Archive for the 'Assad' Category

HIRISE

The ‘new’ HIRISE developments in Libya point to the spread of the complex region wide wars that are now a permanent state in our current era of a slow motion great depression.

Egyptian thug ruler Sisi has just threatened to intervene if the Libyan government continue their offensive saying “Sirte and Jufra are the red line.” so naturally there has been a response from the Libyan government

I don’t think a major war is imminent but if a major war eventually breaks out, after the years of slaughter in Syria, it wouldn’t surprise many in the region. I wonder how many Marxists it would surprise?

No doubt ½ theorists are all aware that penniless Putin-not-quite-Tsar of all the Russians, has sent a small ‘mercenary’ (Wagner group) air force contingent to a Libyan base and that those aircraft have overflown Sirte.

Then a couple of days ago the Egyptian coup leader Sisi declared this Jufra air base right at the center of Libya part of his ‘red line’ Club Med Protectorate.  This coalition of the willing anti-democrats includes the UAE as a banker for the project and has both Saudi and even French support. This coalition is defying the UN arms embargo, and the UN recognized government, protected as it is by Turkey (supported by Italy).

Having lost the fight for the whole of Libya another enclave ‘solution’ is being established with a foundation of Russian air power. The inland air base and the city of Sirte on the coast splits the country. Libya is currently being broken into chunks -like Syria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have been from previous renditions of the Putin playbook.

Putin obviously has a belief in Russian ‘greatness’ and the basic method of war fighting that made it a great power.  Peter, Catherine even Stalin and now Putin apparently.  Grab and hold territory seams to be about as crude as it gets. He knows how the territory he controls was historically established; looks like he didn’t get the memo about this being the 21st century.  But I suppose he could reason that if it’s good enough for Israel to annex other peoples land…

In the 21stC, long after it was well known that nations want liberation and ‘countries want independence’, the democratic revolution for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is being vigorously resisted by the fascists in a peculiar new COW.

The KSA and the UAE have got on board with Russia and Egypt and at the same time have backed right off in the case of Syria.  The KSA having threatened the country of Qatar (that was then granted complete protection by the Turks as a response) and then after murdering Khashoggi in Turkey have fallen out with Turkey completely.  They know that Turkey is serious about bringing their own system -democracy- to Syria.  So the ruling elite of the KSA and the UAE know what’s in their interests.  Wahhabi extremism is being wound back in the UAE and the KSA.  Even as the hated Shia are still being targeted in the northern parts of the country and down in Yemen.

Predictably, that currently in power side is fighting back so that gangster-ism is preserved in these countries just as it is being extended or more accurately deepened, across the world in places like Hong Kong.

Push is at shove and western leadership is not up to the task of effectively resisting the gangster regimes, so western interests that actually start with the spread of the democratic revolution are and will continue to suffer. The ‘west’ is a headless chook and sanctions are virtually all the current western ruling elites are using to push back.  Like a Maginot line policy, it can’t work!  The US military sits brooding on the sidelines while the enemy flaunts their interventions and simultaneous shameless denials.

Putin started his rule by turning the Chechen capital of Grozny to rubble; and then running the whole region as a gangster region. He couldn’t hold all of the Ukraine so he simply invaded and took what ‘Russian sectors’ he could get hold of. He did the same earlier with Georgia when the Georgians wanted to stop gangsters operating in their country. It’s what he has done in Syria where he has run up against an immovable opponent in democratic Turkey. Putin can’t put in the effort that the democratic Turks can and do, so thankfully, this ‘problem’ of the democracy seeking Syrian peoples -now with a people’s army backstopped by Turkey- won’t go away.

Putin can and does make sure that they do have to put in that huge effort for every square kilometre.

Putin thinks he’s a world scale map maker. He isn’t. He’s a slow acting poison that’s destroying the Russian economy. He makes enemies on every border and he has distant but unstable ‘friends’.

Eventually, Europe will have to accept the price that must be paid for it’s clear self interest and effectively help Turkey as it continues pushing back against Russia. Eventually, so the theory goes, no respectable country will do business with the Russians and a repeat of the collapse of the USSR will unfold. But how long that takes is an unknown known.

