“Assad and ISIS, they’re both the same”

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” Assad will not be overthrown if ISIS is not overthrown”

Interview of Joseph Daher, member of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, with Turkish comrades of the Devrimci Sosyalist İşçi Partisi (DSiP), on Marksist.org:  http://www.marksist.org/roportajlar/13734-roportaj-suriyeli-devrimci-sosyalist-joseph-daher-esad-ve-isid-ikisi-de-ayni

The Western media claimed that the Syrian Revolution was good in the beginning – but recently it has been hijacked by jihadists who have seemed to be the major force on the ground. Has the events of last 3 days proven the opposite? How did it all start against ISIS?

The mainstream medias, whether in the West and in the Middle East, and Western and regional governments have been wanting us to believe that the Syrian revolution is dead and has transformed itself into a sectarian war between the Sunni Majority and the religious and ethnic minorities on the other side, or in a similar trend resuming the events in Syria in an opposition between jihadists vs the Assad regime. This last perspective actually pushed many to join the camp, composed of conservative right wing to “anti imperialist primaire”, arguing that Assad is a lesser evil to the Jihadists, while we should oppose both because they nurture each other and are both seeking to establish an authoritarian system. This following statement is typical of this trend:

“We need to start talking to the Assad regime again” about counterterrorism and other issues of shared concern, said Ryan C. Crocker, a veteran diplomat who has served in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. “It will have to be done very, very quietly. But bad as Assad is, he is not as bad as the Jihadists who would take over in his absence.”

In addition to believe that cooperation with the Assad regime is the best way to struggle against jihadists and Islamists[1] extremists groups is to ignore the history of this regime in instrumentalizing and cooperating with them such as with jihadist groups after the Iraqi invasion by the USA in 2003 or Fateh el Islam in Lebanon in 2007, and to forget that the regime is the one to have freed most of the jihadists and Islamists extremists in the various amnesty calls since the beginning of the revolutionary process while democrat activists were kept in prison, assassinated and targeted by the security services.

A similar comment could be made to a section of the left that has abandoned the Syrian revolution because it was allegedly hijacked, or not even supported it since the beginning. For example, Tariq Ali declared that he believed that popular movement has been “ overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood and groups to its Right, backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deserters from Assad were taken over by Turkey and France. So the character of the uprising changed by the end of the first twelve months. How can one not register this fact? The relationship of forces today does not favour any secular or progressive groups. To pretend otherwise is to be blinded by illusions or the requirements of intra-sectarian left politics”. The events of the last few days have shown the opposite… His blindness is due in his lack of analysis and perspectives of the possibility of radical change from below shown by the Syrian revolutionary masses since the beginning of the revolution. Another comment to make is the continuous problem of analyzing the Syrian revolutionary process from a geo-political perspective, ignoring completely the socio-economic and political dynamism on the ground in Syria. And many continue to consider Iran, Russia, or Syria to be anti-imperialist states struggling against the USA, which is wrong on every aspect. Our choice should not be to choose between on one side the USA and Saudi Arabia and on the other side Iran and Russia, our choice is revolutionary masses struggling for their emancipation.

As Pierre Frank, French Trotskyist, wrote : “Let us note that the greatest theoreticians of Marxism did not at all define the political nature of a bourgeois regime by the positions which the latter held in the field of foreign policy but solely and simply by the position it occupied in relation to the classes composing the nation”

In addition, both sides have been trying to impose a solution from above that would maintain the regime with a Yemeni solution (change the head of the regime, while maintaining its structure).

The struggle against the Assad regime and the jihadists are necessary in the struggle for democracy, social justice and secularism. Seeking the lesser evil is the road to defeat, while hiding or silencing the counter revolutionary and reactionary nature of jihadists or some islamists groups like the Islamic Front because they are struggling against the Assad regime is mere opportunism and the road to the failure for the Syrian revolution.

And we have seen that the Syrian revolutionary masses know exactly this threat by deepening their revolution in struggling against sections of the counter revolutions represented by ISIS.

The popular anger against ISIS authoritarian practices and reactionary ideology in the liberated areas of the Assad regime has been mounting for months. We should not forget that popular resistance against ISIS has been occurring for a while, for example in the city of Raqqa liberated from the regime in March 2013, youth and popular organizations of the city have been demonstrating and opposing ISIS nearly since its liberation. Numerous campaigns and demonstrations have take place against the authoritarian practices of ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra in the city. There were solidarity gatherings demanding the liberation of kidnapped activists held in Islamist-held prisons..

