Ryan Dawson and Gilad Atzmon on Palestine and the rest of Us

October 15, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

In this extended discussion Ryan Dawson and yours truly delve into the Jerusalemisation of our universe. We identify that which sustains tyranny of correctness, the Zionification of our politics and even the elements that control the opposition and suppress a prospect of a better future.


Gilad Atzmon on Syria, Palestine and the Current Dystopia

April 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

I had an incredible time yesterday talking to Jason Liosatos. We spoke about the current Dystopia, tyranny of correctness, ID nonsense, the Ziocon war mongers and their service providers in Britain, USA and France. Truth doesn’t need a movement it needs to be explored!

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto,

Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com and  here (gilad.co.uk).

The Banality of Good pt. 7: Global Tribes vs. National Pride

February 05, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

If global capitalism is a problem, we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer.

If global capitalism is a problem, we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer.

Global Tribes vs. National Pride

Clara:   I have just been reading a Canadian Jewish news bulletin and all the tribal features are there: the community life with kosher catering, the private Sunday schools with their curriculum of Jewish culture, Judaism and the Holocaust, the comment on why we shouldn’t sympathize with Palestinian children and the trip for adolescents to Israel where each of them is supposed to find out ‘what Israel means to me’.

In my opinion one of the flaws of biologically oriented identity politics is the belief that ‘the differences between the respective identity groups are bigger than the differences within the group’ as the ‘Saker’ defines ‘racism’. I am not sure that supporting Israel’s politics is really in the best interests of all the Canadian (US-American, British or German) Jews or even in the best interests of the Israelis themselves. But as members of the tribe they are all on board of the same ship.

Is that what you mean when you argue that identity politics are a tool of globalization and that  the ‘identitarian tribes’ are used to support Neocon / Zionist policies?

Gilad: It is actually simpler than that. The emergence of more and more ghetto walls between us the people dismantles our ability to fight for our universal needs, let alone see the universal for what it is. In the name of diversity, we create a fragmented human landscape that is blinded to its fragments.  This tribal construct is indeed ideal environment for Neocons, mammonites as well as our compromised politicians.

Clara:   In ‘The wandering who’ you write that compassion has evaporated in Jewish thinking. I often feel it is the same in Germany: we do not sympathise with the Greek people and their poverty in connection with the introduction of the Euro, we think they ought to be punished for ‘being lazy, living above their means and not doing their homework’. The same goes for the poor in our country. And we mourn the victims of terrorism in Germany and France but we are not really interested in the terror victims in St Petersburg, Beirut or the terrible suffering in Yemen. And the one time our politicians seemed to show compassion by opening the borders for refugees, the many Germans who, like myself, welcomed that chance had to realize the double standards which were behind it: supporting the wars and economic policies that caused people to leave their homes and not adequately addressing the social and security problems the influx of refugees caused at home.  

Does this lack of compassion have to do with the ‘incapability of mourning one’s own fate’ we mentioned in the beginning of our conversation and which seems to be a common feature in Jewish and German mainstream thinking?

Gilad: The lack of compassion is a symptom of chosenness and exceptionalism . Chosenness and exceptionalism are indeed attached to Jewishness but not only. It is hardly a secret that the selfish manner of thinking is embedded in capitalist thinking. The next question you may want to ask yourself is what is the connection between Jewish culture and capitalism. This is obviously a loaded question that has many answers. Marx believed that the two were intrinsically tied. Werner Sombart agreed with Marx. Max Weber didn’t.  My point, as always, is that we must be able to discuss these matters in the open.

Clara:   I agree, and it is actually a kind of selective compassion with double standards. But there is also the aspect of collectively getting stuck in the victimized self-image connected with identitarian world views.
Anyway, let’s be a bit more specific here. In a talk you gave in Berlin you said that for example the international feminist movement was used to promote wars for the rights of Muslim women. And just recently Angela Jolie posed for NATO exactly for that reason. You also gave the example of gay rights. When it comes to attacking Russia, gay activists from many countries show their concern about gay rights there. So we are led from one fragmented campaign to the other and forget about more important issues.

But what is the alternative? In that talk you seemed to argue that we should return to think in terms of national interests instead. You seem to want to replace the concept of ‘identitarian tribes’ by returning to the idea of strong national states and fixed borders. Isn’t that a very dangerous right-wing concept? Doesn’t that lead to new chauvinism, the persecution of ethnic minorities and more?

Gilad:  This is a good question. To start with, I am not a political activist. I do not offer solutions or alternatives. As mentioned before, I am a philosopher, I am refining questions rather than repeating readymade answers.  I indeed often argue that if global capitalism is a problem (and it is a problem), we may have to consider the idea that equality within borders is a possible answer. Now, let’s talk about Nationalism and National States. I contend that Nationalism isn’t necessarily a problem unless celebrated on the expense of others. In the 1940’s people and nations were minced in the name of lebensraum, in the Neocon dominated global universe we do the same in the name of Coca-Cola, Gay-Rights and fake democracy. I argue, therefore that ethical thinking which is basically an Athenian aspired domain is the remedy.   

Clara:   If there is a definition of left wing, it is concern for social issues and anti-imperialism. Many people argue that politics addressing these issues need a strong national state, i.e. Bill Mitchell  (fiscal policies), Paul Steinhardt (social welfare policies – paywall) and Professor Michael Hartman (national elites are still strong). While others advocate ‘more EU’ to address social issues on an international level, these people claim that such a project is bound to fail, even if tried which currently is not really the case; the EU is not a social project. The right wing parties want ‘less EU’ as well, but tend to support neo-liberal policies.
But again – slippery grounds – people quickly ‘stone you’ when you start talking about the role of the national state. When Sarah Wagenknecht from the Left Party criticized Merkel’s open-border policy, she was accused of socializing with the right-wingers from AfD.

Often accusations of working together with right-wing people (Nazis!) replace an open exchange of argument. I think this is a dangerous development.

Gilad: Again, you are pointing at the Jerusalemite tendency, that tyranny of correctness that dictates a manner of speech, a pattern of ‘correct’ thinking, newspeak. Orwell recognized that that tendency is inherent to Left politics which is fascinating considering the Athenian dialectic nature of Marx thinking. We are living in an upside down world –The anti Fascist are often intrinsically fascists. The anti Zionists are mostly AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) and the Athenians who see it all are castigated subject to constant abuse. Yet, the people are not buying into that reality. Brexit proves that Brits want to see a change. Trump won because Americans are frustrated (surely, they are more frustrated now).  Far from being surprising the popularity of Corbyn in Britain and Sanders in the USA can be realised as a similar symptom of frustration with the current identitarian dystopia. Both leaders are nostalgic anti identiatrian characters.  The meaning of it is simple. We are moving into a realm that transcends beyond left/right banal binary. To be in time is to grasp the post political condition.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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Project of the Saudi Opposition Karamah Movement

Project of the Saudi Opposition Karamah Movement

Designed by: Nour Fakih

Saudi opposition Karamah Movement's statement

قراءة في حديث الرئيس بشار الأسد

صابرين دياب

نوفمبر 21, 2017

حين يتحدّث الرئيس بشار الأسد عن العروبة من دون ورقة، ولا حتى رؤوس أقلام، فذلك أبعد من السياسة بفراسخ، بمعنى أنّ الأمر انتماء وفكر وثقافة، وليس بالأمر الشكلاني قطعاً.

