Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 12, 2016

On Views Of The War On Syria - By Debs is Dead

by Debs is Dead
lifted from a comment

It is sad to see so many are so locked into their particular views that they see any offering of an alternative as 'neoliberal' or laughable or - if it weren't so serious - Zionist.

1/ I do not see the Syrian civil war as racist or race based, I do believe however that the rejection of all Islamic fundamentalism as being entirely comprised of 'headchoppers' is racist down to its core. It is that same old same old whitefella bullshit which refuses to consider other points of view on their own terms but considers everything through the lens of 'western' culture which it then declares wanting and discards.

2/ Noirette comes close to identifying one of the issues that kicked off the conflict, that the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians. I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue - mostly because he is seen to be standing up to American imperialism. That is a virtuous position but it doesn't make President Assad virtuous of himself and neither does it reflect the reality that when push came to shove Assad put his position ahead of the people of Syria and kissed neoliberal butt.

3/ President Assad revealed his stupidity when he didn't pay attention to what happens to a leader who has previously been featured as a 'tyrant' in western media if he lets the neoliberals in: They fawn & scrape all the while developing connections to undermine him/her. If the undermining is ineffective there is no backing off. The next option is war. The instances are legion from President Noriega of Panama to President Hussein of Iraq to Colonel Ghaddaffi of Libya - that one really hurts as the Colonel was a genuinely committed and astute man. Assad is just another hack in comparison.

4/ These Syrian leaders are politicians, they suffer the same flaws of politicians across the world. They are power seekers who inevitably come to regard the welfare of their population as a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

5/ My Syrians friends are an interesting bunch drawn from a range of people currently living inside and outside of Syria. Some longer term readers might recall that I'm not American, don't live in America and nowadays don't visit much at all. The first of the 'refugee' Syrians I got to know, although refugee is a misnomer since my friend came here on a migrant's visa because his skills are in demand, is the grandchild of Palestinian refugees - so maybe he is a refugee but not in the usual sense. Without going into too many specifics as this is his story not mine, he was born and lived in a refugee camp which was essentially just another Damascus suburb. As he puts it, although a Palestinian at heart, he was born in Syria and when he thinks of home it is/was Damascus. All sides in the conflict claimed to support Palestinian liberation, yet he and his family were starved out of their homes by both Syrian government militias and the FSA.

When he left he was initially a stateless person because even though he was born in Syria he wasn't entitled to Syrian citizenship. He bears no particular grudge against the government there but he told me once he does wish they were a lot smarter.

On the other hand he also understands why the people fighting the government are doing so. I'm not talking about the leadership of course (see above - pols are pols) but the Syrians who just couldn't take the fading future and the petty oppression by assholes any longer.

6/ No one denies that the opposition have been used and abused by FUKUSi, but that of itself does not invalidate the very real issues that persuaded them to resist an austerity imposed from above by assholes who weren't practicing what they preached.

I really despair at the mindset which reduces everything to a binary division - if group A are the people I support they must all be wonderful humans and group B those who are fighting Group A are all evil assholes.

If group A claim to support Palestinian self determination (even though they have done sweet fuck all to actually advance that cause) then everyone in Group B must be pro-Zionist even though I don't know what they say about it (the leadership of the various resistance groups are ME politicians and therefore most claim to also support Palestinian independence). Yes assholes in the opposition have done sleazy deals with Israel over Golan but the Ba'ath administration has done similar opportunist sell outs over the 40 years when the situation demanded it.

I fucking hate that as much as anyone else who despises the ersatz state of Israel, but the reality is that just about every ME leader has put expedience ahead of principle with regard to Palestine. Colonel Ghadaffi would be the only leader I'm aware of who didn't. Why do they? That is what all pols and diplomats do not just Arab ones. According to the European model of diplomacy imposed upon the globe, countries have interests not friends.

As yet no alternative to that model has succeeded since any attempt to do so has been rejected with great violence. The use of hostages offered by each party to guarantee a treaty was once an honorable solution, the hostages were well treated and the security they afforded reduced conflict - if Oblamblam had to put up one of his daughters to guarantee a deal does anyone think he would break it as easily as he currently does? Yet the very notion of hostages is considered 'terrorism' in the west. But I digress.

The only points I wanted to make was the same as those I have already made:

  • A solution which reduces numbers of humans killed is worth attempting.
  • Just because someone chooses an option that you disagree with does not make them evil or headchoppers or Islamofacist.
  • On balance I would rather see Assad continue as leader of Syria but I'm not so naive as to believe he is capable of finding a long term resolution, or that there are not a good number of self interested murderous sadists in his crew. By the same token I don't believe all of those resisting the Ba'athist administration are headchopping jihadists or foreign mercenaries. This war is about 5 years old. If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago.
  • Plus one more - it is humorous and saddening to see people throw senseless name-calling into the mix. It is the method preferred by those who are too stupid and ill informed to develop a logical point of view.

If you want to call me a Zionist lackey of the imperialists or whatever it was go right ahead - it is only yourself who you tarnish, I'm secure in the knowledge of my own work against imperialism, corporate domination and Zionism but perhaps you, who have a need to throw aspersions are not?

Posted by b on September 12, 2016 at 03:33 AM | Permalink

Comments
next page »
Plus one more - it is humorous and saddening to see people throw senseless name-calling into the mix. It is the method preferred by those who are too stupid and ill informed to develop a logical point of view.

why you think your article is different from others senseless name-calling, i see exactly the same. This war is about destroying real history, civilization, culture and replacing with fake. The war in Yemen is the same. Who in that region wants to replace real history with fake. Think about it. Most Islamic,Christian, Assyrian history is systematically being destroyed.

Posted by: papa | Sep 12, 2016 3:51:57 AM | 1

you make some good points concerning Assad flirting with neoliberalism

however, i don't know how you call an opposition 'moderate' when its toting firearms. The protests against Assad were moderate, and to his credit Assad was willing to meet them halfway. However, this situation was exploited by (((foreign powers)))

Posted by: lemur | Sep 12, 2016 4:30:41 AM | 2

If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago.

This is not about "good or evil", this is about TOW missiles made in USA against T-55, Saudi money for mercenaries, Israeli regional ambitions and so on. Syria is another country that the US wants to destroy. Six years ago Syria was a peaceful country.

Allegedly president Assad is a bad guy but Erdogan, Netanyhu and bin Saud are noble and good men. Who believes in such nonsense? The US has become similar to Israel and this is the reason why "Assad must go". Sick countries do sick things.

Posted by: ash123 | Sep 12, 2016 5:43:53 AM | 3

Debsisdead says:

If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago

no, because one side is so simplistically evil(armed to the fucking teeth and resolved to violent insurrection!!!), if Assad didn't have the backing of the vast majority of his people and of his overreached army it would have ended a long time ago and Syria would be a failed state flailing away in the grip of anarchy. perhaps your Syrian 'friends' should meditate on this naked truth.

If group A claim to support Palestinian self determination (even though they have done sweet fuck all to actually advance that cause)...

when that shitty little country called Israel was squeezed onto the map in 1948, Syria welcomed Palestinian refugees with open arms by the hundreds of thousands. no, they didn't grant them citizenship, but prettty much all other rights.

so thanks, b, for headlining this obfuscatory drivel. thus, for posterity.

Posted by: john | Sep 12, 2016 5:47:26 AM | 4

This whole nightmare was dreamed up from within the US Embassy in Damascus in 2006. Bashir al Assad was too popular in the country and the region for America's liking, so they plotted to get rid of him. Near all the organ eating, child killing, head chopping "moderate" opposition are from other countries, those that are Syrian, as was the case in Iraq, mostly live outside the country and are not in touch with main stream opinion, but very in touch with US, Saudi etc $$$s.

Here again is the reality of where this all started, article from 2012 (below.). And never forget Wesley Clark's Pentagon informant after 9/11 of attacking "seven countries in five years." Those in chaos through US attacks or attempted "liberation" were on the list, a few more to go and they are a bit behind schedule. All responsible for this Armageddon should be answering for their actions in shackles and yellow jump suits in The Hague.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-and-conspiracy-theories-it-is-a-conspiracy/29596

Posted by: Felicity | Sep 12, 2016 6:04:27 AM | 5

|~b~ Thank you for putting Debsisdead's comment @ 135 prior post into readable form. Failing eyesight made the original in its extended format difficult to read.

