The Free Syrian Army rejects (savages) the terms of the US-Russian deal

Syrian Arab Republic
The Free Syrian Army

Statement regarding the proposed truce as part of the US-Russian agreement

The false proponents of justice and freedom and the ‘guardians’ of human rights and democracy continue to insist on trading with the tragedy of the Syrian people and their corpses, taking from the Nakba [catastrophe] and ordeal of this poor population an arena for their competition and struggles for influence and interests, and a tinged road on whose sides drip the blood of the innocents in order to achieve some gains and ambitions, laying beneath their feet all of the meanings of justice and humanity and leaving behind their backs the demands for dignity and freedom.

Subsequently, a few days ago we received details of the /US-Russian/ agreement concerning a ceasefire to hostilities and a general truce in Syria accompanied by the entering of humanitarian assistance into the besieged neighbourhoods of the city of Aleppo, and after a careful study of those clauses and an in-depth reading of the whole of the internal and external challenges and the humanitarian and military realities on the ground and the complex political scene, the factions of the Syrian revolution view it as necessary upon itself to clarify to its people before anyone else the host of reservations it has with regards to this dry and unjust agreement:

– Firstly: The incredible humanitarian tragedy that our people and families are subjected to have always placed at the head of our priorities the necessity to improve the humanitarian situation of the rebelling Syrian people and especially in the liberated areas, and proceeding from this feeling of responsibility we have always taken care to evaluate international initiatives and truce proposals that are presented to us so long as they do not compromise any of the revolution’s fundamentals and its higher interests.

– Secondly: With our assiduous commitment to alleviate the burdens off our families we are nonetheless also assiduous in avoiding quick and temporary gains which are faced with certain dangers which will have a negative effect in the long run, such as some of the truces that may stop the bombardment and barrel bombs for a few days or allow the entry of limited quantities of food and medicine in exchange for hazarding the future of the revolution and losing strategic points and locations to the regime of criminality and its allies.

– Thirdly: The international unwillingness and indeed impotence to take any effective measures that can stop this massacre or ease the weight of the bombardment and siege of our people is no longer a secret, meaning that the only option remaining to us is to rely on our lord first and then on our self-capacities and the justice of our cause second, and to proceed in our battle against the regime and its allies until the last bullet in our rifles and the last fighter from our heroes.

– Fourthly: We welcome the decision to allow the entry of humanitarian aid to the besieged areas of Aleppo and we declare our full co-operation in the achievement of this, and the safeguarding of protection for the workers in international and humanitarian organisations; however at the same time we categorically refuse tying these assistances (which are a right for Syrians) with any locational truce or alleged political solution from which we have gained nothing until this hour but additional killing, destruction, displacement and overlooking of the killers and criminals; likewise we cannot ever accept any exceptions in the agreement’s clauses to the rest of the besieged ares exhausted by bombardment and siege, and whose people are being pressured by the “starve or kneel policy” pursued by the regime of criminality and terrorism to deliver these areas [to new settlers] and expel its local population as occurred in Daraya and is occurring now in Homs and the countryside of Damascus; this ethnic cleansing which it has become entirely evident is being conducted on sectarian bases which aim to create demographic changes in these areas, the matter which we will not accept under any circumstance and will resist with all means and ways available.

– Fifthly: The ceasefire terms in its current form leaves open the field for the regime and its allies to exploit it and commit more massacres against civilians and achieve strategic military gains that it was impotent to previously achieve which raises for us serious fears and doubts about the timing and clauses of this truce, for prevailing the long-term interest of the revolution is placed before momentary or temporary gains with our full trust that the regime and its Russian and Iranian allies and the rest of the terrorist border-crossing militias will never abide by them and will circumvent them with every means and methods.

– Sixthly: The ceasefire terms were vacant from any reference to real guarantees, monitoring mechanisms or clear and injunctive punishments in the event that the regime and its allies break this ceasefire; which will encourage them to break it and utilise it to achieve political and military gains (as in the previous occasions).

– Seventhly: The ceasefire clauses declared that the prohibition on regime warplanes sorties won’t occur except after 48 hours of truce have been completed, to be followed by another 5-day truce after which a “Joint Execution Group” will be formed to adopt monitoring mechanisms which we see as plenty opportunity for the regime to engage in more killing, destruction and [sectarian/ethnic] expulsion.

