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In Syria the Entire Nation Mobilized…and Won

Andre Vltchek

People take a selfie in front of a Christmas tree in the Qasaa district, Damascus, Syria. Image source here. All other photo’s taken by Andre Vltchek.

Yes, there is rubble, in fact total destruction, in some of the neighborhoods of Homs, Aleppo, in the outskirts of Damascus, and elsewhere.

Yes, there are terrorists and ‘foreign forces’ in Idlib and in several smaller pockets in some parts of the country.

Yes, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and millions are either in exile, or internally displaced.

But the country of Syria is standing tall. It did not crumble like Libya or Iraq did. It never surrendered. It never even considered surrender as an option. It went through total agony, through fire and unimaginable pain, but in the end, it won. It almost won. And the victory will, most likely, be final in 2019.

Despite its relatively small size, it did not win like a ‘small nation’, fighting guerilla warfare. It is winning like a big, strong state: it fought proudly, frontally, openly, against all odds. It confronted the invaders with tremendous courage and strength, in the name of justice and freedom.

Syria is winning, because the only alternative would be slavery and subservience, and that is not in the lexicon of the people here. The Syrian people won because they had to win, or face the inevitable demise of their country and collapse of their dream of a Pan-Arab homeland.

Syria is winning, and hopefully, nothing here, in the Middle East, will be the same again. The long decades of humiliation of the Arabs are over. Now everyone ‘in the neighborhood’ is watching. Now everybody knows: The West and its allies can be fought and stopped; they are not invincible. Tremendously brutal and ruthless they are, yes, but not invincible. The most vicious, fundamentalist religious implants can be smashed, too. I said it before, and I repeat it here again: Aleppo has been the Stalingrad of the Middle East. Aleppo and Homs, and other great courageous Syrian cities. Here, fascism was confronted, fought with all might and with great sacrifice, and finally deterred.

*

I sit in the office of a Syrian General, Akhtan Ahmad. We speak Russian. I ask him about the security situation in Damascus, although I already know. For several evenings and nights, I have been walking through the narrow winding roads of the old city; one of the cradles of human race. Women, even young girls, were walking as well. The city is safe.

“It is safe,” smiles General Akhtan Ahmad, proudly. “You know it is safe, don’t you?”

I nod. He is a top Syrian intelligence commander. I should have asked more, much more. Details, details. But I don’t want to know details; not right now. I want to hear again and again that Damascus is safe, from him, from my friends, from the passers-by.

“Situation is now very good. Go out at night…”

I tell him that I have. That I have been doing it since I arrived.

“No one is afraid, anymore”, he continues. “Even in the places where terrorist groups used to operate, life is returning to normal… The Syrian government is now providing water, electricity. People are returning to the liberated areas. East Ghouta was liberated only 5 months ago, and now you can see shops opening there, one after another.”

I get several permits signed. I take the General’s photo. I get photographed with him. He has nothing to hide. He is not afraid.

I tell him that at the end of January of 2019, or in February at the latest, I want to travel to Idlib, or at least to the suburbs of that city. That’s fine; I just have to let them know a few days in advance. Palmyra, fine. Aleppo, no problem.

We shake hands. They trust me. I trust them. That’s the only way forward – this is still a war. A terrible, brutal war. Despite the fact that Damascus is now free and safe.

*

Destroyed apartment block in Ein-Tarma

After I leave General’s office, we drive to Jobar, on the outskirts of Damascus. Then to Ein-Tarma.

There, it is total madness.

Jobar used to be a predominantly industrial area, Ein-Tarma a residential neighborhood. Both places had been reduced almost entirely to rubble. In Jobar I am allowed to film inside the tunnels, which used to be used by the terrorists; by the Rahman Brigades and by the other groups with direct connection to Al-Nusrah Front.

The scene is eerie. Formerly these factories offered tens of thousands of jobs to the people of the capital city. Now, nothing moves here. Dead silence, just dust and wreckage.

Lieutenant Ali accompanies me, as I climb over debris. I asked him what took place here. He replies, through my interpreter:

This place was only liberated in April 2018. It was one of the last places that was taken from the terrorists. For 6 years, one part was controlled by the ‘rebels’, while another by the army. The enemies dug tunnels, and it was very difficult to defeat them. They used every structure they could get their hands on, including schools. From here, most of the civilians managed to escape.”

I asked him about the destruction, although I knew the answer, as my Syrian friends used to live in this area, and told me their detailed stories. Lieutenant Ali confirmed:

The West was feeding the world with propaganda, saying that this was destruction caused by the army. In fact, the Syrian army was engaging the rebels only when they were attacking Damascus. Eventually, the rebels retreated from here, after the Russian-sponsored talks with the government.”

*

A Few kilometers further east, in Ein-Tarma, things are very different. Before the war, this used to be a residential neighborhood. People used to live here, mostly in the multi-story buildings. Here, the terrorists hit hard at the civilians. For months or even years, families had to live in terrible fear and deprivation.

We stopped at the humble shop selling vegetables. Here, I approached an elderly lady, and after she agreed to it, I began filming.

She spoke, and then she shouted, straight into the camera, waving her hands:

“We lived here like cattle. The terrorists treated us like animals. We were scared, hungry, humiliated. Women: terrorists would take 4-5 wives, forcing young girls and mature women into so-called marriages. We had nothing; nothing left!”

“And now?” I asked.

“Now? Look! We live again. We have a future. Thank you; thank you, Bashir!”

She calls her president by his first name. She points palms at her heart, and after kissing them, she waves her hands again.

There is nothing to ask, really. I just film. She says it all, in two minutes.

As we are leaving, I realize that she is most likely not old; not old at all. But what has happened here broke her in half. Now she is living; she is living and hoping again.

I ask my driver to move slowly, and I begin filming the road, broken and dusty, but full of traffic: people walking, bicycles and cars passing by, negotiating potholes. In the side streets, people are hard at work, rebuilding, cleaning rubble, cutting fallen beams. Electricity is getting restored. Glass panels fitted into the scratched wooden frames. Life. Victory; all this is bittersweet, because so many people died; because so much has been destroyed. But life it is, despite everything; life again. And hope; so much hope.

*

I sit with my friends, Yamen and Fida, in a classic, old Damascus café, called Havana. It is a real institution; a place where Ba’ath Party members used to meet, during the old and turbulent days. Photographs of President Bashir al-Assad are displayed, prominently.

Yamen, an educator, recalls how he had to move from one apartment to another, on several occasions during the recent years:

“My family used to live right next to Jobar. Everything around there was getting destroyed. We had to move. Then, at a new location, I was walking with my little son, and a mortar had landed near us. Once I saw building in flames. My son was crying in horror. A woman next to us was howling, trying to throw herself into flames: ‘My son is inside, I need my son, give me my son!’ In the past, we couldn’t predict from where the danger would arrive, and when. I lost several relatives; family members. We all did.”

Fida, Yamen’s colleague, is taking care of her ageing mother, every day, when she gets back from work. Life is still tough, but my friends are true patriots, and this helps them to cope with the daily challenges.

Over a cup of strong Arabic coffee, Fida explains:

“You see us laughing and joking, but deep inside, almost all of us are suffering from deep psychological trauma. What took place here was tough; we all saw terrible things, and we lost our loved ones. All this will stay with us, for many years to come. Syria does not have enough professional psychologists and psychiatrists to cope with the situation. So many lives have been damaged. I am still scared. Every day. Many people have been terribly shaken.”

“I feel sorry for my brother’s children. They were born into this crisis. My tiny nephew… Once we were under a mortar attack. He was so scared. Children are really badly affected! Personally, I am not afraid of getting killed. I am frightened of losing my arm, or leg, or not being able to take my mom to the hospital, if she was to be feeling sick. At least my ancestral city, Safita, has always been safe, even during the worst days of the conflict.”

“Not my Salamiyah,” laments Yamen:

“Salamiyah used to be just terrible. Many villages had to be evacuated… Many people died there. To the East of the city were the positions of Al-Nusrah, while the west was held by the ISIS”.

