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Some observers of the crisis in Syria have sought to divide the opposition to Bashar al-Assad into an "armed opposition" and a "non-violent opposition movement for freedom and democracy, which still rejects calls for military intervention" as Phyllis Bennis does in a recent opinion piece in Al Jazeera.

She sees these as two distinct oppositions movements, one non-violently fighting for freedom and democracy, and another that has taken up arms and "is also responsible for attacks leading to the deaths of civilians" and who knows what they are fighting for.

Even though the opposition to the Assad regime has clearly been growing in the last year, she sees this current state of the opposition as the result of fragmentation:

The opposition was divided from the beginning over whether massive reform or the end of the regime was their goal. It divided further when part of the opposition took up arms, and began calling for international military intervention.
Like many observers, she sees this armed opposition as drowning out the non-violent opposition in recent months.

I believe this way of looking at the opposition to Assad is incorrect and historically inaccurate. For 18 months there has been a main opposition to the Assad regime that has been composed of a lot of forces from across the political spectrum of Syrian society. There have always been political differences within the movement and there has been political development within the movement as a whole.

The movement started out as peaceful demonstrations demanding reform, as it did in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Egypt in January and February of 2011. There were always revolutionaries with in these movements that thought these demands could never be met by the current dictators and argued for regime change. In all of the movements of the Arab Spring, those demanding regime change gained greater and greater sway in the movement as the regimes met the peaceful protests with violence.

While, no doubt, there are Syrians who were part of this reform movement and left it when the main demand shifted to regime change, I think it is false to portray this as a split in the movement. I think it much more accurate and much more useful to realize that the movement as a whole shifted from being a movement demanding reforms from Assad to one demanding his overthrow. The opposition movement in Syria has grown massive and is united in the demand that Assad must go! Only long time fans of Assad, not members of the original opposition, are still asking him to stick around but just clean up his act.

Likewise, I think it is wrong to suggest that there is a separate and distinct "armed opposition" as opposed to the "non-violent opposition."  In the beginning, this "Arab Spring" opposition to Assad was overwhelmingly non-violent. Assad may have been fighting al Qaeda or other "armed terrorist gangs" elsewhere, but he was lying when he used that as an excuse for firing on peaceful protesters on Homs, Hama, Dara and other places.

As Assad followed Qaddafi's lead in applying military power to peaceful protesters, this started to have a powerful effect on the attitude towards non-violence within the movement as a whole. Whereas the movement, even as it started to demand the removal of Assad, continued to stand on the principal of non-violence and non-intervention, this started to change as more and more Syrians were killed by the regime.

The attitude of the opposition movement both towards armed struggle and outside support changed as the revolution developed and was illustrated by massive demonstrations demanding intervention. They named July 29, 2011 "Friday of 'Your Silence Is Killing Us'" and held massive demonstrations across Syria that directed that slogan not only at other Syrians that had yet to join the struggle but to the people of the world as well. The Syria wide mass protests of September 9, 2011 were named the "Friday of International Protection." That was the first time the movement as a whole put forward an explicit demand for foreign intervention. As Assad's violence continued unabated on March 16, 2012 the opposition called the protests the "Friday of Immediate Foreign Intervention." Assad killed 15 protesters on that day. So you see, it is a most shameful falsehood to speak of a "non-violent opposition movement for freedom and democracy, which still rejects calls for military intervention." It lets us off the hook by telling a lie on them.

             Damascus Protesters Call for International Protection Now ! Erbeen 9-2-11

Assad sent his troops out to crush the rebellion when it said "Your silence is killing us." From Wikipedia "20 protesters were killed throughout Syria, most notably in Deir ez-Zor, where the government tried to stop mass gatherings" on July 29th. And it was there, at Deir ez-Zor and on that day that a colonel in the Syrian Army defected to the opposition together with hundreds of soldiers to found the Free Syrian Army to protect the protester. So you see, separating the opposition into armed and non-violent camps is ahistorical as well.

The Free Syrian Army developed from soldiers ordered to shoot protesters, soldiers who decided instead that it was their patriotic duty to defend the protesters. They have been joined by formerly peaceful protesters that have now also taken up arms in defense of the revolution. The FSA started out exclusively as a force to defend peaceful protesters but as Assad's attacks continued and grew both in scope and brutality, the FSA has also started conducting offensive operation and while they may or may not have weapons given to them by the CIA or Qatar, it is clear that they have overwhelmingly armed themselves with weapons taken from Assad.