– Eighthly:  The terms of the ceasefire have excluded Jabhat Fath al-Sham [The Front for the Conquest of the Levant] whilst it has completely turned a blind eye to the foreign sectarian militias that fight with the regime, and which have been committing its crimes since years in Syria with absolute freedom and without accountability or monitoring, and we consider this matter a dubious and rejected double standard. Accordingly we refuse the targeting of Jabhat Fath al-Sham or any other faction which fights the regime which could weaken the military strength of the revolution and strengthen the Assad regime and its allies.

– Concluding: We affirm that the Syrian people and its factions will never forget who killed them and who bombed them and who besieged them and who burned their cities and villages, and on the other hand they will not forget who supported them and stood with them in their plight and sacrificed in defence of their blood and honoured possessions.

Have trust that we will never settle for disgrace in the principles of our revolution and we will not give in to the pressures and cheap political and humanitarian blackmail that is being practiced against us, and we are are fully aware of the malicious traps that are set up for us in order to sink us in a swamp of concessions or lead us to infighting that tears the ranks and disperses the common word.
On the oath we remain, to the rope of God we hold fast and with his strength and might we seek recourse, not damaged by those who failed us, until we perish without [attaining] our right and freedom and dignity, or God writes for us victory and the prevailing of our revolution.

[Commonly-known name in bold]
Faylaq al-Sham [Levant Legion]
Harakat Nour al-Deen al-Zinki [Nour al-Deen al-Zinki Movement]
Al-Fawj al-Awal [First Corps]
Al-Ferqa 101 Mushah [101st Infantry Division]
Faylaq Homs [Homs Legion]
Jaish al-Islam [Army of Islam]
Al-Itihad al-Islami ly Ajnad al-Sham [Islamic Union of the Soldiers of the Levant]
Jabhat Ansar al-Islam [Supports of Islam Front]
Al-Ferqa 13 [13th Division]
Liwa’ al-Fath [Conquest Brigade]
Al-Ferqa al-Shamalia [Northern Division]
Al-Jabha al-Shamia [Levant Front]
Kata’ib al-Safwa al-Islamia [Al-Safwa Islamic Battalions]
Al-Feraq al-Westa [Central Division]
Tajamu’ Fastaqim Kama Umert [‘Be Upright as Ordered’ Union]
Jaish al-Nasr [Victory Army]
Jaish al-Tahreer [Liberation Army]
Liwa’ Suqoor al-Jabal [Hawks of the Mountain Brigade]
Liwa’ al-Horiya al-Islami [Islamic Freedom Brigade]
Jabhat al-Asala wal Tanmiya [Authenticity and Development Front]
Jond Badr 313 [Soldiers of Badr 313]


Logos of signatory factions
[From top left to bottom right: Hawks of the Mountain, Badr 313, Fastaqim Kama Umert, Central Division, Liberation Army, 101st Infantry,  Islamic Union (Ajnad al-Sham), Islamic Freedom Brigade, Division 13, Safwa Batallions, Victory Army, Levant Front, Northern Division, First Corps, Sham Legion, Jaish al-Islam]14364752_1186034518135788_5539454607277129300_n.jpg

Arabic Statement

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John Kerry blames the Syrian rebellion for Assad’s airstrikes

2 months ago John Kerry came out with his ‘admissions’ of long established on the ground US policy in Syria, a gluttony of statements clarifying the 4-year long so-called “muddled” US position (I never believed it has been) sending a signal that the US was essentially declaring “fun’s over, time to wrap up”. Saying that the regime was not the target of “regime-change” (this reality was well-known of course long before Kerry’s statements for those who were not Assad apologists and who closely followed the Syrian conflict, as US actions on the ground spoke for themselves), rebels should fight alongside the fascist colonial Syrian Army against ISIS, declaring that all sides had “bad guys” and there were “good guys” on the Syrian regime’s side as well, and ‘coincidentally’ “revealing for the first time” that he had obtained a signature from (the dove) Assad in 2010 promising normalisation of ties with Israel before all the trouble broke out.

In a recent Syria donors conference held in London, Kerry continued to reveal his true colours:

“US Secretary of State John Kerry told Syrian aid workers, hours after the Geneva peace talks fell apart, that the country should expect another three months of bombing that would “decimate” the opposition.

