The US and the Syrian Uprising

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Books will be written about the US’s handling of the Arab uprisings. They will stress the hypocrisy and deception that characterized US President Barack Obama’s administration attitude toward Arab uprising.

The US was taken aback by the uprising in Tunisia (is the US foreign policy establishment ever not taken aback with developments in the Middle East?) and it stuck with former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Once Ben Ali abandoned the country and set off to Saudi Arabia, Obama found the courage to call on him to step down. In Egypt, the Obama administration attitude was even more brazen and shameful. The spokesperson of the US State Department – it will be remembered – called on protesters to desist from using violence.

The US did not want to abandon former President Hosni Mubarak and stuck with him after he killed hundreds of people. The Israeli and Saudi governments were pressuring Obama to stick by Mubarak but he did not need any convincing. After all, the Sadat-Mubarak dictatorship was set up, armed, and funded by the US. He was not a rogue dictator. He was a dictator under US control.

But the US government looks out for its interests. It read the crowd in Tahrir Square. It tried to save Mubarak without Mubarak (as it did in Yemen with GCC support). The US came up with an idea to respond to popular demands in Egypt (the demands were for the overthrow of the regime). It suggested that Omar Suleiman – the head of the secret police, as it used to be called in yesteryears – take over the government from Mubarak. To be sure, the man was loathed by the Egyptian people but he was deeply trusted by the Israelis.

That plan did not work out and the Egyptian people pressed on. Only then, did the US government realize that it wouldn’t be able to control Egypt like before. It was then that the US coordinated with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to mount the Arab counter-revolution.

In Syria, the situation was different. Here was the only Arab regime – a dictatorship like the rest – that was not under the control of the US.

Syria was not a principled “rejectionist” government as its Arab champions would try to make it seem. It spearheaded the (token) Arab military effort to legitimize the American war for Kuwait (and US imperial interests, of course) in 1991. Syria worked for years with the US on intelligence matters and it provided crucial assistance whenever the US turned to Syria (or Jordan or Morocco or Egypt) for effective torture techniques on difficult prisoners. The two countries worked closely together after Sep. 11. On the Arab-Israeli conflict, Syria did not oppose the ill-cited Saudi peace plan which promised (how could dictatorship speak on behalf of the oppressed people?) full normalization in return for a mini-(non)state in the West Bank and Gaza.

But the US position on Syria remains ambiguous. The US and Israel (Qatar and Saudi Arabia are mere enforcers of the US will, they are not real decision makers) want the Syrian regime to be weakened to the point that it will accept Israeli dictates.

But it is not yet clear that either Israel or the US want the regime to fall. The regime has been extremely helpful in providing a secure border for Israel. And it is so non-troublesome vis-à-vis Israel that it won’t even respond in any way to Israeli bombings and assassinations deep inside Syrian territory. It wants to stay in a state of actual peace with Israel because the preservation of the regime means much more to the Assad clan than the restoration of Syrian sovereignty over Israeli-occupied lands.

Syria is very strict in its handling of Palestinian organizations in Syria: they are banned from planning or executing military operations against Israel from Syrian territory. US and Israel are also aware that the true nature of the next regime is not really clear, as the chairperson of the joint chiefs of staff indicated last week. Yes, there are Ikhwan and exiles. But, if the US learned anything from Iraq, it is that the exile groups will not necessarily have a foothold in the country once the regime is overthrown. The collapse of the regime may bring about a situation where the borders with Israel become porous.

So, despite US rhetoric about Syria, one should remain skeptical about US intentions toward the Syrian regime. President Bashar Assad is still looking for a deal under the table, preferably a deal that has US support. He would be willing to offer concessions (to Israel) in order to stay in power. Furthermore, the US and Israel still have a preference for a dictatorship: one should not be surprised if the best case scenario for both is the Assad regime without Bashar.