Even though the FSA is getting better weapons, that doesn't justify Phyillis Bennis' attempts to create a false parity between the two forces as she does when she says:

The regime is clearly responsible for more attacks with heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery, but it is also clear that the anti-government forces are being supplied with increasingly heavy weapons
"Heavy weapons" is a distinct military category that does include tanks and artillery as well as combat aircrafts. "Increasingly heavy weapons" is no such category. Since the FSA has had to do most of its fighting with AK-47s and they are now getting more RPGs, it can be said that the FSA is getting "increasingly heavy weapons"  but that rhetorical flourish doesn't make an RPG equal to a 120mm cannon.

Furthermore, "being supplied" is an underhanded way of implying that the FSA is "being run" by outside agencies without providing any proof. It is by no means "clear that the anti-government forces are being supplied" with weapons by anyone. It is very clear that they are getting more and better weapons, here is a video of the FSA taking over of a Syrian military base and capturing a lot of weapons. Would you call that "being supplied?" More recently we have heard of whole units of the Syrian army defecting with sophisticated anti-tank weapons and manpads. Would you call that "being supplied?" They have even been successful at capturing intact, some of Assad's tanks. Would you call that "being supplied?"    

This increased militarization in defense of the people has given the crisis in Syria all the characteristics of a civil war, which is what it has in fact become. But as has been said many times: War is a continuation of politics by violent means. So in assessing the legitimacy of either side of the conflict, its not enough to point out that both sides are "responsible for attacks leading to the deaths of civilians." That is unavoidable by either side in any war. It is much more important to understand what the two sides are fight for, i.e. what policies are being continued.

Assad is attempting to suppress a rebellious population. He has elected to use mass murder as his principal method of doing that and his armed forces as this principle instrument. With canon and aerial bombs he is attacking whole neighborhoods, not just those that oppose him. In response to that the opposition to Assad has developed armed forces of their own, but the mass opposition to Assad continues to grow.

Below the fold are a collection of videos of mass demonstrations in Syria in the past few days. These are the people that are driving this whole process, not NATO or Russia or Assad, and the whole UN diplomatic corp. They are all just reacting to thousands of Syrians in revolt. These protesters are united and have courageously come out to demonstrate knowing it could cost them their lives.

They are united in demanding regime change.

They are united in their support for the Free Syrian Army.

They are united in demanding that the world come to their aid and stop Assad's slaughter.

Please look at these videos and understand that Assad wants these people dead. He will continue to kill as long as they continue to oppose him and they will never stop opposing him.

As long as the diplomacy goes on, so will Assad's slaughter. After eighteen months of his war against his people, those that still think they can "talk" him out of this approach are fools. No, they are worst than fools, when they publicly advocate the continuation of this approach, they become accomplishes of his crimes.

Even though Phyllis Bennis argues "Only diplomacy can stop the war, " she concludes:

The best thing outside powers can do is to move immediately towards serious new diplomacy, in which supporters of both the regime and the armed opposition participate, with the goal of imposing an immediate ceasefire.
So after more than a year of the world talking and Assad killing, what she proposes in more of the same, so that eventually, after thousands more Syrians are slaughtered, we can reach "the goal of imposing an immediate ceasefire."

Oh, and what then? Won't that still require a UN Chapter 7 resolution authorizing the use of force? Otherwise just how does she propose that the world impose an immediate ceasefire on Assad and his army, throw blue darter at him?

This is how the civil war in Syrian will be decided. Not by NATO & Russian, and certainly not by opinions on the left. It will be decided by Syrian workers and soldiers turning against their government. Introducing the Miqdad ibn 'Amr Battalion, formed today, July 1, 2012 in the heart of Damascus, Syria.

Syrian protest videos posted online are accompanied by the common refrain "Syrian victims are screaming for your help. Will you answer?" The response from Phyillis Bennis and many other on the left is "Don't bet your life on it."

