Syria conflict

Submitted by Mark. on March 25, 2011

[youtube]S0toVknlQrE[/youtube]

[youtube]s2S6w7kgU-0[/youtube]

AJE: Syria live blog

admin: thread was originally named "Syria protests". Renamed later to be more appropriate

Mark.

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 25, 2011

Guardian

Rights activists described Wednesday's shootings in the southern city of Daraa as a massacre, claiming that more than 100 people may have been killed when troops fired on a mosque in the early hours and throughout the day.

With protests called for after Friday prayers, Buthaina Shaaban, adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, announced that the government would consider ending Syria's emergency law and revise legislation for political parties and the media. Similar reform pledges have been announced in the past, and are unlikely to satisfy protesters.

In Deraa, funeral-goers chanted "God, Syria, Freedom" and "The blood of martyrs is not spilt in vain!", Reuters news agency reported. Some reports said that up to 20,000 people attended, but this could not be verified. The city has been cordoned off.

Deraa's hospital reported receiving 37 bodies from Wednesday's violence. YouTube videos apparently showed bloody scenes at the mosque.

Electricity and communications in the city were cut before the attack, which sources said was by a unit of forces headed by the president's brother, Maher al-Assad.

"This is a crime against humanity because forces opened fire on unarmed civilians without any warning," said Radwan Ziadeh, head of the Damascus Centre for Human Rights and a visiting scholar at Harvard University.

"Eyewitnesses say security forces stopped ambulances from helping. This would be a violation of international humanitarian law."

The Omari mosque became a focal point and makeshift hospital when protests started a week ago; many people were afraid to go to the main hospital for fear of arrest, said Ziadeh. He alleged that more than 300 people had been detained in Deraa.

In a sign of the seriousness of the unrest, the Syrian pound's value on the black market dropped to its lowest rate since Syria was forced to pull its troops out of Lebanon in 2005, local traders said.

There has been no notable unrest in Damascus city centre, but the streets are unusually quiet while pro-Assad cars honk horns and wave flags and photographs of the president.

Observers say it is unclear whether the government can quell unrest…

AJE: Syria braces for 'day of dignity' rallies

AP: Syrian regime offers promise of change

Qunfuz: Syria shaking

Videos from Daraa

Mark.

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 25, 2011

Violence erupted around Syria on Friday as troops opened fire on protesters in several cities and pro- and anti-government crowds clashed on the tense streets of the capital in the most widespread unrest in years, witnesses said.

Soldiers shot at demonstrators in the restive southern city of Deraa after crowds set fire to a bronze statue of the country's late president, Hafez Assad, a resident told The Associated Press. Heavy gunfire could be heard in the city center and witnesses reported several casualties, the resident said on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
 
An activist told the AP that witnesses had reported one demonstrator shot dead by security forces in the coastal city of Latakia, and another slain in the central city of Homs. He said several people had been hospitalized in Latakia.
 
In the capital, Damascus, people shouting in support of the Deraa protesters clashed with regime supporters outside the historic Umayyad mosque, hitting each other with leather belts.
 
The violence erupted after tens of thousands of Syrians took to the streets across the country, shouting calls for greater freedoms in support of a more than week-long uprising in Deraa, according to witnesses, activists and footage posted online.
 
The demonstrations and ensuing crackdown were a major escalation of the showdown between President Bashar Assad's regime and the crowds in Deraa who -- inspired by pro-democracy unrest elsewhere in the Arab World -- began protesting conditions in the drought-stricken south last week in demonstrations that have now spread around the country.
 
An activist in Damascus in touch with eyewitnesses in the southern village of Sanamein said troops there opened fire on demonstrators trying to march to Deraa, a short distance away. He said there had been witness reports of fatalities, some claiming as many as 20 slain, but those could not be independently confirmed.
 
Much of Damascus was tense, with convoys of young people roaming the streets in their cars, honking incessantly and waving out pictures of Bashar Assad and Syrian flags. The convoys briefly blocked streets in some areas.
 
About 200 people demonstrated after the Friday prayers at the Thawra Bridge, near the central Marjeh Square, chanting "our souls, our blood we sacrifice for you Daraa!" and "freedom! freedom!" They were chased by security forces who beat them some of them with batons and detained others, an activist said on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.
 
Thousands flooded Deraa's central Assad Square before the shooting broke out, many from nearby villages, chanting "Freedom! Freedom!" and waving Syrian flags and olive branches, a resident told The Associated Press by telephone.
 
Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, he claimed that more than 50,000 people were shouting slogans decrying presidential adviser Buthaina Shaaban, who promised Thursday that the government would consider a series of reforms in response to a week of unrest in Deraa.
 
A human rights activist, quoting witnesses, said thousands of people gathered in the town of Douma outside the capital, Damascus, pledging support for the people of Deraa. The activists asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
 
Security forces dispersed the crowd by chasing them away, beating some with batons and detaining others, an activist said, asking that his name not be published for fear of reprisals by the government.
 
In the city of Aleppo, hundreds of worshippers came out of mosques shouting "with our lives, our souls, we sacrifice for you Bashar" and "Only God, Syria and Bashar!"
 
Residents in Homs said hundreds of people demonstrated in support of Daraa and demanded reforms.

The activist said that in Latakia, more than 1000 people marched in the streets after Friday prayers. In the northern city of Raqqa, scores marched and several people were detained, he said.
 
And in the western city of Zabadani, near the border with Lebanon, several people were detained after protesting, he said...

http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/374398

Mark.

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 27, 2011

Syria, the anti-imperialist view

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday charged the United States was trying to oust Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad, to seize the country's resources...

Chavez, who said he had spoken with Assad by phone, compared the Syrian situation with the crisis in Libya, where an international coalition with UN backing has been striking at forces loyal to its leader, Moammar Qaddafi, for a week.

"It's the same model," charged Chavez. "Generate internal conflicts, bloodshed, in a country in order to then step in, seize its natural resources and make it a colony. It is a new model they have come up with."...

Entdinglichung

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on March 27, 2011

http://supportkurds.org/news/prisoners-who-have-completed-at-least-three-quarters-of-their-sentences/

Reuters: Syrian authorities released 260 prisoners, mostly Islamists, from Saydnaya jail on Friday, a human rights lawyer said. “These are prisoners who have completed at least three-quarters of their sentences and are entitled to be freed but the authorities rarely granted them that right before,” the rights lawyer, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

http://supportkurds.org/sks/syrian-revolution/

Tojiah

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tojiah on March 27, 2011

Every uprising the US doesn't like is a communist plot/Islamist conspiracy, every uprising the "Anti-Imperialists" don't like is an American plot. This is the creationism of political theory.

Samotnaf

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on March 28, 2011

President Bashar al-Assad, facing the gravest crisis in his 11-year rule, deployed the army in Syria's main port of Latakia for the first time after nearly two weeks of protests spread across the country....State television showed deserted streets in Latakia littered with rubble and broken glass and burnt-out vehicles...."There is a feeling in Latakia that the presence of disciplined troops is necessary to keep order," one resident told Reuters. "We do not want looting." ...The unrest in Syria came to a head after police detained more than a dozen schoolchildren for scrawling graffiti inspired by pro-democracy protests across the Arab world.

- from here .

Jacques Roux

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jacques Roux on March 29, 2011

Thanks for the links, anything good around about Jordan?

Mark.

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 29, 2011

Jacques - to be honest I haven't really been following events in Jordan, but this long post and its follow up on the Black Iris blog are interesting. In this case the blogger seems to be a supporter of the monarchy and protest sceptic who is now in the process of becoming disillusioned with the regime because of the violent crackdown on protestors.

Samotnaf

13 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Samotnaf on April 9, 2011

More State killings yesterday:

A Syrian rights group said on Saturday that security forces killed at least 37 people during Friday's demonstrations across the country.
The National Organization for Human Rights said in a statement that 30 people were killed in the southern city of Deraa, the epicenter of protests. It added that three people were killed in the central city of Homs and three others in Harasta, a Damascus suburb, as well as one in Douma.

ocelot

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on April 28, 2011

Some good pieces from Bob Fisk (who has a long-term committment to Lebanon, which is always and inevitably affected by events in Syria) in the last weeks:

15 Apr: 'The Arab awakening began not in Tunisia this year, but in Lebanon in 2005'

Take the first uprising against Bashar al-Assad in Deraa [...] A place of historical rebellion, some youths had painted anti-Assad graffiti on a wall. The Syrian security police followed their normal practice of dragging the young men to the cop shop, beating and torturing them. But then their mothers arrived to demand their release. They were verbally abused by the police.

Then – much more seriously – a group of tribal elders went to see the Deraa governor to demand an explanation for the behaviour of the police.

Each placed his turban on the governor's desk, a traditional gesture of negotiation; they would only replace their turbans when the matter had been resolved. But the governor, a crusty old Baathist and regime-loyalist, took the turban of the most prestigious sheikh, threw it on the floor of his office and stamped on it.

The people of Deraa came out in their thousands to protest; the shooting started; Bashar hastily dismissed his governor and replaced him. Too late. The fire had been lit. In Tunisia, an unemployed young man who set himself alight. In Syria, a turban. [...]

Bit of a wide-ranging ramble around the region, but worth taking in in it's entirety. Not least in relation to the worrying evidence of possible Israeli and Iranian/Hezbollah preparations for a Souith Lebanon rematch to stabilise the situation by undermining the revolutionary upheaval in the region.

25 Apr: Shifting blame to Lebanon may be the method in Assad's madness

[...]According to Human Rights Watch's senior researcher on Syria, Nadim Houry, the death toll since the demonstrations began now totals 300. "It's clear that the Syrian security forces are ready to go very far to quell this," he says. "As far as this goes – and the other revolutions – it's a blast from the past. These regimes don't learn from each other – the protesters do. It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. The language of the regimes – of foreign plots – is falling apart; people don't buy it any more."

Ironically, President Obama was the only international leader to suggest a "foreign hand" in Syria's crisis. He said that Iran was supporting the "outrageous" behaviour of the Syrian authorities.

Many Arabs were appalled that Mr Obama would apparently try to make cheap propaganda over the tragedy – there is, in fact, not the slightest evidence that Iran has been actively involved with the events in Syria – when he might have been dignified enough to have sent his sympathy to the mourners and told the protesters that America was with them.

But as Nadim Houry says, many regimes in the region – the Saudis, the Iranians, the Israelis and Turkey, for example – will be happy if Bashar Assad survives. "The real problem is, where do you go from here?" he says. "The regime has drawn its 'line in the sand'.
[...]

Here is the difference between Libya and Syria. Ghaddafi's Libya was isolated, the (non-Israeli) regional power-brokers - the Saudis and the Turks - were happy to hang Ghaddafi out to dry (the Saudis in return for an understanding that the US and EU would look the other way while they crushed Shia civil unrest in the Eastern Province and Bahrain). But the prospect of what might come out of the fall of Assad is so daunting to all the local imperialists, that not only Syria's ally Iran, but even the normally hostile Turkey, Israel and Saudi axis are united in believing it's a case of "better the devil you know".

ocelot

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on April 28, 2011

and some background to the Turkish r/c interests

Zawya: Turkey scrambles to cajole Syria into reform

[...] Ankara however is opposed to international sanctions on Damascus because it "does not believe in their efficiency," he added.

After decades of animosity, Turkish-Syrian relations thawed in 1998, when Turkish threats of military action forced Syria to expel Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who guided a bloody Kurdish insurgency in southeast Turkey from his safe haven in Damascus.

The ties flourished after Erdogan's Islamist-rooted ruling party came to power in 2002 and launched a drive for a Turkish leadership role in the Muslim world.

Since then, bilateral trade has more than tripled, reaching $2.5 billion in 2010, and the two countries have introduced a visa-free travel regime for their citizens.

In February, Turkey and Syria began building a joint dam at their frontier, announcing also projects to set up a joint bank, inaugurate a cross-border high speed train and link their natural gas networks.

Turkey's National Security Council, where civilian and military leaders meet, was to discuss the situation in Syria Thursday as Ankara worries that deepening instability in its southern neighbour could have a spill-over effect.

The possibility of an exodus from Syria to Turkey is a matter of concern, said a government official who declined to be named.

"It would create a security problem as it would be difficult to distinguish between civilians and PKK people," he said, referring to Ocalan's separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which enjoys a support base among Syria's Kurds.

In another dilemma for Turkey, some observers have also pointed out that democratic change and Assad's departure would strengthen Syria's Kurds, which could also play into PKK hands and fan Kurdish separatism in the region.

"Ankara prefers that the Assad regime takes quick steps to satisfy the people and secure calm in the country. That would mean... political change without the change of the leader," foreign policy analyst Sami Kohen wrote in the Milliyet daily.

The prospect of regional breakdown of Syria into autonomous "national" regions, was also mentioned in the JPost piece linked above, to whit:

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, of Bar Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said that “everything we knew” about Syria has become outdated due to recent events.

Kedar, who served for 25 years in military intelligence, and specialized in Syria, added that the Muslim Brotherhood “are in the background, not as an organized group... but as an idea.”

Kedar agreed with Zisser’s evaluation that a collapse of the Assad regime would result in large-scale violence, adding that Syria could split up into smaller states following civil strife.

In such a scenario, “many Muslims will chase Alawites with knives – who would in turn have to flee to the Ansariya mountains in western Syria, their traditional lands,” Kedar said. “In such a case, Syria could be divided into six parts: an Alawite state in the West; a Kurdish state in the North, as in Iraq; a Druse state in the South; and a Beduin state in the east, in the Dir al-Zur region. A Sunni Muslim state in Damascus and another in Aleppo could also rise” he added.

“Six homogenous states could appear on the ruins of Syria,” Kedar said.

Devrim

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on April 28, 2011

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In such a scenario, “many Muslims will chase Alawites with knives – who would in turn have to flee to the Ansariya mountains in western Syria, their traditional lands,” Kedar said. “In such a case, Syria could be divided into six parts: an Alawite state in the West; a Kurdish state in the North, as in Iraq; a Druse state in the South; and a Beduin state in the east, in the Dir al-Zur region. A Sunni Muslim state in Damascus and another in Aleppo could also rise” he added.

“Six homogenous states could appear on the ruins of Syria,” Kedar said.

I think he is a bit in his own world. Is the idea of a state of the 700,000 Druze really a realistic perspective?

Devrim

Submitted by Tojiah on April 28, 2011

Devrim

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In such a scenario, “many Muslims will chase Alawites with knives – who would in turn have to flee to the Ansariya mountains in western Syria, their traditional lands,” Kedar said. “In such a case, Syria could be divided into six parts: an Alawite state in the West; a Kurdish state in the North, as in Iraq; a Druse state in the South; and a Beduin state in the east, in the Dir al-Zur region. A Sunni Muslim state in Damascus and another in Aleppo could also rise” he added.

“Six homogenous states could appear on the ruins of Syria,” Kedar said.

