The uprising and fighting in Syria have gone on for over five years and your platform doesn’t say a word about it. Delegates to this weekend’s convention, how about adding these five sentences?
- We stand with the Arab revolutions and uprisings for democracy that started in Tunisia and Egypt
- Syrians have a right to reject the Assad dynasty
- We support the democratic forces in Syria against all reactionary killers from Assad to ISIS to al-Qaeda and others
- We demand that the great powers abide by the promises to airdrop food and supplies to Syrian areas under siege as of June 1, 2016 #DropFoodNotBombs
- We denounce any deal by the U.S. government with Russia that makes cooperation against ISIS dependent on giving Assad, Russia and Iran a free hand to crush the Syrian uprising
This should fit in perfectly with your principles, but I admit it may be a hard sell. It conflicts with the reigning Conspiracist worldview on the Left that everything is the fault of the U.S. including Syria. On the face of it Russia and Iran (and plenty of other countries outside the NATO orbit) are grasping capitalist powers on the make, but in the Conspracist worldview they’re all just poor victims of imperialism and if they appear to stomp on their own citizens or some other nation it’s really a U.S. plot.
Jill Stein’s pick for vice president, Ajamu Baraka, certainly sees Syria that way. He thinks Syrians voted for Assad to continue running the country after shooting down peaceful demonstrations and torturing to death thousands of prisoners. Continued opposition supposedly is the fault of the U.S., Saudis and Turkey. Look at this July 6 piece on his website http://www.ajamubaraka.com/
He even says ISIS is a creation of the West that went a little sour. Here are some of his claims in that July 6 article.
“This was evident when the Bush administration and then the Obama administration decided to re-empower these radical jihadists as part of their strategy to put pressure on the al-Maliki government in Iraq and effect governmental change in Syria. In short, they encouraged a jihadist invasion and then framed it as a 'civil war.'
“…the Administration didn’t appear to be too concerned when ISIS broke off from al-Qaeda and began to establish its own independent economic base once it captured the oil fields in Syria. It all seemed like part of the plan, especially when it became clear that NATO member Turkey was being used to get the Syrian oil to world markets.
“…But this Frankensteinian strategy turned farce into disaster when ISIS double-crossed their benefactors by breaking the rules and attacking the 'good Kurds' in Iraq. The strategy appeared to be more concerned with holding territory in Iraq and Syria than carrying out their assignment to overthrow the Assad government and completing the dismemberment of the Syrian state – the strategic objective of U.S. and Israeli policy to counter the regional power of the Iranians.”
So according to him the U.S. fostered ISIS to pressure Iraqi government leaders. They then lost billions in money and weapons and half the Iraqi army in the process, but that was OK because ISIS’ job was then supposedly to get rid of Assad. This is nonsense.
Jill Stein’s position is only somewhat better. In Moscow (of all places) she said “US pursuit of regime change in Libya, Iraq, and Syria created the chaos that promotes power grabs by extremist militias.” So there was no popular uprising. It was all a U.S. plot against Assad.
I heard her speak in CT in February and she said more or less the same thing, lumping Syria in with Iraq and Afghanistan as being just another U.S.-inspired disaster, no mention of Assad’s torture-to-death prisons, no anger over the 1,400 killed by sarin gas, no outrage about what the Russian and Iranians were doing, no demands that the sieges end. Instead she issued a call for diplomacy to settle things. I’ve heard that song many times from the U.S. leaders talking about Palestine. It goes, “Continue with the peace process and ignore the horrendous human rights abuses. All will be well.”
Her analysis is not only wrong, but naïve. The enemy of our enemy is not automatically our friend. Instead we have to realize we’re walking in a minefield with mines and pits and enemies all over the place and we have to figure out how to navigate it and how not to lose our souls in the process.
Green Party convention delegates, you all determine party policy. How about standing up for an Arab people undergoing horrific violence? How about voting in a section on Syria on the Green platform like the five points I propose above?
Stanley Heller works with the Revive the Peace Movement Network. This article originally appeared on Economic Uprising.
