Alternative Insight

Now that Syria is destroyed it is Time to Save it

Imagine if in World War II, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States are aligned against Germany, but Great Britain is also fighting the USSR, the United States and Great Britain are supporting a rebel group in the Soviet Union, several nations friendly to the United States are supporting the Balkan nations that are fighting the Red Army, these Balkan nations are fighting one another, nations allied with the United States do little to help, while nations regarded as U.S. antagonists are battling Germany, Turkey is covertly aiding Germany and hindering the Soviet Union while permitting the U.S. to use air bases to attack Germany, and the Greek Resistance that is fighting Germany is being attacked by Turkey. Who would have won that war, probably Adolph Hitler?

Replace above mentioned nations with The United States, Russia, Daesh, Kurds, Turkey, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad's Syria, Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra and Saudi Arabia in the proper places, and the present alignment of powers in the Syrian conflict with Daesh will be adequately described. Can Daesh be defeated in that type of war? Probably not.

Russia's aggressive entrance into the conflict immediately displayed tactics and strategy aligned to defeat the most militant and vicious of all radical Islamic groups. Until Russia entered the fray, the frenetic, confused and discordant approach to defeating Daesh continued along its innocuous path. Although the western powers acknowledge the failures, they have been slow to adapt to a mutually acceptable strategy of force and cooperation and have hindered Russia's tactics.

This hindrance surfaced when a Turkish pilot shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which was doing what is needed - securing the border for those who are fighting Daesh and, by doing so, preventing the Islamists from receiving arms and militants and from exporting merchandise to fund their activities. In other words, not just slowly killing Daesh militants and crippling their military capacity, but preventing their losses from being replaced. The incident unraveled charges that Turkey has been supplying Syrian rebels with armaments, has treated Daesh wounded in Turkish hospitals, allowed transit of oil exports from Daesh occupied territory and has operated against Kurdish forces who are fighting the Radical Islamists. Finally, after confronted with Turkey's counterproductive approach in engaging Daesh, President Obama, on December 1, 2015, "demanded Turkey close a stretch of its border with Syria being used as a crossing point by Islamic State terrorists. Washington will no longer accept Ankara's claims that it cannot close the 60-mile section of the border used by ISIS fighters."

Hopefully the Obama administration will realize that the tactic of "we must destroy them in order to save them" has again backfired. After the falsehoods that promoted the war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Mohammar Gaddafi's Libya resulted in the destruction of those nations and enabled the rapid expansion of Radical Islam, is it not time for the U.S administrations and people to understand that what they are assuming about Assad's Syria may also be dubious?

Described by the United States as an insurrection against the Assad regime for achieving freedom and democracy, the conflict in Syria has emerged with a different context. A group of Syrians who want more democratic action and freedom exists, but they have been superseded by better organized groups -- Daesh and Al-Nusra -- that eschew democracy and freedom. The results of the battle for Raqqa, where all the different rebel forces -- Free Syrian Army and Islamic brigades -- engaged and defeated the Syrian army, validate this statement. Who emerged as the sole victor and in complete control of the city -- Daesh. Raqqa's population, swollen in size by hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced by the battles, did not rush to aid any of the sides. Mostly Sunnis, they remained neutral or gravitated toward Daesh, uncaring about expressions of liberty, democracy and freedom. Their complacency to having a unified Syria, their lack of national spirit, their compliance with having Sunni extremists obtain control and return the region to economic and social backwardness, and their antipathy to western values are the principal reasons that a great portion of the Syrian population, other than entrenched Baathists, fight to preserve the present government. A brief history of the rise of the Baathists reveals much to the twisted story

Syria moved from a land of city states toward nationhood during the period it was under control of the Ottoman Empire. The mid-16th century Ottomans divided the land west of the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea into several provinces (Vilayets). At that time, the Vilayet of Damascus included the administrative districts of present Syria's Damascus, present Lebanon's Beirut and Sidon, present Israel's Acre, Safed, and Jerusalem, and present Palestine Authority's Nablus and Gaza. An 1851 map of Ottoman Syria, which shows a modified arrangement, includes Vilayets for Aleppo and Beirut, with the latter containing what is now northern Israel, and an Independent Sanjuk for what is now southern Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. The Independent Sanjuk of Jerusalem, and those of Acre and Balqa defined a territory for Syrians of slightly different culture - today's Palestinians.