During a conversation on the sidelines of this week’s Syria donor conference in London, sources say Kerry blamed the Syrian opposition for leaving the talks and paving the way for a joint offensive by the Syrian government and Russia on Aleppo.

“‘He said, ‘Don’t blame me – go and blame your opposition,’” one of the aid workers, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her organisation, told Middle East Eye.

 

The report goes on to state

“A third MEE source who claims to have served as a liaison between the Syrian and American governments over the past six months said Kerry had passed the message on to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in October that the US did not want him to be removed.

Instead, the source claims, Kerry insisted that Assad should stop using barrel bombs, which terrify civilian populations.

The source claimed that Kerry said if Assad stopped the barrel bombs, Kerry could “sell the story” to the public, the source said.”

[Note: the report went on to make mention of the well-known US “Train and Equip” programme /Division 30 “fiasco”. So much has been written on this and yet such a simple fact is so shockingly absent from all reporting about the programme, including by outlets you’d expect better from like Al-Jazeera: the programme stipulated that recruits sign a declaration not to fight Assad and only to fight ISIS – which was why so few recruits joined it, not because of the ridiculous, orientalist and frankly racist notion that all Syrians who don’t represent Assad’s core fighting minorities are “Islamic extremists” (though Tony Blair is the latest to add his voice to the chorus of those who’d have you think so, in a study perhaps as arbitrary and ridiculous (if not more) than his WMD dossier – in which he notably echoed George Galloway in calling the Assad regime a “castle” standing out against dangerous Jihadis, in more and more evidence of the Red-Brown (Left-Right) Western Assadist agreement on Syria – Blair should probably apply for membership of Stop the War Coalition now)]

 

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[From Right to left: “Political control for Russia – The Golan for Israel – The chemicals for America (though apparently there is evidence that the US did not remove all of Assad’s stockpile: in December Sarin was used for the first time since 2013 a week after John Kerry’s statements, and the Obama administration has reportedly blocked FOI requests into the subject) – Military control for Iran – We are a sovereign nationalist country!!”]

 

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[Caricature playing on the marching slogan of Shia miltias -banner reads “O Hussain”, whilst Barack “Hussein” Obama flies overhead stating: “Labaik! [At your service – Arabic phrase responding to an invocation] With you is Hussein Obama from the Family of the White House!?”  (play on Ahl-ul Bayt – Family of the Prophet’s House). Arrow points towards Fallujah]

 

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[US policy in one very painful to read meme]

 

5 points to make on Syria and its future prospects

[From FB post]

5 Points to make on Syria and its future prospects:

1) In any imperialist-imposed “political solution” Nusra will of course be targeted in as similiar an intensity as ISIS (of course it has already been significantly targeted but all restrictions will be off once the US can achieve its “political solution” and ignore complaints by the Syrian opposition), however having alienated quite a lot of Syria’s rebels it is questionable whether all will run to its support. Of course they should rally to defend it against any US/Russian attack, as for all its faults (and these would have to be challenged by Syrians in their own time) it came to support the Syrian people at a time when no one else did – and has more importantly committed far less crimes than either the US coalition, Russia, Assad or his sectarian loyalist militias (who will be spared from the “terror” list, including Hezbollah) – however I suspect Nusra will be a prickly subject.

It is Ahrar al-Sham however which will be the connecting and crucial junction. It is almost certain that Ahrar al-Sham will be put on the US-Russian “terror” list. While unfortunately I think the majority of the FSA (Southern Front in particular) are likely to accept the “political solution” (that brings about the promise of Assad’s eventual resignation and keeps in tact the regime), the FSA MUST stand in solidarity with Ahrar al-Sham if it gets attacked. This cannot be stressed enough.

2) Jaish al-Fatah were repeatedly bombed by the US long before Russia’s intervention for precisely the reason that it did not respect the operational red lines that the US had imposed on other rebel coalitions, notably the Southern Front (with regards to the extent of military campaigns undertaken, such as taking over the entirety of Idlib and proceeding onto Latakia). They were not attacked because they were “extremist”, as we could see in the bombing of even its non-ideological (FSA) components. The same fate could be expected of factions that do not accept the regime-relegitimising “political solution”.