Reference Debsisdead comment:

Your definition of neoliberal would be nice to have. Usually it is used as ephemerally as a mirage, to appear in uncountable numbers of meaning.

Having determined your definition of neoliberal, are you sure it WAS neoliberal rather than a hegemonic entity? Neoliberal seems best used as the reactionary faux historic liberalism as applied to economic agendas (neocon is the political twin for neoliberal, libertarian had been previously been co-opted).

Instead of F•UK•US•i, maybe a F•UK•UZoP would suffice (France•United Kingdom•United Zionist occupied Palestine) given the spheres of influence involved.

Agree with your observations about the limited mentality of dualism; manichaeism is a crutch for disabled minds unaware and blind to subtle distinctions that comprise spectrums.

Though not paying close attention to Syrian history, it was Hafez al-Assad who became master of the Syrian Ba'athist coup d'état and politically stabilised Syria under Ba'athist hegemony. In the midst of the 'Arab-spring' zeitgeist, an incident involving a child with security forces led to a genuine public outcry being suppressed by state security forces. This incident, quickly settled became cause célèbre for a subsequent revolt, initially by SAA dissidents but soon thereafter by external interests having the motive of regime overthrow of Syrian Ba'athists and their leadership. Other narratives generally make little sense though may contain some factors involved; the waters have been sufficiently muddied as to obscure many original factors - possibly Bashar al-Assad's awareness of his security forces involvement in US rendition and torture as to compromise his immediately assuming command of his security forces in the original public protest over the child. Those things are now well concealed under the fogs of conflict and are future historians to sort.

I consider Bashar al-Assad the legitimate Syrian President and attempts to remove him by external interests as grounds for charges of crimes against humanity, crimes of war.

The opinions expressed are my own.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Sep 12, 2016 6:23:51 AM | 6

Classic western sheeple disconnect. As one of the bloggers rightly stated Wesley Clarke spilled the whole beans and revealed their true ilk. 7 countries in 5 years. How coincidental post 9/11. This total disconnect with global realities is a massive problem in the west cause the 86000 elite /oligarchs r pushing for a war with both the bears/ Russian and Chinese along with Iran. These countries have blatantly stated they will not be extorted by fascism. All western countries r all living a Corporate state. Just look all around every facet of our society is financialised. Health ,education , public services.
Wake up cause if we dont we will be extinct Nuclear winter

Posted by: falcemartello | Sep 12, 2016 6:41:48 AM | 7

I am of syrian origin, born in Beirut Lebanon.
My family lived a happy life there, but shortly after I was born, Israel invaded Lebanon, and my family fled and emigrated to Europe, I was 1 year old.

I call major bullshit on your piece.

Posted by: Mikael | Sep 12, 2016 6:41:56 AM | 8

If you say "Assad was flirting with Neo Liberalism" then this is actually a compliment to Assad.

Why?

Because he wanted to win time. He wanted to prevent the same happening to Syria that has happened to Iraq. At that time there was no other protective power around. Russia was still busy recovering. What do you think would have happened had Assad not pretended he would go along? Syria would have been bombed to pieces right then. Why did Assad change his mind later and refused to cooperate with Qatar, Saudi and US? Because the balance of power was about to change. Iran and Russia were rising powers (mainly in the military field).

I could say so much more. I stopped reading your post when you mentioned that your Palestinian friend ( I know the neighbourhood in Damascus, it is called Yarmouk and it is indeed a very nice suburb) does not have Syrian citizenship. Do you know why Palaestinians don't get Syrian citizenship? Because they are supposed to return to their homeland Palestine.

And they can only do that as Palestinians and not as Syrians. That is why.

And that so many (not all!) Palestinians chose to backstab the country that has hosted them and fed them and gave them a life for so many years, and fought side by side with islamist terrorists and so called Free Syrian Army traitors is a human error, is based on false promises, is lack of character and honour and understanding of the broader context and interests. How will some of these fools and misguided young men feel when they realise that they have played right into the hand of their biggest enemy, the Zionists.

I would like to remind some of you who might have forgotten that famous incident described by Robert Fisk years ago, when a Syrian Officer told him upon the capture of some of these "freedom fighters' on Syrian soil, one of them said: "I did not know that Palestine was so beautiful", not realising that he was not fighting in Palestine but in Syria.

And as for "Islamic Fundamentalism", it is this abnormal form of Islam that is purely based on racism and not the other way around. Islamic fundamentalists call everybody, and I mean everybody, who is not living according to their rule a non-believer, a Takfiri, who does not deserver to live.

Here is racism for you debsisdead.

Posted by: Demeter | Sep 12, 2016 8:00:26 AM | 9

Though reluctant to get involved in what seems to be for some a personal spat, I would like to point out one fundemental point that renders the above published and counter arguments difficult to comprehend which is that they lack a time frame.
The 'Syrian opposition' or what ever you wish to call it is not now what it was 6 years ago. Thus, for me, at least, it is not possible to discuss the make up of the opposition unless there are some time frames applied.
An example is a Syrian who was an officer in the FSA but fled to Canada last year. He fled the Syrian conflict over 3 years ago to Turkey -which is how I know him - where he did not continue ties with any group. He simply put his head down and worked slavishly living at his place of work most of the time to escape to Canada - he feared remaining in Istanbul. He claimed that he and others had all been taken in by promises and that the conflict had been usurped by extremists. He was not a headchopper, he was not the beheader of 12 year old children. He was and is a devout Muslim. He was a citizen of Aleppo city. I know him and of him through other local Syrians in Istanbul and believe his testimony. I mention him only to highlight that the conflict is not what it was, not what some intended it to be ... Nor is it what some paint it to be. There are many who fight whomever attacks their community be they pro / anti Government. - Arabs especially have extended village communities/ tribes and pragmatically they 'agree' to be occupied as long as they are allowed to continue their lives in peace. If conflict breaks out they fight whomever is necessary.

DebIsDead makes some very excellent points in his/her comments. They deserve appraisal and respectful response. It is also clear thar he/she is writing defensively in some parts and those detract from what is actually being said.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 12, 2016 8:00:59 AM | 10

'Plus one more - it is humorous and saddening to see'

Lots of Trolls heads exploding today! That's always a good indication! You raise some good points about our binary programming that shouldn't be ignored by anyone with a true desire to penetrate the cognitive dissonance of media.

Posted by: O'Coner | Sep 12, 2016 8:10:54 AM | 11

The piece suffers from several errors. As demeter said Posted by: Demeter @14, the flirrting with neoliberalism bought them time as neocons were slavering for a new target. It also made the inner circle a ridiculous amount of money. Drought made life terrible for many rural syrians. When the conflict started, if you read this website you'd notice people wondering what was going on and as facts unfolded. realizing that Assad was the lesser of two evils, and as the war has gone on, look like an angel in comparison to the opposition.

You can't change the fact that it took less than 2 years for the opposition to be dominated by both foreign and domestic takfiris who wanted to impose saudi style culture on an open relatively prosperous cosmopolitan country. They've succeeded in smashing it to pieces. Snuff your balanced account and your bold anti racism

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 12, 2016 8:41:04 AM | 12

"- it is humorous and saddening to see people throw senseless name-calling into the mix. It is the method preferred by those who are too stupid and ill informed to develop a logical point of view."

after mark sloboda's hilarious guest post and now this ?

an expletive ridden comment like this , not worthy of the front page , considering the author of this comment did the same as those he dispise..

we all here are just observers of current events , without access to real data / ground truth on all theatre.. basically we are all made assumptions based on crumbs..

as for calling assad stupid ? what is this ? personal vendetta or something ? and whats with that rationale ? getting assaulted by a group of nation(s) intent to remove you , and all you can say he is stupid ? more analysis and stop this stupid name calling ..

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 12, 2016 8:42:19 AM | 13

Salafism is Racism. It de-egitimizes the entire anti Assad revolution.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Sep 12, 2016 8:52:18 AM | 14

Wesley Clark's "seven countries in five years" transcript for anyone who has forgotten:

http://genius.com/General-wesley-clark-seven-countries-in-five-years-annotated

Posted by: Felicity | Sep 12, 2016 9:22:01 AM | 15

Whoa. Calm down, peeps. Its just a comment section on a comment about the comment section. Have another drink. Chill.

