” Resistance is the victory of the freedom of the people”
More than two years after the beginning of the revolutionary processes, western medias have not ceased to repeat the same credo: after the dream, the nightmare for the populations of the Middle East and North Africa ; after the « Arab Spring », the Islamist Winter », (both terms that we refuse). Where are gone the « beautiful » and « pure » revolutions from the beginning, as we don’t stop repeating?
The situation is presented as catastrophic: Tunisia and Egypt are governed by Islamists, while the Syrian revolution would have become a civil war between Islamists and the Assad bloody regime. The propagation of such a discourse, underpinned of defeatism, advocates the withdrawal of activists fighting for democracy and social justice.
After being celebrated for their courage and determination in the struggle against their dictators, the people of the region are now described – in an elitist and misleading way – as unable or not ready for radical change. The thesis of “Arab-Muslim” exceptionalism, which supports that these areas are inherently unable to reach a democratic ideal, has returned very fast.
According to various situations, proposals have emerged to limit the revolutionary processes. In Syria, many attempts have been submitted to reach these objectives.
Geneva II or a new attempt to curve the revolutionary process
Firstly the Yemeni solution has been put numerous times on the table. The Geneva Conference II, which should normally take place next July, is one more attempt by all international imperialist forces, the United States and Europe on the one hand and Russia and China on the other, to maintain the structure of Syrian regime and include sectors of the Syrian opposition (National Council and the Syrian National Council in the lead) that are not representative of the Syrian revolutionary popular movement.
Geneva II is a repetition of the conference held in Geneva in June 2012 and all the other so called peace plan suggested by the UN including the the so called “peace plan for Syria” suggested by UN Peace envoy Lakhdar Ibrahimi. This plan calls for the formation of a transitional government, which holds the total responsibility of executive power to govern Syria until Presidential and legislative elections in 2014 under the auspices of the UN. During this period, the dictator Bashar al Assad would stay in function at the top of the State.
Yes, the blood of the Syrian people has sunk too much and yes the Syrian people want peace, but not a peace at any price and certainly not one decided by foreign powers in accordance with the Assad criminal regime and his loyal Iranian and Russian support and a section of the opportunist Syrian opposition, to the detriment of the interests of the Syrian people in their struggle for freedom and dignity!
Many demonstrations and protests in Syria have been held against the future Geneva 2 conference, and any agreement to maintain the structure of the regime. One of the slogans in the demonstrations of Friday, May 31 in Syria was “Geneva 2, there is a difference between fighting for freedom and who wants to improve the conditions of servitude (eternity)“, a direct message to those who want negotiations with the regime.
The people refuse outside maneouvres that would maintain the structure of the regime on other occasions as well: large demonstrations and numerous declarations reject the proposal of dialogue with the regime by the president at the time of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz Khatib. During the demonstrations on February 8, placards proclaimed “we will only negotiate about the departure of the regime”.
This is why we have also since the beginning of the revolution criticize the National Co-ordination Body for Democratic attempts to seek a deal with some sectors of the regime, even the vice President Farouk al Shareh, for a so called peaceful transition that just like the other solutions would maintain the structure of the regime.
Geneva 2 and other so called solutions have only one objective: to prevent the radical change from below by the Syrian revolutionary people and limit the wind of revolt that could be extended with the fall of the Assad regime, especially to neighboring countries, as we can see in Turkey today, and the Gulf states, and the opening of a new resistance front in direction of the Syrian and Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
As a revolutionary, we cannot but say that the worst solution is the remaining of this criminal regime.
The opportunism of the National Coalition
This is why we should not stay silent in front the failure of the opportunist and bourgeois National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, ready to betray the Syrian revolution to serve their political interests and of foreign countries.
Many demonstrations and criticisms have also been made inside the popular movement against the National Coallition, including very recently on June 4, 2013 a demonstration condemning their corruption in the Sukkari neighborhood in Aleppo.
Different popular forces have been also very critical of the National Coallition, including the Statement Issued by the Revolutionary Movement in Syria signed by the Syrian Revolution General Commission, Local Coordination Committees in Syria, Syrian Revolution Coordinators’ Union, Supreme Council for the Leadership of the Syrian Revolution (http://www.lccsyria.org/11445). It is notably said that “The revolutionary forces that have signed this statement will no longer bestow legitimacy upon any political body that subverts the revolution or fails to take into account the sacrifices of the Syrian people or adequately represent them. We consider this statement to be a final warning to the SC, for the Syrian people have spoken.”
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary is right to criticize and condemn the criminal role played by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in the killing of the Syrian people. Hezbollah criminal involvement has shown that no resistance program can be based on a sectarian identity and linked to authoritarian regimes such as Syria and Iran.
This said, the National Coalition should also criticize countries and groups playing a dangerous role in the Syrian Revolution. For example because of the support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the coalition, they have not condemned the objectives of these reactionary regimes. These latter want to transform the revolution into a sectarian war, out of fear that an extension of it would threaten their power and their interests. They are financing extremist Islamist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, which have a sectarian and reactionary ideology, and often try to reduce the role of the people’s committees, sometimes through violence.
Resistance to reactionary forces
Jabhat al Nusra has also been defended by the National Coallition, despite its nature and behavior threatening the Syrian revolutionary process.
On several occasions inside the country popular forces opposed Jabhat al Nusra and similar reactionary forces. In the city of Raqqa, which has been liberated from the forces of the regime since March, many popular demonstrations occurred against the authoritarian actions of Jabhat al Nusra in the city.