Yes, hundreds of thousands of the Syrian people were killed. Millions forced to leave the country, escaping both the terrorists and the conflict as well as poverty that rode on the tail of the fighting. Millions have been internally displaced; the entire nation in motion.

The previous day, after leaving Ein-Tarma, we drove near Zamalka and Harasta. Entire huge neighborhoods were either flattened, or at least terribly damaged.

When you see the Eastern suburbs of Damascus, when you see the ghost buildings without walls and windows, with bullet holes dotting the pillars, you think that you have seen it all. The destruction is so huge; it looks like an entire big city was just blown up to pieces. They say this eerie landscape doesn’t change for at least 15 kilometers. The nightmare goes on and on, without any interruption.

So yes, you tend to think that you have seen it all, but actually you haven’t. It is because you have not visited Aleppo, nor visited Homs, yet.

*

For several years, I have been fighting for Syria. I was doing it from the peripheries.

I managed to enter the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and to file reports about the brutality and cynicism of the occupation.

For years, I covered life in the refugee camps, and ‘around them’. Some camps were real, but others were actually used as training fortresses for the terrorist, who were later injected into Syrian territory, by NATO. Once I almost disappeared while filming Apayadin, one of such ‘institutions’, erected not far from the Turkish city of Hattay (Atakya).

I ‘almost’ disappeared, but others actually did die. Covering what the West and its allies have been doing to Syria is as dangerous as covering the war inside Syria itself.

I worked in Jordan, writing about the refugees, but also about the cynicism of the Jordanian collaboration with the West. I worked in Iraq where, in a camp near Erbil, the Syrian people were forced by both the NGO and the UN staff, to denounce President Assad, if they wanted to receive at least some basic services. And of course, I worked in Lebanon, where more than one million Syrian people have been staying; often facing unimaginably terrible conditions as well as discrimination (many are now going back).

And now that I was finally inside, it all felt somehow surreal, but it felt right.

Syria appeared to be as I expected it to be: heroic, brave, determined, and unmistakably socialist.

*

Homs. Before I went there, I thought that nothing could surprise me, anymore. I have worked all over Afghanistan, in Iraq, Sri Lanka, East Timor. But soon I realized that I had seen nothing, before I visited Homs.

The destruction of several parts of the city is so severe that it resembles the surface of another planet, or a fragment from some apocalyptic horror film.

People climbing through the ruins, an elderly couple visiting what once used to be their apartment, a girl’s shoe that I find in the middle of the road, covered by dust. A chair standing in the middle of an intersection, from which all four roads lead towards the horrid ruins.

Homs is where the conflict began.

My friend Yamen explained to me, as we were driving towards the center:

“Here, the media ignited hatred; mostly the Western mass media. But also, there were the channels from the Gulf: Al-Jazeera, as well as television and radio stations from Saudi Arabia. Sheik Adnan Mohammed al-Aroor was appearing, twice a week, on a television program which was telling people to hit the streets, banging on pots and pans; to fight against the government.”

Homs is where the anti-government rebellion began, in 2011. The anti-Assad propaganda from abroad soon reached a crescendo. The opposition was ideologically supported by the West and by its allies. Rapidly, the support became tangible, and included weapons, ammunition, as well as thousands of jihadi fighters.

A once tolerant and modern city (in a secular country), Homs began changing, getting divided between the religious groups. Division was followed by radicalization.

My good friend, a Syrian who now lives in both Syria and Lebanon, told me his story:

“I was very young when the uprising began. Some of us had certain legitimate grievances, and we began protesting, hoping that things could change for better. But many of us soon realized that our protests were literally kidnapped from abroad. We wanted a set of positive changes, while some leaders outside Syria wanted to overthrow our government. Consequently, I left the movement.”

He then shared with me his most painful secret:

“In the past, Homs was an extremely tolerant city. I am a moderate Muslim, and my fiancé was a moderate Christian. We were very close. But the situation in the city was changing rapidly, after 2011. Radicalism was on the raise. I repeatedly asked her to cover her hair when she was passing through the Muslim neighborhoods. It was out of concern, because I was beginning to clearly see what was happening around us. She refused. One day, she was shot, in the middle of the street. They killed her. Life was never the same again.”

In the West, they often say that the Syrian government was at least partially responsible for destruction of the city. But the logic of such accusations is absolutely perverse. Imagine Stalingrad. Imagine foreign invasion; an invasion supported by several hostile fascist powers. The city fights back, the government tries to stop the advancement of the troops of the enemy. The fight, terrible, an epic fight for the survival of the nation goes on. Who is to blame? The invaders or the government forces who are defending their own fatherland? Can anyone accuse the Soviet troops for fighting in the streets of their own cities that were attacked by the German Nazis?

Perhaps the Western propaganda is capable of such ‘analyses’, but definitely no rational human being.

The same logic as to Stalingrad, should also apply to Homs, to Aleppo, and to several other Syrian cities. Covering literally dozens of conflicts ignited by the West all over the world (and described in detail in my 840-page long book “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”), I have no doubts: the full responsibility for the destruction lies on the shoulders of the invaders.

*

I face Mrs. Hayat Awad in an ancient restaurant called Julia Palace. This used to be the stronghold of the terrorists. They occupied this beautiful place, located in the heart of the old city of Homs. Now, things are slowly coming back to life here, at least in several areas of the city. The old market is functioning, the university is open, and so are several government buildings and hotels. But Mrs. Hayat lives in both past and the future.

Mrs. Hayat lost her son, Mahmood, during the war. His portrait is always with her, engraved into a pentel she is wearing on her chest.

“He was only 21 years old, still a student, when he decided to join the Syrian army. He told me that Syria is like his mother. He loves her, as he loves me. He was fighting against the Al-Nusrah Front, and the battle was very tough. At the end of the day he called me, just to say that the situation was not good. In his last call he just asked me to forgive him. He said: ‘Maybe I am not going to come back. Please forgive me. I love you!’”

Are there many mothers like her, here in Homs, those who lost their sons?

“Yes, I know many women who lost their sons; and not just one, sometimes two or three. I know a lady who lost her two only sons. This war took everything from us. Not only our children. I blame the countries which supported the extreme ideologies injected into Syria; countries like the United States and those in Europe.”

After I am done filming, she thanks Russia for their support. She thanks all the countries that have stood by Syria, during those difficult years.

Not far from Julia Palace, reconstruction work is in full swing. And just a few steps away, a renovated mosque is re-opening. People are dancing, celebrating. It is Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. The Governor of Homs marches towards the festivities, with the members of his government. There is almost no security around them.

If the West does not unleash yet another wave of terror against its people, Homs should be just fine. Not right away, perhaps not soon, but it will be, with the resolute help of the Russians, Chinese, Iranian and other comrades. Syria itself is strong and determined. Its allies are mighty.

I want to believe that the most terrible years are over. I want to believe that Syria has already won.

But I know that there is still Idlib, there are also pockets occupied by Turkish and Western forces. It is not over, yet. The terrorists have not been fully defeated. The West will be shooting its missiles. Israel will be sending its air force to brutalize the country. And the mass media outlets from the West and the Gulf, will continue fighting the media war, agitating and confusing certain segments of the Syrian people.

Still, as I leave Homs, I see shops and even boutiques opening in the midst of the rubble. Some people are dressing up, elegantly again, in order to show their strength; their determination to put the past behind them and to live, once again, their normal lives.

*

Returning to Damascus, the motorway is in perfect condition and the industrial area in Hassia is getting rebuilt and amplified, too. There is a huge power plant, supported by the Iranians, I am told. Despite the war, Syria is still supplying neighboring Lebanon with electricity.

Yamen drives at 120 km/h and we joke that once we get scared of possible speed traps, instead of snipers, we know that the situation in the country is dramatically improving.

A Russian military convoy is parked at a rest area. Soldiers are drinking coffee. There is no fear. Syrians treat them as if they were their own people.

I see the most spectacular sunset, over the desert.

Then, once again, we pass through Harasta. This time at night.

I want to curse. I don’t; cursing is too easy. I need to get to my computer, soon. I have to write; to work. A lot, the best I can.

*

AV talking with Minister of Education, Dr. Hazwan Al-Waz

It is easy to feel at home in Syria. Maybe because Russian is my mother-tongue or perhaps because people here know that I have always stood by their country.