After World War I and defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Faisal bin Hussein established a kingdom, which lasted only from March 8, 1920 to July 24, 1920. His departure occurred due to intervention by British General Allenby, who used the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France to assign only the interior regions of Syria to Arab administration .

Rebellious nationalists succeeded in forcing France in 1936 to sign a Franco-Syrian Treaty that provided for Syrian independence. The map below shows this territory; it contains four states and excludes Greater Lebanon. Because the French Legislature refused to ratify the treaty, the new Republic failed to gain recognition as an independent Republic until January 1, 1944. In April 1946 Syrian nationalist groups wre finally able to force the French to leave and re-establish the Republic that had been formed during the mandate.

Until Hafez al-Assad seized power in 1971, coup and counter coup prevailed in the Syrian state. From then, a tyrannical and somewhat corrupt Baath Party has ruled, but Syria, until 2011, has been relatively stable and most protective of minorities of all Middle East nations, including Israel. Baathist policies of a secular government, rallying against Sunni extremism, closing the gap between rich and poor, developing a western oriented and progressive economy, and providing substantial welfare in health and education has seen nearly 90 percent of Syrian children attending primary or secondary schools and an equal percentage of all Syrians achieving literacy. A lack of funds in a nation without substantial resources and subjected to severe droughts has prevented Baathist rhetoric from becoming a reality.

Image is due to courtesy of Don-kun, TUBS, NordNordWest

Even if the Baathists were able to deliver on all their promises, they could never satisfy the religious Sunni constituency, who, together with other dissident groups, the Atlantic reports "organized terrorist attacks on the government and on Assad's inner circle, killing some of his close collaborators and exploding car bombs at installations, including even the office of the prime minister and the headquarters of the air force."

When the Muslim Brotherhood challenged the government in the city of Hama in 1982, Assad's forces reacted aggressively, reducing a section of the city to rubble and inflicting heavy losses on the population. Described by the western press as a deliberate killing of the population in Hama by the Assad regime, The Atlantic article reports the event from another perspective.

Hafez al-Assad did not need to wait for leaks of documents: his intelligence services and international journalists turned up dozens of attempts by conservative, oil-rich Arab countries, the United States, and Israel to subvert his government. Most engaged in "dirty tricks," propaganda, or infusions of money, but it was noteworthy that in the 1982 Hama uprising, more than 15,000 foreign-supplied machine guns were captured, along with prisoners including Jordanian and CIA trained paramilitary forces.

The 1982 battle in Hama scarred Syria for decades, and left Hafez al-Assad with the conviction that any challenge to the regime was an opportunity for Sunni extremists to gain power and destroy the Syrian state. Hafez al-Assad's son Bashar al-Assad, the present Syrian ruler, inherited his father's ideology and convictions and applied them to the demonstrations that erupted in mid-2011.

Why have refugees and those displaced in camps not volunteered for a free Syrian army?
Why have there been few, if any, interviews of refugees who speak against the Assad regime?
Why did a
PBS Frontline report, Inside Assad's Syria, by Martin Smith on Oct. 27, 2015 show strong attachments to the Assad regime?

It could be fear of retribution from Assad agents, but strong covictions overcomes fear. The more likely answer is that the average Syrian has no strong convictions, only wants the fighting to cease, and, considering the circumstances, is willing to temporarily accept Baathist.governance.

Bashar al-Assad can point to the destruction of Iraq, a result of U.S. overthrow of the dictatorial but strongly hostile to Radical Islam regime of Saddam Hussein, as a guide to what will happen if his regime is toppled. He can continue the finger ponting by showing the same fate for Libya after NATO intervention displaced Moammar Gaddafi and then add the crushing argument of looking at Egypt, where freedom and democracy allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to gain power and forced military interference to halt the Brotherhood's reworking the constitution and perceived plans for establishing a Fundamentalist Islamic state. If A (overthrow of the controlling government) always leads to B (anarchy, civil war and rise of the Radical Islamists) why continue the same policy? More than inept, this attitude seems weird and inane.

