The Assad Regime is Secular, My Foot.

Olivia's picture
Submitted by Olivia on Sun, 2017-04-16 02:32

By Olivia Pierson
http://www.oliviapierson.org/b...

Right now in media circulation, a big lie is doing the rounds: that Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria is a secular regime. This is not true. The same lie was told about Saddam Hussein’s regime before he was overthrown from power in Iraq. Even some light surface reading on Saddam's Return to Faith Campaign will dispel that porky.

In the last week or so, I have heard this lie coming from the lips of many media outlets and political commentators who should know better, like Nigel Farage, Ann Coulter, Paul Joseph Watson and Katie Hopkins (I deeply respect these five great people, but they happen to be wrong on this one).

Apart from the fact that Assad has filled his administration only with Alawites (a sect of Shia Islam), the Syrian regime is a Baathist regime, as was the Iraqi administration under Saddam. The Baath Party is a form of Arab nationalism, conceived as an anti colonialist, socialist movement for Arabs which liked to advertise itself as secular and borrow ideas from the Enlightenment such as ‘truth’ and freedom of speech. It emphasises ‘truth’ as interpreted by the scholarship of Islam, not truth interpreted by the scholarship of scientific thought as the European Enlightenment emphasised. There was no freedom of speech under Saddam’s brutal police state neither does it exist in Assad’s Syria. So much for the Arabs making claims on the Enlightenment - the truth is the Arab world has never had one and that is why it’s such a sectarian mess.

If Syria is so secular someone might like to explain why there are no Jews living there?
We know Jews were heavily persecuted under Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist father, Hafez al-Assad. They were even forbidden to leave Syria for Israel. During the 1990s the small Jewish population left in Damascus were under heavy state surveillance by Assad’s secret police in their homes, their schools and their synagogues. Does that sound like a secular family dynasty to you?

It has never been a secret that Bashar al-Assad sponsors Islamic terrorism, not only of the Shi’ite variety like Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, but also Sunni terrorism which has now mutated into ISIS. He allowed Al Qaeda terror training camps to operate in Syria, in order to ensure that terrorists kept pouring across the border into Iraq to fight the Multinational Forces led by the United States. This is widely known.

But what is not as widely known in mainstream media circles is that according to former Alawite members of Syria's Military Intelligence, Assad opened the doors of his slaughterhouse, Saydnaya prison, to allow the most radically murderous Al Qaeda terrorists and ex-Iraqi Baathists to be released and abetted because he thought the Multinational Forces might eventually come for him too. In 2011 he let these savages out fully knowing they would ravage, rape and butcher their way through Syrian towns so that he could look like the strongman standing between peace or extreme terrorism in his own country. This risk to his regime was one he was willing to live with as a calculated distraction from the original peaceful protesters crying out for democracy and gaining world attention. At first this ruse worked, now it has backfired.

Since when did a so called ‘secular’ butcher have any more credence in Western eyes than a sectarian butcher? Why are commentators clinging to this false detail and promulgating it?
I know the answer to that - it is because they think it adds weight to making the case for non- intervention in Syria’s civil war. Take a look at this staggeringly complex list of militias and armed groups currently fighting in Syria as I write:

List of armed groups in the Syrian civil war...

How could anyone look at this list and say with a straight face that Assad’s Syria has operated as a secular regime?!

I understand the rational apprehension people have toward the idea of a Western intervention in Syria’s ghastly war. President Trump gained so much support for his ‘no foreign entanglements’ rhetoric, while he was also talking on the campaign trail about building “safe zones” in Syria - that was a dual minded proposition right there. But since his strike last week on a Syrian airbase over Assad’s disgusting use of chemical weapons (again) on his own defenseless civilians it is clear to me that the language coming out of the President’s administration is beginning to sound as though regime change may be on the cards in their minds. Nicky Haley, along with Rex Tillerson, are making the case that there cannot be a stable Syria with Assad at the helm, and I think that is obvious.

If this is so, the yuuuuuuuge problematic question on everyone’s lips will be if not Assad, who would fill the power vacuum?

Assad is obviously an evil and incompetent leader - just look at the gutted ruins of half his country and the refugee crisis it has unleashed into the Western world. So much for a “strongman” who holds these problems at bay from impacting the West.

