By Ghassan and Intibah Kadi
The “War on Syria” has had many unintended twists and turns that were unforeseeable at the time it began. The plotters had no reason to believe they were going to lose, and the defenders had no option other than doing all they could and risk and sacrifice all that was dear and precious.
However, as frontlines are now being redrawn in Syria in preparation for the final showdown, a recapitulation of the events of the last eight years reveals that Syria did in fact end up having a revolution, but the group that embarked on the initial alleged revolution, the Free Syria Army (FSA) is nowhere to be seen.
This brings us back to the initial “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” that I wrote an article about back in early 2011; http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-cocktail-by-ghassan-kadi.html. The ring leader was Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, son of then Crown Prince Sultan, and the man who hoped he would be the first grandson of founding King Abdul-Aziz to become king. In two subsequent articles, “The Anti-Syrian Politics” (http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-politics-by-ghassan.html) and “The Anti Syrian Vendetta”, http://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-vendetta-by-ghassan.html the articles focused on how Bandar tried to raise the largest army he could conjure, and with virtually bottomless funds, he put together a very loosely-united cocktail of groups who had nothing in common other than their hatred towards Syria.
In more ways than one, pre-King Faisal Saudi Arabia kept to itself. Founder, King Abdul-Aziz who died in 1953, had the doctrinal substance that would have exported Wahhabism to neighbouring Muslim countries, but his main concern was to bolster his domain over his new kingdom and give it a strong foundation that would secure its longevity. His successor son Saud was infamous for his orgies and debauchery. He capitalized on the spoils of the new-found wealth and did not have any agenda other than indulging in earthly pleasures. It wasn’t until he was deposed and replaced by his brother Faisal in 1964 that Saudi Arabia had a king who was a fundamentalist and also desirous of spreading Wahhabism to the outside Muslim World.
And when the “War on Syria” began, and long before the identity of the would be willing fighter was well defined, I predicted in the same above-mentioned articles that a widely diverse coalition of enemies of Syria were banding together, using Muslim fundamentalism as a recruitment drive, and as the fundamentalist factor became clear for all to see, it eventually transpired that Qatar became a new kid on the block in providing bigtime funding to a number of terror organizations operating in Syria.
They were all not only united by their hatred for Syria, but also specifically to the Assad legacy; particularly due the fact that the Assads are Alawites, and in their eyes, infidels. Their main objective was to topple President Assad and ensure that Syria was ruled by an anti-Iranian Sunni fundamentalist government.
Bandar had no qualms at all about uniting the ununitable. To Bandar however, it was not about a war of ideologies, and he was no strict Muslim. To Bandar, the “War on Syria” was about power and curbing Iran’s influence in the region. That said, he found in the already-existing numerous Jihadi armies excellent tools and pawns to use. In doing so, he did not foresee the many fault lines emerging in his fragmented army, let alone seeing any reason to worry about such cracks because, in the beginning he seemed to be going from strength to strength, with a seemingly huge chance of success. When he presented his plan to his American masters, he received the thumbs up.
Like all other early indigenous writers who supported Syria from day one of the onslaught, we all took the optimistic view and kept reiterating that victory was certain, but only a question of time. We were mindful of the importance of keeping spirits up and boosting morale, and being optimistic about turns in events and alliances that were to Syria’s advantage. In retrospect however, up until the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) first substantial win of the battle of Qusayr in mid 2013, more than two years into the war, the Jihadis, combined, were winning the war and closing in on key government positions right across the Syrian terrain; including the main cities.
So how did events turn around and how did the “War on Syria” turn against the plotters?
To be able to predict what was to happen was unthinkable in hindsight. It is only now that we can sit and make sense by harking back at the events of the last few years.
It would be virtually impossible to work out which came first, the chicken or the egg, but there is no doubt at all that the resilience of Syrian people and the SAA played the most significant role. But that role could have been reversed had the plotters been better able to play their game to their advantage.
Fortunately the plotters didn’t, but had they played down the role of Jihad and tried to capitalize on political reform, they would have perhaps been better able to achieve their insidious objectives.