Similar protests contesting the authoritarian and reactionary practices of the Islamists took place in Aleppo, in Mayadin, al-Qusayr and other cities like Kafranbel throughout the year 2013.

We should also remember that some jihadist forces, such as Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS, have concentrated on trying to reach hegemony in some liberated areas attacking activists and FSA battalions, rather to fight against the regime, while many jihadists pouring into Syria from countries like Iraq and Lebanon are not flocking to the front lines. Instead they are concentrating their efforts on consolidating control in the northern, rebel-held areas of the country. Many Jabhat al Nusra fighters left in the middle of ongoing rebel operations in Homs, Hama and Idlib to head for Raqqa province once the provincial capital fell in March 2013. During the battle for Qusayr in late May, Jabhat al Nusra units were noticeably absent. In early June, rebel reinforcements rallied to take the town of Talbiseh, north of Homs city, while Jabhat al Nusra fighters preferred to stay in the liberated areas to fill the vacuum that the Free Syrian Army affiliates had left behind.

We have repeated constantly that these jihadists and islamists reactionary groups are an enemy of the revolution, alongside all groups that encourage sectarianism, kidnapping, torture and murder, as a practice of power must be considered enemies of the revolution to fight.

At the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, the popular frustrations and anger exploded following new acts of violence from ISIS, especially by the murder by this latter of Dr Abu Rayyan, a doctor member of Ahrar Sham an Islamist group part of the Islamic Front, and of FSA and some Islamists groups members, in addition to the attack on Kafranbel media center on December 28 2013 and the kidnapping of some of their members.

In the eyes of the people ISIS was another face of the Assad regime because of its authoritarianism, like a banner in a demonstration on December 27 2013 in Maraat al-Numan in Idlib was saying “The majority of us have become wanted by two states (the Assad regime and ISIS)”.

On January 3 2014, demonstrations occurred in different locations where ISIS was present to demand its departure and overthrow. Chants “Assad and Da3ech are one” or ” Da3ech, get out”, which have become widely used for a while now in liberated areas of Syria, were heard everywhere. Military members of ISIS were arrested in some villages, while other ISIS battalions were kicked out after popular protest and military fights.

ISIS had to leave many areas, killing often the people, including activists, women and children, that were held in their prisons.

Popular protests and military fights between FSA and Islamic Front battalions against ISIS are still happening as we speak.  The pressure of the popular masses has pushed military battalions to act against ISIS, especially the Islamic Front recaciltrant in the beginning to engage military against ISIS. The creation of the Syrian revolutionary Front in December 2013, which is a gathering of FSA battalions, also helped to coordinate actions of local FSA groups to launch this action.

The Syrian revolutionary masses have proven for a while that their revolution is not dead and never have been, but it the world that did not and don’t want to see it

What are the dynamics behind the offensive against ISIS? Is it a plan by the pro-Western opposition to get the West back to their side again? Or a major explosion of anger by the Syrian masses who are fighting to survive their revolution?

The pro western opposition had nothing to do in these mobilizations, they just condemned in these past months some actions of ISIS, but we should remember that the SNC hold nevertheless some responsibility in the spread of these groups or at least by their cover, by defending them groups in the beginning despite their reactionary and sectarian ideology, like Jabhat al Nusra instead of standing firmly on the principles of the Syrian revolution (Freedom, Dignity and no to sectarianism) and doing everything possible to develop the democratic components of the FSA and strengthening them by providing them with material and financial support. These groups just as the Syrian regime want to divide the Syrian people into sectarian and ethnic entities, while the Syrian revolution want to break the sectarian and ethnic division that the regime has tried to enforce on the people.

As explained above, the explosion was the result of the popular anger and the will to continue and deepen the revolutionary process. As a symbol ot this, in a neighborhood of Aleppo on Saturday January 4, slogans used until today against the Assad regime were brandished against the jihadists such as “our revolution is against all oppressors ” or ” the Syrian people will not submit .” Numerous calls have been made to call the next Friday ( January 10 2014 ), the traditional day of demonstrations the Friday against Assad and Al Qaeda.

