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Posts Tagged ‘Robin Yassin-Kassab

Syrian Democracy

Robin Yassin-Kassab. Qunfuz

(I can’t blame you or the western states if you think Syrians are condemned to an unpleasant binary choice, between Assad and the jihadists: Media don’t care about social developing details on the ground)

Interviewing activists, fighters and refugees for our book “Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War”, we discovered the democratic option is very real, if terribly beleaguered.

To the extent that life continues in the ‘liberated’ but brutally bombed areas – areas independent of both Assad and ISIS – it continues because self-organised local councils are supplying services and aid.

For example, Daraya, a suburb west of Damascus now suffering its fourth year under starvation siege, is run by a council. Its 120 members select executives by vote every six months. The council head is chosen by public election. The council runs primary schools, a field hospital, a public kitchen, and manages urban agricultural production. Its military office supervises the Free Syrian Army militias defending the town.

Amid constant bombardment, Daraya’s citizen journalists produce a newspaper, Enab Baladi, which promotes non-violent resistance. In a country once known as a ‘kingdom of silence’, today there are more than 60 independent newspapers and tens of free radio stations.

And as soon as the bombing eases, people return to the streets with their banners. Recent demonstrations against Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaida’s Syrian franchise) across Idlib province indicate that the Syrian desire for democracy burns as fiercely as ever.

After five years of horror, protestors repeat the original revolutionary slogans of freedom and unity. Assad, having no answer to this, bombs the province’s marketplaces in reply.

Where possible (in about 45% of cases), the local councils are democratically elected – the first free elections in half a century. For the poor, these are the first meaningful elections in Syrian history.

A Syrian economist and anarchist called Omar Aziz provided the germ. In the revolution’s eighth month he published a paper advocating the formation of councils in which citizens could arrange their affairs free of the tyrannical state. Aziz helped set up the first bodies, in Zabadani, Daraya, Douma and Barzeh, all suburbs of Damascus.

He died in regime detention in 2013, a month before his 64th birthday. But by then, as the Assadist state and its services collapsed, councils had sprouted all over the country.

Some council members were previously involved in the ‘tanseeqiyat’ committees, the revolution’s original grassroots formations. They were activists, responsible first for coordinating protests and media work, then for delivering aid and medicine. Other members represented prominent families or tribes or, more often, were professionals selected for specific practical skills.

In regime-controlled areas, councils operate in secret. In Selemmiyeh, activist Aziz al-Asaad told us, security constraints meant that the council practised “the democracy of the revolutionary elite” – only activists voted.

But in liberated territory people can organise publically. Anand Gopal reported in August 2012 that the citizens of Taftanaz had elected professional councils – of farmers, merchants, teachers, students, judges, engineers, the unemployed – which “in turn chose delegates to sit on a citywide council …  the only form of government the citizenry recognized.”

These are tenacious but fragile experiments. Some are hampered by factionalism. Some are bullied out of existence by jihadists.

Menbij, a northern city, once boasted its own 600-member legislature and 20-member executive, a police force, and Syria’s first independent trade union. Then ISIS seized the grain silos and the democrats were driven out. Today Menbij is called ‘Little London’ for its preponderance of English-accented jihadists.

In some areas the councils appear to signal Syria’s atomisation rather than a new beginning, the utter impossibility of reconstitution.

Christophe Reuter calls it a “revolution of localists” when he describes ‘village republics’ such as Korin, in Idlib province, with its own court and a 10-person council, “WiFi on the main square and hushed fear of everything beyond the nearby hills.”

But Omar Aziz envisaged councils connecting the people regionally and nationally, and democratic provincial councils now operate in the liberated swathes of Aleppo, Idlib and Deraa. In the Ghouta region near Damascus, militia commanders were not permitted to stand as candidates. Fighters were, but only civilians won seats.

In Syria’s three Kurdish-majority areas, collectively known as Rojava, a similar system prevails, though the councils there are known as communes. In one respect they are more progressive than their counterparts elsewhere  – 40% of seats are reserved for women.

In another, they are more constrained – they work within the larger framework of the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, which monopolises control of finances, arms and media.

The elected council members are the only representative Syrians we have. They, and strengthened local democracy, should be key components in any serious settlement.

In a post-Assad future, local democracy could allow ideologically polarised communities to coexist under the Syrian umbrella. Towns could legislate locally according to their demographic and cultural composition and mood. The alternative to enhanced local control is new borders, new ethnic cleansing, new wars.