حين كتب ساطع الحصري كتابه المبكر والمميّز «العروبة أولاً»، كان بدون أدنى ريب – يقصد أنّ العروبة نبتٌ سوري صرف، كيف لا، وقد فكَّكت «سايكس – بيكو» الوطن العربي، إلى قطريات، وكانت سورية وحدها التي تمّت تجزئتها من الداخل، حيث اقتطعت منها دويلتان قطريتان لتوابع أعراب، بينما تقرّر اغتصاب جنوب سورية، أيّ فلسطين.

وهكذا، حين تحدّث الرئيس الأسد، في الملتقى العربي لمواجهة الحلف الأميركي الصهيوني الرجعي، ودعم مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني، والذي عُقد مؤخراً في دمشق، فقد أكد على أنّ المستقبل العتيد هو للعروبة وقيمها النبيلة، ولعلّ حجر الأساس في حديث الأسد بشار، أنّ العروبة حالة حضارية ثقافية، لم تنحصر ولم تحصر نفسها في العرب، بل في جميع الشركاء في الوطن، وهذا تأسيس لمواجهة معسكرين: داخل الوطن وخارجه.

داخل الوطن، موجّهة ضد قيادات الاتجاهات الإقليمية والقُطرية والطائفية، التي أفلتت من اللجام إثر تراجع المدّ العروبي بعد الخمسينيات والستينيات، وأعلنت حرباً لا هوادة فيها ضدّ القومية العربية، سواء بتجلياتها في أنظمة أو قوى سياسية، أو حتى ثقافية شعبية.

وضدّ التيارات المتخارجة او المتغربنة من ليبراليين وحداثيين، وخاصة قيادات إثنية، تثير النعرات «الإثنية والقومية والدينية» سواء في المشرق العربي أو في المغرب العربي، تحت غطاء تسمية «المكوّنات»، زاعمة أنّ القومية العربية شوفينية، وبأنّ تلك المكوّنات لها حق الانفصال.

هذا مع العلم بأنّ أياً من هذه المجموعات، عاجزة عن الحياة والاستمرار بقواها الذاتية، ما يؤكد أنّ المقصود ارتباطها التابع بالغرب الرأسمالي الإمبريالي، الذي يستهدف الأمة العربية منذ قرون، وضدّ أنظمة وقوى الدين السياسي التي قادت العدوان ضدّ سورية، وهي التي قاتلت سورية نيابة عن العدو الغربي وخاصة الأميركي و»الاسرائيلي».

وهذه سابقة هائلة، كرّست ظاهرة الإضرار الذاتي او أبدية الإضرار، وهي قيام عرب بتدمير قطر عربي لصالح الإمبريالية والصهيونية بلا مواربة! ظاهرة هدفها تقويض المشترك القومي، وبالطبع ضدّ مشغلي هذه المجموعات والقوى والاتجاهات، ايّ الإمبريالية والصهيونية. وأكد الاسد، في هذا السياق على عدم ترك الدين أسيراً بأيدي قوى الدين السياسي، بل يجب استرداد الدين فهو عربي وبلغة العرب، بل واسترداد المسيحية والإسلام في مواجهة توظيفهما ضدّ العروبة.

وكان الحديث ضدّ اليسار المعولم، اللاقومي الذي تورّط في مواقف ضدّ الوحدة العربية، مواقف لم يسبر المروّجون لها غور الفكر، الفكر الماركسي الذي لم ينفِ المرحلة القومية بل يؤكد حضورها وكفاحيتها في البلدان المستعمَرة، فما بالك بالمغتصبة!

أما ما يخصّ معسكر الثورة المضادّة ولا سيما الإمبريالية والصهيونية والتوابع العرب الرسميين والثقافيين، فكلّ الحديث ضدّهم..

وأكد الأسد أنّ الجيش السوري، جيش عقائدي، ولم يقصد الرئيس تأكيد المؤكد، أيّ عقائدية الجيش، بل أكَّد على أنّ ما سمّي انتهاء عصر الإيديولوجيا، ليس سوى وهم وزيف، قصدت به أميركا بشكل خاص، موت مختلف العقائد، وبقاء وحدانية الثقافة الرأسمالية الأميركية ووثنية السوق، أي بقاء إيديولوجيا السوق، لذا أكد الرئيس على ضرورة تكريس القومية العربية والاشتراكية، وهذه النقطة تحديداً أو خاصة، إشارة تأسيس لما ستنتهجه سورية لاحقاً، وكأنه يقول: أمامكم معارك مع ظلاميّي الداخل، وضواري الغرب الاستعماري.

أما وسورية تتجه نحو حالة من الراحة ولو النسبية، فقد نبَّه الرئيس ولو تلميحاً، إلى جيوب التقرّحات الرجعية والقُطرية داخل سورية نفسها، والتي تجرّ معها طيبين وبسطاء من السوريين، وراء مقولة أنّ سورية ليست عربية، لأنّ «عرباً» غدروا بها وحاربوا ضدّها، ولا شك في أنّ الرئيس تعمّد التأكيد بأنّ العرب الذين غدروا وخانوا واعتدوا على سورية، هم عرب الأنظمة الحاكمة، وخاصة ما يسمّى «التحالف العربي»، أيّ ممثلي «القومية الحاكمة»، وهي عدوة لدودة للوحدة والقومية، ولو كان هناك مجال لاستفتاء الجماهير العربية، لجعلت من دمشق عاصمة الوطن العربي الموحّد.

لذا نقد الرئيس بل كشف خبث مَن يطالبون بتغيير اسم سورية، من الجمهورية العربية السورية إلى جمهورية سورية! أو إلى سورية الفيدرالية، في تمهيد لتقسيم سورية، ولذا أكد أنّ سورية ستبقى موحّدة ولن يتمّ التهاون مع اقتطاع بوصة واحدة من أرضها.

فضلاً عن السخرية ممن يطالبون بجيش «محترف» غير عقائدي! والجيش المحترف هو مطية لأية سلطة تحكم، محيَّد سياسياً، يمكن أن يكون وطنياً وأن يكون لا وطني، وهو أشبه بحكومات التكنوقراط، التي تضع محفوظاتها العلمية في خدمة سيدها أيّاً كان.

وثمّة جوانب لم يقلها الرئيس مباشرة، لكن قراءتها من بين السطور ليست صعبة، لعلّ أهمّها أنّ التركيز على محورية ومصيرية البعد القومي، هو الردّ المتماسك على الذين يروّجون بأنّ سورية غدت تابعة للجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، منطلقين من بعد طائفي مقيت، فالتركيز على البعد القومي هو تأكيد على التحالف ونفي للتبعية، وينسحب الأمر نفسه على العلاقة بالاتحاد الروسي من دون ذكر الدولتين في هذا السياق.

بقي أن نقول بأنّ الرئيس، أدار نقداً في العمق من دون حِدَّةٍ، حين اشار إلى أنّ كثيراً من المؤتمرات القومية قد عُقدت في الماضي، وبأن المطلوب اليوم مؤتمرات فعل وشغل، وكأنه يقول بأنّ «القومية الأكاديمية» لا تكفي. وهذا ما لفت انتباه كثير من الشباب، لا سيما السوري والفلسطيني المنشغل في مواجهة المحتلّ والصمود أمام مشاريعه كلها وتحدّيها، ولا مجال أمامه للمشاركة في المؤتمرات، هذا الشباب الذي قرأ رسائل أسد المرحلة وزعيمها في ميادين التحدّي والصمود والعمل.. فقد طمأنهم الأسد بأنّ سورية ستحيا لتحيا فلسطين والأمة.

