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Sticking to Their Story: UNAC’s New “Statement o n Syria”

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  • Cort Greene
    While I do see a change in the UNAC s line somewhat, at least they bring up a opposition to the repressive Assad regime and anti-intervention by them. They do
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 28, 2012
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      While I do see a change in the UNAC's line somewhat, at least they bring up
      a opposition to the repressive Assad regime and anti-intervention by them.
      They do forget they are also calling against intervention not only by the
      US/Qatar/Turkey/Saudis and such( in the beginning some did call for help
      but have now realized that it was never coming and now have seen that the
      US wants the regime to survive or at least go in a orderly transition) but
      also the Iranian, Russian's, Chinese, Quds Force,Hezbollah and others
      intervention. .They have seemed to have checked there proletarian
      internationalism/anti interventionism at the door along with there humanity
      against oppression.

      I will have to say of all the hundreds of different opposition groups on
      the ground such as the LLC's, the FSA's, the Syria Left Coalition,
      Communist Action Party, many religion groupings of all kinds and other
      secular groups are the real opposition, not those stationed outside of
      Syria that are willing to make a deal.

      I would also say that the UN, Russia, Syria and US latest talks, will
      unless there are big changes by the regime, will go nowhere. It's time is
      short.

      You can be against a repressive regime and intervention at the same time
      and not give cover to oppression.

      Cort

      http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158

      Sticking to Their Story: UNAC�s New �Statement on Syria�

      by CLAY CLAIBORNE on DECEMBER 27, 2012

      in ANALYSIS <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?cat=18>

      *If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of
      the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you
      say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.*
      � Bishop Desmond
      Tutu<http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7424-if-you-are-neutral-in-situations-of-injustice-you-have>

      The United National Antiwar Coalition
      (UNAC<http://nationalpeaceconference.org/>)
      is a coalition of well known US anti-war
      groups<https://nationalpeaceconference.org/Purpose_of_Conference.html>.
      On 24 December 2012 they issued a new position
      statement<http://www.facebook.com/groups/unac1/permalink/484299128288593/>
      about
      the conflict in Syria, titled:

      UNITED NATIONAL ANTIWAR COALITION (UNAC)

      STATEMENT ON SYRIA

      Hands off Syria and Iran! End the Drone Wars!

      We Need Jobs, Education and Healthcare, Not Endless War!

      Six months before the Arab Spring even began, UNAC had an action
      program<http://nepajac.org/actionprogram.htm> to
      oppose a US war against Syria. From their point of view, not much has
      changed since July 2010. They still see the threat of imminent US invasion
      as the main problem facing the Syrian people. That�s their story and
      they�re sticking to it. As we shall see, they don�t need to consult
      concrete conditions in Syria to inform their position so it can remain the
      same throughout time.

      I am including their entire statement in my appreciation of it so that the
      reader may see what I mean when I say that this statement says more by what
      it is silent on than it does by what it says. I am breaking it up, as I see
      appropriate, so I can interject comments, but other than that, it is
      complete and in the order in which they published it. The copyright police
      can know that there is no violation as UNAC has asked that it be
      distributed widely.

      And so the body begins:

      The ominous signs of impending war with Syria escalate.

      There is already a war going on in Syria which this *�Statement on
      Syria�* leaves
      unmentioned. That is the war to overthrow the Assad regime and it has cost
      more than 40,000 Syrian lives so far, but what is really telling in this
      first sentence is their identification of the Assad regime with Syria.There
      have been calls for NATO intervention in support of those forces attempting
      to overthrow the Assad regime, and there have even been signs that NATO may
      be preparing to go to war against the Assad regime, but to equate that with
      a war against Syria is to equate the Assad regime with Syria and to
      discount the Syrian armed opposition as a legitimate Syrian force. 130
      countries no longer recognize the Assad regime as the legitimate
      representative of the Syrian people, but UNAC still does.

