First a little bit on Syria's position in the Zionist configuration:
from Asad Abukhalil ("the Angry Arab"):
” Some Arab progressives yesterday were displeased with negative comments I wrote against Asad regime and against the “refusalness” (mumana`ah) stance of the lousy Syrian regime. Their point is that Asad regime has supported Hizbullah’s resistance to Israel. My answer: I don’t trust the Syrian regime: even when they, on rare occasions, take a verbal stand against Israel. This is a regime that is motivated first and foremost–since Hafidh days–by the obsession with its own security and survival. It killed resistance fighters against Israel when it suited its interests: i am talking about its murderous military intervention in 1976 when it crushed a nascent Lebanese-Palestinian alliance that was destined to win against Israel’s death squads in Lebanon. That victory would have been detrimental against Israeli interests and the Syrian regime collaborated with Israel in the war on Tal Az-Za`tar camp in the same year. The Syrian regime supported Hizbullah’s fight against Israel for its own reasons, and it also fought Hizbullah into the 1980s. The Asad regime’s calculations were never about liberating Palestine or about empowering resistance against Israel. The Asad regime truly supported one PLO organization: As-Sa`iqah, which contributed nothing in the struggle against Israel, unless you count thuggery, blackmail, looting, and murders as struggle. Asad was Minister of Defense when George Habash was put in jail in 1968, because the regime did not want any fight against Israel. In the 1990s, PLO leaders in Damascus were summoned by `Abdul-Halim Khaddam (on orders of Hafidh Al-Asad) to tell them that they are barred from plotting any attacks on Israel, and were sometimes prevented from making political statements against Israel (according to a senior member of the delegation who told me about it). So the progressive has a clear task: to support the overthrow of the regime, while opposing the reactionary Muslim Brothers and their liberal allies who are capable of replacing one lousy repressive regime with another. Secondly, progressive owe it to the Syrian people to support their legitimate struggle against dictatorship. And Syrian jails are full of leftists and communists who were the most daring in their struggle against the regime. I am thinking about the brutal treatment of the leaders and members of Communist Action Party (which succeeded in recruiting among `Alawites). Thirdly, the entire record of the regime vis-a-vis Israel is shameful: it was a record of defeats. And a senior Minister in the government of Hafidh Al-Asad in 1973 shared with me deep suspicions about the defeatist role played by Hafidh at the time. Fourthly, Arab progressive have no choice but to support the overthrow of every single Arab regime (and add Iran to the mix, and of course the Zionist entity which should be abolished and replaced by a liberated Palestine where people can live in freedom and equality without regard to religion). No Arab regime is worth the support of any progressive. Sixthly, Arab progressive should have more faith in the Syrian people: a free Syria can be more giving in terms of struggle against Israel than the present-day regime especially if we fight simultaneously against the Asad regime and the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies. Of course, we should fight against the Asad regime on our own terms and not according to the Saudi-Qatari-Israeli design which want us to believe that real opposition to the Asad regime should translate into support for their chosen clients. But since when we progressives take marching orders from oil dynasties or from Zionist hoodlums? “
Abu Khalil is an anarchist of all things (you can’t see it but I’m rolling my eyes at the thought of a grown and educated man proclaiming anarchism) and strongly and childishly irreligious (which I bring up only as evidence that there are many fundamental things which I disagree with him upon, not as a personal criticism). That said, I think he’s pretty much on point here. The posteuring of arab radicalism aside, I don’t think there’s much worth salvaging in the Syrian regime that wouldn’t be grandfathered in into a revolutionary one. The loss of its brutish security apparati? It’s pathetic army? A lot of checks written in polemics and uncashed in action? I just don’t see the issue: I’m very much a realist and against the chaos and violence of revolution generally, but as Asad has not delivered any kind of worthwhile governance I must say that I support the mass of Syrians if a revolution is what they want. Despite Hillary Clinton’s attempts to foster a relationship with the opposition; I don’t think the US is getting anywhere with Syrian, except through Saudi agitators like the MB, and that is a not a serious threat to a/the revolution, in my estimation.
I think the US has coordinated its allies in such a way as to make it in their interests to swarm on Syria. Turkey doesn’t want to deal with a Kurdish problem, and probably does have expansionist ambitions on Northern Syria. The Saudis are undoubtedly funding Sunni agitation in Syria and from Lebanon and Iraq. Israel has been quiet, sensibly, as they do not want to taint the opposition with accusations of Zionist alignment. The US and Israel want to take down Syria, have no means to do so except through regional allies, and so cannot be so blatant as they have been in Iraq and Libya. They have to work through the Saudis, the GCC and the Turks.
That said, Syrians do have legitimate grievances against the regime, and the opposition voices are not pro-Zionist. NATO has not invaded as they did in Libya. I don’t entirely discount the uprising as illegitimate, along the lines of the Libyan resistance. N doubt there are legitimate grievances there too, but the rebels have been many, many times worse for the country than Qadaffi’s regime. The uprising there has in fact galvanized support for Qadaffi. This hasn’t been the case in Syria.
Syria has yet to demonstrate any resistance to the obvious conspiracy against it. I suppose Asad imagines that if his regime survives the uprising he will need to crawl back into Saudi arms. He supported Saudi repression in Bahrain, for example. I have little sympathy for him.
I think this is basically a case of Asad having become too isolated from the broader Zionist configuration, and so regime change is in order. I take no issue with the toppling of the regime per se, but the question is what happens afterwards? There’s no clear leadership, the US and its allies have no real ability to co-opt the uprising as they have in Libya. I am optimistic. I would hope to see something along the lines of the Egyptian situation (in fact Egypt is undergoing something strongly parallel to Syria at the moment: repression from the dictatorship and attempted co-option from Saudi-aligned MB agitators).
I'm interested in unpacking the present reality and examining the interests and weight of the various players involved, because this really has become a central factor to neocolonialism in the Middle East. Every significant actor is involved, and (I would argue) for their own interests. Also of secondary interest is the turncoat Western journalists and pundits who have become hawks irt Libya and Syria, namely Robert Fisk and Juan Cole.