Minbaj | Aleppo | Evening Protest Demanding Freedom June 29, 2012

                                 (6-30-12) Idlib | Standing in Solidarity With Douma

(06.30.2012) Kafar Sousah | Damascus, Syria | Amazing protests in support of Zamalka and Douma
      Another HUGE HUGE protest in Salamiyeh #Syria today funeral of the martyr Ali al-Fakhur

           The funeral of the martyr Ali Sadek Alqatrib  July 1, 2012

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands fleeBREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

BREAKING NEWS!!! UN to send monitors to Syria AGAIN!!! July 1, 2012

UN will be sending the monitors back to Syria. They will be unarmed and in a small team. Russia agree to this and back the new cease fire that is already under threat. Monitor's will over look the peace plan.

     Car bomb kills 85+ at a funeral procession in Zamalka leaving behind a massacre! June 30, 2012

Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 12:41 AM PT: A few more point on the Phyllis Bennis article. She said about the NATO intervention last year:

they were wrong to see the Libyan intervention as a "human rights victory" then, and they are more visibly wrong now. A year later, following the deaths of thousands of Libyans, the now-divided country struggles with out-of-control militias holding thousands of prisoners, with torture, with escalating violence, with continuing attacks on sub-Saharan Africans and other foreigners,
It is true that 30,000 Libyans were killed in 2011 after Qaddafi started killing protesters. Thousand were killed by NATO bombs, but most of those were engaged in killing Libyans as part of Qaddafi's gang. According the HRW, NATO killed 72 civilians, the UN has them down as killing 60,

Qaddafi killed 8,000 Libyans in the month before NATO intervened. We can never know how many Libyans Qaddafi would have killed if he had been free to do to Benghazi and Misrata what Assad has been doing to Syrian cities, but all indications are that he would have killed many more than he did and since NATO's mandate was to save human life not assure that Libya had an nice recovery, I think I must be regarded as a big success in that regard.

This should not be taken to mean that I agree with her description of Libya now, I have dealt with this type of slander elsewhere, but my point here is that nation building was not NATO's mandate, saving civilian lives was,  and they did do that.

Also one other point, Bennis's bigness fear seems to be:

As the violence escalates in Syria, as more civilians, especially children, are killed, calls for military intervention escalate as well.
She is worried that Americans may start to care about what is happening to the people in Syria and demand that something be done. This a sad plight for a leftist, to be worried that the masses may start to show an internationalist sentiments and demand that their government will do the right thing.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, Karl Rover, oldliberal

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 04:34:13 PM PDT

  •  I've been (7+ / 0-)

    reading your diaries for a while and I find it deeply repugnant that while you rightly call for the regime to go, you give the opposition's actions a free pass. I'm not sure if you read Arabic but if you did, you would realize several things about the opposition:

    1. They are foreign-funded and supported by countries like Saudi Arabia and Syria and want to put forth an agenda in Syria that is not to the liking of the general Syrian people who do not want sectarian rule.

    2. The violent opposition groups are themselves bickering amongst each other despite the efforts of the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia to bring them together. There are reports of opposition groups fighting each other or killing opposing leaders who emerge. There have been many activists who have left the SNC also because of disagreements with the sectarian agenda.

    3. Those who support the violent opposition with money and arms themselves have an agenda for the Syrian people that most Syrians (I feel confident in saying) do not support. Secular opposition groups do not want foreign intervention and would rather the country be left alone to work it out for themselves. They don't want to be another Iraq or Lebanon and who could blame them?

    To put it a little differently, a lot of the support that the regime has now is not ideological commitment to the regime but rather supporting stability rather than the chaos that a divided opposition backed by a foreign agenda that wants to mould Syria into something that is against the wishes of the Syrian people.

    I find your support for foreign intervention to be part of the push for the foreign agenda rather than the right to self-determination of the Syrian people. Just because they are anti-regime doesn't mean they will be good for the Syrian people or are wanted by them. If the Syrians decide to vote in the MB in an election then I will shut my mouth, as I have with the elections in Egypt. But until then, I remain absolutely secular and will not support movements based on sectarianism. That has already ripped my country of origin apart and I have no wish for the Syrian people (whom I love deeply, particularly my friends and relatives there) to be subject to this. I am not shocked that the US is doing so, since it has been doing this in the Middle East and elsewhere for decades without thought to blowback or the aspirations of the people it is trying to manipulate. But to see this view being supported on a democratic blog daily is something I find deplorable.  

    •  What % of the support for the opposition (0+ / 0-)

      comes from the Syrians themselves, versus Saudi Arabia?

      Or is it your opinion that if they get a dime from Saudi Arabia, that means they're no good?