Posted by: dan | Sep 12, 2016 9:48:57 AM | 16

Debsisdead sets up a strawman - racism against Islamic fundamentalists and validity of opposition against Assad - and uses this to sidestep that the armed conflict originated with scheming by foreign governments to use extremists as a weapon.

Furthermore, Debsisdead sets up the same "binary division" that he says he opposes by tarnishing those who oppose using extremists as a weapon of state as Assad loving racists.

The plot was described by Sy Hersh in 2007 in "The Redirection".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 12, 2016 10:06:55 AM | 17

"If you want to call me a Zionist lackey of the imperialists or whatever it was go right ahead - it is only yourself who you tarnish, I'm secure in the knowledge of my own work against imperialism, corporate domination and Zionism but perhaps you, who have a need to throw aspersions are not?" Passive-aggressive much?


The fight IS "binary". You support Assad and his fighters, the true rebels, or you don't. Calling Assad a "hack" is a slander of a veritable hero. Watch his interviews. Assad presides over a multi-cultural, multi-confessional, diverse, secular state, PRECISELY what the Reptilians claim they cherish.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 10:10:18 AM | 18

"Plus one more - it is humorous and saddening to see people throw senseless name-calling into the mix."

then

"if Oblamblam had to put up one of his daughters to guarantee a deal does anyone think he would break it as easily as he currently does"

huh?

Posted by: peter | Sep 12, 2016 10:13:05 AM | 19

"the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians." - on that we can agree.

It continues to annoy me that the primary trigger for the civil war in Syria has been totally censored from the press. The government deliberately ignited a population explosion, making the sale or possession of condoms or birth control pills illegal and propagandizing that it was every woman's patriotic duty to have six kids. The population doubled every 18 years, from 5 million to 10 million to 20 million and then at 22 the water ran out and things fells apart. Syria is a small country mostly arid plateau, in principle it could be developed to support even more people just not in that amount of time and with the resources that the Syrians actually had.

No the issue was not 'climate change'. The aquifers in Syria had been falling for years, even when rainfall was above normal. Don't blame the weather.

"The more the merrier" - tell me exactly how people having more children than they can support creates wealth? It doesn't and it never has.

Whenever governments treat their people as if they were cattle, demanding that they breed the 'correct' number of children rather than making the decision based on their own desires and judgement of how many they can support, the result is always bad.

Assad treated the people of Syria as if they were cattle. Surely this deserves mention?

Posted by: TG | Sep 12, 2016 10:22:59 AM | 20

Cultural "left" bullshit at its best. Cultural "leftists" don't need to know any hostory or have any understanding of a political issue: it's sufficient to pull out a few details from the NATO press and apply their grad school "oppression" analysis.

Posted by: Diana | Sep 12, 2016 10:23:43 AM | 21

Thanks to b for posting the comment of Debs is Dead. The point I would take issue with is where he states "I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue. . ."

I don't believe this is a correct realization. I think the many to whom he refers know very well that any person in leadership of a country can be found to have flaws, major and minor, and even to have more of such than the average mortal. The crucial counterpoint, however, which used to be raised fairly often, is that it is the acceptance of the majority of the people governed by such leaders that ought to be the international norm for diplomatic relations.

I respect the knowledge DiD has gained from his Syrian friends and contacts. But I also remember a man called Chilabi and am very leery of destabilization attempts this country has been engaged in lo these many generations, using such displaced persons as surrogates. And rather than properly mourn the 9/11 victims and brave firemen and rescuers of that terrible day, I find myself mourning the larger tragedy of unnecessary wars launched as a consequence of our collective horror at that critical moment in our history.

Can we please stop doing this?

Posted by: juliania | Sep 12, 2016 10:26:32 AM | 22

After making sound point about black-and-white worldview being unrealistic, the guy goes full retard. Position towards Palestinians as the one and only criteria to judge ME developments... C'mon, it's not even funny.
And while started from a "My Syrian friends" then he goes on reasoning on behalf of one single ex-Palestinian ex-Syrian guy...
Looks like self-revelation of a kind. Some guy, sitting in Israel, or whatever, waging informational warfare for the Mossad/CIA/NGO who pays his rent.

Posted by: Wizzy | Sep 12, 2016 10:35:49 AM | 23

"The government deliberately ignited a population explosion, making the sale or possession of condoms or birth control pills illegal and propagandizing that it was every woman's patriotic duty to have six kids."

Cite?

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 10:38:01 AM | 24

DiD: "I realize many have quite foolishly IMO, adopted President Assad as some sort of model of virtue. . ." The big reveal is that DiD can't name a single contributor here who has written that Assad is "some sort of model of virtue."

It doesn't mean he's a saint that Assad is leading the very popular 'secular/multi-confessional Syria' resistance against an extremely well-funded army primarily of non-Syrians who are mainly 'headchoppers' who will stop at nothing to impose Saudi-style religious dictatorship on Syria. The 'moderate' opposition to Assad has largely disappeared (back into the loyal opposition that does NOT want a Saudi-style state imposed on Syria), but those who remain in armed rebellion surely must know that they are a powerless, very small portion of what is in fact mercenary army completely subservient to the needs and directives of its primary funders/enablers, the US and Saudi Arabia. So whatever their original noble intentions, they've become part of the Saudi/US imperial problem.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12, 2016 10:58:51 AM | 25

B, you opened a can of worms. That is probably a good thing. This site needs to be purged of some of the commentators who tend to attack first and think (if at all) later. One thing for certain, there is enough hate in the 'commentariat' to be palpable.

Again, good job. For the one or two reasonably polite comments above, sorry about the bile.

Now ... it is time for anyone to accuse me of being an a-hole (or worse). To that I say ...

Thanks?

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 12, 2016 11:05:46 AM | 26

Most of all so many choose to ignore that in both Libya & Syria, it was the ruling elite's acceptance of neoliberal aid & concomitant oppression of the people which provided the spark to insurrection at the same time as it allowed amerikan influence to spread.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 10, 2016 7:47:36 PM | 80

@ Debsisdead: You really mean, that Libya & Syria earned regime change???

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 12, 2016 11:23:43 AM | 27

@ rg the lg 33

Thanks for addressing the problem of angry comments by some posters who just want to throw verbal grenades is unacceptable. I hope this site continues to be a great source for sharing information and ideas.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 12, 2016 11:35:06 AM | 28

Why in God's name was this pointless comment by Debs is Dead promoted this way?!!! The only point being made, that I can see, is that the war in Syria does have some legitimate issues at its root. WELL OF COURSE IT DOES. The Hegemon rarely to never makes up civil unrest in countries it wants to overthrow out of whole cloth. They take some dispute that is already there and ramp it up; this process escalates until it turns into some form of a proxy war or coup. In other words, the domestic political process is DISTORTED until it is no longer remotely recognizable as a domestic process.

So sure, if the US and its allies had not stoked political factionism in Syria into a global proxy war, we could discuss the fine details of the Syrian domestic process very usefully. At this point, though, IT IS IRRELEVANT.

I do agree on one point: Assad joins the horrendous list of overlords who thought they could make a deal with the Hegemon on their own terms. Assad will pay for that mistake with his life very soon I would guess and I think that Putin will too, though that might take a little longer. If they had chosen to stand on principle as Chavez did, maybe they would be dead as Chavez is (possibly done in, who knows), but they'd be remembered with honor as Chavez is.

Posted by: paul | Sep 12, 2016 11:40:49 AM | 29

Most of the people commenting here deserve this:

Shut the fuck up you narcissistic cunts. You epitomize the cock-sucking, ball gargling dimwitted, smug neo-liberal fuckwads that have been allowed to speak one too many times.

Here's an idea, 1) shave, 2) put the beer down, go outside and exercise, c) stop pretending you're smart.

bunch of nattering fuck wits.

Posted by: Shh | Sep 12, 2016 11:48:00 AM | 30

I like my Syrian friends who suffer from exactly the same mixture of love, disgust & existential despair as everyone else - yet so many armchair assholes expect them - the people of Syria to be 'the One' the people expected to martyr themselves - their hopes & dreams so assholes can claim vindication.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 10, 2016 10:56:32 PM | 91

@ Debsisdead: Why do you throw senseless name-calling into the mix?