I think he is a bit in his own world. Is the idea of a state of the 700,000 Druze really a realistic perspective?

Devrim

I imagine his 25 years in Israeli military intelligence have formed a lot of his opinions. He is also the chair of Israel Academia Monitor. From their mission statement:

IAM is a non-profit, grassroots organization comprising citizens who, while strongly advocating free speech and academic freedom, are seriously concerned about the growing tendency to distort and abuse these two essential characteristics of a democratic society. Of particular concern are academics who defame their own universities and advocate measures that will harm Israel in general and their universities in particular by using unbalanced prejudiced arguments that fail to live up to the scholarship standards expected of the universities they represent.
...
Largely thanks to the work of IAM, the 2010 annual meetings of the Board of Governors of Israeli universities discussed, for the first time, the disturbing influence of anti-Israel ideologue professors on Israeli university campuses and how these faculty have often taken a leading role in anti-Israel activities. This year, the work of IAM was also enclosed in two important reports delivered to the Knesset Educational Committee and the Minister of Education. In the first report*, IAM detailed recent calls by Israeli academics for a boycott of the very academic and cultural institutions that employ them. This same report also documented instances where pro-Israel students faced intimidation and discrimination from these anti-Israel ideologues. The second report** includes many postings taken from the IAM website.

Yes, he definitely lives in his own world, a well-funded, tenured world of Israeli right-wing exteremism.

Devrim

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on April 28, 2011

I don't think that any of the regional powers want to break up of Syria, which is one of the reasons why al-Assad will be able to massacre at will, unlike Gadaffi. Of course the very idea of a Kurdish state is anathema to Turkey.

Devrim

ocelot

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on April 29, 2011

Yes, sorry, I should have been more explicit - I wasn't suggesting that either of those perspective was particularly realistic or had any interest to us other than being an illustration of the kinds fears and concerns being voiced by members of the respective countries establishments. The idea of a Druze state is pretty bonkers.

Mark.

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 1, 2011

An eyewitness tells Al Jazeera that popular committees have set up makeshift barriers dividing the coastal city of Baniyas between north and south to protect residents against pro-regime thugs. The northern part of the city is in the hands of the government and is controlled by secret police and the military while the southern part of the city is controlled by the protesters, he said.

“People have set up popular committees to keep out the thugs,” he said. “They have made small barriers of stones and bricks manned by eight to ten guards from the popular committees.”

On Tuesday this week Baniyas locals reported a military and security build-up around the oil refining city, including by members of the Assad-controlled gangs, known as shabeha, in preparation for a possible assault.

The eyewitness told Al Jazeera that guards from the popular committees had stones and sticks to defend themselves, but no weapons.

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/live/middle-east/syria-live-blog-may-1

Mark.

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 3, 2011

In Syria, days after tanks rolled through the streets in Daraa, the BBC is now reporting that tanks have surrounded the coastal city of Baniyas. According to activists, both the northern and the southern gates have been blocked by soldiers, and small arms have been distributed to government supporters in the surrounding villages.

EA liveblog

Mark.

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on May 5, 2011

From the Angry Arab blog

A reader sent me this:

I've been waiting to leave Syria to write you. I'm an American who has been living in Damascus for the past year. It's been incredibly frustrating to be over there and reading blogs like ... which have become hugely focused, obsessive even, about the prospect of a fitna in Syria.

I remember one article ... which basically said if you are a well-off Christian or Alawi Syrian, you aren't against the regime. While I think there was a more basic truth to that before, a problem with these analysts is they are not living in Syria and can't see the events changing on the ground. I have seen so many of my Christian and even some Alawi friends change camp so fast it made my head spin.

While the events in Egypt were happening I asked many of them "Do you think something like that could ever happen here?" and they all tutted their tongues and said "Never, we love our president, the only ones who don't are the Muslim Brotherhood." Those same people, literally just 2 months later, were subscribing to opposition newspapers (communist mostly), organizing meetings, and cursing Assad.

It's strange, and it's unpredictable, but I doubt that it's a phenomenon restricted to my group of contacts. I'd also like to point out, that of this group of friends, only the ones living in Latakia have gone out to protest. My friends in Damascus, especially the ones who changed camp complain "We want to do something but we don't know how yet!" They don't have the contacts to know where the protests will begin or how to get in touch with the larger opposition.

If they are at all representative of the larger population, there are still tons and tons of people ready to take to the streets in Damascus that haven't found the opportune moment yet. I would guess that once Damascus gets to that tipping point of chaos like Homs, Daraa or Latakia, you will see that the opposition is much bigger than a lot of these analysts imagined.

At the same time, I have to admit there have been several events which point to the great tension and possibility for violent conflict laying beneath the surface, which haven't been reported on…

ocelot

13 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on May 6, 2011

Both Guardian and Al Jazeera mentioned unconfirmed reports of soldiers firing on security forces in Homs.

6:36pm Army units and security forces have clashed in Homs, two eyewitnesses have told Al Jazeera.

After security forces opened fire earlier today on tens of thousands of protesters the crowd ran for cover, some seeking shelter behind army vehicles, one eyewitness said.

"Then the security started shooting at the vehicles - at both the army and the protesters, and the army shot back," he said.

Both eyewitnesses confirm that the shooting is ongoing and taking place in Bab Draib and Bab Amer.

Residents of Homs have formed a human shield around the main hospital in Bab al-Sebah where many wounded protesters have been taken, said one eyewitness.

Al Jazeera has no means of verifying the claims.

AJ: Syria Live Blog May 6

baboon

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on June 23, 2011

Earlier in the year the Turkish Foreign Minister referring to the Middle East said: "This region is ours and we will be the rebuilders of it".
There are rumours of Turkish troops active or moving up to the Syrian border - any news or analysis?

subprole

13 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by subprole on June 24, 2011

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MF23Ak03.html

Desperate people armed with weapons do not mix well with more affluent people living in denial; this is, ironically, what Assad is counting on to solidify his support base among the middle- and upper-middle classes. But Syria has been a hotbed of sectarian unrest for decades. The situation can easily spiral out of control down the road, and Assad's promise of security might turn just as empty as that of reforms has been so far. This would spell his end.

ocelot

12 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 29, 2011

From Guardian piece on Iranian General Qassem Suleiman, head of the al Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards.

The Syrian uprising has added a new dimension. The al-Quds Force has been involved in suppressing the Syrian uprising, according to multiple sources inside and outside the country.

The US has slapped personal sanctions on Suleimani and two other generals in the Iranian security forces who it accuses of helping orchestrate the crackdown that is believed to have killed more than 1,600 civilians."

Tehran has heavily invested in the survival of embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, whose ruling Allawite clan has links to Shia Islam. Assad's fall would be a serious strategic setback for Iran and Suleimani. It is perhaps the only part of the region where the general's preferred mix of strategic diplomacy with aggressive operations is being strongly tested.

Khawaga

12 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 31, 2011

Massacres in Hama yesterday; tanks firing at population. Syria is just as bad as Libya it seems. Kinda exposes the bs humanitarianism of the West (just like Bahrain, Saudi etc).

wojtek

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on October 13, 2011

Local Coordination Committees reject calls for militarisation and foreign intervention:

http://www.lccsyria.org/1797

wojtek

12 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on October 18, 2011

Medialens Alert:

Targeting Syria – The ‘Bad News’ For The Guardian

EDIT: Syrian Opposition Still Weak and Divided

Labor Movement Absent in Syrian Revolt

...However, the main difference between the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, on one hand, and the Syrian uprising, on the other, is the role played by the labor movements in each country. The declaration of a general strike in Tunisia quickly prompted Ben Ali’s flight to Jeddah; while in Egypt, the spread of strikes on February 6 extinguished any hope Mubarak had of surviving.

The labor movement is simply absent in Syria. This may be because Syrian unions are controlled by the state and have been relatively listless compared to those in Egypt and Tunisia. The existence of semi-independent Tunisian unions and an increasingly active Egyptian labor movement in the past few years helped catapult the organized workers into the heart of revolution. In both cases, this led to a quick resolution of the uprising in favor of the people.

The role of the Syrian labor movement seems more crucial today than ever before. Syrian workers can end the deadlock in Syria, and collectively they are capable of bringing down the system. Calling for foreign intervention and asking for international protection may backfire and work in the regime’s favor. The labor movement alone can paralyze and destroy the dictatorship in Damascus, as was the case in Tunisia and Egypt.

wojtek

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on November 16, 2011

In addition to the Medialens Alert on the covert intervention inside Syria

An insurgent army which claims to be up to 15,000 strong is being coordinated from Turkey to take on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which risks plunging the region into open warfare.

The killings of protesters can be found on the websites of the LCC/ Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

wojtek

12 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on November 16, 2011

Haaretz - Free Syrian Army attack military complex near Damascus

Members of Free Syrian Army fired shoulder-mounted rockets, machine guns at large Air Force intelligence complex on northern edge of the capital; six soldiers killed, over 20 wounded...

I wonder where they got all those lovely weapons from...

and

Al Akhbar - The US and Its Arab Allies Raise the Pressure on Assad

and

RT - Libyan scenario unfolding in Syria

and

Al Akhbar - The Great War of Intervention

ocelot

12 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on December 9, 2011

wojtek

Pepe Esobar - The shadow war in Syria

Escobar's reports contain useful information from investigative journalism and a good eye for detail. But his speculations on overall geopolitical significance seem to be hampered by a very apriori manichaean or gnostic view of a universe where an omnipotent evil US demiurge divides the rest of the world into its minions or its victims. There is little room for the shifting balances of power of more conventional geopolitics, still less the role of class struggle. His apriorism also leads him to some odd assumptions. For instance the assertion in this article that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian version and Turkey's AKP are all part of the same body and under the control of the House of Saud. This is more than a little weird. The Saudis have a strong influence over the Salafi groups, but the MB, depite its ever-changing relationship with the Salafis - shifting back and forth between temporary alliances and overt competition and hostility - are definitely not simply an extension of the Wahhabi jihad (the Wahhabis denounce them as "Qutbees" after all). And the idea that the Turkish AKP are simply "MB-lite" seems absurd. The concept of a monolithic NATOGCC obscures the relative weakening of US power over the regions politics and the emergence of new players like Qatar, who have come a long way, since the outbreak of the Arab Spring, in promoting themselves as key powerbrokers in the region, over the influence of the Saudis (while not openly competing with the latter, naturally). Ultimately we should not confuse an anti-American geopolitical critique with a left-wing one, if by the latter we mean a materialist and class struggle-based analysis.

proletarian.

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on January 30, 2012

"The Free Local Council in Zabadani:

Having lived in freedom for two months after its youths repelled the violent attack of the Assad gangs aimed at destroying it and sabotaging it, and after persisting in standing in the face of any possible attack upon it, Al-Zabadani sought to build its own democratic experience...........The people of the town gathered to set up an election system based on family affiliation so that each 1000 citizen get one seat. The families agreed to form groups of around 1000 people each, and all components and sects of society participated in the process, most notably the Christians, where a priest delivered a touching speech in the constituent assembly.........each family or group of families were asked to elect a representativesfor each of their 1000 members and a general commission was formed, out of which 60 ran for the election of the local council resulting in the formation of a council of 28 members distributed on a number of offices. They elected a president and a secretary and formed a number of offices: political bureau, financial bureau, health and rescue bureau, military and security council, administration and general services bureau. The council and the offices have assumed their duties and the general strike has seized. [apparently there had been an ongoing general strike in the area - ML] The school have reopened their doors and the new flags have been raised, saluted every morning together with slogans for the fall of Bashar Al-Assad and his miserable criminal regime. The Imams of the mosques were replaced by ones belonging to the people and committed to the revolution. A special branch for security and investigations, popular tribunals, and a detention center were formed.....the vehicles of the Free Army put on their special plates and started patrolling and forming groups to control and watch for any potential hostile forces. Committees record the entrance and exit of strangers. Everyone is participating is a massive workshop to prepare what is needed to repel an potential attack, including military, food, and health needs, and also to accommodate refugees asking for safety from the brutality of Shabiha (thugs) and their regime. Also, to provide supplies other ruined cities and villages and help them to be liberated. The city council appointed by the regime was prohibited under the penalty of detention and trial of any authority that does not come to exist based on free elections. The streets and squares were renamed by the names of the dignified martyrs. The clinic of the opposition figure, Dr. Kamal Labawani, was chosen as the centre for the free city council since it is located by the major mosque in the old commercial city centre where demonstrations start and where the first martyrs fell. Democracy is a new experience and a new born baby that needs attention and everyone knows that they are lacking experience and culture of democracy, and that it is necessary to move to the system of parties. But first an atmosphere of freedom is necessary for different party point of views to form and crystallize.....It is a start, and a successful start if God wills. We want it to be the beginning of the liberation of all lands and people of the homeland who are dear heroes deserving all good, respect and support......and God will bring success........"

From marxist.com

Def

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Def on February 6, 2012

Here's a Syrian Marxist's take on a few things: http://communiststudents.org.uk/?p=7269

Alf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on February 6, 2012

Some of us would disagree that this is marxism. The CPGB is once again putting forward the old Trotskyist line about 'Arab unity', which is a last-ditch defence of Arab nationalism. The contact in Syria doesn't seem to have much different to say. There is also the call for a ‘democratic republic’, which is similarly devoid of class content. The basic tragedy in Syria is not addressed: if there was a popular revolt at the beginning, it is now integrated into the capitalist and imperialist conflicts in the region. The unbelievable courage of the population in the face of Assad’s murder-machine isn’t enough to transform this situation.

vikinghorses

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by vikinghorses on February 7, 2012

Thanks for the greatful sharing. I really appreciate your efforts. I will forward this on "social networking" and social bookmarking sites.

jonthom

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on February 7, 2012

http://af.reuters.com/article/libyaNews/idAFL5E8D638220120206

TRIPOLI Feb 6 (Reuters) - Syrian and Libyan demonstrators hurled rocks, eggs and tomatoes at the Chinese embassy in Tripoli on Monday, after Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution backing an Arab plan urging Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to give up power.

Armed men, who said they were from the Libyan government's Supreme Security Committee, guarded the embassy from about 50 protesters who waved Syrian opposition flags and had managed to break windows and spray graffiti on the walls.

One demonstrator tried to force his way past the guards but was stopped, a Reuters reporter said.

Just as protesters had done the day before at the Russian embassy, demonstrators said they wanted to take down the Chinese flag and replace it with the Syrian opposition's flag and the red, black and green flag of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC), which came to power after a civil war last year that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi.

baboon

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on February 7, 2012

The Guardian reports on 18.1.12, that elements on the "international community", ie, the USA, Britain and France, have shipped well-armed Libyan mercenaries to the Syrian border. It also reports that British and American special force are in Turkey close to the Syrian border while the CIA and US flight reconnaisance are providing intelligence.

The joke of this escalation to wider warfare, fundamentally aimed at Iran, is that the last thing that the Israeli state wants to see is regime change in Syria.

