Is what’s happening in Syria today a revolution, a civil war or a proxy war? Far more than just an argument over semantics, which term is used to refer to the situation in Syria today denotes a political position. Supporters of the Syrian opposition call it a revolution, while those not at all sympathetic to the opposition call it a proxy war, which is an attempt to disparage the opposition. But which of these terms is accurate?
Instead of inventing definitions from thin air, examining how each term was employed historically is helpful in this case. And the most helpful precedent that we can use is that of the Spanish Civil War. So, was what is today known as the “Spanish Civil war” a revolution, a civil war, or a proxy war?
It is embedded in our logic, perhaps because of the fairy tails we hear when growing up, that all bad will loos in the end and only good will prevail. We think if the cause is right and we are fighting for the good we will win in the end, off-course after we face bet of difficulties (we don’t want to make it easy). In our case if people revolted and brutal regime that kills and torture whoever objects, then the gods will make sure we win in the end after the a short period of difficulties (kind a right of passage thing).
But history tells us different story, it shows no logic for who win and who loos and who prevail in the end. few examples that comes in mind are;
the Armenians, after the got mistreated. they are still fighting for recognition from history for the misery they faced.
Indigenous people living in Latin America and in north, after European invasion, they are still portrayed as uncivilized barbaric people.
then you add Palestine Chechnya, Cambodia and so own
Those who are strong enough and smart enough, and lucky enough will win in the end. So it is not enough, to be on the right side and just cause, for the revolution in Syria to win it needs to be lead well and smart enough to win this war against a brutal regime who proved he has no ethical limitation to use whatever one can imagine to stay in power.
I dont know what is the point Iran trying to make when they announce all these war games and rehearsals they are conducting on land and in sea. Their enemy, if it is Israel or the US, know exactly what they have and what they dont, they know what their strong points and their weaknesses, so it is not for them. The only target audience for these reports and announcements are the public audience, the normal people in the streets in Middle East or larger Asia.
Today they announced they are sending a feet of 24 war ships to the far east, but what are they hopping to gain from all this, how they are planning to benefit from it. I dont know personally, but I am sure they have something on their mind beside creating evil enemy for the US (to replace the AQ and the Russian before that).
Last week Mr. Moaz, the head of the NC, announced his peace initiative from his FB page. Basically it sets two terms for him to sit down and talk with regime (or with representatives of regime whom did not have blood on their hand), these terms are the release of 160,000 prisoners from jail and passport renewal for opposition members living outside of Syria. As expected the initiative created waves of protest (from the classical traitor) or approval, coming from all parties involved starting from follow NC members to regime state supporters and foes depending on their position and interest and finally from Syrians themselves.
I listen to many discussions and read for others thoughts and analysis, and one common thing I found is that no one understand the initiative, and no one has any idea what is it suppose to accomplish or even what is it about. Maybe some insiders knows the discussion behind closed doors, or maybe there is no discussions behind close doors and what we see is IT basically, nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps many are trying to read too much into it, trying to read between the lines when there is nothing between the lines, no hidden meanings.
In my mind the possibly aim for the initiative could be one and more from the following;
giving counter initiative to the one regime gave, trying to throw the ball back to regime court and showing some engagement with the regime to satisfy the backers of the opposition.
Trying to entice countries supporting opposition for more action or more arms, by hinting that NC might cut a deal with regime and these countries will have to learn to live with Assad in power for years to come (if they can afford that).
trying to make a split or support some split inside the regime itself, although not much evidence of the existence of this split (by asking for AlSharea in name to represent the regime)
Giving a support to any pressure on the regime from its main international allies (like Russia or China). Then later giving them reason to use for backing out from position
or just desperate attempts to save lives
and if the regime had to sit down on the table for any reason, while no one expecting much from that but at least we could get some people out of jail and renew some passports for Syrians living out of the country.