      The day after UNAC issued its *�Statement on Syria,�* the head of Assad�s
      military police
      defected<http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/world/middleeast/syrian-general-defects-in-a-public-broadcast.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1&>
      to
      the Free Syrian Army. Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, then became
      the highest raking officer to defect from Assad. He said he had done so
      because of the military�s deviation from *�its fundamental mission to
      protect the nation and transformation into gangs of killing and
      destruction.�* He also confirmed the use of chemical
      weapons<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/chemical-weapons-were-used-on-homs-syrias-military-police-defector-tells-of-nerve-gas-attack-8431380.html>
      by
      the Assad regime in Homs last week. That�s what finally sparked his
      defection. This is the reality of Syria that the UNAC *�Statement on
      Syria�* doesn�t
      admit to. They are in an alternate universe.

      NATO is massing troops and military equipment on Syria�s borders, and
      preparing to install missiles aimed at Syria. U.S. warships are stationed
      off Syria�s coast. �Special operation� units are readied.

      I wish the most pressing problems the Syrian people faced right now were
      worries about future possible NATO attacks.

      The U.S. government has been supplying arms and logistical support to a few
      selected Syrian paramilitary groups favored by the U.S. as �replacements�
      for Assad.

      This is about as close as this UNAC *�Statement on Syria�* gets to
      recognizing the massive Syrian opposition to the Assad regime. Is it
      possible that they think the main struggle playing out in Syria in the last
      23 months has been between Syria, as represented by the Assad regime and US
      imperialism?

      The media bombards us with arguments that support foreign intervention,
      supposedly for �humanitarian reasons�.

      That is about as close as this UNAC *�Statement on Syria�* comes to
      acknowledging the humanitarian crisis that without question really is going
      on in Syria. Is it possible that they believe the incredible human
      suffering and devastation we see every day on YouTube in hundreds of videos
      is all a fabrication or distraction to be ignored?

      Assad�s warplanes attacking civilians in Douma same day UNAC issues
      statement

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZVUe1n7Fxi8

      Like WMDs in Iraq, alarms are sounded, with no credible evidence, that
      Assad may unleash chemical weapons, thus establishing a pretext for
      invasion.

      Acknowledging more than 40,000 murdered Syrians or that Assad�s war planes
      are dropping explosive barrels and clusters bombs on civilians might get in
      the way of the *�no credible evidence�* line of reasoning. Those
      acknowledgements would also show that there already exists many a *�pretext
      for invasion�* so those corpses are conveniently swept under the carpet.
      No one will ever get a clue how many thousands of children have been
      slaughtered by this regime from the UNAC *�Statement on Syria.�*

      The �facts� we get are mainly unsubstantiated, sometimes proven to be
      fabrications and/or overblown. It is hard to sort out the truth about what
      is happening on the ground in and around Syria today. There are �facts� we
      do know, however:

      It would appear that the *�facts that impel�* the UNAC are very bias and
      very selective indeed and don�t admit to the real suffering of the Syrian
      people let alone its chief cause.

      � The Syrian people in their majority, regardless of their political
      positions re: the current government, have rejected calling for foreign
      intervention, such as occurred in Libya.

      But there have been mass protests in Syria calling for intervention *a
      la* Libya.
      How did *�Friday of International
      Protection�<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Syrian_civil_war_%28September%E2%80%93December_2011%29#9_September_.E2.80.93_.22Friday_of_International_Protection.22>
      , �Friday of No-Fly
      Zone�<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Syrian_civil_war_%28September%E2%80%93December_2011%29#28_October_.E2.80.93_.22Friday_of_No-Fly_Zone.22>
      , �Friday of the Syrian Buffer
      Zone�<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Syrian_civil_war_%28September%E2%80%93December_2011%29#2_December_.E2.80.93_.22Friday_of_the_Syrian_Buffer_Zone.22>
      and �Friday for international military
      intervention�<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/03/201231695426393360.html>
      *slip past the UNAC fact checkers? The names of these nationwide Friday
      protests is even more telling because they are chosen through a fierce on-line
      competition<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/04/201241314026709762.html>
      among
      activists and then endorsed by Syrians who come out in their hundreds of
      thousands to demonstrate under those banners.

      Also when they say this, whether they know it or not, they are just
      reinforcing the imperialist
      line<http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/10/176022.htm#SYRIA> for
      doing nothing:

      *MS. NULAND: I think our position on this hasn�t changed. As we have said,
      the vast majority of the Syrian opposition continues to speak in favor of
      peaceful, nonviolent protest and against foreign intervention of any kind,
      and particularly foreign military intervention into the situation in Syria,
      and we respect that.*

      � Sanctions harm the people of Syria by causing food shortages, power
      outages, and blocking the distribution of goods.