Agree with Alf about "Arab unity" being leftism's support for Arab nationalism, ie, its "anti-imperialist" imperialism.

Mark.

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on February 8, 2012

Russian and Syrian anarchist joint statement

To the masses, oppressed and revolutionaries of the Russian Federation and Syria

We, Russian and Syrian anarchists, as we see the infamous collaboration of both the Russian and Syrian repressive regimes, and the support of the Russian ruling regime to the bloody crackdown of the Assad regime against the Syrian revolting masses; either in supplying arms and ammunition to Assad's forces or providing diplomatic protection to Assad's massacres against the revolting Syrians, we see this as a logical result of the similarity of the repressive and exploitative nature and structure of both regimes and as a part of their war against the oppressed of their own people.

We, as anarchists and anti–authoritarians, condemn this infamous collaboration and the repressive practices of both regimes, and we call for a strong and brotherly solidarity between the repressed masses, revolutionaries and anarchists of both countries, in their struggle against the repressive elites in both countries .

Autonomous Action - Russia
Syrian Anarchist feminist movement

Syrian Anarchists

Guerre de Classe

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Guerre de Classe on February 9, 2012

Read our text of solidarity with insurgents in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and all over the world. Feel free to distribute, comment, critisize it. We ask for people who could translate it in Arabic language.
Class Solidarity with insurgents...

http://libcom.org/news/salute-proletarians-struggle-syria-egypt-tunisia-all-over-world-09022012

baboon

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on February 9, 2012

I think that there was a strong element of social revolt here, against unemployment, repression and for better living conditions, and this social revolt involved all sorts of religions and elements coming together, including men, women and children, but I think that the above text from Class War underestimates the bourgeois nature of the Free Syrian Army as well as the anti-working class nature of the various opposition forces.

baboon

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on February 10, 2012

According to the news this evening, fighting is breaking out in Lebanon. This is an added and ominous dimension to the possibility of greater chaos bringing worse in its wake. There were reports weeks ago of French and British secret services or special forces, building up their influence in Lebanon - old stamping grounds for both imperialisms - with elements of the Free Syrian Army and other opposition forces.
The Free Syrian Army has been implicated in attacks on civilians and its own sectarian killings from its beginnings. There were newspaper reports around November and they were reported on Newsnight, November 17, 2011.
The Army, with nothing like the firepower of the state and just a fraction of the numbers, has obviously not carried out the scale or slaughter undertaken by the regime, supported by its Iranian and Russian backers. But it's increasingly a cog, a puppet in growing imperialist machinations. It has a large force based in Turkey the government of which is acting as point man for the US over the issue at the moment. There's little doubt that it's being armed and supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar - the latter becoming a very important command and control centre for the US military,
It looks like the genuine uprising has been crushed by the overwhelming interests and rivalries of imperialism but with the perspective of a more dangerous and unstable developments.

Caiman del Barrio

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on February 11, 2012

Man, do the ICC like uber-underground punk rock bands too?

ICC punk section

Weeell, I like the first 7", but then they sold out bigtime! I mean, they re-released their 12" on CD! WTF is that? They going for the Brand New fans in HMV or what? I heard the singer broke edge too... :roll:

;)

How do they manage to shoehorn every world event into a prescribed narrative of events? Don't they think it's plausible that there are coexistent phenomena within the Syrian revolt, that the FSA (composed, as it is, of defecting military personnel) has a military hierarchy, and therefore has a leadership which may well be in bed with Turkey, Lebanon, etc, but also a rank and file who simply refuse to open fire on civilians? And, to be perfectly frank, as long as you have several thousand workers mobilised and armed, that any number of scenarios is possible?

I mean, clearly the situation in Syria is bleak right now, but it seems distinct to Iraq, Libya, etc. None of the big military powers are willing to overtly intervene for fear of provoking international conflict and we're gonna continue hearign horrific stories of state terrorism in all its forms for a while now. What I reject is the simplistic superimposition of a banal 'seen it all before' narrative by Baboon, whereas I think it's actually all rather less predictable. Like Django's recent blog post says, the last months 12 months have been quite remarkable: noone could have predicted either the Arab Spring or the momentum of the Occupy movement (in the US at least). Let's give the working classes across the Arab world in revolt a bit of a chance and see if we can support them in any way, shape or form.

baboon

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on February 11, 2012

Give your prejudices a rest Caimen and read what I wrote - my position as a revolutionary militant and not the ICC's.

Alf

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on February 11, 2012

I don't know whether Caiman has read anything the ICC has written on the subject of the social revolts going around the world.There's a mass of stuff on our website analysing the movements in the Middle east, Spain, Greece, the US, etc. I don't think anyone could say we have not seen and argued for the positive elements in these movements. But precisely because there are important differences in the strength of the working class in various countries and movements, some of them -in particular Libya and Syria - have indeed taken a much darker turn, effectively being swallowed up in inter-bourgeois and inter-imperialist faction fights.

baboon

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on February 13, 2012

Robert Fisk in the Independent on Saturday talks of the "Free Syrian Army" being involved in attacks not just on Alawite civilians but also on Christian sections of the population.
It was one of the positive elements of the uprising that soldiers refused to fire on civilians who were coming together in protest but, seeing the form that the Free Syrian Army is taking on, and seeing its wider imperialist backers, those soldiers that remain in it have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

jonthom

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on July 6, 2012

Mark.

Any thoughts on this article from Comment Middle East?

Libya and Syria: When anti-imperialism goes wrong

The main section that stuck out to me was the one on post-war Libya, since if the author is advocating that the left should have supported the Libyan rebels, and should now support those in Syria, the post-war situation is surely the part to look at.

However, while important, the section was also incredibly weak IMO. The only real points being made seemed to be that (a) "Libyan sovereignty emerged from the revolution intact despite NATO’s involvement", and (b) "Libyans enjoy freedom of speech, freedom to protest and organize, and most importantly, freedom from fear of state repression."

I'm not convinced (a) is true, and not sure how important it is anyway; the idea of a "sovereign" state is a bit meaningless in itself, and those states that would be called sovereign can be just as brutal as those that aren't.

As far as (b), again, that just doesn't seem to be true; there's plenty of reports* of torture and other atrocities carried out by the rebels (particularly against the black population in Libya, who don't even get mentioned once in that article as best I can tell). And until recently there was a government-imposed ban on expressing support for Gaddafi or anything that could "harm the revolution", punishable with up to fifteen years in jail, which would seem to be a bit of a problem for that whole freedom of speech business.

(* Note: both sites are pro-Gaddafi and so have an obvious bias, and also contain graphic imagery).

There's also the issue that the Gaddafi government, while authoritarian, provided some degree of welfare provision which is in the process of being abolished - something which, again, goes completely unmentioned in that article. While no fan of Gaddafi, if given a choice between a repressive government which provides things like healthcare, energy and education, or an equally repressive government which doesn't, well...

(Should point out here that I don't know a great deal about welfare provision under Gaddafi nor how much the reality matched the rhetoric, fwiw.)

The basic point that we "should reject knee-jerk anti-imperialism" is a valid one - much of the left is relatively uncritical in showing support for all sorts of reactionary groups just so long as they claim to defend "the oppressed" against "the imperialists". But to go from that to suggesting we should actually support imperialism is just as, if not more, ridiculous.

ocelot

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 18, 2012

Boom! Shawkat and the Defence Minister dead, after massive suicide bomb at a top dogs meeting in the National Security Centre. Rumours of a possible inside job by Shawkat's own security detail. Could be a big game-changer.

Guardian feed

Beeb feed

ocelot

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 18, 2012

Here's one for the conspiracy heads...

This afternoon has been the usual mass of rumours. Including a few reports from neighbours and people in the area of the site of the "explosion" reporting not hearing any explosion or seeing any signs of damage.

Now we have some backup of those reports from a beeb journo:

16.30 Curious development: the BBC's Lina Sinjab is in Damascus and says that the National Security building, the target of this morning's attack, shows no sign of damage. She adds that the government is preparing to take Western journalists to visit some of the scenes of today's attack.

BBCLinaSinjab Lina Sinjab
Just walked around national security building and saw no sign of explosions, no broken window, no heavy security presence #Damascus #Syria
About one hour ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Torygraph feed

So, are those rumours about an internal regime coup more likely? Did Maher Assad finally go psycho and gun down everyone in the meeting that was pissing him off? (by all accounts, he'd shot Shawkat before). Unclear.

What is clear is that, even if it was some internal mentalness, it certainly hasn't helped the stability of the Assad regime. The downside is, that it looks like the perfect excuse to send out the death-squads to unleash hell.

Khawaga

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 18, 2012

death-squads to unleash hell.

They've already been unleashed, by both sides. Indeed, it seems as if the worst atrocities (the ones that got a lot of attention in the West) were perpetrated by the FSA.

But yeah, this could be a putsch of some sort.

rooieravotr

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on July 18, 2012

Khawaga:

Indeed, it seems as if the worst atrocities (the ones that got a lot of attention in the West) were perpetrated by the FSA.

I've been reading conflicting accounts. What do you consider trustworthy accounts pointing to FSA responsability for these kind of atrocities? This is a factual; question, not an effort to go into polemics or something. Just trying to figuring things out.

Khawaga

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 19, 2012

I've read conflicting accounts as well hence why I used "seemed". I trust the Angry Arab on this so he's my "source". Not that he definitively says that the SFA did it, but he's questioning the accepted accounts based who victims were. A lot of the targets could be the ones the Sunni-dominated SFA selected. So sorry, I've got no hard facts to offer.

rooieravotr

12 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on July 19, 2012

Angry Arab is good at debunking things, yes, I check that one too. Still, he leaves quite a bit out of the story. Saudi/ Qatar connections to Syrian fighters are mentined, working class or student struggles hardly ghets a mention, so that the Syrian struggle appears in his presentation much more right wing, manipulated, religiosly motvated, sectarian-deformed, than it is, in my view. And the way he treats protest movements in Israel is often horrible, so to trust him too much on other places may be a bit much. Still, a good source for stuff neglected elsewhere.

Mark.

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on July 20, 2012

Razan Ghazzawi, an anarchist blogger in Syria:
Blogging live from Midan neighborhood in Damascus

And in an old post, which she hasn't followed up as yet:

While some on twitter trying to defend Angry Arab’s [shameful and disgusting] positions on the Syrian revolution (which I’ll be responding to soon on this blog)...

This doesn't necessarily mean that Angry Arab is wrong and Razan is right, but at least it might be worth considering what anarchists in Syria have to say.

Another Syrian anarchist on twitter: http://twitter.com/homsianarchist

Edit: Razan Ghazzawi on twitter: http://twitter.com/RedRazan

Khawaga

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 19, 2012

rooie

Saudi/ Qatar connections to Syrian fighters are mentined, working class or student struggles hardly ghets a mention, so that the Syrian struggle appears in his presentation much more right wing, manipulated, religiosly motvated, sectarian-deformed, than it is, in my view. And the way he treats protest movements in Israel is often horrible, so to trust him too much on other places may be a bit much.

No you're right. I wouldn't trust the Angry Arab on almost anything related to protests in Israel. He's brain dead on that issue in that he makes an "exception". But on Lebanon (especially Lebanon) and Syria he knows his stuff, and he is really good at cutting through the black and white narrative in the west. So although he overstates how salafi the FSA is he presents a good corrective to the extremely simplistic view on Syria. But his politics are horrible! He calls himself an anarchist, but he oozes nationalism from every pore.

Devrim

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on July 19, 2012

rooieravotr

Saudi/ Qatar connections to Syrian fighters are mentined, working class or student struggles hardly ghets a mention, so that the Syrian struggle appears in his presentation much more right wing, manipulated, religiosly motvated, sectarian-deformed, than it is, in my view.

Could this perhaps be because there is no working class struggle to mention?

Devrim

Khawaga

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 19, 2012

FWIW the AngryArab did mention them when the uprising first started, but now focuses almost exclusively on exposing the cheerleading of Israel, US and the West of salafi groups. I am not sure if there are any significant worker or student actions anymore. I've not seen any accounts for a long time, but then again after the Syrian uprising went the Libyan way I stopped paying close attention.

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 19, 2012

the NCB, a coalition of liberal, left-wing, Kurdish and pan-arabic groups keeps its distance from the SNC and especially from the FSA, some of the leading NCB people e.g. from the Syrian Democratic People's Party (the former Syrian Communist Party (Political Bureau)) played a major role in the General Federation of Trade Unions in the 70ies before the GFTU became a mere front of the Baath ... LabourStart has very little stuff about labour struggles in Syria: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/show_news.pl?country=Syria&alllanguages=1&languagename=English&langcode=en&lang=English

baboon

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on July 19, 2012

I think that like Libya the class struggle, or any form of social protest, has been subsumed by this increasingly dangerous imperialist conflict. A real nightmare is unfolding and it's not just the local powers involved but very much the major ones.

Already, on November 17 last year, Newsnight was reporting that the Free Syrian Army was conducting sectarian murders and the killings of civilians. It was clear then that deserters from the national army were escaping from one imperialist frying pan into another imperialist fire.

In an example of the major powers: The French Foreign Minister, Juppe, met oppositon forces in Paris in late November. France, like Britain, has many connections in the region from its imperiaist role in the recent past. Foreign Office Minister Hague met the opposition forces in London on November 21. When pressed who these "opposition forces" were, the FO declined an explanation, but elements of them included the FSA, the Syrian National Committee, the Committee for National Coordination, the Kurdish opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood and various jihadists. Within these were Stalinists, eleven Kurdish organisations, tribal and clannic structures and so on. In any case, Hague called for a "united front" and nominated an "ambassador designate" to them on November 21st (BBC News). Thus the diplomatic side of Britain's contribution to the war was partially put in place then.

To call this a "civil war", given the contradictory nature of the opposition, is a completely false description which attempts to cover up the major power's role in fermenting wider warfare. Saudi and Qatar are involved in supplying arms, etc., but it's the west, given their complete indifference to the at least 20,000 killed in the Syrian uprisings of 1980, which is using the truely monstrous actions of the Assad regime to put forward its own imperialist agenda. There have been reports of French and British special forces in Lebanon and Turkey and this is probably the tip of the iceberg. Another factor highlighting the nonsense of a "civil war", is the support for the Syrian killing machine by both Russia and China.

From the USA and the west generally, the real target for this war and instability is, in my opinion Iran.

rooieravotr

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on July 20, 2012

Devrim:

Could this perhaps be because there is no working class struggle to mention?

Well, maybe not quite. What to make of this?

Workers have also been target of the repression. Successful campaigns of general strikes and civil disobedience in Syria during the period December 2011 paralyzing large parts of the country also shows the activism of the working class and the exploited who are indeed the heart of the Syrian revolution. For this reason, the dictatorship has laid off more than 85,000 workers from January 2011 to February 2012, and closed 187 factories (according to official figures), to break the dynamics of protest.

