September 12, 2012

The Uprising in Syria: An Ugly Stalemate

As I argued in the case of Libya once NATO entered the fray: whoever wins the people will lose

by Tariq Ali

Opposing Assad should not lead to backing a Western intervention and an imposed regime on the Libyan model with a quick-fix election as a PR fig-leaf. . . .

But, as in Egypt, once the euphoria of the uprising and its success in getting rid of a hated despot evaporates, politics emerge. What is the strongest political force in Syrian politics today? Who would be the largest party in parliament when free elections take place? Probably the Muslim Brothers . . .

A NATO intervention would install a semi-puppet government. As I argued in the case of Libya once NATO entered the fray: whoever wins the people will lose. It would be the same in Syria. On this I am in total accord with the statement of the Syrian Local Coordinating Committees published on 29 August 2011.

What will happen if the present situation continues? An ugly stalemate. The model that comes to mind is Algeria after the military, backed strongly by France and its Western allies, intervened to stop the second round of an election in which the FIS were going to win. This resulted in an attritional civil war with mass atrocities carried out by both sides while the masses retreated to an embittered passivity. . . .


Tariq Ali is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio, contributes articles and journalism to magazines and newspapers including The Guardian and the London Review of Books, and is the author of The Duel: Pakistan on the Flightpath of American Power. He can be reached at

Israel's Secret Weapon, BBC Correspondent, March 17, 2003

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[US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the administration was suggesting names and organisations that should feature prominently in any new rebel leadership--Ruth Sherlock and Richard Spencer, "US withdraws support for Syria's opposition leadership,", November 1, 2012

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[Russia is throwing in the towel on Syria after an almost two-year long blaze of Cold War-era rhetoric. It dug in tenaciously at the United Nations Security Council holding its veto card to block a Western intervention in Syria but has been outmaneuvered on the ground and is being presented with a fait accompli that the regime it supported in Damascus is fast becoming a thing of the past.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Russia changes tack on Syria,", December 15, 2012]

[ . . . the terrain is already prepared for a profitable "reconstruction" of Syria once a pliable, pro-Western turbo-capitalism government is installed.--Pepe Escobar, "For whom the Syrian bell tolls,", December 22, 2012]

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaza, "The Endgame in Syria: Strategic Stage in the Pentagon's Covert War on Iran,", January 10, 2013

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"Israel targeted multiple targets in recent attack on Syria, U.S. intelligence official tells Time: American official says White House gave Israel 'green light' to carry out more such attacks in the future.,", February 2, 2013

[As Nicola Nasser notes, the Israeli raid "coincided with hard to refute indications that the 'regime change' in Syria by force, both by foreign military intervention and by internal armed rebellion, has failed, driving the Syrian opposition in exile to opt unwillingly for 'negotiations' with the ruling regime."--Ben Schreiner, "Israel Enters Syria: Targeting the Iranian Threat to 'Stability',", February 7, 2013]

[But not the tipping point that the rebel promoters were hoping for, including the NATO countries.--Franklin Lamb, "The Oft-Predicted Fickle Syrian 'Tipping Point' Has Tipped,", March 1, 2013]

Robert Fisk, "Alawite history reveals the complexities of Syria that West does not understand,", March 3, 2013

Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett, "CIA begins sizing up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes,", March 15, 2013

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[The event featured Ayman Tabbaa, Chairman of the Syrian Economic Forum (SEF); Dr. Samer Abboud, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies at Arcadia University; and Faysal Itani, Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council. CIPE Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Abdulwahab Alkebsi moderated the discussion.--Stephen Rosenlund, "The Role of the Private Sector in Syria's Future,", April 23, 2013]

Sibel Edmonds, "The Syria Objective is Nearly Accomplished,", April 25, 2013

Robert Fisk, "Syria and Sarin Gas: US Claims Have a Very Familiar Ring," Independent, April 28, 2013

[By diminishing the regime's supply of these weapons, it is therefore helping the rebels overthrow Bashar al-Assad.--Robert Fisk, "The Truth Is That After Israel's Air Strikes, We Are Involved,", May 6, 2013]

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[Make no mistake; Pipelineistan - once again tied up with bypassing both Russia and Iran - explains a great deal about why Syria is being destroyed.--Pepe Escobar, "Assad talks, Russia walks,", May 20, 2013]

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Obama's momentous decision on military intervention in Syria, which could well launch a new Cold War, is a desperate diversionary move when his administration is caught up deep in the cesspool over the Snowden controversy.--M K Bhadrakumar, "Obama's Monica moment,", June 14, 2013]

Robert Fisk, "Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria: : US urges UK and France to join in supplying arms to Syrian rebels,", June 16, 2013

Ben Hartman, "US officials: Israel is responsible for Syrian missile depot attack,", July 13, 2013

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