Homs lesson

Many would say the regime could not do the massacre of Karm Zaitoun. they would argue that it can serve no purpose for the regime especially on the day the NSC is gathering to discuss situation in Syria.

From what i see first the regime do not care what is happening outside of Syria, they never did. Few months ago FM Moallem apologized for attacking foreign embassies, but on same day regime thugs attacked two more embassies in the afternoon on the same day. The regime bombed Baba Amro while regional media is airing the attack live on TV, and international media reporters reported events daily for 27 days. But second and more important reason, is this is the whole point. The regime cannot keep the army in front each house in the country, they need people to fear the army and the regime. So they need to keep population submission through fear tactics. this methods have been tested and used with great success in the 80s in Hama. They take an area or a town and hit it so hard and so brutal to use it as an example for the rest. So shelling Baba Amro randomly until leaving no building intact, and killing brutally 50 people in karm zaitoun while allowing media pictures to escape is the intended action and the goal. and finally we know from history and experience the regime is capable of doing such and event while I do not know if opposition can do something horrible like that.

Media will give different versions for what actually happened and by whom, pro regime media will accuse opposition and outside media will accuse regime. I am currently outside of Syria so i will not know what the truth actually is, but in my logic i look at the people on the ground if they blame regime thugs and opposition members. from what i see for now; i see people are fleeing areas the Syrian army is entering and still providing cover and support for opposition fighters, so I blame the regime.

voting for new constitution

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

new Constitution

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,,,!

Al Qaida in syria

Many Syrians romanticize about the FSA; they are Syrian solders who refused to carry orders and shoot at their Syrian brothers, they defected and now defending protesters trying to secure them during their peaceful protests. But if you can convince people it is Al Qaida who is involved; well that is a different case now.

Few weeks ago, an explosion shook security forces building in Al-Midan in central Damascus, it resulted in the death of many security forces personnel and some civilians (or so the regime claimed). Immediately regime media and some officials accused Al Qaida of the bombing and deaths within 30 mints of the event. At the time I could not understand, why are they accusing al Qaida not the FSA, we all know Alqaida had not been part of this revolt in Syria?? especially that the head of the FSA in Turkey had warned few days before of something big in the pipeline,, I thought that would be perfect setup to accuse them of this one.  But still they choose not accuse FSA and instead within 30 mints they accused Al qaida. Now I realize that this is brilliant work.

Syrians have accepted the FSA existence and their agenda, they accepted their need to operate (and maybe in the process killing solders or civilians), they have provided them with supplies, shelter and most importantly they gave them legitimacy. But Syrians did not give that cover to AL Qaida, and they would freak-out if these bombing are their work. They are foreigners Islamist and their vision is not what they what for Syria after the fall of the regime. Actually if one thing Syians are scared of in the revolution is the Iraqi model, and their sectarian war with Al qaida mass killing in the name of Islam or Sunnis.  Regime knows that and now they are working on convincing everyone, especially people from the inside, that these acts are perpetrated by Al qaida. To this end they have orchestrated an introduction to this by a statement from Iraqi minister saying that Al-qaida fighters are moving from Iraq to Syria (although he later said no specific intelligence in that regard but this is a general trend) also we heard from a minister in Lebanon claiming the same information, of fighters crossing from Lebanon to Syria (later his own prime-minister said no such solid intelligence available in the matter), they are both an allies of the Syrian regime.

But most disturbing; the US lately came out with similar information from an intelligence officer during a congress questioning. for me this is really scary,  because it means either there are really AL Qaida operatives in Syria (which I don’t believe) or it means the USA is preparing to sell the opposition out and side with the regime, or at least keep this excuse alive just in case they needed it in the future.

Now Will all this work?? I personally don’t think so, i think Syrian people no longer listen or believe the regime and its media, they made up their mind; they want regime down and out of our life; good or bad.

Meth busted

Meths that was exposed in the year 2011

  • 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.  

Where did we go wrong

Way before the revolution started in Syria, I have been consumed by the idea of Where did we go wrong. Looking at the past 60 years I wanted to know what did we do wrong that resulted in the situation we are in right now. I thought if we can pinpoint the exact action or event we could first allocate blame and second learn not to do it again, otherwise we could be doing the same thing all over again and we will end up in the same place again.

I watched documentaries relating to that period and tried to read books talking about recent history of Syria. Most interesting are the discussions I had with the elderly who experienced these event and their opinions (state of mind at that time).  But Every time I build a theory, I discuss it, I debate it with other and myself, having in mind an acceptable level of human greed and lust for power, I find that it could happen anywhere if it not actually happened elsewhere.

