FAQs: These, the beginnings of my own FAQs, are the result of my travels to Syria. Though the Syrian crisis is multi-faceted, the emphasis should be on stopping outside state, NGO and other forces making a very bad situation infinitely worse. Neither the violence nor the flood of refugees fleeing Syria and other countries will end until countries like Saudi Arabia and their terrorist proxies stop throwing financial and logistical fuel on the fire on the pyre that is Syria. These FAQs do not claim to be definitive; they are given to allow more focused and helpful suggestions to be made. Ebding the Syrian violence will take a lot of work over a lot of years. Some honesty would also help.
Alawite: Syria is NOT ruled by an Alawite elite. In accordance with common colonial practice, the French promoted Alawite and Druze officers in the military on the divide and conquer principle that the Dutch used to promote Catholic and Protestant military officers in Indonesia. Although Alawites may be disproportionately over-represented amongst the elite, this would not be more pronounced than similar distortions elsewhere. Sunnis are well-represented at the highest government levels and in the military and inter-marriages are very common, the marriage of Syria’s President to a Sunni being one such high-profile example. The fanatics of the Muslim Brotherhood apart, Syria’s problems are not sectarian at heart. They are socio-economic in nature and the sectarians’ war against Syria only accentuate those problems.
Al Jazeera Arabic: Is part of the Qatari controlled Al Jazeera network. It is less moderate or, if you prefer, more honest than its English sister station and regularly and explicitly calls for the extermination of Syria’s Druze, Alawite and Shia communities. Irish-based spokespeople for the Muslim Brotherhood terror gang have featured prominently on this notorious Muslim Brotherhood station. Al Jazeera Arabic and its Qatar sponsors are very major contributors to the violence sweeping the Arab world.
Assadist: Calling opponents of the rebels Assadists is just a way to polarise opinion, to help target and murder those who genuinely oppose the ISIS and other rebel gangs and to justify raping, enslaving and murdering them; it is a hate crime, akin to baiting Jews in 1930s’ Berlin. Most Syrians who support the Syrian Arab Army do so because they want to protect their homes and homeland from the rebels who want to kill or enslave them. Most non-Syrians who support Syria’s right to exist do so because they see what the alternative is and the ugly forces trying to impose that alternative against the wishes of the Syrian people. President Assad, his family and his clan are bit parts in this. The Assadist slur is a cheap and nasty one disseminated by cheap and nasty people, who should be robustly taken to task over it.
Ba’ath Party: The Ba’ath Party is a catch-all party. Its most dedicated members are in the front lines fighting the rebels not least because they know that they and their family members are summarily executed whenever the rebels get the chance to kill them.
Barrel bombs: Barrel bombs are widely used as they are cost-effective. The rebels highlight them not out of any real humanitarian concern but because they want a no-fly zone so that Syria might be bombed back into barbarity just as Libya and Serbia were. Barrel bombs are just one in an array of ordnance and Ken Roth of the Human Rights Watch group discredits himself by comparing them to the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack.
Casualties, Civilian and Otherwise: The Syrian Arab Army and its allies have borne the bulk of the casualties to date. This has been largely due to their use of outmoded tactics in the early years of the invasion when Qatari, Turkish and Saudi controlled gangs held the initiative. Currently, about half of all rebel fatalities are foreigners, evidence of the mercenary nature of much of their support.
Christian axe to grind: Although it is true that Christians were far better treated in Syria than in any country contiguous to it, the war against Syria goes much deeper than religion. The rebels are waging war against civilisation and the basic norms of humanity which underscore our modern world. Far from axe-grinding, Western Christian leaders are doing little of practical consequence to help. When Syria’s Christians deliver their tales of woe to the uncaring West, Syria’s enemies parrot the Christians are merely running to report to their paymasters. The truth of course is that Syria’s enemies want to silence all Syrian voices for peace and, as in the case of Syria’s indefatigable Christian leaders, marginalise and discredit those voices they cannot totally muffle.