      You do know that the American revolution was "French funded" don't you? France had it's own imperialist reasons helping the US IMHO.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 06:58:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clay this is what I DON't understand (4+ / 0-)

        Why do you support the opposition in Syria when the majority of Syrians support Assad?

        The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay,
        If you believe in self-determination let the majority voice in Syria prevail. I don't like the idea that you push a neoconservative agenda on this blog in order to promote and preserve your ideals. You may think you are doing the Syrians a favor, but you are least not to the 55% of Syrians.
        •  The adoption of certain agendas is puzzling (3+ / 0-)

          It seems, i dunno, almost crusade-like? One who goes so far as to collate in-depth sources to verify their establishment position on whatever country is on-schedule to fall to western imperialism almost certainly comes across conflicting yet credible evidence to the contrary of that position, so...

          'tis a puzzlement.

        •  55% of Syrians do NOT support Assad (0+ / 0-)

          Another insidious myth is doing the rounds: that 55% of Syrians support president Assad. The figure was cited by Aisling Byrne in an article which I critiqued recently. Now, it has surfaced again in an article by Jonathan Steele for the Guardian.

          While it is undoubtedly true that the Assad regime still has a measure of support within Syria, no one can sensibly put a figure on it or claim that Assad's supporters form a majority.

          The 55% figure comes from an internet survey by YouGov Siraj for al-Jazeera's Doha Debates. Just over 1,000 people across the Arab countries were asked their opinion of Assad and an overwhelming majority – 81% – thought he should step down.

          However, al-Jazeera says the picture inside Syria is different: "Syrians are more supportive of their president with 55% not wanting him to resign."

          What is the basis for this statement? A look at the methodology of the survey shows that 211 of the respondents were in Levantine countries and that 46% of those were in Syria. In other words, the finding is based on a sample of just 97 internet users in Syria among a population of more than 20 million. It's not a meaningful result and certainly not adequate grounds for such sweeping conclusions about national opinion in Syria.

          Posted by Brian Whitaker, 18 January 2012.

          •  What is the basis, for that statement? (3+ / 0-)

            Al-Jazeera's worm has turned, and its ownership has came into play.

          •  55%+ of Syrians do not want the violence (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell

            going on from either side and would prefer negotiations and reform.

            •  "negotiations and reform" (0+ / 0-)

              Claudius, Clay has , as do I, backgrounds in the anti-imperialist left. His history goes back to the 60's, mine to the late 70's , after the triumph of the sandinista revolution. I was active with groups like CISPES . The Reaganites of that era would push the line that the salvadorean regime which was slaughtering peasants and workers en masse, should be negotiated with , since the regime of jose napoleon duarte was a 'reformist,' one. The Syrian revolution , just as was the case in el salvador , employs a range of strategies, from peaceful marches and strikes to the armed struggle of the fsa. to think that the assad regime , is interested in reform and negotiations, is very naive.

        •  You believe this poll? (0+ / 0-)

          Just how does one take a creditable poll in a police state at war with itself. Did you not see the story and videos of the Tohme family on my blog. The army stormed into the house and killed everybody including children as young as 4 because one family member was caught filming the troops from his balcony.

          I mean really, how do you do a creditable poll under conditions like that?

          Were these pollsters able to travel anywhere in Syria and talk to anyone they wanted to without government minders around? Did they have that much more freedom than the UN observers?

          I mean really, how do you do a creditable poll under conditions like that?

          And yet here you are peddling it as the undisputed truth, 55% of Syrians want to keep a mass murderer and child killer, a man who has called in air strikes on Syrian families, as their leader.

          Do you seriously think Assad would allow a poll to come out otherwise under his watch?

          Next you'll be telling me that the fact that he received 97.2% of the vote for president in 2000 proves that he is loved by all Syrians.

          Oh and BTW, I think I am doing the Syrians a favor right now by collecting the videos, tweets and other media of their struggles  as they pass me by in cyberspace and fixing them here were people and find them easily and know what is going on.

          Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

          by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 10:39:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You support an opposition that commits human right (2+ / 0-)

            abuses just as Assad does. The HRW says:

            Human Rights Watch has documented apparent crimes and other abuses committed by armed opposition elements. These crimes and abuses include the kidnapping and detention of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias (referred to locally as shabeeha), and individuals identified as government allies or supporters. They also include the use of torture and the execution of security force members and civilians. Some of the attacks targeting Shias and Alawites appear to be motivated by sectarianism.