Heller off the mark Assad’s regime, like many in Arabic countries is based on family, tribe & ethnic support but is the most secular that I’ve ever seen in that region. The rebels are less than secular and will execute anyone who is not a Sunni Muslim. BTW: Democracy in the US is rapidly turning into a Bush-Clinton family regime, at present. Assad’s ‘torture prisons’ were evil but I note that GWB’s regime had ne problem in sending kidnapped prisoners there to be tortured. One Canadian non-terrorist amongst the victims. The US did support the overthrow of an elected government in Egypt in favour of yet another military junta in Cairo, as well as the ouster of al-Maliki in Baghdad. The Russian foreign minister Lavrov has already stated that the “Syrian people should select the next Syrian president, not any foreign nation” It is true that the Saudis, US & Israel supplied ISIS (as part of FSA) with transportation, weapons, ammo & communication devices before they separated into ISIS & al-Nusra(AlQaida). The US has interfered in many ME countries and left all of them in a chaotic state of violence and misery, because they just don’t understand the culture and can’t seem to think beyond the first level.
Suggested reading for Alan
Excellent points by Heller
Heller has hit it right on the nose. This is not my only problem with the Green candidates, but it’s certainly one of the biggest. There is absolutely no excuse for anyone who claims to be progressive to side in any way with the Assad regime or even to minimize his horrible deeds. Let’s remember how this war started: some teenagers in a Syrian city, inspired by the Arab Spring protests elsewhere, wrote anti-regime graffiti around their town. The regime’s response was to arrest and torture them. When people peacefully protested against this, the regime shot at the protesters. As the protests spread, the regime continued to violently suppress them, leading the protesters to take up arms. The idea that the US was involved at any point in these early stages is ludicrous, and even if it was, it could never excuse the bloody actions of the Assad regime, whether it is the torture prisons or the continual and deliberate bombardment of civilians. Assad has killed far more Syrians than ISIS (though they are equally horrible).
Some rarely reported facts about Syria you should keep in mind: • The Assad family belongs to the tolerant Islam of Alawid orientation. • Syrian women have the same rights as men to study, health and education. • Syria women are not forced to wear the burqa. The Sharia (Islamic law) is unconstitutional. • Syria is the only Arab country with a secular constitution and does not tolerate Islamic extremist movements. • Roughly 10% of the Syrian population belongs to one of the many Christian denominations, all fully integrated in Syrian political and social life. That is 2 million people. • In other Arab countries the Christian population is less than 1% due to sustained hostility. • Syria has banned genetically modified (GMO) seeds, stating his decision was made in order “to preserve human health,” • Syria has an opening to Western society and culture like no other Arab country. • Its media and universities openly debate the global power elite’s influence in things. This means that they fully grasp the fact that real power in the West lies not in the White House but rather with the complex and powerful grid of elite think-tanks and central banks. • Throughout history there have been five popes of Syrian origin. Religious tolerance is unique in the area. Syria is the country where Christianity and the Muslim faith meet historically. This is shown by historical religious landmarks such as the Girdle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Mary_Church_of_the_Holy_Belt • Prior to the current civil war, Syria was one of the only peaceful countries in the Middle East, having avoided major wars or internal conflicts. • Syria was the only country that admitted Iraqi refugees without any social, political or religious discrimination And the most two important points: • Syria is one of the only countries in the Middle East without debts to the International Monetary Fund ( Pre-invasion Libya & Iran the only others ) • Syria is the only Mediterranean country which remains the owner of its oil company, with an oil reserve of 2,500 million barrels, the operation of which has avoided privatization and is reserved exclusively for state-owned enterprises. So now ask yourself, why are we truly attempting to overthrow yet another government? What are we hoping to fix there? If the recent invasions and illegal assassinations of Presidents like Qaddafi and Saddam have taught us anything, it should be the understanding of the blowback effect of such lawless actions by the West and the vacuum of chaos that always supersedes it. It will exacerbate the refugee crisis.