Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 6th, 2011

There is this logical hypothesis that says:  “The security and stability of Lebanon is linked to the security and stability of Syria”.  This rational contention is based on the facts that first, we share borders with only Syria and Palestine/Israel, and second, that Syria is 18 times larger than Lebanon and over 5 times the population of Lebanon and third, that most of daily trades in the provinces close to Syria are done with Syrians because our central government is the weakest in the world and never cares to do any planning or catering to the needs for quality of life of the Lebanese citizens.

There is this evidence that says: “Since the Baath party took power in Syria in the early 60’s, Lebanon never experienced a state of security and stability.”  When Hafez Assad, father of current President Bashar Assad, grabbed power by a military coup in 1971, Lebanon suffered insecurity and instability at grand scale.

Even before the 1973 war against Israel, Hafez Assad blackmailed Lebanon and handicapped its commercial activities by closing the borders for months.   It is true that the Lebanese had to pay the big price, in the long-term, for not joining Syria and Egypt in declaring war on Israel in 1973, and being considered as not worth sharing in the spoil of war, but why Lebanon has to be punished with 13 years of atrocious civil war?

If we have to agree to the opinion that Syria enjoyed 40 years of security and stability, evidence points to the fact that Lebanon stability and security was not that linked to Syria’s political situation.  Is there any contradiction?

Truth is simple: Syria was never fundamentally stable and secure in the last 40 years, and neither would Lebanon enjoy any stability.  It were all smokescreens fictitious stability in Syria, overshadowed by steady socialist economic development, but Syria lacked serious political stability for any worthwhile long-term improvement in political reforms and enhancing the Syrians confidence in expressing their emotional and mental potentials.

The latest mass demonstrations raised the slogan:  “We are not hungry for food.  We want to change the political regime (nizam):  We will no longer accept indignity (zul).”

The Syrian one-party Baath regime, ruled by a minority Alawi sect clan, never dared take the plunge for emancipating the citizens in expressing their free opinions on reforms.  The Syrian regime kept its peace with Israel and the US because it wanted to preserve its clannish hold on power.  Syria of the Assad clan didn’t care about the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, because the regime didn’t want to handle a virulent minority as the Druze.

The Druze citizens in the Houran and the Golan Heights were hotbed of uprising since the French mandate in 1918, and few Syrian Presidents, after independence, didn’t send military campaigns in these provinces to mate serious upheavals.

Syria has been blackmailed for 40 years by the US, France, and Israel because they knew how precarious this regime was.  Syria of the Assad clan delivered on the US dictates and demands and also received ruinous  political compensations as a mandate over Lebanon.  The one political demand that Syria could not agree upon was signing a peace treaty with Israel:  The resilient Syrian citizens could accept a lot of crap, but would never support a regime signing peace with Israel, an enemy for its existence.  Besides, the regime didn’t have to handle the Druze minority.

In 1980, the Syrian citizens in the city of Hama declared a mass uprising against Hafez regime.  The Syrian troops loyal to Hafez Assad didn’t dare enter the city:  Women and girls were committing kamikaze (suicide attacks) on Assad troops.  For two years, Hafez tried to lure the US to obtaining  green light to squashing this revolt. In 1982, Assad bombarded the city of Hama with heavy guns and helicopters, and entered in his tanks.  Information of what happened then didn’t leak in a timely manner.  Even today, all we know is that no less than 10,000 casualties were victims of this savage genocide.

Political prisoners were sent to Palmyra (Tadmor).  The prisoners revolted and one thousands were executed; setting the example for Qadhafi to doing the same in 1986.  It is reported that, every Monday and Thursday, a bunch of prisoners were selected to be hanged publicly in Palmyra prison.  There are mass graves by a hill in Palmyra and nobody dare pay a visit to the dead ones.

Who do you think was the maestro for these massacres?  He was General Canaan, the main representative of Hafez in Lebanon during Syria mandate till 1995.  General Canaan was made minister of the interior during Bashar and then ordered to commit suicide:  Bashar wanted to put a lid to a nasty witness to 30 years of atrocities.  It is estimated that 17,000 Syrian political figures were executed and over one million Syrians went through prison terms for their political positions.

Turkey is aghast of Syria’s slow reforms after the mass upheavals in the last three weeks and putting the pressures for serious political changes.  The Syrian oligarchy is well entrenched and Bashar might not be able to impress upon them.  Actually, Bashar exhibited far more cruelty and intransigence in his first 10 years than his father managed to show in the 70’s.  The most efficient method for change in Syria is for Bashar Assad to resign his Presidency and let the oligarchy face the people’s wrath.

If Bashar want to salvage the economic progress and political weight of Syria in the Arab world, he has to resign now before it is too late.  In any case, it is a lost cause for Bashar to think that smokescreen reforms would do it.




April 2011

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