Peace and Reconciliation in Syria
A Petition to Support Peace and Reconciliation in Syria
Yes to Democratic Reform – No to Intervention
A Critique of the Petition “Solidarity with Syria”
Solidarity with the Syrian People or Submission to Imperialist-Zionist Hegemony?
On April 29th, 2013 and under the title of “Solidarity with Syria,” a group of intellectuals, academics, activists, artists, concerned citizens, and social movements signed a petition in “solidarity with the Syrian revolution and people’s struggle against dictatorship”. The full text of this petition is located at: pulsemedia.org/2013/04/29/solidarity- with-syria
We offer here:
A.) our critique of the petition,
B.) our analysis of what’s really happening in Syria, and
C.) most important, we end with a solution to the problem, “What can progressive, anti-war and peace-loving people do?”
A.) The Petition: Some Observations:
The position of the petition is based on misinformation, biased and unverified information, and lies. Although it mentions some correct elements - we do not hold that the Syrian government is blameless - but the basic substance of this petition is untrue to the political context and the ground realities. Perhaps the most serious danger of the petition is it has failed to address the most urgent need for the Syrian people: to stop bloodshed, terrorist violence, and the destruction of Syria as a sovereign country, an ancient civilization, and a multicultural society.
The petition ignores one of the biggest terrorist operations in modern history, and is oblivious to foreign intervention and imperialist agenda against Syria and its people and sovereignty, as well as for its balkanization along religious and ethnic lines. Did we forget the destruction of Yugoslavia, Iraq and lastly Libya under the pretext of rescuing “innocent civilians” and “humanitarian intervention”?
One questions whether the writers of the petition really know what they are talking about, or are complicit in a bigger agenda of deception and misinformation.
Our reply to the petition should be based on the truth of what is happening to the Syrian people as it faced its most dangerous threat: a threat to its existence, its unity and its sovereignty.
Facts vs. Lies
Let’s set the record straight.
Where did the petition lie? The petition stated that:
■ "the regime has pushed for the militarization of the Syrian nonviolent movement. As a result, young men took up arms..."
The truth is:
In one of the first protests, there were armed militants inside the crowd, who shot both at the Syrian police and the protesters, thus creating chaos and blaming the Syrian army.
The petition further stated that:
■ "It [the government] has refused political settlements that do not include Assad in power ..."
■ "internationalizing the crisis in order to place it within geopolitical battles that would only strengthen the regime."
The truth is:
● The Syrian regime lacks democracy and suffers from nepotism, corruption and repression of attempts for social and political change. It must be mentioned – not to justify but to place the situation in Syria in context – that lack of democracy is characteristic to many Arab regimes and Third World countries and even those masked as western democracy, which are basically corporatocracies.
● But the fact is that President Bashar al-Assad had begun reforms from the beginning of taking over the rule from his father and on that road faced many obstacles emerging from the reality of the Syrian society, the Baath ruling party, and political instabilities, especially after 9/11, when the US and Israel launched attacks on the region – Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza (Palestine).
● The Syrian government did not refuse political settlements, but to the contrary had initiated political, social and constitutional reform early on. Even during the last two years of the crisis, a referendum on the new constitution was held and so were free and fair elections with a high voter turnout, but utterly neglected by the global corporate media.
● The Syrian government has called several times for dialogue and has stated that the only solution to resolve the crisis in Syria is through peaceful negotiations which includes all political and social forces involved in Syria. It is on that basis the Syrian government accepted the Geneva Agreement (Action Group for Syria Final Communiqué 30.06.2012), which the opposition and its masters in the West had not, since then, accepted.
● The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a think tank established by high-level neo-con leaders in 1997, designated seven Middle Eastern countries that the US could and should destroy, including Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran.
Control of the oil and gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the battle for the pipeline routes is a key reason for the war that has been imposed on Syria.
● The real obstacle for reform and change are those opposition forces which, politically and ideologically, represent the most backward and violent movement dominated by Takfiri, Wahhabi, and Salafist fundamentalists who massacre minority groups and government employees in Syria. The NATO-GCC (petrokingdoms) forces are financing, mobilizing, training and arming mercenaries from across 30 nations under the banner of the Jabhat al- Nusra, which is a self-avowed affiliate of Al Qaeda.
This fundamentalism and sectarianism are not native to Syria. The US and its allies are stirring them up as tool to fragment and weaken Arab and Middle Eastern societies. These attacks are part of a wider conspiracy against the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements, and prelude to a war against Iran.
Israel’s physical intrusion of the Israeli infantry and tanks into Syrian territory and their recent military attacks make it clear where it stands in the conflict. These attacks were “justified” by claims of needing to stop Syria from transferring weapons to Hezbollah – as if Syria would be transferring weapons anywhere when they are under siege – but it made it clear by these attacks that crushing Syria is part of its agenda.