Some bureaucratic hindrances got resolved, quickly.

I met the outgoing Minister of Education, Dr. Hazwan Al-Waz, who is a fellow novelist. We spoke about his writing, about his latest book “Love and War.” He confirmed what I always knew, as a revolutionary novelist:

“During the war, everything is political, even love.”

And then something that I will never forget:

“My Ministry of Education has been, in fact, the Ministry of Defense”.

Last night in Damascus I walked all over the old city, till early morning. At one point, I arrived near the spectacular Umayyad Mosque, finding, right behind it, the mausoleum of Sultan Saladin.

I could not enter. At this late-night hour it was locked. But I could easily see it through the metal bars of the gate.

This brave commander and leader fought against the huge armies of the Western invaders – the Crusaders – winning almost every single battle, finding his peace and final resting place here, in Damascus.

I paid tribute to this ancient fellow internationalist, and I wondered, over a strong coffee in a nearby stall, in the middle of the night: “Did Saladin participate in this latest epic battle fought by the Syrian nation against the hordes of the foreign barbarians?”

Perhaps his spirit did. Or, more likely, some battles were fought and won with his name on lips.

‘I will be back,’ I uttered, walking back towards my hotel, few minutes after midnight. Two massive furry cats accompanide me, following my steps until the first corner. ‘I will be back very soon’.

Syria is standing. That’s what really matters. It never fell on its knees. And it never will. We will not allow it to fall.

And damned be imperialism!

First published by New Eastern Outlook

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

84 Comments

  1. mark says

    Syria is the rock on which US aggression and western imperialism have foundered. The after effects will take many years to play out, but they will be very far reaching. The global state sponsors of terror, France/UK/US, FUKUS, the Kikenreich, Turkey, Shady Wahabia and the Barbaric Gulf Dictatorships, threw everything they’d got at Syria and failed, like they have failed in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Yemen, Trillions of dollars, 3 million US troops, hundreds of thousands more from US satellites, hundreds of thousands of their barbaric pet terrorists, everything. They have thrown the kitchen sink at the region. A crude propaganda campaign lasting years. Syria could be the catalyst for the collapse of the whole AngloZionist Empire. And it has all ended in complete and utter failure and total military, political, financial and spiritual bankruptcy.

  2. What matters, of course, is that the bombing runs and strafings and wholesale slaughters may finally have stopped. In this respect, the so-called victory of the Syrian establishment over its enemies, only because it means a surcease of the worst kinds of atrocities inflicted on ordinary Syrians, is indeed to be welcomed.

    But as for the ‘nation,’ single and undivided, having prevailed against all odds; as for the poor and rich of Syria alike, together, in brotherly and sisterly unity, having fought for their common cause: It now appears as if the poor of Syria, the majority of Syrians, will be able to get on as they had before, to continue being poor, and that the likes of Rami Makhlouf and associates will also, as before, be able to get on with getting richer.

    Don’t get me wrong. The sooner the terrible and brutal violence of any war is brought to an end, the better it is for everyone directly affected. And it would certainly have been better if the so-called “war against Syria” had never happened.

    But things are not as Vltchek imagines or, perhaps, as he would want you to believe. The reality is both far more complicated and, yes, far simpler.

    Before the “war,” life for the majority of Syrians had been hard and was getting harder, indeed, as is the case EVERYWHERE under the rule of capital, of the neo-liberal drive for ever greater profits at the cost of an ever increasing immiseration for an increasing number of people – or perhaps you hadn’t noticed? During the terrible and brutal war, things for the poorest of the recalcitrant poor in Syria got unimaginably and unbearably worse. And in what is to come, albeit under the reprieve of a hopefully impending civil peace, the truth is that the conditions for the vast majority of Syrians aren’t likely to improve any time soon, if ever.

    But if you believe, as Vltchek clearly does, in the fairytale of the ‘nation,’ in that bourgeois invention designed to bolster territorial claims as well as the political, economic, and military control of the ‘national’ elite, a fairytale that once accepted by them binds ordinary people all the more tightly to the whims of their capitalist masters, then do cheer for the Syrian ‘nation,’ by all means, as well as for any other ‘nation’ that allied with Syria in her fight to preserve her so-called ‘national’ integrity.

    As for myself, I know I’m a working class schmuck, and as such recognize all capitalist states, be they the stronger or weaker ones, as the determined and ruthless class enemies of ordinary people everywhere.

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      • I’m surprised that you would stoop to such antics, Jen, given the issues at hand.

        People in Syria have endured unspeakable horrors, and the current reality is one in which people are exhausted and desire some stability. But sadly, they, the majority, have no good prospects before them, neither in the short term nor in the long term, and especially so for the more socially and economically disadvantaged Syrian majority. Apparently, however, to point this out is something at which to jest and taunt.

        I would have expected a more measured reply. But there you have it.

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        • mark says

          People in Syria have endured unspeakable horrors thanks to US aggression and western imperialism, aided and abetted by Washington’s satraps, the UK, France, Canada, together with the Kikenreich, which did so much to incite the war in the first place, Turkey, Shady Wahabia and the Gulf Dictatorships. These are the leading state sponsors of terror, who plotted, orchestrated, armed, trained and bankrolled the hundreds of thousands of takfiri cannibal head choppers and throat slitters from a hundred countries, to the tune of many tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars. The destruction of Syria to serve Zionist interests was planned from at least the late 1990s. Syria was one of many countries on the Neocon hit list. Britain alone bankrolled Al Qaida and ISIS to the tune of £3 billion. The SAS was training the throat slitters in Jordan and Turkey from at least 2006. The Qatar Dictatorship did just one arms deal with Croatia to arm the terrorists that cost $5 billion. They bought 100 plus tanks at a time for them from Ukraine.

          The trouble is, when you play these dirty games with terrorism, it always blows up in your face – literally. Like the teenage girls blown to bits at the Manchester Arena last year by MI6’s pet Libyan terrorists.

          • You have your ‘facts’ arse-backwards.

            First — and this is what the good people here at Off-Guradian don’t seem to understand — there was a popular uprising in Syria in 2011.

            If you doubt that assertion, then you will have to explain to me the implications of this Syrian presidential advisory committee’s memorandum, that is to say, observations and recommendations being made by ‘insiders’ of the Syrian government only months before the outbreak of the mass protests and general uprising in Syria in 2011, a memorandum that attests both to what was then the increasing recalcitrance of the Syrian majority and to the brutally repressive ways in which the regime was then dealing with that unrest (and I quote only a few highlights from that memorandum, as you can go and read the rest of the memorandum yoursefl):

            But first, a brief contextualizing comment from Tina Zintl:

            Quote begins:

            “[…]the memorandum in the annex, prepared in 2010, had been commissioned by the Syrian president’s office but later been ignored by it. While the short-timed and ineffectual nature of advisory committees and their reports was rather common under Bashar al-Asad –their recommendations were regularly sought but seldom implemented–the frankness and urgency demonstrated by this particular report are striking. It shows that ‘insiders’ of the system were well aware of the headwinds al-Asad’s politics and, particularly, his polarizing political economy faced. Despite due adulation of its recipient, the memorandum to the president spells out that “difficulties […]have escalated, neglect and mismanagement, into a socio-economic crisis” and thus led to “a great deal of dissatisfaction among the citizens as well as the elite.” For instance, the memorandum points towards the lack of direction and clear decision-making, rising poverty and social imbalance, corruption and mismanagement and, even, towards the limits of using police, security services and the military for controlling social unrest. It prefigures the outbreak of the popular uprising less than a year later and, notably, it is a far cry from the self-assured public speeches of Bashar al-Asad. As late as end-January 2011 he claimed in a, by now infamous, interview with the Wall Street Journal that “[i]f you want to talk about Tunisia and Egypt, we are outside of this” since he believed himself to be “very closely linked to the beliefs of the [Syrian] people”.1 Thus, the memorandum presents a highly interesting primary source that not only confirms Carsten Wieland’s point that Bashar al-Asad could have taken different decisions and possibly even have warded off the uprising, but that also demonstrates that the Syrian president was informed by his advisors about the most pressing problems and the alternatives available to him.”