كاتبة وناشطة فلسطينية

President Al-Assad: Hitting National Belongingness Weakens Defense Line against Cultural Invasion Attempts

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 17:28

DAMASCUS, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that “hitting national belongingness weakens our first defense line, as a society,  against cultural and intellectual invasion attempts that seek turning us into helpless machines that act according to foreign-prepared plans.”

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting  on Tuesday with participants in the Arab Forum on Confronting the US-Zionist reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Palestinian People’s Resistance currently held in Damascus with the participation of Arab national forces and figures.

“Arabism is a cultural concept that involves all ethnic groups, religions and communities. It is a civilized status to which all who once existed in the region, without exceptions, contributed, said President Al-Assad, adding that “the Arab language and Arab nationalism unite all these ethnic groups, communities and religions and at the same time preserve the privacy of each of them”.

President Al-Assad went on to say that solving the problems facing the Arab nation and restoring brightness to national thinking necessitates hard work as to explain some concepts through which our nation was targeted, including attempts to hit the relation between Arabism and Islam and to put Arab nationalism in a situation of confrontation with other nationalities.

He affirmed the need to clarify the idea that there is no contradiction between belongingness to Arabism and belongingness to Islam as they enhance one another, noting the importance of refuting the ethnic orientation which opposes the national one, particularly in the light of the incessant attempts to divide the region’s countries on ethnic basis. This can be done, the president said, through stressing the idea that Arabism includes all ethnic groups, religions and communities, thus Arab heritage and culture is the accumulation of the heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in this region throughout ancient and modern history.

President Al-Assad pointed out that national action was also influenced by another factor, which is the policies of some Arab governments which acted against the interests of the Arab peoples by serving foreign schemes and facilitating aggression on other Arab countries, thereby creating a negative reaction by many people towards nationalism and Arabism.

“Here we must differentiate between belongingness to identity and belongingness to a certain political system which we reject its Policies,” the president said.

“Arabism and national thinking have continuously been accused by their enemies of backwardness and of being old-fashioned in an age overwhelmed by globalization in order to turn us into tools to serve the interests of huge financial institutions led by the United States,” President Al-Assad asserted, noting the need to adhere to identity and to support openness and development ideas as to confront this challenge.

President Al-Assad clarified that the main goal of the war to which Syria has been exposed for seven years is to return the country and the entire region centuries back through targeting the national feeling and belongingness to this region and through putting the Arabs in front of two options: either to give up their identity and subjugate to foreign powers or adopt the extremist thinking and turn Arab societies into conflicting entities.

The president affirmed that the ongoing war, despite the huge destruction it caused to Syria, couldn’t weaken the faith of the Syrian people in the inevitability of victory over terrorism and its internal and external tools through the sacrifices of the hero Syrian army and the popular support for  this army. It also couldn’t break the Syrians’ will to keep adherent to their identity, doctrine and national belongingness.

Here is full text of President Al-Assad’s speech as reported by SANA

President al-Assad began his speech by welcoming the participants in the Forum which discusses important pan-Arab issues, as pan-Arabism constitutes identity and affiliation as well as being the past and present of peoples and the basis of their existence.

He said that the participants are now in Syria during the war imposed on it, and that there was a general view that the storm that affected several Arab states including Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq to some degree and the ensuing destruction seek to set the region back by centuries, but the main goal wasn’t destruction as what was destroyed can be rebuilt; rather the goal was undermining the Arab people’s sense of affiliation and belonging to their environment, geography, history, principles, and pan-Arabism.

His Excellency said that undermining pan-Arab affiliation means undermining the first line of defense against any attempts at a cultural or intellectual invasion that seeks to turn people into mere machines with no will that move according to plans made abroad.

“But at the same time, as this Arab spring as it was called by the enemies, aimed at undermining affiliation, without the weakness of pan-Arab affiliation and the weakness of pan-Arab sentiment, this ‘spring’ wouldn’t have been able to start in our Arab region, because segments of our societies have regrettably, through the course of time, after losing this affiliation were ready to move in other directions,” President al-Assad said, adding that these segments went in two directions when the events began: either throwing themselves into the hands of foreigners, regardless of which foreign country, or embracing Islamist extremism as a replacement for the Arab identity, despite it being an abnormal and deviant identity that has nothing to do with Islam or any religion.

“In summation, the enemies succeeded during past decades in making the situation reach its current state and succeeded in undermining society partially, dividing this society into groups, some of them distant and some of them discordant, and others are contentious and conflicting,” he said.

“On the other hand, these meetings and pan-Arab work has persisted throughout these decades, with tens and maybe hundreds of meetings being held, but the result today is that the situation for the pan-Arab condition on the Arab arena is much weaker than it was decades ago. So, do we meet again to add another meeting to a group of meetings? Do we meet to reminisce about the good days or lament bad luck or to glorify something that isn’t living its best days which is the pan-Arab condition? Are we meeting just to issue political statements, despite these being important? It’s necessary to talk politics and issue statements and take positions regarding what is happening constantly, but political statements alone cannot restore the luster of this condition we are talking about now.”

“We are facing a real problem with many aspects, and dealing with just one aspect and disregarding other aspects means that we won’t reach any results and these meetings will remain vocal platforms that have no effect,” President al-Assad said.

His Excellency said that we should start with the problem, discussing it and its solution or cure and the possible methods to reach this cure, and this requires focusing primarily on weaknesses and the methods used by the enemies of pan-Arabism, which will help find a way to deal with each aspect, because what is currently happening isn’t sudden; it is the result of long-term accumulation over decades, and its effects today on societies are deep and wide-scale.

He stressed that this issue isn’t superficial or transient, as the West was skilled in its performance and in setting traps, but the Arabs were good at falling into these traps, noting that the West built its plans on realities and facts and was active, while Arabs always based their visions on sentiments and were emotional.

“Therefore, as I am addressing a pan-Arab conference, I have to discuss some points I consider a priority, and perhaps your conference can form a more comprehensive and in-depth vision through its discussions. So, I will discuss some headlines before talking about anything related to the crisis or policy,” President al-Assad said.

He pointed out that the first major problem facing pan-Arab work is undermining the relationship between Islam and Arabism, as some have accused Arabism of being secular or atheist, tying these three concepts together and telling the simple citizens that they have to choose between faith and atheism, and naturally they chose faith, and therefore they would stand against any affiliation other than faith and Islam, so Arabism is part of the affiliation they moved away from due to this way of thinking or this incorrect marketing of the relation between Arabism and Islam.

His Excellency noted that the first to spearhead this method were the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, who were planted by the English during the first half of the 20th century in Egypt and later moved to other areas, and throughout time they spearheaded everything that opposes the interests of the Arab people and pan-Arab affiliation.

President al-Assad said that there’s an organic connection between Arabism and Islam, and there is certainly no contradiction between them, stressing that it is wrong to believe that one can either be an Arab or a Muslim.

