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[liberationtech] About syria and western intervention - the arab view in detail

M Al-Masani director at
Fri Mar 16 21:49:03 PDT 2012

I see ethnic genocide in Syria. Parts of Baba Amr that are Alawite, nobody is killed, life is normal. The Sunni area is shelled, and even Assad supporters with pro-Assad tattoos are killed for the virtue of being in the Sunni area. Sunni general have been disarmed. Alawite generals are now allocated the top resources in the army with a higher concentration than before and call entering rebellious non-alawite neighborhoods "cleansing" or "cleaning" Tandheer in Arabic. Tanthheer A-Arqi or Tathheer al-ethani is ethnic cleansing in Arabic. 

How about Yemeni intervention?

In order to gain popularity in Yemen, each new political party forming is requesting that Yemeni government expell the Syrian ambassador and have the Syrian dissidents form a second embassy in Sanaa. We recognize its the same crimes against humanity like in Yemen but worse. When I complained to Mohammed Al-Basha who represented Saleh that the government must stop its crimes against humanity the response was "Yes, they are crimes, but please they are not as bad as Bashar Assad's crimes."

All of Yemen, from Sunni to Shiite is against Assad because we have on in Yemen, we know their games. We know that Assad is using the Palestinian cause as a political pretext for killing his people and Palestinians. Assad is committing genocide pure and simple. They disarmed the sunni troops. If you read the emails, you'll realize its no different than Rwanda, Bosnia, etc. Journalist report its not even organized shelling of towns but random shelling of civilian areas as though conducted by a blind man. Robert Fisk was in Syria as a witness to the Hama massacre, an in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatilla as a witness to that massacre.

What Assad is trying to do is to use geo-politics to cover up genocide. We see through that in Yemen. We also see through the fact that the US is using geopolitics to try to keep the regime in place and so far they are succeeding. 

Currently, I am helping the Palestinian community with the Syrian issue and I just want to cry at what they are doing, a 17 year old niece of someone here was killed. They are after them. 

So what is going on in Syria? Friends of mine know the Assad family personally. 

Maher Assad, Bashar's brother is a famous butcher. He is so blood thirsty, that his father gave him a minor command of an area called Derra and instead gave the presidency to Bashar, the only living son left who had a head on his shoulders. Hafez Assad understood what Machiavelli meant, "it is better to be feared than to be loved, but never ever be wicked, or someone will hurt themselves just to take you down." Machiavelli wrote about how actions that are horrific and unnecessarily bloody and not just will bring one's downfall, predicting the fall of the Bashar Assad regime. Hafez was aware, and by giving the bloody Maher the command of Derra he thought it is far from Damascus as possible, nothing will happen, the regime is safe. He should have sent the maniac to practice dentistry abroad.

 Years down the road, the Egyptian revolution happens and an facebook group of Anti-regime people with pro-American leanings who have an interest of weakening Syria for Israel's sake put up a facebook group for the Day of Anger. There was a similiar facebook group that mobilized people in the streets in Yemen, and Jordan and Algeria were protesting, Bahrain. No action in Syria. Syrian anti-regime activists said this is not the time for the Arab Spring to come to Syria. No one went to the street, nothing happened. A couple months later, the local pyschopath, Maher Assad decides to arrest than torture children, average age of 10 years old for spraying Egyptian revolution grafitti in the town of Deraa. The families were not anti-regime before this happened, and there was little evidence that the children were either, but just being naughty kids and copying what they saw on television. The children were returned brutally tortured. The parents were
 infuriated and walked to the mosque in protest, to ask Bashar to restrain his brother. To their surprise instead of receiving support from Bashar, the government soldiers started to shoot the parents walking to the mosque. They attacked the civilians at the funeral as well that resulted from the friday prayer mosque march. Near bye villages asked questioned, faced torture, detentions, so protests spread, especially along the coast. Unlike Algeria and Jordan were the protests died down because the government essentially left the protesters alone, the government shot the protesters.

Prior to the Arab Spring, there was a fear barrier. Several Tunisians had set themselves on fire before Bazouzi, nothing happened. But he was the first to be captured on camera then put on facebook, and became the #StopKony of the Middle East. Before this, killing people sparked fear and obedience, but now killing people sparks defiance. The rules of the game have changed thanks to facebook, a website more Arabs read than newspapers, and actually is wear they get their news from even if they don't have internet (their cousin's cousin's cousin in the city has facebook). Hafez Assad massacred thousands in Hama in the 70s, and it scared people. Now because of facebook, youtube and twitter, the locals have a faith that regimes no longer have a monopoly on the news and that their story will get to the world, so this broke the fear barrier. 