And, on student struggle:

Today not one week passes without the voices and chants from students of Damascus University are heard at the presidential palace only hundreds of metres away or demonstrations are witnessed in Deraa and Deir Al-Zur universities. Aleppo University suspended classes out of fear of the youth revolution, while bullets have outnumbered books at Homs University.

Source: Syria Freedom Forever, a left-wing (I would think Trotskyist or related politics), blog, opposed to intervention.

That blog acknowledges weapons deliveries by Saudi and Qatar regimes, and a CIA role but according to this arcticle doesn't think they amount to much:

This is does not mean some arms and ammos were not delivered to the armed opposition groups but not as we portray it as organized and in big quantity. A first large delivery was provided in few months ago (March or April), and was allocated to various selected groups operation in and around Idlib, Hama, Homs and the outskirts of Damascus. Each area received several hundred rocket-propelled grenade launchers (with 10 grenades per launcher), Kalashnikov rifles, BKC machine guns and ammunition, according to several sources (http://world.time.com/2012/06/22/opening-the-weapons-tap-syrias-rebels-await-fresh-and-free-ammo/). There were also two smaller consignments since the first delivery, but none of it was made following the demands of the armed opposition groups. These latter just took what were given to them.

According to various opposition sources, only small amount of arms have been sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while the Turks have denied any role in arming the Syrian rebels. A large amount of armed opposition groups have actually refuse to pledge allegiance to the Gulf groups, a condition by these latter on delivery of weapons and arms(http://world.time.com/2012/06/22/opening-the-weapons-tap-syrias-rebels-await-fresh-and-free-ammo/).

The claim of Saudi Arabia to pay the FSA elements is still awaited and is not happening until now, while CIA presence in Southern Turkey is more an operation to list the armed opposition groups than to assist them in any way. A high religious cleric member of the High Council of Oulemas, the most important religious authority in Saudi Arabia, has actually issued a Fatwa beginning of June forbidding Saudis to go fight the Syrian regime, or in other words to make the Jihad in Syria.

Some of the armed opposition groups also used to purchase weapons and munitions via smugglers from Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, but these passages have been weakened considerably as these countries have arrested and forbidden increasingly any movement of arms on their borders.

This would seem a gross underestimate of Western interference, though I still think that there are independent forces at work within the Syrian revolt. Western imperialism tries to instrumentalize it, but is not (yet?) in full control.

baboon

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on July 19, 2012

That's a good reminder roo of the not too distant social uprising that took place in Syria - part of a regional and global movement. Men, women, different religions and the secular, workers and unemployed and particularly children and youngsters, all demonstrated against oppression and want together and side by side. They also fought together against the forces of order. The media in the west often portray the "Arab Street" as a ferment of anti-Israeli, anti-west sentiment. In these movements, for all the problems, the Arab street has been a vector of social struggle and solidarity. Not now though in Syria.

I agree that anti-tank weapons have been a sort of "ceiling" from Saudi and Qatar - possibly an Americn condition. And that they are not flooding in. I think that the US, British and French secret and intelligence services are providing intelligence and logicistics to favoured factions of the opposition.

Western imperialism isn't in control and my opinion is that they don't look like getting any sort of control soon - they are even driven to exacerbate the problems by their growing involvement. The same can be said for Russia and China.

klas batalo

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on July 19, 2012

idk if this is common knowledge yet or not, but after these recent supposed bombings i saw on major news stations here in the states that the usa was discussing pretty much giving the greenlight to the saudis to arm the sfa. just figured i'd share this tid bit i heard on like cnn or something like that.

Devrim

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on July 20, 2012

rooieravotr

Devrim:

Could this perhaps be because there is no working class struggle to mention?

Well, maybe not quite. What to make of this?

Of course there is always some class struggle everywhere, but after reading your quote I am not convinced that there is a lot in Syria.

I will just quote the bit you quoted about workers' struggle and the preceding paragraph in full before going through it more carefully:

In a similar manner the regime imposed its domination on the bureaucracy of the trade union workers, and this is what prevented and hindered the labor struggle against neo-liberal policies pursued by the authoritarian regime since 2000, which has caused the decline of standard of living of the majority of the people, as well as political repression, and these were the main causes which launched the wave of protests, and that were in the past years turning around the economic question. For example, in May of 2006, hundreds of workers protested at the public construction company in Damascus, and clashed with security forces, and at the same period taxi drivers went on strike in Aleppo.

Workers have also been target of the repression. Successful campaigns of general strikes and civil disobedience in Syria during the period December 2011 paralyzing large parts of the country also shows the activism of the working class and the exploited who are indeed the heart of the Syrian revolution. For this reason, the dictatorship has laid off more than 85,000 workers from January 2011 to February 2012, and closed 187 factories (according to official figures), to break the dynamics of protest.

The things that strike me about this are:
* It starts by saying that struggle has been prevented
*The best example of struggle it comes up with is a demonstration (not a strike) of several hundred workers and a strike of taxi drivers in Aleppo six years ago.
*It talks of general strikes and disobedience in December 2011 yet if there had been general strikes in this period it was absent from both the world media, and the media in neighbouring countries (I lived in one at that time).
*I would imagine that the term 'general strike' quite probably is more connected to a shutting down of small shops as it often is rather than a strike of workers.
*The fact that factories are closing down and workers are being layed off during a period when the world economic is weak and the domestic economy is severly disrupted does not neccesarily mean that this is because the state is trying to stop some struggle.

rooieravotr

And, on student struggle

I am sure there is a lot of student struggle and I didn't question this.

On the subject of foreign intervention:

rooieravotr

According to various opposition sources, only small amount of arms have been sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while the Turks have denied any role in arming the Syrian rebels.

Are we expected to believe them. Reorts in the Turkish media have talked about army veichles delivering heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels.

rooieravotr

Some of the armed opposition groups also used to purchase weapons and munitions via smugglers from Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey, but these passages have been weakened considerably as these countries have arrested and forbidden increasingly any movement of arms on their borders.

We are talking about some pretty porous borders where smuggeling is rife here.

rooieravotr

This would seem a gross underestimate of Western interference, though I still think that there are independent forces at work within the Syrian revolt. Western imperialism tries to instrumentalize it, but is not (yet?) in full control.

But even if the influence of the Western powers, Turkey and the Arab monarchies is weak, it doesn't mean that it is a class movement.

Devrim

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 20, 2012

Ain al-Arab/Kobanî (60.000 inhabitants) has been taken over by its population (or by the PKK/PYD)

- http://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-kurdish-town-declares-independence-from-damascus/

- http://supportkurds.org/news/thursday-19-july-2012/

First city in Syria to fall in the hands of the uprising without violence - Aleppo province: Members of the Kurdish Popular Defence Committees have taken over the city of Kobany (Ein al-Arab) without resorting to violence. Members of the regime’s security forces retreated out of all their stations and posts in the city after they were warned by the committees. This makes Kobani the first city to be freed from the regime’s grip without any violence.

according to http://de.indymedia.org/2012/07/332797.shtml (in German), a form of "direct democracy" has been installed in Ain al-Arab/Kobanî, whose inhabitants seem to be not to keen on either the regime nor the FSA

[youtube]JKXaeHFjEow[/youtube]

[youtube]vZyuNR77zPU[/youtube]

rooieravotr

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on July 20, 2012

Devrim:

Of course there is always some class struggle everywhere, but after reading your quote I am not convinced that there is a lot in Syria.

I didn't say there wa a lot of workers'struggle either. i suggesed there might have been some.

On student struggles: I just mentioned what I mention, not for polemical reasons but because I found it interesting.
I remember reports about strike efforts and civil disobedience, though indeed, not in mainstream media. I cannot remember where I read it, unfortunately.

On foreign intervntion: after the quote which suggests that it has been rather limited, Devrim says:

Are we expected to believe them. Reorts in the Turkish media have talked about army veichles delivering heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels.

No we are not expected to believe them. That is why I said,

This would seem a gross underestimate of Western interference

. Just like Devrim, I think the extent of intervention is bigger that Syria Freedom Forever allows for.

By the way, there can be several reasons for the reports in the Turkish press. They may be true. They may be part of propaganda: look how much we are helping the rebels... Just like other reports, they cannot be taken at face value, just like I do not the Syria Freedom Forever artice at face value. No for nothing, I ask: what to mak of this? bfore giving tghose quotes... I was just wondering, and I learn from Devrims and other comrades' resplies.

And no, I do not call the revolt as it is a "class movement" as such. I think there are elementsof class movement within the revolt which are neither (yet) totally snuffed out by US , Saudi, Turkish, Qatari etc. intervention, nor totally exterminated by the regime.

Binh

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Binh on July 20, 2012

- Sovereignty is important when you're talking about former colonies, at least it is to the people who live there.

- There are human rights abuses in Libya today. No doubt. But there are also protests, strikes, demonstrations, newspapers, and tons of political parties. Big step forward from the Ghadafi regime, no? And the ban you point to was overturned by the Libyan supreme court, which validates my point.

Nowhere in my article did I suggest "supporting imperialism." If that's not true, you should be able to quote where I said it.

Here's a follow-up piece I did since my former organization, the ISO, tried to attack me over the issue:
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=1263

proletarian.

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by proletarian. on July 21, 2012

Entdinglichung, isn't the red flag in your picture that of the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) ?

jonthom

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on July 21, 2012

Binh

Sovereignty is important when you're talking about former colonies, at least it is to the people who live there.

All states are dependant on others to a greater or lesser extent, whether for trade relations, political support, aid, military backing, tourism, access to resources or whatever else. And with some states having more power internationally than others, the relationship between more and less powerful states is inevitably unequal. The idea of a state being "sovereign" is at the very least rather vague.

Obviously there's a spectrum there, and countries that are officially colonies are going to have less ability to decide their own affairs than those who are formally independent, which in turn have less ability than more powerful colonialist countries, etc., etc. But still.

There are human rights abuses in Libya today. No doubt. But there are also protests, strikes, demonstrations, newspapers, and tons of political parties. Big step forward from the Ghadafi regime, no?

That depends. One other point I noticed in your original article is that you didn't actually take the time to explain how things were while Gaddafi was in power as regards protests and all the rest of it, and instead simply asserted that these things had improved significantly following his overthrow. If you are going to claim that Libya has made a "big step forward" in this regard then I think the onus is on you to provide analysis of how things were when he was in power and how that differs from today.

For what it's worth, though, I wouldn't necessarily disagree with your point - Gaddafi's government does seem to have clamped down on dissent quite brutally, and if (though that does remain an if) the replacement is more open in that regard then it may at least provide some more space for organising. However, I do find it a bit troublesome that you're seemingly asserting this as true without much in the way of evidence.

More to the point though, using the above alone as grounds for why folks in the West should have supported the intervention would seem to leave two gaping holes: firstly, on the treatment of a range of political and ethnic groups - black Libyans, Gaddafi supporters and other dissidents most obviously - and second, the likely growth of privatisation with the welfare cuts, unemployment and other attacks that come with it.

(I would reiterate that as far as welfare provision while Gaddafi was in power I've yet to see much in the way of detailed analysis; however, my impression is that however inadequate things may have been then, they're only likely to get worse now. That said, I'll retract this point if it turns out to be inaccurate.)

For example, the National Forces Alliance, which won the recent elections, plans to implement special economic zones in a number of areas - meaning, in other words, creating regions where even basic workers rights and environmental protection are reduced or suspended altogether. While not a proponent of nationalisation, or even a welfare (or any other) state per se, I've yet to see an example of measures like this actually making life better for the working class. Quite the opposite really.

And the ban you point to was overturned by the Libyan supreme court, which validates my point.

Well, maybe:

The Ministry of the Interior has announced that no individuals, organisations or civil society groups will in future be allowed to hold demonstrations without permission from the ministry.

In a statement issued on Friday, it said that it would hold anyone who violated the order responsible for any consequences that might occur as a result, such as injuries or damage to property.

The decision has been condemned by the Libyan Human Rights Observatory. It called it an attack on freedom, saying it denied Libyans their right of peaceful assembly. As such, it undermined one the most important gains of the revolution.

Nowhere in my article did I suggest "supporting imperialism." If that's not true, you should be able to quote where I said it.

Perhaps not in so many words, no. However, you did suggest that folks in the West should support intervention from imperialist powers - intervention that is invariably for the benefit of the imperialist powers themselves - which basically amounts to the same thing IMO. Unless you buy into the idea of humanitarian intervention and NATO bombing countries for their own good, in which case we have far more problems than can necessarily be dealt with here.

Here's a follow-up piece I did since my former organization, the ISO, tried to attack me over the issue:
http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=1263

Cheers.

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 21, 2012

proletarian.

Entdinglichung, isn't the red flag in your picture that of the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) ?

of its (officially dissolved) umbrella group ERNK

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 21, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/news/friday-20-july-2012/

The Kurdish people seized all government institutions in the Kurdish city of Kobane in West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) aka northern Syria on Thursday as clashes between Assad’s regime and Western-supported armed groups are reported to be intensifying, ANF news agency reported.

Kobanê city also known as (“Ayn al-‘Arab” in Arabic) is a Kurdish Syrian city administratively belonging to Aleppo Governorate.

Kurdish authorities in the region stated that this measure has been taken to prevent the war in Syria from reaching the region of Kurdistan.

Government institutions have reportedly been seized by committees for civil defense which were created by the people with their own means. Kurdish flags have been planted in many of the seized offices in the city where people are said to be celebrating the seizure.

Speaking to ANF about the most recent developments in the city, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-chair Saleh Muslim Mohammed confirmed the news and remarked that the committees for civil defense never resorted to the use of force during the act of seizure. Mohammed pointed out that the same act has been carried out in some regions of Afrin as well. People are going for self-governance,www.ekurd.net noted PYD co-chair and added that the acts of seizure have been carried out to not to allow clashes in the country to proceed to the Kurdish region.

The committees for civil defense have been formed recently by Syrian Kurds with an aim to advance control in the regions they reside in. Members of committees say that they are responsible for ensuring security of life and property of the Kurdish people in Syria.

Aleppo province: Kurdish revolutionaries took over the city of Ifrin and the towns of Jendrees, Sheerawa, Shran, Balbala, Raju, Shyiah, Ma’batli and all the villages that are part of them. They took control of all governorate buildings, banks, hospitals and union buildings, as well as some police stations.

Hasakeh province: Kurdish revolutionaries took over several government and security buildings in the city of Amouda, they raised the Kurdish flag over the old military intelligence building in the city.

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 23, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/news/saturday-20-july-2012/

QAMISHLI, Syrian Kurdistan,— Democratic Union Party (PYD) warned about any Turkey or the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan- al-Muslimin) Party rebels’ intervention in Kurdish cities in Syrian Kurdistan region (western Kurdistan) and said it would confront any possible intervening actions.

“Syria Free Army and Muslim Brotherhood rebels attempted to infiltrate into the Kurdish city of Kobanê but our forces stopped them from entering the city,” Chatir Press website quoted PYD representative Hussein Kocher as Saying.