Before the war, Syria was fraught with corruption and there were many reasons to call for reform. Agitators aside, was why the initial demonstrations in Daraa were conducted under this banner. It was under this guise also that the infamous FSA was formed as a splinter group of the regular SAA. Virtually all of the FSA officers and soldiers were SAA defectors.
For a while, a fair while, and long before ISIS and Al-Nusra came to prominence, the FSA was the major fighting force against the regular army (SAA).
During those initial months, it was very difficult to convince sympathizers of the so-called Syrian opposition that this was not a civil war, that it was not about reform, and that it was simply a conspiracy against Syria, planned and orchestrated by her regional and international adversaries, using and employing Islamist Jihadists and their supporting nations. The reason behind this difficulty was because those fundamentalist fighters were nowhere to be seen.
This was why many activists, including some prominent pro-Palestine Western activists, were adamant in their support of the “revolution” and genuinely believed that it was a popular revolt seeking reform and political plurality among other things.
In hindsight now, looking back at it all, had the mastermind plotters seen the benefit in the reform/freedom guise, had they had the wisdom and foresight in weighing out their benefits of overtly importing and arming fundamentalist fighters as against focusing their efforts on duping the public and generating real and genuine dissent amongst Syrians to their government, they might have succeeded in creating a revolution that served their agendas.
After all, it would have been conceivable for the plotters to promote misinformation and make it look plausible and endorsable. There is another chicken and egg scenario here. Did the plotters import Jihadi fighters because they weren’t able to mobilize enough Syrians against their government, or did Syrians support their government because the plotters brought in foreign Jihadi fighters?
Whichever one came first here, the chicken or the egg, neither one of them had to cross the road for the people of Syria to ask questions in order to see that what they were witnessing was not a revolution as touted by world media; especially the Western media and their Arab cohorts such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.
Perhaps the plotters’ biggest failure was in being unable to hide their intentions and disguise in a manner that reflected to Syrians that there was indeed a popular and genuine reform-based revolution in their country for them to join.
In other words, by allowing the so-called civil war/revolution to show its brutal and ugly fundamentalist sectarian face, the plotters turned many Syrian sympathizers and many other would-be supporters against them. And this was how secular free-minded Syrians flocked together in support of their legitimate secular government; whether they believed that reform was necessary or otherwise. This was the reason why genuine supporters of reform and patriots who are in positions of political opposition to the government all banded together to fight the real enemy. This of course bolstered not only the government’s position, but also that of the SAA and this played a significant role in creating a much more resolute and united Syria.
The plotters also failed in being able to produce a charismatic figure head for the “revolution”. All the while secular Syrians looked up to President Assad and the First Lady; two figure heads charming in every way, and with the power to unite by leading by example.
Of significance also was the fact that the disunited “Anti-Syrian Cocktail” was bound to fragment sooner or later; not only on strategic and doctrinal lines, but also on matters of power sharing, loyalty, and splitting of spoils. To this effect, clashes between different fundamentalist organizations became daily events.
Later on, as the turn of events presented to the plotters and their henchmen that victory was impossible, especially after Russia entered the ground and sky, their infighting morphed into that of survival and hope for better positions on either reconciliation tables or on disengagement talks, or both. Those Jihadi versus Jihadi battles in latter times continued to rage culminating recently in a total takeover by Al-Nusra of all other terror groups in Idlib.
Whilst I have always reiterated in previous articles that there was hardly any difference at all between the numerous fundamentalist Islamic Jihadi organizations, the Wahhabi faction that is loyal to Saudi Arabia has lost abysmally to the Qatari/Turkish led Muslim Brotherhood (MB) faction which is now in full control of the last bastion left for terrorists west of the Euphrates, and specifically in Idlib and surrounds.
With this, Erdogan feels that he still has a finger in the pie before final negotiations commence about the future of the terrorist enclave. Whether those delay tactics work or not for Erdogan, whether they preclude the need for a military resolution is yet to be seen. Any such resolution however will give Erdogan a form of a consolation prize, a humble victory that he badly seeks in Syria after all of his initial gambles went terribly wrong.
At this juncture, we must pause and ask what became of the movement that allegedly represented the passion of Syrians for secular and democratic reform. Where is the FSA now?