The Syrian people should know that they only can count on themselves. The multiplicity of roles inside Syria raises questions about the intentions of both rival camps fighting over Syria. Neither camp has the best interest of the Syrian people at heart. Yet, the Obama administration continues to claim to be moved by the plight of the Syrian people. Such sentiments are not symptomatic of super powers like the US.

Comments

Lidia, how about the Zionist-Neocon, American plan which was implemented in Iraq? Where was the "mumana'a" back then?

As'ad perspective and point of views are irrelevant to the real world, but his statements make a great conversation to inflame the intellectual right/conservative/bornagian lizards...he represents the intellectual "anti-establishment" which has its place - BUT to think that his world view has any application to reality, would be a grave mistake.

the fact is syria is a terrible dictatorship, which he knows and everyone knows, and there should be no Buts, if the syrians are finally getting the courage to say, enough, it does not matter what they do next or who they collaborate with or what happens next (even if it's worse), say israel gets stronger, iran weaker, or zimbabwi prettier, it does not matter, the evil framework of the current dictatorship must fail in order to ensure hope for future change, becuase have the mechanism of change, if what comes next is bad, it will eventually be replaced, it's not like that syrians have one shot at making a republic?

what as'ad and all these people that sit in their ivory towers wearing only black and white glasses pontificating about right and wrong, what they do not understand is that after 30 years of evil, things are pretty gray and the only thing that matter is the vehicle that was built by syrians is to destroy oppression succeeds, no matter what the price is, as that is the value of saving their future generation from the evil that they have endured.

Yes, no matter with whom "revos" of Syria are at bed - even with such great friends of Syrians as Zionists :( One more time, it reminds me of Zionists asking for support of Hitler (and getting it).

Libya is a great place now - with the help of the same forces that SNC are asking to BOMB their own country.

Libya is not a great place now, and was not a great place back then, get this straight away.

Egypt was not a great place back when Mubarak was president, and won't be any good if a Salafi/Progressive president is elected... it will stay the same... a place full of poverty, illiteracy and chaos.

Syria is not great right now, and won't be any better, it's just people are tired of 40 years of police state and emergency laws, enough is enough. I said in a previous comment, people are not protesting because they were given sandwiches wrapped in a 500 Syrian Lira as the Syrian TV said once..... no, they are running because they are mad and the more they see dead corpses and dead kids, the more they get mad, and the more they want to run in the streets.

Bashar was stupid, he crushed the protests violently from the first days and now he's got to pay the price of his own stupidity. Bashar will be able to rule Syria, if he puts a tank in every street and a sniper on every building... that's how Bashar is gonna be able to run Syria.. The footage of dead civilians and dead kids will be engraved in Syrians memory.... Bashar is very young, I don't think anyone wants to see him a corpse in a Carfour freezer like Qaddafi, It won't be a pleasant scene. If he can run away with his lovely wife and kids to somewhere in Belarus, Nepal, Iran (Somewhere not very high profile), it would be a wise decision.

Get this, Syrians are seeing their kids in coffins on TV, Israel loves this (At least they can justify their crimes in Gaza and Lebanon... Tsibi Livni/Ehud Barak/Ehud Omert want Bashar to stay in power for ever I tell you... They say we killed all these civilians in Gaza because they were harboring terrorists who were firing rockets at our people in Ashdod, yet Bashar killed all those civilians to stay in power, we (Israelis) are angels compared to Arabs).

and you think Asaad was really fighting zionism? what a hoax. the whole syrian regime is their to ensure stability of the power structure within syria and outside. he is a triator and a double agent that is getting double crossed (just like all the other dictators) there is no reason to spill any tears on him or his regime.

AH KNOWS who REALLY fight Zionism - it is NATO/GCC, so they are welcome to topple Assad and THEN, Syria will be REALLY fighting Zionists.

