Syria’s Disaster, and What’s Next

More than seven years after the beginning of the Syrian popular uprising, which was gradually transformed into a deadly war with an international character, the situation in the country is catastrophic at all levels. The popular classes are the most affected with continuous suffering.

At the end of 2017, some 13.1 million people in Syria required humanitarian assistance. Of these, 5.6 million are in acute need due to a convergence of vulnerabilities resulting from displacement, exposure to hostilities, and limited access to basic goods and services. [1] More than half the population was displaced internally or outside the country, forced to leave their homes as a result of the war.

More than 920,000 people have been displaced in Syria during the first four months of this year, a record number since the conflict began. And life for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries means poverty, exploitation and discriminatory policies.

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Secularists, Secularism and the Syrian uprising (Part 2/2)

Syrian secularists are under attack online and on the ground. Joseph Daher takes a critical look at recent efforts to discredit the contribution of Syrian secularists to the 2011 revolution and offers historic perspective on the meaning of secularism and how the concept been used and misused in the battle to shape the future of Syria.  The second part of this article looks at the strategies of survivals deployed by secular actors in the Syrian opposition as Islamic fundamentalist forces gained momentum in the military and political arena. It also analyses the merits and dangers of embracing a “civilian state” in the bid to find a compromise between these conflicting ideologies.

21 August 2018

Syria’s liberal secularists and their strategies

Some secularist groups and individuals initially defended and justified the presence of Islamic fundamentalist and jihadist movements in the Syrian political and military opposition on the ground.  This was the case for multiple dissidents from liberal currents, represented in various opposition bodies such as the Syrian National Council and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (Coalition, etilaf), [1] to the detriment of democratic demands such as secularism and women’s rights. These liberal secularist figures remained mostly silent on the violations of human rights committed by salafist groups or their sectarian diatribes, and even included controversial groups such as Jaysh al-Islam in  opposition political bodies. Muhammad Alloush, the former head of Jaysh al-Islam, was appointed as the chief opposition negotiator during the third round of United Nations-sponsored talks with the regime in Geneva and remained an important personality in the High Negotiation Committee.

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(العلمانيون والعلمانية والانتفاضة السوررية (2-2

 يتعرض العلمانيون السوريون، فضلاً عن مفهوم العلمانية، لهجوم على الإنترنت وعلى أرض الواقع. يقدم جوزيف ضاهر نظرة نقدية للجهود الرامية مؤخراً إلى التشكيك في إسهام العلمانيين السوريين في ثورة 2011، ويقدم منظوراً تاريخياً لمعنى العلمانية وكيف جرى استخدام وإساءة استخدام هذا المفهوم في معركة تشكيل مستقبل سوريا. يتناول  الجزء الثاني من المقال استراتيجيات البقاء التي اتبعها فاعلون علمانيون في المعارضة السورية مع نيل القوى الأصولية الإسلامية الزخم في المجال العسكري والسياسي، كما يحلل مزايا ومخاطر اعتناق مفهوم “الدولة المدنية” كمراهنة لإيجاد حل وسط بين هذه الأيديولوجيات المتضاربة

21 آب 2018

(يمكن قراءة الجزء الأول على هذا الرابط)

العلمانيون الليبراليون السوريون واستراتيجياتهم 

اختار العلمانيون السوريون المعارضون مسارات مختلفة خلال الانتفاضة. فقد انضمت بعض الجماعات والأفراد العلمانيين، ولا سيما التيارات الليبرالية، لمختلف هيئات المعارضة في المنفى، مثل المجلس الوطني السوري والائتلاف الوطني السوري، مدافعين في البداية ومبرّرين وجود الحركات الأصولية الإسلامية والجهادية ضمن المشهد السياسي والعسكري المعارض داخل البلاد[1] ومتخلّين عن المطالب الديمقراطية كالعلمانية وحقوق المرأة. بقي هؤلاء صامتين أغلب الوقت على الانتهاكات الحقوقية التي ترتكبها الجماعات السلفية أو الخطابات الطائفية التي تنشرها، قبل إدراج بعض هذه الجماعات في هيئات سياسية معارضة مثل جيش الإسلام. فالقائد السياسي السابق (المستقيل حالياً) لجيش الإسلام، محمد علوش، كان كبير المفاوضين في مؤتمر جنيف 3، وبقي شخصية مهمة في هيئة التفاوض العليا

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(العلمانيون والعلمانية والانتفاضة السورية (1-2