Attacking the Assad regime and reinforcing the rebellion has encouraged the inevitable - the desruction of Syria. A great portion of its population is in exile, other than Damascus its major cities are in shambles, its ancient heritage sites are ruins, and its infrastructure is wrecked. The shared history, pride in continuity from the start of civilization in the Fertile Crescent, and ability to enable diverse ethnicities and religions to work together, which characterized Syrians, have been smothered.

By addressing the causes of the problems of Middle East nations as slogans -- their lack of democracy and freedom -- the United States has assured there will not be democracy and freedom. By supporting those most responsible for the rise of Radical Islam - Saudi Arabia, where the Wahabbi religious movement controls social life along side a jet setting monarchy family that controls economic life, and Israel, where oppression and daily killings of Palestinians enrage Muslims -- the U.S. has guaranteed continuous turmoil. Lobbyists, who represent those needing the oil flow from Saudi Arabia and those directed to shield Israel, fund the U.S. Congressional elections, sway legislatures in their policies, impede correct actions and place the entire world in jeopardy.

As shown by the Washington Post, How Saudi Arabia's harsh legal punishments compare to the Islamic State's, by Adam Taylor, January 21, 2015, Saudi Arabia's religiously oriented state, including beheadings, has similarities to that of Daesh.

Because the Saudi kingdom fears that Houthis, who follow Shi'a practices, have taken control in Yemen, the Saudi air force has been engaging the Shi'a sect. The United Nations Human Rights Office estimates the air strikes.have killed more than 2600 Yemeni civilians. Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International who recently returned from Yemen, concluded that "The Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a series of unlawful air strikes on schools being used for educational – not for military – purposes, a flagrant violation of the laws of war.”Amnesty International has determined that the bombings of schools are deliberate and the number of destroyed schools approaches several hundred. A National Public Radio report that "The State Department has approved a $1.29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, which includes as many as 13,000 precision guided weapons or smart bombs," signifies Washington's culpability in the massacre.

Israel's calculated seizure of Palestinian lands, which follows the Zionists thrust of uniting world Jewry and recreating a homeland for all Jews in a land that some Jews claim was once a home and empire for Jews (all contradicted by genuine history, archaeology and common sense deduction that today's Jews have little direct relation to ancient Hebrews), has begun to resemble the establishment of a Jewish caliphate. Decades of repression and killings of Palestinians have radicalized many of the world's Muslims and created a backlash against the Jewish people. Being a delicate matter, it has not been emphasizeded that the attacks in Paris were mainly against establishments owned by Jewish persons. The majority shareholder of La Belle Equipe sidewalk café, where 19 people were killed, is Gregory Reibenberg, an Ashkenazi Jew, whose wife, of Algerian descent, was killed. The French magazine Le Point has reported "that a member of the radical group Army of Islam told French security services back in 2011 that 'we had planned an attack against the Bataclan, where 90 were killed, because its owners are Jewish.'" That ownership was no longer true in November; the original owners, two brothers, sold the theater in September 2015 and one brother, Joel Laloux, migrated to Israel.

Recent events demonstrate Israel's ruthlessness toward the Palestinians,

In London, the police subdued and captured a knife wielding assailant who injured several persons. Bystanders claimed the man shouted "This is for Syria!" .
In Jerusalem and Hebron, every Palestinian knife attacker, dozens of them, whether woman or teenager, even if the injuries were minor or the attack was not fully proven, has been, in Israeli terms, neutralized.
Usually, the police want to subdue and capture an attacker in order to learn the reason for the attack and if there is a conspiracy or accomplices. Evidently Israeli police do not want the world to learn of the reasons for these attacks, which are due to desperate individuals and a retaliation for the criminal oppression inflicted upon them for generations.

If Saudi Arabia's actions resemble those of Daesh and Israel's actions resemble those of the militarist, ultra-nationalist, racist, and oppressive nations that the U.S. has contended and engaged in several wars, why is the U.S. continually supporting those working contrary to its beliefs and interests? The Middle East will never be stable and peaceful as long as these two nations are allowed to behave in their present manner. In the topsy-turvy U.S. world, the illogical is logical and doing wrong is all right. Syria is destroyed, and, unless severe changes are made to disastrous U.S. policies, a miracle will be needed to save the rest of us.

december 12, 2015