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Robin Yassin-Kassab and the Aleppo Revolution that Never was

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

Robin Yassin-Kassab has distinguished himself as one of Britain’s leading regime-change propagandists. Whether it’s Libya, Syria or Venezuela, Mr. Yassin-Kassab can be handsomely relied upon to supply the clever and poetic armoury to push forward narratives to facilitate Western imperialism militarily overhauling a nation-state not to its predisposition. For most of the last decade, Syria was his favoured target for spewing regime-change propaganda.

His byline has furnished The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Newsweek as well as the media of the Gulf state despots such as Al-Jazeera, The National and Al-Araby. Yassin-Kassab’s main contribution to the Syria regime-change campaign culminated in a book he co-authored with a certain Ms Leila Al-Shami titled, ‘Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War’.

War or regime-change propaganda is obviously nothing new. For the hundred years before the outbreak of the war on Syria, the establishment have provided bogus claims as pretext for war. Among the most infamous are Huns eating Belgian babies during World War One; Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin when the United States directly attacked Vietnam on the pretext of falsely claiming it was attacked by the Vietnamese; Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals in 1990; Weapons of Mass Destruction falling in the hands of al-Qaeda peddled by George Bush and Tony Blair regimes; Iraq’s purchase of Uranium from Niger; African mercenaries on Viagra killing and raping their way through Libya before the regime-change in Libya commenced. This essay argues that Mr. Yassin-Kassab’s account in ‘Burning Country’ of what happened in Aleppo in July 2012 must be seen in this ignoble historical context of regime-change propaganda. He begins his account of Aleppo with the following:

On the night of 19 July 2012, as battle erupted in the Salahudeen neighbourhood, thousands of fighters poured into the city from the northern and eastern countryside. Videos of the convoy filled distant revolutionaries with enthusiasm to echo that of the men on the backs of trucks…brandishing Kalashnikovs and freedom flags.”[1]

Before this date, he acknowledges that Aleppo “had remained largely calm in the revolution’s early months…The poorer people of the outer suburbs and nearby towns felt a certain resentment towards those overcomfortable Aleppans who’d sat on the sidelines…”[2] that is, ordinary Aleppans who he belittles as “overcomfortable”, wanted nothing to do with the “revolution” or the regime –change project. He also provides no evidence to substantiate the “feelings” and “resentment” besides the anecdote of one sympathiser from a city of two million people.

Yassin-Kassab continues that “the liberation of Aleppo” i.e. its invasion by rural militants, “had a definite class dimension – armed farmers and workers of the rural hinterland were welcomed by militants in the city’s working class zones.”[3] Once again, he provides no evidence on their welcome and I would be very surprised if any of the “armed farmers” from the rural hinterland know what “class” is.

So even when we read between the lines in Yassin-Kassab’s account, it is quite easy to decipher that there was no “liberation” of Aleppo but simply an invasion from the Syrian countryside. To confirm that Aleppo in July 2012 was invaded by hordes of rural militant peasants we could turn to two sympathisers of the Syrian “revolution”. Firstly, Professor Samer Abboud in his account of the war on Syria, also claims that before the city was invaded:

local Aleppines did not protest in large numbers against the regime, nor did armed groups emerge from within the city’s civilian population. Indeed, until mid-2012, Aleppo was relatively stable compared to other parts of Syria…[but] By 2012, FSA-affliliated brigades had entered Aleppo and established a presence.”[4]

If I were to raid my neighbour’s house with weapons, I would not be “establish[ing] a presence” in my neighbour’s house, I would rightly be referred to, at the very least, an anti-social monster who upon being removed from said property would expect to be brought before a court of law to face a long prison sentence. More so, I am surprised the good Professor fails to inform his readers whether these “armed groups” emerged from Jupiter or the Syrian countryside.

Secondly, Rania Abouzeid, a journalist working in the Middle East for many years has written a book, “No Turning Back” about the Syrian War to rave reviews. Among the reviewers is Yassin- Kassab who endorses book as an “excellent account”. Abouzeid is more forthright about the nightmare that befell Aleppo in July 2012. The city was,

dragged into the uprising in July 2012 like a hostage who were not its sons. The rebels who pushed into Aleppo were from the poorer, more religious conservative countryside around it. A band of rivals, not brothers, who weren’t welcomed by locals – men with little camaraderie, undisciplined groups, some of which looted the homes of civilians they claimed to be protecting.” [5]

So, there we have it Yassin-Kassab praises a book which totally contradicts his own account of Aleppo’s capture. Whereas he lauds the “liberation” of Aleppo, Abouzeid rightly informs her readers that the city was kidnapped by a disparate bunch of rural jihadis or as she says people from the, “more religious conservative countryside”. Whereas, Yassin-Kassab claims that these jihadis were welcomed by “militants in the city’s working-class zones”, Abouzeid claims they were not welcomed and indeed began their occupational tenure in Aleppo by looting the homes of the people in “liberated Aleppo”.

