recently, the Kurds seemed to be the «canniest players» in the Syrian game, with more victories than anyone else, but in the end they risked too much. The US, instead of acting as an intermediary between the warring Turks and Kurds, found itself in the schizophrenic position of being an ally to both sides. Sooner or later they would have to choose whom they preferred, and it seems they have now chosen the more powerful and geopolitically significant Turkey.

The Kurds’ relationship with the United States is rapidly deteriorating. Although, to be frank, they never really had a relationship. The US never regarded the Kurds as a partner, instead seeing them as something to be used and thrown away, despite any assurances to the contrary that Washington may have issued to the Kurdish leaders. This is yet another lesson, not only for the Kurds but to everyone throughout the Middle East. It is not the Americans, but others there who understand what it means to honor their commitments in the region.

Also noteworthy are the sophisticated tactics the Americans are using in their efforts to dump their Kurdish allies. At first they tried to cause a permanent rift between the Kurds and Bashar al-Assad. Those calculations were apparently based on the theory that, once they were left entirely on their own, the Kurds would be forced to swallow even more of their pride and continue to take orders from the Americans, even with the understanding that they were being shamelessly deceived.

The August clashes between the Kurds and Syrian government forces in Al-Hasakah – the capital of the province of the same name – which preceded the Turkish invasion of Jarabulus, could not have occurred without the knowledge and encouragement of the American advisers. Talal Silo, the official spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, which primarily consist of Kurdish militias, acknowledged that «We are US & coalition partners. They make decisions. Of course, we are free, but we can not attack if there is no signal from the Americans.» He also stated that the Americans prohibit their protégés the Kurds from making any contact with the Russians in Syria («in case communication with Russians you’re lose all our support» [sic].)

What was especially painful for Damascus, in addition to being driven out of Al-Hasakah, was the fact that Kurds from the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood in Aleppo at the same time blocked the Castello Road supply route used to provision the government forces in the western part of the city that had already been cut off by a sudden breakthrough by jihadists from the south (which has now been rectified).

For the first time in all the years of the war, the Syrian air force has bombed the Kurds. It’s no surprise that these actions were also approved for the first time in Ankara. There was even talk there about the acceptability of keeping Bashar al-Assad in power during the transition period, and they immediately seized upon a favorable moment for a long-prepared invasion. That meant that for the Kurds, their localized success in Al-Hasakah turned out to have negative consequences in a strategic sense. They have been thrown under the bus. And it is difficult to believe that the Americans were unaware of Turkey’s intentions. In Ankara, US Vice President Biden did not seem at all to have been taken by surprise, and his statements of approval did not sound in the least off-the-cuff.

Meanwhile, the latest turn of events is not bringing a resolution of the Syrian conflict any closer. The commanders of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) have already informed the Pentagon that «if the Turks don’t get out», the Kurds might not take part in the planned Raqqa offensive. And there is simply no other force in the country that is capable of clearing out the «terrorist capital» anytime soon.

The agreement reached between the Americans and the Turks during the G20 summit in Hangzhou to jointly attack Raqqa is hardly feasible without the Kurds. Without them, that operation would require many Turkish and American ground forces to plunge deeply into Syrian territory. And that might not only bring many casualties, but would also likely face serious opposition in the United States and Turkey, as well as from other countries, including Russia and Iran.

Damascus, which still retains its seat at the UN, would also oppose it. Ankara might repeat the mistake made by the Kurds and set off down the «treacherously dangerous path» laid out for them. One can only hope that the Turks will not allow themselves to be coaxed into once again undermining the partnership with Moscow that required so much work to repair.

Yet the Kurds could salvage their situation, if they are able to make the right choice in the final stage of the war, by renouncing their fraudulent dependencies and alliances that promise them nothing but a copious «tribute of blood.» It seems more obvious that their natural ally – and essentially their only one – not only in warfare but also in achieving national self-determination in a post-war version of Syria, is Bashar al-Assad’s secular regime in Damascus.

No other opposition force, not the Americans and certainly not the Turks, give the slightest thought to any sort of national rights for the Syrian Kurds. Their current partners all see them as merely «along for the ride.» But Assad has an objective interest in reaching a permanent accord with the Kurds, because the support of ethnic and religious minorities will always be needed in order to stand up to Sunni fundamentalism. And no genuine alliance will be possible unless they are allowed to realize their aspirations.