      This is true, but right now the Syrian people are suffering a lot more from
      artillery bombardments and air attacks than they are from sanctions but
      those attacks aren�t mentioned in the UNAC *�Statement on Syria.�* Probably
      the UNAC is also opposed to any arms embargo against the Syrian government.

      The next four paragraphs in their *�Statement on Syria�* are about the US,
      not Syria. All their *�facts�* are disputable, but I don�t want to be
      distracted by that minutia and instead direct the reader to my other
      writings about the Syria
      revolution.<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/24/1173518/-My-Syria-diaries>

      � The U.S. is directly involved in arming and training a few selected
      Syrian militias favorable to the U.S., contributing to the escalation of
      violence, direct foreign military intervention, and total
      destabilization.The people who always suffer the most are the people not
      engaged in the armed struggle.

      Which is why it is better to fight back and why every day more and more
      Syrians are fighting the Assad regime.

      � We see the results of �humanitarian� U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq,
      Afghanistan, and Libya today, where the people, especially women and
      children, are worse off than before, with millions dead, injured, and/or
      displaced, an infrastructure and economy in shambles, and where there is no
      peace. A country that has a river of Iraqi, Afghan, and Libyan blood on its
      hands has no right to tell other countries what to do.

      In other words, since Obama kills kids with drones, he has no right to
      demand, along with the majority of countries in the world and the majority
      of people in Syria, that the mass murderer Assad step down.

      What does US moral authority, or the lack of it, have to do with anything?

      Of course this *�Statement on Syria�* is not about Syria, but even if it
      were about countries in the region and not the US, they shouldn�t try to
      get away with lumping Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya all together.

      � The U.S. government�s goals in Syria are to gain dominance in a part of
      the world that holds the vast majority of the known oil reserves and to
      gain strategic advantage as it seeks to isolate and contain competitors
      like Russia and China.

      And exactly why are the US government�s goals the main focus of the
      UNAC *�Statement
      on Syria?�* Because the goal of the majority of Syrians to see an end to
      the Assad regime is not spoken of. They have demonstrated their
      determination with *�rivers of blood�* and a two year struggle that is on
      the verge of succeeding without international intervention on their side
      but the UNAC says nothing of this.

      There has been international military intervention on the side of the Syria
      government by Iran, Hezbullah and Russia but the UNAC doesn�t object to
      that. Governments like the Assad regime have a *�right�* to ask for
      international assistance; the Syrians, upon which the Russian cluster bombs
      rain, do not. That�s their story and they�re sticking to it.

      The U.S. has no interest in democracy or the humanitarian well-being of a
      country�s peoples anywhere in the world, especially in areas where the U.S.
      has economic or strategic interests.

      Their emotional dislike of the US, which is really the focus of the
      UNAC *�Statement
      on Syria�* causes them to make such categorical statements and not see that
      the US does have an interest in establishing bourgeois democracy as a more
      stable method of bourgeois rule in many cases and that they are actually
      interested in *�humanitarian well-being,�* as they are interested in the
      health of their workers, if only to the extent they need to be to protect
      profits.

      � The U.S. has a long history of thwarting the emerging economies and
      progressive initiatives of the third world while supporting repressive
      regimes.

      One could only wish that insight would help the UNAC understand why US
      imperialism really is in no particular hurry to see the Assad regime
      go<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/14/1131569/-Barack-Obama-s-Courtship-of-Bashar-al-Assad>,
      and has actually been throttling, rather than helping, Assad�s
      opposition.<http://www.revolutionobserver.com/2012/08/the-agency-of-assad-regime.html>

      While activists may hold different views of Syria�s internal political
      system,

      This is code for the fact that some members of the UNAC actually support
      the fascist Assad regime but in the interest of*�Left�* unity, they have
      decided to be neutral as to the Syrian people�s struggle to overthrow that
      regime, as noted above.

      You will notice that while there are many *�facts�* and assertions in
      this *�Statement
      on Syria�* that the SNC and FSA would object to; there is nothing in it
      that would trouble the Assad regime much; nothing that is in conflict with
      their narrative on the situation.

      we must all agree that the U.S. government has no right to impose its will
      on other countries, especially those formerly colonized and exploited by
      the West.