How many ‘non-respectable’ countries will do the required business is a relevant factor. How long can the fascists in countries like Egypt and Iran keep their people terrorized and prevent them achieving democratic norms?  Democratic revolution for the MENA is underway and will not be stopped. Draining this swamp is the big picture but Syria has shown the world what preventing democracy looks like and does so as a direct comparison to the US enabling democracy in Iraq by destroying just the mechanized aspect of the Baathist army.  That still left the vast bulk of the human element of that army still around for the Iraqi masses to take on over a protracted period of war.  There had not yet been the years of systematic fighting comparable to the annihilation of the nazi troops in WW2 and of course there had to be.  These fighters were not just going to vanish.  The Iraqi peoples could now realistically deal with them and they did!  Why all along the rotten western liberals lamented the new conditions in Iraq.  Lamented the terrible mistake!  We can all see the price that dealing with them cost in an inescapable war that democrats must wage and we can all see the comparison with not destroying the mechanized element as Obama who agrees with Trump demonstrated to the world in Syria!

Jump to 2020 and ‘In late May, USAFRICOM reported that at least 14 MiG-29s and several Su-24s were flown from Russia to Syria, their Russian markings were painted over to camouflage their Russian origin! These aircraft were then flown into Libya in direct violation of the United Nations arms embargo.’ https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/32941/new-evidence-of-russian-aircraft-active-in-li

This is a textbook Russian deployment to oppose democracy. These airplanes are more than ‘ trip wire’ platforms and they will be at work soon enough killing any advancing revolutionaries. The Russian and the Egyptian fascists know they will be fighting ‘soon’. When they eventually start their attacks the danger of a clash with the Turks-or the US-is very real. So they would rather win by bluff.  This is push and shove enclave building! But if something does go wrong what then? Would this spread a consequence back to Syria? Who knows.  Often enough ‘from little things big things grow’ so we’ll all watch this space with more than just a little interest.

I for one hope something does ‘go wrong’ because it’s better to fight now than to let the Russians and the Egyptians take over half of Libya (and the oil rich half at that).

It seems that the Turkish ‘push’ in defense of democracy has brought on the anti-democratic shove back and the big picture for the MENA is all moving along as not much more than another front to the Syrian adventure for Russia. All just another logical step for the Russian military adventurers. But in 2020 NATO is split and the US is openly in LA LA land with a self obsessed POTUS. The prize for Russia could be seen or imagined to be potentially very big and the UAE and even the KSA is footing the bill no less. That thinking is a total illusion but look at the track record of Russian war making since Putin took charge. His type rather obviously sees the world very differently than I do.

At this point (4 years into the ‘Wagner’ meddling in Libya) it resembles a rerun of the Syrian play of almost 5 years ago. So it looks like Putin is a reasonably predictable gangster and this time he has huge numbers of allied ‘infantry’ from Egypt ready to occupy. This time Russia is fully backed by the neighborhood power who has made everything crystal clear. This time it ALSO includes the KSA and the UAE and has French and even some US support -sort of- yet it’s almost the same beast that has turned vast amounts of built Syria to rubble.  Russia is still central to the whole coalition project. Russia is a massive arms dealer!  What could be better than another display and the constant rat-a-tat use of the expensive ammo?  Not to mention some blood for the oil that Libya is full of, and boy are the Russian and Egyptians keen on that black ‘gold’.

It’s not really a major escalation to this part of this region’s wars at all. It’s as predictable as reminding everyone that Sisi and Putin are world class gangsters. It very effectively lays a godfather’s claim to dominating not just ½ the country of Libya but as time goes on it must be expected to build and eventually present a size 14 footprint in Africa where Russia is already, according to a US report ‘… the number one arms dealer in Africa. Russia continues to profit from violence and instability across the continent. Russian government backed PMCs, such as the Wagner Group, are active in sixteen countries across Africa. It is estimated that there are about 2,000 Wagner Group personnel in Libya.’ !

These Russian aircraft are being run by so-called mercenaries! Please…the Russian state even orders the murder of people on the streets of England! They have given the US a chance with silly denial to go to war against ‘mercenaries’ but they are dealing with Obama’s replacement, so that is no problem for them. The Russians will get away with this! The Club Med stop over in Syria now has a further purpose for transit movements even further south.