What seems to not exist in anyone’s vision for a new Syria is some sort of model to act upon. Iraq is the closest thing we have as an example of a way to deal with Assad, but the cost of Iraq has been terrible. However, what made the situation in Iraq infinitely worse than it had to be was after a decade of war, President Obama got handed a victory there, the result of General Petraeus’ surge. Obama turned that hard-won victory into a defeat by blazingly sign-posting U.S troop withdrawal and failing to negotiate a decent Status of Forces Agreement. The result was ISIS, with the U.S Forces having to go back in to retrain Iraqi Security Forces and help clean up once more. This was a disaster Obama could and should have avoided had he but once listened to the counsel of President Bush. But there it is, being only a Social Justice Warrior President, he was stupendously out of his depth as an effective, real world Commander in Chief.

It is worth noting that the regimes sympathetic to totalitarianism, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia are all involved with supporting armaments to the Assad regime. It looks as though the Trump administration is about to act militarily in North Korea, or at least push China to.

Before I end this post, I will remind people that U.S intervention has at times been extraordinarily successful. The reason that the once imperialist, murderous Japanese regime of Hirohito and Tojo is now a wealthy, peaceful democratic country is because of U.S intervention and a relatively short occupation. The reason that South Korea does not look anything like totalitarian North Korea is because of a U.S military intervention. In the case of Japan it was total defeat and unconditional surrender thanks to the atomic bomb. When I look at Assad’s Syria he has consciously driven his country into the ground resulting in a spectacularly failed nation, if not a rogue nation propped up by dubious countries like Iran and Russia.

If anti-interventionists want to make the case for leaving the Middle East well alone to destroy itself (and keep from impacting the West), without the meddling of NATO nations, then fine, now is the time to clearly make that case. But please spare us from the silly myth that the case somehow is greatly fortified by the fictional notion of Assad being a secularist strongman who is keeping terrorism in check. That is pure camel shit.
- See more at:
http://www.oliviapierson.org/blog


A Foolish Sentiment

Doug Bandler The Second's picture

we still await the Trump-betraying blouses' responses as to what they thought Trump meant by "I'm going to bomb the crap out of ISIS."

Trump was foolish to say something like that. He was even more foolish to say that he would eradicate Islamic extremism from the globe. How very Progressive of him. We have ISIS because the US removed Hussein; something you championed with a passion even to the point where you denounced as "filth" anyone who disagreed with you. Maybe that was plausible circa 2003-2006 (even though it is still so anti-social, par for the course for Objectivists) but it sure as hell isn't now given how history unfolded. But yet you still stick to supporting the Iraq war and that it was a form of subdued American patriotism and representative of "the good". God forbid you even consider the fact that it was a combination of anti-American (in the true sense) Imperialism combined with Zionist sociopathy.

I'm no longer in that sick universe and to me you are not that different from the lunatics at ARI. And to think that you all think that someone like Ron Paul (or even Pat Buchanan) is "un-American". Jesus Christ.

Bill O'Reily was right to call Peikoff Dr. Strangelove. But he didn't have game and despite all his money look at the mess he ended up in. My worldview is constantly proved right everywhere I look.

Lady S

Lindsay Perigo's picture

What a pack of total drive by hit and run pussies! And they like to make that claim about Leftists!

Yes. And funnily enough, we still await the Trump-betraying blouses' responses as to what they thought Trump meant by "I'm going to bomb the crap out of ISIS."

Linz...

Olivia's picture

I await the response of the Trump-betrayers as to what they thought he meant by "I'm going to bomb the crap out of ISIS."

What a pack of total drive by hit and run pussies! And they like to make that claim about Leftists! And people like "Doug" wonder why they are doomed to singledom.

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I do realise, which is one of the reasons I relaxed the ban on folk posting pseudonymously.

"Doug"

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

I don't know Doug's real name and I know little about him personally other than he works in finance, didn't have game, etc.

But most "finance" jobs I am aware of are private and he could lose his job for his political views because he has no civil service protection.

I don't know the situation in NZ, but you should know that in the USA there is a stifling political correctness.

J Cuttance

Olivia's picture

Thanks for that.
Re your comments from Rand Paul, who also likes to make the standard isolationist claim that Saddam and Assad were/are secular regimes.

>>>Ron Paul - the prospect of peace in Syria was moving closer before the attack, with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on the run.
>>>“It looks like maybe somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode,” said Paul, asking, “who benefits?”

ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been mainly fighting in the North & North East, and they are being fought by the Kurds, the Iraqi Peshmerga and the Syrian Democratic Forces (led by the Kurds). Assad's forces have barely touched them there. They're not interested in that area but keep their fighting focus with Russia's help on the West and South West coastal areas. But anyway, apart from that, with around 1000 armed opposition groups styled along jihadi lines, the prospect of getting closer to peace in Syria in any meaningful sense is doubtful, with or without "an episode."