      This is like an axiom that is easy to agree with except its placement in
      this *�Statement on Syria�* together with the four paragraphs above makes
      it sound like the main thing troubling Syria now is the U.S. government
      trying to impose its will. This may well be the ego-centric view of the
      U.S. Left, but I�m here to tell you that is not main thing going on in
      Syria.

      Here again, the UNAC has rendered the courageous two year revolutionary
      mass struggle of the Syrian people invisible.

      In all cases, we must support the right of nations to self-determination �
      that is to be able to decide on and resolve internal conflicts free from
      any foreign intervention.

      By which they mean foreign intervention on the side of the people, because
      while there is a mountain of proof of foreign intervention in support of
      the Syrian government, they raise no objection to that. We know this
      because in an earlier
      statement<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/26/1174001/-Sticking-to-their-story-UNAC-s-new-Statement-on-Syria>
      they
      complained *�State Department spokespeople are targeting Iran and Hezbollah
      for alleged military support to the Assad government.�* They even put this
      on their list of *�alarming new threats�* back in October 2012 and in June
      2012, when Amnesty International called upon
      Russia<http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/suzanne-nossel-s-testimony-on-the-syrian-human-rights-crisis>
      to *�end its shameful silence,�* UNAC called it<http://nepajac.org/amnesty.htm>
      *�a campaign to support military intervention at the very time that the
      U.S. is openly feeding the violence in Syria by providing weapons, foot
      soldiers and logistical support.�*

      The principal they wish to create is that when a people attempt the
      overthrow their government, which is already in possession of massive
      military hardware and advanced weapons, or when a people are being
      slaughtered by their government for any reason, there should be no
      international assistance given to those people. The *�principal�* of self
      determination is here perversely interpreted as the duty to allow an
      unarmed minority to be slaughtered by their government unless they can stop
      it themselves. In accordance with this *�principal�* the UNAC would have
      objected to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade that fought in the Spanish Civil
      War and many other examples of militant internationalist support.

      And that�s it. That�s how they end the *�Statement on Syria.�*

      The worst thing that can be said about this *�Statement on Syria�* is that
      it is ignorant of the realities facing the Syrian people now, the hardships
      they have endured or their striving for freedom from the fascist Assad
      dictatorship, The*�Statement on Syria�* was drafted with the requirements
      of the drafters in mind, not those of the Syrian people.

      Anti-Assad demonstration today in Jobar neighborhood of Damascus | 26 Dec
      2012 <http://twitter.com/rozalinachomsky/status/283984292156170240>

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lzlrMm7ecbs


      <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#><http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#>

      Tagged as: anti-imperialism<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=anti-imperialism>
      , Assad <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=assad>, Clay
      Claiborne<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=clay-claiborne>
      , Free Syrian Army
      <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=free-syrian-army>,
      FSA<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=fsa>
      , NATO <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=nato>,
      Syria<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=syria>
      , United National Antiwar
      Coalition<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?tag=united-national-antiwar-coalition>

      { 7 comments� read them below or add
      one<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#respond>
      }
      K December 27, 2012 at 2:40
      pm<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24652>

      You are right that the UNAC statement seems to be very soft on Assads
      regime, but you seem to making the opposite mistake. �There has been
      international military intervention on the side of the Syria government by
      Iran, Hezbullah and Russia � and on the other side Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
      Nevermind the joint operation between Turkey and the FSA against the
      kurdish areas. Lining up with either group of butcherers is not something
      socialists should do. That doesn�t mean I think we should be neutral, but
      being naive or ignorant about either the regime or the FSA is a grave
      mistake. I support all and any non-secterian groups and their right to
      defend their areas from attacks either from the government or militias
      affiliated with the FSA.

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24652#respond>
      <http://www.planetanarchy.net/>Pham Binh
      <http://www.planetanarchy.net/> December
      27, 2012 at 2:52 pm <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24654>

      The Free Syrian Army *is* a non-sectarian group. See their Christian unit:
      http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=2528

      They have Alawi commanders:
      http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=2813

      If you don�t like the Saudis or Qatar arming the Syrian revolutionaries,
      where do you support them getting arms to defend themselves and their
      communities from? Soviet Russia? North Korea?