For those who saw the Islamist influence in the Syrian revolution as completely dominant or explaining the popular mobilizations can review their calculations and analyzes , as we have repeatedly stated. The Syrian uprising is part of the dynamics of the other peoples uprisings and struggles for democracy and social justice. A third force , opposing both the tyranny of the Assad regime and Jihadists and Islamists reactionary groups , continues to grow and develop despite the media blackout around these groups, and even by some circles that present themselves as left who prefer stay in simplistic dichotomies of seculars vs. Islamists or by only analyzing Syria through their geopolitical analyzes which prevent them of understanding the revolutionary dynamics and the possibilities of radical  change from below.

We the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, which from the very beginning, despite its modest capacities, has not once faltered in its engagement with the revolution, calling for democracy and socialism, and we have not divided groups or individuals between secular and religious, but between those who want to continue the revolution and achieve its objectives and those who oppose it.

A banner crafted by revolutionary city of Kafranbel resumes very well the spirit of the Syrian revolution “enemies are many … the revolution is one… and continues” Yes the revolution continues, despite the difficulties and multiple dangers, the Syrian people continues its path towards freedom and dignity sweeping all oppressors.

Where do you think will the clashes between ISIS and other rebels lead to? What are the prospects for the Syrian revolution? How will it win?

The recent event will definitely lead to a diminishing influence for ISIS at the benefit of different battalions of the FSA and of the IF.  This might lead to renewal and deepening of popular mobilizations and self organizations. All sections of the counter revolutions eliminated is a positive point.

To answer the question of the prospects of the Syria revolution, we need to answer it at different levels.

On the international and regional level, the background has been the announcement of Geneva II “peace” conference and the Iranian USA agreement on the nuclear issue. Through these two international evens, we once more see that regional and international actors, despite differences and rivalries, are ready to agree and share a common position in front of popular revolutions and in our case the Syrian revolution. Geneva II conference has showed once more the will of on one side the USA, the West and the Gulf countries and Russia and Iran on the other side to reach a Yemeni solution to put an end to the Syrian revolution and in order to maintain the structure of the Assad regime, with or without it.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, issued a statement on November 28 2013 affirming the importance of strengthening international support for the Syrian opposition represented by the National Coalition, considered as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition by the GCC, for participation in the Geneva 2 conference. It added that the conference should lead to “an agreement to put in place a limited timeframe to form a Syrian transitional government with full executive powers, in accordance with the statement of Geneva 1 on January 30 2012″. No clear remarks were said on Assad’s future, while the Syrian regime has repeated that Bachar Al Assad would be the president leading the “transition” in case of agreement with the opposition in the Geneva conference of January.

The GCC also declared that they hoped Iran’s preliminary deal with world powers would lead to a comprehensive solution to its nuclear crisis. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has visited Kuwait and Oman beginning of December, while United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, went to Tehran on end of November.

Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said he wanted better relations with Saudi Arabia in an interview with the Financial Times, while new president new president, Hassan Rouhani declared that Improving relations with regional countries is a central plank of Iran’s diplomatic policy.

In the same time, we have witnessed the common call made by Turkey and Iran on November 27 2013, for a ceasefire in Syria before peace talks in Geneva scheduled for January 22.

The various imperialists and regional powers, despite their rivalry, have a common interest in the defeat of the popular revolutions in the region, including in Syria, and in the maintaining of the status quo. Rivalries and differences between Russia and the USA, or Iran and the USA, have led many to describe Iran and Russia as anti imperialists powers, which is completely wrong on so many levels. Indeed we should not misunderstand imperialist rivalries on a world level between the USA, China and Russia as forms of anti imperialism in the case of China and Russia. They might have different tactical aims or choose to back separate actors, but they are all bourgeois powers that are and will always be strategically enemies of the popular revolution, solely interested in a the statu quo with a political context that enables them to accumulate their economic and political capital. The same can be said on the regional level between the different powers, whether Israel, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, etc… The Syrian revolution is a very good example of this case, where we can see officially international and regional states backing different actors and sides but with all ultimately opposing the objectives of the popular revolution in Syria. The Syrian popular movement has very well understood this by its refusal of Geneva II conference and these drawings portraying all the different international and regional actors of the Syrian revolution sitting on the same table with Bachar Al assad to decide the future of Syria. In the same vein, they understand well the implications of the deal between the USA and Iran on Syria: to lead to a political transition respecting both interests while the popular movement’s demands are ignored.