“So, undermining this relation through Islamic extremism undermines Arabism. They diverted Islam and pushed it towards extremism. It separated itself from Arabism, and Islam and Arabism became weaker. Someone might ask why I’m talking about Arabism and Islam and not Arabism and Christianity. I would say that of course this is the same relationship; the relationship between nationalism and religion, but colonialism and enemies of pan-Arabism didn’t work in this direction, rather they focused on Arabism and Islam,” he explained.

President al-Assad moved on to the second point, saying that pan-Arabism was put against other “nationalities,” and discussing the nature of these nationalities requires separate discussions, but some of these nationalities existed in a diverse region throughout history and they never fought among themselves, so why is this conflict emerging now? This is happening because as Arab states won their independence, colonialism sowed the seeds of sedition among those nationalities and these seeds were nurtured by enemies of pan-Arabism and even some proponents of pan-Arabism through their superficial thinking and ignorant performance.

His Excellency said that this seed has grown and gained root and dealing with it now requires double efforts, adding that this enemies of pan-Arabism achieved this by giving pan-Arabism an ethnic nature, saying that it is exclusive to the Arab ethnicity, and if one doesn’t belong to it then they need to find an identity elsewhere, thereby creating a rift between groups that have coexisted throughout history, and creating a hidden sentiment that we are living together due to political borders and conditions, and when these changes everyone goes their separate ways.

“They focused on the ethnic issue and took away from pan-Arabism the most important civilized aspects in it which are related to the cultural aspect, language, geography, history, and other things,” he added.

President al-Assad said that another cumulative factor linked to political conditions in the Arab world has affected pan-Arab world, and this factor is the result of the bad political work by some Arab states which existed prior to the war but appeared more prominently as the events began, particularly when Arab states and the Arab League provided cover for the intervention and destruction of Libya, then tried to do the same in Syria, but the political conditions had shifted by then so these attempts weren’t exactly successful.

“However, this role pushed many citizens in several places and here in Syria in particular, to say that if this is pan-Arabism and Arabism, then we don’t want them. If these are the Arabs, then we don’t want to be Arabs, we want to be anything else. Well, what is alternative? There is no alternative. These people are reacting to the conspiring by some Arab states on other Arab states or peoples of causes, and didn’t differentiate between affiliation to a specific identity and affiliation to a political system,” he said, adding that there were reactions towards Arab causes like the Palestinian cause due to the betrayal by some Palestinians of Arab states and peoples that hosted them and defended them, eliciting a reaction, and there were many who said “the whole Palestinian cause can go to Hell,” which indicates the immaturity of the sense of affiliation among these people.

His Excellency went on to address another important point which is that pan-Arabism had been accused of being synonymous with backwardness, which is a hypothesis posed in the 19th century and early 20th century, particularly with the coming of the age of globalization, satellite channels and the internet, which, according to that hypothesis, means that we live in a single world with single principles, interests, and economy, so any form of nationalism is a backwards idea.

“Of course, this is the idea posed by globalization which ultimately aims at having us all belong to the financial institutions that lead the world which are practically centered in the United States, through which they lead politics, economy, and everything else,” President al-Assad said, adding that they tried to claim that Arabism is a passing fad, which is similar to what happened with the fall of the Soviet Union when they wanted to portray socialism and communism as backwards concept.

“Now, after around two and a half decades, things have started to change and inferiority complexes went away. For us in Syria, we never suffered from this inferiority complex at any time, and we used to tell them that even if this language is the language of the 20th or 19th centuries, even if it’s the language of the 1st or 10th century, we will speak it today, tomorrow, and the day after, and we won’t have an inferiority complex. On the contrary, events have proven that the lack of this identity was one of the biggest problems, and adhering to it today is necessary,” he asserted.

His Excellency moved on to address pan-Arab work and the existing political movements, figures, parties, and conferences that have been working for decades under difficult circumstances, as while Syria has been supporting pan-Arabism for many decades, there has been a growing animosity towards pan-Arab work in other states, because this work often made political positions on various Arab causes that embarrassed certain states.

President al-Assad said that there are many people in society who belong to pan-Arabism but disagree with us politically, or have other political visions, or don’t like being involved in the work of political parties, and for them their pan-Arab affiliation is a social and civilized affiliation, adding “This begs the question: where are the non-political aspects of our pan-Arab work? This is a very important aspect.”

His Excellency said that Arabism is a civilized condition, and the most important thing in the civilized condition is the culture it bears, and culture is expressed by language. Without language, the culture turns into a large generator which generates a lot of electricity, but there will be no wires in order to transport this electricity towards the city, factories, or any other place.

“Here in Syria, there is no big problem that we suffer from. After all, education in Syria, including all university stages and others, is in the Arabic language. We support foreign languages, but the Arabic language remains the basis because we understand the meaning of the language,” the President added, stressing that cultural alienation and the dissolution of cultures begins with languages then spreads to other aspects.

President al-Assad said that Syria has suffered from war for seven years, and war weakens any country no matter how strong or large it may be, and this war has exhausted Syria, but it didn’t cause it to collapse. More importantly, it didn’t affect the Syrians’ confidence in the inevitability of victory over terrorism.

“The essence of that war is two groups: first is the persons who lost their affiliation, mainly, the pan-Arab affiliation and the national affiliation. They have lost their identity, the ethics, and with them they lost the homeland. This is the basis that the foreign side depended on. We can talk about conspiracies for days, but these conspiracies would have never found a place in Syria without the existence of these groups.”

“On the other hand, the other group is mainly the Syrian Arab Army, which has fought and made great sacrifices in order to keep this homeland safe,” His Excellency said, adding that the Syrian Arab Army, before being a national army, is an army that was based on a clear creed which was established throughout decades, stressing that no army would have withstood such a war no matter how much external support it got without having popular support.

“This point, which is the strength of the army through its creed, was understood by our enemies. All political work in conferences and talk of transitional governments and federalism, and all the terms you hear can be summed up with a single thing that was required, which is undermining this concept, the army as a symbol” he said, adding that they target the institutions and society as well, because we are talking about one creed, and all the war was working towards abandoning the notion of pan-Arabism starting with the constitution, to name Syria as just “the Syrian state” and to make its army “Syrian.”

“What was the headline they have put? A professional army, which means that the army which carried out all those battles is an army of armatures, a group of amateurs who liked the game of war and went to fight just because they want to fight anyone, just as a hobby! This is what they are trying to market. For them, the professional army is the army which stays inside the country and waits for a signal from outside in order to move with coups against national governments. According to them, the professional army is that which covers the proxy governments when they relinquish sovereignty and work against the people,” President al-Assad said.

“Today, I affirm after 7 years of sacrifices, that we wouldn’t think for even a second to make concessions about creed and Syria’s pan-Arab affiliation just to appease the rejects of the 21st century of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh or al-Nusra, or any other groups, whether outlaws or the groups which work in the interests of the Americans and the West in our region,” His Excellency said.

The President said that if we want to improve the pan-Arab work and see results, this requires coming together and discuss various issues through dialogue, noting that in the past, proponents of pan-Arabism have not held dialogue with others; only with each other, adding “I believe that the starting point begins with dialogue with other groups that went astray, those others that put themselves or who were put by conditions in a place that contradicts their natural belonging and in a place that contradicts their interests and the interest of their homeland without their knowledge, in most cases. Recovering those is the start of the correct work in order to reinforce the pan-Arab work.”