From establishing that there was no revolution or liberation in Aleppo in July 2012, we can now turn to identifying who specifically invaded the city of two million which had by all accounts remained relatively peaceful in the early months Syria’s upheaval.

On this point Yassin-Kassab rightly states that most of “Aleppo’s fighters were affiliated with the Tawheed, or Unification brigade – originally a merger of the revolutionary militias formed in the northern countryside.”[6] The Arabic name is actually, Liwa’ al-Tawheed which Yassin-Kassab claims is “redolent of Islam” and “also of the national unity envisioned by the slogans of 2011.”[7] Yassin-Kassab mis-translates the name of the brigade to take away its Islamist edge. The name actually translates as some variation of “Monotheism Brigade”.

There is nothing controversial about Tawheed per se and indeed it is as old as Islam itself but in jihadi circles it has acquired an understanding that is at distance from the original. To gain a more specific understanding of “Tawheed”, I have turned to another pro-regime change merchant, the academic, Dr. Shiraz Maher of King’s College London who has written a seminal book on Jihadis called, “Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea”. Once again Yassin-Kassab reviews the book as “majestic” and “essential reading”.

At its most fundamental level, Tawheed (oneness of God) is a concept which distinguishes Prophet Muhammad’s vision from the preceding era of polytheistic jahiliyya (ignorance) in the seventh century Arabian desert. However, in jihadi circles in the 1990s and especially after 9/11 it gained a more politicised meaning among jihadis like Osama bin Laden which certainly doesn’t take into account Yassin-Kassab’s “national unity”. Maher claims that for jihadis, the “political realisation of tawhid [Tawheed]” is “intrinsically linked to the establishment of faith itself.” And he proceeds to quote bin Laden who argued that Tawheed is disbelief in the taghut (non-monotheism) as a central pillar of Tawheed and ordinary Muslims who do not fulfil this pillar are not monotheist.[8]

Therefore, the implementation of Tawheed is in effect the implementation of one’s basic faith. What’s peculiar is that in Yassin-Kassab’s review of Maher’s book, he rightly translates Tawheed as “oneness of God”.

Another academic Dr. Christopher Phillips based at Queen Mary’s University in London in his book on the events in Syria, “The Battle for Syria”, translates the name as “Monotheism brigade”.[9] If the name of the brigade was indeed “Unification”, then the Arabic equivalent would be, Wahdah. On this basis, Yassin-Kassab is not only mistranslating but concealing the Islamist nature of the name of the brigade of the rural militants.

The jihadist nature of Liwa al-Tawheed is confirmed by another propagandist for regime-change, this time Charles Lister who is known to be in the employment of Gulf state funded Western think tanks. Yassin-Kassab praises Lister’s book on the war on Syria, “The Syrian Jihad: The Evolution of an Insurgency” as “the definite account” on jihadi groups. Lister ideologically classifies Liwa al-Tawheed’s philosophy as an “ideology akin to the Muslim Brotherhood and enjoyed strong Qatari backing.”[10]

More so, not only do they have an ideology akin to the Muslim Brotherhood but as Lister confirmed they enjoyed a close-knit military alliance with Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, the so-called Jabhat al-Nusra. The Muslim Brotherhood is known for its long history of brutal sectarianism in Syria and Al-Qaeda is not known for its insistence on democracy or national unity. According to Lister several months after the invasion of East Aleppo, in November 2012, Tawheed Brigade co-signed a declaration with Jabhat al-Nusra calling for an Islamic state and rejecting a secular future for Syria. The declaration stated,

We are representatives of the fighting formations in Aleppo and we declare our rejection of the conspiratorial project, the so-called national alliance…We have unanimously agreed to urgently establish an Islamic state.”[11]

So much for Yassin-Kassab’s false idea that Liwa al-Tawheed’s name represents “national unity envisioned by the slogans of 2011”. Furthermore, in September 2013, Liwa al-Tawheed issued another statement co-signed with Nusra/al-Qaeda and other jihadi groups calling for, inter alia, unification, “within a clear Islamic frame created on an Islamic power based upon sharia arbitration and make it the sole source of legislation.”[12]

Yassin-Kassab then quite remarkably bemoans that the Tawheed Brigade, “ultimately presided over a cantonisation rather than a collective rebirth.” This is not a surprise as Western-Gulf backed jihadis always produce cantonisation whether in Afghanistan or Libya. The idea of a “collective rebirth” is mere poetic propaganda to cover up for the inevitable dismantling and disintegration of Aleppo. Yassin-Kassab proceeds to justify the attendant jihadi looting of the city on the basis of resourcefulness. That is,the reader is left the impression or to silently conclude that if militants were provided more support by the West and GCC countries such gangsterism would not have taken place,

Hungry for bullets and food, rebel commanders squabbled over resources. By December, looting and gangsterism were common. Aleppo’s factories were stripped and sold off – sometimes to feed the fighters [invaders] sometimes to buy villas in Turkey. Some, posing as FSA militants, full-time highwaymen.”[13]

Once again Abouzeid is more forthright on what happened to Aleppo once the jihadi gangs established authority, “Nusra [al-Qaeda] stripped Aleppo’s multimillion-dollar factories bare and sold their equipment in Turkey for millions.”[14]

Aleppo or east Aleppo fell to jihadi gangs in July 2012 who according to Lister were financed by Qatar. The largesse received from Qatar did not sufficiently quench their desire for booty so they dismantled and looted the industrial infrastructure of the city. This is the reality which Yassin-Kassab classifies as “liberated Aleppo”.