What is apparent is that the initiative took a personal nature from Mr. Alkhatib not in the name of the NC (although it is muddied a bet, so no clarity). On the surface most or all fellow members in the NC especially the MB opposed the imitative, (but this is maybe a planned approach to show that Mr. Alkhatib is facing lots of resistance and can’t give more), and most of the positive support came from each and every Syrian citizen i know and heard to.
In conclusion I think most surprising response was from Syrians who appear to have had enough and looking for any settlement, although rebels cannot take same position since they will be all killed by regime if settlements was to keep the regime in any way (or at least that is what they believe). Other very important result is that NC gained back some relevance after SNC lost it all in the past year, and most of that credit goes to Mr. Alkhatib personally.
Now that it seems the adventure is over, and initiative ended in the way everyone thought it will. It looks like a good move by head of NC and in the net result it was positivist for opposition in general and him personally (so i think we will still see more of him now that he became a permanent player no longer on the sides).
It took me time, and lots of screaming in long arguments with Syrians pro regime to finally get it. I cannot use logic or evidence in my arguments because many of them have made-up their mind which party guilty and which is not long time ago, even way before the occurrence of the event we’re arguing about. In these arguments there is no point of presenting evidence or formulating an argument or using logic or common sense because the convictions are NOT based on evidence, so no mater the how many evidence you bring to argument, and no matter how articulated and structured your argument is, the answer is predetermined even before you started the argument itself. Basically no hope and we are going nowhere. This revolution will take its full course and will reach its end by one side completely finishing the other. We are passed the point where it could finish by removing one or some symbolic figures, but i feel unfortunately it will end up with complete win of one party over the other. This is not positive and I am not promoting more violence, I know those who get hurt are the weak ones standing in the middle, but I feel facts on the ground only support this scenario.
Now we all have to wait until this revolution reaches its end, I don’t think anyone can stop it now or prevent the increased bloodshed in the coming months. Really sad, I blame international community.
It really hurts to see all this pain and suffering, to see the desperation in the eyes of the young and old, but it even hurt more so when I know that these are my people and this is my homeland. Then I started thinking; knowing the regime I should expect the pain is even more than what is shown on the media. There are much evidence from youtube uploads and documentaries produced by international media channels showing torture been used on an industrial scale (quoting one documentary). These practices and the scale it has been used showing and proving that regime in Syria was able to genetically modify humans and to reduce them into animals (reversing much of their evolution).
No longer the practice of torture is limited to a two floors below the ground dungeon in some security building, but it is practiced by simple solders and officers right in the open fields. It is not used to extract information or intelligence from the other side, but a practice to inflict fear, terror and horror in the victim heart and the society in general so that they submit.
This strategy had worker in the past, and for too long. It is not working anymore and it is actually fueling revolution now. For over 20 moth the regime showed that it has no alternative. Like the frog and Scorpio by the river story IT IS THEIR NATURE, IT IS HOW THEY DO THINGS, IT IS HOW THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED, AND HOW THEY HAVE PRACTICED ALL A LONG.
In the early days of revolution in Syria, I was very pessimistic and expected large number of casualties dead and disabled, but I really hoped (and expected) that it finishes fast with toppling the regime and a new power taking its place realizing things will never go back start implementing some reforms which in time and hard work will produce improvement in education, economy, personal freedoms. After that; well it is next generation who will have the saying in it, it will not be us.
But the reality came even harder than that, and it turns out that regime did come true on his promise to destroy the country by destroying the fabric of the society. The fighting took long time, very long time which is the worse scenario case one can imagine, the increased pain and long suffering of the people hardens the hart and radicalize people minds (mostly to justify this suffering). Now we are in the final stages of the revolution faced with sectarian tension, radicalization of society and total destruction of economy and the state. Now we find ourselves discussing and arguing about the very basic idea of what makes a nation,,, are we one nation,, what brings us together. What does it mean to be Syrian, are we Syrians first or Muslims or Arabs, who are we.
these are very tough questions, I really hoped we dont go into that and just take it for granted, it has always been there so just go with it.