But while discussing these events including military coups, suspension of parliament, army interference with political life and the usual greed of the business class, I started seeing a trend that underlined many of the event in Syria. Syrians for the most part welcomed most of these events,  the military coups and all other event that I would expect them to reject. The reason is always in the name of the cause (be it Palestine or Arab unity or what else). I concluded that we accepted the wrongs in the name of cause, and this slowly drained us from our basic rights little by little, one event after the other until we had nothing left. It was your basic ends justifying the means.

I hope with these sacrifices Syrians are paying now, even with their blood, we learn that no cause is worth sacrificing basic rights or dignity and freedoms for. That ends do justify the means. That humiliated nation striped of their rights, their dignity could not fight in a war could not build a country, or create civil and just society, that people need to love their society to sacrifice for it. That we can accomplish all goals and reach the ends they want only when they are happy with what they have.

now these are arguable conclusions, am I reading too much in it??

About the SNC

I have been meaning to write something about the SNC for some time now, but always delayed it because I felt I did not know much about them, who they are, what do they stand for, and what they want to do. But now I feel I don’t have to wait anymore, I think that is exactly the problem, WE DON’T KNOW. With latest development there might not be an SNC to write about if I waited longer.

I know some of its members (I learned of them through TV shows and hosting of Arab news channels) I know that media say that Muslim Brotherhood have big representation in the counsel, and that it is very close to Turkey. I do realize that Syrian regime do not allow any opposition (even the puppets they create inside are not safe, if for some reason regime decided to change its mind they can be arrested and jailed and not to be released again maybe forgotten by the regime itself), and therefore I don’t blame the apposition for not being known or united, since many of them are new to the seen.

But that is not good anymore, after ten months they have to realize that this is one of the major problems they face. They have to work on gaining people trust by having more transparency, they should introducing themselves to the people, they have to show us who they are, and what they want to do, what do they stand for, who do they represent (do they represent tribes or a sect or an ethnicity or geographical area and why they are on the counsel). I keep seeing new people for he first time on TV introducing themselves as SNC members, and part of this committee or that committee, while i dont know which line of thoughts they represent within the SNC. I tried to research some more about them through their official web site and through facebook and twitter, but I did not find anything about who they are, not even how many members they have or how many committees they have, what are methods of taking decisions. Few weeks ago they held first meeting in Tunisia and I thought, finally now we will have a clear picture of the members and clear vision for what they want to do, but unless I missed something beside the short press conference at the end I did not get anything (please correct me if i am missing something).

It seems to me they dont even know what they are; last month the head of the counsel state that when they will be in charge they will stop relations with Iran and they will not support hizbullah, have they forget that they are merely a transition counsel, their job is to make the transition from dictatorship to democratically representative system, they cannot decide on direction of the country or any strategical decisions. They are boxing themselves and limiting options of Syria for no apparent benefit, except trying to please the west by giving such statements.
The revolution in syria was made by Syrian people, kept against all odds by Syrians, forced itself into the international and regional agenda by the Syrian people (no one wanted the regime to fall, not the regional players from turkey to Jordan to Lebanon or Iraq, no one from the international scene not the US or EU or Russia or Iran) and paid for it by Syrian lives. The SNC has to realize only the Syrian people can change the equations, calculations and interests of the regional and international powers, and Syrian people are the only ones who came true over and over again not the UN nor the AL or Islamic counsel or the church in the Vatican.

SNC biggest asset is the Syrian people, and their perception that it is the only option for the revolution, once that is gone they are gone. I think the SNC should be;

– more transparent; talking to people and explaining what they are doing and why

– giving a clear plan for what happen in the day after the fall of the regime, how they intend to move to democratically representative system.

– concentrating efforts on the inside, by organizing the revolution and trying to support it by logistical means as for supplying food medicine and supplies or lifting the spirits by gathering public figures support (politicians, artists writers signers actors,,,)

Once they do that, they will win more support from the remaining silent Syrians who are fearing anarchy now, and the revolution will grow and become stronger. When others see the revolution is strong and organized with a clear plan and transition you will see the west knocking on their doors, then they can negotiate from position of power not weakness by giving concessions to please others.

PS; please consider this entry as an open discussion area, feel free to comment and correct any of the points mentioned above, more specifically please suggest more points for what SNC should be doing.

Can Syria afford to loos its fight with the regime (regional view)

Internationally; this relates to the regional politics, powers and to the overall global balance of powers in a big picture view.

Regionally it is a struggle between two major rising powers, both are looking to take Middle East (ME) under its influence. One is Turkey, presenting itself as a rising regional and international power claiming ME as a strategical depth, in the process opening a market for its mass producing factories, also representing western powers interest to secure power resources, while improving its chances into the EU membership (not sure if there will be EU by the time they finish). The second is Iran also taking ME into its influence as a step into its way to be a major power player on the international seen, encouraged by its success in Iraq, its standup to the US- and west in general- plans in the region, and proceeding with its military program. A second layer of interest is GCC countries fearing Iran increased influence and wanting to offset that influence, and ME countries in general trying to stop the domino effect of this Arab spring.