At very least, the councils deserve political recognition by the United States and others. Council members should be a key presence on the opposition’s negotiating team at any international talks.

And the councils deserve protection from Assad and Russia’s scorched earth – the first cause of the refugee crisis. Assad’s bombs hit the schools, hospitals, bakeries, and residential blocks that the councils are trying desperately to service.

If the bombardment were stopped the councils would no longer be limited to the business of survival. They could focus instead on rebuilding Syrian nationhood and further developing popular institutions.

In the previous decade, ‘democracy promotion’ was sometimes used as rhetorical justification for the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Of course that didn’t work out very well – ‘demos’ means ‘people’.

Only the people themselves can build their democratic structures. And today Syrians are practising democracy, building their own institutions, in the most difficult of circumstances. Their efforts don’t fit in with the easy Assad-or-ISIS narrative, however, and so we rarely deign to notice.

Note: Before the Baath party started their successive revolutions in the 60’s, Syria had a parliamentary system where women and the military could vote. Evidences are coming out that Saudi Kingdom, with USA and British green lights, has dispatched plenty of money for Syrian military officers to attempt successive military coups to destabilize the democratic process in Syria.

Democratic councils in Syria: In the hands of No belligerent forces?

Have you heard of this cities of Daraya,  Zabadani,  Douma and Barzeha, all suburbs of Damascus? How about Selemmiyeh, Taftanaz, Menbij, Korin, Deraa, Rojava… ?

(I doubt that currently any region or town is Not under the direct or implicit control of a warring faction. Almost all these cities have been under the control of ISIS or Nusra-type factions)

The choices being fought out by Syrians isn’t between the dictator and the jihadists (the two feed each other), but between various forms of violent authoritarianism on the one hand, and grassroots democracy on the other. The democrats deserve our support.

Interviewing activists, fighters and refugees for our book “Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War”, we discovered the democratic option is very real, if terribly beleaguered. To the extent that life continues in the ‘liberated’ but brutally bombed areas – areas independent of both Assad and ISIS – it continues because self-organised local councils are supplying services and aid.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

A side to Syria you rarely see, the widespread local councils amid repression and bombing, as explained by Robin Yassin-Kassab

qunfuz.com

For example, Daraya, a suburb west of Damascus now suffering its fourth year under starvation siege, is run by a council. Its 120 members select executives by vote every six months. The council head is chosen by public election. The council runs primary schools, a field hospital, a public kitchen, and manages urban agricultural production. Its military office supervises the Free Syrian Army militias defending the town.

Amid constant bombardment, Daraya’s citizen journalists produce a newspaper, Enab Baladi, which promotes non-violent resistance. In a country once known as a ‘kingdom of silence’, today there are more than 60 independent newspapers and tens of free radio stations.

And as soon as the bombing eases, people return to the streets with their banners. Recent demonstrations against Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaida’s Syrian franchise) across Idlib province indicate that the Syrian desire for democracy burns as fiercely as ever.

After five years of horror, protestors repeat the original revolutionary slogans of freedom and unity. Assad, having no answer to this, bombs the province’s marketplaces in reply.

Where possible (in about 45% of cases), the local councils are democratically elected – the first free elections in half a century. For the poor, these are the first meaningful elections in Syrian history.

A Syrian economist and anarchist called Omar Aziz provided the germ. In the revolution’s eighth month he published a paper advocating the formation of councils in which citizens could arrange their affairs free of the tyrannical state. Aziz helped set up the first bodies, in Zabadani, Daraya, Douma and Barzeh, all suburbs of Damascus.

He died in regime detention in 2013, a month before his 64th birthday. But by then, as the Assadist state and its services collapsed, councils had sprouted all over the country.

Some council members were previously involved in the ‘tanseeqiyat’ committees, the revolution’s original grassroots formations. They were activists, responsible first for coordinating protests and media work, then for delivering aid and medicine. Other members represented prominent families or tribes or, more often, were professionals selected for specific practical skills.

In regime-controlled areas, councils operate in secret. In Selemmiyeh, activist Aziz al-Asaad told us, security constraints meant that the council practised “the democracy of the revolutionary elite” – only activists voted.

But in liberated territory people can organise publically.

Anand Gopal reported in August 2012 that the citizens of Taftanaz had elected professional councils – of farmers, merchants, teachers, students, judges, engineers, the unemployed – which “in turn chose delegates to sit on a citywide council …  the only form of government the citizenry recognized.”