يتعرض العلمانيون السوريون، فضلاً عن مفهوم العلمانية، لهجوم على الإنترنت وعلى أرض الواقع. يقدم الكاتب والباحث، جوزيف ضاهر نظرة نقدية للجهود الرامية مؤخراً إلى التشكيك في إسهام العلمانيين السوريين في ثورة 2011، ويقدم منظوراً تاريخياً لمعنى العلمانية وكيف جرى استخدام وإساءة استخدام هذا المفهوم في معركة تشكيل مستقبل سوريا. يتناول الجزء الأول دور العلمانيين والعلمانية في الانتفاضة السورية، وكيف يمكن تعريف العلمانية، وهل قام نظام الأسد بتمكين أم إعاقة القوى العلمانية في سوريا؟

في الموقع التابع للمعارضة السورية زمان الوصل، أطلق الكاتب، هلال عبد العزيز الفاعوري، هجوماً جديداً على العلمانيين في مقال بعنوان “ماذا يريدعلمانيو سوريا من المسلمين السوريين. يصف الفاعوري جميع العلمانيين بأنهم “ينتقدون كل شيء ينتمي للإسلام”، وبأنهم يضمرون “العداء للمسلمين” ولا سيما من خلال الرغبة في “حلق لحاهم وخلع جلابيبهم ورمي عمائمهم و… إغلاق مساجدهم وعدم الصلاة”. للفاعوري العديد من المقالات في موقع زمان الوصل المعارض

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Secularists, Secularism and the Syrian uprising (Part 1/2)

Syrian secularists, and moreover the concept of secularism, are under attack online and on the ground. Joseph Daher takes a critical look at recent efforts to discredit the contribution of Syrian secularists to the 2011 revolution and offers historic perspective on the meaning of secularism and how the concept has been used and misused in the battle to shape the future of Syria. The first part of this article examines the role of secularists and secularism in the Syrian uprising, how secularism is defined and whether the Assad regime historically helped or hindered secularist forces in Syria.

Author Joseph Daher

In the opposition website Zaman al-Wasl, the author Hilal Abd al-Aziz al-SFa’ouri launched a new attack on secularists with an article entitled ‘What Syrian secularists want from the Syrian Muslims.’  In it, he describes all secularists as critical of “everything that belongs to Islam”, and claims they hold a “secret hostility towards Muslims” by notably wanting them “to shave their beards and take off their jilbabs [traditional Arabic garb] and throw their turbans… to close their mosques and not pray.”  Fa’ouri is the author of numerous articles on opposition website Zaman al-Wasl.

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Syria: The Social Origins of the Uprising

Remembering the real causes of the eruption the popular uprising in Syria, which is increasingly turning into an international war.

More than seven years after the beginning of the popular uprising in Syria, which increasingly turned into an international war, the causes of this eruption are often forgotten. When they are discussed, the vast majority of authors reduce the uprising to a struggle against authoritarianism while neglecting its socio-economic roots almost entirely. Yet the way in which the relations of production in contemporary Syria constitute a blockage to the development of the productive forces is in fact a key element in understanding the popular base of the Syrian uprising. The most important component of the movement was economically marginalized Sunni rural workers, along with urban employees and self-employed workers who have borne the brunt of neoliberal policies, particularly since Bashar al-Assad came to power in 2000. The geography of the revolts in Idlib, Dar’a and other middle sized towns as well as in other rural areas exhibits a pattern_ namely, all were historical strongholds of the Ba’th Party, and benefited from agricultural reforms in the 1960s.

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The Kurdish Question and the Syrian Revolution, conference “Socialism 2018”

Follow the link to listen to the conference :https://wearemany.org/a/2018/07/kurdish-question-and-syrian-revolution

The Kurds are a people of 28-35 million without a nation. Divided between Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, Kurds have been used by authoritarian regimes and imperialist actors to serve their interests before being sacrificed when these interests changed. The US has relied on Kurdish PYD forces in Rojava in Northern Syria to combat ISIS, but looked the other way when Turkey’s Erdogan, who is threatened by the prospect of a successful Kurdish entity on its own border encouraging Turkey’s own Kurdish population, invaded the Kurdish stronghold Afrin in Syria last January. Collaboration by some Kurdish forces with imperialist forces can’t be used to justify the refusal of the right of self-determination of the Kurdish people. In Syria, as elsewhere, the destiny of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination is closely tied to the overall struggle against the Assad dictatorship, and both today are in under severe attack.

July 5 2018