Sunday, April 17, 2016


Note: Written for the membership of the Facebook group "The Syrian Revolution; The Untold Story

The talk about an imminent American strike on the Government of Syria and the people of Syria is ridiculous to say the least.
The word “ridiculous” has been used herein in reference to the use of the term “imminent” or similar strong words in such reports.
This is not to say that an American strike on Syria, its government and people is in the realm of impossibility. As a matter of fact, the history of the last five to six decades proves without any shadow of doubt, that America does not think much before deciding to bomb any country of its choosing, with or without a reason.
However, at best, an American attack on Syria, its government and people, during this particular phase, is only speculation, and analysts making such claims should report them as speculation and not as facts.
One can be a PhD in Political Science without mastering the art of political analysis. Political analysis, just like writing skills, art, sporting prowess etc., is a skill and a talent that can be nurtured and improved. However, it cannot be taught. You can teach someone to sight read and play “Fur Elise” faultlessly, but you cannot teach any person how to be a composer.
In this distinguished group of ours, over the last three years or so, we have seen many sorts of over the top, irrational theories come and go. The story of the alleged “imminent” strike on Syria will be one of those stories, but perhaps not the last.
Political analysis has no real rules and regulations, after all, a lot of it can be biased and underpinned by favouritism and thus using what is meant to be objective and informed pieces of analytical literature as a means of spreading propaganda. Fox News and its protégé Al Jazeera are perfect examples of this category.
Another less vicious form of improper political analysis is one that is based on charged emotions. A political analyst cannot make proper assessments of situations if he or she is allowing his/her passion, fear, pursuit of vengeance, patriotism, political or religious indoctrination and similar mindsets to mask his/her rationality and allowing them to stand in the way of perceiving facts as they are.
This is when strategic thinking comes into play. An army general wants to win a forthcoming battle he is about to enter. His emotions are involved. His political, national, perhaps even religious affiliations are all involved, but for him to win the battle he has to think strategically, with his mind and not with his heart.
A political analyst should not be any different, even if he/she has specific preferences. In this respect, as Syrian patriots and supporters of Syria, its people and its government, we have to think with the mind of that army general going into battle before we put our thoughts on paper.
I have great respect for many of the analysts from the West  who have supported Syria. However, I feel very dismayed, to put it mildly, when I see their followers mirroring their thoughts on this topic in this group with a passion that I hate to admit is quite irrational. Even if we reduce these analysts’ theories to mere speculations, a proper analysis of the situation clearly indicates that those speculations are far from being tenable.
Ironically, in the Arab world, there is no such talk in the media or at the tables of cafes. The only outspoken cynics to this new direction of a possible Syrian-US collaboration, if there is indeed any, is coming from the mouths of Islamists and their supporters who are saying that the truth has finally come out and that Syria, America, Iran and Hezbollah have all along been colluding to wipe out Sunnis and that they are no longer capable of hiding their collusion.

There is absolutely no talk in the Arab world and Arab media about a possible US strike on Syria, its government and its people. Here one has to stop and wonder as to what level of “inside information” those non -Arab alleged experts of the politics of the Levant and region have. Do they believe that eminent Arab journalists, analysts and the like, are unaware or perhaps too incompetent to foresee such a strike and write about it ? or do they think that they have all the information at their fingertips without having to read what their Arab counterparts are saying and, more importantly, what they are not saying? This is indeed arrogance at its worst.

President Obama has said that he doesn’t yet have a strategy to fight ISIS. It is indeed difficult to have such a strategy, especially one that is meant to be effective on the long term. It is possible, and again, I would not say probable or definite, as I not jump to the level of turning my speculations into facts, but, I will say, that it is possible that President Obama has finally woken up to realise that the world has got one billion Muslim youths and that, each and every one of them is a potential ISIS recruit.

Logic implies that any which way America dealt with Islamic Jihadists in the past, up until very recently it had the false impression that it could wield them. When Bandar went to Putin last year he bragged about his ability to turn the Jihadists on and off at will. It didn’t take long after that for Bandar to fall on his sword, showing the rest of the world that he is nothing more than a buffoon and an idiot who is totally unable to have any control on the monster that he helped to create in conjunction with the Americans.

If Obama has suddenly woken up to this and realised that with Bandar out of the picture in that capacity and with the rest of the Saudi royals begging Obama to keep ISIS at bay, then he will have to change strategy and tactics, and do this fast.

In such an event, the last thing on Obama’s mind will be a regime change in Syria.

In politics the shades of grey are the determinant factors, not the black and white. A political analyst should have the knowledge and understand military strategy and human nature and then apply to this common sense. It would seem that those unwritten rules have been compromised in this new craze, sending fear and doubts, especially within this group. This is not a call for censorship, it is a call for reason. Finally, I beg to excuse the repetition, but analysts and their followers who are fearing an American attack on Syria at this point should be responsible enough to say that they are reporting their own speculation and not facts.

A comment from an eminent Syrian is posted below as it adds to the subject.
Thanks Ghassan for this work. Your rational analysis demonstrates the value of indigenous subject matter experts. Not to discount the traditional global analysts, who have a relatively good record in analysing the 'big global picture', and whom we hear/see daily given airtime and/or forums to inform people of their perspective, however, when it comes to the complexities of the Middle East, specially in the Levant, analysts would be viewed as living in a parallel bubble looking into events in the region and seeing chaos that only the affected locals can accurately describe with accuracy and void of emotions.

Most Arab analysts are not captive to either Eastern or Western narratives, rather, they are either Islamist or Secularist. These days, the majority of them are just in awe when it comes to the Syrian crisis and the way Syria behaved throughout with the ISIS-JaN aliance on one hand, and the international community on the other.

A senior Syrian diplomat informed me a couple of days ago (after 2170) that even the Qatari and the Tunisian diplomats are now talking about the correctness of Syria's stance since day one. What does this mean to these observers? Well, the objective among them (and there are many) expect that the US would ultimately be obliged to see it President Assad's way. Seeing that its tired strategy of supporting terror by proxy has failed miserably and has generated more of a threat to its interests and those of its allies than it did Syria.

Finally, I would like to state that the US as a superpower may shoot itself in the foot and make mistakes because of its confrontational foreign policy, but it has enough intelligence and common sense not to shoot itself in the head by going to war against Syria and its many strategic allies such as Russia, China and Iran. That is why the US would complete the U-Turn on Syria, sooner than we think."

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