I don’t think 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. After people began openly stating this information last year, Al Jazeera ran another propaganda piece in February this year, about one boy (what happened to the other 14) who appears to be doing quite well right now which included some video footage which was clearly not from that time period and likely not from Dara’a. I noted it in the ‘Journal’ article I wrote at the time. Why lie if you have a truth to tell?
The FSA were payed and trained by the Turkish and Qatari governments. Syria is a multi-ethnic, religiously diverse country. Most people aren’t ready to kill their neighbors over religion. 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 leader stands with its victims, all of them. 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.
The global war mongers called for Bashar Assad to go. They were intransigent on this point. A suicide bomber struck a meeting of government officials in 2013, killing his brother in law and severely injuring his brother. But he didn’t flee or send his wife and young children out of the country. They told the people that all would be well if only Assad would go. But Syrians inside the safe zones created by the Syrian Arab Army were seeing a different picture. As these safe zones grew, more and more people came to the conclusion that Assad was their best hope. Meanwhile, Bashar Assad and his young family moved into an apartment in Damascus and continued to live among the people.
One reason often raised for why the Syrian ‘revolution’ didn’t succeed in overthrowing the leadership of the government quickly as it it did in Libya is that the Syrian army was better trained and more loyal than the Libyan army. The Syrian Arab Army was and is drawn from all over the country, from all ethnicities and religions. The power structure in Syria is relatively diversified as well, with all religions and ethnicities represented. But there is something important missing from this narrative. It is the story of what the Syrian government and the Syrian people have been doing over these long years of war outside the military.
In 2011, the Syrian government made a number of attempts to restore peace. They investigated instances of state violence brought to their attention, and for a time, the peacekeepers were required to work unarmed. They lifted the emergency law Hafez Assad had put into place years before, and released a large number of political prisoners. Unfortunately a few of these men went on to lead some of the most virulent terrorist organizations threatening the country. The government reinstated parts of the social security net that had been removed in an effort to join the global economy- Bashar Assad, like many well educated men from the third world, was interested in modernization and global citizenship.
In 2012, the Syrian President and members of his ministry met with members of any dissident group that was willing to come and bring their issues to the table. They then rewrote the Syrian Constitution to address as many of these issues as possible. Notably, an open multi-party electoral system was instated to replace the old Baath system. The new constitution passed by a wide margin in a referendum and became the law of the land. It wasn’t perfect, but it was the announcement of a new day of freedom and democracy in Syria. The ‘opposition’ did not respond. They and their western sponsors continued to call for the dismantlement of the Syrian Republic.
Ali Haidar, President of the Syrian Socialist National Party, the second largest political party in Syria, older than the Baath, joined the government as Minister of Reconciliation. He was an old acquaintance off Bashar Assad from their college days, but his party was one of the dissident groups that was long at odds with the Baath power structure. During that same year, his youngest son was murdered by ‘opposition’ forces as punishment for his decision, or perhaps a warning. Instead of withdrawing, he doubled down on his efforts at creating a viable reconciliation program that would bring the country out of the war with its unity restored. He continues that work to t his day. The reconciliation program is a work in progress, but it is progressing and succeeding, one neighborhood at a time, in empowering the people to reject the violence and war that has swallowed up their lives.
In 2013, multiparty parliamentary elections were held, and in 2014, a presidential election was held. The western world denigrated these elections and dismissed them as irrelevant despite the fact that large numbers of Syrians, inside and outside the country voted. Concerns about refugees here and in Europe miss the fact that the vast majority of Syrians uprooted by the war went back into the government held areas of Syria. This is because they are supported there, by their families and by their communities and with as much support as the central government can manage.
Heavy international sanctions had long been levied on Syria. These sanctions were deepened during the war. Even as EU states were buying Syrian and Iraqi oil from ISIS, laundered through Turkey and Israel, Syrians were starving and going without medical care due to these western sanctions. Syrian production was undermined by sanctions while ‘moderate rebels’ dismantled the factories in Aleppo and trucked the manufacturing resources across the border into Turkey. The propaganda from Syria’s enemies continues to shriek and wail love and compassion while it tears the country apart,
While the propaganda machine grinds on, these truths have dispersed the fog of ‘civil’ war propaganda inside Syria, and it’s time the rest of us saw through it as well.
** I have based this post, in part, on interviews with various Syrian citizens and officials during my 2 visits to that country in 2014 and 2016.