Turmoil in the Middle East: Regional Dimensions Beyond Religion

Given the current Middle Eastern scenario, one may reasonably hold the argument that the on-going turmoil in the Middle East owes its burden equally to the Machiavellian Anglo-American policies in the region and the harrowing failure of the Muslim governments/leaderships in the Middle East to rationally respond to those challenges. But are there any dimensions beyond religion?

Nationalism and Turmoil

The region of West Asia (known as the Middle East) and North Africa has been home for tension and conflict since the end of the 19th century. The tensions were accentuated by the division of North Africa between European powers during the period of colonial expansion and the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the British and the French in 1916 during the First World War.

Showing no regard to the demographic distribution of ethnicities, religions, languages and other cultural dimensions, borders of nation-states were drawn and mandatory colonial imperialism was established until the mid of the 20th century.

While the western role in the region was fluctuating between supportive and subversive of dictatorships, stability and security remained constant measures when meddling in the region.

Entangled by these complex processes of independence after the Second World War, newly emergent nation-states were neither capable nor willing to establish well-functioning political, economic and social systems. Democratization processes, procedural and cultural, were postponed. There were actually many other pressing matters to attend to other than democratization. The Egyptian writer and winner of Nobel Prize for Literature, Naguib Mahfouz, notes correctly that in Egypt “most people are concerned with getting bread to eat. Only some of the educated understand how democracy works.”

Nationalism came up to define individual subjects, who lived within the borders of nation-states as, for instance, Syrian, Iraqi, and Egyptian etc. Two paradoxes developed concerning nationalist sentiments in the region: The first one is that the concept of nationalism was interchangeably used to refer to Pan-Arabism, which excluded significant segments of these societies such as for instance, the Berber in North African countries and the Kurds in Syria and Iraq.

The newly drawn borders not only created frontiers among majorities, but also among religious minorities. The Druze divided between Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel (formerly Palestine), the Kurds between Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran and the Armenians between rather more national states are a few cases in point.

Even the official names of the newly authoritarian nation-states were controversial: Arab Republic of Egypt, Syrian Arab Republic, The Arab Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Libyan Arab Republic etc. Nation-states failed to recognize the diversity within their borders, as colonial powers did before them.

IN THE WORDS OF LIBYA’S FORMER LEADER MUAMMAR AL-GADDAFI: “THE TIMES OF ARAB NATIONALISM AND UNITY ARE GONE FOREVER. THESE IDEAS, WHICH MOBILIZED THE MASSES, ARE ONLY A WORTHLESS CURRENCY.”

The second one is that nation-states offered very little to serve the cultural sphere in the region but much to serve doctrinal forms of thought. While nation-states were, and unfortunately still are, lacking vision, participation and serious contributions to their citizens, rapid demographic inflation in the region crippled the already struggling economic and political institutions. In 2014, the region was home for approximately two per cent of the global population.

Focusing on nationalist notions, while unable to respond to real life contradictions paved the way for Islamist ideologies to blossom. In other words, deficient and inadequate response to peoples’ needs increased rigid frameworks of ideological perception, in which Islamism counterposed to nationalism were racing to reach power. Nationalist criticism of Islamist ideologies was, we might risk saying, itself ideological and vice versa. Ironically, the distinctions between nationalism and Islamism have blurred recently, so one might detect nationalist Islamists and Islamist nationalists.

Identity Crisis

The region of the Mashreq, an Arabic word means the place of the sunrise, is considered the cradle of ancient human civilizations and the birthplace of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet, its recent contributions to human development can be, with confidence, considered minimal in comparison to the western ones since the Age of Enlightenment.

This is a time-dimension of identity crisis.

The region of West Asia and North Africa experienced the period of Cold War at its best. While some regimes tended to ally themselves, although sometimes sporadically, with the US, some others tended to ally themselves with the Soviet Union. Postcolonial period of oil extraction remarkably characterized the geopolitical calculations in the region. Securing the flow of oil and gas without interruption and at acceptable prices to the United States and its allies is still a main policy pillar of foreign intervention in the region. The Mashreq, in other words, suffers from several political conflicts and is significantly dominated by foreign powers. Not only is the region linguistically, ethnically and religiously fractionalized, but also ideologically: Nationalism, Baathism, socialism, communism, liberalism and Islamism. This is a philosophical dimension of identity crisis.