            Quote ends.

            Source: The Syrian Uprising: Dynamics of an Insurgency pp.4-5.

            And now for some highlights from the memorandum (everything in bold is my emphasis):
            Quote begins:

            […]

            •On the other hand, the Syrian private sector has demonstrated a lack of social responsibility and, at the same time, suffers from structural deficits that render it incapable of replacing the role of the state vis-à-vis the workers. Subsequently the private sector has been unable to fill the vacuum created by the retreat of the state

            • […] most people only are seeing the regression of social support and the raising of prices. It seems to many that the state is abandoning the poor for the sake of the rich.

            […]

            •Furthermore, the negative results of this policy are apparent in the decrease in living standards and increased poverty rates. Figures in 2009 were higher than in 2004.

            •Parallel to this, a drastic collapse in health services, education and transport has continued, in addition to growing corruption and bureaucracy, which have made people’s quality of life unbearable.

            […]

            Such a decline has also impacted on the security services and their ability to deal with the society with tools other than violence.

            […]

            It should be noted that the potential use of hard power (police, security and military) in managing social problems is limited and risks inciting an international intervention in the internal affairs of the Syria state.

            […]

            The ministries have kept their old habits, without daring to take any decisions, preferring to evade responsibility, waiting, as they say, for instructions from above.

            […]

            The new economic approach, […] has created dissatisfaction in many fields. It seems to us, that there is a need to address the reform in the processes of decision making.

            The reason for this difficulty is due to the lack of definite orientation towards a social market economy. The currently chosen track for reform simply ignores the needs of the less fortunate classes in our society, in spite of the fact that there are many other forms of reform and many alternatives which could differ in their socio-economic outcome.

            […]

            Furthermore, the decline in social services, the shortage in electricity, the increasing numbers of people with no access to potable water, and the continued transport crisis all over the country have exacerbated popular disaffection. This has been compounded by the decline in health services and public hospitals infected by sluggishness and corruption, the extremely overcrowded public universities, the rise in organized crime and corruption, which remains widespread without any level of auditing or follow-up. ..

            […]

            Further, the pace of trade liberalization has been harmful to the productive sectors, such as industry. This seems to be an approach based on the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, which is a recipe with known results at the social and economic level.

            […]

            The private sector does not comply with its moral and social responsibilities which guide the business sectors in developed countries. Its commitment to the rule of law is very weak, it continues to evade taxes and to avoid payment of customs duties and social security duties through bribes. It does not care about the environment or for workers’ rights, and pays no attention to improving the working conditions or the conditions of residence of workers and their families. Nor does it understand the importance of the company as a social institution, rather than being the property of an individual acting out his desires.

            […]

            Furthermore, the overall economic policy applied in favour of traders at the expense of industrialists has led many of them to shift from productive activities to commercial activities and rent. This has been at the expense of the productive capacity of the Syrian economy.

            […]

            An increasing concentration of power in the hands of the crony bureaucracy classes is notable, while the popular classes have lost power.

            […]

            Such a phenomenon has its risks, especially in a country like Syria, which is exposed to various pressures. The need to ensure the loyalty of the population is of utmost importance.

            […]

            If we add this to the decline in state capacity and the lack of willingness to support free education, medical care and subsidies, this will lead to further polarization of the community, something which threatens social stability. This will also lead to the erosion of the middle class and reverse its role as a dynamo in the society.

            If we add this polarization to the cultural polarization, the risks appear doubled. The Syrian community is witnessing the growth of cultural division, including those among youth groups. In light of the significant decline of the identity and ideology of the state, and the Baath Party as a secular nationalist party, more and more splits will occur. The community will be torn apart between the Salafist groups and the forces of modernization. This division is further amplified by the new cyberspace. With the growing sentiments of tribalism and sectarianism the new generation is fragmented and desperate.

            Quote ends.

            Ibid. pp.100-110.

            Second, only after the onset the militarization of the uprising did the foreign powers — Western, Eastern, and regional — begin to meddle directly in the Syrian affair, and not at all as you believe, that is to say, to topple the regime, but rather to drown the popular uprising in blood.

            I’ve plenty of ‘evidence’ for that assertion posted by way of academic research and links to such research on my blog, for anyone who might care to broaden their perspective beyond the overly narrow purview of a top-down or geopolitical-only analysis, an analysis that as it happens is in any case erroneous, since all foreign intervention in Syria, that is to say, not merely that of the Russians and Iranians (and their Lebanese and Iraqi proxies), but also that of the Gulf State proxies and the US and Israel, was actually conducted in a fashion designed to bolster the Assadist regime, certainly not to bring it down.

            But to get to a point where you will be able to wrap your head around that, you’ll have to actually bone up on the ‘expert’ academic literature focused on the Middle East and on Syria in particular.

  3. Canthama BTL SyrPer #282118 forgot to add two info:

    8) Early news that the US Air Force has stopped bombing “ISIS” in eastern Syria. It is well known that without air support there will be no SDF advance in the area.

    9) For the past few months a large contingent of Russian soldiers and SAA 5th Corps were moved to Deir ez Zour, and since Monday, this move has been intensified. A few thousand soldiers quietly transferred to Deir ez Zour, that means the Syrian Arab Army is in a very good position to protect Syria’s oil and gas fields.

    More to come.

  4. WOW!

    From analyst Canthama BTL SyrPer #282117 1 hour ago:

    Some up dates on the recent events in northern-eastern Syria. Should this withdrawal be accomplished, it will take few months to get it done.

    1) Syrian Government officials in Qamishli have discussed today with the SDF leaders the handover of oil fields in Eastern Syria by the SDF.

    2) Syrian Government officials are analysing how quickly it can deploy thousands of soldiers in the border stations with Turkey and Iraq. First run on this subject appoints to a big issue to mobilize thousands of soldiers in short time frame, a mingled solution with some components of SDF is under analysis.

    3) France is taking a decision to pull out its troops from Syria. Non confirmed info that they already decided to leave, but it can be a variation of leave vs work with Russia, Iraq and Iran on eastern Syria. A growing subject in Damascus is for a very strong Russian military presence in northern and eastern Syria as a guarantor for the local population, this is where France is fitting in.

    4) Many diplomats at UN talking on the its corridors that President Assad has won the war of aggression against the Syrians and that the return to normal diplomatic relations will be accelerated with many countries, including many European ones.

    5) Syrian Government continues to be sceptical about US withdrawn announcement, no statement so far. Very intense backstage diplomatic at the moment, it seems that the up coming visit of Iraq’s President is a key component of this regional diplomatic front.

    6) There is a large exodus of Syrian-Arab-Kurdish population from Ayn al Arab and Tel al Abyad in the past 2 days, mostly civilians, afraid of another aggression like Afrin’s.

    7) Very important to keep an eye on the diplomatic front, this is where most of the decisions are being taken, not only in Damascus but throughout many countries. A new understanding has been reached and fine tuning is on the way, people say that the new Syrian Constitution is part of the bargain and of course elections.

    Excellent article by MoA on this subject.

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/12/why-trump-decided-to-remove-us-troops-from-syria.html

  5. Narrative says

    For a lengthy period, about 2 years ago, I kept searching for Syria news using Google. The prominent articles were essentially the BBC propaganda: Assad is killing innocent protestors. Assad is a dictator, enemy of democracy. That turned out to be just garbage!

    Now we know, the ‘Western’ spooks started by inciting the ‘intellectuals’ to rise up against ‘non-democratic’ rule of Assad. The US defense department found these intellectuals were too soft and a bit mild to their taste, and their numbers were not so great. That’s when money and arms started pouring in to train extremists and terrorists, from Syria and mercenaries from abroad, including fighters from Libya.

    Don’t you love it when the Saudis enthusiastically fund rebels to fight to establish ‘democracy’ in Syria??!!!!!

    13
    • Jay-Q says

      Check out Obama sanctioned CIA regime change program, Operation Timber Sycamore.

  6. Antonym says

    “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” President Donald Trump tweeted.
    Will the US Cabal let him withdraw US personnel en mass?