These are tenacious but fragile experiments. Some are hampered by factionalism. Some are bullied out of existence by jihadists.

Menbij, a northern city, once boasted its own 600-member legislature and 20-member executive, a police force, and Syria’s first independent trade union. Then ISIS seized the grain silos and the democrats were driven out. Today Menbij is called ‘Little London’ for its preponderance of English-accented jihadists.

In some areas the councils appear to signal Syria’s atomisation rather than a new beginning, the utter impossibility of reconstitution.

Christophe Reuter calls it a “revolution of locals” when he describes ‘village republics’ such as Korin, in Idlib province, with its own court and a 10-person council, “WiFi on the main square and hushed fear of everything beyond the nearby hills.”

But Omar Aziz envisaged councils connecting the people regionally and nationally, and democratic provincial councils now operate in the liberated swathes of Aleppo, Idlib and Deraa. In the Ghouta region near Damascus, militia commanders were not permitted to stand as candidates. Fighters were, but only civilians won seats.

In Syria’s three Kurdish-majority areas, collectively known as Rojava, a similar system prevails, though the councils there are known as communes. In one respect they are more progressive than their counterparts elsewhere  – 40% of seats are reserved for women. In another, they are more constrained – they work within the larger framework of the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, which monopolises control of finances, arms and media.

The elected council members are the only representative Syrians we have. They, and strengthened local democracy, should be key components in any serious settlement.

In a post-Assad future, local democracy could allow ideologically polarised communities to coexist under the Syrian umbrella. Towns could legislate locally according to their demographic and cultural composition and mood. The alternative to enhanced local control is new borders, new ethnic cleansings, new wars.

At very least, the councils deserve political recognition by the United States and others. Council members should be a key presence on the opposition’s negotiating team at any international talks.

If the bombardment were stopped the councils would no longer be limited to the business of survival. They could focus instead on rebuilding Syrian nationhood and further developing popular institutions.

In the previous decade, ‘democracy promotion’ was sometimes used as rhetorical justification for the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Of course that didn’t work out very well – ‘demos’ means ‘people’. Only the people themselves can build their democratic structures.

And today Syrians are practising democracy, building their own institutions, in the most difficult of circumstances. Their efforts don’t fit in with the easy Assad-or-ISIS narrative, however, and so we rarely deign to notice.

Qaddafi’s Harem? Libyan ruler’s sexual barbarity…

The Arab world is still crammed full of tyrants self-labelling their rule as “popular” and “democratic,” sectarian regimes pretending to be secular, reactionary regimes describing themselves as progressive, and “resistance” regimes which resist nothing but their subjects’ life and freedom.

In the case of Libya, the current post-revolutionary chaos provokes at least two Orientalist responses:

1. The crude (statist-leftist) version, that the uprising was a foreign conspiracy; and

2. The subtler (because it’s never quite made explicit), that the Libyans made a terrible mistake by rising, because their fractious “tribal” society can only be held together by a strongman of Gaddafi’s caliber.

Sort of, after Gadhafi, goes the implicit argument, the inevitable deluge.

ROBIN YASSIN-KASSAB posted this November 8, 2013

Gaddafi’s Harem: The Libyan ruler’s sexual barbarity was used to enact power by displaying impunity, and to exert power over men through the bodies of women

Gaddafi and his female bodyguards.

“Today is the beginning of the end of the era of harems and slaves and the beginning of women’s liberation within the Arab nation” – Moammar Gaddafi in September 1981. 

Gaddafi’s Harem by French journalist Annick Cojean provides a fact-based corrective to those fooled by Gaddafi’s illusions, specifically those impressed by the radical feminist image evoked by his once highly visible – and sexily transgression – corps of “Amazon” body guards.

It will change the minds too of those who saw the dictator from a distance as a lovable buffoon.

His regime was capricious, and at times even darkly comical, but it was based on undiluted sadism.

The cramping stagnation it imposed for 42 years, and the fact that it refused to budge except by force of arms, are the prime causes of today’s anarchy. The means of domination it employed – psycho-social as much as physical – tell us a great deal about the universal megalomaniac personality, as well as certain cultural weaknesses in the Arab world and beyond.

The first half of Cojean’s book recounts the story of Soraya, who grew up in Benghazi and Sirte, a regime stronghold, where her Tunisian mother ran a beauty salon. At school, Soraya learned to think of the dictator as “brother,” “cousin,” “uncle,” “papa,” and “guide.” She had just turned 15 when Gaddafi visited the school and even patted Soraya’s head.