President al-Assad said that such people are like cancerous cells that were originally normal cells that were changed due to various circumstances to become enemies of normal cells in the body, and they are fuel for a poisonous concoction made by the West, but we have to counteract this poison through dialogue.

“First, we have to address the group which is convinced about the contradiction between Islam and Arabism, we have to tell them that there is no contradiction between these two concepts, both flow into the other, both reinforce the other,” he said, stressing they cannot separate the Arabism of Prophet Mohammad from his religion, nor can they separate the religious context of the Quran from the Arabic language, so how can they separate Arabism from Islam?

“It is necessary now to refute the ethnic concept. There are people who talk about federalism, nationalism, and federalism on national basis. We have to assert that the concept of Arabism is an inclusive civilized concept that includes everyone, which means that Arabism is greater than being ethnic, the cultural concept includes everyone, includes all ethnicities, religions, and sects,” President al-Assad said, asserting that Arabism is a civilized condition to which everyone in the region contributed, making it the sum of heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in the area throughout old and modern history.

“The most important thing is the language that brings us all together. We all speak Arabic in this region, not other languages, even if there are other languages. .Therefore the Arabic language and pan-Arabism is what brings all religions, sects and ethnics together, and at the same time preserves the characteristics of each one,” he added, noting that after terrorism failed in the region, the enemies started focusing on ethnicities and nationalities.

As for those who renounced Arabism as a reaction to the performance of some Arab states, President al-Assad stressed that the conspiring by these states against Arab causes and the Arab people doesn’t mean that these states belong to Arabism, and affiliation to an identity doesn’t mean affiliation with a political system.

“If they conspire against us, this doesn’t mean that we should run away from the concept and true affiliation and turn things over to those who have nothing to do with Arabism or religion or the societies of this region in everything they did,” he said, stressing that the lack of affiliation doesn’t serve anyone, because the current problems such as sectarian and ethnic division are mainly caused by the lack of pan-Arab sentiment, because people instinctively seek affiliation, and when an encompassing one is absent, they will seek other, smaller ones that lead to the division of minds, geography, and homelands.

“As for linking Arabism to backwardness, we must be the leaders in supporting development ideas, and to have a program that suits this age and suits the interests of the peoples,” the President concluded.

Hamda Mustafa


الرئيس الأسد: الهدف الأساسي من الحرب التي تتعرض لها سورية إعادتها والمنطقة قرونا إلى الوراء

استقبل الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد المشاركين في الملتقى العربي لمواجهة الحلف الأمريكي الصهيوني الرجعي العربي ودعم مقاومة الشعب الفلسطيني الذي يضم قوى واحزابا وشخصيات من دول عربية عدة.

وشدد الرئيس الأسد خلال اللقاء على أن مواجهة المشكلات التي تواجه الأمة العربية وإعادة الألق إلى الفكر القومي الذي لا يمر باحسن حالاته اليوم تتطلب العمل الجاد من اجل توضيح بعض المفاهيم التي استهدفت أمتنا من خلالها ومنها محاولات ضرب العلاقة التي تربط العروبة بالإسلام ووضع القومية العربية في موقع المواجهة مع القوميات الأخرى موضحا أن العروبة والقومية العربية هي حالة حضارية وثقافية وإنسانية جامعة ساهم فيها كل من وجد في هذه المنطقة دون استثناء فهي لا تقوم على دين أو عرق محدد وإنما أساسها اللغة والجغرافيا الواحدة والتاريخ والمصالح المشتركة.

وأكد أنه من الضروري العمل على توضيح فكرة عدم وجود أي تعارض أو تناقض بين الانتماء إلى العروبة والانتماء إلى الإسلام فكلاهما يصب باتجاه الآخر ويعززه لافتا في الوقت نفسه إلى أهمية تفنيد الطرح العرقي المناهض للتوجه القومي وخصوصا في ظل محاولات تقسيم دول المنطقة على أسس عرقية وذلك من خلال التأكيد على أن العروبة تشمل كل الأعراق والأديان والطوائف وبالتالي فإن التراث العربي والثقافة العربية هي مجموع تراث وثقافات كل الأقوام التي عاشت في هذه المنطقة عبر التاريخ القديم والحديث.

ولفت الرئيس الأسد إلى أن هناك عاملا آخر أثر على العمل القومي وهو سياسات بعض الحكومات العربية التي عملت ضد مصالح الشعب العربي عبر خدمة مشاريع خارجية وتسهيل العدوان على دول عربية أخرى الأمر الذي خلق رد فعل سلبيا لدى الكثيرين تجاه القومية والعروبة وهنا يجب عدم الخلط بين الانتماء للهوية والانتماء لنظام سياسي معين لا نرضى عن سياساته وأن نوضح لهؤلاء أن السبب الرئيسي لما نعانيه اليوم من حالات تقسيمية ابتداء بتقسيم العقول وانتهاء بتقسيم الأوطان هو غياب الشعور القومي والانتماء الجامع.

وأشار الرئيس الأسد إلى أن أعداء العروبة والفكر القومي حاولوا إلصاق تهمة التخلف بهما والادعاء بأن زمنهما قد ولى في عصر تسوده العولمة وذلك بهدف جعلنا مجرد أدوات لخدمة مصالح مؤسسات مالية كبرى تقودها الولايات المتحدة.. ولا بد لمواجهة ذلك من التمسك بالهوية ودعم الانفتاح والأفكار التطويرية في إطار برنامج واضح يتوافق مع مصالح الشعوب ويراعي تطور العصر.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن القومية ليست فكرة نظرية وممارسة سياسية فقط بل هي انتماء اجتماعي وحضاري الأمر الذي يتطلب إطلاق حوار بناء مع الأطراف الأخرى التي لا تتبنى نفس النهج والسعي لاسترداد أولئك الذين وضعوا أنفسهم في مكان مناقض لانتمائهم الطبيعي ولمصالح وطنهم مشددا على ضرورة ألا يبقى هذا الحوار محصورا في إطار النخب والتيارات السياسية بل يجب أن يخاطب جميع شرائح المجتمع ولا سيما الأجيال الناشئة.

ولفت الرئيس الأسد إلى أن من أهم الأمور التي تقتضيها مواجهة الغزو الثقافي والفكري الذي تتعرض له الأمة العربية هو التمسك باللغة العربية التي تشكل حاملا للثقافة والعروبة باعتبارها حالة حضارية مؤكدا أن فقدان اللغة هو فقدان للارتباط وغربة عن الثقافة التي ينتمي إليها الإنسان.

وأشار الرئيس الأسد خلال اللقاء إلى أن الهدف الأساسي من الحرب التي تتعرض لها سورية منذ سبع سنوات هو إعادتها والمنطقة قرونا إلى الوراء عبر ضرب الشعور القومي والانتماء لهذه المنطقة ووضع الإنسان العربي أمام خيارين إما التخلي عن هويته والارتماء في حضن الأجنبي أو التوجه نحو الفكر المتطرف وتحويل المجتمعات العربية إلى مجتمعات متناحرة ومتصارعة.

