[By Lara Keller, last updated 6th May 2017]
Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation Statement on Astana Negotiations, 4th May 2017.
According to FSA News, Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation, Statement 4th May 2017. This statement describes the Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation’s surprise at the escalation of Assad Regime shelling and what any acceptable agreement must include ( see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/list-of-significant-issg-communiques-and-un-resolutions-on-syria/ for references ).
[By Lara Keller, last updated 6th May 2017]
Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation Statement on Astana Negotiations, 3rd May 2017.
According to FSA News, Statement Number 3: Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation, 3rd May 2017. This statement describes the Syrian Revolution’s Military Delegation’s commitment to the Ankara Agreement of Dec 2016, and lists the comprehensive breeches of this agreement by Russia and the Assad Regime. It sets out the determination to ensure specific previous UN resolutions and ISSG Communiques are implemented (see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/list-of-significant-issg-communiques-and-un-resolutions-on-syria/ for references).
In England the handsome Minister with the second
and a half chin and his heart-shaped mind
hanging on his thin watch-chain, the Minister
With gout who shaves low on his holly-stem neck.
In Spain still the brown and gilt and the twisted
pillar, still the olives, and in the mountains
the chocolate trunks of cork trees bare from
the knee, the little smoke from the sides
of the charcoal-burner’s grey tump, the ebony sea-
hedgehogs in the clear water, the cuttle speared
at night; and also the black slime under
the bullet-pocked wall, also the arterial blood
squirting into the curious future, also
the greasy cloud streaked with red in yellow: and,
In England, the ominous grey paper, with its
indifferent headline, its news from our own
correspondent away from the fighting;
and in England the crack-willows, their
wet leaves reversed by the wind; and
the swallows sitting different ways like
notes of music between the black poles on
the five telephone wires.
GEOFFREY GRIGSON (1937)
Comment = Value this poem. How like Syria was the diseased non intervention of the democracies in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. The sentiment of peace at all costs covering up indifference. Spain excused as fear of the Great War, while making the repetition inevitable. The lakes of blood from Franco’s policy of mass terror. Greasy clouds of chemical gas. The media short term blinkered to the emerging storm, while the swallows already face the longer forecast.
#SyriaNeedsYourAnger The humanitarian disaster that the criminal Assad regime has inflicted on Syrians for demanding a future free from state mass murder, torture, oppression and extortion is horrendous. The lack of response from “progressives” in the West is disgusting. If there is an excuse for this, then it is the “anti-imperialist” nonsense spouted by the hard-left, who ridiculously pose as principled humanitarians. They have given the pretext for the indecision on those on the left. There should be not hundreds of supporters for the Syrian Revolution but hundreds of thousands.
Far from being hijacked and crushed by Islamists and jihadists, Syria’s democratic revolution continues not only as 2011-style peaceful protests but also as rudimentary forms of democratic self-governance established in rebel-held areas. Over 400 local councils — roughly one-third of them elected and one-half formed by consensus — are in charge of public services such […]
via Rebel Democracy in Action — Syrian Democratic Revolution
Video: French Philospher BH Levy on IS,Syria,Libya,EU,Democracy…. BBC Newsnight 23 Mar 2016
French Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy on BBC Newsnight 23rd March 2016, on so called “Islamic State” and the Brussels attack, Islamophobia and Fundamentalism, Syria, Libya, Intervention, EU Democracy ….. all in 10 minutes. Interesting listening, with the precaution that Lévy has strong uncritical sympathies for Zionism and Kurdish Nationalism including the PKK/PYD.
The motivation in supporting a repressive government is usually fear. The bastards who get to the top want to scam the country on an industrial scale. This is the ultimate purpose of the mass murder, torture and starvation.
The Assad Regime is no exception to this rule. How people on the hard left can see Syria as some sort of persecuted socialist country is astonishing. The Syrian regime is as socialist and anti-imperialist as Harrods. A minority on the reactionary hard left need to stop trying to persuade others that the Syrian regime is opposed to the capitalist grand order, they should have “it is part of it” tattooed to their foreheads.
We are talking here about Syria before the uprising in 2011, clearly everything is even worse now. Syria was one of the most repressive police states in the Middle East, with little press freedom and the systematic use of torture across the labyrinthine “security” services. The “Damascus Spring” after Hafez’s son was handed the presidency in 2000, came to nothing as Bashar went back on earlier promises of reform. Syria continued to have the deserved reputation for rampant corruption allied to habitual government non transparency.
Bashar did nothing to reform the politics of the police state, but he did bring in neo-liberal reforms to the economy. This resulted in increases in poverty, as corruption concentrated the gains in the hands of the Assad Clique, and cuts in the subsidies for basic items and privatisation of state organisations concentrated the losses on the poorest.
In 2005 the UN Development Programme estimated that 30% of Syrians were living in poverty, with 11% unable to meet basic food needs. A later report in 2013 by the Syrian Center for Policy Research (SCPR) on the socioeconomic roots of the crisis, reported a 2009 household survey across Syria that estimated extreme poverty had risen to 18%. A report by the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated unemployment at 18%, particularly effecting the young. Overall a third of Syrians had either no employment or were under employed.
At the same time the Assad Family were estimated to have accumulated a massive business empire centred on Rami Makhluf that had controlling interests in 60% of the Syrian economy. It may not be a coincidence that Bashar married Asma Akhras in 2000, who had been an investment banker.
Before 2011 a snap shot of Syria would be a rural economy still recovering from a period of severe drought, at least 1.5 million refugees from Iraq, and a youthful population which had doubled since the 1980s. Rather than managing these crises, the repressive corrupt Assad regime in Damascus was dismantling the state run economy into their own pockets, forcing an increasing number of Syrians into poverty and hunger. Shanties towns were growing rapidly on the outskirts of Damascus, while in the centre expensive western shopping malls were being built to supply luxuries to the regime’s elite. It is thought that Bashar Assad has personally trousered 1.5 billion dollars from his time as president.
Then there is the whole business of official statistics in Syria. Under the 1963 emergency law, independent opinion polls were banned. A covert poll by Pepperdine University in 2010-11 found that 46% wanted to emigrate, 81% said the economic situation was bad or very bad, 83% said it had got worse in the last 5 years (ie 2005-10), 88% that the government could not solve the country’s problems, and 77% that the government was very or extremely corrupt. While 82% wanted the government to leave power, which explains the emergency law’s attitude to opinion polls!
Then there is the problem of the country’s official GDP. In 2009 according to the World Bank, the “official” GDP per capita in Syria was 42% that of Egypt’s GDP per capita. Comparison based on Parity Purchasing Power (PPP). Given the regime’s straggle hold on the so called “liberalised” economy, whatever that means, how much of the difference in official GDP is due to a large shadow economy, in which the elite siphon off the wealth of Syria?
Clearly if Assad regime gets the boot, then there will still be very tough times ahead as they are now. The Pepperdine poll saw people optimistic about the near future, which was before the utter betrayal of demands for representative government by the representative governments of the West, because the people they represented decided that they would be safe from being mislead if they demanding doing next to nothing. This as you have guessed is how they were mislead…..again. Syrians deserve so much better, and it still brings tears to my eyes that Syrian Activists are not being supported by progressive people in the West, even 5 years on. They seem to me to have a weary determination that demands my respect and yours.