This avuncular and seemingly innocent gesture was in fact Gaddafi’s “magic touch” – one reason why, from the 1970s on, so many Libyan families insisted that their daughters only leave home fully veiled, and that cameras be forbidden at all-female wedding parties. Shortly after Soraya’s head-patting, officials arrived at her mother’s beauty salon to invite her to visit the Guide’s headquarters. It was an invitation, of course, which could not be refused, and one from which Soraya never returned.

For most of the years that followed she was kept with others (about 30 women and girls at a time) in a humid, windowless basement beneath Gaddafi’s bedroom in Tripoli’s Bab al-Azizia compound. From her first residence, and repeatedly thereafter, she was raped, kicked, punched, bitten, and urinated on by Libya’s political and spiritual leader. “Little whore” was the closest her tormentor came to a term of endearment.

The “Guide” collected the blood from Soraya’s ruptured hymen on a small red towel which he used to preserve all such secretions. It appears that this towel played a role in black magic rituals (Hitler and ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier also went in for black magic). The detail makes him seem interesting, but there was really nothing special about Gaddafi. It was the structure of power surrounding him that released and magnified his very ordinary perversions.

The book’s second half describes Cojean’s difficulty in interviewing victims and witnesses, in going against the weight of taboo. Post-revolutionary Libyan society doesn’t see Gaddafi’s sexual targets (unlike the martyrs and wounded of the armed struggle) as worthy of restitution and celebration: instead it would prefer them and their memory to vanish. As Oussama Jouili, briefly minister of defense, told Cojean, “It’s a matter of national shame and humiliation.

Perhaps the most nightmarish aspect of this story is the complicity of various authority figures in the abuse – from the staff at the so-called Department of Protocol, handled by the tyrant’s sinister procurer Mabrouka Sherif – through school teachers and Ukrainian nurses, even to Soraya’s mother, in whose eyes Soraya eventually became “a woman who’d been touched by men and lost all her value.

Complicity existed everywhere. Beneath the university amphitheater, where Gaddafi enjoyed giving speeches on behalf of the oppressed, lay a secret presidential suite, where he enjoyed less rhetorical activities. The adjoining room was fitted with the gynecological equipment necessary for performing abortions and reconstructing hymens. At least some university staff must have known what was going on, and at least some imitated the abuse. Certain professors, for instance, would demand sex in exchange for grades.

From her mother’s perspective, Soraya’s brief relationship with her boyfriend Hicham was worse than that with Gaddafi, because Soraya went to Hicham of her own volition. For a while the couple lived together unmarried – this was a crime in Libya, just as it’s a crime for a Libyan hotel to rent a room to a single woman.

These “Islamic” laws, of course, were written by the rapist Gaddafi. This suggests a world in which all values are turned on their heads by the most hypocritical illogical. To make her good, Soraya’s brother Aziz often hit her. Her other brothers considered that “cutting [her] throat would make respected men of them.”

Why the complicity?

A mixture of fear, a patriarchal culture of shame, and the power of the tyrant which reinforces and exploits the most retrograde aspects of that culture, for political purposes.

So what were the purposes of Gaddafi’s abusive behaviour (for sexual crime is not motivated solely by sexual desire, which is a human constant, experienced by the gentle as much as by the violent)?

First, there was an element of revenge. Gaddafi was born into poverty and humiliation, and his ego was buttressed by both his seductions of international starlets and his forced encounters with the wives and daughters of rich and powerful men.

Second, his sex slaves fulfilled specific political functions. A woman Cojean names ‘Khadija,’ after being raped by the Guide, was used as bait to seduce state officials. The sex was filmed and reserved for blackmail. Gaddafi also demonstrated his power over several male ministers and army officers by raping them himself.

Third, and this is the heart of it: the demonstrative purpose, to enact power by displaying impunity, and to exert power over men through the bodies of women. Although nobody spoke openly, Libyans heard whispers of the dictator’s sexual barbarity, and these whispers kept them scared and humiliated. “I am the master of Libya,” Gaddafi told Soraya. “Every Libyan belongs to me, including you!” Such power is the furthest possible from contractual; it is a matter of absolute possession, enforced in the most literal terms.

“He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” And Gaddafi’s violent death was made still uglier by the fact that, while being dragged through the destroyed streets of Sirte, he was anally raped with a piece of wood. The activity he used to embody power became a symbol of his dis-empowerment.

He was an extreme case, but of course Libya is not the only Arab country where sexual abuses are normalized. Saddam Hussain’s son Uday was notorious for his abductions of women.