More so, when these jihadis were on the verge of total expulsion from Aleppo to much Western and Gulf chagrin in late 2016, Yassin-Kassab bemoaned their defeat in Qatari media by disgustingly turning history on its head. He wrote that the imminent defeat and expulsion of the Qatari backed jihadis amounted to “population transfer”. And as such was on a par with the Palestinian experience of being ethnic cleansed in 1948 by Zionist forces!

Palestinians that were ethnically cleansed in 1947-8 were indigenous to Palestine; the vast majority of Syrians and other jihadi nationals that were expelled from east Aleppo in late 2016 were not, they were originally a “band of rivals, not brothers, who weren’t welcomed by locals” in the words of Abouzeid. But what makes this analogy exceedingly disturbing, if not twisted, is that the Zionist state of Israel had been generously supporting the Syrian armed militants over the course of this war. One could argue that it is actually Yassin-Kassab and the Zionists of Israel who have enjoyed a de-facto military alliance against the Syrian state.

In conclusion, there was no revolution in Aleppo July 2012. The people who invaded and captured mostly eastern parts of Aleppo at this time were unwelcome jihadis from the countryside who proceeded to loot and dismantle the industrial infrastructure of the city under their control. They then sold the looted industrial parts in Turkey to the tune of millions. Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami’s claim that the events of July 2012 in Aleppo were hitherto the “armed resistance’s greatest success” falls short and stands out, at the very least, as blatant propaganda if not outright deception. Then again, the media’s regime-change brigade lied about Vietnam, lied about Iraq, lied about Libya, so why would anyone expect anything else but a continued lack of sincerity about Aleppo?

Update: It has come to the author’s attention since submitting the original article, that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a report in November 2017, almost one year after the jihadis were expelled from Aleppo which states that since militants’ defeat and expulsion, 300,000 Syrians have returned to east Aleppo. Therefore, proving that Yassin-Kassab’s theory of “population transfer” was entirely premature, misplaced and wrong.

Notes and Sources:-

  • [1] Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, (London: Pluto Press) 2016, p.94
  • [2] ibid pp.94-95
  • [3] ibid p.95
  • [4] Samer N. Abboud, Syria, (Cambridge: Polity) 2018, p.200
  • [5] Rania Abouzeid, No Turning Back: Life, Loss and Hope in Wartime Syria, (London: Oneworld) 2018, p.171
  • [6] Yassin-Kassab and Al-Shami, op.cit., p.96
  • [7] ibid
  • [8] Shiraz Maher, Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea, (London: Penguin Books), 2017 p.153
  • [9] Christopher Phillips, The battle for Syria, (London: Yale University Press), 2016, p.128
  • [10] Charles Lister, The Syrian Jihad: the Evolution of an Insurgency, (London: Hurst & Company), 2017, p. 86
  • [11] ibid p.97
  • [12] ibid p.168
  • [13] Yassin-Kassab and Al-Shami, op.cit., p.96
  • [14] Abouzeid, op. cit., p.204
Nu’man Abd al-Wahid is a Yemeni-English independent researcher specialising in how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its political interests in the Arab World. His work has been posted at Mondoweiss and Black Agenda Report. A full collection of essays can be accessed at http://www.churchills-karma.com. Twitter handle: @churchillskarma. His book Debunking the Myth of America’s Poodle: Great Britain Wants War is due to be published next year.
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Frank
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Frank

Hi Nu’man, your article is to be commended. Your exposure of Kassab’s deviousness as regards his mistranslation of Tawheed/Tawhid is spot on. Snakes like him rely on European ignorance of Arabic. Keep it up.

