[By Lara Keller, last updated 6th May 2017]
If Assad’s Genocidal War Against Syrians Who Want Representative Government Rather Than Dictatorship Wins? Then what Message does this send to other Authoritarian governments?
[By Lara Keller, last updated 6th May 2017]
If Assad’s Genocidal War Against Syrians Who Want Representative Government Rather Than Dictatorship Wins? Then what Message does this send to other Authoritarian governments?
This 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.
Dear Sir Mark Rylance,
My apologies to you as patron of Stop The War Coalition, I did not realize this when I wondered why you were doing a fundraiser for STWc at the Pasha Islington in London on 7th December. It is comforting to think of the many British citizens who have received knighthoods for services to tyrants around the world that the British elites have favoured. Your knighthood is clearly for acting and services to the film and theatre industries etc, but your “Stop The War’s Coalition” campaign against the Arab Democratic Uprising must have found their supporters in the dictator hugging British elitist London clubland. Well done Sir Mark for getting a knighthood from a Tory government. You continuing patronage of Stop The War Coalition will be an even more valuable tool to camouflage the hard-left agenda of this neo-SWP organization.
Happy New Year and God Bless You Lara Keller
P.S. The people of Syria have suffered from a brutal self-serving Assad Clique dictatorship since 1970, which has used systematic torture and cynical division as its tools of governance. Any ideas how they get rid of the Assad Clique without any threat of military force? Perhaps culture will do the trick, Shakespeare?, a performance of Macbeth in Damascus, most of his inner circle understand English, they need it to arrange transfers of Syria’s wealth to tax havens, perhaps Macbeth, how could they not dwell on the lines “Thou marvell’st at my words, but hold thee still; Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.” What better summary of the Assad regime? Think on this as you lie in your bed, protected by rights that every human being seeks, even Arabs.
On Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 12:58 PM, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW YOUR POINT OF VIEW LARA,
Assistant to Mark Rylance
07852 342 493
On 16 Nov 2016, at 20:39, Lara Keller <email@example.com> wrote:
Why is Mark Rylance doing an Xmas Fundraiser for Stop The War? Stop the War are run by an ideologically driven group of ex-SWP Trots who are not pacifists in the true sense, but political opportunists. They campaign to block effective action against the brutal Assad and Putin regimes (and other MENA dictators) by promoting misinformation and rhetoric. Is this what Mark wishes to have his good name attached to, as STW promotion opportunity? While their PR clients Putin and Assad mount an ever bigger blitzkrieg against Syrians opposing this brutal dictatorship?
The reality of Stop The War has been known for some years now. Please see below some extracts that might aid your discussion:
Why Stop the War don’t want to listen to Syrians, Syria Solidarity UK, 12 November, 2015
THE FIRST [Stop The War LIE]
Denying the first, Stop the War say Andrew Murray’s position is that ISIS can only be defeated by strong and credible governments in Syria and Iraq. If Andrew Murray does not mean Assad when he talks of a Syrian government, what does he mean? Elsewhere he makes clear that he is against the fall of Assad, saying that a no-fly zone should be opposed because “regime change is the real agenda.”
Andrew Murray also calls on foreign powers to abandon “all the preconditions laid down for negotiations,” language that echoes the Assad regime and its backers in Moscow. Why? Because there is just one precondition that is contested: the demand that Assad step down. This was not originally a Western demand, but first and foremost a Syrian demand.
So Andrew Murray’s “strong and credible government” is one where there is no change of regime, and no demand for Assad to step down: in other words, a continuation of the Assad regime.
There is no lie here.
The Stop the War Coalition should do us all a favour and disband [Sunday 31 August 2014]
“The Stop the War Coalition of today does not represent mainstream or even consistent opinion, if it ever did. Its leaders are hardly mainstream: its former chair, Andrew Murray, is still a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain; there are long-standing historic links to the Socialist Workers’ Party; and vice-president Kamal Majid is a founding member of the Stalin Society. Uncle Joe, you may remember, was not a great valuer of human life, although I am sure Mr Majid would disagree.”
Statement on the upcoming Stop the War event at the House of Commons (Thursday, 29 October 2015)
Unfortunately, the upcoming 2nd November meeting at the House of Commons advocates a policy that is utterly divorced from the horrific reality experienced by civilians currently under attack by Russian and Assad regime aerial bombardments.
We categorically reject any policy proposal, be it for intervention or non-intervention that is not formulated in consultation with Syrian civic, medical or humanitarian workers.