A crisis arises if there is a conflict when defining multiple layers of identity that should concur between the understanding of the self and actual reality. For instance feeling proud of being an Egyptian or Syrian national collides with a harsh reality that neither the Egyptian nor the Syrian national passports rank decently compared with other travel documents of almost the whole world. This is a psychological dimension of identity crisis.

Individuals in the region of West Asia and North Africa still face several problematics to determine, especially to answer two crucial questions: Who are they as a collective or individual and where are they in the world today?

Serious contemplation about these issues has the potential to achieve two crucial results: The decrease of rigid ideological forms of thought and the increase of self-consciousness.

Ideologies With Islamic Flavour

During the 1970s, Islamist movements, rigid ideological movements with an Islamic flavour, were augmented by the recapitulated military defeats of nationalist regimes before Israel. These movements emerged to defy the western secular model of governance and modernization on one hand, and to go back to Islamic references – “governing by what Allah has revealed in the Quran” – on the other. While this is another psychological dimension of identity crisis, it is a modernization process itself. The success of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini represented a political and ideological support to other Islamist movements in the region, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Egypt, Jordan and other countries, and later to more radical groups such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Following the collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US increased its military capacities in the Arabian Peninsula during the 1990-91 Gulf War. This has led to the increase of anti-Americanism sentiments in the region, which was a perfect condition for radical Islamists, including Al-Qaeda affiliates, to gain ground among the weary populations.

To sum up, there are several reasons behind the persistence of turmoil in the region of West Asia and North Africa. Some of which are based on external interventionism, some others lie in the heart of the region. New narratives and collective memory creation should be intensively and extensively operationalized in order to reach a stable level of pacification among all conflicting actors.

 

IRAQ AND SYRIA ARE ONE: TERRORISTS KILL MORE INNOCENTS IN KHALIS, DAMASCUS AND ALEPPO

by Jonathan Azaziah

All my love and all my du’a to Iraq and Syria. Yesterday, the Takfiris not only murdered Iraqis in Kazimiyeh, but shelled a restaurant in Damascus, slaughtering at least 8 Syrians and wounding dozens more. Today, the terrorist mercenary cockroaches were at it again, carrying out yet another cowardly suicide attack on Iraqis, this time taking 20 innocent lives in Khalis, Diyala, and once more shelling Syrian civilians to death in both Damascus and Aleppo–martyr count stands at 4 today, including a child. Iraq and Syria not only share a common struggle against the triple-headed beast of Zionism, Imperialism and Takfirism, nor do we merely share a common identity as the mothers and fathers of all nations in the Arab-Islamic world as well as many in the West, the sanctified soil from which infinite languages and cultures have grown and bloomed, the twin souls of the Fertile Crescent and the Cradle of Civilization’s left and right ventricles. Indeed it extends beyond this transhistorical symbiosis. Bilad al-Sham and Bilad al-Rafidayn also share a common sacrifice, as both Syrians and Iraqis, men, women and children, Muslims, Christians, other faiths and nonbelievers, have given their tears, their blood and their very lives to preserve the sovereignty and dignity of our ancient lands in the face of the most vicious conspiracy that Empire Judaica has ever orchestrated.

In other words: Iraq is Syria and Syria is Iraq. Earth’s Most Evil have done the most unspeakable things to disrupt and ultimately decimate this unity, but we have only grown closer together in brotherhood/sisterhood, friendship, battlefield cooperation and our inextricably linked strategic vision. A victory for one is a victory for the other and the final victory will be a victory for all. In fact, World Zionism, by arrogantly attempting to advance its Sykes-Picot/”Greater ‘Israel’” hegemony into the next century, has inadvertently put it in major jeopardy by trying to weaken Iraq and Syria simultaneously, forcing us to close ranks, deepen coordination and tackle the enemy head on with vigor and mercilessness, in spite of all our martyrs and all the bloodshed. Read ’em and weep ‘Israel’, Amreeka and Al-Saud, the Iraqi-Syrian bond isn’t just stronger than ever but a rare stone impervious to your Takfiri jackhammer. From Kazimiyeh to Dimashq, Khalis to Halab, may all the fallen rest in sweet salaam.