Large-scale rape, aimed to break community resolve, has been a key counter-revolutionary strategy in Syria. And in almost every case, “political” or not, Arab victims of rape or incest remain silent, knowing that they more than their attackers will be considered tainted and criminal.

War rape respects no national boundary. Bosnia and the Congo are two recent examples in which tens of thousands were raped in the course of military policy. And the predator Dominican dictator Trujillo, as portrayed in Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel The Feast of the Goat, could be Gaddafi’s cousin in his weird amalgamation of megalomania and machismo.

Rape as a terror tactic would surely lose some of its appeal if our societies understood that the only person made filthy by rape is the rapist.

The raped victim is not an embarrassment or a candidate for charity-marriage, but a hero who has suffered in the struggle against tyranny.

Our Arab revolutions must remove the obvious tyrants, but they must also start and end at home.

Robin Yassin-Kassab is a novelist and co-editor of the Critical Muslim.

Two minds on Syria from “Arabic” speaking authors. Part 2

 posted on AUGUST 29, 2013  (with slight editing and my comments in parenthesis)

Syrian novelist Khaled al-Khalifa posted this statement on his Facebook page. Translated by Lina Sinjab:
“Dictators bring invaders; this is an indisputable fact. (Not true for dictators in powerful nations)Invaders never brought freedom to people, and this is another fact that we shouldn’t forget.What we should say at this very crucial moment of our lives and the life of our revolution is that the dictators are not the only ones who brought invaders, but that a group of politicians and revolution-traders who sold our blood —  did contribute; once to Qatar and once to Saudi and once to organizations
that I don’t know their nature — without the slightest sense of shame.khaled-khalifa 
Imagine Samir Nashar and Zuheir Salem representing this great revolution — how strange! (Who are these two people/)“Do you want to know my position?

“I am against the US military intervention and I have my reasons. I , the son of this revolution, whether you like it or not refuse any military strikes on Syrians.

“In a situation like ours, blood-traders and the Coalition should all admit that they are partners with the dictators, and they are just a copy of them and not a copy nor representative of the honesty of our revolution.

“I will say no more,

“You have to stand before the mirror, you who got paid for our blood, before you say facts we know about the fascist dictator and sectarian regime.

But you should be neither fascist, dictator, nor sectarian if you want to be part of our revolution.

“Listen carefully:

“Tell me when did the invaders bring freedom?

“At the end, I will never be in favour of any American intervention in our area, because I know them very well. They could have defended the values from day one of our revolution and could have helped us, but they waited till the country was destroyed.

“The fall of the regime will satisfy me, but I don’t want our revolution to be incomplete after all this bloodshed. This is not a letter for history, but a farewell letter to all my friends if I die.

If I die amidst this shelling or for any other reason, I want my friends to bury me in an unknown grave that only my friends and my beloved will know its address.”

From Syrian-British novelist Robin Yassin-Kassab, on “Intervention?”

“If the US-led West wished to invade and occupy Syria, or to engineer regime change from afar, it would have taken advantage of the two-and-a-half-year chaos in Syria to intervene long before now.”

When the US-led West invaded Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussain was contained. He’d committed his genocides in the past, when he was an ally of the West against Iran, and in 1991, under Western military noses (as he slaughtered Shia rebels and their families en masse, the allied forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq gave him permission to use helicopter gunships, and watched).

But in 2003, Saddam was contained and reasonably quiet. There was no popular revolution against him. The West invaded anyway, on the pretext of inexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Syrian regime’s ultra-violent repression of a peaceful protest movement spawned an armed resistance. The regime met the armed resistance with genocide and ethnic cleansing.

A week ago, the regime struck multiple targets in the Damascus suburbs with chemical weapons.

The conflict has been well and truly internationalised for a long while now:

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have provided limited and intermittent military supplies to various parts of the opposition (the US has prevented them from delivering heavy weapons).

The international brigades of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham – an enemy both of the regime and the democratic opposition to the regime – has been empowered in pockets of northern Syria.

The regime has received much more serious financial and military help from Russia and Iran, and has brought in Hizbullah and Iraqi sectarian militias to help it fight its battles.

Hizbullah’s switch from defence against Zionism to repression of a revolutionary Arab people has propelled Lebanon back to the verge of civil war. (Very debatable opinion)

Meanwhile, between a quarter and a third of Syrians are displaced, destabilising Turkey and Jordan as well as Lebanon.

