Syria: Top 12 Essential Articles

 

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The Top 12 list is the result of a poll, which was presented in several media collectives working on Syria.  
The "Further Reading" list below contains the articles that didn't make the top 12. We encourage you to read all of them to gain a better understanding of the situation in Syria.

 

1. Syrian rebels overwhelmingly condemn US bombing as an attack on revolution

By Michael Karadjis

In extraordinary developments, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan have launched a joint air war, on Syrian territory, with the full support of the Syrian tyranny of Bashar al-Assad, on the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

What hope is there then in Syria, where the Assad regime has been far more murderous than Maliki, has wiped entire Sunni towns and cities off the map and sent millions into exile? While the US now acts as Assad’s airforce to help smash the revolution, a stabilisation of the situation will eventually require the long-term US aim of doing some deal that encourages Assad and a narrow circle around him to “step down” in order to save the Baathist regime and its military-security apparatus, and to “widen” it by allowing in some select conservative opponents into the regime. The so-called ‘Yemeni solution.’ The difficulty being that the Assad ruling family and mega-capitalist clique is so much more completely associated with the state than a mere Saleh or Mubarak ever was.

Is an attempt to crush the revolution for the regime a prelude to a plan with regime insiders and international factors to gently push Assad aside when it’s over to gain a modicum of Sunni support to replace ISIS on the ground? Like everything else, this remains to be seen, but is one of the possibilities – as is the possibility that the crushing of the revolution simply means the current regime becomes the “factor of stability” in the region.
 

2. an introduction to syria – its history and its present revolutionary struggles 

By yasmeen mobayed
the syrian revolution began in march 2011, after 9-15 year old kids were inspired by the uprisings in the MENA. the first protests began in dara’a, syria – several children graffitied anti-government slogans on their school wall and were taken by assad’s forces, interrogated, and tortured (they were severely beaten and their nails were removed). on march 15th, the children’s families and the community responded by protesting for the children to be returned; however, not all the children were released. this sparked the beginning of the revolution. 

on friday march 18th, cities throughout syria collectively united in solidarity with dara’a, but security forces immediately responded by firing bullets on the peaceful demonstrations, killing 6 people on the very first day. after march 18th, syrians went out to protest every day (the ba’ath flag was used by demonstrators for nearly a year and a half before the independence flag that we see today was fully adopted). it’s important to note that at first the revolution’s demand was for mere reforms, but after experiencing the regime’s hostile and vicious response, the people demanded the downfall of the regime in its entirety.

 

3.  'Take Your Portion': A Victim Speaks Out About Rape in Syria 

By LAUREN WOLFE

Alma Abdulrahman's story fits her name -- alma can mean a number of things in Arabic. It can mean "dark" or "black" but it can also refer to a lush kind of tree that is a metaphor for beauty. And the horrors she describes have positioned her to become the face of powerful women survivors in Syria. She says she has fought and killed; she also says she has done it for her country. She says she has endured torture and violation but that she is "capable of standing up against oppression." Speaking out has been a decision she has made after many months of being told to stay quiet.

"We have to share this with the entire world to show that women are fighters," she says. "The Arab woman is very strong. All she needs is just a little freedom."
 

4. The Anti-Imperialism of Fools 

By Mahmoud E.
Comrades and friends, let’s put an end to this Anti-Imperialism of fools and be principled to our ideals and not fall into supporting those who blindly back the fascist,social chauvinist and bourgeois nationalist Assad regime that is oppressing the Syrian masses we have to unite and support the syrian people’s struggle and progressive forces of Syria against the Assad regime and Imperialism whether it is US/Western Imperialism, Russian imperialism or Iranian and Arab gulf countries interventions in Syria. 
 

5. A Friend of my Father: Iran’s Manipulation of Bashar al-Assad​  

BY BASSAM BARABANDI AND TYLER JESS THOMPSON
The March 2011 uprising presented an irresistible opportunity for Iran to assert permanent dominance throughout greater Syria. Iran acted quickly, sending Secretary Jalili to Damascus just days after protesters took to the streets in Daraa. Jalili pitched the Iron Curtain plan to Bashar’s inner circle, assuring them that he knew the formula to neutralize protesters effectively. Iranian officials encouraged Assad to avoid concessions that could limit their influence over Assad’s inner circle. As the tensions evolved into armed conflict, Iran immediately sent advisors, snipers, and special forces to support Bashar. To compensate for defections from his officers, Bashar padded his loyalist camp with fighters and strategic planners from Iran and Hezbollah. Hafez spent decades protecting himself from such an incursion, but by late 2011, his son was desperate for a friend.
 