  7. Glasshopper says

    The way Syria came back from the relentless Terror Campaign is one of the miracles of our times. Albeit with some heavy lifting from Iran and Russia.

    22
  8. Robbobbobin says

    “[Syria] did not crumble like Libya or Iraq did.”

    Remind me. Which nations with a seriously strong military force and a strategically clever leader, such as Putin’s Russia, even raised a finger to intervene on the side of the established governments when the NATO hordes overran Libya or a “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq?

    5
    6
    • bevin says

      A large part of the difference was the stiffening of Syrian forces by the intervention of Hezbollah volunteers.
      Put Russian and Iranian assistance aside and we are still left with the entirely new phenomenon-in the post 1948 middle east- of extremely well trained, motivated and equipped troops in the SAA and Hezbollah.
      Israel no longer has the ability to do as it wishes in the region- it’s racism, exemplified in its contemptuous treatment of Arabs, will prove to have been its undoing when, in the coming years it disintegrates.
      The Likud coalition is a fascist government, founded in racist arrogance and contempt for morality. Its current apparent stability rests entirely on the support of the US, which cannot last, and the, related, corruption of the Palestinian leadership, which is totally discredited, while the example of Hezbollah points in a new direction.

      • BigB, glad you mentioned Hezb’Allah, in some ways the most remarkable phenomenon in the Middle East. A guerilla force that came from nowhere, that fights like a disciplined army and administers like church Welfare. And led by a man of high principles who is both an orator and a realist. The nearest equivalent to Ho Chi Minh or Castro or Mao in our time. A Lebanese Muslim patriot who is allied to a Lebanese Christian patriot, and whose rallying call, Dearly Beloved, was a hit song by a Lebanese Christian singer.

        When I say Hezb came from nowhere that was an understatement: it came from further back than nowhere; it came from Lebanon, the butt of jokes about Arab armies after Israel’s war of Independence (as Italy was the butt of jokes about European armies post WW2). A typical joke I heard as a student ran: Two Lebanese are having a fight, and each one is saying, Let me at him! Don’t hold me back! though no one is holding them back. I doubt whether General Sharon and the Israeli boys who got kicked out of Lebanon (twice) would have appreciated the joke. That is the difference a good Leader can make to a country.

        The Rev.Nasr’Allah is noted for prudence and intelligence as well as courage. No sooner had NATZO’s ISIS hordes invaded Syria than Hezb rushed to the aid of Dr.Assad. The Rev was loudly criticized by “Western” fellow-travellers in Lebanon for this move, but Hezb understood the message of their Leader: If we don’t stop the Zionazi agents in Damascus we shall have to face in Beirut — again. Syria appreciated their help most acutely in the dark days at the beginning of the invasion, when most of the country was occupied by ISIS, and NATZO’s proxy army looked ready to take Damascus. The Battle for Damascus, which Hezb helped the Syrian Army to win, was the turning point against the NATZO army (as the Battle of Britain was the turning point against Nazi army).

        • This link is not necessarily for you, vexarb, but I’m posting it here because a) you and BigB broached the topic and b) others perusing this thread may not, as the two of you seemingly have, have settled upon a definitive perspectives regarding Hezbollah.

          I’m inclined to agree with Joseph Daher that “we should never analyze a political party only according to its rhetoric against a particular country, even if it’s Israel, or according to its military operation or military struggle. We analyze a political party according to its political program, policies and the social origin of its leadership.”

          In the interests of frank and comradely discussion, then:

          The RAWR Report: Interview with Joseph Daher on Hezbollah and the Syrian Revolution – 02/16/2017

    • BigB says

      You answered your own question, RB. The Russian Federation was 4 years old, and not a ” seriously strong military force” by any stretch of the imagination for the Iraq war. VVP was not the President for Libya, so it was not his decision to make, but Medvedev’s. It has to be said, Russia was seeking Atlantic Integration up to Syria (some like the Saker and PCR point out that the Integrationist’s (as opposed to the Eurasian Sovereignists) still are …with VVP being a “hybrid” trying to balance both camps). Who could forget the comedy gold of Hilary Clinton presenting Sergei Lavrov the symbolic ‘reset’ button …that actually said ‘overload’. Needless to say, the reset did not last.

      • BigB,

        Banners and slogans remain. Policies and ends pursued change. Pertaining to Hezbollah, just so you don’t miss it (and because I’m curious to see what your assessment of the piece might be — and only if your inclined and have the time, of course — see the link that I dropped (above) as a reply to vexarb in his exchange with you.

        Regards.

  9. summitflyer says

    Thank you Andre .Your report gives us hope , even if we don’t ever get the chance to visit Syria , we get to see through your eyes and ears , what is indeed happening today . in a proud country that will rebuild .

    18
  10. David Eire says

    I am just awed by the Syrian people and their leader Bashar al-Assad.

    24
  11. From MikeFlorida in SyrPer:
    HOT update –
    US troop pull-out immediate

    > “A troop withdrawal appears already underway after Pentagon official said it would happen “quickly”. White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders issued a formal statement on troop withdrawal from Syria: “We have started returning United States troops home.” (Chief White House spokes-person Sanders also confirms pull-out, also states troops will return to US – not shifted elsewhere. Good news for Syria, if Trump can make promised order stick. 2nd link below = Kurdish media confirmation.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-19/drastic-reversal-us-prepares-full-withdrawal-forces-syria-immediately

    http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/ccb1b99c-3fcc-47f0-8ab7-c2c157c1be0a

    • Joerg says

      @ vexarb
      In this really excellent article Andre Vltchek mentions his book “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. And this, dear vexarb, reminded me to a comment of You (to an article on this site, some days ago) saying:
      Frederick father & son; at school we learned only about their wars and their despotism.

      But this “wars and “despotism.” is nothing but all lie!
      Wars“: In the 18th and 19th century England/Great Britain ran 29 wars, France 24 wars – and Brandenburg-Prussia 9 wars!
      And also The father of Frederick had only one war – pushing out the Swedes from what they had conquered during the 30 Years War at the north German Baltic coast. And on his deathbed Frederick had to promise his father never ever to start an unjust war. And Frederick kept this promise. He had only one war: The war to liberate Silesia, which belonged to Prussia ( to this see: https://books.google.at/books?id=EQNByG3vxrMC&pg=PA83&lpg=PA83&dq=Liegnitz+contact+Brandenburg+Prussia&source=bl&ots=gds2zhUaoe&sig=mvlkqZtZfhWfkkbdnDugWvxO6bw&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi7hKjU9qzfAhWnsaQKHZ-xAiAQ6AEILjAH#v=onepage&q=Liegnitz%20contact%20Brandenburg%20Prussia&f=false ), but was grabbed and occupied by the Austrian empire.
      When Frederick was already old Austria-Hungary marched into Bavaria and tried to annex it like they did with Silesia and Poland before. So Frederick also marched into Bavaria and the Austrians fled – without any fight (so I don’t count it as a “war”).

      Frederick and his father also never showed “despotism.“! there was never a massacre like “Peterloo” – for the other English/Brittish massacres see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_massacres_in_Great_Britain

      This lie about “wars and …despotism.” of Prussia was the fundamental reason for cutting off about 1/3 of German territory after WWI and for than ethnically cleaning more than 11 Million German people from there!
      To WWI also see this excellent video by James Corbett: https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-350-history-is-written-by-the-winners/

    • Joerg says

      @ vexarb
      ….one more point. Slave Trade to me is also “despotism”. and unlike England Frederick refused to trade with Africans. Yes, he needed money and slave trade was very lucrative. But he refused. When a French merchant from Bordelaise offered (April 1782) to trade with African slaves under Prussian flag, Frederick responded:
      I have always considered the trade with Negroes as a disgrace for mankind! Never will I allow it or promote it with any activity of mine

      • Dear Joerg, since you address me directly as such, let me express my heartfelt thanks for your information re the good kingship of the two Fredericks of Prussia. Have you read “Perpetual Peace” by Immanuel Kant? Known as ‘the Philosopher of the Revolution’ who enunciated the doctrine that Human beings should be regarded as Ends in Themselves and never as a means for exploitation (same as Frederick’s revulsion about the slave trade) the philosopher Kant nevertheless eschewed Democracy and preferred an enlightened monarchy.