وأكد الرئيس الأسد أن هذه الحرب بالرغم من الدمار الكبير الذي ألحقته بسورية لم تسقط إيمان الشعب السوري بحتمية الانتصار على الإرهاب بأدواته الخارجية والداخلية من خلال تضحيات الجيش السوري العقائدي والاحتضان الشعبي لهذا الجيش كما لم تسقط تمسكه بهويته وعقيدته وانتمائه القومي.

تلا ذلك حوار تناول المستجدات السياسية والميدانية وملف إعادة الإعمار في سورية بالإضافة إلى الأوضاع على الساحة العربية وآفاق تفعيل العمل العربي المشترك ودور المفكرين والقوميين العرب في تعزيز الوعي والحصانة الفكرية على المستوى الشعبي في مواجهة محاولات الغزو الثقافي عبر ترسيخ الانتماء والتمسك بالهوية الجامعة.

وتركز الحوار حول مجموعة من القضايا الساخنة على الساحة العربية أهمها كيفية تحويل الانتماء القومي الى حالة عمل مستمرة تقوم على تطوير المفاهيم والمصطلحات المتعلقة بهذه القضية المحورية بما يتناسب مع طبيعة المواجهة الحاصلة ويساهم في تفكيك الفكر الهادف إلى تصفية الهوية العربية والانتماء القومي.

كما تطرق الحوار إلى أهمية العمل على الجامعات وجيل الشباب في العالم العربي الأمر الذي يشكل محورا أساسيا في عملية التوعية القومية في الحاضر والمستقبل وأهمية وجود آليات واضحة وخطط عملية لتنفيذ هذا الأمر وعدم الاكتفاء بالطروحات النظرية العامة بهدف تثبيت العمل القومي وإيجاد بعض الحلول لما تعانيه الأمة العربية من ترهل.

وأكدت المداخلات أهمية الانتصار السوري في الحرب على الإرهاب والدول التي تدعمه وأن الانتصار السوري هو انتصار عربي مشددة على أن ما طرحه الرئيس الأسد حول العمل القومي يشكل قاعدة يمكن البناء عليها من قبل المشاركين في المؤتمر للتوصل إلى صيغة واضحة يمكن نقلها والعمل عليها في بلدانهم.

كذلك شددت بعض المداخلات إلى ضرورة البناء على انتصار سورية لإعادة الألق للقومية العربية والانتماء العربي بالتركيز على الشعوب العربية رغم مواقف بعض الحكومات العربية التي وقفت ضد سورية في حربها.


Hamda Mustafa

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South Front

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

The traditional societies of the Middle East have always been notable for their ethnic and religious diversity. Today, however, the Middle East is on the cusp of a deep schism along ethnic and religious lines. This situation has brought several Muslim Arab states to the brink of collapse, is provoking new difficult to resolve conflicts, and continues to undermine the secular aspect of Arab nationalism to the benefit of strengthening its Islamic component, the replacement of nationalism as such with ultra-religious extremism and ethnic separatism.

An Iraqi Army M1A1M Abrams battle tank destroyed by Kurdish Peshmerga forces during the recently sparked Arab-Kurdish tensions in northern Iraq:

The current range of conflicts, which revolve around the struggle for power and territory, showed their destructive potential. The difficulty in resolving such conflicts is due to their roots in history, which further complicate the search for peace. There is also another, no less important, problem. Most of the current Arab states’ political organizations are based on the principle of nationalism. This is the principle that was used to form the post-Ottoman independent states. Their multi-religious and multi-ethnic nature was also the aftermath of the rather arbitrary drawing of borders during the colonial period.

The Evolution of Arab Nationalism

By the end of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s of the 20th Century, the influence of Islam on Arab nationalist movement began to grow. This was to a large extent due to a deep disappointment on the part of a sizable proportion of liberal secular Arab elites in the “civilizing” mission of the secular and enlightened West. As a result of Middle East policies of Western powers, Arabs were not able to establish a single state. Their lands were arbitrarily divided between Great Britain and France, the newly founded states became colonial dependencies. Simultaneously, Western powers actively supported the creation of a national Jewish nucleus in the Palestine, which only worsened the already tense situation.

After WW2, this process continued, receiving its expression in the concept of urub, or the spirit of Arab national consciousness, in order to strengthen the ties between Arab nationalism and Islam. The struggle over the future course of political development that raged in Arab states in the 1950s and ‘60s in the context of establishing independent states and modern societies brought to power secular Arab nationalists (Ba’athists, Naserites), who tried to pursue development using socialist ideas.

In spite of that, the Islamist trend within Arab nationalism did not vanish but merely receded. Even the most progressive and secular Arab leaders were forced to seek legitimacy in adherence to Islam and respect the interests of religiously active parts of society when forming own base of support.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad (portrait) wave Baath Party flags during a pro-government rally in Damascus. FILE IMAGE: Louai Beshara – AFP

The lack of a charismatic mainstream leader with regional appeal capable of offering a pan-Arab model of secular development respecting the interests of the Arab Muslim majority, the rights and desires of national and religious minorities, and attract regional elites and the broad masses, caused Arab leaders to encounter problems in the early 21st century. The long-serving leaders were  concerned continuity of their political course, in order to guarantee their own interests were preserved. Young Arab leaders inherited power from their fathers. This was achieved through intra-elite compromise, achieved not so much through free agreement or a democratic choice, but rather through clever intrigues and strong-arm tactics used to neutralize possible competition. Therefore the young leaders were forced to mostly worry about forming their own governing team, balancing between various power centers and regularly proving their legitimacy and the ability to govern the state to both domestic and international actors.

In the 1990s and early ‘00s, economic problems and the desire to demonstrate pro-democracy leanings led some Arab leaders to strengthen own legitimacy through elections. But the main winners of this liberalization were Islamist political movements, whose adherence to Western democratic norms was dubious.

As an alternative to hereditary power transfer, a whole range of moderate Islamic movements (for example, Tunisian An-Nahda Islamic party led by Rached Ghannouchi) entered the fray with the aim of democratizing Islam. They called for a “democratic Islamic state” within the existing borders. They also favored renouncing violence as a means of political struggle, condemned terrorism, supported the principle of open parliamentary elections, questioned the idea of divinity of authority, supported democratic power transition procedures, and also spoke in favor of expanding the role of women in the traditional Islamic society while in general actively promoting human rights.

But here the reformers of Islam ran into a problem. There were and are too few supporters of democratic Islam in the strongly traditional Arab society. And one can readily say the society is not ready for them. Can one seriously view the ideologues of moderate Islam the pioneers of democracy in the Arab world? Can a democratic Islamic state ensure political and religious pluralism, which is one of the fundamental aspects of democracy? How does one reconcile the norms of Sharia with human rights in the way they are understood in the West? To what extent can women’s rights be expanded? They could not answer these questions, and therefore the political fray was joined by supporters of Islamic fundamentalism who called for a return to the sources of Islam and build a modern society on this foundation.

Modern Islamic fundamentalism was formed as a reaction to such secular ideologies as liberalism, Marxism, and nationalism. For Muslim fundamentalists, an Islamic state was an ideological state, expanding its authority into every aspect of human life. It would control social, political, economic, and even cultural interactions. Sovereignty in such a state belongs to God, which in practical terms means Sharia law. Fundamentalists spoke in favor of democratic elections not for the sake of establishing democracy or individual freedoms, but in order to establish the rule of Islam. And when fundamentalist theorists touched upon the question of democracy, they were not talking about its compatibility or incompatibility with Islam, but about how difficult it was to reconcile Western democratic principles with Islamic governance that could only be based on the revealed laws of Islam—Sharia.