A pity that Zionists do not know it and call for the same - toppling Assad - as "anti-Zionist" AH

lidia you can take this like tough love, the only one you can realy blame at the end is the Ba'ath party, for 30 years they they oppressed the people of syria and got away with it under the banner of fighting zionism (by always supporting proxy armies), where every body and their mothers understands the corruption of the regime and its collaboration with the west and its willingness to offer israel peace, much like jordan and the rest. even As'ad knows this (angry arab) send him and email on his blog and ask for his opinion on this matter if you want to get it from a source you trust. the syrian western/zionist connection is only a secret to those who refuse to accept such ugly treachery from an "arab' leader, or believe that all the hardwork they've done in fighting zionsim is really just futile, or those who are just to beautiful andnice to believe in the ugly truth or those who simply are benifiting from the regime's connection.

this regime lacks any sense of morality, and has succefully explained it;s lack of morality by pretending to be in a state of continues war, which in war you can temporarily forgo morality especially if your identity and culture is threatened to be eliminated. but the fact is syria was never at war with israel, they were only oppressing and controlling their own population so that the regime can maximize its influence, and of course so that the top people in the regime make money.

do you really believe the regime is not corrupt. give me a direct answer to this question.

i have been there back in the days, and was stunned by how afraid people were of actually speaking....it was animalisitic. people deserve to live in their homeland with a government that serves them, none deserves to be living in constant fear of speaking freely. that is just one simple and basic right.

as for anti-zionist, your thought process is exactly like the Israelies. they go around and label everyone as anti-semtic or Nazi or whatever, becuase they have different views. you think that the Syrians asking to topple Asad are Zionist. then you;re engaging in a filthy propaganda and sadly you may not even know it.

"The multiplicity of roles inside Syria raises questions about the intentions of both rival camps fighting over Syria. Neither camp has the best interest of the Syrian people at heart." The two rival camps fighting inside Syria are the tyranical regime and the freedom- longing people. I don't get how the latter camp, the Syrian people don't have "the best interest if the Syrian people."

From your Cali residence, it's easy to brush off the FSA, which is a mere defensive extention of the peaceful revolution and the people's willpower, as the arm of Israel and Qatar. If you were in Homs, and FSA soldiers were trying to defend you with AK's against the terrorist massive attack of the regime, you would think otherwise.

I won't call you a shabih; you're worse than shabiha. We know they are our enemies, but you're like liberals who see Israel's flaws but consider any armed resistance aginst it terrorism.

One more illustration to As'ad article accuracy :) I suppose the article make USA/GCC/Zionist lackeys mad :)

Thank you, Asad Abu Khalil is a theoretical person, don't be harsh on him..... he's an atheist but he's in love with Hizbullah and Iran (I know he's says the opposite, but I know that he loves them, he use the word "lousy" too often to describe the Iran/Syrian regime, that means he loves them).

He believes after all this blood and pain, the Syrians would rush to go Tel Aviv with Basma Alqadbani as a representative and sign a peace treaty with Israel. No Israel is rather have this leader of the resistance and the reductionist front Bashar Alasad and not have uncertainty on the Syrian borders. They understand that Bashar is RATIONAL dictator who understands the consequences of his actions. They love this kind of dictators who is strict with his people and kind with the enemy. Jews fly over his palace and bomb places in his country that's okay, but Salafis, Wahabis, Alqaeda occupy Homs with light firearms, that means the army at full capacity needs to liberate the city. Dictators are the best choice, they compromise easily if their throne is at risk.

It is just ironic, Hizbuallah and Iran fell in the trap so easily, they are betting on dead horse, Asad probably is counting on handing over the head of Nasrallah to get a deal with Israel, Israel says, no, stay in power and kill more Sunnis so they hate you, Iran and Hizbullah more.