        Thanks also for your statistics about warmongering: “In the 18th and 19th century England/Great Britain ran 29 wars, France 24 wars – and Brandenburg-Prussia 9 wars!”
        So much for the Prussian Militarism which English writers of 1900-1918 were forever drumming into their impressionable readers.

        The last time I visited Sweden I was disgusted to see a big map of the territory conquered by Swedish War Lord Gustavus Adolfus with “the most formidalble army in Europe”. Thus I was also delighted to learn from you that it was Frederick who drove the expansionist Sweden out of the territories they had conquered. I fear that today’s Swedes are in for a repeat lesson when they will try (for the second time) to conquer Russia.

        Regards, Nick Maroudas.

        • Joerg says

          @ vexarb
          Thanks for Your friendly answer!

          First a correction: “a French merchant from Bordelaise” is of course a merchant from the French city of “Bordeaux”.

          Swedes-Russia: Some days ago I read (don’t remember the link) that an astounding portion of Swedish citizens consider Russia to be a “danger”. As an elderly man I still remember this hype (1980s?) “a Soviet submarine cruises in Swedish waters!” Only a few years ago this happened again. I believe also that Olof Palme was murdered, because he was not ‘anti-Soviet’ enough. The fact that this murder was never cleared up by Sweden tells a lot!

          Prussia-Russia: Prussia always tried to have good relations to Russia. This is why Friedrich-Wilhelm I. (father of Frederick) gave the “Amber-Room” as a present to the czar in St. Petersburg (the Nazis later stole it from there).
          Also Frederick always cared for good relations to Russia. But he was also afraid! This is why, as he explained, took a part of Poland, because if he had not done so, it would have become Russian. And he was afraid of Russia being exactly before Prussia’s ‘door’.
          While other neighbouring empires at least had some wars against each other Poland and Prussia never had even one (one!) war. After the Silesia-war the Polish parliament even asked for Fredericks brother to become king of Poland. But Frederick forbade that. This not because of any animosity against Poland, but because Frederick knew that Austria and Russia wanted to divide Poland. And Frederick’s Prussia then would have cone to help Poland in a war. But after the Silesian war Prussia was too exhausted to do that.

          James Corbett did a great work! And every five minutes he surprises me with facts I didn’t know before (although, as political interested elderly men I thought I knew all about WWI).
          But I disagree with his positive picture of Wilhelm I. Wilhelm was a “German-Identity” and “German superiority” person – no more a Prussian. Don’t forget Wilhelm’s conquering colonies in Africa and how bad/cruel the people there ware treated (see – German language: https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Herz-der-Finsternis-Vom-Kolonialismus-Star-zum-Haenge-Peters-3362438.html ). Also in Wilhelm’s “Tsingtao” colony the Chinese were treated very bad.

          And with these “identity”-people its always the same: They have to hate someone, or have someone who is ‘lower’ (“minderwertig”) .And this is why Wilhelm broke off the good relation to Russia (“Slavic”). Even Bismarck (also no more a ‘real Prussian’) had took greatest importance to have a friendly pact with Russia (there was even an “anti-west” spirit in Russia and Germany the same) .
          This “identity” thing always is wrong and nearly always it is founded on a lie:
          “Germans” are probably to 80 % of “Celtic” – not “Germanic” – offspring. In nowadays Germany (especially in the south) you find a lot of Celtic Prince’s graves. And at least about 15 years ago (I didn’t follow it up since then) there were several mounts that were suspected of being Celtic Prince’s graves. But to this day there is only one (one!) grave of a Germanic prince! When the Goths attacked the Roman Empire (first century B. C.) the Celtic auxiliary troops from northern Italy (“gallia cisalpina”) got totally confused when the Goth’s front attacked, because they filled the air with Celtic war-cries (Livius tells us that).
          Also the Israelis: The Palestinians are the real descendants of the old Hebrews. The Israelis on the other side are descendants of the Khasars (see wikipedia) – a Turk (not: “Osman”) people (the Khasars turned to the Hebrew religion in about 600 A. D.) .
          Also those “African-Americans”: They have as little to do with Africa as me (who never was in Africa). Also Obama is at least to 50 % a “White Bread”!
          .
          “…and in the End” (Beatles); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQQ5sEOhbjQ

          • John A says

            2 points about Sweden. Palme (and later Anna Lindh) were both murdered by the CIA. And paved the way for Blairite Social Democrat new labour policies in Sweden that are destroying the country.
            2ndly, the submarine was American, a big scare to ‘persuade’ little Sweden to seek shelter in the safe arms of Uncle Sam.

            • Joerg says

              @John A
              You are probably right. At least with Palme (Iknow nothing of Lindh though)

  12. DunGroanin says

    Lol. Donald pulls Boltons trousers down in public.

    Potus about to drain the State swamp a bit more?

    Dontcha like him a wikkle bit yet?

  13. A powerful, masterly, lyrical paen to courage, justice and social cohesion among “suffering humanity” from compassionate journalist Andre Vltchek.

    In this Joyous Season, may I add my little note to Andre’s message of cheer? Where he writes: “The West will be shooting its missiles. Israel will be sending its air force to brutalize the country.”
    Not any more they won’t.

  14. So, the ‘philosopher’-in-residence of the most reactionary loony left is telling us that, the umpteenth rebellion of the majority of the population of Syria against the Assad tyrannical monarchy, a rebellion that started by the workers in the streets and ended up in civil war due to the brutal repression and terror of the regime, a rebellion that, after all, was winning by attrition, by the unbearable death rate of the private army of Assad and the flight of millions of military age men, that rebellion has been stopped not by the massive Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah’s interventions, that turned Syria into a colony of Iran and Russia, but that, for some unforeseen miracle, unbeknownst to all, the ‘people’ of Syria has defeated the rebellious and imperialist ‘Western’ enemy… Marvellous…!!!

    43
    • comite espartaco – so our fascist in residence commentator arrives just in time to spin yet another CIA / Western intelligence propaganda narrative. How kind of you to inform us all that we didn’t really see what we saw in Syria, we don’t really know what we know about the war in Syria, and all the lies of the Western empire about the situation in Syria are in fact holy “truths” because you said so. No doubt your explanations for the West’s complete amoral destruction of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan would be similarly enlightening. You must be so frustrated that you can’t add Syria to your list of “missions accomplished.”

      31
      • You are welcome… but at least, the ‘Western’ intelligence seems to be more accurate than the ‘Eastern’ leftist racist one, even when mistaken. Because, let’s face it, there is NOTHING more racist than to think that those poor little Arabs (or you call them ‘Rugheads?’), are incapable of rebelling against another Arab tyranny without the permission of loony leftists Russo-Iranians from the ‘West’. On the other hand, you are badly mistaken. We do not mind at all that Russia, Iran and Hezbollah managed to secure, for the moment, their stooge, as the exodus of Syrians provoked by that New ‘Leftist’ Empire of the Oligarchs has triggered Brexit and the immigrationist crisis that you are facing now in Europe, that is, the demise of the loony left… ‘Good’ luck with that as you are going to need it in the approaching ‘revolution’…!!!

        31
        • comite espartaco – ah, such frustration at not being able to turn Syria into a repeat of Libya, now mercifully “liberated from tyranny” by your U.S. supported head chopping jihadist buddies. No more secular society, no more free education, no more healthcare, no more women’s rights, no more plan for a pan-African currency to bypass the World Bank and IMF. Instead open slave markets and jihadist madness and chaos. You of course are aware that Libya had a higher quality of life rating by the UN than a number of European nations, but that was before your jihadist proxies “liberated it” – into the current hell hole conditions.

          What is it with this hysterical hatred you and others have for the few secular governments in the Middle East that don’t bow to the U.S., Israel and Western Europe? Oh, wait, I think I might have answered my own question. Never mind.

          Your nonsense straw man arguments continue to be shamelessly trotted out and used to justify every single invasion – err, rather – “humanitarian intervention” throughout the world. One is a “racist” if one doesn’t support the Western backed jihadists in destroying another secular Middle Eastern nation? How do you even suggest such rubbish without gagging?

