Akhatib peace initiative

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).

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predetermined minds and predetermined ends

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.

This is simply its nature,, this is how they know how

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.

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

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??

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.

I would not sit for the exam, fearing failure

Many Syrians support the revolution in the streets but fear what will happen after the fall of the regime, who will come to power. Most fear Islamist taking over, others fear state of lawlessness and civil war between sects or ethnics. They look at Lebanon twenty years ago and more recently Iraq.

While all these are legitimate fears and I cannot guarantee anything to anyone, I ask everyone why we cannot do it. Why can others build the democracy as they see it fit for them, and we cannot do it. Why not look at Turkey experience where they succeeded, or East Europe like Poland and Czech, why not look at Malaysia or Philippians why not look at Brazil and Argentina, why they can do it and we cannot. If it is more difficult than we need to work harder. People have so far shown great maturity in resisting sectarian fighting, with resulting to arms (with really few exceptions), for all fairness this is the most civilized revolution compared with all revolutions in history (research the french revolution or the Russians).

I am not asking for perfect state and with absolute fairness (Plato city) but something where people prefer to stay and build a better tomorrow instead of leaving to GCC countries to find any job, a place where people don’t fear someone acting rude or driving wrong side of street or acting rude in public places because they are connected in the government, a place where people decently think they have saying in matters concerning them.

Don’t tell me we cannot do it, or what happen if we fail. You cannot refuse to sit for an exam because you are afraid that you might fail, we all fear failure but we prepare hard and if the exam is more important we prepare better and spend more time at it. Not sitting for the exam has the same result as for failing it.

If we want Syria to be a better place we need to make sure it becomes like this, not wish for it to be. We need to make that democracy it will not come naturally with passing of time. Better Syria need active participation. Lets have the courage in ourselves and start building the better tomorrow.

Is it Syrian revolution or foreign powers’

Often times when discussing Syria revolution we end up discussing if the revolt is planned, controlled encouraged by foreign powers. This basically referring to the great conspiracy which can target Arabs or Islam, when the regime in Syria is Liberal and last thing you can call him is an Islamist (hence his claim it is an Islamist conspiracy against him, what an irony conspiracy theory can serve all with no limits). I personally have no inside information or connections to anyone in government or opposition, I can only offer a personal analyse using logic and deduction for what it is worth.

Revolution in Syria started with few kids or teenagers writing slogans they heard for months on TV during Egypt and Tunisia protest, calling for the downfall of the regime. In response security forces arrested them for days during which they badly tortured them (hopping to draw a line in the sand for what is unacceptable  in these times of revolutionary winds blowing over Middle East).  To even make things worst, the security forces insulted and grossly humiliated the head of tribes and elders in that rural area (called Daraa) when they asked for the kids release. This led to the all out protests in Daraa and nearby areas. NOW where can the foreign powers interfere in this?? how can they plan for the kids to do that, how can they encourage security forces to react in the brutal way they did?.

Next chapter; eruption of protests all over the Daraa area, instead of trying to contain the situation the regime send the army with the tanks to send a message that we are not playing here this is serious stuff, but the army faced some problems (not sure what) which required even some further enforcement to finally take control of the small border towns. This caused a general protests in many other areas in Syria to support their fellow citizens and demand the canceling of the Emergency laws in effect for over 40 years (which limit the personal freedom and gives great power to security forces to arrest with no warrant and for unlimited times) taking this opportunity to claim something in the sprites of revolution in the area. I can clearly recall that all media outlets were stressing Explicitly that people are NOT asking for the downfalls of the regime or the president, they are only calling for the changes and more freedoms (actually they were expecting president to lead these changes, and reform the security forces). Again as before security forces over reacted and used extreme force which lead to blood to be spilled on the streets in many cities and towns. still I cannot see how could foreign powers plan the army and security forces reactions when every observer (some are regime friends) could not understand the reasons for use of extreme power in reaction to street protests.

In the first few months, no one can claim that foreign powers were conspiring against Syria or regime. Actually now the official line coming from government admits the wrong handling of the situation in the beginning. So to make much longer story short, more killing, and more protests, government declared stopping of emergency laws but security forces keep arresting people with no warrants, more protests, more blood, more promises of reform which no one believed by now, government using army all around Syria using tanks and cannons and still final chapter not writing yet.

In conclusion, foreign powers could not conspire to start this revolution, and could not effect government reaction which fed the anger and spread the revolt all over the country. For fairness i do think that foreign powers are interfering now, but now it is a fair game; everyone is interfering. All border countries have interest in the outcome of this, even the countries that have no interest would have interest now because they would not allow other powers to benefit from this situation (GCC don’t want Iran to benefit by supporting regime, with more power inside Syria).

I blame the regime and no one but the regime for situation in Syria and to allow others to interfere.

A call for all sects in Syria

I do understand the fears and worries many Syrians are having from the outcome of the current revolt. Although I agree that it is not without merits, actually I fear the same,  but I defer with what to do about it.

Until now most of the minorities are still standing on the sides, allowing the regime to claim that it is protecting them from the majority who want to harm them or deny them their national rights. Many of the honorable men and women who fought the regime when no one was, are from these sects (equally if not more). But still the majority of them are on the side.

Supporting the regime or staying on the side seems like the easy option, and the cheapest choice. It is a passive choice, it does not require any sacrifices or any active role, but now this increasingly looking like a choice with no morality. Everyone knows the brutality and humiliation we all face everyday from Syrian regime (all sects and all religions), it even failed to deliver on the basics like improved quality of life, job opportunity, or even equal rights under the law. Basically this choice say the devil we know is better than the one we don’t know.

Now; I fear that this choice is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, I fear it will contribute to our worst nightmare. If these communities still act like they are not part of the fabric of the society they are living in, they will be treated in the same way. If they stay passive they are indirectly helping the regime and aligning their interest and well-being with the well-being of the regime (no decision is a decision by itself). As a result when the regime will be toppled (and it will be) then they will be treated as a second class citizens with no saying in the future.

The best way to protect their interest is to be part of the revolution on streets. The best way to make sure that their rights are protected is to be part of it and therefore to EFFECT the outcome. They should reserve a seat on the table when Syrians will sit to decide on how Syria will be in the future. They need to be active and participate in the making of Syria, not just watch and hope for the best. Syria will not be without its sects and minorities, they make Syria the unique and great place it is. We need them to be with us as a full citizens with full rights and responsibilities.