Now you would expect that if say Bolton, were POTUS, he would crush this move right now but HE was on the wrong horse from where he would have had to back flip, and anyway despite Bolton’s errors, alas Trump is POTUS. Macron and Trump! How bad can this get? The world still has 6 months of this farce and then we get Joe Alzheimer!

Speaking of Joe, why NOT select Michelle Obama for VP, and let Mr Charming loose on the Corona restrained campaign trail? After all Bill and Hillary almost pulled it off and there is this big Black Lives Matter movement to exploit. Every 4 years like clockwork, out comes the Democrat race card and they have played it early this time. Now given how much I despise his 8 long years of ‘anti-war’ Syria policies – of turning away from mass murder- I can’t say I’m keen for another dose in the form of Bumbling Joe and Mrs O. I am however fully prepared for it.

2 years into his term Joe Biden might even hand over the baton! Reagan didn’t though and they got through that. I’m keen to see what’s going to unfold over in LA LA land. We will all just have to wait to see the morning come when all these gifts to humanity have been unwrapped. How exciting for the hysterical anti-Trumpers. I expect even more idiocy from the US in the face of aggressive Chinese and Russian fascism. I expect nothing sensible from Boris and the Euro in-breds for a few years yet.  In short, the government I expect to carry the burden is headed by Erdogan as has been the case for the last 4 years.

Anyway; so everyone currently knows what is going on in Libya and yet…silence.

The Egyptians are now standing up as a senior member of the messy HIRISE cow.

The US military in the region are furious but so what? The US military leadership are not happy they don’t want advanced Russian weapons systems targeting them from Libya! Trump’s military advisors may even think like Bolton and even be able to execute the back flip, but given Trump’s current anti-war stand they would be very slow to get any progress with him. I’m sure Trump could care less about a major point of conflict developing in Club Med land. He’ll easily resist getting drawn in and is to the extent that he would understand it, opposed to drain the swamp theory because he likes the old policies of backing strongmen. People that he thinks he can understand and do business with! His moves with Israel are the antithesis of a sensible retreat from the failed war for Greater Israel. Trump would rather go with the old policies that kept thugs like al Sisi in power, though even Sisi knows it’s against the US interests as famously spelt out by Condoleeza Rice in Cairo no less.

Something very dramatic would have to happen for Trump to win re-election from here. The only thing he has going for him is that he is up against Biden. But on the assumption that nothing that dramatic unfolds AND that Biden doesn’t just implode in some manner (and that can’t be ruled out) I’m calling Trump gone! Trump’s presidency will have ended before anything dramatic happens unless somebody spectacularly miscalculates and events run well ahead of all expectations.

Unfortunately as far as the next 2-3 year period is concerned this next 4 months is crucial for the MENA’s democratic revolution. Turkey is now carrying a huge load, and Egypt in throwing it’s ‘reserve’ strength on the scale is bound to bring on a cautious next step from Turkey. Actually, Erdogan has always danced this revolution backwards, while the HIRISE take the lead in direct opposition to the masses striving for the ‘Arab Spring’. He’s a conservative and has always behaved like one. No doubt with the rear view mirror he would have done things differently but so would ½ theorists! The real issue is how do we all stand now?

In this global supply chain era, the catastrophic disruption of this interestingly inconsistent pandemic has brought on an inevitable long term economic ‘unwinding’. That’s simply because capitalism in recession is musical chairs and the music has stopped; consequently who owns what is an international issue that is resolved right at the top of countries like Russia and China; just as is on display right now in Syria with their massive falling out at the top of the dung heap. It will take some time, and currently no one knows where this depression is headed off to; but as this all attempts to work through over the next few years the one clear issue that we can predict is that it just can’t be good news for the people’s in countries like Iran, Egypt, Syria etc. They are held in blatant open bondage while mass poverty now spreads in all directions. Once the sullen masses are on the streets again all bets will be off. But these ruling Cabals have focused their minds on how the Syrian tyranny has clung to power, as the alternative is a grim prospect for them. In the end these countries are ‘giants with feet of clay’.

The current gold medal of hanging onto power is the Syrian model. The anti-democrats around the world have learned by this example to resort to mass murder as rapidly and savagely as the Assad regime. Terror is now the first and only choice for Egypt and Iran and similar places. And they need a Godfather gangster supply chain like Russia has been!