Hidden Struggle: Why Kurds ‘Must be Kept Under the Roof of Damascus’

Female fighters from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) take a break on the front line in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on September 4, 2015.
11.06.2016

Ekaterina Blinova

A hidden struggle for hearts and minds is going on in Syria: Western geopolitical players are trying to establish their control over the region by hook or by crook, Syrian political analyst Ghassan Kadi told Sputnik. However, this time a new “Sykes-Picot” plan won’t work.

The West is trying to overhype the Kurdish ethnic issue in order to use it as a weapon against Syria, Ghassan Kadi, a Syrian political analyst and expert on Middle Eastern affairs, told Sputnik.

Kadi drew attention to the fact that Washington has repeatedly tried to alienate the Syrian Kurds from Damascus and pull them into the American fold. Therefore, the Kurdish question should be tackled in the most serious way.

The Kurdish Question

“To begin with, we must acknowledge that Syrian Kurds are Syrians and any attempts to marginalize them or keep them out of the equation is not any less realistic than marginalizing, say, any Syrian religious group or province. Once again, the recent outcries that we have heard and read describing Kurds as fifth columnists and comparing their role to the role that Albanians allegedly played in the former Yugoslavia, is historically incorrect, vexatious, malicious, divisive and highly dangerous. Ironically, such allegations came from non-Syrians who clearly know little or nothing at all about the history and demographics of Syria,” Kadi told Sputnik.

“Ironically also, and to prove their ignorance, that loud and vocal mob accused me of meddling in Syria’s affairs because I am ‘Lebanese,’ i.e. in their eyes ‘non-Syrian.’ Little do they seem to know the very recent history of Syria and that Lebanon is part of Syria. If they do not know this fact, in retrospect, I cannot blame them for not knowing who the Kurds are. If some people opt to believe the story of Humpty Dumpty, then this is entirely their prerogative,” he remarked.Kadi underscored that the Kurds are not the only non-Arab ethnicity in Syria: there are also the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Aramaics, Armenians and many others. The expert explained that the Kurds have recently become the focus of worldwide attention because they constitute the biggest non-Arab ethnicity and because they have several paramilitary organizations.

“But just like the nation of Russia is an amalgam of many ethnicities, so is Syria,” the expert highlighted.

It is no secret that Washington wants to use the Kurds to create divisions.

Members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) monitor the positions of Islamic State (IS) group in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, close to the Turkish border on March 13, 2015
© AFP 2016/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
Members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) monitor the positions of Islamic State (IS) group in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, close to the Turkish border on March 13, 2015

“However, if Kurds get the security they seek under Syrian sovereignty, it will be much harder for America to lure them to her bosom. By all peaceful means possible and conceivable, Syrian Kurds must be kept under the roof of Damascus, and even though I’ve said this many times, I was described as one advocating the partition of Syria,” Ghassan Kadi emphasized.

“The perception of this particular aspect of the Kurdish issue seems to be more prominent in the English-language social media than it is in reality. The pro-Syrian social media need a serious reality check,” he added.

There is yet another problem which is largely neglected in the media.

How the West May Upset the Fragile Ethnic and Religious Balance in Syria

Various Western “sectarian” groups and “new-age” churches are pushing to get a foothold in Syria amid the ongoing war, Kadi noted.While it does not seemingly spell trouble, there is a hidden agenda behind it.

“Firstly, I must put an umbrella label on those Western ‘sectarian’ groups you mentioned. They are Christian-Zionists; no more, and no less. Their recent and sudden attempts to attack and hide following the efforts that others and I made to expose them speak volumes,” Kadi told Sputnik.

“Those “missionary evangelists” are trying to ride on the bandwagon of the anti-Daesh sentiment in order to ‘prove’ that their version of Christianity is better than Islam. I have reiterated several times in the past that only reform within Islam will keep Daesh at bay. Islam is a great religion of peace and wisdom when properly understood. It is only the fundamentalist and perverted interpretations that have given rise to violence in its name,” the Syrian expert continued.

In his recent article for The Vineyard of the Saker, Ghassan Kadi pointed out that over the last few decades, “new-age” Western  missionaries have tried to gain ground in the Levant by recruiting young followers.

According to the analyst, these religious conglomerates are upsetting the fragile ethnic and religious balance in the region.

The crux of the matter is that some such “sectarian” groups are alienating its raw recruits from their community. Some of them go even so far as to prohibit their members from voting, to donate blood, to join the military, to engage in political or religious activities, and to trust others outside their faith.

