I have not spoken about Syria in any of my blogs except to mention it as one of the confounding issues of the Middle East. I will today, though. And, I will not delve back into the historical background of Syria, or the Middle East, in talking about that, noting however that all of that history plays into everything that has been occurring in that region. Americans usually comment when I articulate this by saying: but you can’t keep on rehashing that olden history, just move on. Well, I believe that the events in Ferguson, Missouri recently have indicated that it takes but a spark to reignite history. Ferguson wasn’t just about Michael Brown’s murder by a white police officer, sad and unjust as that was. It was about the whole and entire history of black oppression in the United States of America. It was about hundreds of years going back to when that first slave boat arrived to these shores and coming up to the present where black people are still being oppressed, marginalized, their voting rights denied, their children in peril, their neighborhoods neglected, their issues ignored. History, therefore, is very significant. People do not forget their past. It always, always, enters into current affairs and refuses to be disregarded.
In 1948 Israel was established by the illegal decree of the British Mandating Power and with total racist and colonist disregard to the aspirations of the Palestinian people. I will not go into all the details of that but will jump from that year to 1967 when Israel occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank, all of Jerusalem, Sinai and Gaza. Consequently, there were UN Resolutions demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories. There were millions of voices at that time telling the United States, France and Britain to use all their powers to get Israel to comply with the UN Resolutions. The voices were saying that if they did not, the whole region, and the world, will bear the ramifications of their colonist-minded, self-serving and racist decisions. They chose not to.
And so it has been since 1967 when that very vital and central issue of the Palestinian and Arab people has been sometimes in the foreground, but always in the background, of all the upheavals in the region. The issue of Palestine formed an ideological rallying cry that every leader usurped, and that every political faction exploited in order to realize their own agenda sometimes sincerely, but more often not!
OBL (sometimes UBL), as he had come to be designated in the West – aka Osama bin Laden – used the issue of Palestine as one of the basis of his political program. His persona and agenda attracted thousands of young, ideological, politically and technologically savvy, unemployed, restless and aimless young men from all over the region. What cemented and entrenched their loyalty was the huge éclat that the crumbling of the NY Towers generated; the unwarranted invasion of Afghanistan (as opposed to only going after OBL and the Taliban tribes who had harbored him); and the savage (again, whether this was deliberate, or misguided) war on Iraq.
At that point (as in many other instances, of course) a resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma, coupled with a sensible handling of the two battlefields, would have served well to calm the region down.
Nothing was to happen!
Then came the so-called Arab Spring – which I, and many in the Middle East, knew from day one was going to be a blistering Winter rather than a Spring – and the spontaneous self-immolation of Bouazizi in Tunisia, which was the fuse needed to launch that fateful Arab Spring, the bungling of which cemented even more the fervency of bin Laden’s many adherents.
Here then was the scene that Bashar al-Assad was witnessing when the uprising began in Syria: All of the above backdrop, plus the humiliation of Saddam’s demise, the artificial and engineered toppling of his statue, the fabricated manner in which American soldiers stumbled upon him in a rat hole (untrue, of course!), and how they checked his head for lice(?) and his mouth for a poison pill(?), and his needless and despicable degradation televised to the whole world; And, witnessing the ousting of Mubarak, another despot whom the West had whole-heartedly embraced, who did not need to be disgraced and shamefully carried into court on a humiliating stretcher; And, looking at Gaddafi whom we did not need to oust to begin with and to allow his further violation by killing him in that lowly manner; Plus, getting rid of OBL’s body by throwing him in the ocean in the middle of the night, an act that made every Arab and Muslim bristle with indignation (myself included).
Simple/simplistic as it may sound, all this made Bashar adamant about not wanting to abdicate, resign or be dragged in the disgraceful mud as all those leaders were. And why would he? Who would? Whose pride would accept that? Again, I, as well as hundreds of thousands of Arab people, realized that Bashar, and Syria could have, and should have, been handled very differently at that point, and the tragedy and misery of the proud Syrian people might have been forestalled.
That is the context, because without that context nothing would make sense. The way idiotic politicians and the mainstream media frame it make it seem that a bunch of guys woke up one day and said: let’s follow the IS and cause some mischief (irrelevant if, or whether, Mossad/CIA engineered that phenomenon!) Also to put it in context, Bashar wasn’t just being an ass! He was witnessing what happened and, whether out of pride or fear, he was not going to accept a similar outcome whatever was the price! However, the US stupidly declared from the get-go, “Assad must go”; this, without a second glance at what that same mindset and ongoing policies were causing in Iraq, in Libya, in Egypt and in Afghanistan? Not a conspiracy? Convince me, please! Otherwise, what? A humongous miscalculation? Ineptness?
Had the many sensible, reasonable, non-racist and intelligent Arab and Western minds been allowed to have their suggestions heard regarding Syria (and Bashar) and the region at that time, the rise of the ignoble murderers we have come to know as IS, and their equally appalling and criminal financiers, might have – and probably would have – been thwarted.
However, it was not to be!
The US, UK and Israel’s meddling stupidly, irresponsibly and short-sightedly in the Middle East has brought us one disaster after another. And, no, I am not absolving Arab leaders (corrupt Western stooges that they are) or the many Arab traitors and fanatics (created mainly by screwed up Western foreign policies) of their responsibility either.
However, when will the West shelve its colonist, racist, Israeli-driven war plans and listen to the thousands of reasonable, intelligent people in Israel, in the Arab region and in the West? When will they, and their populations, look at this region in context – political and cultural – and not merely through the narrow lens of the latest event? When will the knee-jerk reactions cease?
Or, will we move on from one tragedy to the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth . . . the everlasting?
And to what end?
Is there really an end game? And does any politician or conspirator wake up in the middle of the night crying: oh, what have we wrought? Or are their beds made of feathers so comfortable that they don’t bother fretting about all that collateral damage? And is it only the rest of us, sleeping on the blood-soaked mattresses of the innocent, who helplessly cry into our pillows every night?
The political world isn’t that complicated. It’s just that it lacks sensible, intelligent, conscientious, non-self-serving, non-racist, honest and courageous leadership, not the greed and hubris that have killed conscience and integrity. No politician whom I see today qualifies! Not a one! Zero! Zilch!
Just Incredible! Truly!