Abdul Halim Khadam said, the last resort Bashar is perusing is to make it a sectarian civil war so he can retire to his homeland in Lathikiyah and declare it an Alawite State, he's got a Russian Base in Tartus, what is more to ask? The Europeans are so smart and understands that, so they won't intervene, they will just let Bashar kill more Syrians... Arabs (Iranians?) are killing Arabs, what's more to ask? The most important things are Israel is safe and oil is flowing, other things are marginal, 8000, 20000, 100000 dead, not a big deal.

Actually, I am drifting towards conspiracy theories, what if Marie Colvin was assassinated to make NATO intervention inevitable? Only civil war could save Alasad, he wants a weak Syria and to the hell with the resistance and Palestine/Israel.

I only hope that Hizbullah and Iran are reading your insightful analysis so they can get a clue and get themselves out of the trap.

Is it NOT funny? One more lair (sectarian war is Assad's fault, sure, and II would not be surprised to hear from the same lair that Saudi royals are the greatest democrats)

Zionists are HAPPY to get rid of Assad. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/world/middleeast/israel-both-hopeful-a...

"Nearly a year into the Syrian uprising, the predominant view in Israel today is the former, that Mr. Assad must go, not only because he has killed thousands of civilians, but because he is a linchpin in the anti-Israel Iranian power network that includes Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad."

So, what is next lie on the Ttbf menu? That SNC spokesperson was NOT publicly kissing Zionist ass?

Zionists say whatever they say..

The facts are this:

7500 are dead because of either (Bashar criminal mentality or incompetency.... and he's to pay price for that! Shelling a city with tanks is a criminal action, this is not a game, whether it was a Zionist conspiracy or not... I see Jews occupying the Golan Heights with tanks and aircraft, I don't see dead Jewish kids there... Yet I see in Homs Salafi Wahabi kids dead because their parents apparently were members of Alqaeda. This is the bottom line for any Syrian patriot whether he/she was with/against this revolution, Bashar used the army to kill Syrians not Israelis, that means he does not have the best interests of Syria.

You fool yourself if you think that this matter will pass lightly, things are just starting to galvanize.

TTBF - I got it. NATO/GCC are NOT mass-murdering Arabs, so it is OK if they found Salafists in Syria, The blame is on Assad, NOT on NATO/GCC, because, they are NOT mass-murdering Arabs (unlike Assad)

"The facts" of TTBT is NATO/GCC propaganda. Zionists are repeating them as well, of course.

So it's all GCC/NATO propaganda?

All those dead kids/women (not counting men, because we're gonna assume that they are members of Alqaeda) are in Hollywood, California studios not in Baba Amro, Homs neighborhood?

All those tanks and snipers are nothing but actors, come on, you can do better.

Look whether you like it or not, If Bashar wants to stay in power, he's got to patrol the streets of Syria with heavy tanks and put snipers on every building, that's how he's going to be able to rule Syria, and the more he does that, the more the Syrians will hate him.

The bottom line, Asad will have to rule Syria with terror, he won't be able to fight Israel... Israel is very happy right now.... Asad has to go after Salafis/Wahabis/Alqaed in Syria (And there are a lot of them).... That means all his resources will be dedicated to fight Alqaeda not Israel, if Iran/Hizbuallah would ever dare to do anything to Israel, Israel will bomb everything from the Republican palace to the kindergarten Asad kids go.... and guess what? no one would shed a tear, except for few Shia boys and girls.

So if Asad has the best interests of Syria (which not a single sane person would think so), he's got to go.... otherwise he's fighting a lost battle that would burn him and Syria.

"This is the bottom line for any Syrian patriot whether he/she was with/against this revolution, Bashar used the army to kill Syrians not Israelis, that means he does not have the best interests of Syria."

I agree with you brother. I think it's good to be aware of both sides of the isle here. But the bottom line is that Bashar (as well as Tantawi and others) simply have a lot of bullets for Arabs, but not zionists. That alone warrants their overthrow

This column you wrote is very balanced I would say, I hesitated to read it, because I have been following your blog, and it's interesting how you try to discredit everything you read in what you call the "Western Media" about the Syrian revolution.