He further said the party’s forces have being rehearsing in the last year to protect the Kurdish cities.

He further warned about any military intention in the Kurdish cites and said such moves will be forcefully responded.

http://supportkurds.org/news/sunday-22-july-2012/

The Protection Forces is a conciliation of the Kurdish National Council [KNC] and the Democratic Union Party [PYD] created following an agreement signed between both groups in Erbil last month.

Sami Derwish, a Kurdish activist and protest coordinator in Qamishli, told Rudaw over the phone that clashes occurred in the city when security forces tried to disperse Kurdish protestors.

“Two members of the Kurdish Protection Forces were injured and taken to Ferman hospital,” Derwish said. “On the other side, one security member was injured, and his colleagues withdrew as the Kurdish forces attacked their cars with guns.”

The city still lives in a state of instability, Derwish said.

“Actually, we didn’t want such clashes to happen in Qamishli,” he said. “We hoped that we would be able to liberate Qamishli peacefully, like other liberated Kurdish areas. But when the fight is imposed on us, we will do everything to liberate our city from the forces of this tyrannical regime.”

As Kurds began seizing control of Kurdish cities on Wednesday following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the area, they sent a message to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) saying that they are not welcome in the Kurdish—populated cities.

Derwish said that on Saturday members of the FSA were spotted in Qamishli, “but we have already clarified that we don’t need the FSA’s support at the moment because we want to liberate our areas on our own.”

This, said Derwish, is because Kurds want to avoid the consequences of FSA presence in the Kurdish region in future.

Since Wednesday, the cities of Kobane, Amude and Efrin have been liberated and they are under Kurdish control. But in Qamishli, the biggest Kurdish city, Syrian security forces seem to have dug in for a fight.

The Union of Kurdish Coordination Committees reported on Saturday that the Syrian regime had sent reinforcement from Hasake city to back up the security forces in Qamishli.

“Four fully armed pro-Assad security vehicles were seen entering Qamishli,” UKCC said.

UKCC also reported that clashes between Kurdish forces and Syrian forces are still taking place in different parts of the city.

“The Kurdish forces could liberate the entrance of Qamishli which connects the city to Amude,” maintained UKCC. “There is one martyr from our forces and two injuries reported.”

On the other hand, Kurdish fighters told Rudaw that Bashar Assad’s political and military units fully withdrew from other Kurdish towns a deadline given to them by the Kurdish forces.

Activists in the town of Dirbesiye told Rudaw that the Kurdish flag is now waving over all government institutions.

Meanwhile, in a battle for Derik city on Saturday, Bawer Derki, a young Kurdish activist, was killed as security forces opened fire into a crowd of protesters.

Sere Kaniye, a Kurdish town near Dirbesiye, was also reported free and all posters and signs of the Baath party and President Assad were brought down.

ocelot

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 23, 2012

Couple of recent Syria-related pieces by Bob Fisk:

Robert Fisk: Sectarianism bites into Syria's rebels

A young Syrian turned up just over a week ago at a smart office block in Beirut with a terrifying message. Without giving his name, he said he wanted to speak to another Syrian who worked in the office, a well-educated man who left his country months ago. The visitor was taken upstairs and introduced himself. "I was sent to you by the shebab," he said – shebab might be translated as "the youth" or "the guys" and it meant he worked for the armed Syrian opposition – "and we need your help."

His story was as revealing as it was frightening. Damascus was about to be attacked. But the fighters were out of control. There were drug addicts among them. "Some of our people are on drugs," the visitor said. "They will take anyone out. We can't guarantee what some of these men will do. If they went into Malki [a mixed, middle-class area of central Damascus], we couldn't protect any of the people who live there. We are against the Salafists who are fighting – there are good Syrians, Druze and Ishmaeilis [Alawites] who are with us. But if we capture Damascus, we don't know how to run a small town, let alone a country."

It was a true civil war story. There were bad guys among the good guys and good guys among the bad. But sectarianism is biting into the Syrian revolution.[...]

Robert Fisk: If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed

[...]Across all of Syria, the revolution has spread. Tragically, there now seems to be a Baathist pattern of destroying Sunni villages on the edge of the Alawite heartland, the "frontier" of Alawi-stan in the great agricultural plain of Hama province, below the mountains where the Assad home town of Qardaha stands.

Last Wednesday, for example, two Syrian helicopters attacked the small Sunni town of Haouch, forcing its 7,000 population to run for their lives. For two weeks, Haouch and other small Sunni towns have been shelled; they do indeed contain rebels but there is a growing suspicion – no evidence, mark you – that this is a deliberate policy of the Baath to prepare Syria for partition if Damascus falls. Ominously, this "frontier" of fire matches almost precisely the "State of the Alawites" temporarily created by the post-First World War French mandate which chopped Syria up into mini-nations partly on sectarian lines.
[...]
everything that happened – and happens – in Syria is connected.

Take the faint outline of the old French mini-state of the Hauran where Syria's Druze communities now live in growing disharmony with the Assad regime. This month, there was a dangerous outbreak of kidnapping in the region – resolved only after Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze leader, made a series of phone calls to prominent Druze in Syria. Jumblatt himself has had a friendly-hostile-friendly-hostile-relationship with the Assad family – I may have left out a couple of 'friendlys' and 'hostiles' there – but there is no doubt where he now stands.

Last week, he urged the Druze as well as the Alawites in Syria to join the revolt against the Assad regime. He has even attacked his allies in Moscow, calling Russia's support for Assad "no longer acceptable, morally or politically."

And not without reason does he speak thus. Three Syrian Druze have died in the revolution this month. Majd Zein, a Druze Free Syrian Army member, was killed during an attack on Rastan. Shafiq Shuqayr and Yasser Awwad were executed by the Syrian army when they were discovered to be helping government soldiers to defect in the area of Lajat. Now Jumblatt is calling upon all Alawites to join the rebellion instead of allowing themselves to remain a minority dependent on Assad for their survival. "I say to them that they must say they are Syrians before they are Alawites."

And a final statistic to explain the revolution outside Damascus. Latest figures show that 58 per cent of Syrian's population under 24 years old are unemployed (higher, even, than Egypt), while 48 per cent of the 18-29 year-old age range – a statistic only beaten by Yemen – have no jobs. They do now, of course. Most have joined the Syrian revolt.

Mark.

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on July 23, 2012

ocelot

Robert Fisk: If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed

there is a growing suspicion – no evidence, mark you – that this is a deliberate policy of the Baath to prepare Syria for partition if Damascus falls. Ominously, this "frontier" of fire matches almost precisely the "State of the Alawites" temporarily created by the post-First World War French mandate which chopped Syria up into mini-nations partly on sectarian lines.

I've no idea myself really, but for an alternative view see

Joshua Landis: Five reasons why there will not be an Alawite state

Will the Alawites try to establish an Alawite State centered in the Coastal Mountains?

Many opposition figures and journalists insist that the Alawites are planning to fall back to the Alawite Mountains in an attempt to establish a separate state. This is unconvincing. Here are the top five reasons why there will not be an Alawite State...

Entdinglichung

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 23, 2012

some of the leftwing groups inside the NCB have many Alawite, Druze, Christian and Ismaili members, one of the reason for the especially brutal repression against the Communist Action Party during the 1980ies was, that they were seen as traitors by the Baath because they came from the same layers of society as the ruling elites

Devrim

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on July 23, 2012

proletarian.

Entdinglichung, isn't the red flag in your picture that of the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) ?

Yes, it is.

Devrim

ocelot

11 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 23, 2012

Mark.

I've no idea myself really, but for an alternative view see

Joshua Landis: Five reasons why there will not be an Alawite state

Will the Alawites try to establish an Alawite State centered in the Coastal Mountains?

Many opposition figures and journalists insist that the Alawites are planning to fall back to the Alawite Mountains in an attempt to establish a separate state. This is unconvincing. Here are the top five reasons why there will not be an Alawite State...

Of Landis' 5 reasons, the first 3 are historical (thus irrelevant to the current situation), the fourth is questionable (Russia, China, Iran & Lebanon might). The 5th relies on the highly unlikely idea that the revolutionary forces will suddenly cease being a divided and mutually hostile rabble and become a unified capable force overnight (see Libya). Also all the money is not in Damascus, a good whack of it is in Lebanese banks.

But I think a more likely position is somewhere between Fisk - Baath plan A for partion; and Landis - no carve-up preparations are happening. It's entirely possible the Baath/Alawite agentc are hastily carving out a "Plan B" option in case Plan A (hang on to all of Syria, at all costs) fails. Frankly, given the possiblility of mass ethnic pogroms cannot be entirely discounted, it would be a little surprising if they weren't preparing some fall-back, no matter how desperate.

Entdinglichung

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 25, 2012

from http://supportkurds.org/news/tuesday-24-july-2012/

Syrian opposition leaders accused the Kurdish parties of receiving support from the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in an attempt to take over the Kurdish areas in Syria.

Kamal al-Labwani, member of the Syrian National Council [SNC], told Alarabiya news network that the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) is supporting the Kurdish parties in Syria “by sending some armed forces from Peshmerga to help Syrian Kurds to take control of the Kurdish areas in Syria”.

“We have information that a number of Peshmerga members entered the Kurdish areas in Syria and they are fighting now side by side with other Kurdish armed groups,” al-Labwani added.

But Kurdish politicians and activists in Syria denied the claims of the Arab opposition, and considered it propaganda aiming to create division within the revolutionary forces.

Yilmaz Saeed, a Kurdish activist and member of the Tevgera Ciwanên Kurd [Kurdish Youth Movement] in Syria, told Rudaw on Sunday that the claims of the Arab opposition are baseless.

“The Kurdish forces that recently entered from Iraqi Kurdistan into the Kurdish areas of Syria are Syrian Kurdish soldiers who defected from the Syrian army and resorted to Iraqi Kurdistan where they received military training and got organized, and now they are back to participate in the liberation of their own cities and villages from the armed forces of Assad regime,” Saeed said in an interview with Rudaw.

On Sunday, the website of the Kurdistan Region Presidency [krp.org] quoted the presidential spokesperson as saying, “A number of newspapers and websites have published reported that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have entered Kurdistan of Syria, but we firmly reject that news as baseless and far from the truth,”

Saeed also dismissed claims of Arab activists that clashes had occurred between Kurdish forces and the Free Syrian Army [FSA], saying, “That is another propaganda by the Arab opposition to confuse the public opinion in order to marginalize the Kurdish revolutionary movement in Syria and to show us nothing but separatists, and that serves no one but the regime,”

Meanwhile, Saeed confirmed that there are no members of the FSA in the liberated Kurdish areas.

The clashes that are taking place in the Kurdish areas, he said, are between the Kurdish forces and the Assad forces.

“Kurds are a main and institutional part of the ongoing pro-democracy revolution, and they have participated actively since the first day to topple this totalitarian regime, but it seems that the regime could make a deep chauvinistic influence on some pan-Arabism opposition figures,” Saeed concluded.

On the other hand, the Arab Local Coordination Committee in Dayr ez-Zawr told Alarabiya that the FSA is about to take control of Qamishli—the largest Kurdish city in Syria—a statement that angered Kurdish opposition forces.

“Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units are the only group that is fighting against the armed forces of the Assad regime in the Kurdish areas, and no member of the FSA were seen there,” activists from the Kurdish city of Qamishli told Rudaw on Sunday.

Saeed believes the news of FSA soldiers fighting the security forces in Qamishli is an effort to “minimize the importance of the Kurdish role in the ongoing revolution,”

jonthom

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on July 28, 2012

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/07/26/157943/assad-hands-control-of-syrias.html

ISTANBUL — President Bashar Assad, facing a growing rebel presence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its commercial hub, has turned control of parts of northern Syria over to militant Kurds who Turkey has long branded as terrorists, prompting concern that Istanbul might see the development as a reason to send troops across its border with Syria.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in comments late Wednesday, said that Turkey would not accept an entity in northern Syria governed by the Iraq-based Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has long waged a guerrilla war against Turkey, and its Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party.

He said the two groups had built a “structure in northern Syria” that for Turkey means “a structure of terror.”

“It is impossible for us to look favorably at such a structure,” he said in an interview with a private television channel.

He warned that if Syrian Kurdish militants mount a terror operation or some other form of cross-border provocation against Turkey, “then intervening would be our most natural right.”

The prospect of a PKK-dominated zone in northern Syria appears to be an unintended consequence of the civil war now raging between Assad and rebels of the Free Syrian Army, who are Arab Sunni Muslims who’ve been fighting, with U.S. and other nations’ backing, to topple Assad’s government.

Anyone know anything more about this - both the story itself and possible consequences?

Edit: article from Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times.

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on July 28, 2012

I don't know of the specifics above but it seems quite possible that Syria will play the Kurdish card against Turkey. As for the consequences, it's one more factor of growing imperialist chaos and instability pointing to the Balkanisation of Syria, an immediate increase in massacres on all sides and the threat of wider warfare possibly bringing in Iran - the latter's forces are already at work on the side of the regime..

Last Thursday, there was a detailed, verified report on Newsnight that the Turkish military was making nightly deliveries (lorryloads between one and five AM) of weapons to the Free Syrian Army. They were accompanied by the CIA who were there to make sure that the weapons "didn't fall into the wrong hands".

In the meantime, the British are maintaining their links with the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-Assad forces.

wojtek

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on July 28, 2012

http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=international%2Ffrom-a-syrian-anarchist

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on July 28, 2012

wojtek

http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=international%2Ffrom-a-syrian-anarchist

Maybe it would be worth posting this up as a news article.

Entdinglichung

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 30, 2012

meanwhile, the children of the Syrian upper class from both sides of the political divide go clubbing in Beirut: having fun and sex and avoiding to talk about politics there : http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/krieg-in-syrien-assad-gegner-und-anhaenger-feiern-in-beirut-a-847018.html (German)

Steve_j

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steve_j on July 30, 2012

Can Solfed verify the authenticity of the author and would they be willing to act as gateway for material assistance?

Entdinglichung

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on July 31, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/reports/syria-from-the-oppositions-gathered-in-santegidio-an-appeal-for-a-political-solution/

ocelot

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by ocelot on July 31, 2012

Robert Fisk: Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy

[...]While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad's Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria. But Qatar is an autocracy and Saudi Arabia is among the most pernicious of caliphate-kingly-dictatorships in the Arab world. Rulers of both states inherit power from their families – just as Bashar has done – and Saudi Arabia is an ally of the Salafist-Wahabi rebels in Syria, just as it was the most fervent supporter of the medieval Taliban during Afghanistan's dark ages.