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 12, 2016 11:49:03 AM | 31

Which countries in the region would have given the Palestinians material support, i.e. weapons, if Israel annexed the West Bank and drove the Palestinians across the borders? Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran. You see the problem?

Posted by: Gesine Hammerling | Sep 12, 2016 12:14:09 PM | 32

It is a shame no one stood up for Libya, for a surviving Gaddafi would have emerged considerably stronger - as Assad eventually will.

Whatever genuine opposition there was has long been hijacked by opportunistic takfiris, wahabbists and there various paymasters. And so as ruralito says @25: "The fight IS "binary...". The fight is indeed binary, the enemy is plural. Assad versus the many appearances of both the first and fourth kind.

Appearances to the mind are of four kinds.
Things either are what they appear to be;
or they neither are, nor appear to be;
or they are, and do not appear to be;
or they are not, and yet appear to be.
Rightly to aim in all these cases is the wise man's task.

~Epictetus

Where there is obfuscation lay the enemy, hence Russia's long game of identification.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 12, 2016 12:16:07 PM | 33

99.5% Of views expressed here are Against Us foreign policy in syria & iraq But nobody to say let's stand up and Sau enough. Why

Posted by: cheikh | Sep 12, 2016 12:45:19 PM | 34

Is there a politically correct term to replace head choppers?

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Sep 12, 2016 12:47:38 PM | 35

Does anyone remember the essay posted on this site a while back titled "The Feckless Left?" I don't believe B posted it, but if memory serves it's posted front and centre on the navigation bar beside this piece?

It really hammers those people like Tariq Ali, who while surely having legitimate grievances against the Assad govt, opened the door for legitimation of foreign sponsored war. They thought that funneling millions of dollars worth of training, weapons and mercs would open the door for another secular govt, but this time much 'better.' Surely.

No one thinks Assad is great. I really have trouble understanding where that notion comes from. It's just that the alternative is surely much worse. Lots of people didn't like Ghaddafi but jesus, I'm sure most Libyans would wish they could turn back the clock (at the risk of putting words in their mouths). It's not binary, no one sees this as good vs evil, its just that its become so painfully obvious at this point that if the opposition wins Syria will be so fucked in every which way. Those with real, tangible grievances are never going to have their voices heard. It will become the next Libya, except the US and it's clients will actually have a say in what's left of the political body in the country if you could even label it that at that point (which is quite frightenening in my eyes. Libya is already a shit show and they don't have much of a foothold there besides airstrikes and that little coastal base for the GNA to have their photo ops).

I find it ironic that when criticisms are levelled at Assad from the left they usually point out things that had he done more of, and worse of, he probably would be free of this situation and still firmly in power. If he had bowed down to Qatar and the KSA/USA I wonder if the 'armed opposition' would still have their problems with him? That's the ultimate irony to me. If he had accepted the pipelines, the privatization regimes, etc. would they still be hollering his name? It's very sad that even with the balancing act he did his country has been destroyed. Even if the SAA is able to come out on top at this point, the country is wholly destroyed. What's even the point of a having a 'legitimate' or 'illegitimate' opposition when they're essentially fighting over scraps now. I'd be surprised if they could rebuild the country in 120 years. Libya in my eyes will never be what it once was. It'll never have the same standards of living after being hit with a sledgehammer.

I don't mean to be ironic or pessimistic, its just a sad state of affairs all around and everyday it seems more and more unlikely that any halfway decent solution for the POPULATION OF SYRIA, not Assad, will come out of this.. It's like, I'm no nationalist, but in many countries I kind of would rather that than the alternative. Ghaddafi wasn't great but his people could've been a lot worse of - and ARE a lot worse of now. I'm no Assad fan, but my god look what the alternative is here. If it wasnt 95% foreign sponsored maybe id see your point.

Read the essay posted on the left there. "Syria, the Feckless Left" IIRC. I thought that summed up my thoughts well enough.

And guys, even if you agree with me please refrain from the name calling. It makes those of you with a legitimate rebuttal seem silly and wrong. I've always thought MoA was so refreshing because it was (somewhat) free of that. At least B is generating discussion. I kind of appreciate that. It's nice to hear ither views, even if they are a little unrealistic and pro violent and anti democratic.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Sep 12, 2016 12:54:18 PM | 36

QUICK DOUBLE POST

An example of an armed opposition with legitimate grievances that is far from perfect but still very sympathetic (in my eyes) is hizbollah. They have real problems to deal with. While they recieve foreign sponsorship they aren't a foreign group the way the Syrian opposition is. And they will be all but destroyed when their supply lines from Syria are cut off. I wonder how that fits in with OPs post.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Sep 12, 2016 1:01:58 PM | 37

What makes Debs is Dead's turgid comment so irrational is that it endorses Regime Change in Syria as an ongoing, but necessary and inevitable, "good". But in doing so it tip-toes around the fact that it doesn't matter how Evil an elected President is, or is not, it's up to the the people who elected him to decide when they've had enough. It most certainly is NOT Neoconned AmeriKKKa's concern.

Debs also 'forgot' to justify totally wrecking yet another of many ME countries because of perceived and imaginary character flaws in a single individual.

It does not compute; but then neither does "Israel's" 70 year (and counting) hate crime, The Perpetual Palestinian Holohoax.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 12, 2016 1:02:25 PM | 38

@Shh, since you're so conveniently ensconced above the fray, perhaps you can see something we "nattering fuck wits" can't. Do tell.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 1:07:59 PM | 39

Whatever happened to the age old expression that one has to walk in someone else's shoes to understand their walk in life?

In an all too obvious fashion, another arm chair expert is blessing the world with his/her drivel.

To make it as concise as possible:

What would you have done in Assad's position? The U.S. is trying to annex Syria since 1948 and never gave up on the plan to convert it to what the neo-fascists turned Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and the Republic of Yugoslavia - whereas Yemen is still in the making, together with Ukraine, Turkey and Africa as a whole.

In the light of U.S. 'foreign policy', the piece reeks of the stench of obfuscation.

Posted by: Stillnottheonly1 | Sep 12, 2016 1:47:35 PM | 40

@47 Hoarsewhisperer
Debs also 'forgot' to justify totally wrecking yet another of many ME countries because of perceived and imaginary character flaws in a single individual.

We shouldnt be surprised. Even a basic pragmatic approach to this conflict has been lost by many in the one sided, over the top shower of faeces that is the western MSM.

It does not compute; but then neither does "Israel's" 70 year (and counting) hate crime, The Perpetual Palestinian Holohoax.

All that land, all that resource...and a unifying language. Amazing. If only the Arab world could unite for the collective good of the region we might witness a rogue state in an abrupt and full decline.

A sad tactic of colonial powers over the years, setting the native tribes upon each other. We've not evolved here.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 12, 2016 2:02:43 PM | 41

@49, sure, walking in another's shoes can be effective in gaining knowlege. Or, you can just use arithmetic.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 12, 2016 2:29:10 PM | 42

It is impossible for any one of us to possess the whole picture, which is why we pool our experience, and benefit from these discussions. The thing I see at the root of the Syrian war is the process of ethnic cleansing. In many cases that involve murderous prejudice, it erupts as civil war; but in recent history the foreign policy of powerful nations is aimed at sponsoring social disintegration within the borders of targeted countries.

Ethnic cleansing means destruction of culture, of historical memory, the forced disappearance of communities that were rooted in a place.

The objectives of the perpetrators have nothing to do with the convictions of the fundamentalists who do the dirty work; and the sectarian and mercenary troops are merely the tools of those who are creating hell on earth.

I agree with what papa wrote at the top of this thread:

why you think your article is different from others senseless name-calling,[?] i see exactly the same. This war is about destroying real history, civilization, culture and replacing with fake. The war in Yemen is the same. Who in that region wants to replace real history with fake. Think about it. Most Islamic,Christian, Assyrian history is systematically being destroyed.
Compare President Assad's leadership to that of the western, or Saudi, sponsors of terror; or measure his decisions against those of the hodgepodge of rebels and mercenaries, with their endless internal squabbles and infighting. Assad is so much more of a spokesman for the rights of sovereignty, and his words carry more weight and outshine the banalities that spring from the mouths of those who are paying the bills, and supplying weapons, and giving all kinds of diplomatic comfort to the enemies of the Syrian government.