>>>“It doesn’t make any sense for Assad under these conditions to all of a sudden use poison gases – I think there’s zero chance he would have done this deliberately,” said Paul.

It makes perfect sense!
A) Assad obviously has large stockpiles of chemical weapons to use and has used them many times before in exactly the same way.
B) Only a few days before, he would've heard Tillerson, Haley et al announcing that getting rid of the Assad regime was not a priority for them - not on the agenda. That would've been pure music to his genocidal ears.

Also, here is a link to a regime defector who claims whatever chemical weapons were accounted for were only half the stockpile. Assad lied.

Edit: Sorry, I just realised you were citing Ron Paul, not Rand Paul. The two are so often interchangeable. Eye

Very educational, Olivia,

J Cuttance's picture

Very educational, Olivia, thank you.

The only part I would dispute is;

...(Trump's) strike last week on a Syrian airbase over Assad’s disgusting use of chemical weapons (again) on his own defenseless civilians...

>>>Ron Paul - the prospect of peace in Syria was moving closer before the attack, with ISIS and Al-Qaeda on the run.

>>>“It looks like maybe somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode,” said Paul, asking, “who benefits?”

>>>“It doesn’t make any sense for Assad under these conditions to all of a sudden use poison gases – I think there’s zero chance he would have done this deliberately,” said Paul.

2013 even featured Obama and Kerry getting lots of legacy media air time warning Assad not to use gas, and then he does!?

British MPs, including the excellent Steve Baker, mercifully smelled a rat and refused Cameron war powers then, but this year's attack wasn't even subject to a modicum of sober assessment.

Great posts, Lady S!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I await the response of the Trump-betrayers as to what they thought he meant by "I'm going to bomb the crap out of ISIS."

I await the evidence for their dopey, evil, "Zionist" conspiracy crap.

I await some kind of justification for their demanding that the (volunteer) NZ army swarm over Syria.

I await some kind of justification for their claiming that service in Iraq or Syria or wherever by the (volunteer) U.S. army represents some kind of immoral sacrifice. It is if the politicians abandon them—which the Trump-betrayers' Dem-pin-ups did.

I await an explanation as to why the bombing of the Syrian airfield or the Afghan caves, without a single American casualty or commitment of further (volunteer) U.S. ground troops, was wrong, or somehow a reversal of Trump's campaign positions.

Yawon? "Doug"? Grant? Neil?

Treachery makes for the strangest of bed-fellows!

Drippy Responses Fellas...

Olivia's picture

Neil, your spelling needs great attention:

Was connecticut secular even though it had a state church until 1830? Was the united states a theocracy when in the 50s stores were cloaed by law on Sundays ?

Utterly irrelevant in comparison to a state which sponsors Hezbollah, Fatah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, but gets passed off as "secular."

Doug the Ghoul (faceless and nameless):

You would have to spend years reading the literature on this subject to get to the point where you understand how ignorant you are. I know. I went through the same process.

Then that’s a good reason for me not to do it since you’ve addled your brain and demonstrate no moral compass, evidenced by your hatred of Israel, of all womenkind and ...well everybody, especially anyone with dark skin. You're a total collectivist on every single score.

Also, your understanding of WW2 is just completely from the mainstream narrative. You have read none of the alternative literature on that either. And yet you speak from such authority. Like nearly every Objectivist, you speak with moral righteousness on things you know nothing about.

That’s just your horribly limited experience of women speaking - my manner of authority has nothing to do with Objectivism and everything to do with being raised by Imperialists (who lived through WWII and Partition in India, but I suppose their viewpoints would be just “from the mainstream narrative” too). Superiority is bred into the tone I’m afraid - do try to deal with it.

Grant:

I remember you being a Trump supporter during the election. Just what do you think his “building safe zones in Syria and the Gulf States are going to pay for it” talk meant? Also, as Lindsay asks, what do you think “I’m going to bomb the hell out of ISIS” meant? Absolutely no intervention at the hands of the U.S or a coalition?

If you read my post properly you would see that I am not calling for a U.S intervention, nowhere do I state that. Trump punished Assad for his anti-Geneva Protocol use of chemical weapons on civilians, which, as the leader of the Free World with a functioning moral compass, he is meant to do. That might be all he does, we don’t know yet, his administration seems to be considering ousting Assad, but the discussion I opened up was to call out the staunch anti-interventionists for trying to build a case around a weasel piss lie. That is what I am seeing and hearing from some pretty smart, decent people, and it bothers me.

