[Marxism] 5 points to make on Syria and its future prospects

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Thu Dec 31 22:31:42 MST 2015

Excellent analysis of the current situation from an excellent site

5 points to make on Syria and its future prospects

by eternispring

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 intact 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 
independence, and the US fully knows this)

3) The US has not “been defeated” by Russia in Syria, and not even 
remotely. Russian 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 encroaching 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) 

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