Debsisdead has always brought much food for thought to this watering hole. I have always respected him, and I think he has a fine mind. Nonetheless, despite the valuable contribution of this piece as a beginning place, in which we might reevaluate some of our presumptions, I maintain there are a few errors which stand out, and ought to be discussed.

I call into question these two points:

(1) Just because someone chooses an option that you disagree with does not make them evil or headchoppers or Islamofacist.
Up thread @14, we were reminded of Robert Fisk's report about misdirected, misinformed "freedom fighters" naively wandering around in Syria, while thinking that they were fighting in Palestine. In this ruin of Syria, where the well-intentioned are captured, or co-opted into evil acts against the civilian population, --is it really incumbent upon us, --from where we sit, to agonize over the motives of those who are committing the actual atrocities against the defenseless? What is the point?
(2) On balance I would rather see Assad continue as leader of Syria but I'm not so naive as to believe he is capable of finding a long term resolution, or that there are not a good number of self interested murderous sadists in his crew. By the same token I don't believe all of those resisting the Ba'athist administration are headchopping jihadists or foreign mercenaries. This war is about 5 years old. If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago.

There is no need for sorting things into absolutes of good and evil. But there is a condition under which fewer, a lot fewer, humans would have died in Syria, Without foreign interference--money, weapons, and training--Assad's government would have won this war quite a while ago.

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 3:26:34 PM | 43

Why highlight debs comment ? It all over the shop. Not worth it. Some accuracy mixed in with over simplification and binary positions. Seems to many that Passion is better then principles or consistencies.

They did a lot of thing wrong and not locked into this position, but I'll take ; a Chavez, Ghaddafi and Casto 1000 times over Putin ( war criminal for US empire in Afghanistan ) and especially Assad ( toturer of the Us empire before they wanted to overthrow him )

Shows how many desperate fanbots want to link themselves with the already powerful, ostensibly countering the evil US empire , so they don't have to start the struggle at the bottom. Sacrificing and then evisceratng whatever principles they might of had initially, if at all.

Posted by: tom | Sep 12, 2016 3:37:04 PM | 44

@56 tom : Putin ( war criminal for US empire in Afghanistan )

Explain

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 12, 2016 3:40:30 PM | 45

I very much agree with what Demeter wrote @ 14:

And as for "Islamic Fundamentalism", it is this abnormal form of Islam that is purely based on racism and not the other way around. Islamic fundamentalists call everybody, and I mean everybody, who is not living according to their rule a non-believer, a Takfiri, who does not deserver to live.
Fundamentalism is never satisfied until it can become a tyranny over the mind. Racism and fundamentalism are as American as apple pie. You have to take a close look at who is pouring oil on this fire!

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 4:01:33 PM | 46

@9
I disagree with you in that neoliberalism is seriously not difficult to define. It boils down to belief that public programs are bad/'inefficient' and that society would be better served by privatizing many things(or even everything) and opening services up to 'competition'. It's mainly just cover for parasites to come in and get rich off of the masses misery. The 'neoliberalism is just a snarl word' meme is incredibly stupid, since plenty of books and articles have been written explicitly defining it.

"Having determined your definition of neoliberal, are you sure it WAS neoliberal rather than a hegemonic entity?"

American economic hegemony is inherently neoliberal, and has been for decades. The IMF is essentially an international loan shark that gives countries money on the condition that they dismantle their public spending apparatus and let the market run things.

Posted by: Kuma | Sep 12, 2016 4:05:35 PM | 47

I usually enjoy DiD's rants (rant in the nice sense), but in this case he is wrong. His remarks are out of date.

No doubt he has Syrian friends in NZ, including the Syro-Palestinian he mentions. They will have been living their past vision of Syria for some time. Yes, back in 2011, there was a big vision of a future democratic Syria among the intellectuals. However those who fight for the rebellion are not middle class (who left) but rural Islamist Sunnis, who have a primitive al-Qa'ida style view.

The Syrian civil war is quite like the Spanish civil war. It started with noble republicans, including foreigners like Orwell, fighting against nasty Franco, but finished with Stalin's communists fighting against Nazi-supported fascists.

The situation is different now. One Syrian lady, who came to see me in April, who lives in California, told me that her father, who was a big pre-war oppositionist, now just wants to return to Syria to die.

There's no question. if you want peace in Syria, Asad is the only choice. The jihadis, who dominate the opposition, don't offer an alternative.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 12, 2016 4:11:58 PM | 48

when i read "President Assad revealed his stupidity", i stop reading.

Posted by: a broders | Sep 12, 2016 4:14:50 PM | 49

james says:

must be a '''slow''' news day...

yeah, did you read that the American Imperium bombed 6 Muslim countries last Saturday?

Posted by: john | Sep 12, 2016 4:18:12 PM | 50

Noirette comes close to identifying one of the issues that kicked off the conflict, that the Syrian government put staying in power via adopting neoliberal strictures ahead of the welfare of Syrians.
The Ba'thist regime is a mafia of the family, not a dictatorship of Bashshar. Evidently their own interest plays a premier role, but otherwise why not in favour of the Syrian people? There's lot of evidence in favour of Syrian peace.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 12, 2016 4:51:42 PM | 51

The lesson of Viet Nam was to keep the dead and wounded off the six o'clock news.

The jackals are going in. Another coup. Syria was on the list. Remap the Middle East. Make it like Disney World. Israel as Mad King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein.

Islam and its backward dictates, and Christianity with its backward dictates and Manifest Destiny are problematic.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 12, 2016 4:53:30 PM | 52

It seems the biggest difference between Debs and most of the respondents on this threads is that Debs has friends.

Posted by: biklett | Sep 12, 2016 6:55:21 PM | 53

The bien-pensants are like a bunch of termites.

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 7:11:58 PM | 54

I may be white and I may be a fella but don't believe I'm in the fold as described. Fundamentalists of any sort are free to believe as they will but when they force it on others via gun, govt, societal pressures, violence there's trouble. I've seen comparisons to the extremes from Christianity's past with the excuse of Islam as being in its early years. No excuses. Fundies out. But we don't see that in places like Saudi Arabia or Iran. Facts on the ground rule. Iran had a bit more moderation but only under the tyrant Shah. A majority may have voted for the Islamic Republic and all that entails but what of the minority?
BTW, where are the stories (links) that show Bashar has embraced neoliberalism? In the end, DiD reduced to pointing to two evils (with multi-facets) and it looks like Assad is the lesser. But who can come up with a solution for a country so divided and so infiltrated by outsiders? And here in the US, look at the choice of future leaders that so many do not want. Where is the one who will lead the US out of its BS? And who will vote for him/her?

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 12, 2016 7:22:18 PM | 55

@70 Curtis
You're from the US.
So you should take care of the US, not of any other country.
AND THAT APPLIES FOR ALL AMERICANS

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 12, 2016 7:33:23 PM | 56

Thanks to B for republishing the comment from Debsisdead. The comment raises some issues about how people generally see the war in Syria, if they know of it, as some sort of real-life video game substitute for bashing one side or another.

I am not sure though that Debsisdead realises the full import of what s/he has said and that much criticism s/he makes about comments in MoA comments forums could apply equally to what s/he says and has said in the past.

I don't think anyone who comments here regularly ever assumed that Bashar al Assad was a knight in white shining armour. Most of us are aware of how he came to be President and that his father did rule the country from 1971 to 2000 with an iron fist. Some if not most also know that initially when Bashar al Assad succeeded to the Presidency, he did have a reformist agenda in mind. How well or not he succeeded in putting that across, what compromises he had to make, who or what opposed him, how he negotiated his way between and among various and opposed power structures in Syrian politics we do not know.

Yes, I have trouble reconciling the fact that Bashar al Assad's government did allow CIA renditioning with his reformist agenda in my own head. That is something he will have to come to terms with in the future. I don't know if Assad was naive, under pressure or willing, even eager in agreeing to cooperate with the CIA, or trying to buy time to prepare for invasion once Iraq was down. Whether Assad also realises that he was duped by the IMF and World Bank in following their advice on economic "reforms" (such as privatising Syria's water) is another thing as well.

