There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that genuine Syria activists have played a vital role in unmasking the evil that befell Syria in the shape of foreign sponsored takfiri intervention that has ravaged the once peaceful country. We all owe them tremendous gratitude for their relentless activism towards a deeply moral cause. Therefore, what I am about to write, is by no means a criticism of their work, but how impassioned rhetoric, if left unchecked, however well meaning can cause more harm than good in certain circumstances.
The passion that drove many of these brave individuals to empathise with the Syrian people and aggressively expose the perpetrators was essential. Yet, the very same passion, drive and determination could now be threatening peace itself as the war on Syria metamorphoses from a military to a political conflict. The deeply fragile and intricate Russia-led diplomatic strategy designed to bring lasting peace to the country is now under threat in more ways than one and once again, the lives of Syrian civilians are at fate’s mercy.
However, collectively Syrians can dodge fate to some extent, and in many ways they already have. The Syrian Arab Army is point proof of how Syrians of all ethno-religious backgrounds united in one single fighting unit to counter Takfiri terrorism. The collective spirit of Arab Unity is a major element that contributed to the preservation of the Syrian Arab Republic up until this very moment. Anyone who says otherwise, is out of touch with reality.
Reality vs wishful thinking
Unfortunately, many are out of touch with reality, and increasingly so, at a crucial time when emotional incontinence could theoretically sabotage the peace process. Ever since the Turkish army stormed into Northern Syria as part of Turkey’s anti YPG/SDF Operation Olive Branch, emotions have been running high on all sides. This has resulted in a fractured alt-media community that at a time like this, ought to be more united and more pragmatic than ever.
The issue is that, too many fail to accept that Turkey’s erstwhile Operation Euphrates Shield which saw Turkey arm and fund Takfiri terrorists in an attempt to politically and financially exploit the crisis that America, UK, EU and “Israel” started is very different from Turkey’s present Operation Olive Branch which is targeting Kurdish separatists and is a matter of security concern for Turkey. While one cannot blame activists and ordinary Syrians for being emotional and for mistrusting Turkey, at the same time, one must also look at events on the ground and judge the situation from another perspective: that of an omniscient observer looking into the unfolding events from a detached prism before jumping into conclusions.
Increasingly, the events on the ground demonstrate that Turkey has abandoned its former ambitions to occupy Syria, at least for the time being. Reasons for this are varied and frankly irrelevant. Nevertheless, anti-Turkish sentiment among a vocal few runs the risk of sabotaging Turkey’s present military operation which has been tacitly approved by both Moscow and Damascus. While many ordinary Syrians as well as the Syrian government realise that the Turk-Kurd battle is not Syria’s battle, and therefore not a battle worth picking, it seems many of the vocal individuals are blinded by emotion and failing to see the bigger picture and allowing themselves to get hung up on every minutiae. Unlike Damascus, some journalists do not appear to understand that there is a strategy to both war and peace, and are instead pouring oil on troubled waters.
Most crucially, by openly opposing Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch and by extrapolation undermining Russia’s carefully crafted peace process, they are rousing any and all latent sectarianism among international and domestic activists, Resistance fighters and civilians alike. Even more crucially, by shifting the attention to Turkey’s erstwhile actions, they are doing the perpetual aggressor “Israel” a service. The fact that the majority of the terrorists currently slaughtering civilians in Eastern Ghoutta are backed by the US and “Israel”, not Turkey, has gone unnoticed by many.
One war at a time
As I said above, there is a strategy to both war and peace. Currently, the Syrian Arab Army is fighting two strategic battles: Idlib and Eastern Ghouta. That said, military action in Idlib has come to a sort of standstill at the moment, as the Syrian Arab Army have shifted their attention to East Ghouta due to the fact that the latter is in a more strategic position as it is near the capital, which has been the main target all along. Once Eastern Ghouta is liberated, the surviving militants will most likely be transferred to Idlib where they can either choose to continue fighting against the legitimate Syrian Armed Forces, or put their weapons down and be pardoned as part of Assad’s humanitarian Amnesty programme for militants – a stark contrast to Saddam Hussein who shot any and all terrorists as he saw fit.
