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. 

 

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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.

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.

to arm or not to arm ?

I have been struggling with this question for some time now, and i still have no clear position on it (I never said I have all the answers). But would like to share some of my thoughts on the subject.

I understand the fears of some for arming the opposition and the FSA, that arming might start a civil war in Syria and no one will be able to put down the fire then. And this is a valid point and if one is not scared of this possibility then he is not taking a fair full look at the situation. A second valid point I think is that FSA has no clear central command, so which group are you going to arm. The fear will be each party (external parties or internal living out) will arm the fighters that agree with their ideology, so you will have some arming the Islamist and others will arm the leftist or the nationalist and so own, so you will end up with a situation where the better armed fighters will win more battles and they will push their agenda on the other fighters and later on to new political system after the fall of the regime. Or you will have internal fighting between fighters themselves who are armed by different parties.

On the other hand, rebels and defectors are fighting the regime already, so no point of denying that fact, and one can argue that they are the last hope for many Syrians on the ground to topple the regime. So far no valid political solution is presented for people to hope for with no need to carry more arms, in fact it looks more and more that the regime do not feel threaten at all, therefore doesn’t seem to be really interested in any negotiation or a political solution. It can be suggested that if defectors are armed better and presented a real threat to the regime then regime will respond to political initiatives in more positive manner and you might even see more defections in army which will shorten the period of its fall.

In the end of the day, opposition should lead the way not be lead by the people on the streets, they should use their knowledge and intellect to take the hard decisions which can’t be popular all the times (otherwise anyone can do the job of echoing what people are saying). It is evident that Syrians on the ground are calling for arming fighters out desperation since they are the ones who are getting killed and bombed and starved.  while most of the people calling for a pause and think are coming from opposition living out with not as much to loose (exceptions always there for both). I think a middle ground is to arm rebels to the point that they present a real threat for regime to sit down and really negotiate, while organizing the FSA under one command with Syrian agenda in case more arms are to be used.

Standing still and waiting for the best is not an option at all, and waiting for the west to decide to intervene is a stupid strategy, we should not be part of their strategy or interests.

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,,,!

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.