            Abuses of this nature, including torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition members, have also been documented by the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry in its February 2012 report. In addition to concluding that armed members of the opposition have committed gross human rights abuses, the Commission’s report also references and appends documentation received from the Syrian government indicating that armed opposition members have kidnapped, killed, and disappeared civilians and security force members and displaced civilians.

            You have a tendency to think this is a battle between good vs evil, it's not. It's a civil unrest between two bads. You hate one bad but side with another.
            •  They don't commit HR violations (0+ / 0-)

              "Just as Assad" does. They don't shell cities or surround them with tanks. They haven't disappeared ten of thousands into a secret prison system, They don't kill children with helicopter gunships and kill soldiers that refuse to kill civilians.

              The attempt to make out the opposition as just as bad as Assad is an attempt to defend Assad.

              Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

              by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 11:21:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They do in this regard (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac

                Assad kills civilians. The opposition kills civilians. And how does it matter how those civilians are killed? So Assad may kill civilians with helicopters or other superior forms of technology and the opposition may kill civilians with roadside bombs or simple bullets. The bottomline is that civilians are killed by both sides, the means to kill the civilians are the only things that may differ.

                That's like saying a person who stabs you with a knife is a better person than someone who kills you with a drone strike. That's essentially your argument and it's a flawed and shoddy argument.

                I am not defending Assad or the opposition. All destruction of innocent life is gruesome. Apparently you don't feel the same way.

              •  HR violations from both sides... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shawn Russell

                Graphic- Al-Qaeda Officially Claims Responsibility For Mass Execution Of 13 Previously Unknown Corpses- Deir Al-Zoor, May 29th 2012

                Video 1: 'Activist' films massacre of 13 men very strangely saying none have ID cards and blaming Bashar Al-Assad for this killing.

                Video 2: Al-Qaeda officially claims responsibility for this killing, saying that these were security personnel. The statement says that they were captured and 'confessed' to crimes.

                •  Al-Nusra Front (0+ / 0-)

                    That would be the Al-Nusra Front ? A group which has been rolled up by the Assad regime , with the arrest of some of their leading cadre. And a group the FSA has denounced, wants nothing to do with.

                •  HR violations from both sides... (0+ / 0-)

                  Name me a war were that was true.

                  You realize that you could have trotted out that line to attack the struggle against Hitler in WW2 or to attack the struggle against slavery in the civil war with as much validity as you do now in defense of Assad.

                  Now do you see how banal your argument is?

                  Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

                  by Clay Claiborne on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 06:04:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are the one trotting out HR violations as (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Shawn Russell

                    a reason for attacking a sovereign country. The US has committed far more atrocities than any other nation on earth. You even made a documentary on it - called it a Holocaust.

                    WWII was a declared war. Syria is not.

                    You do know what is involved in a no-fly zone don't you? NATO fired off 300 cruise missiles plus several hundred sorties using it's full range of military aircraft in Libya.

                    To do the same with Syria would require at least 10/20 times as much. Libya had an ancient defense system that had not been upgraded for a decade or more. Syria is a lot more modern.

      •  Revolution or Civil War? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell

        In the American Revolution, 25,000 died. In the American Civil War, 600,000 died.

        The American Revolution was a war against the British so it was natural the French would get involved during that period.

        There was little outside influence in the American Civil War.

        I would say that Syria is closer to a civil war than a revolution. The opposition forces have become highly militarized into militias, just as in the US.

      •  I thought I was perfectly clear (3+ / 0-)

        that I don't support those with sectarian agendas, whether those sectarian agendas come from within Syria itself or from Saudi Arabia.

        I also thought I made it clear that I prefer the Syrian people themselves to create their own future, rather than have one imposed on them by Saudi, Turkey, NATO or the US.

        But I do appreciate how flexible liberal interventionist types are. The people the west is now supporting in Syria are the ones we fought against in Afghanistan and Iraq but now we are fighting behind them in Syria. Why? Because the Assad regime does not have external policies that are pleasing to the west. If Assad shifted his stance tomorrow, it would be all smiles and cuddles, kinda like with Qaddafi not too long ago.

      •  Yes, if they get a dime (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell

        from Saudi Arabia, they are no good.  Simple.  Anyone who gets money from a despicable theocratic regime like the Saudis who have killed their own demonstrators is no good.    The Saudi regime also sent troops in Bahrain to help the dictator  there kill  citizens who were calling for democracy.  How on earth are now the Saudis "champions of freedom".

