Fourth comment on “Peace Action” pro-Assad series of so called path to peace articles, with links

handsoffassad-copyThis article (https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-four-trumps-assad-policy-is-still-up-for-grabs/)starts with “….. the forces of the Assad government may have begun to consolidate control over western Syria’s population centers …. However, no matter what territory Syria holds on [Trump’s] inauguration day, the conflict will rage on.” The opening paragraph exposes the bias of these 4 articles on “Choosing the [so called] path the peace in Syria”. The Assad Regime is not Syria. The Assad Regime is a clique that has ruled Syria like a private estate since 1970. To quote Yassin Saleh from an interview in October 2016 “The Assad regime has become a representative of the internal First World in Syria, the Syrian whites. I think the elites in the West find Bashar al-Assad more palatable than other potential interlocutors. He wears expensive suits and has a necktie, and, ultimately, these elites prefer a fascist with a necktie to a fascist with a beard. Meanwhile, they don’t see us, the Syrian people. Those who are trying to own the politics of their own country have been rendered invisible” (https://theintercept.com/2016/10/26/syria-yassin-al-haj-saleh-interview/). It appears the so called western pacifist anti-establishment have joined the elite. This makes me very angry.

Not convinced establishment McCain has any influence on Trump, or that Obama era measures will necessarily survive long under Trump. The Defence Authorization Act 2017 sets out a series of insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles to MANPADS being supplied to the Syrian Opposition. The New York Times actually leaked a memo criticizing Obama’s appeasement of Assad. Right wing think tanks contain many right wing Zionists like Michael Rubin who oppose Iranian power in Syria.
In the real world Trump’s policy will be a continuation of the Western elites’ foreign policy in the Middle East, of getting the support of manageable dictatorships. There is now also a vigorous Russian-Chinese version of this policy. The common enemy are the people of the Middle East, who since 2011 have risen up as a real power. Trump will strike a deal with Putin on spheres of influence, and will certainly not support the toppling of dictatorships.

Limited Military Strikes in response to major war crimes by the Assad regime, would stop when the war crimes stopped. The military strikes and enhanced support for the Syrian Opposition would end when the Syrian Government (minus the Assad Clique) engaged in serious peace negotiations with the Syrian Opposition. Empowering Syrians should be the real objective. This did not happen in Libya or Egypt, and certainly did not happen after the invasions of Iraq and Syria. The opposition of extremists is partly due to the nature of previous US intervention, and the (indirect) financial support of regional dictatorships. The strikes would be against Assad regime assets not Russian assets. Russia is already focusing most of its attacks on Western backed Syrian Opposition.

Arming the Syrian Opposition is about empowering Syrians, not “bringing the fight to the enemy”. This was not tried in Libya. Very little support was provided, and the limited amount bypassed the structure of the National Transitional Council. The result was not a unified professional security force, but a fragmented militia with funding from multiple sources, including regional dictatorships. Funding mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s was part of the Cold War, these fundamentalists had nothing to do with representative government in Afghanistan. Bad comparison as is Iraq.

The CIA programs of training the Syrian Opposition have again avoided the structure of the Free Syrian Army. To unify the command structure of the Free Syrian Army requires a reliable source of equipment and training. This has not been provided by the West as also happened in Libya. This under resourced force has depended on funds from at best “regional authoritarian regimes”. The objective of western elites is not to empower Syrians.

Progressives in the West should not be swallowing the type of misinformation contained in this series of articles. Instead they should be demanding that our “defense services” should be supporting Syrians in their legitimate demands for a representative government. What is reactionary and war mongering is not the defense forces themselves, but the policies our politicians pursue. This is ultimately our responsibility. Pacifism for tyrants is pure hypocrisy and certainly not progressive.

Pavel Felgenhauer on Putin’s Core Reasoning For The War On Syria

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Extracts from Aljazeera Inside Story by Russian analyst Pavel Felgenhauer exposing Putin’s core reasoning For his war on Syria. Explaining why if Putin wins in Syria more democracy in the Middle East will go from extremely difficult to impossible. See https://youtu.be/OaCFeBFI9qQ

Source: Aljazeera Inside Story – What are President Putin’s plans for Syria? Whole= http://aje.io/sy3c 17th December 2016

Inside Track On Race For Next US Secretary Of State.

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4 finalists for Trump administration Secretary Of State (aka foreign minster). These are probably Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Bob Corker and David Petraeus. Which of these republicans gets the job must surely depend on:

1. Who knows their place.

2. Who will betray their earlier statements, and pursue the US elites’ imperialist objectives in partnership with the Putin and Xi Jinping regimes. Strange as this sounds, the goal of superpower conflict has always been to use this struggle to gain control over tame dictators in suzerain states, rather than to defeat your rival (unless public opinion stirs from apathy to intervene). Now US has given up on even a patchy commitment to democracy promotion, and Russia and China have similarly given up on an equally patchy commitment to communism, so the efficient path is to carve up the world and use economic or military muscle to undermine independent leadership in weaker states.

3. Who gives the appearance of gravitas, to continue the fiction that the Trump administration will be normal, and so delay international reaction against it.

4. Who has sufficient acumen to advance this new US foreign policy agenda.

Who wins, makes no bloody difference.

Third comment “Peace Action” did publish on Syria.

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Comment to Peace Action’s article by Jon Rainwater “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part Three: The Perils of Another American Quagmire” https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-three-the-perils-of-another-american-quagmire/#comment-75223

[start comment]

Article describes the US right wing obsession about ISIS, and the folly of sending US troops into Syria and Iraq to fight them. Seems fair comment to me. The author welcomes not supporting the armed Syrian Opposition (formed of many mostly cooperating groups!). Seems very wrong to me. Then he states Assad’s complete military victory will lead to Sunni radicalization. Obviously this is not an option either. So the author finishes with the statement “without a political solution, there is no path, for the foreseeable future at least, to sustainable peace in Syria”. It is obvious that a political solution is needed, but there is no way to convince Assad that he needs to take part in a meaningful political process. The Syrian Opposition have been saying for a long time now that it is very obvious that only the threat of a military defeat and meaningful consequences for war crimes, will lead the Assad clique to the negotiating table to engage with working on a political solution.