Indeed, 15 of the 19 hijacker-mass murderers of 11 September, 2001, came from Saudi Arabia – after which, of course, we bombed Afghanistan. The Saudis are repressing their own Shia minority just as they now wish to destroy the Alawite-Shia minority of Syria. And we believe Saudi Arabia wants to set up a democracy in Syria?
[...]
Then, of course, there's us, our dear liberal selves who are so quick to fill the streets of London in protest at the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. Rightly so, of course. When our political leaders are happy to condemn Arabs for their savagery but too timid to utter a word of the mildest criticism when the Israeli army commits crimes against humanity – or watches its allies do it in Lebanon – ordinary people have to remind the world that they are not as timid as the politicians. But when the scorecard of death in Syria reaches 15,000 or 19,000 – perhaps 14 times as many fatalities as in Israel's savage 2008-2009 onslaught on Gaza – scarcely a single protester, save for Syrian expatriates abroad, walks the streets to condemn these crimes against humanity. Israel's crimes have not been on this scale since 1948. Rightly or wrongly, the message that goes out is simple: we demand justice and the right to life for Arabs if they are butchered by the West and its Israeli allies; but not when they are being butchered by their fellow Arabs.

And all the while, we forget the "big" truth. That this is an attempt to crush the Syrian dictatorship not because of our love for Syrians or our hatred of our former friend Bashar al-Assad, or because of our outrage at Russia, whose place in the pantheon of hypocrites is clear when we watch its reaction to all the little Stalingrads across Syria. No, this is all about Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans – if they exist – and has nothing to do with human rights or the right to life or the death of Syrian babies. Quelle horreur!

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on July 31, 2012

Wars are rarely declared anymore. I think that the American, British,Israeli French war against Iran is already underway in Syria and the surrounding region. It was my opinion, that while oil was an important factor, the western-backed war in Libya was also part of an imperialist strategy against Iran.

khan revolledo perez

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by khan revolledo perez on July 31, 2012

The US like other imperialist capitalista countries, most of them part of the NATO, dont pretend to protect the "transition to democracy" in this country, if should , then very high profitable petroleum business between this totalitarian regime and US would heve never been achieved...thats what capitalism is all about...just business

klas batalo

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on August 1, 2012

baboon

Wars are rarely declared anymore. I think that the American, British,Israeli French war against Iran is already underway in Syria and the surrounding region. It was my opinion, that while oil was an important factor, the western-backed war in Libya was also part of an imperialist strategy against Iran.

do you think pro-revolutionary forces should start getting prepared for this possible inevitability?

rooieravotr

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on August 2, 2012

That ICG report Mark linked to is a very interesting read. Establishment operspective but no cheerleading for the regime or the armed opposition, and full of info and analysis, especially on the sectarian dynamics, that you don't usually see.

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on August 2, 2012

Sabotage, given the extreme weakness of pro-revolutionary forces they are really limited in what they can do in the face of major imperialist war - that's even if they can agree on some form of joint statement or action - which in the past has been more difficult that you might think.
The main thing is to maintain an internationalist position - denounce all sides big and small - and not get drawn in supporting the "lesser evil". Given all the different factions fighting in Syria this might be a danger.
Though it's not on the cards in the immediate, another focus for pro-revolutionary forces in the face of imperialism, is to help to stregthen the class struggle "at home" - this makes it more difficult for the bourgeoisie to fight its wars abroad.
I'm sure there are other areas too...

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on August 4, 2012

Following the collapse of the doomed Annan "peace plan", the British, through Foreign Secretary Hague, has said that "Britain will step up practical and non-lethal support" to Syrian rebels. He said that Britain will be offering a "good deal" of assistance and that it would be "humanitarian". To get an idea of Britain's humanitarian foreign policy a look at the continuing bloodbath in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is instructive. Britain has been totally implicated in the continued holocaust here and today the UN reports that "A rebel army has guns and recruits supplied by a British ally to help create about half-a-million new refugees in the DRC", Daily Telegraph today. The Labour Party supports the government's committment to the rebels in Syria and has supported Britain's man in the Congo, the murderous President Paul Kagame.

In Syria meantime, waiting for the benefits of Britain's humanitarian support - which we must assume has been there for some time, the better armed rebels are intensifying the fighting. Moscow, Beijing and Washington are keeping the pot boiling, with the Assad regime continuing its bombardments and spreading its atrocities. The bourgeoisie call this a "civil war". That's not the case, it's a war of each against all. The rebels are fracturing with the Muslim Brotherhood ( (one of Britain's "interested parties") establishing their own militias inside Syria; the Armed Men of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian ally of the outlawed Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has seized control of serveral towns along the Turkish border with Syria and this border area is being massively reinforced by the Turkish military (AFP, 2.8.). There has also been exchanges of gunfire across the Syrian/Jordanian border, the latter groaning under the weight of many thousand Syrian refugees.

Soapy

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Soapy on August 4, 2012

ICG is really good, their director published a great article in the London Review of Books entitled "Who said Gaddafi had to go" that really examined the pretexts for the war and the refusal of the Atlantic Powers to pursue viable alternatives to NATO intervention.

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on August 6, 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/05/why-kofi-annan-enough-over-syria#start-of-comments

More of the mainstream commentators seeing this war as a war against Iran.
Here Steele highlights how the Americans, French and British sabotaged Annan's "peace plan" and contributed, along with the Assad regime of course, to increasing the slaughter.

jonthom

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on August 7, 2012

Turkey attacks Kurds, threatens military action against Syria

On the eve of an expected major offensive in Aleppo by the Syrian regime, Turkey has threatened to invade Syria, using the pretext of Kurdish groups seizing control of northern border areas.

Such a move could pitch Ankara directly into war against Syria, after it has long sought to dictate events through control of the opposition Syrian National Congress and Free Syrian Army.

This would be done with the full support of the United States.

Al Ahram cited reports in the Turkish media that the US embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Adana in southeast Turkey have “been planning military operations against the Baathist regime in Syria with the knowledge of the Turkish government.”

Large numbers of trucks have been seen coming out of the US airbase at Incirlik, laden with arms for distribution to the Syrian opposition.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has warned of an impending massacre in Aleppo, close to the Turkish border, and appealed for action. This is combined with ever escalating rhetoric over the “terrorist threat” posed by the Kurds.

In the past fortnight, up to 115 Kurdish fighters have been killed in a south eastern Turkey in military operations, including air strikes near the town of Semdinli. Sunday saw a counter-offensive in which Kurdish forces raided three military posts near the Iraq border that left at least six soldiers and 14 rebels dead. Turkish officials claim to be combating a 200-strong force of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

baboon

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on August 7, 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19160410

Saeed Jalili, Iran's security boss, said on Syrian TV to Assad today that "Iran will not allow the axes of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be a vital part, to be broken in any way".

The "axes of resistance" includes Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza.
There's a certain weakening of Iranian imperialism here with the offensive from the west through Syria. It's not just the US/Turkish rapport (and joint military action, overt and covert) but the Egypt/Saudi alliance of the so-called forces for "moderate Sunni Islam" that bring a further threat to Iran.

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 8, 2012

Le Monde Diplomatique: Syria divides the Arab left

[youtube]2VTlWDkrWtI[/youtube]

The analysis on this video is interesting but I'm not actually convinced that the international backers of the armed opposition in Syria will end up with much control over the final outcome once Assad is gone. I doubt that they're exercising much control over Libya post-Gaddafi. See this comment from Ibn Kafka:

Not only are many on the left (not only there though) unable to think through the Arab Spring and its spinoffs in reality-based terms, but they are hostage to old ways of thinking, notably as to the role of Western powers. If there is something that has to be completely dismissed in today’s Arab world, it is the ability of Western powers to shape an Arab country’s politics according to their wishes. While Arab countries do not live in a bubble and are of course amenable to foreign influence, no longer will foreign – read Western – powers be able to dictate the terms of leadership struggles or even foreign policy (Libya is an odd case here). They can weigh in, but their influence is limited as compared to the weight of public opinion and the political forces present in the institutions of the state.

What influence did any Western power have over the Tunisian revolution, or even the Egyptian one? The height of US influence the last year was its ability to get its NGO workers out of Egypt, but that’s hardly a decisive influence on an issue of substance in Egyptian politics. The issue of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel is probably the one issue on which the US government has been able to exert influence [...]

Take the case of Iraq: sure, the US was able to invade and occupy that country, smash its political structure, entrench sectarianism and kill and maim well over one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians – but the end result is a government they do not control [...]

.

Edit: now on rooieravotr's libcom blog - Syria, imperialism and the left (1)

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on August 9, 2012

Surprised noone has posted this yet, an email that's been distributed from a Syrian anarchist: http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=international%2Ffrom-a-syrian-anarchist

Khawaga

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on August 9, 2012

It was posted as a news item a week ago or so. Made it's rounds on Facebook, twitter, reddit and elsewhere.

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 9, 2012

Twitter feed from Aleppo - not enthusiastic about FSA
http://twitter.com/edwardedark

Caiman del Barrio

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on August 10, 2012

UK to give £5m to the rebels: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19205204

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 11, 2012

Twitter feed from Aleppo - not enthusiastic about FSA
http://twitter.com/edwardedark

A blog post arising from that discussion on twitter yesterday - which in part was about whether it was right for Syrian activists to openly criticise the FSA while the conflict is going on:

Nobody above criticism

[quote=Maysaloon]

It is one thing to speak the language of freedom and yearn for democracy, but another when it comes to actually applying such principles into practice. Recently I had a discussion with several people on Twitter about the Free Syrian Army and whether or not it was prudent to criticize them when they do something wrong. Surprisingly, a lot of people were of the view that either the FSA was above reproach because they were critical for the revolution, or that this was not the time to kick up a fuss.



I think all of these views are wrong, and if we don't hold the FSA accountable for its behaviour now, then later down the line the whole country is going to suffer for this. I think the FSA have been remarkably brave, courageous and resilient in their defence of the Syrian people, but they have also carried out actions that amount to war crimes. Extra-judicial killings, threats, and heavy handedness have been reported, and this is not to give any credence to the Syrian regime's hysterical propaganda.



The FSA are made up of volunteers as well as defected soldiers, and amongst them are people who might be just as morally bankrupt or ruthless as the regime's henchmen. To demand that the FSA cleans up its act now means that they will take immediate action against such people, and history has shown us the dangers of what bad people in institutions are capable of.



Baathism has been in control of Syria since 1963, and the way that it took control of the country and its institutions was through the army. Hafez Assad then took control of all these institutions to turn the country into the private property of him and his cronies, and corruption itself became institutionalized. Yet, we must not forget that he and his party, as well as the Syrian army, were considered by some to be the darlings of Arabism, anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism up until last year. He may or may not have had good intentions at the outset, but the atrocities and corruption of his regime speak for themselves. Accountability, transparency and freedom of speech and opinion were not tolerated, and because of that our country has become a living nightmare today.



Are we going to make the same mistake and blindly hand over our fates once more to well-intentioned soldiers, however sincere they might be today? Are we going to do the same thing that Assad forced us to do for forty years, to stay quiet for the sake of "unity" in the face of an external threat? What if the FSA, in the interest of safeguarding Syria and the revolution, decide that all free speech and human rights are to be suppressed until the danger has passed? Shall we wait another forty years and undergo another bloodbath to be rid of them too?



The time to demand that those who fight for us, or claim to speak for us, adhere to human rights and respect the rights of all Syrians is now, and it's incumbent upon each and every one of us to speak up if somebody else is being bullied for voicing their doubts or asking questions. We need a cultural and social shift away from shouting each other down, and have to start realising that debate and questioning are not a threat but a strength. Syria does  not need more politicians, soldiers or leaders. What we do need is more people who will stand up and point their finger at something that is wrong.



If the FSA have stepped up to the burden of protecting the Syrian people, then that burden also includes doing the job the right way. The Syrian revolution has come this far, let's not have it fall at the first hurdle just because somebody is courageous enough to point out shortcomings.[/quote]

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 11, 2012

Blog post from a Palestinian anarchist:

The Syrian uprising through Palestinian eyes

[quote=Budour Hassan]

This unconditional support for the Syrian revolution does not, however, mean approving of the Syrian National Council or any human rights abuses committed by the Free Syrian Army or any other armed opposition group in Syria. On the contrary, it is in the revolution’s best interest to condemn human rights violations, sectarianism, and corruption regardless of the culpable party. Yet, it’s also crucial not to equate between the oppressed and oppressor and to keep in mind that the Syrian regime bears full responsibility for driving the country into violence and for fomenting sectarian tensions.

The Syrian regime has done nothing to liberate the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, let alone Palestine, but even if it were the only entity in the world capable of liberating our land, we must stand against it. You can never achieve your liberation on the blood of your brethren and with the aid of the very regime that denies your fellow men and women their most basic rights.

This is what makes the support of some corrupt Palestinian leaders, couch leftists, and Arab nationalists for the Assad regime so repellent and disgraceful. By brazenly exploiting the cause of one oppressed people to justify the oppression of another, Palestinian cheerleaders of Assad inflict irreparable damage on the Palestinian cause. Khaled Jabbareen, a veteran Palestinian activist I met during the demonstration we held in Haifa to mark the first anniversary of the Syrian uprising, told me: “I quit political activism for 15 years. What spurred me to be active again was watching an obsolete Palestinian ‘leader’ sing Assad’s praises on Syrian State TV. We have been repeatedly scapegoated because of contemptuous stances taken by self-appointed Palestinian leaders and we paid the price dearly. We cannot allow the same to happen with the Syrian intifada. We cannot sit idly as Syrians are being killed and repressed in our name.”

Jabbareen added that the Syrian intifada has unmasked the traditional Arab “Left” and exposed its moral bankruptcy. For decades, Arab leftists and modernists have been urging the masses to rise up. When the masses did rise to break the walls of fear in Syria, most of those self-proclaimed leftists and revolutionists cowered and either supported the regime in the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “Arabism” or sat on the fence, perhaps because the intifada was not attractive enough to satisfy their self-perceived intellectual superiority or because they were never revolutionary in the first place...[/quote]

wojtek

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on August 15, 2012

Syrian Government forces and anti-Government groups responsible for war crimes: UN Commission of Inquiry

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/PRCoISyria15082012_en.pdf

Havaan

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Havaan on August 15, 2012

It seems pretty obvious that a position of not criticising the FSA is monumentally against your own interest. It's something that seems to have a habit of happening though under the guise of nationalism and progress though.

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 17, 2012

Tweet from Aleppo

‪@edwardedark‬ ‪@Asher_Wolf‬ I would assume that people over there are now fed up with both parties to this conflict?

‪@YaAbalFazl‬ ‪@Asher_Wolf‬ yes, the people are fed up with both sides. they want them both to f*** off and stop killing and looting the city

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 18, 2012

BBC video: Kurds seek autonomy in a democratic Syria

As the fighting in Damascus and Aleppo intensifies, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's security forces have relinquished control of several Kurdish towns in order to concentrate on battling the rebels elsewhere.

Kurdish leaders claim they now control about 50% of the territory there, and warn they will take up arms against the regime if it tries to return. They say they want autonomy in a democratic Syria.

