Syrian wars of proxy

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The Syrian war is not only a proxy war. There is a strong internal dimension to the war in Syria but it has been obscured by various layers and dimensions of outside intervention and agendas. The Syrian regime wants to stay in power at any cost while there was certainly a civil popular opposition in Syria when the uprising first began. There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding. Concurrent with the protest movement that erupted in 2011, Turkey and Gulf regimes had already set up armed rebel groups to help bring down a regime. The internal dimension of the war in Syria, however, is now probably marginal to the global and regional war raging in the country today. There are several proxy wars in Syria today and they can be summarized as follows:

1. The internal Wahhabi war: there is no war within Islam in Syria as Thomas Friedman and his ilk keep asserting. There has been a moderate and progressive strand of Islam in Syria and many of its elements have aligned themselves with the regime. And contrary to early claims made by the hired external opposition and its advocates in the West, there was never a moderate and progressive version of Islam among the rebel groups. How could that be the case when the sponsors of Syrian rebel Islam are Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia? Mufti Hassun (although he is an ally and perhaps a tool of the regime, and even the slain Sheikh al-Buti) is far more progressive than any of his adversaries on the other side, including Mu`adh al-Khatib who has railed in the past about the ills of social media, masturbation and Jews, and who praised al-Nusrah Front early on his tenure as leader of the Syrian National Council. The internal Wahhabi war is pitting the various Wahhabi parties in the region against each other. The Saudi regime, Qatari regime, al-Qa`idah (Nusrah Front) and ISIS: all four are Wahhabi and each is trying to dominate the field of the Wahhabi movement.

2. The Iranian-Saudi war: the two sides are engaged in struggles in different parts of the region, from Yemen to Lebanon and Syria. The conflict over political dominance and hegemony.

3. The Sunni-Shia war: this is a rather contrived war that was instigated by the Saudi regime – at the behest of US and Israel – to undermine the basis of Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran in the region.

4. The Russian-American war: this war is reminiscent of the Cold War. The conflict between the Russian government and the American government has never reached this level since the demise of the Soviet Union. The conflict over Ukraine and Syria, among other places, has pushed both sides to resort to the tricks and methods of the Cold War, including proxy wars.

5. Qatari and Saudi conflict: the two Wahhabi regimes are fighting over many issues but they both wish to speak on behalf of political Islam. Qatar banks on the Muslim Brotherhood and some elements of Jihadi Islam, while the Saudi regime banks on the Salafis and some elements of Jihadi Islam. This conflict may explain the conflict between the Nusrah Front and ISIS.

6. The Hezbollah versus the Future Movement: both of those Lebanese movements have been fighting in Syria. The Future Movement is a broad and loose movement which comprises various stands, including Salafis.

7. Clash of Islamic identities: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran are all hoping to leave their national imprint on the political Islamist movement in the region.

8. The regional conflict between the global organization of the Muslim Brotherhood on one hand and the regional Salafis on the other.

These proxy conflicts now determine the course of events in Syria and the Syrian people themselves, on either sides of the conflict, have very little control over them. The slogans that are being raised by both sides of the conflict merely serve to rationalize the policies and decisions of external patrons.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, a lecturer and the author of The Angry Arab News Service. He tweets @asadabukhalil.


I love how in point 6 he Ass'ad criticize Future movement but nothing about Hezbollah who have choose to fight along side a the main and first oppressor of the Syrian people suffering. Hypocracy at it's heart!

What is meant by the Sunni-Shia war "is a rather contrived war that was instigated by the Saudi regime – at the behest of US and Israel – to undermine the basis of Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran in the region."

Isn't ISIS very much about suuni v. shia?

If "fascism" (from Latin "fasces") means the recourse to force as first resort in a political arena, then we have Israelofascism, Russofascosm and Americanofascism as well as Islamofascism, though the organisation technology of violence is asymmetrical and the legitimation of violence is culturally specific.

The political field of
the modern Middle East is a legacy of the political economy of bartering oil for armaments. Follow the money, the oil and the arms. This arrangement is a crime against humanity both directly and idirectly in terms of opportunity cost in addessing the war between carbon-dependent urban-industrial forms and nature.

The less-reported but deeper global struggle is therefore between governance to promote a culture of peace versus a culture of violence, as beautifully articulated in the Earth Charter, supported by the Charter for Compassion and the Declaration of Interdependence.


This is one of the most helpful and understandable analysis I've read . Now can we get the infotainment media industry and American people to understand. Or more simply put, can this be tweeted to a nation thats lost its moral compass.

My heart breaks for working families in Syria.

Barry,Hardly anyone at this time believes Hezbollah and Hamas are stooges for Zion,but they were both started with Israeli assistance,as religious counterweight to the PLO.
The rest are definitely part of the Saudi Gulf State Israeli Turkish US British French criminal alliance,but whom is using whom?
Yinon Plan,3, gets my #1 vote.The rest are all true also,but that's the main impetus for all these ME disasters,is the Israeli security(hah)and expansion program.

"Both started with Israeli assistance"? Don't confuse Hezbollah and Hamas. They had very different origins. You are referring to Hamas. Hezbollah was founded by a disillusioned branch of Amal with the support of the Iranian government, and never had assistance from the Zionist state and was never opposed to the PLO (in fact, Hezbollah fought alongside the PLO when the Syrian govt and Amal attacked the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon in 1985).