A great example of the shrinking Russian play pond is the behavior of the thug leader of Belarus who has just arrested his political opponent prior to upcoming elections. They move on their opponents because they are worried! Police state Russia is rapidly heading in the same direction as Egypt and Iran.

Meanwhile al Sisi has simultaneously drawn a clear and blood red line that divides the ‘former’ country of Libya and denies the right of the current.Libyan government to recover the rebellious east! Given the history of Obama and his Syrian red line – that turned out to be no line at all there ought to be no mistake about what this statement is about. Turkey is standing firm but, without the US and a united NATO, is I think a little overstretched. If Egypt intervenes in a really big way, and I think that they have then Turkey will be stretched in just recovering Sirte. Uniting the entire country is beyond them at this stage. So without the US and Europe, Russia is now putting down it’s footprint!

Egypt and Russia (funded by the UAE) have in a business as usual manner for Putin effectively divided Libya with a small military force and the threat of a much larger one – all while talking about a political settlement. They are (on this front as they are in Yemen once again supported by the Saudi regime that is (or were) at one and the same time opposed to their Syrian HIRISE developments. Welcome to the MENA. HIRISE have established either a ‘state of war OR enclave’s; take your pick!’ This is the situation in another ‘civil war’ that they have been meddling in for 4 years. The Turks had turned up some months back and undone the situation and this is the response to that reversal.

From a revolutionary democrat POV (and in this region that means an Islamist POV) HIRISE elements can’t be permitted to get away with this if the revolution is to make any progress! But note this; the Islamists in the Libyan regime are so infiltrated with Al Qaeda sorts, that the Macron led French are stupidly collaborating with the Russians and the Egyptian thug regimes. Macron in this practice does not accept the drain the swamp theory! This is particularly confusing to me as the French have been involved with fighting Islamofascists all around Libya for some years now, with the Mali intervention being only perhaps the most public.

The Italians are on side with the Turks so NATO is thus divided! Unfortunately the latest nutter attack in England is from a young man with Libyan background! That is going to colour public attitudes to Islamist led governments. Erdogan has got a hard row to hoe and is currently (because they are still at war) intervening against the PKK in Iraq. There are however good signs that the Kurds in Turkey want this war ended and the democratic developments they were enjoying under Erdogan resumed. I for one hope the PKK leadership wake up to themselves and stop their collaboration with Assad and return to the productive ceasefire that existed prior to the Syrian war destroying that better situation. The Kurdish peoples’ of the region have much to gain from the democratic revolution and nothing to gain from Assad style tyranny continuing to exist.

The general commander of People’s Defense Units (YPG) in an interview with SOHR, “We view al- Hasakah as a nucleus of the new democratic Syria

From the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
October 1 2015
For those on Face Book the SOHR has a regular update on clashes and casualties etc..

“Daesh is a force of darkness, it bears no relation to Islam and the humanity, and we appeal to our Arab brothers, who left their villages and towns, to go back home”.

“The war may continue for ten years; it is the nations’ game on my the land of my country, where the victim in this war is my people”.

In these words, Siban Hammo the general commander of People’s Defense Units (YPG) concluded his interview with SOHR.

People’s Defense Units, known by YPG too, established a military force in the last four years, where the number of its fighters reached to 50000. The nucleus formation began in the Syrian Jaziar with the end of 2011, where it was able to achieve victories against “Islamic State” as well as its clashes with the regime forces, Jabhat al- Nusra (al- Qaeda in Levant) and Islamist factions in successive periods. It military formations have distributed in three main region where the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is combined with People’s Defense Units (YPG) within the Democratic Society System, declared the establishment of 3 districts of al- Jazira, Efrin and Kobani in the late January 2014.

YPG has gained world-wide fame during IS attack on Ayn al- Arab (Kobani) and seizing more than 356 towns, villages and farms that guided to the military alliance between YPG and US-led coalition. SOHR could interview the general commander of YPG Siban Hammo, where the main points on the Kurdish and Syrian arena in general.

First of all, how do identify YPG?

“best definition of it is its name People’s Defense Units, its fundamental pillar is the young Syrian Kurdish men who are militarily disciplined, while its mission is to protect the people in Rojava in all its constituents under these deadly mess in the cantons of Rojava”. Rojava is an expression for the regions inhabited mostly by Kurdish people in Syria.