6. How Syria’s Assad Helped Forge ISIS 

By Simon Speakman Cordall
Mohammed Al-Saud is under no illusions. “In 2011, the majority of the current ISIS leadership was released from jail by Bashar Al Assad,” he said. “No one in the regime has ever admitted this, or explained why.” Al-Saud, a Syrian dissident with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, left Syria under threat of arrest in 2011.

Alghorani is convinced that members of ISIS were released strategically by Assad. “From the first days of the revolution (in March 2011), Assad denounced the organisation as being the work of radical Salafists, so he released the Salafists he had created in his prisons to justify the claim ... If you do not have an enemy, you create an enemy.”

Fellow Syrians agree. “The regime did not just open the door to the prisons and let these extremists out, it facilitated them in their work, in their creation of armed brigades,” a former member of the Syrian Security Services told the Abu Dhabi newspaper, the National, on condition of anonymity in January this year.

“The regime knew what these people were. It knew what they wanted and the extent of their networks. Then it released them. These are the same people who are now in Iraq,” Al-Saud added.
 

7. SYRIA: A reading into the new wave of European far-right and the reasons behind its support for the Syrian regime 

Originally published in Arabic on Al-Manshour 
By Hisham Al Ashqar

Translated by Laila Attar and Ubiydah Mobarak from Arabic for Tahrir-ICN

News of the visits of fascist and far-right groups to Syria, to show solidarity with the regime, have recently started to emerge, especially with the beginning of the revolutionary process in the Arab region. It seems that the Syrian issue ranks highly on the agenda of the European far-right. So, is it axiomatic to say that the majority of the European far-right supports Assad’s regime and stands against the revolution in Syria?
 

8.  Syrian Fascism and the Western Left  

by Nicole Gevirtz

The Ba’athist kind of, dare I say, tribal imperialism, can only rule through brutal terror and oppression. This is exacerbated when a minority rules. Sectarian animosity has been relentlessly exacerbated by the regime’s narratives and actions, not by the popular rebellion for democracy. Sectarian blackmail remains one of the last tools in Bashar’s arsenal that can still mobilize large segments of the Syrian population to support him. Every undermining of the government, no matter how slight, is seen as a challenge to the neo-Ba’athist tribal hegemony. Such a security state apparatus, by its very nature, is destined to be immersed in a bloodbath of its own making. The horrors in Syria today are absolutely comparable to the Nazi death camps, yet the American anti-Zionist Left is denying their pain while quoting Hannah Arendt. Even American pro-Palestinian organizations are describing the Syrian people as Wahabi-NATO-Zionists. Lebanese pseudo-secular hipsters and Hezbollah fanboys don´t know, or seem to care, that Iran cooperated with George W. Bush in Iraq but they use the disastrous Iraq war as an example for not intervening in Syria. They don´t even know basic facts about Syria, and as a result, Western Leftists have become pro-fascists; they are making speeches in praise of Assad in Syria itself - at the scene of the genocide. Others, often the same ones who refused to recognize George Bush's election results, were praising Assad's alleged victory in the farcical election there over the forces of imperialism and Islamism.

This is not unlike going to Germany to praise Hitler's plan to “settle the Jews in the east” as a victory over the Jewish plot. At least the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide did not attempt to have a presidential election in the middle of the bloodshed. The Western Left has become an obstruction in the way of truth, life and freedom… at least for Syrians; the victims of this generation’s greatest humanitarian crisis. Real revolutionaries, and anyone with some common human decency, should treat these fascists the same way they treat any other fascists; with absolute contempt.
 

9. Tortured and killed: Hamza al-Khateeb, age 13

By Hugh Macleod and Annasofie Flamand

The child had spent nearly a month in the custody of Syrian security, and when they finally returned his corpse it bore the scars of brutal torture: Lacerations, bruises and burns to his feet, elbows, face and knees, consistent with the use of electric shock devices and of being whipped with cable, both techniques of torture documented by Human Rights Watch as being used in Syrian prisons during the bloody three-month crackdown on protestors.