But even here there were problems. Principles of “pure Islam” adhered to by Wahhabites and Salafites were most applicable to the environment of early Middle Ages. When one had to overcome tribal conflicts and built a centralized state. The assumption of power in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood did not resolve societal problems, but rather made them worse. ISIS implementation of Islamic state ideas in Iraq and Syria showed how savage the application of Islamic norms can be in the context of 21st Century. The only example of successful functioning of a theocratic state is Iran. But here the overwhelming majority of population are adherents of Shia Islam which is based on the principle of vilayat al-fakih. This principle assumes that the leadership over the Shia is to a certain extent centralized and is being implemented by authoritative and competent Shia clerics whose authority is beyond doubt.

Given the proliferation of ideas and Islamic movements, the question of how (and whether) one can reconcile secular Arab nationalism with Islam, in order to develop the basis for a new national ideology, gains in importance. Or perhaps might it not be better to reject the idea of Arab national state with Islamic leanings?

It may be now is the time for concepts based on national, religious, and territorial principles, which could found the basis of a new political system capable of neutralizing obsolete medieval vestiges of Islam, unify states whose borders were drawn by Western powers without considering local issues, ensure justice among various ethnic and religious groups, stabilize international relations in the region.

One of such movements which might be ready to solve above-mentioned problems is the Syrian Social Nationalist Party.

Party History and Program

The idea of a Syrian nation within clearly defined borders is not new. In the 19t century the proponents of a Syrian state included Butrus al-Bustani, who believed that a unified Syrian nation ought to form an autonomy within the Ottoman Empire that required reform. His follower Henri Lammens, a prominent Arabist of the late 19th-early 20thcenturies, claimed that Greater Syria existed already in ancient times in the Fertile Crescent. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the establishment of an Arab state became a very real possibility. But the intervention by Western powers in the affairs of former vassals of the Porte and the Sykes-Picot delineation of spheres of responsibility ended plans for creating such a state.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Antoun Saadeh

But the idea did not die, and in 1932 the Lebanese journalist and Christian Antoun Saadeh created the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP). It was founded as an anti-colonial and liberation organization. Saadeh rejected language and religion as defining characteristics of the new nation, and instead clamed nations are formed through joint developments of peoples inhabiting a certain geographic area.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

SOURCE: Stratfor.com

The Syrian national state, as imagined by the party founder, should cover the Fertile Crescent and the area of current Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Sinai, south-east Turkey (Alexandretta and Cilicia), parts of the Zagros mountains on Lebanese territory, and regions in Saudi Arabia’s north.

According to Saleh, “the aim of the SSNP is a Syrian social renaissance which will accomplish unification and breathe life into the Syrian nation, organizing a movement seeking full independence of the Syrian nation and defense of its sovereignty, creating a new social order to protect its interests and increase its standard of living, seeking to form the Arab Front.”

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

A map of Greater Syria. SOURCE: theweichertreport.com

Its main principles are separation of mosque and state, keeping the clerics from involvement in political and legal processes, removing religious barriers, removing feudal relics from social life, transforming the agrarian economy into an industrial one, protection of worker rights, of national and state interests, and the establishment of strong, effective military.

When it comes to relations with Jews, SSNP is strictly anti-Zonist, since Saadeh believed Jews were unable and unwilling to assimilate. He also criticized assertions that the Jews could be a foundation for a national state. According to SSNP Jews were not a nation because they were a heterogeneous mixture of nations.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

SSNP flag. Click to see the full-size image

The party emblem is whirlwind (Arabic “Zawba’a), which according to party members is a fusion of Christian cross and Islamic half-moon. Emblem arms represent freedom, duty, discipline, power. The black backdrop reflects the dark past as part of Ottoman Empire, colonialism, national and religious fragmentation, and backwardness.

Here one needs a caveat to clarify the party’s name and its emblem. There is no similarity between it and the NSDAP. SSNP was formed long before NSDAP. Saadeh visited Axis powers during WW2 and was arrested by French colonial authorities, but released after they couldn’t find evidence of collaboration, and Nazi leaders said they had no dealings with him. He was also in favor of French colonial authorities over Nazi rule.

The creation of Israel in 1948 and its militant, aggressive policies pursued with Western approval caused worry in Arab states. Israel’s actions caused as an attempt to meddle in Arab matters using Jewish hands, and once again redraw the borders. Arab leaders’ incompetence caused their defeat in the 1947-48 war. Saadeh criticized their actions, and in 1949 SSNPR attempted a coup in Lebanon which failed. As a result of collusion between Lebanese and Syrian governments, and with active British intelligence support, Saadeh was executed. The party was delegalized. Prior to the start of the civil war, SSNP attempted another coup in 1961, fought against Arab nationalists. The civil war the party viewed as the consequence of dividing the Syrian nation into separate states. Until the end of the war, SSNP fought alongside Hezbollah against Israeli occupiers and their Lebanese supporters. Only in the early ‘90s did the party become legalized and, starting in 1992, it participates in Lebanese parliamentary elections.

In Syria itself, SSNP was a significant force since independence. But ideological disagreements with the ruling Ba’ath Party and the Syrian Communist Party led to SSNP leaving Syria’s political arena.

Current Situation

In the spring of 2005, SSPN was partly legalized in Syria and allowed an observer in the National Progressive Front which is headed by Ba’ath.

The party viewed the start of anti-government demonstrations as yet another effort to fracture the country along ethno-religious lines. It organized demonstrations in support of the current government. On February 26, 2012 the majority of Syrians supported a referendum that amended the constitution by removing Ba’ath Party from the post of the leading political force, equalizing its status with other parties. This allowed SSNP to fully participate in political struggles. Between March 2012 and May 2014 the party was part of the opposition Ba’ath National Front For Change and Liberation. But in May its leader stated SSNP would leave the National front and support Bashar Assad in presidential elections.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Ali Haidar

The current leader of SSNP in Syria is Ali Haidar, who also the Minister of National Reconciliation in Syria’s government. The party secretary is Joseph Sweid. He also has a ministerial portfolio. In Lebanon, SSNP is headed by Ali Halil Qanso who is also the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs

The party currently is the most numerous political force in Syria, after the ruling Ba’ath, with over 100,000 members. In 2012 elections the party won 4 out of 250 seats in Syria’s parliament, in 2009 Lebanese elections it won 2 seats out of 128.

Here is what Ali Haidar said in an interview with the Al-Mayadin TV channel concerning the civil war in Syria. “Throughout the war, the US headed the anti-Syrian campaign and tried to destroy Syria’s national existence using terrorist groups such as ISIS and an-Nusra. US airstrikes on ISIS terrorists on one hand, and sponsoring and training “opposition” fighters simply amount to replacing uncontrollable terrorism with US-controlled one.” In his view, US regional strategy has not changed. They seek to change Middle East’s political structure to guarantee Israel’s security and legalize its existence. As to reconciliation, Haidar said that it’s not a political tactic but the fate of all Syrians, the result of governmental effort on the national level, even though in some regions of Syria it is encountering resistance due to the presence of foreign mercenaries.