“As I explained in my most recent article on ‘The Saker,’ those “evangelists” will find it very hard to lure recruits from the Muslim community. They will therefore focus on the Syrian Orthodox community, as their ‘colleagues’ have done in the past in nearby Lebanon and several other places,” Kadi noted.

“If the Syrian Orthodox Church is weakened, Syria will become much more vulnerable to future attempts at Jihadi takeovers. Furthermore, Syrian Orthodoxy is an essential part of Syria’s cultural fabric and history. It is currently in grave danger, a stronger danger in my opinion than that of Daesh, because this danger lurks around in darkness, and it works more insidiously in peace time than Daesh does in wartime,” the expert explained.

Young Syrian Orthodox Christians play music during the Palm Sunday procession on April 5, 2015 in the Syrian capital in Damascus
© AFP 2016/ LOUAI BESHARA
Young Syrian Orthodox Christians play music during the Palm Sunday procession on April 5, 2015 in the Syrian capital in Damascus

“What really irks is that a significant proportion of the support base on which the Western evangelists are trying to build their ’empire’ within Syria are well-intentioned Syrians. Gladly however, little by little, they are waking up. If we keep up the momentum, they will wake up sooner,” he stressed.

“Upholding Syrian Orthodoxy and shielding it from what could otherwise become an avalanche of Western ‘evangelists’ from many denominations, is perhaps the surest way of keeping that delicate balance as it had been for many centuries. It is a balance that has its weaknesses of course. It is far from perfect, but to upset it by introducing a new ‘species,’ as it were, is tantamount to playing with fire. With all the problems Syria has now, she does need the introduction of a whole new line of Western Christian-Zionist churches. They can stay in Texas…. or in Virginia,” the expert pointed out.

He stressed that it is of ultimate importance to shine a spotlight on this largely neglected problem to protect Syrian society, already hit by the war, from further destruction.

All for One: Syrian Political Parties Rally Round Assad

Along with the attempts to break the delicate social fabric in Syria, the West continues to spread its distorted narrative about the political balance of power in the region, misinterpreting the term “opposition” and “moderates.”

What parties and movements in Syria constitute a real and healthy political opposition?

“To answer your question, one has to start with defining the term ‘healthy (Syrian) opposition’ or ‘opposition’ in general,” Kadi stressed.

“If we are talking about a party-based political opposition to single-party rule, the current political plurality of the Syrian Parliament and Cabinet clearly indicate that single-party rule is a thing of the past. More pertinently, parties and organizations that understand this development and work within its framework are, in context of the conflict, not at all considered to be in ‘opposition’,” he emphasized.

At the same time, if we go to the other extreme and adopt the Western definition of the so-called “moderate opposition” we will clearly realize that they are militants not very different at all from Daesh and the al-Nusra Front, Kadi explained.”Thus far, the West has not been able to wield the alleged ‘moderate opposition’ groups, let alone identify them,” the expert pointed out.

“In reality therefore, there is no such thing as ‘healthy opposition’ and/or ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria, regardless of how one defines them. Those who represent the ‘opposition’ in Geneva and Vienna are there simply because the West does not allow for such talks to happen without their participation. In reality they are the cronies of the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Their only objective is for President Assad to step down. One might ask how this constitutes a reform agenda!” Kadi told Sputnik.

A fighter from the Jaish al-Islam (Islam Army), the foremost rebel group in Damascus province guards a position on the front line in Jobar, on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital
© AFP 2016/ AMER ALMOHIBANY
A fighter from the Jaish al-Islam (Islam Army), the foremost rebel group in Damascus province guards a position on the front line in Jobar, on the eastern edge of the Syrian capital

The Syrian expert drew attention to the fact that the Syrian ruling party Baath and the Syrian Arab Army have a powerful political ally inside the country: the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP).”Here I must emphasize that the SSNP has been a powerful and effective ally of the Syrian Army, and the recent attempts of some to put the role of the SSNP under the microscope, accusing it of inciting a rebellion against the Baath Party and/or to seek partition of Syria is unsubstantiated, juvenile, and I would like to say laughable, had it not been quite dangerous,” Kadi stressed.

“The Syrian government is internationally an ally of Russia, and domestically an ally of the SSNP as well as other domestic and regional players. Anyone who casts any doubts about the solidarity of those alliances is inadvertently undermining the national securities of both Russia and Syria and their combined effort to fight [fundamentalist] terror,” the political analyst concluded.

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