Please, do not missunderstand the point I make, I am not hating any Jew in particular, but as far as I can see the only country that will benefit from this slaughter is the state of Israel. Fragmentation of surrounding (muslim) countries might be a prerequisit for regional dominance, especially at a time when the west will decline because of financial problems and internal social uprisings.

Really? That does not make sense. Israel would be the loser with all of these countries in turmoil. It would put them in constant danger from all sides. At least, they used to live in peace w/several of the Muslim countries and now everyone is up in arms. And, what would they gain? They will not be getting any concessions, land, peace treaties or anything else from any of these areas. The only reason for your post is Jew hatred. Plain and simple.

It makes perfect sense. Zionists always made deals with anti-Semites, from Tzar's minister to Hitler to Sadat to "Christian Zionists"
And Zionists have "peace" only with those Arabs states whose rulers are made to do this by USA. Peoples in the ME are against Zionists, so Zionists support the most reactionary regimes and attack those who are not oppressing anti-Zionist views of population.

If God is one, if both Muslims and Christians accept the God of the Bible, then all of these wars, and most of all a.D. wars too, are in a way "civil", they are wars between brothers. "Humanitarian" or "Religious" are but empty words in this context. Thoughtless and Blind Killing, maiming, and destroying is the norm. Is it a curse cast on our species by our common God-father for some reason? Because, of course, neither of any fighting parties is ever the winner. Losers - that is what we all are.
The mere reading of all these names, the mere listing of all these groups, the mere mention of all their arguments, their leaders, their causes, their acts, do not sum up but to Ignorance, Despair, Death.
This should be enough to make us realize our nonentity, our tragic lot; for which the only way out, if any, would seem to be "Peace on Earth".

Well said.

Since the Saud clan "royal family" are well known for their drinking, smoking, gambling and use of prostitutes, they hardly live up to the strict Wahhabi code of conduct, and have much to fear from an ISIS invasion. They do the dirty work of foreign relations with the infidel over oil, finance and weapons.

The Wahhab clan are the Keepers of the Holy Shrines of Mecca and Medina. They control the Hajj, and the Sharia Courts. They run the maddrassas, and select judges for the Sharia Courts, and issue fatwas. Without their agreement, no one can truly claim the Caliphate.

So while IS fights for Damascus and Baghdad, things can go on as usual. But as soon as IS turns for Mecca, the Sauds will be put to the sword and the Wahhabs will take their rightful place as the real Caliphate.

Apart from the two holy mosques, the IS can set up its own Sharia courts. Legitimacy would not be difficult if managed on the basis of carefully selected localised interpretations of Islam. They can always claim to be in the process of fighting for the custody of the mosques by 'rightful' Muslims. Not much in their way to be honest.

You should probably add Kurdish proxy war between PKK and the Iraqi Kurds for supremacy among Syrian Kurds. This has included assassinations, killing, closed borders, etc.

Kudos to a writer I usually disagree with. He does not ever mention Israel once, unlike so many other writers in the Arab world who are convinced that ISIS (or Hizbullah or SAA or Iran or Nusra or FSA or the Kurds) are Zionist proxies.
Well done for keeping to the facts.

Barry the Zionist aka colonizer of Palestinian land pretends that Zionists do NOT openly prefer IS to non-sectarian rulers of Syria and Iran.
1) Zionists downed Syrian plane which was on fight against terrorists.
2) Israeli op-ed warns that destroying ISIS would be a "threat" to Israel and its Arab allies (i.e. puppets),7340,L-4572782,00.html

3. The Sunni-Shia war: this is a rather contrived war that was instigated by the Saudi regime – at the behest of US and Israel – to undermine the basis of Arab support for Hizbullah and Iran in the region.

I guess you missed #3

The propaganda model currently used against the US and Western population is very effective. To find an informed opinion that differs from the US government narrative is nearly non-existant. When differing opinions are so few the population is easily coerced into believing the government/corporate narrative. I am not hopeful for my fellow American's, this time the government uses its tools against the population to the degree that we have entered a fascist state and no one has either noticed or seems to care. “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” B. Mussolini and “By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.” A. Hitler

democracy is cover, humanitarian means occupation

If I may summarize what you're saying - just like the communists/socialists in the 20th century, arabs/muslims are a bunch of people who are consumed by hatred of the world, as well as each other, and ultimately hatred of themselves and their lives.

There is more to elaborate on the Israeli dimension. They've long sought a balkanized Middle East. The United States with its coalition are the enforcers.

Read Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties" -- The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state.

We're already witnessing the splitting of Iraq into potentially three states -- Kurdish, Sunni, Shiite. ISIS is merely being used as a tool to spread chaos which will activate the West's "Responsibility to Protect" and humanitarian crises will be used as a pretense for intervention. Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon are likely next.

As always As'ad's political analyses are informed not only by logical analysis but also and mainly by indisputable facts.

I could add that Russian and Western lovers of Syria "revolution" (and Libyan one too) are very happy with Ukraine being used by NATO to harm Russia. So, it is really parts of long war by NATO against Iran, Russia and China. Of course, only very stupid people in Libya, Syria, Russia, Iran and China could really believe that NATO wants something like "democracy" in thous states.

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