But one thing that Debsisdead has overlooked is the fact that Bashar al Assad is popular among the Syrian public, who returned him as President in multi-candidate direct elections held in June 2014 with at least 88% of the vote (with a turnout of 73%, better than some Western countries) and who confirmed his popularity in parliamentary elections held in April 2016 with his Ba'ath Party-led coalition winning roughly two-thirds of seats.

The fact that Syrians themselves hold Assad in such high regard must say something about his leadership that has endeared him to them. If as Debsisdead suggests, Assad practises self-interested "realpolitik" like so many other Middle Eastern politicians, even to the extent of offering reconciliation to jihadis who lay down their weapons and surrender, how has he managed to survive and how did Syria manage to hold off the jihadis and US-Turkish intervention and supply before requesting Russian help?

Posted by: Jen | Sep 12, 2016 7:39:57 PM | 57

When a commenter like DiD started to post stuff like good and evil in view of the situation in syria , then the whole analysis is suspect..

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 12, 2016 7:59:31 PM | 58

Copeland @58: I don't see why you call the problem "Islamic fundamentalism" when in fact it is Sunni fundamentalism. Admittedly it's tough to 'name' the problem. I'm sure I speak for most here that the problem isn't fundamentalism but 'warring imperialist fundamentalist and misogynist Sunni Islam' that is the problem. It'd be nice to have a brief and accurate way of saying what this is: 'Saudi Arabia violently exporting its worst form of Islam'.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 12, 2016 8:03:18 PM | 59

fairleft, @75

When people refer to Christian fundamentalism they use the broad term as well. Nothing is otherwise wrong with denominational belief, if past a certain point it is not fundamentalist. You say the problem is not fundamentalism, but something else. Indeed, the problem is fundamentalism. Manifest Destiny is fundamentalism. There are even atheist fundamentalists. "Full Spectrum Dominance" and other US Military doctrines are fundamentalist in nature. We are awash in fundamentalism, consumerist fundamentalism, capitalist fundamentalism. If we are unlucky and don't succeed in changing the path we are on; then we will understand too late the inscription that appeared in the Temple of Apollo: "Nothing too much".

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 12, 2016 8:28:41 PM | 60

They say that the first casualty of war is truth and from what I read in comments such a mental state prevails among readers, they see Assad, quite reasonably, as the only one who can end this horrible war and the only one who is really interested in doing so while US and even seemingly Russia seems to treat this conflict as a instrument of global geopolitical struggle instigated by US imperial delusions.

But of course one cannot escape conclusion that although provoked by the CIA operation Bashir Assad failed years befor 2011 exactly because, living in London, did not see neoliberalism as an existential threat ad his father did but a system that has its benefits and can be dealt with, so for a short while Saddam, Gaddafi and Mubarak thought while they were pampered by western elites.

Now Assad is the only choice I'd Syrians want to keep what would resemble unified Syrian state since nobody else seems to care.

Another interesting element that was touched upon is attitude to Israel and its US perceived role, but for that one needs deeper background starting from before 1948.
https://contrarianopinion.wordpress.com/history-revisited/

Posted by: Kalen | Sep 12, 2016 8:31:13 PM | 61

I have no doubt that Assad was little more than a crude Arab strongman/dictator prince back in the 2011 when the uprising started.

Since then, he has evolved into a committed, engaged defender of his country against multilateral foreign aggression, willingly leaving his balls in the vice and all.

He could have fled the sinking ship many times so far. Instead, he decided to stay and fight the Takfiri river flowing in through the crack, and risk going down with the ship he inherited. The majority of the Syrians know this very well.

Bashar of 2016 (not so much the one of 5 1/2 years ago) would not only win the next free elections, but destroy any opposition. The aggressors know that as a fact.

Which is precisely why he "must go" prior to any such elections. He would be invincible.

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 12, 2016 8:42:29 PM | 62

Dear Debs is Dead,

you wrote:

"This war is about 5 years old. If either side were so simplistically good or evil it would have ended a long time ago."

Question to you:

if Syria had control over its borders with Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Iraq would the war have ended a long time ago ? Answer honestly.

If yes, then the so-called "opposition" of the union of headchoppers does not represent a significant portion of the Syrian people. Were it otherwise Assad wouldnt be able to survive a single year, let alone 5. With or without foreign help.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 12, 2016 9:01:21 PM | 63

@80 thats very poignant of you to say that. He IS invisible politically if he's put to a democratic vote. I'm surprised there haven't been any attempts on Assads life (unless I'm just unaware of them) as that would represent a big change in the possible endings to this conflict. I was always curious where he resides during this conflict especially.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Sep 12, 2016 9:33:50 PM | 64

#46 FecklessLeft

And that, my friend, may be the biggest oft ignored cui bono of the entire Syrian war.

If Assad goes:

1) Syria falls apart. Western Golan has no more debtor nation to be returned to as far as the UN go. It immediately becomes fee simple property of the occupying entity, for as long as the occupier shall exist (and, with Western Golan included, that might be a bit longer perchance...).

2) Hizbullah loses both its best supply line and all the strategic depth it might have as well as the only ally anywhere close enough to help. It becomes a military non-entity. Who benefits?

I think this cui bono (and a double one at that!) is a $100 difficulty level question, although it feels like a $64k one.

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 12, 2016 10:00:23 PM | 65

Best opinion post I've yet read on this site. "Binary division," also very much affects the U.S. election. If you hate Hillary, you must just LOVE Trump, even though many of the best reasons to hate her--her arrogance, her incompetence, her phoniness, her lies, her and Bill's relentless acquisition of great wealth, etc.--are also reasons to hate Trump. Assad is a bastard, Putin is a bastard, Saddam was a bastard--but so are Obama, Netanyahu, Hollande, etc. Is it REALLY that hard to figure out?

Posted by: Bill Hicks | Sep 12, 2016 10:31:21 PM | 66

@ 62 john... we'll have to wait for debs to explain how all that (in your link) adds up, so long as no one calls him any name/s.... i'd like to say 'the anticipation of debs commenting again is killing me', but regardless, killing innocent people in faraway lands thanks usa foreign policy is ongoing..

Posted by: james | Sep 12, 2016 11:09:45 PM | 67

Assad for the second time has shown he is best viewed as Dr Demento with his nutty claim that he is going to reconquer the whole of Syria. He must believe that he has Putin well stuck to the tar baby and he is calling the shots not Putin. This places Putin in an awkward position of propping up a nutcase who thinks he can overrule his savior.

The other foreign power directly stuck to Assad, Iran say they support the cease fire and political solution so they also may be disturbed by this insane outburst.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 12, 2016 11:33:50 PM | 68

Until now, the most prominent headchoppers in my mind took off Marie Antoinette's head with a guillotine.

How far we've come.

Posted by: stumpy | Sep 12, 2016 11:52:41 PM | 69

#90-91 WayOutWest

I don't know if this is Occidental naivete or your young age talking, but it feels like you are taking political, nay, war rhetoric way too seriously.

It's a bit like trash talk before a boxing or WWE match. Or telling your maximum price to a sellers agent. What do you expect him to say "Whatever I say, I am actually happy to cut you a great deal and give you all of Idlib and half of Aleppo so that you can build yourselves a very comfy zoo to live in, oh ye vile headchoppers!"

Nope, I'd rather say "I'll hunt down all of you, and your extended families, liberate all of Syria, the Golan, and then go after every off the boat mofo who dared help you attack my country, his family, friends, pets and their fleas! And not stop at least till Elat, maybe till the new Yemeni border in Hijaz"

And besides, what makes you so sure that we won't eventually gain all of Syria back, sans the occupied Golan?