  •  Well, if the future of Syria will be decided by (0+ / 0-)

    Syrians themselves as you're saying maybe there is no need to invade? Jokes aside, I don't think opposition is really all that united in the desire for 'help' especially if help comes in the form of invading troops.

  •  Here's a transcript of the complete article (5+ / 0-)

    The Al Jajeera link is only a partial transcript and a lot of the nuance is missing.

    Syria: No to intervention, no to illusions


    There are at least five distinct forces at play in the Syrian uprising:

  •  Things are not black and white in Syria (3+ / 0-)

    •  Frankly, that YouTube channel looks like an Assad (0+ / 0-)

      miss-information channel as it very closely follows the Assad line on things.

      Also this kind of video is easy to fake as it depends entirely on believing her story.

      Also Syrian Youth looks like a government controlled propaganda operation does it not? I mean they don't have free speech in Syria so I have to believe video, like everything else they do, is done with Assad's blessing.

      Of course Assad will have forces out there trying to muddy the water, producing video that show every thing is not black and white etc.

      You have to learn to cut through that.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 11:01:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She gives her name. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell
        Of course Assad will have forces out there trying to muddy the water, producing video that show every thing is not black and white etc.
        Things are NOT black and white in Syria. There are no conflicts in the world where things are black and white. You are beginning to sound like you are quite mad.

        Any news source that doesn't support your viewpoint it automatically labelled as a liar, fake or false. You do this over and over.

        Here's more videos from the other side. You may remember some of them.

        Everything You Need To Know About FSA

        •  Do you realize how crazy that is? Remember (0+ / 0-)

          that there is no free speech in Syria at all in government controlled areas.  What makes you think those people aren't making those videos under threat?  Or do you believe that the videos saying "the US is bad" made at the Hanoi Hilton were legitimate as well?

          There is no saving throw against stupid.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jul 02, 2012 at 05:15:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you believe what the western MSM is telling us? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shawn Russell

            us about events unfolding in the ME? Did you believe them in the run-up to the Iraq War?


            A top ex-manager with the Al-Jazeera news channel says the network has gone through a great change from the flag bearer of objective journalism to what many people consider to be a foreign politics-led news organization.

            There have been at least 6 resignations from Al Jajeera in the last year due to interference in reporting the truth of what is going on in Libya/Syria.
      •  AlJazeera Producer Resigns Over Syria (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell, protectspice

        Aljazeera producer, Mousa Ahmed, resigns over bias surrounding Syria.

        '"The facts are totally different with the reports in the media (Al Jazeera), extremely different," Reuters quoted Mousa Ahmed, a former producer for Al-Jazeera's Beirut Bureau, as saying on Wednesday.

        Ahmed said the channel concealed many facts, with editors' opinions becoming the so-called facts, adding, "I'm so sorry that we concealed facts for so long a time."

        Ahmed is one of the five Al-Jazeera employees in Lebanon who resigned from the TV station over the channel's biased stand on Syria in the middle of March.'

  •  Bennis background (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clay Claiborne

      Back in the early 80's when I was active in the Students for Economic Democracy chapter at CSUN, we asked for names of Los Angeles based leftists who could speak at the anti-draft rally rally we organized on campus, from the Santa Monica CED elders. They recommended Bennis, who spoke at the rally for us. Later on I learned that Bennis was in Line of March, the M-L sect . LoM defended the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. Additional info on LoM can be found in the book by Max Elbaum on the "New Communist Movement," groups of the 70's and 80's published by Verso. Yrs. later when I was active in the Jesse Jackson campaign , LoM and the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L) , carried out some of their internecine sectarian fights inside the campaign.

    •  So what is your point? (2+ / 0-)

      Leftists are sometimes wrong, about some things?

      The real theater of facts defers to only to pre-approved parties?

      •  Actually she was correct in supporting the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell, protectspice

        Soviet Occupation. The Soviets were trying to support the secular Afghanistan government against the sectarian Islamic Mujahedin. These Mujahedin had been secretly financed and armed by a covert CIA operation called Operation Cyclone under Carter in order to destabilize the socialist government.