We have to understand as well that no regional and international power can be the friend of the Syrian revolution, but only the people in struggle in the region and elsewhere.

Regarding the ground level of the Syrian revolution, the self organization of the masses both in terms of civil and military actions must continue and coordination between the two deepen. The democratic components of the FSA must also be provided arms without political conditions.

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, in addition to the assistance given by sectarian military groups including Hezbollah. 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.

In conclusion, there is no coming back to the era of Assad regime before the beginning of the revolution and to other forms of oppression. Their is no alternative to the continuation of the revolution. One of the main slogans in Syria chanted by the protesters is “Rather death than humiliation”. In the same time, we have to be clear that Islamists reactionary groups are a threat to the revolution and for the edification of a democratic, social and non sectarian society in Syria. If they attack revolutionaries they must be condemned and challenged through different ways.

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.

This is the line of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria, which from the very beginning, despite its modest capacities, has not once faltered in its engagement with the revolution, calling for democracy and socialism. The party has struggled alongside the people and all democratic forces for the victory of this great popular revolution, just as it struggle for the formation of a socialist workers’ party. We do not divide groups or individuals between secular and religious, but between those who want to continue the revolution and achieve its objectives and those who oppose it.

The building of the revolutionary party, alongside and inside the large popular movement, firm on the principles of the revolution, (democracy, social justice and no to sectarianism) is not a utopian dream or hope, it already exists, but it is mostly a political necessity to allow the continuation of the revolution and the achievement of its objectives.

We would like to end also by repeating that no solution can be achieved if the democratic and social issues are not dealt together, in other words social demands cannot be separated to democratic demands, neither subordinated, they go in hand in hand


[1] We understand Islamists as representing a particular political ideology and political groups, we oppose the islamophobic discourse and propaganda by medias and some sections of the left considering every Muslim as an Islamist. The Islamic Front has a reactionary program, which notably demand a State based under Shariah law with a reactionary interpretation of religion, the promote a sectarian discourse and refuse democracy based on equality of all regardless of gender, religion, and ethnicity, etc… They also have been involved in massacres against Alawites civilians in August 2012 in Lattakia coastal area.  They also have strong relations with the Gulf reactionary regimes.

This clarity of position regarding the Islamic Front does not mean we ignore these groups, there can be unity of actions on the military field especially between FSA and the Islamic Front against the regime and the jihadists, but no illusions should be put into them to achieve any objectives of the revolution. To see more details https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/dynamics-and-prospects-for-the-syrian-revolutionary-process/

14 thoughts on ““Assad and ISIS, they’re both the same”

  1. Excellent! You hit the nail on the head about so many things; I’ll share it widely.

    Our local Peace and Justice group supports the Syrian revolution against its enemies. In solidarity, we joined the Middle East North Africa network (FB- MENA), copied its principles on our website (www.fvc4pnj.org) , and will sponsor a public event here in Elgin (IL) on Feb. 8th. Also in solidarity, I recently participated in a public debate with a leader of Freedom Road Socialist Org. (www.frso.org) that supports Assad for the reasons you explain. ( Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytc3GKnvtM&feature=youtu.be for a slightly-edited version.)

    I do wonder who you expect to give military aid to FSA brigades when all regional/global powers fear and oppose the Syrian popular revolution, as you so thoughtfully explain. As a lifelong socialist, I also wonder why you have no focus on, the working class in Syria and the region.

    In theory and practice, the common need to fight against regional/global capitalism can lead to class-based solidarity in the revolutionary movement. Workers in Syria produce and transport oil and make many products. Surely there are massive difficulties in building such support in Syria, as elsewhere. But such class-based organizing offers a solid basis for creating a new society based on solidarity, not oppression and exploitation.

    While your organization expresses and works with fierce support for the Syrian revolution, I fail to see a working class program towards that end. If your organization has a different strategy, many of your allies would like to know, I’m sure.

    red1pearl@aol.com

      • Dear Joseph,

        As you suggested, I read (again) the Rev. Left Current’s (RLC) program of Nov. 6, 2011 but found nothing there on the working class beyond “… improving economic and social conditions, and women’s emancipation;.. “. Another article (US Bejiva on July 24, 2012) does advocate re-nationalizing Assad-family assets and workers’ direct contols as transitional steps towards socialism. Assuming that is the RLC’s strategic goal, what have been the difficulties, possible successes, and actual results from such a working class orientation? If I’ve missed them in earlier posts, please show me where to find them.