(It is also important to note that any distinctions between attacking the FSA or other rebel groups by the US should be made essentially obsolete, as the vast majority of the 150 or so rebels killed by the US coalition were likely to have been “FSA” at one point in time, and departed it due to a combination of poor funding & lack of operational independenc, and the US fully knows this)

3) The US has not “been defeated” by Russia in Syria, and not even remotely. Rusian strikes in Syria came *right off the back* of an intensification of US bombing against Jaish al-Fatah. [This again betrays a lack of understanding of Russia’s rise being indicative of a return to a “Cold War”, when it is in reality much more reminiscent of a return to a 19th century – not 20th century – world order, in which imperialist relations are based primarily on *geopolitical expansion* not on ideological competition (though the USSR was of course still an imperialist power); this was a form of relationship which routinely entailed ‘competitor alliances’ between ostensibly adversarial powers when dictated by the common interest (in this case, an anti-Islam “War on Terror”)]. For the follower of the Syrian context it is not a stretch to say that the US may have directly (& covertly) requested Russian strikes on the Syrian rebels (incidentally even before this began it was directly wondered whether this would occur), after seeing that its strikes were insufficient to stop Jaish al-Fatah’s advances (requiring a much larger operation, which is what has happened – with Russia’s blitzes hitting everything liberated, military targets or civilian installations and infrastructures – Jaish al-Fatah’s advances have grinded to a halt). Even if the US had not “directly” requested Russian intervention, they had already sent a clear signal to Russia that bombing mainstream Syrian rebels was fair game.

The fact that the US continues to block Arab provided anti-aircraft missiles from the revolutionary forces 3 months into Russia’s massacres should pay put to any idea of the US trying to draw Russia into an “Afghanistan”. That the Russian airstrikes have come with US approval, tacit or requested is beyond dispute.

[Note: there is a reason I focus on US policy in my analyses rather than Russia, because it – not the Russians – is the real powerbroker of the Syrian war (on a level playing field the rebellion would’ve succeeded without a shadow of the doubt, possessing both a greater manpower and popular base than the regime – the fact that there is not a level playing field is due less to Russian and Iranian support for the Syrian government as it is to the US limitations on the provision of anything approaching an equal level from Qatar, Saudi and Turkey)]

4) US policy in Syria has never been to support a *revolutionary movement*, but to support an *opposition movement*. This cannot be stressed enough. The US has never called for the collapse or “downfall of the regime” (indeed it has called for precisely the opposite), it has called for Assad’s negotiated resignation. Whilst I believe that Assad will probably step down, I also sincerely believe that even if he didn’t the US would much more likely accept his remaining (and the so-called political embarrassment that comes with that) than his forcing out by a seriously enroaching rebellion. US policy has been to reach a *settled rebellion* (or to settle the rebellion), not a *successful rebellion*.

[Incidentally I do not think it is a coincidence that the SNC (though not regime collaborators a la the PA in Palestine for example are nonetheless essentially the indigenous US front for Syrian policy, regardless of any potentially well-meaning intentions) possess as relatively a tame name as the National Coalition for OPPOSITION and Revolutionary forces, its tone perhaps sets out a political compromise from the very beginning (a much less radical name incidentally than a revolutionary council/higher command), though I may be reading too much into this. Its structure though of course was as essentially a negotiating opposition coalition rather than a revolutionary leadership structure/government-in-waiting (indeed the SNC’s Interim Syrian Government is not recognised by the US)]

Although this was clear to Syrian revolutionaries at least from a couple of years ago, John Kerry’s statements that he does not see the Syrian Army or the regime as his enemy, reducing all the problems, all the massacres, all the genocidal carpet bombings to the figure of Assad himself, are of course completely ludicrous and indicative.