I must conclude that so far no path to peace has been described by these articles. Seems like a lot of feel good “progressive” talk, but no real solution. Tell this to the activists now waiting in Eastern Aleppo. Waiting now for death by bomb, bullet or if unlucky by torture and starvation. They must be glad you care. Perhaps you or they can convert their executioners to pacifism, any ideas on a speed course? The 4th part will smear the opposition and heap doubt on supporting them. Syria then will have been dealt with, by 4 well researched articles no less and we can breathe a sigh of relief.

[end comment]

 

 

Second comment “Peace Action” seem unable to publish on Syria.

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Not very surprised to find US Peace Action will now not publish a comment in response to their second article “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part Two: Safe Zones Are Not Safe” (see https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-two-safe-zones-arent-safe/ ). The comment reacting to Jon Rainwater’s article was not accepted so far, creating the impression that there is no reply to his arguments. The missing response is below:

[start comment they will not publish………]

To summarize “Safe Zones” need to be militarily protected and can become targets or encourage ethnic cleansing. Part 3 will look at No Bomb Zones (see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/how-a-no-bomb-zone-would-work/) and assume will engage with others ideas of Charles Lister and others (see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/recent-ideas-for-an-itinerary-of-strong-effective-action-to-empower-the-syrian-people-to-end-the-crisis/ ). Part 1 and 2 seem to be about which paths do not work. “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria” looking forward to resolution on which path is available. Obama has tried sermonizing to Assad will no known result so far.

[end comment they will not publish………]

Comment “Peace Action” Will Not Publish On Syria

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Surprised to get some comments accepted by US Peace Action, in response to their article “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part One: The Siren Song of the No-Fly Zone” (see https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-one-the-siren-song-of-the-no-fly-zone/ ). The final comment reacting to Jon Rainwater’s response was not accepted, creating the impression that there was no reply, to his deeply flawed argument. The missing response is below:

[start comment they will not publish………]

A brutal dictatorship is definitely not a country at peace in any sense…………. The counter argument to the problem of No Fly Zones, is in previous comments, even a link to a briefing on the No Bomb Zone Strategy (please see http://www.syriauk.org/p/no-bomb-zone.html for a more detailed briefing)……. Most Libyans wanted to live without Gaddafi’s oppression, not just “many”.

I did engage strongly with why the transition in Libya has gone wrong. You acknowledge the alternative to “intervention” as “partnership”. I went through what should have been done, and what was not done. I agree with you that a “quick military fix” is insufficient, but that does not mean there is not a military dimension to empowering people striving to live without dictatorship.

The concept of partnership was enumerated in previous comment as ……. “The concept of partnership I am referring to, is not confined to reconstruction. The Libyan Opposition needed the resources, arms and training to create a professional armed opposition before Gaddafi was overthrown, so they could provide security after the regime ended. They begged for this and did not receive it. Consequently there was a patchwork of divided militias, and the initiative was given to funding from Sunni monarchies and Egyptian military establishment. This was compounded by lack of reconstruction help after Gaddafi was removed, so the new government could not demonstrate legitimacy by providing food, health and housing security to the Libyan people.”

You say “Peace Action is not an international solidarity group we focus on U.S. policy.” The foreign policies of democratic Western countries are governed by elites, with little public input. This has created shameful serious policy failures, as we both know. My point is that the foreign policy of US, UK, Germany, France …. must be about international solidarity with the peoples (not the elites) of other nations. This is “non interventionist” as not about invading or imperialistically doing things to others, it is about empowerment. You want solutions to all problems which have no military dimension. This is not possible with brutal dictatorships like the Assad regime.

I engaged with the chaos in Libya after the uprising and the limited support from the West. I explained what was done, and what should have been done.

You say “Likewise the forces the U.S. would be backing will not necessarily replace the Assad government with democracy as we can see with some of the brutal authoritarianism in some of the rebel held areas.” This is why we need progressives to expose and campaign for an alternative partnership approach, rather than blanket rejection of any “intervention”.

The “if only” you mention is about “if only” the West had given the Libyan Opposition the resources to enable them to create a cohesive force. Partnership is about empowering others. You are right about the problems of reconstructing governments, especially in an environment of hostile Sunni authoritarian regimes pushing spoilers; but you underestimate the agency of the people of the MENA.

On Bassam Haddad, beware of too narrow sources. Idrees Ahmad has this to say on BH, “How sad that the day Russia/regime commit a major massacre in Syria, Democracy Now! invites an ideologue to equivocate and obfuscate. Just when we thought that DN [Democracy Now] was moving away from Assad apologists and giving Syrians a voice, we get this torrent of drivel from a hack best known for his flatulent prose and morally flaccid posturing.” See http://muftah.org/responding-bassam-haddads-false-binary-syria/ for a demolishing of BH narrative.

On the polls quoted. ORB poll article includes “There must be US and Russian pressure on Bashar al-Assad to compromise, to step down, then it would be possible to reach a solution.” – Male 18-35 from Der ez Zor, Syria. Refugees poll “Of those who responded, 71 percent agreed that an ‘end to the fighting in Syria’ would be ideal. Sixty-five percent of respondents agreed that removal of the Assad regime would be an ideal ending.” Is this sample who reach Turkey representative of Syrians or even Syrian refugees, as 90% causalities caused by Assad and Putin regimes.

[end comment they will not publish………]