Searching for illusive “leftist” connections
The petition, in order to gain for itself some leftist appeal and give the terrorist groups in Syria the appearance of genuine political opposition, attempts to connect the situation in Syria with a number of peoples’ struggles around the world.
■ “It’s connected with the Palestinian’s struggle for freedom, dignity and equality…”
This is a complete distortion of the Palestinian struggle by those who claim that they support it.
The Palestinian struggle has always been and will always be against the Zionist colonization of Palestine and for its liberation and for the creation of a free Palestine. Having said that, the Syrian support for resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon, its refusal to recognize the “State of Israel” and to normalize with it, will always be an ally to the Palestine struggle where both – the Palestinian struggle and the Syrian steadfastness and resistance – will fight the common enemy: Zionism and US imperialism.
■ All freedom-loving people supported and continued to support the Zapatista revolt in Chiapas, Mexico, the Landless Movement of Brazil, and many other courageous movements for justice. But how are the terrorist groups, those that the petition calls “revolution in Syria,” – which are the most backward agents of Arab reactionary regimes and US imperialism – “also an extension of the Zapatista revolt” and “landless movement in Brazil”? In which way these developments are similar? Neither the Zapatistas nor the landless movement attack civilians, and they are not supported by any forces like the US, Qatar, or Turkey.
Furthermore, many of these courageous movements themselves have rejected position of the petition: The ALBA countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) have issued a communique supporting the Syrian government’s defense of their country against the terrorist intervention.
■ The petition claims that “The fight in Syria is an extension of the fight for freedom regionally and worldwide”. This is untrue.
What is happening in Syria is a war of terror by mercenary terrorist groups which are smuggled into Syria through its borders with Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. This war of terror against the Syrian people is masterminded, armed, financed and operated by US, NATO and other western forces along with their regional puppets and client states (Turkey, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia with their “junior” agents in the region such as the fascist right-wing Lebanese forces and militia). These include suicide bombings, roadside car bombs, beheadings which are blamed on the government within a matter of less than an hour and circulated across the international media.
■ In speaking of Russia, China and Iran, the petition has opted to terms such as “cynical self interest” and “allegedly friends” of the Arabs.
Nobody doubts that Russia, China, Iran have their own local, regional and international interests. However, don’t the US and other NATO countries also have theirs?
Further, what the petition fails to mention is that the Syrian people, along with other Arab peoples, in their struggle have the right and the necessity to make alliances and seek the support of friends. The petition seems to forget that the principal and ultimate enemy of Arabs, Syrians and the entire humanity is US and western imperialism, Zionism and capitalism, and our fight should be directed against this enemy.
In this context, it should be mentioned, that geopolitical dimension of the crisis in Syria is NOT about strengthening the Syrian government as the petition states; it is rather about confronting unipolar hegemony of the US imperialism and contributing to building a new multi-polar world system that permits the rise of other international forces (such as the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.)
The use of vetoes by Russia and China in the Security Council is to be commended; they have prevented the US/NATO from taking military action in Syria the way they did in Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.
B.) What Syria is facing today?
Syria is facing today a most vicious global war by all means and at all levels, but most dangerously:
1) Media war: a war of propaganda, lies and fabrications spearheaded by the Arabic satellites Al-Jazeera and Arabiya (owned and operated by Qatar and Saudi Arabia respectively), along with Western media like CNN, the BBC, and others, including social media. Also, the disinformation is also spread by some NGOs and UN commissions, which is important because they tend to be more trusted.
When the lies get repeated, they become “the truth.”
One example of media manipulation was evidenced when a German reporter interviewed survivors of the infamous Houla massacre blamed without question on the government. The survivors identified to him perpetrators whom they recognized as being with the anti-government forces. This brings into question all other unverified reports.
2) War of terror: as witnessed in Syria on a daily basis, terror committed by mercenary terrorist gangs that, as mentioned above, infiltrate into Syria to terrorize citizens and commit the most hideous and continuous bloody massacres, which are then blamed on the government to reinforce and build the case for western “humanitarian” intervention.
Global War Against Syria: A Background
In the global war against Syria, all facets of aggression have been entertained and have been in place for a long time:
1) Naming Syria among the countries of “axis of evil,” which was announced by then-US president George W. Bush.
2) Passing by US Congress the “Syria Accountability and Liberation Act” on December12, 2003.
3) Accusing Syria of the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who was assassinated on February 14, 2005.
4) Imposing several forms of political pressure and economic sanctions on Syria, which resulted in the suffering of the Syrian people and created severe living conditions for its poor popular classes.
What is NOT happening in Syria?