These are the things on the President’s plate (along with the build up going on with NORK) and they make for timely discussions for those who give a rats, but it looks as though, from your responses here, you menfolk just aren’t up for it.

Neo-Con Lite

Grant Jones's picture

So, when is the mighty New Zealand Army marching into Syria? Yeah, that's what I thought. There is no reason for the United States to sacrifice yet more blood and treasure in the Middle East. End Moslem immigration. Deport the ones already in the West. Let them stew in their own juices.

Linz

Neil Parille's picture

Of course I mean no disrespect for Olivia by calling her "Oblivia." It still cracks me up that you and she ganged up on me because i opined on Valliant's nutty book.

Oblivia

Neil Parille's picture

Secular and secularism exist on a gradient. Was connecticut secular even though it had a state church until 1830? Was the united states a theocracy when in the 50s stores were cloaed by law on Sundays ?

I dont know the situation of the Jews in Syria but it appears they had more freedom thwre than in many other middle eastern countries. Try starting a synagogue in Saudi Arabia.

hypothetically

Tore's picture

mayhaps trump got a shit-ton of classified information after becoming president, and, in the context of what he know knows, surely more than anyone here, bombing syria makes perfect strategic sense. i always imagined every president in his forst days on the job, gets super-secret info about all sorts of shit, like the truth about the jfk assasination f'rinstance.

Brook

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

It would be nice if Brook put some his thoughts in writing, but best I can tell from listening to his podcast before yesterday's he thinks that we should allow everyone in Syria to slaughter each other. He has also said that the US must "secularize" the Islamic world (all 49 Muslim majority countries, I guess).

I skimmed Saturday's podcast and I didn't hear him give an explanation why Israel should restrict immigration to maintain itself as an ethno-religous state.

Syria

Neil Parille's picture

Linz,

Doug can speak for himself. My view is that a Syria run by the Assad family is about the best you can do. The choice isn't between Assad and a "liberal democracy." It's between Assad and some version of Islamic tyranny.

Hitlerian, cowardly, anonymous Doug ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Go ahead though, go pressure Trump and the Republicans to oust Assad. Go risk a war with Russia and *then* please act surprised when years from now post Assad what you get is yet another hardline Muslim government.

A hardline Muslim government is surely exactly what you, Neil, Yawon and other anti-Trumpists yearn for? It would be anti-"Zionist," after all? Didn't you say Israel is a greater threat than Iran? Sick fucks.

I wonder which part of "I'll bomb the crap out of ISIS" you treasonists never got?

Olivia

Doug Bandler The Second's picture

You are case in point of how Objectivists are nearly identical to Neocons. You would have to spend years reading the literature on this subject to get to the point where you understand how ignorant you are. I know. I went through the same process.

Also, your understanding of WW2 is just completely from the mainstream narrative. You have read none of the alternative literature on that either. And yet you speak from such authority. Like nearly every Objectivist, you speak with moral righteousness on things you know nothing about.

Go ahead though, go pressure Trump and the Republicans to oust Assad. Go risk a war with Russia and *then* please act surprised when years from now post Assad what you get is yet another hardline Muslim government. Better yet, why don't you send some contributions to Lindsay Graham and John McCaine.

Objectivists, pretty much every single one of you, are irredeemable.

Neil

Olivia's picture

Secular and secularism have a specific meaning - which the people who state that Syria, under Assad is secular, know very well.

Here's Katie Hopkins on this matter: http://insider.foxnews.com/201...

Note she states as an example of Assad's secularism that women can drive and have the vote. That is also true of women in Iran, but are you going to claim that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a secular state?!

This is Article 3 of the Syrian Constitution ratified in 2012: Article 3

The religion of the President of the Republic is Islam; Islamic jurisprudence shall be a major source of legislation; The State shall respect all religions, and ensure the freedom to perform all the rituals that do not prejudice public order; The personal status of religious communities shall be protected and respected.

Respected, except if you are a Jew. Hardly "secular."

Again, the point of my post is to say to the staunch anti-interventionists, make your case without this lie. It's the same lie that was told about Saddam. The argument was along the same lines...."Monster? Yes, but a secular monster..." as if that is somehow morally better. I'm saying this is crap.

So try again Neil, this time with your brain intact.

Secular?

Neil Parille's picture

Oblivia,

I don't think anyone is saying that Syria is "secular" in the sense that the USA is. The point is that it is friendly to people of various religions.

For example, Assad attended Palm Sunday worship at a Christian Church last week.

BTW, South Korea and Japan are high IQ countries. Syria isn't (around 85) so a nasty strongman is probably the best you can do.

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