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.
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
It is never about the articles of the constitution old or new, it is about respecting the constitution. The current constitution was issued in 1973 in the early days of Hafez Al-Assad rule (the Father), he designed it by himself to himself. But the emergency laws were never lifted since the 60s, and therefore conveniently many of its articles were never effected especially the ones talking about civil rights and guaranteeing personal freedoms and freedom of speech and thoughts (Art 38/31/27/25).
Even with the custom-made constitution and the emergency laws, still the president and his assigned consecutive governments did not abide by it, or respected it in spirit or words. When the second term of Hafez AlAssad term finished, he did not have a problem in renewing his presidency for life (instead of the two terms as dictated in his constitution) in complete disrespect of the constitution and Syrian people. In that same Constitution current for now (Art 13) state “The state economy is a planned socialist economy”, But Bashar did not find a problem when he was first empowered to state that he will be following a policy to free the economy by opening-up the market ( I think he called it a private Social economy). And did not mind carrying this policy for over 11 years now in which he privatized many aspect of economy and allowed private companies to own a good part of this economy (Art 14 state that public utilities should be public ownership, this is not to state my opinion in the planned economy, but stating the facts).
When late father Hafez Assad expired, the constitution stated president needed to be at age of 40 years or older, the constitution was amended in less than half an hour to allow the new younger son to be president.
This is not to mention many laws which are unconstitutional with no one a to discuss them or objecting. Last year to allow the lifting of the emergency laws a new law was issued allowing the police to detain people indefinitely, and so the problem was solved and emergency law lifted and no one felt the deference.
In conclusion I refuse to debate the articles of the new constitution. I consider it misleading and distraction to argue about the implication of president being allowed two more terms (after expiry of the current one), and president powers to include forming and heading a government at his preference notwithstanding the wishes of the majority in the parliament. Or discuss the total disregard of the separation of powers by not only heading the executive side of the government and approving its policies but actually empowering him to head the army, to head the judicial counsel and appoints its member judges, to allow him legislating powers to issue laws without parliament approval (if not in session or if in session) while he can stop laws issued by parliament. Just to make it even funnier he can dismiss the parliament and executive branch which is the government at will.
So basically short of being god he can do anything with no need to consult anyone for any reason. HE CAN DO WHAT THE HELL HE WANT
I have not heard from Syrian regime on how Syrian nationals in Homos, especially in baba amro, will be able to cast their vote for the new constitution. This not to mention the citizens in Idlib, Daraa and Hama, surly they are Syrian and we need to hear their voices and wishes. Especially on the part that allow current president to rule for two more terms after the expiry of the existing one.
Don’t you think we need to know the mechanism for that,,,!
Turkey on its way to become the super regional power. With its economic success in the past years, and with the assistance of its powerful army (second in NATO) Turkey was promoting itself as a model for Middle east, and hoping in the process to be recognized by the international and regional communities as a supper power. Conflict in Syria has exposed its weaknesses internally being not prepared with the Kurdish issue surfacing, and regionally they talk the talk but could not walk the walk. They thought they can intimidate regime in Syria for submission, but they where utterly wrong in their judgment. Total failure in foreign policy exposed their weaknesses and now they are friends with no one, this after their hesitation in Libya and the disappointment of the MB in Egypt.
Totalitarian regime can still use empty slogans and false causes to win over the mass. As in Libya, Syrian regime found out that people over the years has built an immune system to these long speeches and with empty promises of unity and prosperity and dignity as long as their people follow their lead. they found out that people no longer willing to sacrifice their dignity and freedom for the cause (be it what it may).
regime can build security for itself, by establishing a balancing acts between regional and international strategic balances and interests. These regime found out in the end security can only be built internally with its citizens content and satisfaction.
Hizbullah have a strategic view and act based on principles not on interests. this myth was completely disseminated with its support to Syrian regime while this is killing its people. they lost the support of the people outside of south Lebanon which they build over years of hard work and sacrifice, and they showed that their interest comes first and later comes the principle.
Arab are submissive, they will never rise up and if any tried; a good beating and some killing will put them back in line. Arab spring showed Arabs like any other nations have dignity and pride and will rise in the end, it is a matter of time and occasion.
