Mohammad Bouazizi’s self-immolation in Tunisia in the December of 2010 triggered a popular uprising against the regime of Ben Ali and eventually toppled it. This resonated throughout the Arab world, inducing a domino effect that saw people in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria rising up against dictatorships. Two years on, many of these states have passed through the initial phase of revolution, if not completed it. However, Syria has been a peculiar case. Two springs have passed since the popular uprising in Syria against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, and until recently there was no end in sight. 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far that has seen Assad unleash unprecedented terror and destruction on the majority population. The Syrian uprising has witnessed all the modes of resistance being used by its people; from peaceful demonstrations to armed resistance. The most curious thing about the Syrian uprising is the role of US and its allies, which has been rather passive in relation to Libya.
United States has been harping about a military intervention in Syria and pressing for the same in the UN Security Council for some time now. However such resolutions for military intervention and sanctions against Syria have been consistently vetoed by Russia and China. Both the countries have their national interests at stake, hence the reason for their stand. America doesn’t gives a damn about the resolutions passed at UN but this time it had other reasons to abide by it. However, now it seems that US is poised to invade Syria along with its NATO allies. On December 4, NATO approved Turkey’s request to place patriot missile batteries along the Turkish-Syrian border against potential attacks from the Syrian side. The move is a departure of NATO from its previous stand advocating talks to bring an end to the Syrian crisis. Only a couple of days later US president Obama drew a “red line” for the Syrian regime. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”, he said.
The question to be asked is why is America on the verge of intervening in Syria now, almost two years after the uprising began? It didn’t take long to invade Libya, then why the delay in Syria? The answer to the question lies in the developments that have taken place over the last month or so - recognition of Syrian national council by European Union and the formation of the unified military command. The fact is since the uprising in Syria and the subsequent armed resistance began, US and its allies have been unable to find people or groups among the opposition and rebels who are powerful enough and ideologically sound(American) to do business with. In crude terms it has been unable to find a stooge due to the diversity of the militias fighting the Assad regime and their predominantly Islamic leanings. Unlike the case in Libya, Islamic militia groups form a major chunk of the armed rebels. Brigades like Liwa Al Islam, Liwa Al Tawhid, Jabhat al-Nusra have dealt severe blows to the Assad forces and gained considerable ground over the last six months. Liwa Al Islam was at the forefront when the rebels first launched an assault on Damascus in July this year that killed the defense minister among several other key aides of Assad. Recently Jabhat al-Nusra has emerged as a major player parallel to the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
There has also been a significant influx of non-Syrians into Syria from the neighboring countries of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and even from Australia, Canada, UK and other places. The west obviously is wary of this trend and has often expressed fears over it with its usual rhetoric of “jihadists” and “Al-Qaedaism”.
As already mentioned, United States has delayed its now inevitable military intervention in Syria because it could not find people to do business with. However its patience has now ran out as Islamic forces increasingly dominate the battle lines as the Assad regime is starting to collapse. Consequently America and its allies have now doubled their efforts to ensure that the revolution remains subservient to their interests in the region. The recognition of the Syrian National Council as a representative of the Syrian people and the formation of Supreme Military Council (a unified command of rebel groups) on December 9, are efforts of US aimed at setting up stooges in the troubled country as the endgame begins. At the meeting of the formation of Supreme National Council under the tutelage of US, two of Syria’s most crucial rebel groups- Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham were sidelined. Previously US had already announced plans about declaring Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist group having alleged links to Al-Qaeda. It is strange considering that such claims only reiterate Bashar Al Assad’s assertions that it is fighting “terrorists”. It is a profound sign of the desperation of America to ensure that the revolution ends up being American. However only a couple of days later, 29 opposition comprising armed brigades and civil committees signed a petition calling for mass demonstrations in support of Jabhat al-Nusra as well as rejecting an American intervention.
All this maneuvering is directed at erecting institutions and people in Syria before US led west can finally move in with its bombs of “liberation” much like it did in Libya and hijack a popular revolution that is decidedly Islamic in nature and as such impossible for the west to digest. A false flag operation may also be around the corner to trigger the invasion. The Iraqi style propaganda of Chemical weapons falling in the hands of “extremists” or Assad using them against the majority Syrians is being vehemently disseminated by the media outlets in a bid to mold public opinion in favour of an intervention in Syria to “save” its people. The Al-Qaeda card is also being used to full effect to negate the increasingly Islamic outlook of the resistance. West cannot tolerate Muslims fighting for their own values and in case they do, well, they need to be “liberated” through an invasion named “intervention”!
(Junaid Ahmad is a blogger based in Kashmir.)