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24654#respond>
      K December 27, 2012 at 3:31
      pm<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24658>

      If the FSA is non-secterian what then of the attacks on kurds and alawites?
      The Saudis and Qatar have their own interests in this so too does obviously
      the U.S and Turkey. Both they and the regime has pushed what was initially
      a popular uprising against Assads regime towards a secterian civil war.
      That turkey is extending their war against the kurds with FSA�s help should
      be alarming, the kurdish groups had managed to set up a degree of autonomy
      but are now facing attacks both from the regime and the FSA.

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24658#respond>
      <http://www.planetanarchy.net/>Pham Binh
      <http://www.planetanarchy.net/> December
      27, 2012 at 3:54 pm <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24659>

      So the FSA is guilty of sectarianism until proven innocent? That�s pretty
      terrible method of analysis.

      Hopefully you take this opportunity to educate yourself a bit about the
      situation in Syria and the sectarian attacks you references (without
      sources, I might add):
      http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/30/241008.html?PHPSESSID=sasr6cp5hk3jcs7o8brmnqvh26

      http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/10/02/241431.html?PHPSESSID=sasr6cp5hk3jcs7o8brmnqvh26

      http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/10/07/242344.html?PHPSESSID=sasr6cp5hk3jcs7o8brmnqvh26

      There are sectarian elements among revolutionary forces, but they tend to
      operate independently of the FSA precisely because it is not a sectarian
      force:
      http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=3829

      The last link gives us the real story of the FSA-Kurdish dust-up in Aleppo.
      The FSA actually did not attack them � that was Jabhat al-Nusrah.

      I�d put in more links about the FSA�s non-sectarian, nationalist character,
      but you have enough to read already.

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24659#respond>
      <http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Clay%20Claiborne/>Clay Claiborne
      (@clayclai)<http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Clay%20Claiborne/>
      December 27, 2012 at 5:23
      pm<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24666>

      It is still a popular uprising against the Assad regime. It was forced to
      become an armed struggle by the armed attacks of the Assad regime. The
      Assad regime has always painted it as a secterian struggle and has worked
      hard to divide Syria along secterian lines.

      The FSA is not secterian, and neither is AJE, which is paid for by Qatar,
      but all those trying to support the Assad regime try to paint it as a
      secterian struggle with the innocent people in the middle.

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24666#respond>
      Patrick A December 27, 2012 at 6:30
      pm<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24672>

      Aren�t there powerful sectarian feelings within the FSA? I cant remember
      where I heard this, and I dont know if its accurate, but I heard the FSA is
      75% Sunni, while Syria as a whole is 60% Sunni. The rest of the FSA is
      mainly Kurds and the overwhelming majority of Alawites support Assad. As a
      result there are sectarian feelings, feelings of betyral and the sort. I
      have the impression that there are powerful sectarian forces in Syria and
      the FSA does in fact have a big sectarian issue at its base, despite a
      leadership that may have nationalist views (I really don�t know enough).
      But, I think its not just a question of what the leaders of the FSA stand
      for, but how are they percieved. If there is a significant perception that
      the FSA is fighting for Sunnis against the Allawite betrayers, I think
      that�s a problem (I say �if� because I really dont know). I still think a
      quick FSA victory might be the best. But Im worried, even with the fall of
      Assad, sectarianism could be a big problem going forward. I know Syria 2012
      is not Iraq 2003. But, after Saddam�s regime fell (something the Kurds
      celebrated, Sunnis opposed, and Shias tolerated) a sectarian civil war
      broke out after. So, am I wrog about this? Are there dangerous sectarian
      feelings and perceptions develping? If so, what is the FSA doing now to
      deal with sectarian feelings? Are they making political appeals to
      Allawites?

      REPLY <http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158&replytocom=24672#respond>
      Arthur December 27, 2012 at 2:43
      pm<http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=4158#comment-24653>

      �The worst thing that can be said about this �Statement on Syria� is that
      it is ignorant ��

      Surely that would not be the worst, but the best one could say about it.
      The ignorance is self-inflicted and results from malice.

      Fortunately however these groups are completely isolated and irrelevant.
      Target should be the dominant mainstream indifference and isolationism.


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