This is basic:
And the confusion in the “battlespace” fails to recognize the true oppositions in the Syrian Conflict and Tragedy.
The correct framing: the 25th anniversary (Dec. 26) of the dissolve of the Soviet Union.
The correct opposition:
“Medieval Political Absolutism” vs “Modern Democratic Distributions of Power”
The medieval axis: Moscow-Damascus-Tehran + others who invest themselves in authoritarian politics. Fair slogan for the kleptocratic dictatorships: “Different Talks — Same Walk!”
The dictators are those who walk all over their own constituents (or subjugated populations).
The modern axis: the United States, NATO, the open democracies of the west and worldwide.
There are a lot of fence sitters — Pakistan may be one — but the medieval world is on full display between Putin, Assad, Khamenei, AND Baghdadi.
I don’t know when the perception of the witness of the “Syrian Conflict and Tragedy” will kick in, grow, and align within the lovers of broadly distributed freedom and prosperity worldwide, but this blog has been working on that for a while.
By now, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may know the extent to which his enterprise had been enabled in its infancy to service to serve in these ways:
- A collector of “jihadist” passion;
- An organization suiting the blackmailing of the west in a political theatrical one might call “Assad OR The Terrorists” — never mind the both operating as tyrants;
- A goad to the west, especially mixed in with the hapless of Syria’s mass migration;
- An excuse to destroy (“Assad or We Burn It”) Syria and depopulate the region for the greater political control of the despotic powers.
Those who merely follow each day’s headlines (and Russian post-Soviet disinformation) will not “see” the political reality that is Syria. They will see the glorious “Assad vs The Terrorist” and witness Moscow’s latest in military technology set loose on the landscape, while those who dig, and those who have memory — all the way back to Daara, 2011 — will get the whole story, understand it, and perhaps be enraged by what it represents.
Like Syria itself, Daraa has been ripped apart by five years of conflict. What began as a local protest movement against the Assad political dynasty slowly morphed into an international proxy war that’s drawn in the United States, Russia, Iran and nearly all of Syria’s neighbors. Hundreds of thousands are dead, millions are displaced. While it’s difficult to find a Syrian who honestly believes there’s an end in sight, there’s some agreement about where it all began: with Omar’s friends. The graffiti they dared to paint on the schoolyard walls has become an origin myth for Syria’s tragic conflict — not just for the citizens of Daraa, but for the entire country.
By some accounts, the schoolkids were deeply political; they painted dozens of political slogans that day, and eventually set fire to a police kiosk to express solidarity with anti-police protests erupting across the Arab world. Omar remembers his friends a little differently. Sure, they had an eye on Egypt and Tunisia, but Omar says they defaced the school wall because they were teenagers, and it was the rebellious thing to do, not because they were die-hard revolutionaries.