Is it faction from the Krilla forces – the military wing of PKK? And does it fight on Turkish territories with PKK?

“YPG is a military force belongs to the Democratic Self- Management in Rojava, and it is fighting in fierce battles to protect its regions, so YPG has no interest to open a front with Turkey expanding to hundreds of kilo meters, this is a military suicide, and what is said on the contrary of this is meaningless and does not merit a response.

What is your response to the accusations of recruiting children?

“We have issued a lot of statement in response to these allegations but it seems that some people insist on repeating this just to defame the good reputation gained by YPG, we all know who recruit children as fighters and suicide bombers by the name of Jihad.”

What is the relationship between the Self- Defense Forces, which was announced some time ago, and YPG? Is it an attempt to increase YPG personnel obligatorily? And is it a permanent or temporary step?

“The Self- Defense is a step to organize a permanent protection, where the society in all its constituents protects its self, and to that time YPG stays the most experienced in defending our areas. For this reason, the Self- Defense is a goal we seek to reach to, and its first step was YPG.”

Now, let talk about the hottest event, what is the story behind the last clashes in al- Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo?

“To answer this question, we have to see the whole picture, provocations have started by attacking our areas in the villages of Deir Ballout and Diwan as well as kidnapping civilians and banditry; the last one was the attempt of arm-twisting by their attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud believing that it is the weakest link because it is far from the center of gravity Efrin and due to the difficulties of ensuring logistic support, as the neighborhood besieged for more than a week and the humanitarian situation there is so bad specially because the neighborhood is inhabited by more than 250000 civilians from all society constituents.

We also draw attention to the point that the national members in the opposition were disturbed about this attack on the neighborhood of al- Sheikh Maqsoud, I, in turn, wondered and would you like you to wonder like me, who benefit from this attack? And who benefit from opening a front against the kurds? What is the advantages?

“Simply, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Soltan Morad Brigade and Ahrar al- Sham Movement are agents for another force in fighting Kurds, and this force or the third-party gave them the orders to open this front.”

What is the prospect of the battle in Aleppo, is it a defensive or offensive measure?

“From our side, the battle is defensive, we respond to the sources of fire and protect the outskirt of the neighborhood. But if the same situation continue surely we are going take more stringent measures, and we are going to change the battle into the offensive position, I do not say that we are going to control more areas but I assure that we are going to hurt them and targeting their held areas.”

Do you think that Ahrar al- Sham, Jabhat al- Nusra, al- Zinki and other factions may alley themselves to attack Efrin?

“Jabhat al- Nusra believe in Bay’ah (in Islamic terminology, is an oath of allegiance to a leader) and does not believe in alliances simply because it does not believe in partnership, it endeavors to control all the factions exist in its-held areas whether by force or enticement by lining the pockets.

In addition, it is practically controls Nour al- Din Zinki Movement, part of al- Shamiyyah Front like al- Sham Legion and even with Soqor al- Jabal battalions supported by US. However, anyone refuses to join Jabhat al- Nusra is going to be assassinated as what happened to Hazem Movement, the Syrian revolutionaries Front and the Division Jabhat al- Nusra is unveiling the reality of its method that is assassination or control, and after that it will mobilize against Efrin. Here, I want to add something, it saddened us that there are some people in the Free Syrian Army who do not differ from Jabhat al- Nusra in their actions.”

Is the truce in Kefrayya and al- Fu’ah in the countryside of Idlib will have negative effect on Efrin particularly on Atmah and Jandirs front?

“We do not count very much on this agreement as it is a periodical and tactical one, we hope to be a success to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of civilians, women and children on both sides. However, as realistic reading, we do not expect it to be a success especially after a lot of breaches occurred in the past 2 days. Concerning Jabhat al- Nusra, we are enemies and what made the situation getting worse is the declarations issued by it several times that when they finish fighting in al- Fu’ah they are going to attack Efrin. Regardless al- Zabadani – al- Fu’ah agreement, the war between us has been declared for a time sometimes directly and sometime indirectly.”

How do you evaluate the current the situation in al- Hasakah, and what is your goal in the area?

“From the military aspect, the situation from al- Hasakah to Kobani is a defensive one. So, after expelling Daesh from al- Hasakah, Kobani and Tal Abyad our units are deployed defensively to repel any possible attack carried by IS militants.