Free Syrian Army: The Free Syrian Army are not and never have been an effective fighting force. They are a Muslim Brotherhood controlled umbrella group, whose top tiers consist of ex-Army officers and sundry buccaneers with an insatiable sense of entitlement. Their foot soldiers are more interested in rape and pillage than in fighting and footage abounds showing them engaged in all manners of crimes from mass looting to rape to eating the hearts of their prisoners. The very idea that an effective group of secular rebels could emerge in Syria is a patent nonsense. They are a concoction of the Muslim Brotherhood, their paymasters and the Qatari-funded PR companies they hire.
Friday Prayers: Because Friday prayers can be volatile or sensitive times in Muslim communities, the Palestinian, Egyptian, Syrian and other authorities have tended to monitor them to ensure passions are not being enflamed and, when they are, they would warn the imam to tone things down or suffer the consequences. The rebels have simply murdered moderate imams and have ensconced their own bellicose puppets in their stead. This has not been helpful at all. The legacy of the press-ganging of child soldiers, the incendiary imams and the sheer brutality with which the rebels have pursued their dubious aims will take generations to overcome.
Gay/transgender: I have met members of Syria’s gay and transgender communities in Damascus and they live peaceably. Although the rebels execute them by throwing them off buildings for visual effects, one has to suspect that they are just using alleged sexual orientation as an excuse to rob and murder them as all the rebels long ago made their views on such issues crystal clear and how such transgressions against their own warped mora “values” were to be dealt with. Either way, the fact that leading members of England’s and Ireland’s gay communities support the homophobic Muslim Brotherhood rebels should be a cause of serious self-reflection for them.
Hezbollah: Hezbollah only emerged following the 1982 massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese Shia by Christian militia at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Hezbollah believe and the evidence, such as the endless saturation bombing of Syrian Shia villages and the endless Al Jazeera Arabic pronouncements, supports them, that should Sunni supremacists get their way, they will again be slaughtered. No less a figure than the homophobic, genocidal mysoginist Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to whom several well-known Irish Muslim leaders have sworn allegiance, is unequivocal about this: the Shias, along with homosexuals and various other groups, must be totally and utterly exterminated and, as we see in Syria, his followers are practicing waht he and others preach. For my own part, I have found Hezbollah members to be ok the few times I have met them but then I don’t pick fights with them. The only thing that really surprised me about them was their support for Germany rather than Iran in the World Cup.
Iran: I have found the Iranians to be very reasonable as well during the Easter 2014 Peace Pilgrimage to Syria. Although it is true that Iran’s credit line keeps Syria afloat, that is surely a better way to spend their money than how the idle princes of Saudi Arabia and the micro state of Qatar spend theirs. The fact that Saudi Arabia wants Iran expunged surely is a point in favour of Iran than against it and should, at the very least, get us to question the role Saudi Arabian bribes play in our system and in our ongoing silence over Bahrain where Irish-trained doctors were and are still being routinely tortured.
ISIS: Because ISIS’ (Islamic State’s) form of Sunni obscurantism most resembles Wahhabism, which underwrites the rule of the Saudi Royal family and which they export to the four ends of the earth, one has to assume strong financial and military links between Saudi Arabia and their ideological brothers. Although the Iraqis, the so-called Prussians of the Arab world, are well-represented in its officer corps, military logic dictates there must be a layer from the intelligence community above them and directing them, not least because there are so many distinctly un-Arab traits about them. Journalists, academics and others should be trying to unmask those higher layers, rather than fretting about the snuff propaganda videos non-entities like Jihadi John star in.