mark
Reader
mark

Syria is the Stalingrad of the modern era, the rock on which western imperialism and Zionist aggression have foundered. They threw everything they’d got at Syria and failed.
Britain alone bankrolled their pet cannibal head choppers to the tune of over £3 billion. Much better than wasting it on things like the NHS and the homeless. Qatar alone did just one arms deal with Croatia for $5 billion to arm the head choppers. Saudi Arabia was buying 100 tanks at a time for them from Ukraine. When you add up all the money alone it probably comes to well over a hundred billion. Maybe well in excess of that.
Then there were all the PR campaigns, the 150 strong PR department of the White Helmets, the Banas, the false flag gas hoaxes. But all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, the Yew Ess Ayy, UK, France, Israel, Turkey, the Gulf Dictatorships, huffed and puffed but couldn’t blow the house down.
They thought it was going to be so easy, a Libya Mark 2. Assad couldn’t possibly last more than a few months, the smug Guardian editorials assured us. Assad’s wife had already fled the country. Soon all would be well. A pliable puppet serving Zionist interests would soon be in place. Qatar’s pipeline through Syria would soon be built. Another Arab country scratched off the hit list of the Neocohens.
But it didn’t quite work out according to the Power Point presentation. Though the country was invaded by the scum of the earth with a licence to murder, torture, rape and rob to their hearts’ content, hundreds of thousands of pieces of human sewage from over 100 countries, the Syrian army, people, state and leadership fought back heroically, with 50 year old T54s and MIG21s, against the better equipped head chopper scum. And they won, with the help of allies who were themselves in the cross hairs of the Neocohens.
Like after Stalingrad in 1943, these people have nowhere to go. All they can do is cast around for scapegoats. The results and knock on effects will take many years to work out, like ripples in a pond. Just one of these is the mass immigrant invasions of the EU, which has destabilised it and brought it to the brink of collapse. Syria has survived. Historians may well see this as a turning point in the fortunes of the Exceptional And Indispensable People in the Yew Ess Ayy and their Zionist Masters.

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

Just read part of an article in the Guardian explaining how we have got our thinking wrong on terrorists. I wondered when I read the title whether it might be a decent piece. Sadly not – no relevant facts whatsover so not worth bothering with the reasoning. Then I came on here and read the above post from a reader. Full of undisputable facts, means, motives and opportunities.

One thing which can’t be explained is how Syria beat all of them. Yes, bravery, determination, Russia helping hand. But I sense there was some karma in play. Syria winning and the Yellow Vests hopefully getting the upper hand – maybe there is some hope after all. And will be good to watch the evil squirm when it all comes tumbling down.

My bet is the media will do a post Iraq. Pretend they never campaigned for regime change and wars, we were all misled by the intelligence, we didn’t know the White Helmets were terrorists – and blame the government. But I don’t think that’s going to work this time Guardian ‘journalists’ – the people have seen through your lies and ‘liberal’ facade. Your days are numbered. Act in haste, repent at leisure.

elenits
Reader

Well we do know that Israel planned on stealing Syrian oil, which it did and still does – now in two locations; that Israel took special pleasure in destroying the monasteries and churches in this Christian region and murdering priests, monks and nuns; that Israel/US planned on taking this super-rich region that was never Kurdish for its fake but now aborted Kurdistan; and that both would use their Muslim Brotherhood terrorist proxies to exploit farmer despair to kick off a fake civil war in Syria.

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

On the other Off G article which mentioned Counterpunch which you defended against criticism I posed a question about Syria to see whether you believed that was a conspiracy theory. For me, describing 9/11 alternative narratives as unsubstianted doesn’t necessary mean that you are dishonest or lack intelligence. That’s because despite there being serious questions to challenge many parts of the official narrative, its not an event I’m an authority on. But you describing others as ‘conspiracy theorists’ did make me suspect something very sinister has infected the minds of the Counterpunch community.

To arrive on here posting the stuff about Syria leaves me in no doubt that the criticism of your views and Counterpunch are justified. I agree, you don’t necessarily have to go to Syria to have a view – but you can’t tell us Robert Fisk, Vanessa Beeley, Andre Vitchek, Eva Bartlett, Patrick Henningsen, Carla Ortiz who have, are all wrong. This as well as an absolute mountain of evidence which blows your theories about moderate rebels and climate change out of the water.

I guess this only leaves people to work out if this is a lack of intelligence or outright dishonesty on your part.

Lets see what happens when the correct events are finally accepted in the mainstream. Will your ‘class analysis’ from 2016 mysteriously disapear or will you cling on to the ridiculous theories, like a deranged Russiagate news presenter?.

louisproyect
Reader

Fair enough; but you don’t provide any argument for why it was a good idea for the US and its allies to arm Salafi jihadists in Syria, nor any projection of what would be a realistically possible good outcome to the war.

—-

The USA did not arm Salafists. Turkey and Saudi Arabia did, mostly because they favored an Islamist government but not one ruled by ISIS or al-Nusra. Furthermore, Assad used violence against peaceful protestors who had zero interest in an Islamist government in order to militarize the conflict and trigger the intervention of states like Saudi Arabia. This allowed him to position himself as an enemy of jihadists. He has accomplished his goals while turning Syria into a massive disaster zone with zero chance of recovery. All this to protect a family dynasty.

Tim
Reader
Tim

More lying Bs!

John
Reader
John

Who’s lying though? Off guardian or proyect?

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

The answer to that question is usually – follow the money.

But on this occasion, follow the ideology and you will receive your answer.