        Zbignev Bzezhinski in an interview to French Le Nouvel Observateur said: According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it On July 3, 1979 US President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul...We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would. The day the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war...
        Possibly Afghanistan would be a modern country with a secular government right now if it wasn't for US interventionism in the area.

        Here's some pictures of those times:

        Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…

        A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.

        I have since had the images in that book digitized. Remembering Afghanistan's hopeful past only makes its present misery seem more tragic.

        •  PDPA regime in Afghanistan (0+ / 0-)

          These illusions in the Afghan Communist regime never seem to go away. I recommend you read this analysis by a Pakistani socialist, . Both major factions of the PDPA were Stalinist. The means by which they implemented their reforms replicated the totalitarian methods of the Stalinist regime during the 30's in the USSR.

          •  There were still great gains made under Soviet (0+ / 0-)


            Afghanistan: Women Under Imperialist Occupation

            Afghanistan: Front Line of the Anti-Soviet War Drive

            In their drive for world domination, the U.S. imperialists have never had any compunction about siding with the most retrograde social forces. It is impossible to comprehend the current plight of Afghan women without examining Washington’s role in backing the forces of Islamic reaction against the Soviet Union and its PDPA allies starting in 1978.

            It is interesting that the US funded the Islamist Mujahedin, Hekmatyar to help Amin overthrow the Afghan government. This was a large part of the reason the Soviets moved in.

            Now, the US is fighting against this very same man.

            In Afghanistan: Embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar Is No Method at All

            -Apocalypse Now

            One thing that remains consistent over the last 30 years in observing America's participation in Afghanistan is that mistakes and errors of judgment, no matter how egregious or self-defeating, never seem to get corrected. In fact, in its effort to rationalize a growing culture of war-making from Vietnam to Afghanistan, America has come around to embracing the insanity of the fictional Colonel Kurtz.

            Without a care for the consequences, the U.S. first fostered Islamic extremists in the 1980s (repackaging them for public consumption as "fiercely religious freedom fighters"), then endorsed the rise of the Taliban by claiming they were a "cleansing" force (apparently for these same fiercely religious freedom fighters). According to former CIA operative Milt Bearden, the U.S. also helped facilitate the Arab infiltration of Central Asia by assisting Al Qaeda and ultimately redirecting Osama bin Laden out of the Sudan and into Afghanistan. The Washington beltway and a large segment of the media reveled in the genius of their new "method," for undoing communist influence and securing Central Asia.

      •  She's wrong again (0+ / 0-)

        Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

        by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 11:07:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  She was not wrong back then and she is not wrong (0+ / 0-)

          today in her assessment of the situation in Syria.

          Phyllis Bennis:

          So at the moment it still appears unlikely the Obama administration would risk an attack on Syria without a UN Security Council endorsement. And that endorsement is simply not going to happen in the near future. China and Russia have both indicated they oppose any use of force against Syria, and so far they are both opposing additional sanctions as well.
          In the U.S. and Europe, the media and politicians’ earlier embrace of the armed opposition has subsided somewhat as reports rise of opposition attacks and resulting civilian casualties. But anti-Assad propaganda remains dominant.  And Washington is in election mode, so the pressure to “do something” is on the rise. The calls for military intervention are coming from the media and some in Congress, from neo-cons who never gave up on their plans for regime change across the Arab world, and from hawkish liberal interventionists who again see military force as a solution to every human rights or humanitarian problem.

      •  My point? (0+ / 0-)

        She has historically aligned with a sector of the Left that derives from old Comintern traditions. Support Soviet (now Russian) client states, such as the Assad regime. No matter that States such as Assad's killed at least 20,000 civilians in Hama, in '82. It is esp. ironic that Bennis would support the regime, as 3,000 Palestinian refugees were killed by Hafez Assad's forces in the Tal al Zaatar camp.
        "Syrian weapons are being used – most unfortunately – against our camp, while the rulers of Damascus continue to repeat that they are here in Lebanon in order to defend our camp. This is a murderous lie, a lie which pains us more than anyone else… But we wish to inform you that we will fight in defense of this camp with our bare hands if all our ammunition is spent and all our weapons are gone, and that we will tighten our belts so that hunger will not kill us. For we have taken a decision not to surrender and we shall not surrender…"

        –open letter from the residents of Tal al Zataar refugee camp to the world, July 13, 1976

    •  Thanks for the history (0+ / 0-)

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Sun Jul 01, 2012 at 11:06:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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