“We view al- Hasakah as a nucleus of the new democratic Syria. For this reason, we are working on establishing joint councils includes Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, and on increasing the communication among all constituents. So, the success of our project in al- Hasakah is the motivation to fine similar solution that could be applied on the whole Syria where Syria will be free and democratic for all people.

What about the ongoing military actions in the countryside of Ayn al- Arab (Kobani)?

“The military operation in the countryside of Kobani is under the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat that includes YPG and some factions of the Free Army, so this operation is going to continue until we reach al- Raqqa and expel Daesh from it. YPG is committed to providing all kinds of support to the factions of the Free Army affiliated to the military operation room of Burkan al- Forat in order to defeat Daesh and retake al- Raqqa.”

Were you going to achieve these glory victories in Ayna al- Arab (Kobani) without US-led coalition support?

“To be realistic, we cannot deny the role offered by US-led coalition in Koabani battle but frankly speaking, I confirm that the legendary resistance and courage of our fighters as well as their ability to scarify their blood were behind these victories. So, US-led coalition had an important role but it is not the basic one.

Under these victories, there are some parties accuse you of seeking to secede from Syria in order to establish a Kurdish entity.

“These are false accusations, the Turkish government underlies them where it tries to portray any Kurdish strife as if it is a secessionist movement. Rather, those who repeat these accusations should communicate with us and see our project, then they will discover that our main project for Syria is establishing a pluralist parliamentary democratic system, and that it is Syrian project par excellence for all the constituents of Syrian people. It is the real guarantee for the unity of Syria, so stop repeating Erdogan speech like parrots. I would like also to ask them, is the stay of Daesh in Jarablos and the countryside of Aleppo is a guarantee for the unity of Syria?!”

What is your response about that YPG displaces the Arabs from their regions?

Frankly speaking, we got bored of these blatant lies and falsehoods, we issued a formal statement about that, as well as many human rights organizations have refuted these allegations. In war, it is very normal that the civilians will leave the clashing areas towards safer places, and that what happened in all the clashing areas in Syria from Horan to Qameshlo, but those who have been disturbed by our victories and tolerance and humanity turned to confuse what we have achieved. In addition, we have repeatedly launched appeals for the citizens to return to their homes, and allow me to reiterate the call from your rostrum to all citizens on order to come back to their homes.”

Too much talk about your relation with the regime especially after al- Hasakah clashes, how do you explain this relation if any?

“These accusations are the same of accusations of seeking to secede, so those who repeat such accusations have closed their minds on two ways, whether to be with me or with the regime. I said to them we the are the third line. Our revolution against injustice and tyranny has its own special way that is nor similar to anything. We are convinced of the impossibility of the military solution for the Syria crisis but it should be a cultural, intellectual and political one. Therefore, we depend on ensuring protection to the citizen who will build new democratic Syria; the peaceful Syria. We are friends of people and friends of all those who want democracy and equality.

Earlier, you held a truce with Jabhat al- Nusra and other Islamist factions, if there is any mediation are you going to hold a truce with “Islamic State”?

“Our conviction is that Daesh is a force of darkness, it bears no relation to Islam and the humanity, even it is criminal force established to destroy all what is human. In my opinion, there is no big difference between Jabhat al- Nusra and Daesh but the war with al- Nusra is a little bit complicated because there are a lot of Syrians in its ranks and because there are some parties attempting to burnish its image on media. As for the truce, there was no truce between only Jabhat al- Nusra and us but it always was with several factions and Jabhat al- Nusra was signing with them on the truce.”

Lastly, what is your vision for the realistic solution of Syria crisis?

Unfortunately, what is happening in Syria, we can call it clashes of titans; it is more like a third world war, where the major powers are fighting to divide the zones of influence in the world.”

“The solution is not in the hand of Syrian now, it is related with the contesting powers, we see it a war of change of maps, divisions, agreements and mentalities that are hundreds years old. Syria is also a conflict center and the solution of disputes will be on its land. Unfortunately, our point of view is that the war may take dozens of years, and all what the Syrian people can do is having the will and the attempt to achieve a joint project that protects them, reduce the losses and help them to promote strongly at the end of war.”

“The war will not stop in Syria but it will extend to all the Middle East and my extend more than that, and then will see a reverse migration from all countries towards Syria which will be the safest country.”