Few weeks ago, following the execution of three officers of the regime’s army regime by Jabhat al Nusra, local coordination committees and popular organizations organized a mass demonstration against this behavior (https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/خرجت-جموع-الرقة-ونشطاء-المجتمع-المدني/), chanting notably “Not Sunni and not Not Alawite, our revolution is for civil freedom”.
At the same moment protesters in Kafranbel demonstrated against Jabhat al Nusra acts, a banner said: « Executions in Raqqa, and lashing in Saraqib. Who’s given you legitimacy to rule the people???!! ».
Similar demonstrations took place with popular masses challenging this same kind of behavior as groups and in Aleppo, to Mayadin in Al-Quseir and other cities. In Hannano neighborhood in Aleppo, a demonstration was organized against the Sharia Council because of its behavior against the civil council, using notably arms to impose its decisions. (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=459758330771940&set=vb.262701267078822&type=2&theater ; ب مساكن هنانو أعتصام أمام الهئية الشرعية فرع هنانو بسبب فرض قوة السلاح على مجلس المدينة_
The Sharia Council in Aleppo has also arrested journalists such as Chaaban Hassan, still in prison, or repressed many activists from coordination committees such as Abu Maryam and others from Bustan Qasr and other neighborhoods. On various occasions demonstrations were organized to protests against similar acts from the Sharia Council of Aleppo.
On June 7, 2013, in Aleppo province, Islamist activists in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo have taken down the Syrian revolution flags and threw them to the ground, putting in their place the flag of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Local civil activists voiced much anger against this act (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yhTTqKeIVo&feature=youtu.be)
Popular committees also deal with delinquent behavior and crime of armed groups that act as gangs rather than insurgents.
It should be said as well that Jabhat al Nusra has not hesitated to strike deals with the Assad regime, for example this latter is paying more than 150m Syrian lire [£1.4m] monthly to Jabhat al-Nusra to guarantee oil is kept pumping through two major oil pipelines in Banias and Latakia. Jabhat al Nusra fighters have also been involved other buisnesses such as wheat, archaeological relics, factory equipment, oil drilling and imaging machines, cars, spare parts and crude oil.
Is this the model of liberation the syrian revolutionary masses need ?
Definitely not !
The Power in the revolutionary masses
The liberation of the city of Raqqa has liberated even more energies and dynamism among the revolutionary masses. The city is completely self managed by the people themselves who take care of absolutely all the services for the population of the city.
Popular organizations led by the youth have multiplied importantly, reaching more than 42 social movements (officially registered at the end of May since the liberation of the city in March), and as seen above, there has been various campaigns organized by the popular committees such as the “Syrian revolutionary flag represents me” where throughout the city the revolutionary flag was painted to oppose the islamists campaign of imposing the black Islamic flag. On the cultural level, a theatre play in the the city center was played moking Assad regime, and in the beginning of June, popular organizations organized a craftsmanship and art exposition.
In Aleppo, the first founding meeting for the coalition of youth revolution in Syria took place beginning of June. The meeting brought together a wide range of activists and coordinations committees, playing an effective role on the ground since the outbreak of the revolution in Syria. The conference was presented as a key step to represent the revolutionary youth of all sects (http://halabnews.com/news/27406).
This popular resistance and self development organization within Syrian society shows the revolutionary character of the movement struggling for freedom and dignity. All the foreign interventions, from Iran, Russia and Hezbollah on one side and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the West on the other side, have not changed this situation until now.
The revolutionary masses, who outnumbered massively the salafists despite the medias solely focus on them, will continue the struggle until the fall of the regime and the realization of the objectives of the revolution.
Popular armed resistance
The use of chemical weapons against the revolutionaries and civilians demonstrates once again the brutality of the Syrian regime, and also the passivity of the great power that despite rhetoric condemnation of these acts will not move to provide the means of resistance to the forces of the Free Syrian Army that lacks everything, while the reactionary forces are massively funded by petrodollars from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf who want to turn this popular revolution into a sectarian war to prevent the wind of revolt reaches borders are .
The purely military victory has always been difficult, because of the structure of the army of the Syrian regime, built on sectarian, clientelist and tribal alliances and patronage while maintaining a very repressive and totalitarian system within the armed forces, making it difficult for mass defections, and Iranian and Russia material and financial support. This is why we have always maintained that we need to combine the armed popular resistance and the “peaceful” or civil (strikes and other actions) actions that will allow the overthrow of the regime. This is one way to help bridge the current asymmetry in favor of the regime and destabilize more.
The asymmetry will nevertheless be difficult to overcome militarily as long as the popular and democratic forces in the Free Syria Army are not supported materially and financially.
Our role as revolutionary
The role of the revolutionary is to be on the side and struggle with these popular organizations struggling for freedom and dignity and to radicalize as much as possible the popular movement towards progressive objectives, while fighting against opportunists and reactionary forces opposing popular class interests.
A banner in Homs expressed very well this feeling: The revolution is permanent against the regime and the cheap lackey opposition.
The Global Day of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution for Dignity and Freedom organized in more than 40 countries in the world, including inside Syria, the Occupied Syrian Golan, and Palestine, is an example of this kind of internationalist support needed.
We do not deny the difficulties in Syria – and they are many – but knowing what position to take in the ongoing process – not finished, despite what some say – and struggle for the principles propagated by this revolution: freedom and dignity.
As Bertolt Brecht said: ” Who fights can lose, who doesn’t fight has already lost.”