5) In any political solution I believe the choice of the flag adopted will hold much more than symbolic value. I do not believe the revolutionary flag will be adopted and find it much more likely that the regime flag remains in place (of course there is a compromise flag which was used by Syria during the 60s as well as Iraq later on which essentially combines the two – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Syria… – but I think the regime’s flag is likely to stay)

The Russophilian left’s failed opportunity for revenge in Syria, and how the US has weakened every alternative to ISIS

For those who carry on the Afghanistan experience, with a sense of hurt and carried betrayal (grievance) against political Islam (even if they are hidden behind smiles in the greater battles against a US invasion or an Israeli occupation), for the US strengthening the forces of reactionary Islamism over that of progressive socialism, Syria today serves as an opportunity for revenge; no pasaran! even if the regime stemming the tide is an explicitly fascist one, enjoying the support of the world’s entire far-right. It seems that today the day has come for revenge. Anti-war/interventionist movements are unabashed about their support for Russia’s invasion of Syria, Afghanistan part 2. However, rather than a repetition of the scenario of US supporting reactionary Islamism over progressive socialism, or the US supporting proxies against Russian forces, what is happening today in Syria is an indisputable example of the reverse. Not only have both the US and (neo-imperial) Russia targetted Islamists in the Syrian arena, both now even have their “special forces” stationed in the same arena, which as students of the Cold War would be aware is a basic no-no of cold war guidelines, thus made only possible because the two forces are not in a position of confrontation with one another in this particular case.

The Cold War in Syria is not that cold at all. The vengeful pro-Russian Western left could not have chosen their moments worse; for what we are witnessing today (although still largely unrecognised) is the first major example in the post-cold war era of a 19th century harkback; an alliance between competing geopolitical imperailist powers, a throwback to the multipolar days of the 19th century. Despite the false narrative propagated by those inflicted with Talibanitis, the US has repeatedly bombed those Islamists they seek revenge against – not only ISIS, not considered even as an extremist member of the Syrian rebellion (it does not consider itself to be a “rebel” group anyway) but the revolutionary politically Muslims (“Islamists”) who are its biggest enemies – whilst clearly choosing one and only one side to serve as its “proxy” against ISIS: the YPG. In a double-whammy, their utterly-failed reading of the Syrian conflict has meant that the anti-imperialist left now finds itself, as much as they may like to deny it, on the same side as the Western imperialists they supposedly despise.

In case there are any delusions regarding this alliance: the US fight now isn’t with some socialist project in an area of Northern Syria with no potential for regional expansion (especially considering the antipathy between the YPG and Arabs in the north), it is with revolutionary Islam(ism). The proof of this is in the pudding: the US has chosen to rely on one set of “ideological extremists” (socialists) over another (Islamists). In the fight against ISIS it could have backed mainstream Syrian Islamists, Kurdish socialists, or both (none of these had been its allies between 2011-2013, but none of them were politically excluded either, as the Syrian regime was). As well as the YPG the US had tens of thousands of Syrian rebels (a bigger fighting force than the YPG) who had fought ISIS as much as the YPG (and prior to Kobane it should be noted had an infinitely better success rate against them, kicking them out of West Aleppo’s countryside and Idlib in 2014 without any “international coalition” help) that it could have backed. Instead, it explicitly chose not to – in fact it went further and actively bombed the forces which had the greatest potential to both militarily and ideologically weaken ISIS (Syrian Islamists), those with the greatest potential to drag non-secular anti-Assad recruits away from it. Along with the cutting of supplies to FSA factions, the US was essentially weakening the FSA, bombing the Islamic Front, bombing the Nusra Front, and then supposedly asking people not to join ISIS.

This of course undermined its anti-ISIS campaign and contributed further to radicalisation, but to be fair, the US campaign against ISIS has never been fully-serious, from the prevention to the disease phase.

  • Original (intended) publication date: 20/09/15

Endgame: Both US and Russian forces in Syria

Loads of news as Syria’s endgame approaches.

Roundup: both US and Russian (‘advisory’) forces in Syria

1) Russian envoy at the UN states: the US does not want regime to fall http://in.rbth.com/news/2015/09/16/us-does-not-want-asad-regime-in-syria-to-fall-rusian-envoy-at-un_397119

2) US Defence spokesman: US special op forces enter Syria, to advise YPG, whilst Russian forces enter to advise regime

(Presumably, they will now be aptly described, by the Western left’s scab opponents of the Syrian revolution, as “proxies”)

3) US newspaper: Ground invasion needed to fight ISIS
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/21066-us-newspaper-destroying-daesh-requires-ground-troops

4) Pictured: Russian armoured tanks in Syria
http://www.souriat.com/2015/09/9360.html

5) Revolutionary forces launch missile attacks on Russian positions
http://www.mojahedin.org/newsen/37742/Syria-rebels-launch-missile-attack-on-Russian-military-positions-near-Jibla-airport#.Vfftnz7Vumk.facebook

Only difference between US and Russian policy on Syria – US wanted to prolong the conflict and to weaken (but maintain) the regime, Russia wanted regime’s stability.