          By your own criteria if the West weren’t such total hypocrites they’d be moving their jihadists en masse into France in order to overthrow the secular government there given the widespread brutal police repression of even peaceful protestors reported by the UN. But no – that “solution” along with always favored “no fly zone” and endless bombs – is only in play when the West is in “regime change” mode, not in “regime protection” mode as in France. One marvels at such fluid morality and policy positions that always seem to characterize Western “humanitarian concerns.” Go figure.

          21
          • Do you mean the ‘secular’ regime of the monarchy of the House of Assad? The one that has in its Constitution:
            Article 3
            The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam; Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation; The State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order; The personal status of religious communities shall be protected and respected…???
            Do you mean the ‘secular’ regime ‘defended’ by the Islamic Republic of Iran, born from an Islamic Revolution, which in it’s Constitution says:
            Article 2
            The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:
            1. the One God (as stated in the phrase “There is no god except Allah”), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands;
            2. Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;
            3. the return to God in the Hereafter, and the constructive role of this belief in the course of man’s ascent towards God…???

            Do you mean Hezbollah… the Party of God… That is your loony leftist secularism…!!!???

            18
              • So, you call the articles of the Constitutions of the Syrian ‘Arab’ (or Russian or Iranian) Republic (Monarchy?) and the Islamic Republic of Iran, that you pretend to defend, ‘obscure articles’. This loony left (and this must be the 7th disparaging time we mention it), should be called, paraphrasing the famous remarks of Kenneth Clarke, the Dolly Parton Left, as it displays an unbelievable madness, blown out of all proportions and without any visible means of support…!!!

                • Makropulos says

                  The 7th disparaging time “we” mention it? And Kenneth Clarke is supplying your script? It figures.

                • Makropulos says

                  And what exaclty are you CE? I follow the links and find a load of seemingly lefty bluster like:

                  “Censorship and repression: sorry… we have been banned from Facebook, Twitter and many other Lügenpresse and fake news outlets from left, right and centre… but we continue our Dialectical and Materialist critique…!!! ”

                  And bizarre headlines like:

                  “Anticomunism (sic) is Lesbianism…!!!”

                  It seems to me you are certainly not part of the “Loony Left” – just a loony. Or are you being employed to give a “lefty” cover to Western imperialist bollocks like Louis Proyect?

                  • Great…!!! It would have been extremely worrying if a loony leftist like you (that is the 8th time), would have liked our discourse and our posts. That, simply put, would have meant that we were doing something absolutely wrong and ‘assadist’. And just in case you did not understand, that means that we are in the right track… Amen…!!!

                • mark says

                  Maybe these countries should have a blatantly racist Apartheid constitution instead, like the Kikenreich.

            • mark says

              Such a shame your Zionist buddies in the Kikenreich didn’t quite get to completely destroy yet another Arab country.

      • David Eire says

        comite espartaco’s mind is typical of those of the people one encounters on most forums and in most comments sections across the Western web. People who are still completely immersed in the corporate media induced trance of the official narrative. There is nothing one can say to them to bring them to their senses. One might as well argue with a fundamentalist religionist about their beliefs. Waste of time. People either have the capacity to wake up (and do) or they dont. It is dispiriting to see how completely and sincerely duped so many people are.

        21
          • milosevic says

            Presumably, this idiot considers him/herself to be a “Trotskyist”. I’ve always laughed at the claim that such people are secretly run by the CIA, but if it were true, it would certainly explain a lot.

            Leon Trotsky — Anti-Imperialist Struggle Is Key to Liberation

            It is clear to me at any rate that the internal tasks of these countries cannot be solved without a simultaneous revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The agents of the United States, England, France (Lewis, Jouhaux, Toledano, the Stalinists) try to substitute the struggle against fascism for the struggle against imperialism. We have observed their criminal efforts at the recent congress against war and fascism. In the countries of Latin America the agents of “democratic” imperialism are especially dangerous, since they are more capable of fooling the masses than the open agents of fascist bandits.

            I will take the most simple and obvious example. In Brazil there now reigns a semifascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personally — in this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!

            • Makropulos says

              With our friend CE you have to do a lot of presuming. I’ve followed the links via his name and I have no idea what he is supposed to represent. I suspect he doesn’t either.

    • mark says

      “The rebellion of the population of Syria” was conceived, plotted, bankrolled, armed, trained, and orchestrated from Washington from the late 1990s onwards. Their cannon fodder was composed of hundreds of thousands of takfiri terrorists from 100 countries, not “the workers in the streets.” When disturbances broke out in 2011, (after the SAS had been training terrorists in Jordan and Turkey for 5 years), Assad sent unarmed police officers to deal with the unrest. A large number were immediately murdered by mysterious snipers on rooftops, who also killed civilians indiscriminately, targeting women and children to inflame the situation. This is a standard ploy from the CIA play book, which was used at the Maidan as well. The terrorists routinely committed massacres and blamed them on the Syrian Government, with the MSM like the Guardian all cheerleading them on from the same hymn sheet. Assad didn’t have a “private army.” He had the national Syrian Arab Army, composed of young Syrian men conscripted from its many communities, principally Sunnis, who defended their country heroically against hundreds of thousands of the most barbaric terrorists on the planet. Thanks to multi billion pound sponsorship from the US, UK, France, Zionist Regime, and the other state sponsors of terror, this imperialist cannon fodder was better equipped than the Syrian Arab Army, which fought back heroically with 50 year old T54s and MIG21s, and shot down Zionist aircraft with museum piece S200s. With the help of their allies, who were fighting in Syria so as not to have to fight the same terrorists at home, the SAA has prevailed, though the Neocons and Zionists will pretend otherwise for a while. They never admit their many crimes and failures. But the SAA and their allies have broken the US Terror Coalition, just as the Nazis were finally broken at Stalingrad. This will have far reaching consequences. All the US military adventures over the past 30 years have formed a long catalogue of catastrophic failures. This is the latest of many, after Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

  15. frank says

    “In Syria the Entire Nation Mobilized…and Won”

    They were losing, until Russia stepped in.

    The US now says they will leave, which I will believe when I see it. Don’t they still occupy one third of the country (the part with all the oil)?

    Also: why are Russia, Iran & Turkey drafting a new Syria constitution? Is this not up to Syria to decide? Where do foreign countries get the right to decide the constitution of Syria?

    But Syria won… Sure.

    5
    11
    • Loverat says

      frank

      You are correct – no one has the right to dictate to Syria. That’s in an ideal and fair world however.

      I think it’s part of the game of the peace process involving Russia, Iran and Turkey. They’re are trying to get Turkey on board in some way. Turkey doesn’t care about Syria’s constitution (being a sponsor of terrorism themselves) but need to be seen as a credible player. With Turkey it’s all about posturing and flip-flopping from one side to another. They are pathetic.

      Russia and Iran are trying to give Turkey something in return for reversing its co-operation with the war criminals and terrorist supporters in our governments.

      Assad is pragmatic and I’m sure is not being undermined to the point his people seriously question this. They have alot to be grateful for having a great president,

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    • Jen says

      Talk of Russia and others drafting a new Syrian constitution is just that … talk.

      The important thing to find out is who keeps putting out this news about Russia drafting such a document, how old is it, is the news coming from a competent source or a source that keeps repeating second-hand news and moreover has an interest in seeing the Syrian government fall.

      The Russian position has always been that Russia will respect whatever the Syrian public decides. At the most, the Russians will just doodle something on a piece of paper, give it to a Syrian delegation, and if those diplomats shoot it back as an origami plane, then the Russians will just shrug and doodle something else.

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      • frank says

        Russia, Iran & Turkey agree to launch Syrian constitution committee by January
        https://www.rt.com/news/446823-syria-constitutional-commitee-launch/

        “We have agreed to take efforts aimed at convening the first session of the Syrian constitution committee early next year. These steps will lead to the launch of a viable and lasting Syrian-owned, Syrian-led, UN-facilitated political process,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a statement following the meeting hosted by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

        • Jen says

          As long as this committee includes delegates with agendas hostile to Syria, and the RT.com article makes clear this is indeed the case, it won’t amount to much and the whole idea may even have to be abandoned.