Someone who uses so many words in an article like ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘conspiracy theorists’ and generally chucking these terms around don’t see things the way politically non-aligned people do.

Click on his article about the drought and you will see what I mean. This person probably means well in some ways – but he is a fool whose arrogance prolongs the suffering of the Syrian people.

Johny Conspiranoid
Reader
Johny Conspiranoid

So then did Assad triggerd the intervention of Saudi Arabia to turn Syria into a disaster area and so consolidate his power by positioning himself as an enemy of jihadists? Seems to be a drastic tactic with much more danger for Assad, and not a lot of potential benefit given that he was already in power. And what about the CIA snipers on both sides taking shots to get the conflict to kick off?

John
Reader
John

America like Britain has looooooong links to jihadists now fuck off Trotskyite cretin

mark
Reader
mark

The SAS was training Islamist throat cutters in Turkey and Jordan from at least 2006.

Carnyx
Reader
Carnyx

I knew about the Neocon-Trot relationship a long time ago but I thought it was a “former Trot” thing, Proyect exists to remind us it looks much worse than that. He sometimes reminds me of the sort of distorted arguments and pseudo-history you hear coming from some on the Turkish left, like when they fondly look back on the anti-imperialist Ottoman Empire and Ataturk.

Another error in Proyect’s description of Syria is the idea there was a clear distinction between “Salafists” and the rest of the armed opposition, all the significant armed opposition agreed to impose and Islamic state on Syria, the main difference was the scale of their geopolitical ambitions. Jihadists like Zenki, Ahrar al Sham, or Jaysh al Islam (who all received US support) wanted only to impose a Sunni Islamic state within Syrian borders (although they were hostile to Iran). Al Qaeda/Nusra saw imposing an Islamic state on Syria to be a stepping stone toward the creation of future global Caliphate. ISIS claimed to already be that Caliphate and entitled to expand. This was the distinction that mattered to the US in it’s choice of who to support, the US attempted to limit it’s funds to Jihadis whose ambitions ended at the Syrian border, they were the “moderates”, the US only started attacking ISIS after it conquered much of Iraq.

In the early stages there was the so called FSA, they cooperated with the Jihadis but were secular themselves, but they were largely organised crime clans (border smugglers) with a few military defectors who had been bribed, they were more unpopular than the Jihadis because they were so corrupt, they looted places for profit, plus the Jihadis were better fighters, the FSA inevitably disappeared as an fighting force. There were some liberal regime opponents in the cities, they weren’t armed, and many who remained became Assad supporters (at least in this war) when they were exposed to the horror of the armed opposition, understandably concluding that Assad was better than the foreign backed Jihadis.

A former Aleppan Assad opponent writes as “Edward Dark” in Al Monitor (who unfortunately now require registration), the Guardian also published him when he was against Assad but not now. He provides an interesting illustration of the evolution of what was Syrian pro-western urban liberal thinking during the war.

Here are his al Monitor articles
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/authors/edward-dark.html
I’ll highlight this one
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/05/syria-revolution-aleppo-assad.html
https://www.theguardian.com/profile/edward-dark

While his twitter feed and middleeasteye articles show us his more recent thinking, I quote

“Get this into your thick fucking skulls now. The U.S, U.K and France will never again be allowed in #Syria. You will never again have any role in future Syria. Even if the gov makes its peace with you, we won’t. #NeverForget”

https://twitter.com/edwardedark?lang=en
https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/edward-dark

Thank god Proyect is here to lecture him on the class consciousness of the foreign mercenaries who were destroying his city and lobbing mortar shells at him in an effort to bring him to egalitarian revolution!

John
Reader
John

Well said Carynx well bloody said

Carnyx
Reader
Carnyx

The US armed Salafists, it armed al-Zenki who are Salafists

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nour_al-Din_al-Zenki_Movement#Foreign_support
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore

The uprising was violent from it’s beginning around the 20th March 2011 in Daraa

11th March 2011, Syrian govt captures a truck carrying a large consignment of weapons including guns, grenades and night vision goggles coming across the Iraqi border.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-iraq/syria-says-seizes-weapons-smuggled-from-iraq-idUSTRE72A3MI20110311
18th to 21st march in Daraa, 4 protesters and 7 police were killed and govt buildings burnt
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143026
23rd March Daraa, an ambulance carrying an injured policeman was attacked by the opposition killing 4, a doctor, a paramedic, a policeman and the ambulance driver
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011323153056287399.html
State TV shows weapons inside Omari mosque in Daraa after storming it