Hamza's eyes were swollen and black and there were identical bullet wounds where he had apparently been shot through both arms, the bullets tearing a hole in his sides and lodging in his belly.

On Hamza's chest was a deep, dark burn mark. His neck was broken and his penis cut off.

"Where are the human rights committees? Where is the International Criminal Court?" asks the voice of the man inspecting Hamza's body on a video uploaded to YouTube.

"A month had passed by with his family not knowing where he was, or if or when he would be released. He was released to his family as a corpse. Upon examining his body, the signs of torture are very clear."
 

10. Bashar Al Assad: An Intimate Profile of a Mass Murderer 

By Annia Ciezadlo
To Bashar and his wife, it wasn’t the Syrian regime that required real reform. It was the Syrian people. Asma’s official biography, passed to me by an old friend of Bashar’s, distills their governing ideology. It reads like a tract from Rand Paul: Syrians need to stop depending on the state and assume “personal responsibility for achieving the common good,” the document proclaims, adding, “the sustainable answer to social need is not aid but opportunity” and “creating circumstances where people can help themselves.” That the Assad family and its loyalists have been helping themselves to Syria’s national wealth for decades does not enter into this narrative.
 

11. Exploding the myth of Syria being ‘anti-imperialist’ 

By Workers International
While the Assad regime may have ‘nationalised’ the oil and gas sectors of the economy, these are partnerships with imperialist companies and not under workers control. For example the Loon Lattakia oil company is a partnership with Mena which is a Canadian oil companyGulfsands Petroleum operates extensively in Syria- Gulfsands is in part controlled by the infamous Blackrock Investments, Schroder Investments, Goldman Sachs and Cheriot Norges bank. The bank of America, Barclays, AIG and Merrill Lynch, as shareholders in Blackrock are thus also participants in the imperialist operations in Syria. Earlier this year, imperialist magazine, World Finance, awarded Rami Makhlouf an award as visionary business leader. Makhlouf is part of the Assad family that through Cham Investment Group, Mada Transport (a motor assembly operation) and Real Estate Bank, control over 60% of the Syrian economy on behalf of imperialism.  Makhlouf and other Syrian capitalists have opened their warehouses as prisons as the official prisons are overflowing with the regime’s captives. Yet the Syrian CP insists that the regime is ‘anti-imperialist’!

The Communist Action Party in Syria confirms that when the Assad coup took place the local capitalist class was not expropriated and continued to operate. Thus when the oil and gas sector were nationalised, it was a state capitalist regime that made this raw material available for imperialist exploitation- the state using part of the revenue to create perks such as free education and health care to create capitalist stability. [Free education and free health care are not in themselves indicators of a ‘socialist’ regime. Saudi Arabia and some other capitalist countries also have free education and health care but are brutal anti-worker regimes. Even if education may be offered free, under capitalism it is still a tool to brainwash the working class and produce tame and obedient wage slaves for capitalist needs.]
 

12. Every Friday: New Slogans of the People’s Revolution 

By Not George Sabra
The democratic people’s revolution in Syria has accomplished something of world-historic importance: it has united both the imperialists and the anti-imperialists against it. Eastern imperialism led by Russia arms Bashar al-Assad to the teeth, Western imperialism led by the U.S. continues its heavy arms blockadeon Assad’s opposition, and so-called anti-imperialists led by As’ad Abu Khalil,George GallowayRand PaulCynthia McKinney, Stop the War Coalition, andANSWER Coalition relentlessly slander the uprising every step of the way in every conceivable way.

One fact that exposes the falseness of the imperialist-anti-imperialist alliance narrative is how the revolution’s supporters choose the names of their weekly mass protests. These protests have taken place in cities and villages across Syria after Friday prayers on every Friday without exception since the revolution began on March 15, 2011; they are the pulse of the struggle, the voice of the formerly voiceless, a chronicle of each twist and turn their struggle for freedom has taken.
Anywhere between 14,000 and 30,000 people vote democratically for their preferred slogans.