If the news about Al-Nusra’s total control of the Idlib region is accurate, we must then assume that the FSA is no longer in existence, because prior to the recent upheaval between Al-Nusra and other brigades in the region, the presence of the FSA was restricted to this area.
Ironically, the FSA has had a late resurgence not too long ago before Al-Nusra wiped out all rival militia, but Erdogan seems to have pulled the plug on the FSA, but for some reason, there is nothing I can find in the news from the region, or anywhere for this matter, to confirm this conclusion or debunk it.
What is clear is that the FSA, the only dissenting player that had in the very early beginnings a miniscule semblance of secular Syrian dissent, perhaps the only player that could have potentially turned into a popular revolution, has been disempowered and dismantled by the same demonic forces that created it and funded it.
Either way, whether Erdogan has done the dirty on the FSA or not, the FSA lost its position and clout when its role was overtaken by the many Islamist terrorist organizations. It tried hard to maintain its presence even though many of its rank-and-file rejoined the SAA, whilst others changed uniform and joined Al-Nusra, but the short of it is that the FSA has become a spent force.
Syria had many problems before the war and continues to grapple with some of them. Wars of such devastating magnitude almost invariably leave behind not only a trail of mess and destruction, but also a countless number of corrupt officials and profiteers. Every dog has its day, and the cleanup will soon begin.
But the irony is that with the “War on Syria”, the lines have been drawn and Syrians now know well who is with them and who is against them, domestically, regionally and internationally. They know what alliances they need to nurture and which others to seek. They know what political system they want and which they totally refute. They have chosen and fought for a government they were told decades ago that it came to power by a popular revolution back in March 1963, and later on reformed by Hafez Assad’s “corrective movement” of November 1970, but the choice Syrians made from 2011 onwards was their own, and they upheld it with tears and blood.
Syria has gone the full circle against her enemies and against archaic and brutal dogmas. It seems that Syria has truly ended up having a revolution after all, a real revolution, and that real revolution has won. There is a great opportunity now to rebuild the nation, to rebuild it on wholesome, principled, virtuous and sound foundations.
Hi Ghassan – and Intibah – thanks for wonderful happy article – and its great to hear about what the original civil unrest could possibly have been about – as the Assad couple is so wonderful and easy to follow as beacons of light –
I hope one day to come to Syria and see for myself – what the place is like – that in my wildest dreams – I thought of leaving my own difficult situation – in the opposite part of the world – to join – I really wanted to become a fighter for Syria – in in my really wildest dreams – to become a Hezbollah fighter – of any rank – maybe in the kitchen or cleaning staff – in the war against terror – in Syria.
Ann, leave those dreams of finding Utopia somewhere else. You could climb into your rocket ship with your nearest and dearest, fly to the opposite diameter of the Universe, but we carry Original Sin within us. Follow the example of Mrs.Assad; she was offered a safe refuge abroad, but chose to stay with her husband and fight the physical and Moral pestilence which was invading Syria and trying to take over. That moral pestilence originated in London (read “The Heart of Darkness”), and it has already taken over Washington, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Ottawa, Melbourne et al. If you live anywhere near one of these benighted cities of the West, you already have your work set out for you as an enlightened citizen.
“For we fight [not only] against flesh and blood but against Principles and Powers in the Heavens”. — St.Paul
Hi Doctor – thanks for advice – I live in Western wilderness of Southern Canada – nice here – and many pets that would not survive without me. It was only in my dreams that I wanted to go to Syria and fight – they are an inspiring army…and Hezbollah !!!
I can’t accept that the so-called ‘FSA’ was ever anything but a gang of murderous jihadist thugs. Any ‘defectors’ were no doubt opportunists or religious fanatics. As early as 2012 the German BND intelligence agency informed Merkel that ‘the FSA is al-Qaeda’. And the equipment given to the FSA by Thanatopolis DC, was turned over, quickly to Daash. Indeed the Toyota pickups that Daash used to drive into Iraq were gifts of the US State Department to the FSA. The role of the Western fakestream presstitute vermin in acting as lying propagandists for the jihadist butchers has been, even for those scum, utterly diabolical. What a shame that all these little Streichers won’t face justice for their propaganda crimes against humanity.