I invested much of my time in reading books and educating myself in history philosophy political science in the hope I build a good sense of reason and logical thinking. I thought this would help me understand the world around and maybe even predict how it is working. Now I feel all I worked on is out from the window, NOTHING is making sense in Meddle East (ME) anymore. I know many think ME actually never made any sense but this is taking it to another level.
Most recently, Israel military attack on Gaza; I could never understand this action. Every pools in Israel show public opinion is in favor of B. Netanyahu, everyone is predicting a major win for him in coming elections, especially after he build a coalition with his F. Minister to guarantee it 100% instead of 90%. With all evidence show election is in his packet unless he screw it up, and that is exactly what he did. I could never understand why would any politician get into an adventure like that when election is few weeks, especially that no major event is forcing him to do it (few rockets here and there been coming from Gaza for years). So what is the real purpose or target from this war,,, I could not figure that out.
Jordan increasing fuel prices; Every government in Jordan (and many were formed in the past 12 months) wanted to do this action and could not because they knew what will happen in the streets if they do it. So why would this government decide now to stop the subsidies from fuel, and in the process doubling the heating charges, now. This government was formed to organize a new parliament elections and run the country until the forming of new par lament that should include the opposition for the first time. If they waited until new parliament is formed they can get them on board and therefore avoid them trying to make gains from this action,,, is their real reason for this
I don’t care how Bashar leaves or die, the damage he already caused is beyond repair. The children who lost a parent or was/is traumatized, the families who lost their bread feeder in a country that do not provide for its citizens not even the basics, and the men who’s heart got harden and changed for ever from inside watching all this pain inflicted on friends and comrades.
Some might focus on studying costs or rebuilding and estimates lost wealth of nation, but all these are nothing and can be easily replaced. Buildings can be rebuild and machines can be fixed, like it been done before many times in many places. Assets are valued by the expected future cash flows, which means if we fix the country then wealth can be created in a relative speed.
Nothing can be more damaging than lost souls and spirit, Lost of innocence for many young and for many of the old. Nothing will be the same now, no matter how you kill Bashar or which country he leaves to.
I have been struggling with this question for some time now, and i still have no clear position on it (I never said I have all the answers). But would like to share some of my thoughts on the subject.
I understand the fears of some for arming the opposition and the FSA, that arming might start a civil war in Syria and no one will be able to put down the fire then. And this is a valid point and if one is not scared of this possibility then he is not taking a fair full look at the situation. A second valid point I think is that FSA has no clear central command, so which group are you going to arm. The fear will be each party (external parties or internal living out) will arm the fighters that agree with their ideology, so you will have some arming the Islamist and others will arm the leftist or the nationalist and so own, so you will end up with a situation where the better armed fighters will win more battles and they will push their agenda on the other fighters and later on to new political system after the fall of the regime. Or you will have internal fighting between fighters themselves who are armed by different parties.
On the other hand, rebels and defectors are fighting the regime already, so no point of denying that fact, and one can argue that they are the last hope for many Syrians on the ground to topple the regime. So far no valid political solution is presented for people to hope for with no need to carry more arms, in fact it looks more and more that the regime do not feel threaten at all, therefore doesn’t seem to be really interested in any negotiation or a political solution. It can be suggested that if defectors are armed better and presented a real threat to the regime then regime will respond to political initiatives in more positive manner and you might even see more defections in army which will shorten the period of its fall.
In the end of the day, opposition should lead the way not be lead by the people on the streets, they should use their knowledge and intellect to take the hard decisions which can’t be popular all the times (otherwise anyone can do the job of echoing what people are saying). It is evident that Syrians on the ground are calling for arming fighters out desperation since they are the ones who are getting killed and bombed and starved. while most of the people calling for a pause and think are coming from opposition living out with not as much to loose (exceptions always there for both). I think a middle ground is to arm rebels to the point that they present a real threat for regime to sit down and really negotiate, while organizing the FSA under one command with Syrian agenda in case more arms are to be used.
Standing still and waiting for the best is not an option at all, and waiting for the west to decide to intervene is a stupid strategy, we should not be part of their strategy or interests.