April 5th two policemen are shot dead in Kafar Batna near Damascus.
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/05/syria.unrest/
April 10th 9 soldiers are killed in an ambush near the town of Banyas in Latakia
https://mronline.org/2011/04/14/disinformation-about-syria-in-western-media/
April 25th 19 Syrian soldiers killed in another ambush this time near Daraa
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/
April 29th 4 soldiers killed and 2 kidnapped in Daraa
http://www.alriyadh.com/628196
Al Jazeera reporter Ali Hashem says he witnessed and filmed armed men crossing into Syria from Lebanon and fighting the army in April and May 2011
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8106
BBC Arabic service clip of Saudi official Anwar Al-Eshki (or al-Ishki) talking about how Saudi Arabia helped arm the opposition using the Omari Mosque in Daraa

Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jaber al-Thani has admited in a TV interview that from the very beginning of the protests in Syria in 2011 his country along with Saudi, Turkey and the US were shipping arms into Syria to the opposition, he used an Arabic term to associate this activity to “hunting prey” with Assad being the prey. He admits arming Al Qaeda but somewhat unbelievably denies arming ISIS

Half of all opposition fighters killed throughout the war are not Syrian, what kind of revolution is that? While about 90% of pro-govt fighters killed are Syrians.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Syrian_Civil_War#Foreign_anti-government_fighters_killed

John
Reader
John

Mate they’re my favourite revolutions to support the ones where foreigners turn up and tell me they’re oppressed then wave their automatic rifles around I love those ahem “class conscious” jihadis…I mean local oppressed peoples. Any western country that had a pole in England telling us they’re oppressed would be laughed out the country, but not for fake Marxists (Trotskyists) they support every revolution except actual working class revolutions. They are always late to the party and then direct everyone to vote for one of the two major parties then wonders why A nothing changes and B why people Walk away from left wing policies when these obvious controlled opposition intelligence assets let them down. Almost like it was planned out that way by someone doesn’t it?!

David Macilwain
Reader

It seems fitting that you should describe Aleppo and Syria in this way, as your inability to obtain a visa to visit the country and see for yourself the remarkable rebuilding efforts and spirit of cooperation in Damascus and Aleppo and Homs means you must rely on the same sources of disinformation that started the war on Syria 8 years ago.
For any reader here who might be considering if Louis Proyect has a point, any point, I recommend the recent interview with Sharmine Narwani by Patrick Lawrence. Sharmine has visited Syria many times, and spoken to members of armed groups, Syrian commanders, Iranians and Iraqis,, government officials and mostly with Syrians; her views have extraordinary weight.
https://www.salon.com/2019/04/21/reporter-sharmine-narwani-on-the-secret-history-of-americas-defeat-in-syria/
And if you like to know more about the way that the US continues to support “ISIS” as a trojan horse for its occupation of Syria, try my latest on “Baghouz, the secret city” in AHT….

louisproyect
Reader

How does visiting Syria going to make a difference in the data I presented? You people have to learn how to do proper research instead of repeating the crap you read on Global Research.

—-

The drought put an end to decades of development in the fields of health and education in the Jezira, and the sanitary situation became dramatic. In 2009, 42 percent of Raqqa governorate suffered from anemia owing to a shortage of dairy products, vegetables, and fruit. Malnutrition among pregnant women and children under five doubled between 2007 and 2009. To complicate matters, vegetable and fruit growers in dry northern Syria used polluted river water to irrigate their crops, causing out breaks of food poisoning among consumers, according to environmental and medical experts. Experts pointed out that the problem stemmed from sewage and chemicals allowed to reach rivers in rural areas near Aleppo, Lattakia, and Raqqa.

As they were suffering from malnutrition and lack of income, small. scale farmers and herders and landless peasants stopped sending their children to school. According to a UN needs assessment, enrollment in some schools in eastern Syria decreased by 70 percent after April 2008. This decrease reversed decades of literacy efforts and school creation in the Jezira, where the illiteracy rates were the highest in the country: 38.3 percent in Raqqa governorate, 35.1 percent in Hassaka governorate, and 34.8 percent in Deir ez-Zor governorate. More than a third of the active population was illiterate, including more than half of the female active population. Between 160 and 220 villages were abandoned in Hassaka governorate. The wells dried up and the population could not afford to bring water from private tankers at a cost of 2,000 SYP per month (about 30 euros).

David Macilwain
Reader

If you’d seen the tunnel system under Douma hospital like I did last May then you’d hardly ask me that question.
As for the rest of the information you have here, I find it odd that you focus on the drought conditions affecting the “Jazira” between the Euphrates and Tigris, currently occupied by US and NATO forces and their local proxies. This is of course the same area described in the 2012 DNI document leaked by Michael Flynn, where the “Caliphate” was going to be set up to separate Iran from Syria and Lebanon, with the support of Western powers. Quod erat demonstratum.
According to Sharmine, who personally related this to me, the object of taking over this, the bread basket of Syria – along with, conveniently Syria’s oil fields – was to deprive the Syrian population of self-sufficiency in food and power supplies. This is similar to what the Western coalition did in Ukraine, where Donbass and its rich agricultural soils were the prime target, along with the Black Sea port of Sebastopol.
I could go on, particularly about the myth that drought and climate change had anything whatsoever to do with the “uprising”. The Syrian government made significant efforts to ameliorate the effects on rural communities from this drought. Not to point out either that it was in the rural region of Idlib province, at the other end of the country, where the insurgency began, as the fighters and weapons came over the border from Turkey….
Instead of trying to rewrite history, or maintain the same sort of false history that the Israeli’s have invented to protect their apartheid colony, perhaps you should focus on the current actions of the US and Israeli states. It is doubtful if they could survive without the extensive propaganda services provided by the likes of the UK “Syrian Solidarity Movement” and the useful idiots at the Guardian and in the NGOs that support the bogus “revolution”.