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 13, 2016 1:17:00 AM | 70

OK here is an interesting article from 2011 on Abdallah Dardari, the fellow who persuaded Bashar al Assad to adopt the disastrous neoliberal economic reforms that not only ruined Syria's economy and the country's agriculture in particular but also created an underclass who resented the reforms and who initially joined the "rebels".
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/2097

And where is Dardari now? He jumped ship in 2011 and went to Beirut to work for the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). He seems like someone to keep a watchful eye on.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_Dardari

Posted by: Jen | Sep 13, 2016 1:17:04 AM | 71

not even sure where to begin...this article is barely worthy of a random facebook post and contains a roughly even mix of straw men and stuff most people already know and don't need dictated to them by random internet folks.

of COURSE assad flirted with the west. between housing cia rendition houses and the less-than-flattering aspects of the wikileaks "syria files", assad and/or his handlers (family and/or military) have tried a little too hard to "assimilate" to western ideals (or the lack thereof). i seriously doubt they will make that mistake again. they saw what happened to al-qaddafi after he tried to play nice and mistook western politicians for human beings. they've learned their lesson and become more ruthless but they were always machiavellians because they have to be. not an endorsement, just an acceptance of how the region is.

and then there's "just about every ME leader has put expedience ahead of principle with regard to Palestine. Colonel Ghadaffi would be the only leader I'm aware of who didn't". that might be a surprise to nasrallah and a fair share of iran's power base. i'd also say "expedience" is an odd way to describe the simple choice of avoiding israeli/saudi/US aggression in the short term since the alternative would be what we're seeing in syria and libya as we speak. again, not an endorsment of their relative cowardice. just saying i understand the urge to avoid salfist proxy wars.

[also: israel, the saudis (along with qatar and the other GCC psychopaths in supporting capacity) and the US are the main actors and throwing european "powers" into the circle of actual power does them an undue favor by ignoring their status as pathetic vassal states. "FrUkDeUSZiowhatever" isn't necessary.]

as for "calling all islamic fundamentalism" "headchopping" being "racist", be sure not to smoke around all those straw men. never mind the inanity of pretending that all islamic "fundamentalism" is the same. never mind conflating religion with ethnicity. outside of typical western sites that lean to the right and are open about it few people would say anything like that. maybe you meant to post this on glenn beck's site?

whatever. hopefully there won't be more guest posts in the future.

Posted by: the pair | Sep 13, 2016 2:12:09 AM | 72

I read this site regularly and give thanks to the numerous intelligent posters who share their knowledge of the middle east and Syria in particular. Still, I do try to read alternative views to understand opposition perspectives no matter how biased or damaging these might they appear to the readers of this blog. So in the wake of recent agreements, I try find out what the mainstream media is saying about the Ahrar al-Sham refusal to recognize the US/Russia sponsored peace plan....and type that into google.......and crickets. All that comes up is a single Al-Masdar report. Look I know the MSM is utterly controlled - but the extent of that control still shocks at times. It is simply not possible to be "informed" by any normal definition of the word anymore without the alternative media - and for that reason this site serves a valuable purpose and I once again thank the host and contributors.

Posted by: bigmango | Sep 13, 2016 2:20:54 AM | 73

The irony is, Assad is 10x smarter and bigger person than Debs. Yes, he made some mistakes, but if not "flirting with neoliberalism", war against Syria would have started many years earlier, when Resistance wasnt ready one bit (neither Russia, nor Iran, while on the other hand US was more powerful).

The other ironic point, Debs is guilty of many things he blames other for, hence comments about his hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 13, 2016 2:28:44 AM | 74

4)

On to Sebastopol.

Deplorable, Debs.

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Sep 13, 2016 2:50:38 AM | 75

what is this?
' I do not see the Syrian civil war as racist or race based' its NOT a 'civil war'...its a foreign invasion...proxy army for USRAEL, sauds qatr etc

Posted by: brian | Sep 13, 2016 2:51:37 AM | 76

The essay I refered to earlier at 45/46 from this site I'll post below. I think it has a lot of bearing on what DiD is implying here. It's DEFINITELY worth a read and is probably the reason why I started appreciating this site in the first place.

Support for rebel groups was misguided at best at the beginning of the war. One could conceivably not appreciate the capacity of the KSA/USA/Quatar/Israel to influence and control and create these groups. Jesus it's hard for me to think of a single local opposition group that isnt drenched in fanaticism besides the Kurds. But now that we understand the makeup and texture of these groups much more and to continue support, even just in the most minor of ways, is really disheartening. There's no way to a solution for the Syrian people, the population not imported that is, if these groups win. I hate to be so binary but its so naive in my eyes to think anything good will come from the long arm of the gulf countries and the USA taking control.

WORTH A READ. ONE OF THE BEST THINGS EVER POSTED ON MoA.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/05/syria-the-feckless-left-.html

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Sep 13, 2016 3:11:57 AM | 77

@all - deleted a bunch of trolling and nonsense comments and the follow-ups thereto. People who believe that insulting others is part of a serious discussion should please go elsewhere.

Posted by: b | Sep 13, 2016 3:33:31 AM | 78

The problem with this post is simple: all this might have been true back when the insurgency STARTED. TODAY it is UTTERLY IRRELEVANT.

As I've said repeatedly, the GOAL of the Syria crisis for the Western elites, Israel and the ME dictatorships is to take Syria OUT by any means necessary in order to get to IRAN. Nothing else matters to these people. In the same vein, nothing else matters to ninety percent of the CURRENT insurgents than to establish some Salafist state, exterminate the Shia, etc., etc.

So, yes, right NOW the whole story is about US elites, Zionist "evil", corrupt monarchs, and scumbag fanatics, etc., etc. Until THAT is resolved, nothing about how Syria is being run is going to matter.

I don't know and have never read ANYONE who is a serious commenter on this issue - and by that I mean NOT the trolls that infest every comment thread on every blog - who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler". At this point it does not matter. He personally does not matter. What matters is that Syria is not destroyed, so that Hizballah is not destroyed, so that Iran is not destroyed, so that Israel rules a fragmented Middle East and eventually destroys the Palestinians and that the US gets all the oil for free. This is what Russia is trying to defend, not Assad.

And if this leaves a certain percentage of Syrian citizens screwed over by Assad, well, they should have figured that out as much as Assad should have figured out that he never should have tried to get along with the US.

Frankly, this is a pointless post which is WAY out of date.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79

In the same vein, nothing else matters to ninety percent of the CURRENT insurgents than to establish some Salafist state, exterminate the Shia, etc., etc.

This obviously is not the case. A recent take of the BBC with some real information on the realities of the war.

"We had to be fighters," he said, "because we didn't find any other job. If you want to stay inside you need to be a part of the FSA [Free Syrian Army, the group that has closest relations with the West]. Everything is very expensive. They pay us $100 a month but it is not enough.

"All this war is a lie. We had good lives before the revolution. Anyway this is not a revolution. They lied to us in the name of religion.

"I don't want to go on fighting but I need to find a job, a house. Everything I have is here in Muadhamiya."

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2016 5:07:06 AM | 80

...
.. who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler". At this point it does not matter. He personally does not matter.
...
Frankly, this is a pointless post which is WAY out of date.
Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79

Well, according to RSH, who specialises in being wrong...

Assad does matter because he is the ELECTED leader chosen by the People of Syria in MORE THAN ONE election.
Did you forget?
Did you not know?
Or doesn't any of that "democracy" stuff matter either?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 13, 2016 5:18:29 AM | 81

@TG | 20

"It continues to annoy me that the primary trigger ..."
And yet you fail to mention the Muslim Brotherhood or the Turkish water wars ...

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 13, 2016 5:24:44 AM | 82

Congratulations to those that made the effort to refute DiD's dribble in a rational manner.

Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13, 2016 3:38:32 AM | 79 - "I don't know and have never read ANYONE who is a serious commenter on this issue - and by that I mean NOT the trolls that infest every comment thread on every blog - who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler"." The majority of Syrians disagree with you. But your arrogance and ignorance probably blinds you from taking that into consideration. [I had to refresh the page before I posted this and I saw Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 13, 2016 5:18:29 AM | 81 said the same thing. It's a point worry of repetition!]

Posted by: pm | Sep 13, 2016 6:24:31 AM | 83

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-syria-idUSKCN11J0EY


Israel said its aircraft attacked a Syrian army position on Tuesday after a stray mortar bomb struck the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, and it denied a Syrian statement that a warplane and drone were shot down.

The air strike was a now-routine Israeli response to the occasional spillover from fighting in a five-year-old civil war, and across Syria a ceasefire was holding at the start of its second day.

Syria's army command said in a statement that Israeli warplanes had attacked an army position at 1 a.m. on Tuesday (2200 GMT, Monday) in the countryside of Quneitra province.