The West’s self-promoting tosh with regard to Syria and ISIS serves to shed light on its equally preposterous WW2 fairy-tales. Stalin, Assad, and Putin stand out as monumental giants next to the West’s mental and moral midgets; the latters’ alleged Anti-Nazi and Anti-IS credentials are pure fiction.
The West helped create Hitler, and the ruling oligarchs loved the inter-war fascists. They began co-operating with Nazi elements after 1943, when the Red Army’s triumph became obvious. They helped numerous fascists and Nazis escape after the war, through the ‘rat-lines'(in co-operation with the Vatican)and Operation Paperclip etc. Many Nazis, like Barbie, were employed by the US to terrorise the Third World, particularly in Latin America. And the USA has always preferred fascists and neo-Nazis as stooges, as can see in Ukraine, Croatia and the Baltic states.
And the USA created Daash, just as it created al-Qaeda in the 70s, and has used them (al-Qaeda)and their bastard offspring as cats-paws ever since, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria, Mali, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and eastern Ukraine.
Does anyone know when the opposition/militants started to build their tunnel networks?
Because the SAA would most always find large tunnels when it captured an area from the militants/terrorists.
I am thinking the tunnels were prepared before the war.
I remember a Turk telling a Syrian on twitter that the real reason, during the “friendly” seeming times between Syria and Turkey, that the mines along the border between the two countries were removed, was in preparations for the war.
This means Turkey was already involved in enabling and setting up the war in Syria.
This shows to me that it was (at least) just as much a foreign-sponsored war as one of Syrians wanting a new government.
Plus near the very beginning of the fighting there were regular reports of convoys filled with looted machinery from Syrian factories headed to Turkey.
Syria was being looted and stripped from the start. So how can anyone say it started as a genuine patriotic movement. Wouldn’t true patriots try to stop this?
I think Hezbollah supplied its tunnel technology to Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas then stabbed them in the back by supplying it to the US proxy jihadi throat slitters in Syria.
Very silly people.
When the genocidal Zionist Regime flattens the area again, they are probably getting what they deserve.
Dont worry mark, Sure Hamas makes mistakes, they are not only human but also berayed by the entire world. What would any of us be willing to do to survive decades of genocide and theft of their very soil. We forgive Hamas for any and all discretions. They are trying to survive, so the crime is not theirs, it is ours!
What i could never understand is why the terrorists were allowed to take control of all the border crossings from Turkey and Jordan?the SAA and airforce should have been bombing and shelling anything that crossed that border 24/7,an army of many thousands be it a regular army or terrorist army can not last long in the field without logistical lines,the syrian should also have laid massive mine fields along that border with razor wire in a no mans land,it never happened so the head hackers were coming and going as they pleased.
Nothing here about a pipeline??? Natural Gas??? Qatar wanting to pipe their LNG to Europe and Assad was in the way? I have watched this premeditated attempt at raping Syria from the beginning and CIA, State Department, Killary Klinton, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize (obama) had their hand steering the ship while the qatari and sauds put coal in the burner. It is unfortunate that fundamental religion appears to be a mental illness. Nuns as sex slaves in the catholic church, magic underwear for the mormons, the chosenites and their thirst for blood as they became the nazis that they abhorred. Oh forgot about the christians in america who are waiting for the rapture because nothing is worth watching on cable.
Its 2 minutes to midnight on the atomic clock to armageddon and if it does come to pass, I hope that SA, Qatar, and the GCC countries that spilt so much blood are the first locations turned to glass.
Thank you Tony,
We focused on an aspect for this article. Ghassan in particular has written widely and comprehensively on the war, mostly introducing original thoughts and analysis. You are welcome to peruse much of his work (and mine) saved on my blog.
Thank you for your reply and I shall do as you suggest.
Tony-you spelled ‘moron’ incorrectly, adding an extraneous ‘m’ for some reason.
Hi Tony – SA ? does that stand for South America – Saudi Arabia or South Africa ?