Leila al-Shami on Stop the War, 12th September 2015
Over the past few days, demonstrations have been held in London and elsewhere to oppose the UK bombing Syria. The demonstrations were organized by the Stop the War Coalition (STW), an organization which has long adopted a counter-revolutionary position on Syria. Since the start of the uprising in 2011 STW has refused to acknowledge the agency of the oppressed Syrian people struggling against a fascist regime or to support their struggle in any form, preferring to see the current conflict only through a geopolitical lens. Their selective anti-imperialism means they’ve only ever opposed Western intervention in Syria (even when this was not a reality) and refuse to actively oppose Russian or Iranian intervention. They have never called for any action against Assad or opposed the war he has waged on the Syrian people, raining down barrel bombs and targeting civilian areas with Scud missiles for over four years. It is this war which has been the main cause of civilian deaths in Syria and which has created the vacuum and desperation giving rise to Daesh. These ‘progressives’ have consistently refused to give a platform to revolutionary Syrians. They have even, shamefully, called the police to remove Syrians present at a recent meeting. Conversely, they give non-Syrian apologists for the Assad regime a voice, people such as the odious George Galloway and massacre-denier Mother Agnes.
At the demonstrations organized by STW some present were holding Baathist flags and pictures of the mass-murderer Assad. Seriously, a blatant fascist presence was considered acceptable at a protest organized by people who describe themselves as leftists. It is no wonder that their demonstrations were small (compared to the heyday of the Iraq war demos), with no large scale Syrian or Muslim presence. I am sure many who oppose the bombing of Syria would feel alienated joining a protest organized by those who ally themselves with a regime that practices torture on an industrial scale, sodomizes its opponents with broken bottles, and gasses civilian neighbourhoods. One of the speakers at the event held last Saturday, Tariq Ali (once considered a ‘radical’, so I’m told) rhetorically called for Britain to ally itself with Assad and Russia if it wanted to defeat Daesh. This was based on his erroneous claim that Russia is actually attacking Daesh, whilst the evidence shows that the majority of Vlad the Invader’s attacks are aimed at anti-Assad forces (which have also been fighting Daesh since January 2014) and civilians in areas with no Daesh presence. As for Assad, not only has he not attacked Daesh until recently (to gain international legitimacy as a partner in the ever expanding War on Terror) but has actively facilitated its growth.
Jeremy Corbyn, the current leader of the British Labour Party who has been the Chair of STW for the past four years and has now appointed the Stalinist and Putin supporter Seumas Milne as the party’s director of communications, is giving his party’s members the choice of whether to back joining the US coalition or not. To help them make up their minds he has invited Patrick Cockburn to brief Labour MPs on Syria ahead of the vote. Patrick Cockburn openly supports the fascist mass murderer Assad, has called for Britain to ally with Assad’s imperialist sponsors Russia and Iran, has consistently slandered Syrian rebels as ‘Al Qaeda’, makes shit up in his writing like pretending to be an eyewitness to massacres which likely never happened, and recommends Donald Trump’s analysis on the Middle East. Does anyone really consider these people progressives? As an anarchist, it seems to me that the statist ideologies of both left or right have much more in common with each other than any values or principles I adhere to.
An “Anti-War” Movement in the West in Relation to Syria Is An Oxymoron
Thank you for this thoughtful article (“Socialists and Wars in the 21st Century?—?The Case of Syria.”)
One of the problems we face in a discussion around how to be anti-war in practice, is that the discussion is crippled by the one-dimensional framework of pro-war versus anti-war.
For all the anti-war movements I have supported or participated in, the actual content is never really limited to “opposing war.” While the existence of war is a sad commentary on the backwardness of the human race, the solution to that backwardness is in removing the causes of war.
Only strict pacifists always advise both sides in a war to simply put down their guns and stop fighting. In practice, one side following this advice only allows victory for the other power.
Thus in Vietnam “anti-war” meant that the U.S. and its allies should stop their war-making, NOT that the Vietnamese should stop their war of liberation. Opposition to the Contra war in Nicaragua, again, was in reference to the U.S. which created and supplied those forces, not a call for the Sandanistas to stop the defense of their country (anymore than we would have opposed the revolutionary war they had conducted against the Somoza dictatorship).
When we had “anti-war” demonstrations against the impending Iraq war, we never meant that the Iraqis should abandon their military defenses. In all such examples, “anti-war” really meant opposing the war-making of one side, but in effect justifying the military efforts of the oppressed nation under attack. It was only because the main enemy in each case were our own imperialist ruling classes that the term “anti-war” was a convenient and popularly formulated slogan expressing that content, in which we were actually (and unashamedly!) taking sides.
That is why an “anti-war” movement in the West in relation to Syria is an oxymoron. Obviously the revolution and civil war in Syria was not a result of any war-making on the part of Western imperialism (despite various fictions to the contrary). We should take the side of the oppressed in Syria every bit as much as we did in the above examples. But?—?unless you live in Russia or Iran?—?using the term “anti-war” doesn’t really specify which side you are on. And using that term robotically can only increase confusion and promote the myth that their revolution is a Western imperialist plot.
In other words, the discussion that Richard Fidler encroached upon was already distorted by the starting point: how to build an “anti-war” movement in the West. Rather, we need to start with the concept of building a solidarity movement with the oppressed. Only from that starting point can we formulate popular slogans and demands and determine if and how terms such as “anti-war” can be applied to those efforts.
— Jeff Meisner via Marxmail.