        Even from a great distance, with no Arabic skills, and little concrete knowledge, it’s obvious that this must be extremely difficult, to put it mildly. Your (RLC’s) break from what I call conservative communist (“Stalinist”) doctrine is wonderful and promising. You are clear that nationalisations and plans alone do not equal socialism – that there must be ‘socialism from below’ with active participation of the actual working class.

        Like everywhere, practical and theoretical work among Syrian workers is required to organize solidarity- both for the popular Revolution and for revolutionary socialism. If not the working class, what other ?

        As your interview makes clear, no regional/global powers will support the popular revolution.. While some regional revolutionary movements might be helpful, it seems clear that internal Syrian forces will continue to be central for any success. Hence my focus on working class program and organizing.

        in solidarity,
        Earl Silbar

    • “In theory and practice, the common need to fight against regional/global capitalism can lead to class-based solidarity in the revolutionary movement. Workers in Syria produce and transport oil and make many products. Surely there are massive difficulties in building such support in Syria, as elsewhere. But such class-based organizing offers a solid basis for creating a new society based on solidarity, not oppression and exploitation.”

      The Syrian working class (such as it exists in conditions of ~50% unemployment) does not have its own organizations in areas controlled by the fascist regime. Criticizing Syria Freedom Forever for having allegedly having “no focus” on the working class misses the material reality of the Syrian revolution in which the working class is not playing (and for the time being) may not be able to play an independent role so long as the fascist regime persists in Syria. The economy in the liberated areas is shattered and there are, as of today, no independent proletarian organizations either because the central antagonism in these areas is still with the regime (or its ISIS imitators) rather than between capital and labor.

      • First, Not George”, I don’t think I said that SFF has “no focus” on the Syrian working class. I asked for information, read what was sent, and responded while asking for more information.

        Second, thanks for the concrete information embedded in the link to your blog in your post above. Surely, the conditions are beyond terrible and desperate. I did not see such information in the SFF blog. And surely you’re correct that the main antagonism is not between capital and labor at this time. And, without a revolutionary party/organization having previously developed a working class base, it may be impossible to do so under these conditions. Still, that doesn’t have to mean that the class struggle can play no role, as you seem to argue.

        Since the conditions of life are so terrible, it may be that some workers in Syria can be won to a socialist program, underground groups and possible resistance. I know, for example, that some coal miners went on strike in Nazi Germany and faced maching guns. Since the Nazis needed the coal, the workers did win some concessions. Not revolutionary, but not nothing,either. Since workers are necessary for the regime to exist , like all capitalist regimes, they have potential that no other social group has.

        Third, your argue there that the anti-Assad bourgeois forces out and inside Syria are either inept, desperate or both, but do not act out of class interests when they fail/refuse to embrace a political strategy that goes beyond Assad’s removal.

        Here’s what I wrote on your blog, starting with a partial quote from your post:

        ” …the businessmen on the ground who finance the armed brigades never countenance a political strategy to split and divide the Assad family from the Alawi community because combat demands all their resources and attention. Without such a strategy, the path to victory for the people’s war will be exclusively military and therefore exceedingly protracted, bloody, bitter, and sectarian in effect even without sectarian intention. Thus, bourgeois-led opposition forces exhibit ineptitude — driven by egotism on the part of the exiles and desperation by their counterparts on the ground — rather than treachery driven by class interests as in 1848.”

        1. Why consider it “treachery” for bourgeios forces, in Syria as in 1848 Germany, to defend their class interests in maintaining bourgeois relations and limiting popular revolutions to changing forms of class domination, as in getting rid of Assad, as their key goal?

        2. Why conclude that businessmen who finance the combat forces vs. the regime are driven by desperation, not class interests? After all, a political strategy that isolates the Assad family from their key base of support would weaken the regime and hasten our victory, wouldn’t it? Surely that’s obvious and these are not stupid people. They, like others, risk everything, so why wouldn’t they embrace such a strategy?

        One reason that comes to mind: they see a potential threat to their existence as a class and see the need to limit the goals of the struggle.

    • “I know, for example, that some coal miners went on strike in Nazi Germany and faced maching guns. Since the Nazis needed the coal, the workers did win some concessions. Not revolutionary, but not nothing,either. Since workers are necessary for the regime to exist , like all capitalist regimes, they have potential that no other social group has.”

