Be careful

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. 

 

Iran as regional or international 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).

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).

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.

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??

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.

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.

Solution should come from within, AS LONG AS WE AGREE WITH IT

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.