A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The Syrian Ba’ath regime seems to be really scared of foreign intervention these days; so much so, it has become an obsession.

On July 7, the BBC reported that the Syrian foreign ministry claimed the presence of US ambassador Robert Ford in the city of Hama was proof the U.S. was behind the protests that have been going on for months. Then on July 12, the regime’s mouthpiece Syrian Arab News Agency denounced remarks made by Sec. of State Hillary Clinton that the Ba’athist regime lost its legitimacy. The next day, Syrian VP Farouk Shara condemned Pres. Obama’s condemnation. As he put it:

“‘The Syrians alone are the ones to make decisions for themselves along with President Bashar Assad whom they have elected,’ said Shara, who is heading ‘national dialogue’ talks boycotted by opposition.”

Any notion that the Ba’athist regime is democratic is so ludicrous that anyone who seriously believes that are in dire need of psychiatric care.  Syria is a Ba’athist fascist state and Assad wasn’t elected, but succeeded his father Hafez in a manner befitting royalty. Given other factors – like corruption and poor economy – that are intertwined with the ruling family/party, revolt was not only necessary, but inevitable – just like everywhere else.

VP Shara’s mental health isn’t an issue, however, because he doesn’t believe what he said – it’s propaganda, plain and simple. The propaganda of the regime is based on the premise of nationalism and self-determination, a premise that resonates in a region with a history of occupation and colonialism – not to mention Israel’s occupation and illegal annexation of the Golan Heights. A key part of this platform has been the issue of Palestine, in which thousands of Palestinians in Syria tried to breach the border with Israel – unhindered by Syrian security services – in a transparent attempt to deflect attention from its own killing machine.

But what of the foreign meddling and interference the Syrian authorities speak of? Is it in their heads – like Syrian democracy – or is it real? The answer to that question is … yes. There is an evil empire – called the United States – that wishes to impose its hegemony through various ways, including – but not limited to – co-opting popular uprisings.

Clinton’s condemnation of Bashar Al-Assad  – that he  “lost legitimacy” – occurred after a pro-Ba’ath mob attacked the U.S. embassy in Damascus:

“‘President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power,’ she said.”

In other words, if you can’t do your job, we’ll find someone else who does. Clinton acts like a boss does toward an employee, not as one head of state toward another. Her words reveal a colonial mentality at work, as if Syria is an unmanageable province. The concern here isn’t about human rights, but about strategic interests – a priority which human rights and democracy take a backseat.

To see what a regime the U.S. has invested in remaining power, just look at another corner of the empire – Afghanistan, in which the assassinated drug dealer half-brother of the election stealing Afghan president Ahmed Karzai were both indispensable to the American occupation:

“Former Deputy Special Representative to the UJM., Peter Galbraith, revealed this in an Oct. 4 Washington Post op-ed. Gailbraith was ordered by his boss, Kai Eide, to not reveal evidence or report electoral fraud to the authorities.

‘Before firing me last week from my post as his deputy special representative in Afghanistan, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon conveyed one last instruction: Do not talk to the press,’ he wrote. The Obama administration accepted this fraud and has recognized Karzai as president, despite his brother’s suspected involvement in heroin trafficking.”

This is the role Obama had in mind for al-Assad – a client following orders. This strategy was pursued by Washington to “change” Syrian behavior toward complying with American diktat by driving a wedge between Damascus and its longtime ally Iran; since that policy has failed, the U.S. is attempting to manipulate this part of the Arab Spring toward regime change. (One of the perks of client status is a greenlight for suppressing the Arab Spring, as demonstrated by the deal with Saudi Arabia occupying Bahrain.)

Needless to say it didn’t work, with Washington now responding with sanctions and hostile rhetoric. Damascus has taken note and used that as a pretext to violently put down the revolt, the latest round occurring yesterday when security forces opened fire on protests across the country, killing 28. So far, over 1,400 people have been murdered by security forces throughout this uprising, which begs the question – if the Syrian regime is trying to protect the nation from foreign influence, then who’s protecting the nation from the regime?

This is probably on the Syrian opposition’s mind, prompting many Syrians who otherwise don’t trust outside powers to seek assistance from the United States because Damascus is giving them no other choice. Put another way, if Washington were a drug dealer and Syrian citizens are drug addicts, then Damascus is an enabler.

By bludgeoning the opposition, the Ba’athist regime is aiding the very foreign meddling it claims is behind the uprising; instead of shooting unarmed civilians, if it genuinely opened up its system, not only would 1,400 people still be alive – and countless others spared from torture – but those who would seek American support under current circumstances wouldn’t feel the need to do so. Freedom would win and both domestic tyranny and imperialist hegemony would lose. 

The idea that the Syrian state could react this way is, of course, as ludicrous as the idea that Bashar Al-Assad was democratically elected. The Ba’athist elite’s neurosis expressed above is a symptom of the disease of Ba’athist fascism, a tumor that can only be surgically removed. 

Freedom is the best – and only – preventative medicine for both dictatorial and neocolonial maladies; if Washington succeeds and Syria becomes an outpost of American neocolonialism, the regime has only itself – and not foreign meddling – to blame.

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