A year to the day before the massive poison gas attacks, Obama set a supposed ‘red line’ on the regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Whenever the regime has introduced a new weapon, it has done so quietly and steadily, until its use is normalised and forgotten internationally.

So it was with artillery, helicopter gunships, aerial bombardment, scud missiles – first these were used rarely, then more frequently, then on a daily basis. And so it is with the gas.

Obama’s chemical red line had already been repeatedly broken in a small way before last week’s atrocities. American inaction made Assad believe he could get away with a bigger show.

By this mass attack, Assad was not only trying to clear areas close to the capital in which rebels were deeply entrenched and advancing; he was also telling the military and popular opposition, “Look, I can do what I want. I can increase the pace of the ethnic cleansing and genocide, and still noone will intervene or allow you to become properly armed.”

So now Obama feels he must act, symbolically at least, to show the larger world as well as Assad that America’s word still means something, that it still makes claims to ensuring international order. (Who understand symbolic languages?)

It goes without saying that all states – if we must compare them with people – are hypocrites, and America, as the world’s most powerful state, much more than most.

The white phosphorus and 40% depleted uranium munitions it used in Iraq, for instance, can certainly be considered as weapons of mass destruction, though even their use cannot be compared to Assad’s sarin savagery.

And late 20th Century America actively aided Saddam’s chemical programme. But simplistic ‘anti-imperialists’ (the sort who haven’t noticed Russia’s blatant imperialism in Syria) should reflect on the complexity of the situation.

Should a tyrant be left unchecked to gas his people?

If Israel were doing it to the Palestinians, would outside intervention (of course there would be none) to deter Israel be absolutely wrong?

Was it right to leave the Bosnian Muslims to be slaughtered? (Many statist leftists would of course unhesitatingly answer yes to this question).

Even with our hypocritical and frequently criminal ‘international community’, is there no validity in attempting to preserve the semi-taboo on the mass use of WMD?

I cannot say what will happen, or if it will happen, or what the ramifications will be. I expect, however, that any American-led attack will not dramatically change the balance on the ground.

Obama wants to be seen to be acting, and to deter. He will be scared that Assad, Hizbullah or Iran will respond in such a way that he is pressured to expand the operation to end the regime. And he doesn’t want to do this.

General Martin Dempsey has recently explained why – America can’t find any branch of the opposition ready to assume power and serve American interests.

One reason that the West doesn’t want to end the regime is that, in the north and east, the al-Qa’ida type militias (indirectly created by Assad’s traumatisation of the country, as well as by the political failures of loyalist traditionalist clerics) are growing in strength. Their strength flows from the fact that the West and the Arabs failed to arm the Free Army.

The ineffective Syrian National Coalition must also bear some of the blame for not working harder to organise a national army from the start, before the jihadists had time to establish themselves.

Western, Syrian and Arab timidity and Islamophobia have brought on the worst.

I expect the upcoming attack to be, in effect if not in image, tepid. It may not do any good at all. It may allow Assad to reap the ‘resistance’ propaganda victory without changing the calculus on the ground.

If there is any change to calculus on the ground, it will be because the Sauds are increasing military aid after the mass gas attacks. Apparently 40 tons-worth came in through Turkey this week. But will that be sustained? Never before now.

And again, the Sauds, like the Americans, like all states, are acting according to their interests. They back Sisi’s junta in Egypt as it rolls back the victories of the revolution there.

In Syria, the Sauds are interested in weakening Iran and Hizbullah, obviously not in facilitating victory for either democrats or radical Islamists who reject Saudi kingship.

Syrian fighters facing exile or genocide will take weapons from where they can, but they understand that in the medium and long term, they are on their own, as they have been for the last two and a half years.

(More.)

Also, the Louisiana Channel, of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, just uploaded this video “Silence is Disgraceful, Too”: 

Note 1: The French author Camus said “Facing the terrifying prospects… that are open to humanity… the only combat that is worth to be waged … is to definitely choose… between hell and reason”

Note 2: For the time being, the US is not ready for a unilateral military strike, even very limited since no one will benefit from it.

At this junction, the threat seemed real, a game that can be considered a preliminary testing of international community political readiness for a strike.  The strike will ultimately be conducted after a repeat chemical attack, and the Takfiri Nusra Front will launch another chemical attack in order to provide the US with another false alibi that the UN will feel hard pressed not to give a little green light for a strike.

France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the ones most to profit from a destabilization of the regime in Syria, on economical grounds.


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