It is tempting to state that this (de facto) inter-imperialist alliance is unprecedented, but the fact is that such alliances have occurred with relative regularity between imperialist competitors throughout history. This is just the most substantial one to yet happen in the post-CW era, where the conflict in this case between the US and Russia is not ideological (or even a pretense of ideology), but pure geopolitical competition.

5 years of lies, coming to an end. Pity about those who allowed Western powers to bluff their way full circle.

Understanding the West’s position on Syria

Unlike Hezbollah or Iran under Ahmedinejad, Syria was not seen as possessing a dogged ideological understanding of the resistance for it had long departed from the Ba’ath party’s original Arab nationalism, and indeed while its leadership belonged to the Alawite ethno-religious group they were in fact very different from Iran and Hezbollah in terms of ideological outlook… Thus Syria rather saw sponsoring groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas as a means to both exercise continued pressure on Israel as well as maintain local legitimacy in the absence of military action in the Golan, rather than an Islamic liberation of Jerusalem.

It is a myth to say that the West did not arm the Syrian resistance because of the presence of extremist units (Nusra and ISIS) within it posing a threat that weapons fall in their hands, they did not do so long before these groups ever became a significant presence within the opposition ranks.

The reason the West did not back the mainstream Syrian resistance is because from the very beginning of the conflict when the resistance picked up arms, you would see clearly in every footage of them what their slant and their nature clearly was, always shouting religious slogans like ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) and often using religious speech in their defiance to Assad; the reason they did not back them is because contrary to the secularist (in the sense of ‘non-religious’, i.e. not speaking of religion as informing their politics) rhetoric of the SNC leadership the brigades actually on the ground (that is even when they were overwhelmingly FSA) are overwhelmingly religious moderates, that is they use basic religious slogans as the majority of the society does (that is even if they believe in a pluralist democratic society as the FSA do, they are still informed by a religious ideological leaning; so for example if they would vote they would likely favour a democracy with an Islamic flavour) and are not ‘non-religious’ (in the secularist sense) as for example Assad’s forces tend to clearly be. This is the reason they have not been backed because simply they reflect the majority of the society’s moderate religious nature which if translated in any form of self-determination the West will eventually pose a threat. Similiarly to all the other revolutions, which would likely in time choose to create ‘pan’ governments (transcendental notions strongly outweigh in popularity narrowly nationalistic ones) if they could democratically decide, this is why the West does not trust the Syrian resistance.

So how can the West’s position on Syria be explained? In an ideal world the West would probably prefer an allied government in Syria over Assad, although not to the extent we are led to believe. As late as 2011 the West was involved in negotiations with Syria over the return of the Golan and the lifting of sanctions in exchange with breaking with the ‘traditional’ resistance axis, of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas; while Syria was initially more reluctant to break with the former two by 2011 it eventually became more clear that such an arrangement could be possible.

Unlike Hezbollah or Iran under Ahmedinejad Syria was not seen as possessing a dogged ideological understanding of the resistance for it had long departed from the Ba’ath party’s original Arab nationalism, and indeed while its leadership belonged to the Alawite ethno-religious group they were in fact very different from Iran and Hezbollah in terms of ideological outlook, for while the latter were explicit Shia Islamists the latter was strongly and irrovocably Arab secularist, with even mainstream Shia Iranians often viewing the Alawites as ‘heathens’ or misguided brethren. This secularism often took the explicit form of ‘anti-religion’ rather than ‘non-religious’ (much more so than say Egypt for example, perhaps seen as necessary in a religious background as Syria); this was evident as a routine reality in dealings with state bureaucracy and civil service which disparaged any religious notions and rhetoric and was constantly ‘blasphemous’ in the sense of insulting God and religion (for e.g. when a civilian tries to get some paperwork done and pleads with a state official to help him ‘for God’s sake’ he responds with ‘Don’t mention God to me, here I am your God’). Thus Syria rather saw sponsoring groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas as a means to both exercise continued pressure on Israel as well as maintain local legitimacy in the absence of military action in the Golan, rather than an Islamic liberation of Jerusalem.