elenits
Reader

Bravo David! Not to mention that the odds are incredibly high that the drought was engineered using the ‘weather weapon’. There has never been a drought in this region – ever. Until 2008.

John
Reader
John

Despite all the evidence for weather Manipulation and michiu kaku(?) admitting as much in live tv the sheep of this world will call us big eyed paranoid conspiracists for telling them the truth about weather manipulation. The truth is an anathema to most people for some reason

Gary Wilson
Reader
Gary Wilson

I would suspect that weather manipulation is a bigger problem for most people than declining soil fertility. I would suspect that the reason for that is that most people know more about weather manipulation than about soil fertility and they are probably not aware of the consequences of declining soil fertility. Declining soil fertility leads to increased soil erosion, increased damage from floods (more water runs off as soil fertility declines) and increased damage from droughts (less water from rain soaks into the soil as soil fertility declines depriving the plants of the benefits of water stored in the soil during periods of little or no rainfall).
Evidence for these results from declining soil fertility lies hidden in unopened books.
No doubt Syria has a problem with low soil fertility. The symptoms are there.

louisproyect
Reader

As for the rest of the information you have here, I find it odd that you focus on the drought conditions affecting the “Jazira” between the Euphrates and Tigris, currently occupied by US and NATO forces and their local proxies.

I have no idea what point you are making. The people were suffering from a drought and the government failed to help them. How do you turn this into a conspiracy involving the Western military? Oh, I feel stupid even asking the question. This is off-guardian, after all.

mohandeer
Reader

Proyect. I really don’t know where to begin with the cherry picking you have used to justify an opinion based on western interpretation of a ME country. In the UK our Government has systematically mismanaged the flood issues which have left people homeless to the point where they were still homeless when their original homes were flooded again subsequently, in what was the fourth largest economy in the world. Does this mean, by your clever logic, that certain countries could righteously claim that the British government should be overthrown in a regime change? The trouble with righteousness, is that it can be applied unilaterally or universally, which leaves many western so-called democracies looking very incompetent and pretentious and hypocritical. A case of clean your own backyard rubbish tip before pointing to the litter in someone else’s.

John
Reader
John

Hey everybody come quick!! A real rare phenomenon never seen before an unrepentant Marxist (Trotskyist) who supports everything the capitalists tell us! Oh wait why am I telling everyone to look at the rare phenomenon it’s a regular occurrence for fake Marxists Trotskyists to believe every western backed interven….I mean revolution put before them but for once most Trotskyists haven’t ended up supporting Syrians belatedly like they did with Ireland, china, Russia, Iraq (twice) Afghanistan Nicaragua panama Grenada etc etc etc they are the most obvious of controlled opposition. Weird how the working class won’t and don’t support Trotskyists but middle class Trotskyists want to write “class analysis” for people they’ve only ever heard about. Their idea of working class is two working parents but only one car in the driveway that’s their idea of working class anyone below that is a rAcIsT

elenits
Reader

One is not supposed to make ad hominem attacks so I only note that every time I see the title ‘louis proyect’ I think of: liars, propagandists and bores…

John
Reader
John

You’ve just been told it’s an area occupied by the west and it’s jihadit mates! I sincerely hope the people rise up you’ll fucking hate it

mark
Reader
mark

Western Imperialism and its Zionist masters will use any old scum as useful idiots and cannon fodder. Ukrainian Nazis and criminal elements turning up at Maidan to collect their $25 a day from the US Embassy and the free booze, drugs and whores that were laid on. The scum of the earth transported to Syria by the US, UK, and their accomplices and given a licence to murder, rape, torture and rob to their hearts’ content. There are no depths that the wire pullers behind it will not plumb.

That is the reality of our glorious leaders, the Blairs, Camerons, Mays and their ilk.

elenits
Reader

You neglected to mention the scum trolls 😉

Martin Usher
Reader
Martin Usher

I’ve always found it difficult to reconcile the mental picture of hordes of towel headed revolutionaries toting AK-47s with the gentleman I work with. He’s from Aleppo, you see. Its apparently the same Aleppo in Syria that you read about in the media but from the descriptions it could be in a parallel universe.