The Syrian spring is the result of the incompetence of one man: Maher Assad, and him being behind the times. Torturing children for using spray paint is a bad PR move in 2011. It was a brilliant PR move in 1970s,1980s as was wearing a giant afro, but times have changed. The Syrian spring started in the areas over which he had military control. To try to contain this, instead of firing his brother (which would have saved Syria from the Arab Spring), Bashar sent reinforcements. The Syrian opposition essentially shares the same economic and policy aspirations of the Bashar government. It is not that the Syrian people are more right or left wing. Aside from freedom and human rights the Assad government provided the majority of Syrians what they wanted. If Bashar wasn't a dictator and ran for office, he would have been elected by popular vote over and over and over again. Hafez Assad, the father had good political instincts that his son Maher would be the
 cause of the fall of the regime, but he didn't realize that even relegating him to a backwater military position, he would still mess up.

Those who I have met working for the Syrian opposition do not differ in their views than the police of the Syria government in economic and foreign policy issues or even that of minorities prior to the Arab spring. The only major policy difference is that one group supports human rights and the other supports ethnic cleansing of non-alawites and the use of torture. Like in Yemen, many are former regime supporters until they witnessed brutality in their own town themselves. 

To give context, I wrote a play as a teenager about a joke a teacher said in class called "Balestine my Balestine", about how a Yemeni poet paid for by the regime that I was a supporter of at the time, would talk the Palestinian issue to further the geopolitical agenda of the government he was a moulth piece for without regard to the people of Yemen nor Palestinians suffering. It was such a common story in the middle east that 14 year olds use it as their story for the "short play" class assignment. One of my first English phrases I learned at age 6 was "political pretext", it was english for Al-Ba'aba -- or the scary monster that is invented to frighten children into obedience by mean (or lazy) parents. As a kid, Saddam Hussein was called "Al-Ba'aba", whose presence was used to convince Gulf countries to turn their soil to become bases for American troops. Now Iran is the Ba'aba. Bashar Assad, to survive, is using the Al-Baaba theory, -English for
 political pretext- and is saying "those who invaded Iraq" are now "Al-Baaba" for the developing world. He is trying to scare countries that if they don't stop intervention in Syria, that the world would intervene baselessly in their countries. 

Considering the caution with which Libya was approached, and Obama's No War on Iran policy, and the caution Syria has been approach in addition to the restraint (compared to Iraq, where the causus belli was fabricated due desire for intervention but lack of evidence), geopolitics is not the West's #1 priority with Syria. Their electorate is. If a politicians' constituents see bone chilling stories and images day in day out, they will eventually lose the election if they don't act in the very long term only. If there is a will to war, the west would have intervened in Syria a year ago. Therefore the assumption that the west will needlessly hunt down any government with even the most minor human rights infraction is false under the Obama administration. Obama isn't El Ba'aba. Syria is trying to present him as El Baaba to Russia and China to win their support. What is currently happening is the UN Responsibility to Protect Doctorine : if war crimes are
 being committed and civilians request aid or military assistance, this aid or assistance must be sent. 

Amirta Haas, Israeli journalist, a supporter of Palestinians, said of her mother's experience of the holocaust: As her mother was taken by guards to the concentration camp a German woman was standing by the road. She just watched, stood there and watched in silence, saying nothing to the guards as Amirta Haas's mother was taken to the camp. Amirta blames not Hilter, but this woman for the holocaust. She says that the silence and occasion complicity of thousands of men and women like these with Hilter's regime is what enabled him to slaugther 31 million people. Without their complicity, it would have not been possible. The rheutoric used in Syria is similiar to Stalinist Russia, where due to the circumstances of the time, the population let him kill 32-60 million people. As a Yemeni-Russian, it is very chilling and heart breaking for me to watch Syrian friends repeat the pretexts of my grandparents' time. My great grandfather's head was chopped off in the
 revolution. At the time, my family cried during the announcement of Stalin's death and wondered how Russia could ever live without such a great man... but hated him years later as the truth came out. At the time foreign terrorists financed by the west were actually bombing soviet interests. 

This is not Bosnia or Rwanda. This is Stalin. It's the same. If you take the archived versions of the pravda and compare it with the current political statements, one will find them the same. The Baath party did take inspiration from Stalin and saw him as a role model. The Baath party is the government of Syria and was the government of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

As a Russian, I can say this about foreign intervention: I look into the eyes of my neighbor's newborn son, and think that it is a miracle of life, when this baby's grandfather was starved and tortured in a gulag, almost left for dead when someone kidnapped him after they discovered he was breathing, and nursed this man back to life. The result was he married, had a son, and the son is one of the top interpreters in Canada and the UN. Would foreign intervention be worth it? Yes. I think anything that would have prevented up to 60 million people butchered senselessly would have been worth it. Invading Germany is what ended the holocaust. If it would have stopped Stalin, would have invading my country been worth it. Unfortunately, yes, as it is the lesser of two evils. At the time we were all against, but after we knew what our government did, and that we did nothing to prevent it we have concede that invasion during a genocide is the lesser of two
 evils. However, invasion during a stable government is worse, for example Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Saddam Hussein did not commit his war crimes under sanctions but during the Iran-Iraq war with western aid! The Iran-Iraq war was the time for international intervention to stop crimes against humanity as they happened, not after sanctions over 10 years later.