As soon as Russian electronic warfare devices jammed two cruise missiles from an Israeli nuclear-ready submarine (gift of Germany) which was leading a flotilla of NATZO warships against Damascus in 2013, I predicted that Syria would win. Russian heavy kept NATZO heavy arms in check, leaving the regular Syrian Army free to clean out a wasps nest of well paid and well equipped but relatively lightly armed Anglo Zio Capitalist mercenaries. There is more to this Syrian triumph against NATZO and its self-proclaimed “irresistible armed might”, but bewilderment of NATZO in 2013 by this new form of warfare, EW, was the turning point.
Hmm, I am not sure I can agree with the “Syria has won”. Syria’s war is not over yet, and Syria is facing territory losses to Turkey in the North, all of the land to the East of Euphrates River to the West not to mention the land near Jordan border. We can say “Syria won” if and when Syria recovers all that, which won’t happen anytime soon as Russia is sitting on the fence and Iran and Hezbollah are tired of the long war as well. It seems ME Yalta is being offered, but the West (Turkey included as sultan is playing classic Turkish game of grub and hold) is not interested in negotiating as it wants Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah’s blood. So, we wait and Syria will have to wait as well.
Putin on Israel’s role in Il-20 downing: ‘Looks accidental, like chain of tragic circumstances’
We can expect continuous low-level war until a new host is identified – good for business..
Articles such as this are mere propaganda now. Syria has been partitioned on behalf of the Kurds thus Syria and her people have lost. We’ve all be fooled.
Excellent post — thank you, Ghassan and Intibah Kadi.
Your below question is an astute one indeed:
”Did the plotters import Jihadi fighters because they weren’t able to mobilize enough Syrians against their government, or did Syrians support their government because the plotters brought in foreign Jihadi fighters?”
I would say that it was mostly the first hypothesis playing out, with the second one further corroborating the support for Syria’s government (’Assad regime’ in Westish). As a comparison, the Ukronazis were homegrown traitors in abundance; hence the possibility of achieving victory in Ukraine using just a few (very prominent) Zionazi rabble-rousers from abroad.
Nice general recap of the initial few years and the mistakes made that have almost provided victory. The conclusion about Syria’s new direction is realistic and confirms what I see. Unfortunately, the economic war being waged on Syria by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals has yet to cease.
Thanks for this excellent and informative article.
‘Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?’…the answer is ‘Chicken’.
The preliminary intervention of a second male ‘chicken’ is required (to produce an egg that is capable of producing another chicken). It’s a kind of neurodivergent puzzle, not an insoluble paradox.
Interesting, yet highly surprising article. This is the first time I have read that the Free Syrian Army, a splinter group from the Syrian Arab Army, had in fact achieved so much. Not easy to accept, especially since the authors claim that now they can see no trace of it. It means it was never really a powerful force, basically existing in name. In addition, it’s not easy to accept the fact that the FSA was created as a response to corruption, since the whole Middle East runs on corruption, an age long tradition. Even so, before the war began, the Assad family did a good job in building up the country.
When the war in Syria began (and it was never a civil war), the country was invaded by Jihadist mercenaries from all over the Middle East and beyond. Analysts have stated that 95 % of Jihadist mercenaries were foreigners and only 5 % were native Syrians. Some of those mercenaries were good, some not so good. Their backbone were Iraqi Sunni officers, who served under Saddam Hussein. They had the backing of Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US and NATO countries, which was crucial (who gave them all those weapons, including all those brand new Toyota pickups ?). Had the jihadists been denied foreign backing, then the SAA would have defeated them quite easily. Since foreign backing was crucial, the jihadists took a large section of Syria, and it was only Russian and Iranian intervention that reversed the situation. And yes, once all foreigners are deposed from Syria, then the country can indeed look forward to reconstruction.
Thank you B.F, we put links to previous articles in order for the reader who wants to follow through and understand the kind of questions you’ve asked. This article is just focusing on how Syria did end up getting its revolution and you are welcome to look at those links we put in the article. You are also welcome to look at the hundreds of Syria related articles we ( mainly Ghassan) have written since 2011 on my blog
Interesting summary of the Syrian war and it’s unfolding. But strangely neither the words “USA” and “Israel” saw print.
Thanks El Gallinazo,
We focused on an particular aspect for this article. Ghassan has written widely and comprehensively on the war, hundreds of articles in fact, mostly introducing original thoughts and analysis. You are welcome to peruse much of his work (and mine) saved on my blog.