Israel/Palestine: Syria is separate to the Israeli/Palestinian question even though both parties to that dispute have questions to answer. Israel should explain why its soldiers openly fraternise on the Golan Heights with al Nusra, why it provides material help to the rebels and why its air force now regularly bombs Syrian soldiers, who last fired a shot in anger at them 40 years ago. Hamas should likewise explain why it colludes with the Syrian rebels and if they do so solely at the behest of their Qatari and Muslim Brotherhood paymasters or if they have some ideological rather than mercenary reasons for doing so.
Kurds: As I told a Kurdish speaker at a recent Stop the War meeting (which the Muslim Brotherhood disrupted) they, as their old saying goes, have no friends but the mountains. Their new-found friends have already betrayed them. Though the Kurds’ future is in coming to an accommodation with those neighbours they can having a working peace with, their rights should not be used to confuse the greater wrong that is being done on Syria, her minorities and all her people.
Media: Although the Western media tends to be very supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and their various front groups, even as the West debates not whether the Muslim Brotherhood are terrrorists but to what degree they are involved in terrorist crimes, supporters of peace with justice could be more pro-active in disseminating their side of the story rather than leaving the field to pro humanitarian bombing NGOS and other Orwellian groups who feed into the Muslim Brotherhood’s sectarian supremacist agenda.
Muslim Brotherhood: The Muslim Brotherhood, in which Egypt’s Morsi, Turkey’s Erdogan, Qaradawi and other Qatari-based sociopaths are all leading lights, is the main terrorist organisation behind Syria’s violence and it should be dealt with accordingly. Following their failed 1982 coup, most Syrian Muslim Brotherhood terrorists fled into safe haven boltholes from where they built a network of dedicated and highly professional cadres to spew their toxins. Although the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has countless professionals and aspiring political leaders in its ranks of exiles, it not only lacks boots on the Syrian ground but it has lost out in that important regard to Nusra, ISIS and the other groups it formerly nurtured. As in Egypt and Syria, so also here: the Muslim Brotherhood should be declared illegal and its leaders charged with directing terrorism in the same way leaders of any other comparable terrorist organisation are charged.
No fly zone: Calls for a no-fly zone are just another way of calling for Syria to be destroyed by air forces in the same way that Libya, Serbia and Iraq were. Those “humanitarians” calling for a no fly zone should be queried as to their true motives.
Palestinians & UNRWA: The Palestinians in Syria, like their compatriots elsewhere, are being used by various people for their own ends. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is one such group which claims to be supporting 95% of all Palestinians in Syria. This is untrue. Most Palestinians in Syria are under the protection of the Syrian Arab Army and are provided for by the Syrian people. UNRWA are, at best, peripheral, if particularly well-funded players.
Qatar: As well as being a major user of slave labour for the corrupt 2022 World Cup, the micro state of Qatar has been a major state sponsor of terrorism throughout the Arab world, most notably in Libya and in all other areas where the Muslim Brotherhood murder gangs operate.
Refugees: There are two problems here, the stock and the flow. Though the flow of people fleeing the war zones has to be addressed, so too do the much larger stock of people left behind. No matter how many refugees are given succour, until the Muslim Brotherhood terror gangs and their state sponsors are emasculated, the flow will only continue. To speak about the current refugee problem and to ignore the forces driving these unfortunates to risk their lives in such a fashion is to address the symptom and to stupidly (or deliberately) ignore the underlying cause. The ethnic cleansing of Syria under any faux humanitarian pretext is not an acceptable solution.
Russia: The Third Rome: Because Russian involvement is the key to solving the Syrian crisis, Russia’s ongoing and various peace initiatives should be, if not fully supportedm at least thoroughly considered. Although Russia may well have some self-interest in pursuing peace, no-one could honestly dispute that Russia’s hands are much cleaner on recent Middle Eastern issues than are those of most NATO and Gulf States.