Understanding the situation requires nuance but the emotions on all sides are so intense all one can see for the most part is virtol. It is important that cooler heads prevail, and we do the right thing. What is the right thing? Medical ethics is the best way to sort out this complicated situation: triage. What would save the most lives? Are the rebels asking for our help? Are we helping based on being asked?

In Iraq the geopolitics were real, but in Syria, its merely El-Ba'aba to scare the developing world to veto in the security council judging how slow the west has been to act. Its much like in Russia. Sure, the West had interests in the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Stalin was a far greater evil to his people. Unlike Russia, large groups of the population are asking for assistance. During WW2, my grandfather who fought the Nazis all the way to Berlin said that many Russians supported Germany in the beginning of WW2 due to how bad Stalin was, but when Hilter was more brutal to them, they went back to Stalin as he was the lesser of two evils. 

We also live in another era where a post on a social media site can bring 1,500 people to a teen age girl's birthday. We live in an age where the state is no longer the only actor in the affairs of our daily lives. Due to social media, mobilizing that took years takes seconds, as one can see with #StopKony (how many years have journalists failed to raise awareness on Joseph Kony). We can no longer only think in the frame of geopolitics. Youtube videos in Syria spark demonstrations in Yemen, a country with only 3% internet penetration. Due to youtube, the Syrian ambassador's days in Sanaa are numbered. Despite the massacres that took place in Yemen in the Arab Spring, it is the Syrian ambassador who is the most hated man in Yemen. (Nothing in Yemen fortunately resembles the horror seen on Syrian youtube videos). 

For those emphasizing the importance of geopolitics, I recommend going to and reading Assad's emails. It is far from important and he is advised to use it as a pretext. However, he is deeply concerned as is his wife that the Arab spring will remove them from power. They are not afraid of America, but of the new wave of history sweeping the Middle East, as the Arab spring has a sense of inevitability. Asma Assad received an email advising her that not a single leader survived the Arab spring, so to take refuge in the Gulf.

Sorry for the lengthy email. Its the shortest way to describe a complicated and nuanced situation. i hope I described it in the easiest way possible. 


 From: Fabio Pietrosanti (naif) <lists at>
To: Eric S Johnson <crates at>; "liberationtech at" <liberationtech at> 
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2012 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] About syria and western intervention
On 3/15/12 5:08 PM, Eric S Johnson wrote:
> Fabio, you ask good questions. The short answer is “the goals of western
> rights-promoting groups, and of many western governments, are aligned.”
> But, more generally, are you calling into question the validity of
> ·        what basic human rights are?
> ·        all reputable international rights organisations’ assessment of
> the facts on the ground?
> If you’re not, how can you even ask questions like “is the Assad regime
> really bad?”?

That's one of the point, how can we judge not being syrian citizen?

Have you the right to judge some other country and cultural system?

I'm making an anarchic statement there.

We have no right to influence syrian ppl and syrian government.

We have no proof that we are helping "who represent the syrian ppl" (in
the sense of a common understand of majority of ppl).

Anyone there seems 100% perfectly convinced that is acting for the good
and that the result of our actions will bring good results.

But supporting revolts means also causing other deaths.

So are we in support of peace or in support of fight?

Are we in support of human rights or in support of stimulating actions
against human rights?

Because it sees like in many situation very often people get kidnapped
by the "general hype".

*Everyone against Assad*
- Saudi is against Assad for political and religious reason (sunni)
- Qatar is against Assad for political and religious reason (sunni)
- Turkey is against Assad for political and religious reason (sunni)
- Al-Qeida is against Assad for religious reason (sunni)
- US and the West is against Assad for many political reason (Iran/Russia)

*Iran and Russia Pro-Assad*
- Iran is Pro-Assad for political reason
- Syria is Pro-Assad for political reason

The real question is, are there anyone that care about Syrian ppl?

Isn't just Syria a proxy-war full foreign-led?

Do we like to think what would happen to Syrian ppl with a Muslim
Brotherhood lead opposition at the Government?

So against i do not understand if "western activists" supporting Syrian
ppl are:
- in support of peace
- in support of fight

Because when in support of fight, i do not really see how they are
helping improving "human rights".

> And if that’s not what you’re asking, what *are* you asking? “One
> government shouldn’t meddle in another government’s sovereignty” … Um,
> Germany 1942, Bosnia 1991, Rwanda 1993, etc. etc. … ?

- Germany 1942: Ethnic genocide
- Bosnia 1991: Ethnic genocide
- Rwanda 1993: Ethnic genocide

I see no Ethnic genocide in Syria, that's an international political
issue imho.

However all my discussion doesn't want to bring to a specific conclusion.

But at least make us thinking that by supporting someone else revolt
does not necessarily means supporting human rights.

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