Mark.

11 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 19, 2012

From Louis Proyect's blog

Today a commenter on my blog demanded to know “the particularities of the rebel forces, [and] the classes they represent” in Syria as if I were on the witness stand in a criminal trial. Now this guy was not half as bad as some of the trolls who show up from time to time calling me a member of the Israel lobby or the next Christopher Hitchens, etc. You know the type, the kind of person whose whites of his or her eyes can be seen as they walk toward you on the sidewalk from sixty feet away. For the conspiracist left, the Syrian rebels are the latest version of UNITA in Angola or the Nicaraguan contras. How do they know this? Well, Turkey is providing aid to them and Hillary Clinton went to Turkey. That’s all you really need to know. This, of course, is the leftist version of “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”.

Fortunately, there’s an article in the latest Harper’s by Anand Gopal titled “Welcome to Free Syria” that sheds some light on the living humanity that has risen up against the Baathist dictatorship...

The article is behind a paywall but this longish excerpt should be sufficient to motivate you to get the magazine and read it in full...

Read on here: 'Welcome to free Syria'

rooieravotr

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on August 31, 2012

Does anybody know who these Syrian Revolutionary Left are, and what role they play? Do they actually exist outside blogs and Facebook pages?

Mark.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on August 31, 2012

I hadn't heard of them before. A quick search came up with this which doesn't really answer the question of what existence they have beyond the internet.

By contrast, the Syrian Revolutionary Left (SRL), a group close to the Fourth International, has recently published a “Transitional Programme”. It quite rightly identifies the weakness of the left as a result of “the enrolment of the traditional communist movement with the current regime, enabling its brutal repression”.

It criticises the broader Syrian opposition movement, noting that the bourgeois liberal and Islamist-led SNC supports the “militarisation” of the uprising from exile, primarily in order to sidestep its own lack of influence inside the country, and, more dangerously, calls for “external military intervention”.

Equally, it castigates the more “moderate” National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC) for advocating a dialogue with the Assad regime, for fear that its precipitous overthrow might trigger a foreign intervention.

By contrast, the SRL notes “the revolutionary groups on the ground, which are leading the movement, emphasise their commitment to the three principles (peaceful revolution; absolute rejection of foreign military intervention; and the determination to overthrow the regime and abstention from dialogue with it)”.

Opposition both to imperialism and to dialogue with the murderous regime are basic principles. It is also correct to recognise that the reduction of the uprising to a purely military struggle means fighting the regime where it is strongest, sidelining the mass struggle and paving the way for the indirect intervention of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia through their sponsorship of a carefully chosen part of the armed opposition.

But it is necessary to call for the arming and organising of the masses for self-defence. Unfortunately the programme’s emphasis on the lingering illusion of the possibility of “peaceful revolution” allows the advocates of imperialist-backed “militarisation” to look like realists.

Moreover, while the SRL’s programme includes a list of economic and social demands aimed at reversing the last ten years of neoliberalism in Syria, it also repeats the notion of a “revolution in stages”, calling for a “general alliance of the democratic and social forces in the face of the dictatorship” to build a “democratic, secular and pluralist state”.

This conflates the need for practical solidarity with all political forces facing repression with the idea that the programme of the revolution should be limited to demands that these forces can support.

The programme of the Watan Coalition, supported by the SRL, goes further, explicitly arguing for a “civil, democratic state, based on law, justice and citizenship” and a revolution “of all the classes and components of the Syrian people”, without making any class-based demands whatsoever.

This flag is on one of their facebook pages:

Entdinglichung

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 3, 2012

rooieravotr

Does anybody know who these Syrian Revolutionary Left are, and what role they play? Do they actually exist outside blogs and Facebook pages?

according to http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2428 which is generally a reliable source on these issues:

... a group uniting revolutionary Marxists in Syria and in exile ...

Khalil Habash is one of their public spokespeople, my guess is, that it is one of the groups issued from the old Party of Communist Action (PCA, sometimes also called Communist Action Party or Communist Labour Party), a group formed by people from different currents to the left of pro-USSR CPs and Neo-Baathism (Maoism, Guevarism, Trotskyism, etc.) during the 1970ies which was crushed by the Syrian state in the mid-1980ies, a large group of its surviving members was released from prison around 2000 after (literally!) rotting in prison for 15-20 years ... don't think that they (like other groups issued from the PCA) are strong inside Syria but they may be influential among Syrian exiles in some countries like France and Belgium where a few hundred of PCA members (many of them seriously ill and traumatised) live

Entdinglichung

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 3, 2012

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0%2c%2c16203397%2c00.html

Syria's Kurds have emerged as a crucial player in the conflict. DW spoke to the head of the main Kurdish political party in northeasten Syria, Salih Muslim Muhammad, about the impact of the crisis on the Middle East.

DW: DW has met Kurdish fighters at checkpoints who claimed not to have fired a single shot. It's difficult to believe given the increasing levels of violence in the rest of the country…

Salih Muslim Muhammad: Believe it or not, this might be one the only region in the country where the Syrians' will is still respected because there are no foreign hands interfering in our areas. From the very beginning we Kurds were demonstrating for freedom and democracy; we wanted a peaceful revolution, not an armed one. It was the regime which dragged the protests into an armed conflict because they are stronger. For the time being, we have managed to protect ourselves and keep our areas quiet despite a few local incidents in Kobani and Afrin. We're doubtless part of the revolution but this is the Syria we want, not what others want.

But rumors have it that your party has negotiated a truce with Bashar Assad's government.

There's been no agreement with anybody whatsoever. Just tell me: who wants the fighting in Syria? Turkey? We have no relations with Turkey. Saudi Arabia? Qatar? NATO? We have no relation with them as they've never recognized our existence; none of them has ever supported the Syrian Kurds. Damascus knows we just want our constitutional rights, that is why they're not afraid of us. We knew Assad would not fall in just two months, that's why we organized our people into civilian defence committees long ago. Actually, we already had some checkpoints a year ago and the government simply couldn't do anything about it. In July there were clashes between the Free Syrian Army and Assad's troops, very close to Kobani, a critical area for Damascus' intelligence. Nonetheless, in areas like in Qamishli, Assad has his own checkpoints but they're not manning them, nor are they patrolling the city.

How high, in your opinion, is the risk of Syria becoming a sectarian-ridden country like neighboring Iraq?

The risk of getting dragged into a sectarian conflict is very high. Actually, the situation is inexorably taking that path but, as said, that's not something the Syrian people have chosen. We know we have to fight for our rights and not let anybody steal our revolution as it has already happened in other Arab countries. Look at Aleppo now, it's full of armed people, many of them foreigners. What are they doing here? We'd never allow al Qaeda or any related group to operate in our areas.

But several sources point out that Arab villages around the area have been given weapons by Damascus. Is that true?

We are aware that the government has handed them weapons but we won't fight against them as long as they don't attack us. We must avoid an Arab-Kurd confrontation by any means necessary. We need to live as neighbors so we are very careful about not igniting violence between us.

Apart from Arabs, there's also a significant number of Christians in the area under your control. Some of them have already said that they don't feel comfortable under the new Kurdish rule.

As far as I know there are very good relations between Kurds and Christians. I met the Armenians a few days ago and they asked us to protect them. We've already told them that they have to protect themselves; if they cannot, we will do it. Even Arabs are also going to set up mediation centres, asking for help to solve their problems. We've lived together for centuries and that's what we are planning to do in the future ahead.

But there have been allegations pointing to several abuses by armed Kurdish fighters at checkpoints or street patrols.

First of all, I want to make clear that the PYD (Democratic Union Party - the ed.) is just a political organization. That said, we know there have been many mistakes because everything is new for us. We lack the necessary experience to make things work from the beginning. Besides, not everybody people likes the PYD so some will try their best to give us bad press at the first opportunity.

Turkey is alarmed at the growing influence of the PYD and suspects it of having links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a 28-year old conflict in Turkey.

Turkey is trying to convince the rest of the world that we are terrorists, simply because they are afraid of us getting our rights. We are a Syrian political party with no organic relations whatsoever with the PKK. We don't even have armed forces, those committees are just for civil protection and they brought their weapons from their houses. Besides, we were also among the people who established the opposition in Syria so Turkey shouldn't interfere.

Many Syrian Kurds say they're fighting for a "federal state" with a Kurdish Autonomous Region, similar to the one in Iraq. Do you favour such an option?

We've been victims of this regime for decades and we just want our democratic rights. But that doesn't mean that we are aiming to break Syria into pieces. Basically, we want to solve our problems in Damascus, and not elsewhere. We're asking for local civil organizations linked to each other where our people would be represented. We call it "radical democracy" and it's not the classic model of autonomy but a system which accepts differences and dissent and where people can take their own decisions and immediately execute them.

Still, there are around 15 Kurdish political parties in Syria today. Are your people as divided as the figures suggest?

Alongside the PYD, they are all under the umbrella of the Syrian National Kurdish Council. The majority of us are united in the essential points which focus on the achievement of our democratic rights. We have the moral support of the rest of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and the Diaspora. All of them are trying to help us. In fact, if we manage to achieve our democratic rights, it will be a great step for all the Kurds. The Syrian Kurds' fate will affect the whole Middle East.

So what is your proposal to end Syria's escalating conflict?

Just let the Syrians decide by themselves! Assad's is a bloody regime but, even today, Syrians would still be able to find their way out if so many foreign forces weren't involved. Unfortunately, the government is taking weapons from Iran and Russia while the Free Syrian Army is being backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey… Kofi Annan's road map could have worked but neither the regime nor the foreign actors wanted it to develop. Even China and Russia were ready to convince the regime to put down its weapons but the plan proposed in Geneva last June was not taken into consideration on the ground.

Today nobody knows whether Syria will be divided or not. Whatever happens, we have to be ready to protect ourselves in any possible scenario, whether it is under the current regime, under the opposition's rule … even against a Turkish military operation in our area.

Salih Muslim Muhammad is the leader of the Democratic Union Party, the dominant Kurdish political force in northeastern Syria.

Interview: Karlos Zurutuza, Qamishli, northeastern Syria

Entdinglichung

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 4, 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/03/us-syria-europe-refugees-idUSBRE8820NR20120903

Mark.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on September 11, 2012

Global Mail: Assad's useful idiots

How prominent commentators from the ‘anti-imperialist’ left have twisted the public discourse on Syria and, in the process, provided intellectual cover for the Assad regime.

Mark.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on September 13, 2012

Telegraph: Christian communities in Aleppo have formed their own militias

For the past six weeks up to 150 Christian and Armenian fighters have been fighting to prevent Free Syrian Army rebels from entering Christian heartland areas of Aleppo.

[quote=Budour Hassan]

IMHO, bringing the battle to Aleppo was a huge mistake by the FSA, which alienated many on the side of the revo

The actions of FSA-affiliated groups are becoming indefensible. Presence of foreign jihadists...

The FSA is clearly unwelcome among large portions of Aleppo City, inc minorities & even some pro-revo ppl[/quote]

See Edward Dark's twitter feed for a view from inside Aleppo.

-----

Arabist: Islamists vs. ex-colonels: will radicals take over the Syrian insurgency as they did in Iraq?

baboon

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on September 17, 2012

I don't want to support any elements of the bourgeois press but Robert Fisk on the Middle East has shown a consistent understanding of the role of American, British and French imperialism in the wider region and a specific understanding of their increasing role in promoting and backing war in Syria. Fisk has also reported in depth on the atrocities of the Assad regime as well as western support for this and other murderous Arab regimes when it suited them. There's no fundamental difference being embedded in the regimes forces or involved with the anti-regimes gangs. Fisk is not a communist and can't take an internationalist working class view on this imperialist war which denounces all the gangster factions involved. But he does do a good job of exposing some of the truths and he's clear that the west's war in Syria is part of an offensive towards a wider war involving Iran.

Entdinglichung

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 24, 2012

http://syria.frontline.left.over-blog.com/article-open-letter-of-the-syrian-revolutionary-left-to-support-the-syrian-popular-revolution-110486668.html

Entdinglichung

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 24, 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/23/syria-foreign-fighters-joining-war

Entdinglichung

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on September 26, 2012

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/us-syria-crisis-jordan-idUSBRE88O0XW20120925

Hundreds of Syrian refugees demanding help to return home from a camp in northern Jordan rioted and clashed with security forces on Monday night, Jordanian and United Nations officials said.

Six members of the security forces were wounded by stones thrown by protesters, a spokesman for the Jordanian forces said on Tuesday, while Syrian activists at the Zaatari camp said that several refugees were injured.

Zaatari contains about 30,000 refugees and has been the scene of frequent protests about conditions at the camp.

"There was a demonstration that got out of hand," Sybella Wilkes, spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, said in Geneva.

Wilkes said that 300 refugees were believed to have been involved in the protest and that they wanted to return to Syria to help their families, despite worsening violence in the country.

"Jordanian authorities said they were very reluctant to take people to the border, where they have seen a lot of insecurity. They didn't want to take people into harm's way," Wilkes added.

One refugee at the camp, speaking on Skype, said that the violence broke out after security forces detained four people. Camp residents gathered and started hurling stones at the security forces, who responded by throwing stones back at them and firing tear gas, the refugee said.

The spokesman for the security forces said that seven people were arrested for inciting violence but did not comment on how the riot was handled.

Entdinglichung

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on October 3, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/news/tuesday-2-october-2012/

Hasakah province: A Syrian Kurd member of the Kurdish Popular Defense Committees was shot and killed by the Turkish army at 2 a.m while he was patrolling the border by the village of Tel Liyoun, near Dirbasiya city; 2 of his colleagues were badly wounded by the Turkish army’s assault. It is worth mentioning that this is the first Syrian Kurd to be killed by the Turkish authorities since the beginning of the uprising.

jonthom

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on October 5, 2012

http://freehaifa.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/28-movements-parties-and-activists-issue-common-declaration-supporting-the-syrian-people-and-calling-for-the-release-of-political-prisoners-in-the-arab-homeland/

At the time that the Arab states turn toward legal, political and economic reforms, pushed by the popular anger against the legal and economic situation that was afflicted on our Arab countries during the past periods by autocratic and repressive regimes, which acted to weaken the Arab peoples, keep them in ignorance and kill all their creative energies in an orderly and systematic way, we find that some states didn’t stop practicing some violations against the Arab activists in their different countries, in spite of the arrival (to the government) of some of the political parties that suffered a lot from the authoritative practices.

This happens while there is still Arab refusal to adopt a decisive stand against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and his armed gangs, which commit daily massacres against the Syrian people and against the youth, who come out every day in peaceful demonstrations against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

[...]

We, the undersigned groups, declare our full solidarity with the Syrian people, their right to self determination and their demand for Bashar Al-Assad giving up power. We affirm our support for the initiatives of peaceful struggle in Syria.

