Les dynamiques de l’expansion militaire russe en Syrie, ou la volonté de sauver et consolider le régime Assad


A la fin de l’été 2015, la Russie a considérablement élargi son implication militaire au côté du régime Assad, notamment en fournissant des formations et du soutien logistique à l’armée du régime syrien [1]. Le 17 Septembre, 2015, l’armée du régime a commencé à utiliser de nouvelles types d’armes aériennes et terrestres fournis par la Russie, tandis que des photos satellites prises à la mi-Septembre montraient le développement de deux installations militaires supplémentaires de forces russes à proximité de Lattakiyya (2).

L’engagement militaire de la Russie a dépassé un nouveau niveau le 30 Septembre, 2015, lorsque l’aviation militaire russe a mené ses premiers raids en Syrie. En plus de cela, des centaines de soldats iraniens sont arrivés en Syrie le 21 Septembre et ils vont rejoindre les forces du régime Assad et leurs alliés du Hezbollah libanais dans une offensive terrestre majeure à venir et soutenue par les frappes aériennes russes. L’opération militaire serait destinée à récupérer les territoires perdus par le régime Assad à diverses forces de l’opposition. Très probablement, les opérations terrestres à venir se concentreront sur la ville d’Idlib et la campagne de Hama [3].

Pour rappel, tous ces acteurs ont été des acteurs clés dans la survie du régime Assad. La Russie est depuis longtemps le fournisseur de la grande majorité de l’armement des forces armées du régime Assad. L’Etat russe a continué à expédier des volumes importants d’armes, munitions, des pièces détachées et du matériel remis à neuf à des forces pro-régime. En Janvier 2014, la Russie a intensifié des fournitures de matériels militaires pour le régime syrien, y compris des véhicules blindés, des drones et des bombes guidées. [4] Continue reading

Understanding Russian’s military expansion in Syria, or consolidating the Assad regime


In the end of summer 2015, Russia greatly expanded its military involvement on the side of the Assad regime, including providing serious training and logistical support to the Syrian army.[1] On September 17, 2015, the regime’s army started using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, while satellite photos taken in mid-September showed Russian forces developing two additional military facilities close to Lattakiyya.[2]

Another level of Russia’s military involvement was reached on September 30, 2015, when Russian jets conducted its first raids in Syria. In addition to this, Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria on September 21 and will soon join Assad regime forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes. The military operation would be aimed at recapturing territories lost by Assad regimes to various opposition forces. Most probably, the coming land operations will be focused in Idlib and Hama countryside.[3]

As a reminder, all these actors have been the key actors in the survival of the Assad regime, Russia has long supplied Assad armed forces with the vast majority of their weaponry. The Russian state has continued to ship substantial volumes of small arms, ammunition, spare parts and refurbished material to pro-regime forces. In January 2014, Russia stepped up supplies of military gear to the Syrian regime, including armoured vehicles, drones and guided bombs.[4] Continue reading

Interview Joseph Daher with “Elements of Oppression”

Interview originally published http://elementsofoppression.blogspot.ch/2015/09/joseph-daher.html

How do you identify yourself?

Politically speaking, I’m an internationalist Marxist believing that people are the actors of their own emancipation. My connection to Syria is my father, my family, friends and my numerous travels to the region. The bond with Syria has become more than “blood.” It’s a bond that is political, sentimental, familial, with the society, etc., everything together. I’ve lived in Lebanon, worked in Palestine, traveled to Egypt and Tunis. I’ve been in the region meeting activists and working with them. I also participated in solidarity campaigns with the revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa throughout Europe. I’m active as well in Switzerland and Europe working with people from different backgrounds, especially in Geneva where I live now. Being brought up mostly in Geneva, we’re used to having people with mixed backgrounds similar to other big cities like New York. It’s helped me to think on an international basis. I used to go back to Syria very often. My father lived over there before he passed away one year ago. He came to live with me when the military conflict began in Aleppo in the summer of 2012. I always had a very strong bond with the Middle East, its people and its societies. I just finished my PHD in London on Hezbollah. I’m a teaching assistant at University of Lausanne, while being an activist locally and internationally. I’m married. I have a little daughter that I completely love and a second child on the way.

How have you experienced oppression personally?

I’m mixed background, but I don’t look like the image of an Arab as presented in the media, which is seen as someone with a big beard and dark skin. I pass quite easily in Switzerland, especially since my name is Joseph and not Mohammad. I didn’t have to suffer any kind of oppression related to my mixed background. Regarding European society, I didn’t have to suffer from oppression compared to other populations, especially people from Muslim backgrounds and Black/ African backgrounds. I think a lot of things are oppressive in the Swiss society. Generally speaking, the capitalistic society in Switzerland is a very conservative and racist state, very oppressive in terms of social rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, etc. It’s maybe one of the worst countries in Europe along with Great Britain regarding labor rights. It’s even worse in terms of laws than the European Union. Switzerland is not known as an imperialist state, but it is.

Regarding Syria, when I used to go back, it was an oppressive society because it was firstly a dictatorship, repressing all individuals and groups that criticize or oppose it, or just thought differently. Numerous oppressions also exist regarding women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, racism, etc. The Syrian regime also gave increasing weight through the last decades to the conservative layers of society against any attempt to promote a secular society as it claimed to do. Religion played a very important role in all sectors of society and was strengthened by the regime as a tool of control. I don’t have any problem with believers, to be clear, or religion or as a belief. Everyone should be allowed to freely practice their religion. I have a problem with religion as a basis of power in society—oppressive laws, oppression against women, minorities (whether ethnic, religious, sexual oriented, etc.), artists and the strengthening of the patriarchal authority. The security services went to my father’s place in Aleppo as soon as they knew I was active in foreign countries at the beginning of the revolution process in Syria. Syria as a dictatorship was well known to be very violent. In Syria, you also have the big ethnic discrimination against the Kurdish population—politically, socially, economically, etc. The most impoverished region in Syria was mainly inhabited by Kurds, and politically and culturally they were discriminated against. Continue reading