Armed formations and their role in the Syrian war

SSNP’s armed formation is the Nusur al-Zawba’a (Eagles of the Whirlwind). It was formed during the Lebanese civil war in 1974. The main motivating factor for SSNP member participation in the war was the ongoing war against Wahhabism and Israel which supports it, in order to preserve the multicultural and multi-religious Syria. Since 2014, Eagles of the Whirlwind are considered the most effective pro-government force, after the SAA.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

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Eagles’ strength is eastimated at 6-8 thousand. They operate in Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama, Homs, Sweida, Deraa, Deir-ez-Zor, Idlib, Latakia, Jobar, Damascus, East and West Ghouta provinces. They are armed mainly with small arms and improvised armored vehicles. This is due to them fighting mainly in urban confines, where rapid movement is required, every  house is a fortress, and tanks are an easy and sluggish target.

Eagles differ from other formations in that they don’t have a single commander. Each unit has its own commander and each region its administrator. Their names are unknown, only their pseudonyms.

The heaviest fighting experienced by SSNP units took place in northern Latakia, in Salma, Ghamam, and Deir Hanna. This region was strategically important since it is adjacent to Turkey and provides supply and reinforcement routes for an-Nusra. Moreover, controlling this region blocks militant movement into the province and also opens a route for government forces into Idlib.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

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Another region where Eagles were active is the al-Ghab plain. This plain runs along western coastal mountains, and is in close proximity to Hama province capital. Controlling the plain creates a buffer zone which is crucial to ensure the security of coastal regions. Next to al-Ghab there are several cities with mainly Christian population, Mahardah and al-Suqaylabiya. Mahardah, in particular was the site of heavy fighting since the start of the war. Since 2015, Islamists launched attacks here nearly every day. The approaches to the city were nominally held by SAA’s 11thDivision. But in the 6 years of war, the unit had practically ceased to exist. The division had under 500 soldiers and officers in March-April 2017. SSNP was able to field about 1500 fighters from among local inhabitants, and only their presence allowed the SAA to hold this important sector.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

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The Homs province includes the mostly Christian city of Sadad, which was also a test for SSNP fighters. An-Nusra first took Sadad in October 2013. According to Human Rights Watch, 46 inhabitants, including 14 women and 2 children, were murdered, some of the bodies were dropped into a well, and churches were looted. After intensive clashes, the SAA ejected Islamists from Sadad on October 28, 2013.

Two years later, in October-November 1015, ISIS appeared on Sadad outskirts after capturing nearby Muheen. The city was defended by local population, SAA, and 500 Christian fighters. They were helped by 200 SSNP fighters. Fighting together, they were able to stop ISIS advance.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

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The Sadad visit by Syrian Orthodox Church Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim II was an important event. He met with the fighters to raise their morale and take part in funeral rites. The defense of the city is significant because it is one of the few remaining Syrian cities with predominantly Christian population, fighting against a huge number of jihadists.

SSNP units are recruited from among Orthodox Lebanese and Syrian Christians. At first, most of the recruits came from Lebanon, then their number decreased as the number of Syrians grew. One should not think, however, the Eagles consist only of Christians. Muslims and Christians are fighting side by side. This was evident in Sadad fighting, where SSNP units contained many Muslim volunteers. This fact is yet more evidence of the level of support the idea of Syrian state has among its adherents, and SSNP does nto segregate along religious lines.

At present time, due to the large-scale government offensive, Eagles units maintain order in cities liberated from the militants.

The party’s future in Syria’s political life

In order to determine SSNP’s role in Syria’s and Middle East’s political life, one must deal with several difficult to answer questions.

SSNP’s strong aspects. Spring 2011 demonstrations were caused by external factors but also the internal political stagnation. The Ba’ath party has been in power since the early ‘60s. Sooner or later the war will end and Syria will have to make a choice—what political forces will govern the country? Secular and radical Islam have shown its true nature, and there is no return to it. USSR collapsed over 25 years ago. Without its support, there is also no future for a return of socialist parties in the Middle East. Therefore SSNP has a good chance to gain power and show its abilities. By Middle East standards, SSNP is a political veteran. It has a clearly defined program, which it follows. There is an advanced ideology with a future, which is important when no other political force can offer anything new. Seeking dialogue with the ruling party (Ba’ath in Syria) means that in extreme conditions SSNP will not seek confrontatios and is ready to aid its former rival. Participating in the war against Islamic and international terrorism, in deed and not word, gives the party considerable weight and popular support.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria

Omar Sanadiki / Reuters

Weak aspects. Since its start, the party has been underground. This is reflected in its low level of participation in legislative activity in Syria and Lebanon, as mentioned earlier. Apart these two countries and Jordan, where SSNP has been active since 2013, the party has no significant presence elsewhere.

Political democratization in post-imperial nation-states, first secular and then religious, meant the transfer of power into the hands of the majority. The question of religious or national minorities was addressed in different ways by various countries but, as a rule, these approaches tended to rely on force. Some nations had to emigrate, others took up arms. Given progressive state weakness and near-universal drive for autonomy, one can draw the conclusion the region is continuing its process of tribalization. Overcoming the remnants of clan and tribal systems and the minorities’ desire for own sovereign states will be very difficult for SSNP. This is further complicated by the persecution of Christians and their mass exodus from Lebanon in the past and Syria right now. But the local Christians were the most opposed to any forms of violence, and represented the intellectual and entrepreneurial elite. They made the party into what it is today: ready for dialogue, to offer a new path of development, to defend own country with force of arms.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Arab Nationalism And Conflict In Syria


There are also external factors which cloud the future of SSNP. How will regional powers, like Turkey or Israel, react to the appearance of a new actor, the Greater Syria? Will they allow it to appear at all? Will the leaders of countries in SSNP zone of interest be willing to give up own power, population, and territory?

Internal and external factors make SSNP’s future extremely uncertain. The idea of establishing a state on the basis of the common aspects of the people populating the region is still ahead of its time. But even if SSNP fails for some reason, it will represent a big step toward creating a new-model Arab state.


Unlimited nationalism as foundation of state system has sparked a trend toward anarchy and therefore can no longer be used as an effective means of political organization and preserving societal stability. Arab leaders who survived Arab Spring find it difficult to ensure own legitimacy, internal stability, and good relations with more powerful neighbors. Some have left the stage peacefully. Some were forcibly removed. Others are fighting to remain in power. Wars, coups, mass unrest, and outflow of refugees are boosting the trend toward anarchy and threaten not only the Middle East but the whole world. The recent history of Middle Eastern countries contains many examples of struggle between and cross-pollination among religious (pan-Islam, Islamic Modernism) and secular (Pan-Arabism, Arab Nationalism) currents. This trend to a certain extend determined the evolution of the Arab political thought and helped to, up to a certain point, adapt to the ideas borrowed from the West. But as noted above, they were unable to avert the fracturing of the Middle East and address the conflict among ethnic and religious groups. This fracturing is made worse by the arbitrary nature of borders of countries which qualify as Arab. These states control the territory they do largely due to powerful external pressure, and not as a result of internal processes. It means the current system suffers from a delay-fuse bomb planted under it. It may be now is the time to implement new political ideas and to establish a state based on a historic sense of community among people living in a certain area, irrespective of their language, religion, or nationality.

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