Jo
Reader
Jo

I still do not why Turkey is not being held so much accountable for its “misdoings”re Syria……

louisproyect
Reader

Typical conspiracist nonsense. For the small number of people who still see the value of a class analysis, this might be useful: https://louisproyect.org/2016/12/14/the-economic-roots-of-the-syrian-revolution/

Robbobbobin
Reader
Robbobbobin

I followed your link and read a bit then, for no particular reason, looked around a bit further and came across:

“Louis Proyect, this cannot be right. Capitalism arrived in Germany and Japan through…”

Did you really say that? You really address yourself so specifically when you soliloquize? Like you might mistake something you were saying to yourself for something you were saying to someone else? Wow.

mohandeer
Reader

“…For the small number of people who still see the value of a class analysis, this might be useful…”
Analysis by whom? Class is a concept that many Syrians(the majority) would find difficult to relate to because it’s a western term which emerged from monarchist ruled European states. It’s the reason why the socialists couldn’t achieve more than 8% uptake among the Syrian people. Since when did a following of less than 10% of a nation of what was 22 million people, ever become a majority “movement” as claimed by many of these elitist wannabe socialists?

Loverat
Reader
Loverat

Exactly – clearly useful for the writer and his band of political followers. He admits himself in the article his knowledge of Syria is limited. Very little relevance to the people of Syria then or now. What Syrians appreciate are writers and journalists who put their own arrogance and politics aside, don’t tell them how to run their country and report what’s going on. And especially those who risk their lives to go to Syria to report.

This attitude is just another imposition on the Syrian people and one which is destroying the world. If you can’t bother to find out the truth, leave well alone.

John
Reader
John

What the fuck would an upper middle class fake socialist know about class?

Rhisiart Gwilym
Reader
Rhisiart Gwilym

Look at all the thumbs-downs after each of your posts, Louis. I don’t get why you still think it’s worth trolling here, since, as Beatrice says to Benedick: “I wonder that you will still be talking, Senior [Louis]. Nobody marks you!”

This is a genuine truth-teasing-out site. Your tosh will get no traction here. But do continue posting. Good for a laff! And btw, that offer to debate the hard, physical, scientific realities about the 11/9 false flag still stands – when you can muster the gumption from your arid-political-theory addled soul… :O)

louisproyect
Reader

I don’t get why you still think it’s worth trolling here, since, as Beatrice says to Benedick: “I wonder that you will still be talking, Senior [Louis]. Nobody marks you!”

—-

I am not in the habit of trolling here. I am almost exclusively interested in answering idiots like Max Parry and C.J. Hopkins who badmouth CounterPunch. When I stopped by here yesterday (I believe), I spotted the attack on Yassin-Kassab, who happens to hate my guts because I voted for Jill Stein in 2016. I hardly had anything to say in the comments here except to post a link to an article I wrote in 2016 about the economic roots of the Syrian revolution. For all the fulmination about the article, nobody has provided data that contradicts the portrait I drew of a nation in deep economic immiseration while its elites sheltered their billions in Mossack-Fonseca.

https://www.standard.co.uk/business/panama-scandal-grows-for-hsbc-over-syria-links-a3218276.html

John
Reader
John

You say on your website on that bullshit class analysis on Syria you say “we Marxist (you aren’t a Marxist you’re an intelligence asset) don’t support bourgeois candidates as a matter of principal” and voted for Jill Stein?! Ha! And i actually quite like her. But she’s a borgy too!

Johny Conspiranoid
Reader
Johny Conspiranoid

Conspiracy theory and class analysis are not mutualy exclusive ways of understanding things.

John
Reader
John

Class analysis from a trot? Get to fuck mate the Syrians have very little concept of class you ignorant cunt! How much shekels do you receive? Oh wait I said shekels you’ll call me untie shurmitick the bad thing for you is I can easily show all the Jews who own and run things

Andrew Mcguiness
Reader
Andrew Mcguiness

Your dismissal of this article as ‘typical conspiracist nonsense’ doesn’t do justice to the situation. The article you link to provides some welcome context, identifying the 2007 drought together with withdrawal of agriculural supports as a driver of discontent, so that:

“it is exactly people such as this, the poor and displaced rural folk who streamed into the suburbs of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs in the hope of finding a roof over their heads and food on their table who became the social base of the Syrian revolution.”

Fair enough; but you don’t provide any argument for why it was a good idea for the US and its allies to arm Salafi jihadists in Syria, nor any projection of what would be a realistically possible good outcome to the war. We know that the destabilisation of Syria was established years before the war as part of the larger US plan for the Middle East; and we know that news reports have been not just biased but actually manufactured. The fact that there was justifiable discontent among some sectors of the Syrian population doesn’t change those facts and it doesn’t make this article ‘conspiracist nonsense’.

Haltonbrat
Reader
Haltonbrat

According to former French Foreign minister Roland Dumas, the British were planning the conflict in Syria two years before the Arab Spring. He was told so at that time when he visited the British Foreign office. Dumas is on YouTube stating that in a French TV interview.