A Syrian's Perspective:
Democracy vs. Foreign Invasion. Who is Bashar Al Assad?
About 110 unarmed police officers were murdered in Daraa and Homs, sparking anger against the “revolutionaries.” There was an incident in the city Baniyas where an Alawite truck driver was attacked by an armed mob, skinned, and paraded through the city. This disgusted almost all Syrians and since then not a single major city actually rebelled against the government. The foreign backed “revolutionaries” would attack a neighborhood, police station, or army base, from across the borders of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Then they would claim that the city was in rebellion.
But the Syrians, seeing the same lies in all the western and Arab news stations, and the exiled rotten officials adopting the 'revolution', mostly took an anti-revolution stance. That is why whenever the rebels would infest a town or city you would immediately hear of a massacre to punish the residents for not supporting them. Of course the mainstream media would claim that it was Assad forces punishing the town that dared to oppose him!
Assad took advantage of the revolution to introduce his packages of reforms, putting aside those in the old guards who opposed them. Many of the old guard then joined the opposition abroad.
The opposition demanded the removal of article 8 from the Syrian constitution making the Baath Party head of the government. Instead of just deleting it Bashar Assad had the constitution re-written buy a specialized committee of Syrian experts from all parties in Syria and with input from all Syrians. A referendum was held and the new constitution was approved with almost 90% of a voter turnout of 60%. Assad then enacted a Media Law that would allow more freedom of expression and the establishment of new independent media outlets. Assad eased requirements on the formation of political parties, excluding sectarian based parties. We now have at least nine new political parties.
Municipal elections were held in December 2011. Many of those who won seats were assassinated or threatened throughout the country by the same revolutionaries who claimed to want democracy. Parliamentary elections were held in May 2012 with no eligibility restraints on the candidates. Many new members of parliament have also been assassinated by the FSA including the wife and three daughters of parliament elect trustee Abdulla Mishleb in the infamous Houla massacre.
Context: Syria in the 1980s
In the current conflict Mustapha's son Manaf Tlass was sent to negotiate a settlement with his cousins who were rebelling in Rastan. But instead of negotiating he gave them weapons from the Republican Guards caches and leaked secrets causing the deaths of many Republican Guard soldiers at the hands of the FSA.
Thirty years after the fighting in Hama a report by US intelligence was declassified revealing that the death toll didn't even reach 2,000. That number included 400 Muslim Brotherhood Fighting Vanguard militants; many Syrian Army soldiers and officers; Baath Party and other state officials; and a number of civilians who were caught in the fire.
3) At the same time the
Syrian Army was fighting the Israeli, US and French Armies in
Bashar al-Assad's Damascus Spring: Syria in the 2000s
Late Hafez Assad followed
a more complex policy regarding foes and foreign agents in his
government than Bashar does. Hafez would keep his foes in their
posts but under his watchful eyes. When Bashar was selected by
the Syrian Parliament to succeed his father in 2000 he removed
all of the treasonous foes and foreign agents that Hafez had
maintained in office.
In 2003 the US was occupying Iraq. US Secretary of State Collin Powell visited Bashar and handed him a list of demands including: 1. Cutting all ties with the five main Palestinian factions in Syria, 2. Severing Syria's relations with Iran in exchange for a promise of better relations with some Arab states. 3. Signing a peace treaty with Israel similar to one Syria had already refused. 4. Removing books from schools with any enmity towards Israel. 5. Allowing western banks and companies unhindered access to Syrian markets and resources along with other neo-liberal reforms.
Bashar refused these demands in the face of the nearly 200,000 coalition troops across the Syrian border in Iraq. Instead Bashar sought to hinder the occupation of Iraq and demanded that the occupying forces withdraw. Because of the proximity of Damascus to the western boarder with Lebanon Syria has the strategic need to secure this border. None the less in 2000 Bashar started withdrawing Syrian troops from Lebanon where they had battled Israeli forces. The troops were reduced from 35,000 in the year 2000 to 14,000 in early 2004.
In 2005 Lebanese Prime Minster Rafic Hariri was assassinated with the help of members of the Lebanese Future Movement party and likely the help of the US and France. This was a political blow to Assad within Lebanon, and he was also blamed for the assassination using media manipulation and prepared activists. Tens of thousands of Lebanese took to the streets to condemn the killing of Hariri including members of Syria's closest allies Hizbullah and Amal. The media claimed that the crowds were against the Syrian Army presence in Lebanon. US and France tried to pressure Assad into reinforcing the Syrian Army in Lebanon to stabilize the country but Bashar withdrew all Syrian troops from Lebanon. This background gives the context accompanying president Assad's reform attempts in Syria, where he had to face foreign powers from abroad and their agents from within. The current crisis is not a civil war or rebellion, but a foreign aggression against a sovereign nation.
About the author:
The author was born and lived in Damascus, Syria. He moved to Germany ten years ago and runs a company that organizes tourist groups to Syria. Before the conflict he went to Syria often to stay for days and months. He has been an outspoken defender of the Syrian government and has been targeted by the Free Syrian Army who destroyed his property and threatened his life, and so writes under the name Arabi Souri. This article was edited by Seth Rutledge.
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