      That is excellent but hardly directly applicable to Syria where there is zero living tradition of independent proletarian organization thanks to over four decades of fascist rule. Another problem is that Assad’s military might directly be running all of the industries connected with war-making, making strike action even less likely.

      What I think is applicable from the Nazi example is underground networks like the Maquis in France in combination with Tito-like partisans waging an armed struggle in which socialists would be embedded (incidentally, the only Syrian socialist on the ground I know of fights with Islamic Front). Similar networks exist in the form of Local Coordinating Committees and local and regional military councils and joint operating rooms for the armed brigades, but are there any Marxist forces in these bodies and if so are they in contact with one another? It doesn’t seem so. If you are interested in the Syrian far left, its history, and difficult struggles, I recommend the following:

      http://budourhassan.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/freedom-for-jihad-and-syrias-wretched-of-the-earth/
      http://therepublicgs.net/2013/10/13/portrait-of-a-revolution-the-journey-of-faiek-al-meer/
      http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/syria-the-life-and-work-of-anarchist-omar-aziz-and-his-impact-on-self-organization-in-the-syrian-revolution/

      Marxists need to get away from fetishizing strikes and strike action which are only one form of proletarian struggle, one weapon in the arsenal; certainly never did Marx in his writings and doings during the 1848-1850 revolution in Germany or in his material discussing the Paris Commune of 1871.

      • Thanks for the suggestions. As for working class action, my disagreement was with you arguing against the possibility of working class organizing; certainly you’re right that there are many forms of workers’ resistance beyond strikes and job actions! 1848, 1871, and 1917 prove that along with 1936 and more.

  2. Joseph, while your political critique of the IF is on the mark, the claim that they were ” involved in massacres against Alawites civilians in August 2012 in Lattakia coastal area” needs qualification. The HRW report on the massacres listed five groups involved, only one of which, Ahrar al-Sham, is a member of the IF; moreover, this was months before the IF was formed, when Ahrar was in a different coalition to the other current members of the IF; Ahrar is generally seen as a more “jihadist” cadre group than any of the other IF member groups; and even then, though Ahrar was part of the offensive, the report was rather vague on any specific crimes committed by Ahrar. In fact, a close read shows that overwhelmingly the terrible crimes were committed by ISIS and its small Chechen-led satellite group (even Jabhat al-Nusra’s crimes were relatively minor in scale). I have no interest in politically defending the IF and still less Ahrar al-Sham, but the fact that by and large they haven’t been involved in the kinds of sectarian massacres and brutal theocratic repression that ISIS has used (and to a lesser extent JAN) seems precisely the point of the difference.

    • HI Michael,
      Thank you for your comment and I think we agree.
      As I already said I acknowledge the difference between the ISIS and IF ( see this article https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/dynamics-and-prospects-for-the-syrian-revolutionary-process/ ). Despite the fact IF is less worse than ISIS, we have to be clear as well that their political objectives are counter revolutionary. This political clarity is absolutely needed.
      Regarding Ahrar Sham, I mean the report says they were involved, and I have heard it from other sources on the ground as well. But Ahrar Sham is not the only problem, but the political pgm of IF. As said previously “The Islamic front is actually seeking an Islamic State and has not hesitated to attack some democratic groups and figures as we saw in the past with threats from Zahran Alloush against Douma civil council lately, as well as sections of the FSA as we have seen. In addition the Islamic front has not hesitated to seek coalition with ISIS in various regions, especially in the Syrian North East region mostly composed of Kurdish population to attack Kurdish population and the PKK militias PYD. These actions should be condemned. Although some of these groups have condemned the actions of ISIS against churches, without challenging them politically and military, they all share a sectarian discourse against Islamic minorities, especially against Shias and Alawites.” see https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/dynamics-and-prospects-for-the-syrian-revolutionary-process/

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    • Yes, it seems very similar – grounded in the emerging reality and useful. Only one question:

      The article repeats the conclusion that ” There is no ongoing revolution in Syria today” continuing that,” the “danger” of the resurgence of the revolution, and the problem which the revolution has put on the table of all these forces, i.e. the very existence of the Assad regime, is still alive.”

      Even with the weakeded non-sectarian FSA forces, aren’t there still active protests and some forces still fighting against both ISIS and the regime? If ” there is no ongoing revolution in Syria today”, then what forces challenge the very existence of the regime?

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