Syria under Assad thus perhaps resembled more closely Egypt under Sadat; a possible shift from ‘resistance’ in exchange for land, neo-liberal reforms of the economy (even before a formal shift to the Western sphere of influence), and eventual breaking with Russian loyalty to American stewardship in the offing (Assad’s regime had collaborated with the CIA during the early 2000s in the rendition and torture of prisoners). Ironically both regimes had also come under the auspices and hopes of a ‘corrective revolution’. The West had however been unable to accomplish the shift with Assad (which required the Golan’s return from Israel, a very difficult task) in time when the revolution broke out (which necessitated Assad’s firm interruption of any process of possible reconciliation with Israel to enable his re-emergence as a ‘resistance’ leader), leaving them returning to their prior (rhetorical) hostility. The US was essentially caught in two minds; on one hand wanting to overthrow a ‘tyrannical’ regime to strike a decisive blow to Iranian power in the region (and to Israel’s threat Hezbollah),eliminate the final Russian base in the Middle East, and finally to establish a loyal ally along Israel’s borders, with the added ‘sweeteners’ of being able to re-establish its global credentials as a ‘freedom supporting’ power (which had taken a big hit in recent years) and repairing its standing in the Muslim World. However this simply clashed with the reality of having a dependable ally in a hostile region, a situation without which was likely to prove costly to maintain, and with no advantages of oil to make this worthwhile (as in Libya) there was a prohibitive (strategic) cost in supporting this particular revolution beyond the rhetoric expected, and not due to ‘extremist elements’ as it claimed. The matter of strong Russian and Chinese opposition (as well as the absence of a local appetite for intervention) were not in themselves prohibitive had the conditions been available but added to the effort and cost needed. Simply, the lack of a dependable ally in Syria (i.e. a pliant unpopular guerilla army a la contras which would be willing to rule with terror in American favour, rather than a popularly-backed religiously-moderate one like the FSA brigades) was the main reason why this was not worthwhile. The US Defence Industry does not mind the complexities (for e.g. in terms of conflict with Russia) or economic costs of military interventions nor popular feeling towards it, for it relishes these ‘adventures’ for they are arguably its raison d’etre and economic funding does not come into it (the money is always abundantly there for the military), but it did mind a possible geo-strategic cost which was not in its interest and could potentially cause a threat to it.

While there are shades to the forms of resistance which derive from an Islamic background there are in essence two roads to this current ‘Islamicate’ resistance; there is essentially that of immediate unity, unfortunately emphasised in the likes of ISIS, this does not generally regard the people’s will as relevant (and hence will always be tyrannical by nature), and there is the more ‘nationalistically’ defined type (with shades on how temporary it sees these borders or how much affinity it associates with the ‘nation’, i.e. religious nationalists such as large parts of the FSA as opposed to clear Islamists, the Islamic Front (although the FSA has Islamists as well) – ‘nationalistic’ thus not necessarily in terms of conviction but in terms of pragmatism and priority), which seeks Islamic-flavoured government (again with shades) with the ultimate goal of unity but in a more organic and long-term process; defined ultimately by popular vote or ‘shura’ (consultation) and the people in Syria gradually deciding that process.

(Update 8th of August) Incidentally, Obama’s no-fuss, quick and quietly prepared intervention in Iraq today proves that it was never the case that he was ‘itching’ to intervene in Syria but couldn’t due to ‘Russian opposition’ or ‘internal opposition’ (would those who have opposed his intervention in Syria been now ‘for’ his intervention in Iraq?), but that the US always acts without second thought or debate where Islamists, oil and religious extremists – i.e. where its interests are concerned. Its interests were not in the intervention in Syria.

Meanwhile in ‘surprise’ revelations made in an interview on the 2nd of August, a former spokesman for the Syrian National Council (SNC) frankly stated, disregarding any risk of upsetting his supposed American ‘allies’: “When the Syrian opposition was almost going to penetrate into Damascus one and a half years ago, the White House withdrew all ammunition, because the strategy of the White House is to try to reconcile the Assad regime and the opposition, they hope for some form of reconciliation. Their strategy was always to try and maintain ‘balance’ – everytime they saw the opposition forces winning [the war]… the ammunition would dry completely, and the fighters are forced to withdraw back”. Today of course, there is talk of the US considering working with Assad against ISIS.