 

 

FURTHER READING
 

Blog Rolls and Compilations

- Everything from Michael Karadjis 

- Everything from Clay Claiborne on Syria 

- Everything from WE WRITE WHAT WE LIKE 

SYRIAN REVOLUTION: ARCHIVE

Useful Articles on the Syrian Revolution from MENA
 

History and Analysis

 The roots and grassroots of the Syrian revolution 

-  SYRIA: AN ILLUSIONED UNDERSTANDING 

-  SYRIA: The life and work of anarchist Omar Aziz, and his impact on self-organization in the Syrian revolution  

The Vocabulary of Sectarianism 

The Multiple Layers of the Syrian Crisis 
-Syria. The facts & figures. Be shocked. And ask why.

The Opposition

A MODERN HISTORY OF THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY IN DARAA 

-  List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War 

-(Updated 09-2015) infographic of the Syrian Armed Opposition

-SYRIA: The struggle continues: Syria’s grass-roots civil opposition

 

Geo Politics 

The US, Iran, Russia-Syria and the geopolitical shift: Anything for the region’s oppressed? 

Why Now? US Airstrikes on Syria 

Yet again on those hoary old allegations that the US has armed the FSA since 2012  

We Stand Behind the Syrian People’s Revolution – No to Foreign Intervention 

Naame Shaam Report: IRAN IN SYRIA – From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force

-Who has the US bombed for in Syria?

-Russian FSB behind recruitment of North Caucasus people who have left to fight in Syria 

-North Caucasus Resistance 101 for Plastic Brains

-Are there Russian troops fighting in Syria?

ASSad

Assad emails: father-in-law gave advice from UK during crackdown 

Inside Assad’s Playbook: Time and Terror 

Bashar Assad and the Death of History  
 

ISIS

- On ISIS. How did the sectarian nightmare come true in Syria and Iraq? 

Assad Has Never Fought ISIS Before 

SYRIA: ‘Revolution within the revolution’ :The battle against ISIS

EXCLUSIVE: Shaikh Hassan Abboud's final interview 

- The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of the Islamic State

Palestine

On the Issue of Palestinian Support for the Assad Regime 

- Syria and the Palestinians: 'Almost no other Arab state has as much Palestinian blood on its hands' 

- How Not to Be in Solidarity with Palestinians Refugees in Yarmouk  

A guide for the Palestinian or “pro-Palestinian” shabiha sympathizer in your life 

 

Fascism

A red-brown alliance for Syria 

SYRIA: Who are Assad’s fascist supporters?  

IS FASCISM INFILTRATING OUR RALLIES?
 

Neo-liberal Politics of the Syrian Regime

-  Revolts in Syria: Tracking the Convergence Between Authoritarianism and Neoliberalism

 Revolts in Syria: Regime Neoliberalism, Fundamental Changes, Decolonial Arab Revolution, and Syria’s Revolt
 

Chemical Attacks

Syria's Ghouta Gas Massacre of August 21, 2013: The US let it happen and the Left tried to cover it up. 

- Syria: #BreathingDeath Commemorating Actions of Those Killed in Ghouta 

- #BreathingDeath Chemical Timeline English Version 

Ghouta, the Planned Attack (Only a part of the documentary)

Promo 2 | first anniversary of the chemical massacre in Syria

Syria: List of names from the Chemical Attack in East Ghouta- NYC 08/22/14 

- Interview with Hamid Imam: "Ask me what is happening in Syria!"-NYC 08/22/14

- Qusai Zakarya: I was gassed by Bashar Al-Assad

Speak4Syria: Qusai Zakarya

-50 Documented Violations Of The UN Security Council Resolution 2118 Through Using Poison Gases In 50 Attacks-What Is Behind The Red Line?

South-American Connections

The Cuban Regime's International Impact on Human Rights: Syria 

Assad and Kirchner pledge mutual support 

Syrian TV - Message from President al-Assad to President of Cuba on the latest developments in Syria, conveyed by al-Mikdad 

How Cuba and Venezuela Scabbed on the Syrian Revolution
 

Kurds

Syria-Report From Aleppo 9/30/2014: Assad Continues Targeting Civilians; Special ANA Press Exclusive Report on Kobani  

On the Syrian Revolution and the Kurdish Issue – an interview with Syrian-Kurdish activist and journalist Shiar Nayo 

 

The Position of the Western 'Left'

Alternative Left Perspectives on Syria  

The role of US Imperialism in Syria and the Left's Dilemma 

Selective Internationalism: An Activist Disorder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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