God Bless You
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
Been watching UK’s BBC Newsnight coverage (13/12/16) of the fall of Aleppo. The comments of the speakers ex ambassador Sir Tony Breton and the Times columnist Matthew Parris nailed for me the elitist, myopic, inhumane and neo-racism of the Western establishment. They also managed to sound just like the elitist, inhumane, dogmatic hard-left in the West. I can see how (but can never sympathise with) those people who turn to violent Islamic extremism.
Breton was UK ambassador to Russia. He says Putin could see a choice between Assad and Islamism (assume he always means extremist Islamism) in Syria and choose Assad. He says the backbone of the Syrian Opposition is at its core Islamist, and if they had won would have set up an extremist Islamist government. According to Breton all Western intervention in the Middle East must make things worse, he cites Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Apparently the region must sort out its own problems. This is utterly impossible as “people power” means nothing when up against dictatorships with advanced weaponry. As Libya and Tunisia show even when the dictator goes, there is a strong counter revolution against Arab democracy lead by the fabulously well-resourced Sunni monarchies to stop the rebuilding of economies and disrupt security.
Then there is bloody smug Matthew Parris. According to him the West picked the wrong side in Syria, we did not know who the rebels were and what type of government they would form. We should have stood back. Assad was in a stronger position than the West understood. No one has told him that the West has stood back, and this allowed Iran and Russia to fill the gap. This is a so called British journalist.
According to Parris there is a limit to what the West can do, it is not our fight, and getting involved would involve attacking the Russian military. He says it is better that Assad wins in Aleppo, and I assume he would extend this argument to all Syria.
No one has told him about the 45+ years of brutal oppressive Assad government. That the Assad Clique controls a country in which most Syrians do not exist, and inequality rises year by year. He has not registered that millions of Syrians have been plunged into poverty, hunger, siege or exile; 100,000s killed and 10,000s tortured to death, almost all by the bloody Assad regime or its allies. He does not register the incredible courage of a people who stood against a regime that had ruled for 40 years by the use of systematic torture.
What conditions would Breton and Parris accept for providing adequate support to an uprising against a brutal dictatorship? Should also add all in the name of extending democracy to a region bordering Europe. According to Breton there must be a “clear ability” to form a democratic government, with he suggests little outside help. Otherwise “do not get involved”.
Look, the Syrian Opposition are the people of Syria, not the people holding the weapons. That is obvious. Islam is the religion of the region, and surprisingly many people want its principles to influence future governments, this does not make them Islamist extremists. For fuck sake when you are up against the advanced Assad war machine backed for decades by advanced weapons from the Russians, you need belief, you need belief in God. That is not a crime.
There are some Islamist extremists, just as there were or are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia …. Because they get funding, and they get funding because the Sunni monarchies and Shia clerics have oil resources to throw at them. The reason is these elites do not want democracy or representative government of any type in the Middle East. These extremists exist in the climate of dictatorships with advanced weapons, a world that could not careless and having to fight against incredible odds. In other words they are a product of deep despair, anger and frustration.
Supporting the Syrian Opposition with weapons to fight Assad and his foreign militias is possible. The armed Syrian Opposition has the advantage that they are almost all Syrians fighting for their homeland. Most of those fighting for Assad are Shiite militias from Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan and even Yemen. Assad relies on the Russians for an air-force and military supplies.
It is possible to provide consequences for the Assad military machine when war crimes are committed by Assad gangs, his allies or the Russians. This can be done by missile attack from beyond Syria’s borders. There is no need to engage Russian forces directly.
It is possible to supply adequate weapons to armed Syrian Opposition to defeat Assad gangs on the ground. It is possible to provide air defence systems to the opposition, to at least prevent helicopter and low level aircraft attacks. These weapons depend on sophisticated and vulnerable electronics to be effective. They can and have been made time and or GPS location dependent.
Providing supplies to the Syrian Opposition to build security of all types (military, food, shelter, medical) gives a government legitimacy, and enables a central leadership to create a control structure. Crisis is not inevitable, it can be fought by empowering Syrians to sort out their own problems.
So most of the crap spouted by Breton and Parris falls away. The real reason why the elites in the West do not want to get involved in Syria, is that they cannot see the point, even if a representative government replaces Assad.
The elites in the West can live with the crushing of the Syrian people. Refugees can always been turned away by building bigger fences. The increased number of extreme Islamists caused by the betrayal of Syria, may kill some Westerners, but this can be dealt with by limiting people’s rights, more of a police state, exactly what elites want to keep down the discontent about rising inequality and crises of a debt not redistribution driven economy.
The truth is that Putin has an expansionist agenda. In the West the rising far-right are waiting to take power under the disguise of populism. The very elites who smugly watch as Syria is mown down are not immune and neither are we. We the millions of people who live with hard fought rights from the past in the West, but who are now indifferent to the spirit of democracy.
All it takes is a Trump presidency this year to be followed by a Le Pen presidency next year. God save us. God save Syria.
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.
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
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.
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………]
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………]