Arabs only respect strong power, this is the western myth promoted by Israel to justify heavy-handed dealing in the middle east. The world saw young and old going against powerful dictators and paying with their blood and life for their freedom and liberty, they showed that they didn’t fear nor respected powerful men or strong leaders.
Muslims hate the west for their democracy, another western cheep myth used by media during Bush times to turn public opinion against Muslims. With the long waited Arab Spring longing wanting and fighting for democracy they proved to the world not only they want democracy but willing to pay for it in blood.
Now that we are in the situation we are in, large group of Syrians are not joining the revolution because they don’t believe revolution can win, others will never join since they have an interstice interest in the regime. Some regional players believe world cannot afford the Syrian regime loosing grip for regional security concerns. But can the Syrians and the regional players afford the Syrian revolution loosing and the increased powers for the Syrian regime ? How would Syria look like if current regime gains control back from people, how would Syria look like and how would the region look like in the day after.
Internally it will be the 80’s again but with steroids, if regime gains control back and put down the revolt, then you can expect all local powers how supported the regime asking for a price, it is only logical to see an increased reliance -if the liked it or not- on the new powers that helped it maintain its authoritarian grip for years to come. In the 80’s after putting down popular protest in Hama, Edlib and Halab by Hafez -the father- we had almost ten years of lawless land with security forces living above the law, and a high reliance by the regime on Alwaite sect in the security forces and other sensitive area of government. When Bashar was getting groomed for the presidency he tried to win (successfully) Syrian people harts and minds by cracking down on his own family members, Alwaits Sect (his sect) and security forces in general, especially the In Your Face acts of humiliation to people.
This time we should see again an increase in reliance on these parties who helped the regime to fight the revolt again, I think we should see a new tilt again to his sect, and to lesser degree to other minority sects like Christians, also we will see more dependency on thugs and low life member of society from all sects like Shabiha and some tribe who helped with regime (Berri tribe in halab famous for their criminal acts and smuggling activities). Other outcome will be a crack down on Islamist and all signs of religious behaviour, just to affirm assertions made during the media battle over the protests with international viewers (regime media campaign claim that these all Islamic terrorist).
Economically local capital will leave Syria-I actually think money already flew out, and currency is defended by outside injections and maybe no will from others to complete crash of Syrian economy and further no funds will think on the short and medium term will get into Syria from regional or international investors. With very harsh sanctions from the EU and US (not sure if Turkey and the Arab League will keep their sanctions in the day after) local businesses will suffer greatly and will at least underperform its potential. finally when the chaos will hit the streets as the new power claim its pay out business will suffer some more.
In summary those who help the regime and fought for it will be demanding their pay, and they will get it in an increase dependency on them and if the 80’s is an indication then total immunity from all laws of the land. Economy will tank under the internal and regional pressure along with ever reduced oil export because of the decrease in availability and growth of population. Can the Syrian people afford keeping the regime, is the price for its downfall is higher than staying,, you judge
Everyone looks at the situation in Syria in accordance to their own biased and interests. EU Turkey and so is Russia, therefore it is no wonder they see the conflict and the solutions differently. That much I understand, but a gross dismissal of decency I cannot.
Russian foreign minister FM expressed their view that Syria conflict should be resolved within the region, and his country vetoed the UN security resolution because they don’t want an international interference to solve a local conflict. They supported all regional and local efforts to resolve the issues locally. These efforts lead to the Arab League AL proposal on a road map to solve the issue. But after regime failure to adhere to commitments they took on themselves AL decided to suspend Syria’s membership, Russia FM declares that AL took the wrong decision. This is very insulting to everyone; it means that you should resolve it in the way we think it should be resolved.
Last week FM met with Syrian opposition members, and declare that opposition should stop all military activities, it is like telling the victim don’t resist oppressor when your oppressed, you should negotiate to resolve your deference (off course as long as we like this resolution). The Syrian regime is a governemnt and have a structure with a head on top of that structure, when the opposition is a revolt by the people which have no organization or structure so you cannot demand the same from them and expect control and adherence at the same level you expect from organized regime. Russia president did acknowledge that regime is using brutal force and asked regime to stop using force, he even admitted that regime at fault, but again stated that solution should come within not from outside (meaning NATO). Basically admitting that regime is at fault but people should not resist and should talk to regime!
Why do Russia keep fighting loosing positions. Do they really have someone who looks at the big picture in there, and look at national interests.