The Syrian Revolution Hijacked
By Peter Lee
December 01, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The Syrian revolution—a broad-based, non-sectarian, democratic anti-despot national movement—has failed.
Mass demonstrations never materialized in Damascus and Aleppo. The military and security forces didn’t crack. The Alawite on Sunni crackdown (Alawites form the backbone of the army/security forces/irregular goon squads) fomented sectarian divisions, with most non-Sunnis minorities cleaving desperately to the Assad regime. Prosperous Sunnis have presumably been hedging their bets by donating to the anti-government cause in recent days but have not explicitly abandoned the regime.
The Gulf powers and the West would have welcomed a Ba’athist regime collapse at the hand of domestic anti-government demonstrations.
That didn’t happen.
As the peaceful democratic movement has faltered, there has been no move from the Western/Gulf powers to encourage reconciliation and reforms.
Quite the contrary, in fact.
Whenever Assad makes an offer of reform, the Western powers dismiss it as too late and/or insincere.
Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, counseled Syrian dissidents to defy the Assad regime’s offer of an amnesty in return for handing in illegal weapons, as the LA Times reported:
Nuland, by the way, is married to PNACer and neocon pundit Robert Kagan. Recalling Dick Cheney’s enthusiasm for driving to Damascus post-Desert Storm, maybe we should call the Syria enterprise Clean Break II: The Do-Over.
Anyway, democracy didn’t work. Time for Plan B.
The foreign powers interested in Assad’s fall—and stripping Iran of a regional ally–have made the decision to piggyback a foreign-supported, foreign-funded insurrection on the faltering anti-government movement.
More accurately, the democratic revolution is now an uncertain and unwilling passenger on the Gulf-funded military machine rumbling toward Damascus.
Havens for anti-Assad fighters have materialized in Turkey, and arms and money are flooding in from all over the place.
Weapons and money for anti-Assad insurrectionists has been trickling in for months, to the blissful disregard of western news outlets fixated on the images of democracy demonstrators struggling against oppression.
Now that the political option is sliding off the table and it is clear a foreign-funded insurrection is needed to remove the Assad regime, the gusher of arms and cash has become too big to ignore.
But the story doesn’t require old-fashioned reporting anymore.
Just go down to a Turkish foreign ministry presser for tea, cookies, and a targeted backgrounder.
Turkey has positioned itself as the indispensable Western/Gulf proxy on Syria’s northern border.
Iran’s IRNA news agency passed on a report in Turkey’s Millyet tabloid a major Turkish news outlet. IRNA is sometimes selective and/or inaccurate in its presentation of international news, so I’m passing it on with a caveat, but the report as presented passes the smell test for me:
For those of you who prefer to get your Turkey/Syria news from a reliable Crusader source, here’s an eyebrow-raising item from the Daily Telegraph, albeit via Hurryet on November 27:
The Tripoli Military Council is the creature of Islamist strongman Abdelhakim Belhadj.
Belhadj is the preferred in-Libya muscle of the Gulf States—“proxy” is perhaps not too strong a term. He recently found it expedient to issue a non-denial denial that Qatar had dispatched nine planeloads of arms to Tripoli for the exclusive use of his forces.
Belhadj was denied a seat in the new Libyan cabinet thanks to Western anxiety over any overtly Islamist tinge to the proceedings. In an inspiring demonstration of the give-and-take of new Libyan democracy, a representative from Zintan was able to leverage his town’s continued and suspiciously prolonged local custody of Saif Qaddafi into a winning bid for the defense slot.
Instead, Belhadj now has the opportunity to pursue profitable mischief in Syria on behalf of the Gulf states and their anti Sh’ia/anti-Iranian counter revolution (and perhaps dissipating the intimidating shadow of Belhadj and a number of his well-trained and hardened fighters from the streets of Tripoli).
In an amusing sideline, Belhadj–presumably on his way to the Istanbul meeting–got a friendly hazing at the airport from his Zintan buddies. The brief detention was noted by the local Libyan press; the thing about the money was apparently glossed by a pro-Gaddafi website (they still exist!):
The democratic revolution ship has sailed. What’s going on today is a foreign-supported insurrection.
The Chinese and the Russians have a clear-eyed understanding of what’s going on.
The PRC is loath to get on the wrong side of Saudi Arabia, its largest energy supplier, by going too far to defend Syria.
Moscow, which has a real stake in its Iran alliance and cares about the fate of Assad’s regime, has shown no such qualms.
A selection of headlines from RIA Novosti gives an idea of what a responsible multi-lateral response on Syria—as opposed to a hurried military ass-kicking enabled by global anti-Iranian forces meant to obscure the failure of a peaceful “color revolution”—would have looked like:
None of this is happening, of course.
As to where this all ends up, I will outsource the increasingly plausible endgame–Turkey is Ready to Invade Syria –to the estimable M. Badhrakumar of Asia Times (and his personal blog, Indian Punchline):
The Syrian revolutionaries were too weak to get the nation they wanted.
They’ll have to make do with whatever state that Turkey, the Gulf powers, and the western democracies decide to give them.
Copyright - Peter Lee - chinamatters.blogspot.com