The myth of the “Secularism” of the Assads

WRITTEN BY JEAN -PIERRE FILIU, translated by Mary Rizzo

04/07/2014 or 07/04/2014 Oz time

fromwewritewhatwelike

Among the arguments put forward constantly by proponents of the Syrian dictatorship , standing out is the presumed ” secularism” of the Assad regime. It is striking that “secularism” is associated with the illusory protection of minorities (while the percentage of Christians in the Syrian population has halved since the advent of Hafez Assad in 1970) and the promotion of women’s rights.

Yet these two concepts have nothing to do with secularism, which expresses the neutrality of the State towards all faiths, whether they can be labelled as religious or not. The French Republic had built its secularism during the crisis with the Catholic Church and the events that emerged thereof.

The separation of church and state in 1905, in France came 40 years before the right to vote for women. And the French Revolution had, according to the famous formula of one of its members, recognised establishment of the rights of religious minorities as rights due to citizens, and not to a community.

This has not prevented the Arab dictators to enhance the idea of their “commitment” to the emancipation of women (Ben Ali in Tunisia) or for the protection of minorities (Copts in Egypt by Mubarak). This has brought about a paternalistic strategy of their propaganda towards the population (“without me, poor subjects, there exists only the greatest threat), and their seemingly “progressive” appearance on the international scene (I’m the only bulwark against the forces of darkness, Islamism, or Al Qaeda).

Yet, never has been such a lie been brought to the level that the Assad regime has taken it.

Hafez al-Assad, the founder of the dynasty, took power in 1970 against those who drafted – the year before – the only constitution in the history of Syria that could actually be described as “secular “. Assad the father “regulated” his manoeuver with a masquerade election, in 1971, attributing 99.2% of the votes to its sole candidate.

It amended the Constitution in 1973 to guarantee the explicit belonging of the Head of State to the Muslim religion.

The term “secularism” is absent from the official propaganda, which celebrates its successes with the words “socialist” and “nationalist” of the Assad regime. In 1979, the Syrian Baath Party, officially “Arab” and “socialist”, had allied with the Islamic Republic of Iran against the Iraqi Baath Party. This alliance, sealed by the war launched by Tehran against Baghdad in 1980, remains the same until this day.

Assad father and son support a Ministry of Religious Affairs (known as “Waqf”) and a Mufti of the Republic to establish an Islamic bureaucracy. The management of a body of religious officials is the exact opposite of the secular separation of religion and state. In Syria, the Imams are expected every Friday to celebrate the glory of the Head of State and his achievements.

In addition to this ministry integrated with the machine politics of the dictatorship, Assad has co-opted Sunni personalities, responsible for consolidating the presidential legitimacy in the ranks of the majority community in Syria. We should remember that, in the absence of official statistics, the percentage of Sunnis in Syria is estimated at four-fifths (mainly Arabs, with a Kurdish minority) and 12% are Alawites (all ethnically Arabs).

Among these public figures, the most notable were Kaftaro Sheikh Ahmad, who died in 2004, and Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti, who was killed in a bombing in 2013. Both were known for their unconditional support to the Assad regime, and their vigorous attacks against the principle of secularism, which was considered as godlessness.

In February 2006, it was in Damascus where there were the most violent protests against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the press of the West: the Syrian secret police organised events that led to the attack of the French Embassy and the destruction of the embassies of Denmark and Norway.

Those who still believe in the “secularism” of Bashar al-Assad could, for example, see this press release by Government Information (SANA) relative to the preaching at the end of Ramadan 2012 (Eid al-Fitr): “The sheikh leading the ceremony praised the struggle of the Head of State at the service of Islam against “conspiracy and terrorism.”

http://sana.sy/fra/51/2012/08/19/437134.htm

But there are none so deaf as those who will not hear …

* Jean -Pierre Filiu is a university lecturer at Sciences Po (Paris).

Arabist and historian, specialist in contemporary Islam.

After a long diplomatic career, he devoted himself to academic research, and has held various positions at prestigious American universities. He is the author of several important books on the Middle East and his essays have been published in a dozen languages ​​.

One of his latest books is dedicated to Syria: “I am writing of Aleppo” (Denoël , 2013).

Original: http://syriemdl.net/2014/04/02/le-mythe-de-la-laicite-des-assad/