The 5 Biggest Myths on the Syrian uprising

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The 5 Biggest Myths on the Syrian uprising

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  • 01/10/13 The 5 Biggest Myths on the Syrian uprising | Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain 1/4


    The 5 Biggest Myths on the Syrian uprising

    1. The crisis in Syria is a civil war with sectarian differences the central problem?

    The uprising in Syria took place in the context of the Arab spring, which resulted in the overthrow of a number of

    rulers in the region. With the region in turmoil it was just a matter of when the Arab spring would reach Syria. In

    March 2011 a number of young students wrote (

    teenage-refugee-who-helped-ignite-syrias-war.html?_r=0) Syria needs a change of system, in the form of graffiti in

    Deraa, in the South of the country. The government, nervous as leaders were being toppled around the Arab world,

    reacted furiously to the sight, arresting the teenagers and more than a dozen other boys and then torturing them for

    weeks. This led to many people carrying out individual acts of dissent, which then galvanised nationwide protests.

    The regimes response was typically brutal, security forces quickly responded to mass protests that were spreading

    fast, firing live ammunition at crowds and attacking the focal points of the demonstrations. Before March 2011 came

    to an end the Ummah of Syria made their position clear to the regime no longer were they prepared to live under

    oppression. Across the country the people of Syria took up arms and the regime continued to indiscriminately

    slaughter protesters. Sensing he would be joining Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad ordered the launch

    of major military operations to suppress the resistance.

    The idea that there is a sectarian war in Syria is a false one. From its start the Syrian uprising was against the

    oppressive security state of the secular, Arab nationalist Baathist regime. It happens that the regime is led and

    dominated by members of the Alawi community. Trying to paint the Syrian uprising as a sectarian struggle rather

    than one against an oppressive secular dictatorship plays into the hands of the Assad regime, which was the first to

    state that the rebellion was of a sectarian nature. The claim was originally part of the regimes attempt to re-frame the

    revolution as a civil war being fought along sectarian lines, rather than it facing a nascent popular uprising.

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    With so much instability in the country some have engaged in individual acts of sectarianism, some of it is an

    inevitable reaction in light of the overt sectarianism introduced by the regime into the struggle with its opponents,

    which has been reinforced by anti-Shia rhetoric largely emanating from Saudi Arabia. However, it ought to be clear

    that the uprising was not in origin due to the Alawi or Shia nature of the regime but as a result of anger and

    discontent with the secular dictatorship people in Syria have suffered under for decades.

    2. The West supports the people of Syria in its struggle against Bashar al-Assad?

    Whether it is the US, France or Britain their support for the people of Syria has not gone beyond mere rhetoric. What

    the west says and what it has actually been doing are very different. Britain and the US made their positions clear

    when the uprising started, when both William Hague of Britain and Hilary Clinton of the US described al-Assad as a

    reformer who should be given time.

    As the uprising spread and took on a violent turn the US began talking with certain opposition groups and dissidents,

    who eventually formed the Syria National Council. In a short time these global trotting dissidents became the official

    opposition, despite having no presence in Syria. The West has only supported this faction as they do not want the

    Islamic minded elements of the Syrian population to have any influence in the country. The New York Times

    highlighted this: American officials have been increasingly worried that extremist members of the resistance against

    the government of President Bashar al-Assad, notably the Al Nusra Front, will take control of portions of Syria and

    cement its authority by providing public services, much as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon.

    Jeffrey White, former Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer and specialist on the Syrian military said: The

    [US] administration has figured out that if they dont start doing something, the war will be over and they wont have

    any influence over the combat forces on the ground. They may have some influence with various political groups and

    factions, but they wont have influence with the fighters, and the fighters will control the territory. The New York

    Times further confirmed: The weapons distribution has been principally to armed groups viewed as nationalist and

    secular, and appears to have been intended to bypass the jihadist groups whose roles in the war have alarmed

    Western and regional powers.

    All of this clearly shows that the US and the West prefer a very specific outcome in Syria and that is for a faction in

    Syria to emerge victorious over other factions.

    3. The people of Syria want to transition to Western democracy, however radical Islamists have

    hijacked the uprising?

    The evidence available is contrary to this. The groups and factions the West have been speaking with have spread

    such views, but from those fighting on the ground and those indigenous to the country they have been clear of their

    demand for Islamic rule. A recent study


    or-hardline-Islamists-says-IHS-Janes-report.html) by IHS Janes, a defence consultancy, concluded the Islamic

    elements number around 100,000 fighters, organized into around 1000 brigades. Their conclusion was only a small

    minority of the rebels are linked to secular or purely nationalist groups.

    In June 2013, Al-Jazeera aired a series of interviews (in Arabic) with leaders of the main armed groups fighting against

    the Al-Assad regime in Syria. Six interviews in total were conducted by Al-Jazeera. The importance of these

    interviews is in the fact that the world hadnt heard much of the views of field commanders or actual fighters on the

    ground. The Syrian revolution has thus far been represented by political figures from the Syrian National Coalition. The

    interviews revealed common ground between the rebel commanders which included:

    the Syrian revolution started after the regimes clamp down on the peaceful demonstrations,

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    there can be no negotiations with the regime or any remnants of it,

    the future system in Syria must be dominated by the Muslim Sunnis since they represent the majority of the

    Syrian people,

    the future regime will not be friendly with countries or entities that supported Assad and his regime, such as

    Iran and Hizbollah.

    The argument which is largely promoted in Western capitals that foreign fighters are infiltrating the opposition is to

    malign the Islamic call from the masses. Even the much maligned Jabut al-Nusra are composed mainly of individuals

    who fought US forces in Iraq who have now returned to Syria to topple the regime which is the aim of the masses.

    The borders designed by both Britain and France in the Sykes-Picot agreement are not recognised by the people in

    the region, therefore accusing Syria of having foreign fighters is something alien to the Ummah in the region.

    4. The Geneva talks are an attempt to bring the conflict to an end

    The Geneva talks have been organised by the West for the Syrian National Coalition to negotiate with the al-Assad

    regime and agree a compromise at the expense of the demands of the people. These talks represent the Western

    position of maintaining the regime at all costs and having the rebel groups compromise their position on the regimes

    removal. Leon Panetta, in an interview with the CNN in July 2012, said: I think its important when Assad leaves

    and he will leave to try to preserve stability in that country. And the best way to preserve that k ind of stability is to

    maintain as much of the military, the police, as you can, along with the security forces, and hope that they will

    transition to a democratic form of government. Thats a key. US secretary of state made it clear after al-Assad used

    chemical weapons in East Damascus that any intervention is not about regime change,

    ( the Wall street Journal

    confirmed on September 2nd that The White House wants to strengthen the opposition but doesnt want it to prevail,

    according to people who attended closed-door briefings by top administration o