America’s “Dirty War on Syria”: Bashar al Assad and Political Reform

Published on Global, by , Dec 4, 2015.

… It should go without saying that the internal political processes of a sovereign country belongs to the people of that country, and no-one else. Nevertheless, as Washington insists on a prerogative to determine who can or cannot lead another country, some background on Bashar al Assad and the political reform process in Syria might be useful … //

… 5.1 The reform movement:  

  • At the start of the millennium, Bashar al Assad was the official candidate for reform, but there was also a fairly large if fragmented anti-Ba’ath Party political opposition. Many saw the chance of reform through the youthful new President while others, particularly the banned Muslim Brotherhood, wanted to dismantle the secular state, establishing some sort of theocracy. Yet the simple fact of a change of leadership to a youthful and western educated man gave rise to the idea of a ‘Damascus Spring’, in the year 2000. Bashar was widely seen as an agent of reform, but his rise was meteoric and quite dependent on the networks of the ruling Ba’ath Party which had recruited him. There were no dramatic political reforms, despite the widespread complaints of corruption (Otrakji 2012). However his socio-economic reforms involved giving new impetus to mass education and citizenship, with a controlled economic liberalisation which opened up new markets, yet without the privatisations that had swept Eastern Europe … //

… 5.2 Bashar, demonised outside but popular inside Syria:

  • The popularity of the Syrian President at home undermines attempts to cast him as a monster, at least in Syria. The petro-monarchy of Qatar is an open enemy of Syria, having put literally billions into the Islamist armed groups (Khalaf and Smith 2013). However their own media channel and polls have acknowledged Bashar’s popularity. In January 2011 Qatar’s main media outlet Al Jazeera concluded that a revolution in Syria was ‘unlikely’ due to Assad’s popularity. While there was authoritarian rule, ‘factors such as a relatively popular president and religious diversity make an uprising in the country unlikely’ (Wikstrom 2011). Bashar was popular amongst young people, said US analyst Joshua Landis. ‘They may not like the regime, they don’t like corruption … but they tend to blame this on the people around him, the old guard’. People wanted change, because of poverty, corruption and the political police; but Syrians liked Assad’s support for pluralism and modernising reforms (Wikstrom 2011) … //


… We see significant concordance between agencies of the partisan or enemy sources, those linked to the anti-Government armed groups, and Syrian electoral processes. The election results were relatively consistent with informed opinion during the crisis. The Syrian President enjoys more than two-thirds popular support in the country. This reality is not really challenged by Bashar’s institutional advantage. Support for the Syrian Army is probably higher than that for the President, while that for the Ba’ath Party is lower. The combined data confirms the idea that a range of non-Ba’ath parties and social forces rallied to the President during the crisis.

We can see from the earlier reform statements (in particular the 2005 Damascus Declaration) the reasons why most of the domestic opposition did not join in armed attacks on the state. Most of them backed the state, against the foreign-backed sectarian terrorism. The major exception to this was the Muslim Brotherhood and other smaller Salafi groups. They were not concerned about any sort of democracy, looking instead for their own version of a religious state. For that, once again, they needed and sought foreign military assistance.

(full long text, references).

on en.wikipedia: Alawites; Hafez al-Assad; Asma al-Assad; Sunni Islam; Shia Islam;
List of Arab entrepreneurship initiatives; /Syrian part of the list;


Helping you to #QuestionMore: RT coverage of Yemen destruction [VIDEOS], on Russia Today RT, Dec 6, 2015;

Guns in America, on Dissident Voice, by Eve Mykytyn, Dec 5, 2015;

Putin wants Russia to become world’s biggest exporter of Non-GMO food, on Russia Today RT, Dec 3, 2015;

Canadian Working-Class History, As It Was, As It Is, As It Might Be – part 1, 20.47 min, on Socialist, Oct 23, 2015;
also on YouTube: part 1, (part 2 and 3 follow on YouTube in autoplay);

… und noch dies:

Europa Erdgeschichtlich gesehen, von Terra Iguana im Mai 2013 auf YouTube hochgeladen:

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