We also demand from the authorities in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Bahrain to respect Human Rights and the freedom of opinion and expression, to act quickly for the immediate release of all the detained activists and to put an end to all the extraordinary actions taken against them. We also call for the implementation of all the legitimate demands raised by those activists, including legitimate economic, legal and constitutional reforms.

Mark.

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 26, 2012

Weam Amasha: Fighting occupation and tyranny

This piece is by Budour Hassan, a Palestinian anarchist and law graduate who is based in occupied Jerusalem. She writes about Weam Amasha, a Syrian from the occupied Golan Heights who was recently released from Israeli prison. You can follow Budour on twitter @Budour48.

-----

Elsewhere on twitter the argument between http://twitter.com/edwardedark and http://twitter.com/DarthNader continues.

klas batalo

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 26, 2012

anyone see this interview that darth nader did?

it seems really weird to me.

http://socialistworker.org/2012/10/24/organizing-the-fight-in-syria

Mark.

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 27, 2012

sabotage

anyone see this interview that darth nader did?

it seems really weird to me.

http://socialistworker.org/2012/10/24/organizing-the-fight-in-syria

An interview by email with the interviewee stating his group's line rather than personal opinions?

On Darth Nader's site, in the comments below the interview, someone has put up a link to this article:

Listen to what the Syrian popular movement and revolutionaries have to say!

I expect there's an element of trying to put doubts to one side while the fighting goes on.

klas batalo

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by klas batalo on October 27, 2012

yeah i just thought it was weird to find out this darth nader guy is an anarchist. and then the ISO published his interview with a pretty much pro-capitalist "non-sectarian" nationalist group.

Mark.

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on October 27, 2012

There seem to be quite a few people from the arab countries who are tweeting in English and identify as anarchists. I'd guess that most of them are fairly new to anarchism and still working out their ideas against a background of leftist and nationalist thinking. If their ideas are all over the place it's probably only to be expected. And in the case of Syria it's maybe not that obvious what position to take anyway. It's a shame that none of them post on libcom but I guess that's another indication of the move away from discussion forums to other kinds of social media. There's a Syrian - Homsi Anarchist - who regularly tweets links to libcom articles but as far as I know he's never posted here. I suppose any discussion with them would have to be on twitter, or in the comments on their blogs.

Entdinglichung

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on October 28, 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/27/syrian-rebels-kurds-clash-aleppo

Entdinglichung

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on October 29, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/news/sunday-28-october-2012/

Aleppo province: The SOHR reports that the arab rebel fighters have freed the Syrian-Kurdish civilians they arbitrarily detained 2 days ago near the town of Hayyan, they kidnapped more than 120 residents. The kidnapping occurred after clashes took place between fighters from the Arab rebel groups and members of the Kurdish popular defence units, which are under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). 30 people were killed in the violence, 8 Syrian-Kurd civilians were shot and killed when their protest marched towards a rebel checkpoint between the Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiya neighbourhoods of Aleppo; 22 combatants were killed by the clashes that ensued afterwards 19 Arab rebels, 3 Kurds.

Entdinglichung

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on October 31, 2012

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/30/obama_administration_works_to_launch_new_syrian_opposition_council

Many in the SNC are accordingly frustrated with the level of support they've gotten in Washington. "The Obama administration is trying to systematically undermine the SNC. It's very unfortunate," one SNC leader said told The Cable.

But U.S. officials are equally frustrated with an SNC they say has failed to attract broad support, particularly from the Alawite and Kurdish minorities. The new council is an attempt to change that dynamic. Dozens of Syrian leaders will meet in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Nov. 3 and hope to announce the new council as the legitimate representative of all the major Syrian opposition factions on Nov. 7, one day after the U.S. presidential election.

The Obama administration sees the new council as a potential interim government that could negotiate with both the international community and - down the line - perhaps also the Syrian regime. The SNC will have a minority stake in the new body, but some opposition leaders are still skeptical that the effort will succeed.

Mark.

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on November 6, 2012

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/24221

A close look at the Syrian revolution - an anarchist among jihadists

This could to some extent tell my situation when I was inside the "liberated territories" of Syria, that is the territories controlled by the free army, the armed forces of the Syrian opposition. But still it is not the whole truth. It is true that not all the free army militants are devoted jihadists, although most of them think, or say, that what they are practising is "Jihad". The truth is there are a lot of ordinary people, even thieves, etc. among them, as in any armed struggle.

My first and lasting impression about the current situation in Syria in that there is no more a popular revolution going on there; what is taking place there is an armed revolution that could degenerate simply into a civil conflict. The Syrian people, which has shown unprecedented courage and determination in the first few months of the revolution in defying Assad's regime despite all its brutality, is really exhausted now. 19 long months of fierce repression and lately of hunger, widespread scarcity and continuous bombardment by the regime's army, is weakening its spirit. Cynically, the beneficiary of all these hasn't been the regime, but the opposition, especially the Islamists. Depending on its international relationships, especially with the rich Gulf despotic governments, the opposition now can feed and support the hungry population in the areas controlled by its forces. Without such support, a grave humanitarian situation could be taking place.

But this support is not provided for free, neither by the Gulf rulers, nor by the opposition leaders. They are, like any other authoritarian force, asking the masses for submission and obedience. This in fact could only mean the real death of the Syrian revolution as a courageous popular act of the Syrian masses. Yes, I helped some jihadists to survive1 and others to go back to fight; but my real intention was to help the masses I belong to, firstly as a physician, and secondly, as an anarchist .

To tell the truth, I don't think that our problem is with Islam itself. Islam can also be egalitarian, or even anarchistic. In the history of Islam there have been scholars who called for a stateless and free Muslim society, even a free universe without any sort of authority. The problem with what is happening now in Syria is not only the difficult and bloody process of changing a ruthless dictatorship, but might even be worse: substituting it with another dictatorship, which could be worse and bloodier. Early in the revolution, a small number of people, mainly devoted Islamists, claimed to represent the revolting masses and self-appointed themselves to be the true revolutionaries, the true representative of the revolution. This went unchallenged by the mainstream of the revolutionary masses and intellectuals. We did oppose such authoritarian and even false claims, but we were, and still are, too few to make any real difference.

These people claimed that what was taking place was a religious war, not a mere revolution of oppressed masses against their oppressor. They very aggressively used the fact that the oppressor was from another sect of Islam, different from the sect of the majority of the people he is exploiting, a sect that has frequently been judged by Sunni scholars in the past to be against the teachings of true Islam, which is even worse than non-Muslims. We were shocked by the fact that the majority of Alawis, the sect of the current dictator, who are poorer and more marginalized than the Sunni majority, did support the regime; and that they were participating in his brutal suppression of the revolting masses. This came as "evidence" of the "actual religious war" taking place between Sunni and Alawis. And in this regard these people could really claim to be the real Sunni; they are Muslim scholars and they are so sectarian that no one can challenge them in this regard. In fact, they built their spiritual and moral authority before the material one.

Then came the material support from the Gulf rulers. Now the potential for any real popular struggle is decreasing rapidly; Syria is governed now by weapons; and only those who have them can have a say about its present and future. And that is true not only for Assad's regime and its Islamic opposition. Everywhere in the Middle East the great hopes are disappearing rapidly - in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. The Islamists seem to be getting all the benefits of the courageous struggles of the masses. And they could easily initiate the process of establishing their fanatical rule, without strong opposition from the masses. I could feel exactly like Emma Goldman felt in 1922 when she broke with the Bolsheviks and finally became disillusioned with their rule. In fact, no one in the whole Arab and Muslim world looks closer to the Bolsheviks nowadays than the Islamists. Even devoted Stalinists lack the full criteria of their ancestors, compared to the Islamists. For a long time they were badly repressed by local dictators, used to frighten the masses and the West; and because of that might have looked as if they were the most decisive part of the opposition to these dictatorships. At the same time, they really have the same efficient propaganda machine as the Bolsheviks did once. They are so authoritarian and aggressive, exactly as the Bolsheviks were during the decisive days of the October Revolution. So it seems logical that the Arab peoples opted to try them in power, or to accept their rise to power. Even to hope, as the Russian workers and peasants did once, that they could really create a better and different type of society. In the case of Emma Goldman, she awoke very early from such disillusion; for the masses, it took so long to realize the truth. Still Emma thought, rightly in my opinion: the masses were very right to rise up and try to change their miserable reality, the big "mistake", if it could be described as a mistake, was made by the authoritarian forces which sought to hijack the revolution. We still support the revolution, not its false "leaders".

Building the libertarian alternative: Anarchist propaganda and organization

The other issue that I think is so important for us, Arab anarchists and the Arab masses, is how to build the libertarian alternative: that is, how to initiate an effective anarchist or libertarian propaganda and how to build libertarian organizations. To tell the truth, I have never tried to convince anyone to be anarchist before. I have opted only for free dialogue between "equals" with everyone. I have never claimed that I know everything or that any anarchist or any other human being deserve to be the "guide" or the "leader" of others, that anyone deserve to be in the same position as the Pope, Muslim imams or the general secretary of any Stalinist or Leninist party. I have always thought that trying to affect others is another way to practice authority upon them. But now I see this issue from another perspective: it is all about making anarchism "available" or known to all those who want to fight any oppressing authority whose repression they are suffering from; be they workers, the unemployed, students, feminists, the youth or ethnic and religious minorities, etc. It is about trying to build an example or sample of the new free life in the body of a free or libertarian organisation; not only as a living manifestation of its potential presence, but also as a MEANS to achieve that society.

We have to make anarchism well known to all the slaves and victims of all the current suppressive systems and authorities. EFFECTIVE ANARCHIST PROPAGANDA is, I think, the first aim of such organizations. In a word, we are witnesses of the bankruptcy of the "secular" authoritarian trends (including the nationalist and Arab–nationalist, Stalinist and other verities of Leninism), and very soon the bankruptcy of the authoritarian religious ones. The future alternative should be, logically, a libertarian one. Of course, anarchism cannot be implanted artificially - it must be a "natural" product of the local masses' struggles. But still it will need good care and to be properly highlighted. This will be, supposedly, the role of our propaganda. Still there will be no "center" in our organisation, no bureaucracy, but still it is supposed to be as effective as its authoritarian counterparts, or even more efficient. Still our Stalin or Bonaparte is not in power, still the Syrian masses have the opportunity to get a better outcome than that of the Russian revolution. It is very true that this is difficult and is becoming more so every minute, but the revolution itself was a miracle, and on this earth the oppressed can create their miracles from time to time. This time also, we, Syrian anarchists, are putting all our cards and all our efforts with the masses. It could be no other way, or we would not deserve our libertarian name.

A Syrian comrade

  • 1I want here to give some details about this. In fact it wasn't easy for me to be among Jihadists, but for some reason, it wasn't the same to treat them as a doctor. For me, I was so clear - since the first moment I entered that front hospital where I was working - that I would treat anyone who needed my help, be they civilians, fighters from any group and religion or sect; and I was so convinced that no one could be mistreated inside that hospital, even if they were from Assad's army. I will insist here that my real problem, and that of the oppressed in general I think, is not with god himself, but with human beings who act as gods, who are so sick with authority that they think and act like gods, be they secular dictators like Assad or Islamic imams, etc. God himself is never as deadly dangerous as those who "speak" for him.

Stan Milgram

11 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Stan Milgram on November 8, 2012

klas batalo

yeah i just thought it was weird to find out this darth nader guy is an anarchist. and then the ISO published his interview with a pretty much pro-capitalist "non-sectarian" nationalist group.

The ISO publishing pro capitalist information? No way.

Entdinglichung

11 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Entdinglichung on November 25, 2012

http://supportkurds.org/news/saturday-24-november-2012/

Syrian Kurds join forces in standoff with rebels: Two main Kurdish groups have agreed to join forces in a standoff with hundreds of Islamist rebels in northeastern Syria, a Syrian Kurdish representative and an activist said on Friday.

Hundreds of fighters loyal to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – which has close [SKS comment - ideological links, not ties] ties to Turkey’s rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – have been locked in fierce battles with fighters of the jihadist Al-Nusra Front and allied Ghuraba al-Sham group in Ras al-Ain on the border with Turkey.

The agreement sets the stage for an expanded conflict in the area between Islamist rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian Kurdish forces.

“We initially agreed on forming these [joint] forces that do not belong to any side, and discussions are ongoing now” in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, Mohammed Rasho, a representative of the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan, which is close to the PYD, told AFP.

Talks on the formation of the joint forces between the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council, which comprises a number of Syrian Kurdish parties, began three days ago, Rasho said, adding that they took place under the supervision of the presidency of Iraqi Kurdistan.

An activist who identified himself as Havidar meanwhile said that “the two Kurdish national councils in western Kurdistan [Syria] have agreed in Iraq to create a united military force, bringing together PYD forces and other Kurdish dissidents” in Syria.

“Since the Free Syrian Army forces came to Kurdish areas, especially Ras al-Ain,” there was in the beginning “an understanding that they would limit their deployment to Arab areas,” said Rasho.

But after some time, rebel forces burned Kurdish flags that had been raised, and “clashes between us and them occurred in Kurdish areas,” he said.

Rasho added that rebel groups including the Tawhid Brigade, the main opposition formation in Aleppo, Ghuraba al-Sham and “sometimes” the Al-Nusra Front, “stand against Kurdish citizens.”

On July 11, the Kurdish National Council met in Iraq with the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan and decided to form the Supreme Kurdish Council.

Friday’s agreement was announced a day after the Ghuraba al-Sham called in a video posted on the Internet for Islamist volunteers to flock to Ras al-Ain for a drive on the provincial capital Hasakeh,www.ekurd.net whose population is majority Kurdish.

“We of the Ghuraba al-Sham battalion call on the [mainstream rebel] Free Syrian Army and the mujahedeen to advance towards Ras al-Ain. Increase our numbers so that we can free the city of Hasakeh,” an unidentified rebel commander said in the footage, standing among some 50 fighters.

“And we warn all those who stand in the way of this revolt… especially the PYD and the PKK, and any other armed group, against taking any action that contradicts the path of the revolution,” he added.

Syria’s Arab-led rebels accuse the PYD of being in cahoots with Assad’s regime.

Northern and northeastern Syria are home to the majority of the country’s two million Kurds.

In July, the army withdrew from majority Kurdish areas, leaving the ethnic group’s militia to fend for the minority’s safety.

Although Syria’s Kurds are opposed to the Assad regime, most have sought to remain neutral in the armed rebellion seeking to topple him.

Over time, they have been dragged into the fighting, after rebel assaults on majority Kurdish areas in key northern provinces.

jonthom

11 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jonthom on December 23, 2012

[youtube]O7GHrJdZY3I[/youtube]

Mark.

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mark. on March 3, 2013

On 17 February 2013, the Local Coordination Committees of the Syrian revolution reported that Omar Aziz, prominent Syrian intellectual, economist, and long-time anarchist dissident, died of a heart attack in the central Adra prison...

https://budourhassan.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/omar-aziz/

Authored on
March 25, 2011