It has been an established concept; you cannot have leadership in ME without holding the Palestinian resistance card in you pocket, and whoever takes the lead on this will be looked-up open by every citizen in all ME countries. Any country hoping or planning to expand into ME will need to appear as standing-up to Israel with its repression and injustice. Syria is very important to Iranian regime because it provide it with some legitimacy in ME by providing supply rote to Hizballh (fighting and winning against Israel) and its own ideological stand against Israel as part of the resistance. Also from Iranian prospective loosing Syria from the sphere of influence would symbolically mean loosing ground and this could mark the start of their retreat in the region.

Turkey had a great success in its economic policies next step has to be securing markets for its goods, and to cement its claim as new rising major power on the international stage, it needs to take a leadership role in ME and claim it as a strategical depth for the new power. One can see this in the recent clash and appeared conflict with Israel to win over people in ME, and be the champion of the Palestinian rights (trying to take Palestinian card by itself). At the same time promoting itself as the new successful model- Political Islam. Syria is first a great market for Turkish goods but most importantly it is a gate to ME market in general including GCC and north Africa. Second Syria is part of the national security for Turkey, having 1000 km borders and with large Kurdish population and small sources for its water supply.

This shows the high stakes politics in ME in general but more specifically the importance that Syria play at this point of time in the power play in ME. It is a zero sum game for both Iran and Turkey, they are fighting for the Palestinian card, and both planing to flux their mussels to claim influence over ME. Syrian regime was trying to balance things out between the two powers, and trying to benefit from the power struggle (to some success) but as the revolution weakened the regime and forced it to seek outside help, Turkey solutions included help on short term but with structural reforms that will lead eventually to the downfall of the current regime- by increased opining up and representation- where on the other side the Iranian solution was more accommodating to regime in Syria, therefore they chose to go with Iran. Iran came true to Syrian regime by providing technical, military and economical support (I still cant understand how the Syrian pound stayed stable all this long) and Turkey was left out as an enemy of the state in Syria. So far Turkey appear to step back and did not step-up to the play, so much so that EU and US started to stepping back in and neutralizing Turkey roll in the process. Iran did prove to be a reliable ally going all the way for regime inSYria while Turkey stand to loos most in this struggle, loosing prestige and economical interest, waving its dream of raising power even if Syrian regime falls later and Iran do not succeed.

In conclusion I ask the question; can Turkey afford to stay silent and the side, and in a bigger picture view, EU has issued a very harsh sanctions on Syrian regime, USA has sanctioned the regime with similar measures, can they really accept another failure after Iraq, especially a failure to Iran. Can the GCC stand in silence as Iran extent its influence to Iraq and Syria?

PS; i have not mentioned the sectarian card since i think it is means to accomplish strategy and not and end by itself.

Can Syria afford to loos its fight with the regime (internally)

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

It is not a zero sum game.

Many look at the west with such a suspicion. They would suspect every things they do even if it appears a good deed. This is the result of long history of interference from the west in Meddle East internal affairs, which mostly lead to disastrous consequences to the people who lived through these event (some highlights include military coup supported by CIA and MI6 in Syria with husni zaim, or Coup in Iraq supporting saddam, or Iran Coup for reinstatement of the Shah,,, not to mention Palestine and so own,  most recent is the Iraq direct military occupation). For fairness it also can be due to local brutal dictators blaming the west for all the brutality these regimes commit to their own people, trying to disguise it as a foreign conspiracy (to cover their total failure).

But this should not blind us from the fact that it is not a zero sum game, our win should not necessarily mean their loss, and same argument can be valid other way around. Countries can build alignment of their interests where one party win can be a win for the other party. I will take Libya as an example; many talk about the price Libya need to pay NATO for their liberation, and how NATO or the west helped in return of financial compensation either directly or indirectly by granted the project for rebuilding the country. I can never be convinced with this argument, first because there was nothing in the country before the liberation, so more accurate expression is building Libya not rebuilding. But more seriously I don’t think NATO assisted rebels because of the riches of the country but because Gaddafi represented a real threat to Europe, he was using Illegal Immigrants as a weapon and a threat to Europe, he was using a threat of terrorism, which he proved capable of using to obtain concessions( he actually threaten to shoot down civil air-plains over the Mediterranean Sea if Eu tried to implement a no fly zone), couple that with the extreme proximity to Europe (really check it out on the map), I think Europe decided that we can not have a this crazy guy with all this money available to him to do us harm., and we should take this opportunity to get rid of him.  Now that happen to be in total alignment with the interest of the Libyan people, and so the rest is history.

Better way to do that is to actually plan this alignment and don’t leave it to the stars above. but the bottom line is that not all actions west do in their interest should mean a loss to us, and evidence of their interest is not an evidence proving that this position cannot serve our interest.