Safe areas: The idea of setting up some bantu-style Christian safe havens in Northern Syria and Northern Syria should be resisted as they serve only the cause of those who are driving the Christians and others away from their ancient homelands. The solution to the Syrian and Iraqi problems is secular governments, protected by peace-keeping forces from Vietnam, Russia, China, Iran and South American and other countries that can be seen as honest brokers and who can also protect the oil wells and attendant cash flows and thereby help secure the necessary funds for regeneration. The forces which destroyed Iraq and Libya should have no major part to play in this as they are seen as part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Saudi Arabia: One wonders how British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond recently kept a straight face when his Saudi Arabian equivalent, standing beside him, informed the world that Syria must have a more representative and democratic form of government. Critics would argue that the leaders of Saudi Arabia must be made join Turkey’s leaders in the dock and that Saudi Arabia’s role as a major state sponsor of terrorist ideology needs to be ended, that those responsible for Saudi war crimes in Bahrain and Yemen be brought to justice and its future as a single entity examined with, perhaps, the oil-rich, Shia dominated areas being given a form of self-rule and international peace-keeping force being deployed throughout the rest of Saudi Arabia to ensure women, Christians, immigrants and all other oppressed groups there are treated as fairly as they are in Syria.
Sunni Syrians: Most Sunnis support the Syrian Arab Army and comprise the bulk of its forces. Most Sunni tribes support the Syrian Army and fight and die alongside it. Whatever genuine community support the rebels enjoy is generally to be found amongst the rural poor who have been promised the wealth of others or who have been bought off with the looted spoils of war. Once peace returns and a programme for reconstruction is put in place, Sunni support for the rebels will dissipate, leaving only the embittered Muslim Brotherhood cadres to renew their plotting for their next bloodbath.
Sunni Tribes: The Sunni tribes in the eastern half of Syria play a key role in the crisis. Though most of them remain loyal to the Syrian government and fight and die alongside the Syrian Army in places such as Deit Elzzor, ISIS and the other rebels have put a lot of work into winning over younger zealots and using them as a Trojan horse to coerce older leaders into obeying them. The many massacres of tribesmen bear withness to that.
Syria and Sectarianism: The genesis of the sectarian card can be traced to the promotion which Sam Harris’ screed denouncing received after the 9/11 Twin Towers attacks. Harris’ tract began a cottage industry of God-bashing where Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens and a mini-army of others wrote best-selling tracts essentially regurgitating the works of Thomas Paine for a modern audience and convincing a large number of people that religion rather than politics and politicians was the root of today’s political problems. In practical terms, this has led Western forces to undermine the secular underpinnings of Iraq, Libya, Syria and a number of other countries and to encourage and promote sectarians. These forces have allowed Saudi Arabia and similar countries to adopt a sectarian laager stance and to simultaneously export their own radicals to cause mayhem and to serve nefarious agendas in countries such has Syria.
Turkey: Turkey’s role in the dismemberment of Syria should be examined with regard to putting Erdogan and his key collaborators on trial in the International Criminal Court for war crimes and for sponsoring the Free Syrian Army, ISIS, the Grey Wolves and the plethora of other terrorist groups it controls and that operate with impunity in Turkey. Evidence of Erdogan’s compicity in the the rape of the Armnian town of Kessab, the Kurdish town of Kobani, Idlib, Aleppo and many other places is as overwhelming as is evidence of their Syriac and Armenian genocides a century ago.
Yarmouk: Yarmouk Camp, which I visited in April 2015, is the only Palestinian enclave in Syria with a sizable rebel presence. Prior to the violence, it was a prosperous commercial hub, which, fatally, was given much autonomy by the Syrian authorities. This autonomy allowed the rebels gain a foothold. Currently, most Yarmouk Palestinians have fled to government-controlled areas and Palestinian forces allied to the Syrian Army control one part of Yarmouk whilst a volatile coalition of the Free Syrian Army, their ISIS and Nusra allies and some sundry other gangs control the rest. Yarmouk has been used as a propaganda tool by the rebels’ supporters and they have even published fake pictures from them in an attempt to swindle even more money from gullible people for their dishonest cause.