  16. Loverat says

    Maggie

    I agree with everything you say, but keeping positive.

    Something is going to have to give soon. Either we’re doomed as that bloke out of Dad’s Army says. Or the whole lot of the bloodsuckers are going to swept away and there’ll be a new fairer world order. Or at least an order which brings back some stability.

    One thing which made me laugh was the 24 x 7. BBC coverage of John McCain’s funeral where all the ex-presidents and other high profile criminals were in attendance (passing each other candy) at the church.

    Anyway, someone on Twitter said, ‘quick, lock the doors and just hold the war crimes tribunal for crimes in the last 50 years in the church’.

    We could try that when the next war criminal dies.

    And just thinking, McCann I think was religious. What do you think god said to him when he appeared at the gates?. Knowing these people I don’t think they have the first awareness of the pure misery they’ve caused in the world and the danger of global conflict by their actions..

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  17. This could be Trump’s Get Out of Jail Card for re-election. Clip from the ZeroHedge link below:

    “The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that has not yet been announced, said the decision would include the entire force of more than 2,000 U.S. service members. It was made on Tuesday, the official said.

    President Trump has long promised to conclude the campaign against the Islamic State and has questioned the value of costly and dangerous military missions overseas.”

  18. Anon says

    PRC can at least send its redundant bicycle mountains to Syria which has reduced the uighur menace.

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  19. Frankly Speaking says

    Surely the Syrians are very strong and they admirably battled against the Neocon nutters and their headchopping allies, however, they would have lost the war had it not been for Russia’s strong intervention.

    Putin said there would never be another Libya again and he kept his word. That’s why Putin is villified by our “liberal” interventionist warmongers and their media organs who froth at the mouth in their Orwellian daily Two Minutes Hate against him, as they proclaim that War is Peace and Peace is War.

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    • Haltonbrat says

      Israel are very angry. They do not like to lose; the war in Syria was fought on behalf of Israel as was that in Iraq and Libya. Well done Russia.

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  20. George Cornell says

    Israel still got its wish, disabling and enfeebling Syria.

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    • Haltonbrat says

      Don’t kid yourself. The bully Israel lost and deservedly so.

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    • I think you have failed to take into consideration the expertise gained over the last few years for both Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army. Yes, many soldiers lost their lives but the survivors are now more than capable of dealing with the thuggish ‘stewards’ that call themselves the IDF. Israel haven’t been involved in a real war (apart from provoking them) since 1973.
      The slaughter of the defenceless Palestinians will continue for the time being but Israel are now trapped alongside two extremely capable forces. The IAF is practically useless because any attack on Lebanese infrastructure will result in a response which no one can accurately predict. Hassan Nasrallah and President Assad are anything but disabled and feeble.

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      • From today’s Syrian Arab News Agency: Spokeswoman of the Pentagon said ” We have started the return process of the US troops from Syria to USA.”

        SANA adds: “The United States has been leading an illegal international coalition unauthorized by the UN Security Council under the pretext of fighting ISIS terrorist organization. The majority of the Coalition’s airstrikes have instead targeted civilian locals, causing scores of appalling massacres and a large-scale destruction to infrastructure.”

      • summitflyer says

        Thank you for the videos,Milosevic.I reside in North America and will never forgive the US and my country’s sorrowful leadership for the destruction of Syria through the promotion of terrorism , lies through our media and all for the advancement of their corporate arms sales .I would be remiss if I did not mention that any war against the neighbors of Israel is for their advancement of their wet dream of the Oded Yinon plan.
        The future does look brighter in Syria today ,thanks to primarily the Russian intervention and with the help of Iran and Hezbollah from Lebanon . The people of Syria will never forget ,I am sure, who their real friends are.

    • I am almost certain that this song is in Breton – the music is very Celtic and the lyrics do very much sound like Breton Celtic. Very beautiful.

      • milosevic says

        Strangely, it seems that this music was part of the soundtrack for the greatest imperial propaganda movie ever made, Black Hawk Down.

  21. davemass says

    Many years ago I worked at Tishrin Military hospital in Damascus installing a CAT scanner,
    I wonder if it survived the bombing…
    Lovely people, confident and proud to be Syrians.
    I’m no longer proud to be British.

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    • For Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Donbass and many other reasons, I too struggle with my British nationality. Thank goodess, I also have Swiss nationality of which I am proud.

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  22. Thankyou to Off Guardian for republishing Vltchek’s beautiful article – the more people who read it the more chance we have of prevailing in the “Education war” against surely the most pervasive and destructive propaganda war in human history. And it is for us to act as the educators, as most Syrians have already learnt in the hardest way just where the truth lies in the seven-year long assault on their country.
    My experience visiting Syria in May – which I wrote about here on Off G – filled me with hope that such education would be possible, and we have found that being able to tell people from first hand experience about the feeling in Syria is enough to make them think seriously about it.
    But the media keeps pumping out the lies – the latest being that the warring parties meeting in Geneva today were Russia, Iran and Turkey; the US/UK/Israel/Gulf/KSA coalition who supplied most of the arms, fighters and propaganda support are no longer part of the equation and don’t rate a mention.

    I should say that I am delighted to see brave Hayat’s face in Andrew’s article – as she was also our educator in our visit to Homs; she is such an inspiration. Her son was killed in Deir al Zour, which was the subject of my article:
    https://off-guardian.org/2018/08/29/bombing-bridges-questioning-australias-role-in-the-war-on-syria/

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  23. Paula C Williams says

    Syria has kept its integrity and has fought against the West which wants to control the world. The progressive global movement will continue and I hope the next country will be Kurdistan to be free to independently develop its democracy and see Ocalan freed from imprisonment.

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    • mark says

      Unfortunately the Kurds are just a tool of Zionist and US intrigue, useful and expendable cannon fodder in their dirty games in the Middle East. They have no independent agency – unfortunately.

  24. It is faith, not hope, which stands in triumph. It always will. It is humanity, not the machinations of political agenda which will always prevail. Even in defeat. The utter blindness of evil is it’s weakness. Pity it. It will eventually extinguish itself. In this I have faith.
    The meek shall inherit the earth.

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    • Loverat says

      Indeed.

      A story of sacrifice and resilence in face of the might and evil from our governments – and media which obligingly carried it’s regime change duties. Syria was obviously a red line for Syrians – and possibly ‘him upstairs’ looking down at the continued western sponsored mayhem and murder over 50 years..

      Let’s all have faith their criminal complicity will be punished soon. Not out of revenge – just to lock them up so they can’t do this all over again and endanger us all. The activities of our government, intelligence services and media nothing short of treason over Syria. They will pay – that I’m certain of.

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      • Maggie says

        @ Loverat,
        What a marvellously uplifting article this is, which proves everything that I and others already knew from the beginning of this onslaught by the Evil Cabal..
        ”Let’s all have faith their criminal complicity will be punished soon”
        .I think that is the sentiment of all right thinking people, but sadly it doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the horizon…
        We only need to l look at the Bliar Rich Portfolio which is worth a staggering £60 MILLION. thanks to Teflon Tony’s services rendered to the Mammon worshipping blood sucking Hydra… Where can we find our Heraclies?
        https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/11670425/Revealed-Tony-Blair-worth-a-staggering-60m.html
        And there are ”millions” like him on this planet, all sucking the life out of everything..

        What I don’t understand is ‘why’ have Bliar and the imbecile Bush not being prosecuted for crimes against humanity in the International Court in Holland… proving without a doubt what monstrous corrupt and collusive international administration prevails.. How were the German’s brought to heel?

        See how the Military and Police ‘Service’ (lol) willingly fall into the roles of oppressors, without conscience or incentive, apart from being subjected to years of propaganda…. They do their duty to the devil and are then cast on the scrap heap at 45 to become drunks, mercenaries or security men? Such noble people.

        Our World will never be safe until the USA and Israhell are put in their place.
        I can’t see any-one in the near future doing this, so it is up to US… to boycott EVERYTHING they stand for.

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      • ‘Not out of revenge’

        Whyever not? I’d like to see the fucking bastards strung up one by one.

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