I’m not sure that the Syrian War was ever a civil war. The inflammatory incident in Dara’a very early in 2011 was documented by false flag videos on Al Jazeera and was augmented by a huge weapons stash in the central Mosque, brought in through Jordan from Libya by foreign fighters. The FSA were payed and trained by the Turkish and Qatari governments. Syria is a multi-ethnic, religiously diverse country. The Grand Mufti’s youngest son, a college student in Aleppo, was assassinated by a couple of Saudi hit men in mid 2011. But, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the most revered Sunni scholar in Syria did not quit. He joined forces with the Orthodox Bishops to promote peace. Both claim all Syrians as their children.
Foreign TV and print news framed the violence as a religious war, a sectarian war. And it’s true that there has been considerable ‘Sunni’ fundamentalist violence directed at others. However, the Grand Mufti’s story tell us it isn’t a ‘religious civil’ war as the highest Sunni stands with the minorities who are the victims. The perception of a civil war confused many people, including Syrians, off the jump. People had to adapt all over Syria to militias taking over their communities and propaganda from English language sources and Saudi Arabian and Qatari news outlets told them over and over that a civil war had begun and they would have to choose a side. Massacres occurred, and local press descriptions of events and government attempts to stabilize the situation were countered by the same international media, claiming that their own government and army were attacking citizens around the country. This propaganda has been a very effective part of the war on Syria.
You probably thought, when you read my last post about imminent reconciliation in Aleppo, that I was bonkers. Indeed the war rages on in Aleppo. Not only is the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) moving to retake the Eastern side of the city, but the fighters in East Aleppo, with Al Nusra and ISIS flags at the forefront, are persistently bombing areas of West Aleppo that their weapons can reach. Numerous civilians have been killed and wounded in these attacks on strictly civilian areas including many children (RT News, October 14 – 17). There is no doubt that there are also civilian casualties in Eastern Aleppo where the fighting is actually occurring as reported in the Western media.
The latest from the Syrian war reporters is that the SAA now holds a number of critical hills around East Aleppo, and they are feeling confident of an imminent victory. The reconciliation message is popular in Syria and so the government is promoting it, just as the US style reconciliation imposed by international agreements among competing states is popular in the west, and the absence of that possibility is the source of endless one sided propaganda in our news. In fact, it is a very aggressive schedule to expect the reconciliation plan to work so quickly. However, the cards are on the table. Amnesty for fighters who lay down their arms, a bus trip to Idlib for those who do not wish to continue a hopeless battle but do wish to fight for independence, and a rout for the foreign mercenaries and extremists leading too relief for civilians and ongoing support from the government.
When we met with Ali Haidar, he told us that whenever the reconciliation is imminent the intensity of resistance rises. He also said that building the reconciliation is a slow process. This is surely a problem in Aleppo where they are under a great deal of pressure from the international forces that are vying for power in Syria. The Syrians and their Russian allies have once again called a unilateral halt to fighting so that civilians and the wounded can be evacuated to West Aleppo. I hope this time they will be allowed to leave, but it is certainly not guaranteed. Al Nusra leadership has rejected the offer to leave Aleppo under international protection. The issue of sorting FSA moderates from Al Qaeda is once again on the table, though that too has been repeatedly rejected.
Meanwhile, the US is currently engaged in a battle to retake Mosul, Iraq from ISIS. Along with the Iraqi Army, Shia militias from the south and local Sunni militias, the Kurdish Peshmerga and Turkish forces, there are 1500 Americans in this battle as ‘advisors’. Shades of Vietnam. The coalition is not stable. Unlike the Syrian coalition, which is composed of allied forces, this is an ad hoc coalition of opportunity. The Sunni and Shia militias don’t trust one another. The Peshmerga expect to be repaid in villages given over to Kurdish governance, and Turkey has coveted Mosul since they lost it in the negotiations that ended the Ottoman Empire.
Greetings from Damascus. We had some great meetings so far this week. SANA News has been following us everywhere and reporting on our meetings daily. The show of solidarity means a lot to them. On Monday we met with the ministers of Health an Reconciliation. Ali Haidar is a very interesting person. His party is the Syrian Socialist National Party (SSNP). They were leaders in the peaceful resistance before the violence began. He has very interesting methods in his current position. We had him to dinner this evening. He never had a chance to eat but he gave a very interesting history of the political context in Syria. More on all this later.
We have met with Members of the government, the Chairman of the Lawyers Syndicate, the President of Damascus University and some members of the Damascus Chamber of Industry. The members of the government and the others all have the same message: The sanctions are harming the people of Syria and Syrian society. There are specific sanctions on medical supplies and oil infrastructure as well as the general sanctions that have made international bank transactions impossible and have severely depreciated the value of the Syrian Lb. There is only a political solution to the war but it must be an internal political solution. The objective of the government is to expel the foreign terrorists and make a reconciliation with those Syrian nationals who are currently disaffected and fighting their country. The United States could assist in this process by ceasing to arm and provide resources to the mercenaries engaged in the war, and restrain their allies to the same policy.