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Salameh Kaileh

Syria and the revolution against the world

The free Syrian flag has been a symbol of revolution against tyranny [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 December, 2016

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Comment: The Syrian revolution is part of a global, radical push for freedom that cannot be suppressed - ignore it at your peril, writes Salameh Kaileh.

The whole world has intervened in Syria. Both regional and imperialist powers are here, their interventions closely linked to their regional or global roles.

It did not matter to them that what happened in Syria was a rebellion to topple the regime, and fulfill the people's decades-long aspirations - from employment, education and healthcare to ending tyranny, repression and never-ending crackdowns by the regime.

The Syrian revolution followed others that had began following "simple incidents", before spreading like wildfire across Arab countries. Local and international bids to quell the revolutions ensued. In some countries, figureheads were quickly replaced to show the revolutions had succeeded. In others, like Libya and Bahrain, there was military intervention, or long-lasting manoeuvres, like in Yemen.

Yet none of these actions were able to stop the revolutions, which inspired peoples dreaming of change in a world beleaguered by a deep crisis of capitalism.

It is perhaps for this reason then that all these imperialist powers decided to turn Syria into a graveyard for the revolution, which had spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria, and triggered protests in Oman, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, and Morocco.

The revolution had to be confronted in Syria, the country ruled by a power-hungry regime that perceived power as inheritable property for whose sake four decades of experience in violence could be deployed. As the regime watched the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt step down, it dug up its old protocols for such situations, having understood that only violence could suppress the revolution - and with it all demands for the ruling cabal in Syria to depart.

As such, the Syrian people were doomed to fight the whole world at once.

At first, the Syrian people fought the regime and broke it, despite all its might and brutality. Less than two years later, the regime was on the verge of collapse; the revolution had spread to most parts of Syria.

Iran brought in thousands of mujahidin, injected billions of dollars and deployed all kinds of weapons in Syria.

The regime had forced the revolutionaries to take up arms. The rebels were soon able to shake the foundations of the regime. Tensions infiltrated the army's ranks, and many of its conscripts now wanted to defect or desert, forcing the regime to withdraw most divisions into barracks, and rely instead on its hardcore loyalist units.

The regime's survival, let alone victory, was now questionable. The revolution had galvanised the state and society, making the regime's continued existence impossible.

At that moment, the Syrian people were met with the first foreign intervention meaning to protect the regime from collapse - Hizballah, Iraqi sectarian militias, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and the Zainabis mobilised by Iran from Afghanistan and Pakistan for its counter-revolutionary war.

Iran brought in thousands of mujahidin, injected billions of dollars and deployed all kinds of weapons in Syria.

Soon enough, the battle was between the people and Iran and her proxies, supported by the remnants of the regime's troops and its air force.

At the same time, the flow of jihadists was facilitated on the basis that they were coming to fight the regime. However, they sabotaged the revolution, killing the best of its leaders and political, media and relief cadres, then seized entire regions, chasing out revolutionary factions.

They implanted the Nusra Front into the revolution, as well as thugs and spies.

Now the revolution was fighting the regime and all these entities together. Nevertheless, in 2015, the balance of power tipped further against the regime, prompting Russia to intervene with all its military might, technology and firepower.

The revolution was spontaneous and had no real leadership.

The revolution was spontaneous and had no real leadership.

This meant that it was fragmented and scattered, and in many cases, there was in-fighting. Terrorist forces were accommodated and some accepted to be linked to regional powers.

At the same time, many who sought to get on the bandwagon of the revolution helped sabotage, corrupt, or "Islamise" it, with the help of some regional entities. And allies helped the revolution on a selective basis, to contain the revolution rather than help it triumph, bowing down to the American decision to besiege the revolutionaries.

The revolution was thus pitted against the regime, which it weakened year after year until it was on the verge of collapsing; then in came Iran and its proxies; and Russia, which came to prove its new imperialist credentials with relentless brutality.

Both Russia and Iran justified their intervention by saying the revolution was being backed by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. However, it is clear now that these powers were not with the revolution, but were purely serving their own interests. At any rate, they sabotaged the revolution, and thus, all interventions in Syria have been against the revolution.

Indeed, all these countries are against the revolution. They were petrified when the spark was ignited in Tunisia before spreading far and wide. For this reason, the central question for them has been crushing the revolution, directly or by hijacking it, and for this reason, they sought to set an example in Syria by turning the uprising into a massacre.

The Syrian revolution is against the world. For this reason, it will have a major role in the course of the Arab and global revolutions, those that are ongoing and those that are yet to come.

On the other hand, Syria was an arena for international rivalry. The revolution thus inevitably led to various interventions, all aimed at looting the country or imposing rival capitals in a regional or international role.

The Syrian people have therefore been fighting for years not only against the regime, but against entire states and non-state actors, and on multiple fronts. The people have fought against the regime and the forces that came to shore it up, and the Salafist-Jihadists who came to crush them.

Nevertheless, the Syrians continue to resist and still hope to prevail.

It is difficult but not impossible. The conflict in Syria is not confined to the country, but is part of the struggle began by Arab masses for radical change in a world that is still plagued by crises that will explode, a sign of the worsening class struggle in many countries.

The Syrian revolution is against the world. For this reason, it will have a major role in the course of the Arab and global revolutions, those that are ongoing and those that are yet to come.

Salameh Kaileh is a Jordanian-Palestinian journalist who was arrested and tortured in Damascus before being deported.

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