1) Revolution: There is no revolution in Syria. It is a struggle for power for the most obscure and reactionary forces that have allied themselves with reactionary Arab regimes (Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and regional (Turkey), and Western: US imperialism, NATO, EU. Though many Syrians did take to the streets in nonviolent revolution, Syrians who oppose Assad now complain that they no longer feel free to express that, for fear of playing into the hands of foreign terrorist forces. They are also opposed to the reactionary, sectarian and violent agenda of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Jabhat al Nusra. In fact the popular and mass support for the Government has grown in the course of the last year and will be evident in a free and fair election, if it were allowed to be held today. Even the head of the UN investigating commission on Syria recently stated that very few among the armed opposition believe in democracy or a secular state.
2) Struggle for Freedom: What is happening in Syria today is not about defending the Syrian people and their freedom, and is not about achieving their national goals and demands. It is about destroying Syria and removing it from the resistance, in order to allow the domination of the entire region by US and Zionist imperialism.
3) Struggle for Social Change: Destroying a country does not lead to change and reform and that is precisely what is happening in Syria today before our eyes: the destruction of the social and physical infrastructure of Syria as a country, state, society, which is part of the oldest human civilization.
What do the Syrian People want?
1) Demands of the Syrian People: No one denies just popular demands of the Syrian people for economic and social justice, freedom, and real democracy. But these popular demands are not raised only against the ruling regime, as western propaganda claims, but also against all forms of foreign hegemony, intervention and imperialist/Zionist diktat.
2) Struggle through peaceful dialogue: The Syrian people have a defined understanding of the freedom and democracy that they aspire to, and they want it on their own hands, by their own internal national social and political forces and not imposed on them through foreign aggression. They also want to shape this change in harmony with their reality and within the context of their own interests, heritage, values, culture and their eight thousand-year old civilization. Above all, they want it through peaceful and constructive comprehensive national dialogue.
3) No to all forms of foreign intervention: The Syrian people are vehemently opposed to all forms of western imperialist powers.
What do the Western Imperialist Powers want from Syria?
1) Destruction of Peoples’ Resistance: The primary objective of the imperialist/Zionist war against Syria is to eliminate it as a regional and Arab power. It is because of it’s steadfastness in protecting Arab identity and its support for the forces of resistance in the region, Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance against Zionist occupation, that the sovereignty of Syria has to be erased from the political scene.
2) Further fragmentation of Arab Homeland: The global war against Syria and its people is not new and is nothing less than one more episode and advanced step in a century-long plan to divide the Arab nation and balkanize the Arab homeland.
We have seen the precursors in the fomenting of such division. Yugoslavia, Rwanda, the Sudan, and Iraq were divided along ethnic, religious and sectarian lines, while Egypt, Lebanon and Bahrain were split between Muslims and Christians, and among Muslims, between Shia and Sunni.
This fomenting of division where there had not been before is not clearly understood without engaging with people who tell of more harmonious relations in the time of their parents or grandparents, from Palestine to Iraq.
In May 1916, in the midst of WW1, the colonial British and French created Sykes-Picot Agreement which was drafted in anticipation of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire to colonize Arab counties that were under its rule. In that agreement, Britain and France drew the map fragmenting Great Syria and broke it into today’s Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, while Palestine was colonized by Zionists to establish on its land the Zionist entity in 1948. Today, we are facing a second Sykes-Picot Agreement to pursue the ultimate imperialist goal: fragment Syria into tiny “semi-states” along sectarian and religious lines.
C.) What can progressive, anti-war and peace-loving people do for Syria?
1) First and foremost, seek the support of all progressive and leftist anti-war forces in the US and throughout the world, to stop bloodshed in Syria and oppose all forms of intervention and aggression against that country
2) Demand that the US, NATO and western powers immediately cease its support for terrorist armed gangs and their crimes in Syrian towns and villages.
3) Support the struggle of the Syrian people to disseminate the truth about what is happening in their country and expose media/NGO/UN lies and fabrications.
4) Support, by all available means, the steadfastness of the Syrian people that had endured enormous sacrifices and persisted in their heroic fight for their homeland, independence and sovereignty.
5) Support the political and constitutional reforms that the Syrian people have initiated.
6) Support the path of the Syrian People towards democratic change and reform which can be achieved only through political national dialogue by calling upon all social and political forces in Syria to engage in a free, open and peaceful political dialogue to determine the future of their country and to pursue their struggle for radical changes and reforms for a prosperous Syria.
7) Rechannel the funds now being spent or sought for weapons into caring for the refugees that have fled the violence.
This petition is initiated and authored by International Solidarity for Peace and Reconciliation in Syria.
International Solidarity for Peace and Reconciliation in Syria Contact the author of the petition