Bearing all that in mind, it would figure that any further pressure on the army to take on another entity in the shape of the Turkish Army would be collective suicide. Any observer who cannot see this reality should remain silent for the sake of the Syrians and remember that while the Syrian Arab Army answer to Damascus, the volunteer allied militias made up primarily of Shia muslims, have a mind all of their own, and do not answer to anybody except to some degree, Iran, even though more often than not they act unilaterally. I could comment on Iran’s influence, but this article is more concerned with the collective psyche of the Syrians that is being overturned and confused by the massive infowar that is unfolding and the accompanying rhetoric directly and indirectly agitating for war. The Syrians must remember who their real enemy is, “Israel”, and focus on one war at a time; one step at a time. They do not need nor wish for another unnecessary war with Turkey, of all entities.
Let us not also remember that it is not Turkey, not even Saudi Arabia but the Zionist regime that has inflicted the most psychological long-term damage to the Syrians and indeed to all Arabs.
Ever since the Zionist occupier settled in the Middle East where they never belonged, forcefully seizing a land that was never theirs, they have indoctrinated the Palestinians – and by extension Arabs, to think small. From the occupations of Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, from wars with Jordan and the illegal bombing of Iraq in 1981 during which they bombed a nuclear reactor, the Zionist regime with the help of the West has been relentless. Consequently, the Palestinians have never stopped bargaining, de facto accepting the 1967 borders which led to the Oslo Accords where the Palestinian Authority formally settled for crumbs by officially recognising the State of “Israel”, and most recently in 2017 when Hamas formally accepted the Palestinian state of the 1967 borders, while previous they had insisted on the 1948 borders. Moreover, “Israel” has also occupied Syrian Golan Heights since 1967 and shows no signs of ever leaving.
Having a nuclear-armed police state as a constant aggressor, it would be humanly impossible not to feel morally and militarily incapacitated. Had it not been for the Zionist regime waging endless wars since its inception, the Arabs would have established their post-colonial identity in a relatively stable though gradual manner just as many Latin American, African and Asians states did. But the reality is, the Palestinians and Syrians are still living under occupation, while Lebanon remains on guard to ensure it does not suffer the same fate.
Unconsciously playing on the weaknesses of an already demoralised people
As I illustrated above, capitulation does not heed results. Action does. Whilst the Syrians need every sympathy and assistance they can get given that the vast International coverage of the war has been fake, while the aid minimal due to the sanctions imposed on the country, at this later stage in the conflict, it is crucial that the Syrians are reminded of their strengths, not weaknesses. They need partners to nurture their strengths, especially their ability to unite against the aggressors, as well as encourage them to remain calm under pressure. They do not need shrinks to indulge their weaknesses including hopelessness and latent sectarianism. They certainly do not need sectarian rhetoric by activists both abroad and at home that reignites old sectarian hates and creates brand new ones. I include Turkey in this. Encouraging anti-Turkish propaganda, has the effect of re-awakening other unpleasant sentiments. These things don’t exist in isolation. No war was ever won by shouting and screaming. Furthermore, digging up the past can only add fuel to the fire, and result in a loss of priorities and perspective.
But the friction within the alt-media community extends to fellow activists and analysts. Indeed the information war has gotten so bizarre as of late that any pragmatic opinion or suggestion one might make automatically invites accusations of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other such nonsense. Pro-Syrian individuals and groups have been openly accusing fellow supporters of The Resistance who do not share their views on Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch of being on “Erdogan”s payroll” along with other fanciful insults in an attempt to discredit and silence those with whom they disagree. This is ludicrous of course, but more than insulting, it is surprising, because anyone with half a brain would realise that accusing people of being on a government’s payroll – most commonly that of “Kremlin” or “Assad”, is a deceptive and almost uniquely Zionist practice, because it is a fact that those who dare speak against the US/Zionist narrative do not make money out of this. Indeed, they suffer losses.
It seems, however, that much of the international alt-media has also also been unconsciously Zionised. Promulgating latent sectarian feelings is at the crux of the Zionist propaganda. With every sectarian statement issued, however careless, “Israel”‘s tentacles grow closer to home, and another child in Eastern Ghouta is killed.
It is time for the overly passionate alt-media individuals to take a step back and allow Russia, Iran and Turkey to handle the diplomatic stage of the conflict as part of the Astana group, even and especially if emotionally they reject Turkey’s participation. Otherwise, they are free to take up arms and fight themselves. If they do not want to fight, they have no right to agitate for new wars. If Damascus can quietly withdraw from the peace process for the greater good, so can the overly concerned activists whose livelihoods are not necessarily at stake.