Editorial – English version


“I don’t care if, at the moment, the Western media does not talk about Syria any more… They will talk about it again, you will see, when the Islamic State will attack their countries!”

LOGOA fifth year of total war in Syria begins … Whilst, far too busy defending itself from the Islamic State, which poses problems in the capitals of the Maghreb and of Europe, the international community has renounced all action towards finding a solution for this aborted revolution, drowned in a double civil war and in religion, which reduces to rubble and ruins the cities and villages of the country and has mutilated the populations. But the international community also asks itself if, after all, Bashar al-Assad should not be rehabilitated and if the press statements on this topic should not be cleverly realigned…

On the 15th of March 2011 a peaceful contestation began in Syria – certainly a minority and wait-and-see – but facing the non-kept promises of a regime too sure of its capacity to intimidate and too much used to playing divisions of communitarian and ethnic Syrian patchwork, it had to turn into an armed, near to general, popular insurrection within one year. In fact the promised ‘free elections’, awaited with patience by a large part of the population, hopeful towards their young president, turned the tables in this ‘Syrian spring’. A deadline, whose importance escaped most foreign observers… The 7th of May they finally took place, when war had already torn apart the country since some weeks, since the publication of election lists and candidates carefully chosen by the regime… In July of that year the rebellion, organised as Free Syrian Army (FSA), engaged in two great battles in Damascus, the political capital of the country, and in Aleppo, its economic lung. They proved to the international community their capacity of mobilisation to overthrow the Baathist regime and hoped, since then, to receive material support from the Western democracies. Nothing came of them… Already at the end of August 2012, out of breath due to the lack of military means, the FSA was melting like snow in the sun, replaced by Islamist factions financed by the Gulf monarchies. Bashar al-Assad and his regime, of which all analysts had since long sold their skins, would still know many years of reign.

Today more than ever, the FSA is forgotten by all. It is worth nothing in the eyes of the governments and media does not even mention anymore, really.

“I don’t care if, at the moment, the Western media does not talk about Syria any more … they will talk about it again, you will see, when the Islamic State will attack their countries!”, responded our correspondent in Aleppo, with whom I was talking on the phone on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the birth of the ‘Syrian spring’.

Yes, but maybe the Western media will not talk of it in the same way they did back in 2011, calling for the fall of the Baathist regime: today, as recently demonstrated by the television channel France 2, one of the main French public channels, it is not anymore of bad taste for ‘mainstream’ journalists to produce a report ‘embedded’ with the Syrian troops of Bashar al-Assad and to show their ‘heroic resistance’ towards the ‘barbarians’ of the Islamic State…

Times change, alliances vary and the small world of the media follows the wind to where it blows from; at least it tries…

Because there lies all the difficulty, once that one is used to serve a simple discourse and one finds oneself confronted to the subtlety of this Syrian conflict: the revolutionaries have risen against the Baathist regime and the President Bashar al-Assad to finally organise the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which nowadays only represents little more than the smallest share of fighters and is constrained, for its survival, to follow and to ally with the Islamic Front regrouping the relics of the Syrian Islamist faction – who oppose themselves to and kill their damned brothers of the Islamic State, whilst pronouncing the instauration of the Sharia in Syria. It is an alliance formerly unimaginable between these crazed servants of God and the laic democrats of the FSA, which barely two years ago claimed their will to get rid of the religious radicals as soon as they would be done with the dictatorship. The FSA, of which certain brigades have descended to become brigands and kidnappers, flourishing industry in the country of the Sham, mainly fight the regular army (of Bashar), but also the Islamic State, whose mujahedeen also fight the soldiers from Damascus, now allied of the Kurds in Syria, the PYD, but not of the YPG with its army composed of multiple ethnics who support the independence of the Rojava (‘Syrian Kurdistan’, but it is less easy in reality, as the Kurds represent the majority only with other communities). The PYD, which is closely linked to the PKK (Kurdish movement in Turkey) is weary of Ankara, which shoots it in the back by indirectly supporting the Islamic State, but also distrusts the PDK (Kurdish movement of president Barzani, head of the autonomous government of the Kurdistan of Iraq, allied to Turkey, rival of the UPK (the other Iraqi Kurdish movement), ally of the PKK and of the PYD, supported by Tehran. The PDK has received support of the International coalition lead by Washington against the Islamic State, much to the annoyance of Ankara, which has been taught a lesson by Barack Obama who reminded the president Erdogan that his country, a member of NATO, is an ally of the United States of America. The USA would not balk at being wed justly to the new Iran, Hassan Rohani, less social and more liberal, more ‘merchant’ than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a change in attitude in Tehran of which Ryad and Tel-Aviv do not want to hear anything. Tel-Aviv, whose falcon, Netanyahu, has just been lead back to power and wishes to keep the track of a daring security policy, is also Washington’s main ally and hence prevents the USA from being frankly friendly with the Persians. An alliance between Washington and Tehran would seem even more unlikely as the international Coalition needs to send in allies on the ground against the Islamic State (but the Western governments refuse), whilst Iran has recently cleared its influence in Sanaa and Beirut and now aims to benefit from the chaos in Iraq to permanently gain influence in Bagded, by taking the defence of the Shiites of Iraq… Remains to be understood what the attitude of Russia in all this will be – still protecting its protégé, the Master of Damascus, presented by Moscow as the only bastion against the destructive furore of the Islamic State – a point on which the president Obama could find an agreement with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, whilst instigating the flames of another conflict, which not far away, stands both men up facing each other and setting Ukraine ablaze.

More and more of an admitted consensus on the preeminent role of Bashar al-Assad, facing the Islamic State, who also participates in the reconciliation of Washington and Tehran, the other big ally of Damascus and protector of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Shiite movement whose militia fights on the side of Bashar against the Sunnis of the FSA, of the Islamic State, the Islamic Front and the Jabhet al-Nusra brigades, the Syrian al-Qaeda of which some groups have joined the Islamic State and others have not… In this vast shark basin, the Syrian Christian militia, newcomers to the game, are having a tough time of finding their place.

We see it today, Syria is a painting that is a little complicated to decipher…

But it does not, in the end, represent something of really unusual… for the one who knows the Middle East a little bit: that one is not surprised that the fragile petals of a dreamed and hoped-for spring have faded for ever, since the chiefs of war, excited by their international mentors, have raised their scimitar in the burning air of a scorching summer.


About Author

Pierre Piccinin da Prata

Historian and Political Scientist - MOC's Founder - Editorial Team Advisor / Fondateur du CMO - Conseiller du Comité de Rédaction

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