The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked targets in Syria hours after the mortar bomb from fighting among factions in Syria struck the Golan Heights. Israel captured the plateau from Syria in a 1967 war.

The Syrian army said it had shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone after the Israeli attack.

Denying any of its aircraft had been lost, the Israeli military said in a statement: "Overnight two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission to target Syrian artillery positions. At no point was the safety of (Israeli) aircraft compromised."

The seven-day truce in Syria, brokered by Russia and the United States, is their second attempt this year by to halt the bloodshed.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 13, 2016 6:34:41 AM | 84

Re:Posted by: pm | Sep 13, 2016 6:24:31 AM | 83

Should be worthy not worry!

Posted by: pm | Sep 13, 2016 6:49:55 AM | 85

Posted by: pm | Sep 13, 2016 6:24:31 AM | 83

"who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler".

It is an oxymoron. Either you "rule" or you are decent.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13, 2016 7:15:25 AM | 86

Hey B, how did the poster at 30. survive the trollicide?

He was pretty funny but I feel that in the interest of equality and fairness he sadly needed to be sent on a winter vacation to Upper Yakutia, one way, summer clothes only.

Posted by: Quadriad | Sep 13, 2016 8:08:39 AM | 87

@76 brian

Indeed, after
1/ I do not see the Syrian civil war as racist or race based,
everybody already could see, that Debsisdead is locked into his particular view.

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 13, 2016 8:16:11 AM | 88

Copeland @60: No, I don't think the problem is fundamentalism. It's the warring crusade method of spreading a belief's 'empire' that is the problem. This is a problem uniquely of the Saudi 'do whatever it takes' crusade to convert the entire 'Arab and Muslim world' to their worst, most misogynist form of Islam. There are of course many fundamentalists (the Amish and some Mennonites are examples from Christianity) that are not evangelical, or put severe (no violence, no manipulation, no kidnapping, stop pushing if the person says 'no') limits on their evangelism. Only the Saudis, or pushers of their version of Islam, seem to put no limits at all on their sect's crusade.

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 13, 2016 9:33:38 AM | 89

president Assad is a 'decent ruler' and thats the view of most syrians

Posted by: brian | Sep 13, 2016 9:55:45 AM | 90

'who seriously thinks Assad is a "decent ruler". At this point it does not matter. He personally does not matter'

president ASSAD matters to most syrians

Posted by: brian | Sep 13, 2016 9:58:08 AM | 91

Just want to mention that from the beginning there were people who took up arms against the government. This is why the situation went out of control. People ambushed groups of young soldiers. Snipers of unknown origin fired on police and civilians.

There are plenty of people in the United States right now who are just as oppressed - I would wager more so - than anyone in Syria. Immigrants from the south are treated horribly here. There are still black enclaves in large cities where young men are shot by the police on a daily basis for suspicious behavior and minor driving infractions. And then there are the disenfranchised white folks in the Teaparty who belong to the NRA and insist on 'open carry' of their weapons on the street and train in the back woods for a coming war. Tell me what would happen if there were a guarantor these people found believable who promised them that if they took up arms against the government (and anyone else in the country they felt threatened by) they would be guaranteed to win and become the government of a 'New America'. What if that foreign guarantor were to pay them and improve their armaments while providing political cover.

I rather like Assad. I won't lie. But, he is not the reason for the insurrection in Syria ~ well, except for his alliances with Russia and Iran and his pipeline decisions and his support for Palestinian and Iraqi refugees. What happened in Syria is happening all over the globe because the nation with the most resources in the world, the self-declared exceptionalist state thinks this is the way to rule the world. . . . because they want to rule and they don't care how much destruction it takes to do so. And lucky for us there is no one big enough and bad enough to do it to us - except for our own government.

Posted by: papillonweb | Sep 13, 2016 10:01:56 AM | 92

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/un-condemns-assad-syria-abuse_us_57d7c49ce4b0fbd4b7bb50d8?section=&

Now look what you've done, Debs.

On to Sebastopol for the One Party!

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Sep 13, 2016 10:08:27 AM | 93

OT, but that was an interesting Sunni Islam conference in Grozny, because it excluded and then 'excommunicated' Salafism and Wahabbism. Amazing!

"All of the petrodollars Saudi Arabia spends to advance this claim of leadership and the monopolistic use of Islam’s greatest holy sites to manufacture a claim of entitlement to Muslim leadership were shattered by this collective revolt from leading Sunni Muslim scholars and institutions who refused to allow extremism, takfir, and terror ideology to be legitimized in their name by a fringe they decided that it is even not part of their community. This is the beginning of a new era of Muslim awakening the Wahhabis spared no efforts and no precious resources to ensure it will never arrive."

Posted by: fairleft | Sep 13, 2016 10:25:10 AM | 94

Hoarse@8

Sometimes your comments sound almost sentient but when you start babbling about the Dictator Assad and his 'elections' you're back to flying monkey talk. Dictators always win their elections, always have and always will because they are 'their' elections and they are routinely predetermined landslides.

I suppose it's your view that barrel bombing and gas attacks aimed at the voters of Syria are campaign tactics to encourage turnout and instill respect for the Glorious Leader.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 13, 2016 11:00:09 AM | 95

Josh Landis Syria Comment
There were a lot of people posting how Bashar al Assad was doing full neoliberalism. And at was true.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 13, 2016 11:04:04 AM | 96

@73 bigmango.. thanks.. i agree with you and share your viewpoint.

@74 harry... agree fully with you as well..

@76 brian... ditto your comment as well..

@95 wow quote "I suppose it's your view that barrel bombing and gas attacks aimed at the voters of Syria are campaign tactics to encourage turnout and instill respect for the Glorious Leader." they are campaign tactics from the west designed to encourage ongoing support for the destruction of syria by the west..

Posted by: james | Sep 13, 2016 11:35:08 AM | 97

J@97

Most of the physical destruction that has occurred in Syria is due to SAA and recent Russian bombing although the Coalition has added to the toll while attacking the IS. The rebels and the Coalition certainly want the destruction of the Assad regime but they are not 'Syria' just a minority ruling elite.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 13, 2016 12:11:33 PM | 98

Assad (=> group in power), whose stated aim was to pass from a ‘socialist’ to a ‘market’ economy. Notes.

*decreased public sector employment.* -- was about 30%, went far lower (1) - was a staple: one ‘smart’ graduate in the family guaranteed a good Gvmt job, could support many.

*cut subsidies* (energy, water, housing, food, etc.) drought (2005>) plus these moves threw millions into cities with no jobs.. pre-drought about 20% agri empl. cuts to agri subsidies created the most disruption.

…imho was spurred by the sharply declining oil revenues (peak oil..) which accounted for ?, 15% GDP in 2002 for ex to a few slim points edging to nil in 2012, consequences:

> a. unemployment rose ’n rose (to 35-40% youth? xyz overall?), and social stability was affected by family/extended f/ district etc. organisation being smashed. education health care in poor regions suffered (2)

> b. small biz of various types went under becos loss of subs, competition from outsiders (free market policy), lack of bank loans it is said by some but idk, and loss of clients as these became impoverished. Syria does not have a national (afaik) unemployment scheme. Assad to his credit set up a cash-transfer thingie to poor families, but that is not a subsitute for ‘growing employment..’

*opened up the country’s banking system* (can't treat the details..)

So Assad was hit by a Tri-horror: global warming, dwindling cash FF ressources, and IMF-type pressure, leaving out the trad. enemies, KSA, pipelines , etc. MSM prefer to cover up serious issues with ‘ethnic strife’ (sunni, shia, black lives matter, etc.)

1. all nos off the top of my head.

2. Acceptance of a massive refugee pop. (Pals in the past, Kurds, but numerically important now, Iraqis) plus the high birth rate

2011> 10 year plan syria in arabic (which i can’t read) but look at images and ‘supporters’ etc.

http://www.planning.gov.sy/index.php?page=show&ex=2&dir=docs&lang=2&ser=2&cat=172&

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 13, 2016 12:25:52 PM | 99

Yes, Noirette, we know, you are (with Debsisdead) a headchopper-surrogate.

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 13, 2016 1:15:40 PM | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.