So I presumed that you would say oh forget about it, it's all Israel and the US... But apparently I was wrong.

Okay, here is the deal, the US tried to help, media-wise, probably financially during this uprising.. but not much... those are being killed are not doing it because Hillary Clinton gave them few dollars, they are doing it because they are mad and they love it as a friend of mine once said, everywhere, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Libya... they are tasting the flavor of freedom, the freedom you "the Angry Arab" is enjoying in San Francisco, which is not that much.. basically they are mad and want to run in the streets.. they want to be angry like you, fighting everyone.
(Again 7500 and counting are dead not because they love Obama, but because they hate Bashar, but you seem to discredit this number because it was reported by Qatari media etc, why did you not discredit the numbers Aljazeera reported during the recent Israel war on Gaza, or the 2006 Lebanon war?)... Aljazeera was very good back then, they hosted you, I didn't know anything about you, until Aljazeera hosted you and then Aljadeed and the rest followed suit. You fell in the American trap, I would say. Although we're seeing corpses of children (they are on YouTube. actually there is a provocative video on YouTube about Nasrallah saying what you hear in the media in Homs are just fabrications, and you then see the vast number of children, one without face, a woman without an eye etc... a family of four children are in their coffins)... You seem to say in your blog and website, that these are only exaggerations by the Qatari/Saudi media, I guess Tsibi Livni said that in 2009 during the war on Gaza.

My humble thesis that America won this time, because they exposed the hypocrisy of this rejectionist front (Iran + Hizb + Assad, but Hamas were much smarter to my surprise). Assad has two choices, the better one is bitter... either go to Tel Aviv and kiss the foot of Bibi, or kill more Syrians..... He's stupid and coward, and won't let go, he wants to believe that after all this killing, Syrians still love him. On the other hand, the idiots in Hizbullah and Iran are betting on a dead horse... Iran as we have been seeing, is coward, they won't attack Israel directly, they want someone to do it for them, preferably Hizbullah, Hizbullah is not that strong (they saw this in their Devin Victory in 2006), and even if they try to do it, Assad won't give a hand, for he knows the consequences that await him if he ever tries to play that game, his brain will be out of his skull on the floor and no one would shed a tear except for few Hizbullah boys on Almanar channel.

It's very unfortunate that you don't allow comments on your blog, I tried to contact you many times, but I don't see any email or anything on your website. I hope Al Akhbar would publish my comment, although I am gonna save it anyway on my computer.

Now one could see why As'ad is sead right about USA 'caring" about Syrians. He lies as much as Obama and GCC for ex, he counts ALL dead (not mentioning his numbers took from no one knows from where) as "hating" As'ad, including murdered by "revolutionaries", I suppose :(

He, of course, fully support USA imperialism and Zionism, but I am not sure he is not up to some big disappointment

Well, are we not familiar with the double standards lead by the imperial powers when it comes to politics in the middle east, and are we not accustomed to the fake support of democracy in the so called "New Middle East". We have seen it before, we deny it, but we live with it, at least temporarily. My concern/aggrevation is with their excellency, the Dinosaurs of the middle east (and my appology goes for the dinosaurs ), weaving conspiracies which only going to lead to their demise and extinction. That reminds me of pastor Martin Niemöller which I will adpat
his famous quote to the current situation:

First they came for the Iraqis,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an Iraqi.

Then they came for the Syrians,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Syrian.

Then they came for the Persians,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Persian.

Then they came for me, the dino king
and there was no one left to speak out for me

It does NOT matter what exactly would USA/Zionists prefer to do with Syria. it is clear that whatever they could do will be a disaster for Syria and the ME peoples. So, the only position for the honest person would be - NO to ANY plans of NATO/Zionists and their puppet GCC.

As Amerikan the last paragraph is right on and anyone who thinks otherwise well be careful what you wish for we are not there to help you but exploit your nation.

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