The Real Opposition Is The VictimMay 1, 2012
Here is another new article by Fehim Tastekin that we have translated from Turkish into English. Fehim recently returned from Syria and has been writing articles that reveal the naked reality that Syrians are facing today. His is a rare and important voice in these times cluttered with lies, distortions, propaganda and war-mongering. You can read the original in Turkish here: Gerçek muhalefet kurban / Dünya / Radikal İnternet
The Real Opposition Is The Victim
by Fehim Tastekin
According to Ali Haydar, the leader of the opposition Syrian Social Nationalist Party, foreign-backed armed groups have stolen the process of the revolution. The real opposition has become a victim of the fighting between the government and armed opposition groups.
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) is one of the notable opposition parties that is stuck between the regime and armed opposition groups in Syria. The party was established to liberate Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestine in 1932 and was forbidden by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party for many years. The party was allowed to enter into politics in 2005. Since then, the party has gradually cultivated a younger base. Ali Haydar, the leader of the party, said (as have other leaders of the domestic opposition) that there is a process that has been unleashed that is undermining the revolt aginst the Assad regime: “The emergence of armed groups is damaging the process of peaceful change. The result of which will be an occupation by foreign powers and the fragmentation of the country. For this reason, a political solution based on national dialogue is the only way out.” Haydar says that Syrian National Council, which he calls the ‘Istanbul Council’, does not represent the community and blames Turkey for ignoring the real opposition and carrying out American policies. A former politician, who was a three-term deputy and opponent of the regime, told me that Ali Haydar is one of the most reasonable men in Syrian politics. Haydar answered my questions in a SSNP office.
Where is Syria going?
“First, I want to talk about where Syria comes from: Syria is a country that is at the centre of this region. It has enemies: The distant one is America, the close one is Israel. It has, at the same time, internal problems.Ten years ago, we said that this system was losing its power and that the one-party system was no longer working. This system has brought about profound problems. It was clear that the wave in Tunisia would come here. For two reasons: First, the enemy would use this oppurtunity. Second, the demands of the people were just. The demonstrations eventually started. We were together with the movement for peaceful change; however, external forces quickly interfered. Both money and weapons began to flow in. We found ourselves between these forces and the government. We have been sacrificed between the two fronts. The situation has now become a situation between the regime and armed groups. On one hand there is the process of the revolution, on the other hand there is the war between the regime and armed groups.”
Did the weapons used by the regime encourage the arming of the opposition?
“Never. The state did not utilize heavy weapons. It did not interfere in the peaceful demonstrations for months. 30 dissident groups refused to use weapons.”
The opposition says that regime forces have attacked demonstrators and funerals and that they have armed themselves for defensive purposes.
“Do you need a rocket to protect yourself? It is not about self-defense to blow up bridges and kill people because of the sect they belong to or their identity. Armed groups do not do anything to help peaceful demonstrations.”
Even Bashar al-Assad admits some responsibility for the situation at this point. I do not understand why the opposition does not say anything negative about the regime.
“You are right. As a matter of fact the solution begins just at this point: Everybody should admit their mistakes and should believe that dialogue is the only way out. There is no other option except a political solution, because conflicts will literally divide the country.”
Is there a basis for such a division?
“Throughout history, civil wars result in division, but, at the moment, we cannot say that the situation in Syria has crossed into civil war. We must accept that the beating of one side will not be a solution. Therefore, all Syrians should engage in dialogue. Conflict brings about external intervention. Our party found, according to the intelligence we have from our own sources, that money and weapons are flowing to the armed groups from outside.”
Where are they coming from?
“They are coming across the border with Turkey, from the Kuriye region on the Syrian-Iraqi border, and from the Vadim Halid region of Lebanon. This information is excatly right. According to the information the Lebanese branch of our party has, there is a camp, which has trained armed groups in the Akkar region of Lebanon. It is like Nahr al-Bared, which is a Palestinian refugee camp. There was also a camp in Jordan, but the authorities in Amman shut it down because the activities began to affect Jordan negatively. There was a camp America used in the triangle between the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. The dissident armed groups were being trained by America.”
Does it still continue?
“I do not have detailed knowledge of this currently. Also, Israeli-made light and heavy weapons have been smuggled into Syria.”
What is the role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in this situation? The Saudis support the Wahhabi, the Qataris support the Salafi. How is this rivalry reflected in the events in Syria?
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been competing to represent the interests of the United States for thirty years. The rivalry has become intense since the United States started leaning towards Qatar. Qatar is much less costly and less problematic for the U.S.. Saudi Arabia has too many domestic problems. Qatar looks more like a company than a state. The native population is forty percent of the country. However, the two countries are not competing for Syria. They came to an agreement on Syria. Each country supports its own interests.”
The representatives of Local Coordination Committees (Tensikiyat, a group of people who work on the PR wing of the Syrian Revolution) I talked with said that the existence of the Salafi is exaggerated; moreover, they cannot live in Homs.
“No, this is not true. The army flushed them out of Homs. I was 5 kilometers outside of Cisr-ul Suur on Tuesday. The armed groups are still clashing with the army there. In the last two days, these groups rocketed civilian areas in Homs.”
Has your party made contact with Tensikiyat, the commitees that organize the demonstrations?
“Tensikiyat is a general nomenclature. There are a wide variety of groups in it and there is no coordination between them. They are in conflict amongst themselves. We have connections with peaceful groups.”
‘HIZBOLLAH DOESN’T PLAY A ROLE ‘
Haydar commented on the role of Hizbollah and Iran: “Hizbollah doesn’t play a role on Syrian land. Nor do any of its men. They are in the south of Lebanon. Iran’s relationship with Syria is very old. You cannot find even one Iranian soldier here. There may be, at most, an exchange of information or subsidies.”
What will elections change?
“We have consistently said: “First, there should have been national dialogue. Next, there should have been constitutional and parliamentary elections. Since some of the opposition refused to sit down at the table, we could not start from the dialogue. On account of the internal conflict we have come to a different point, we have accepted that the solution has started from another place. In many ways, we have criticisms of the new constitution; however, it also includes significant changes: The constitution put an end to the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party’s entrenched leadership position in what amounted to a one-party system, and paved the way for a new multi-party system. It limited the tenure of the president. There is also the development of new councils and the establishment of a national unity government.”
However, elections are not possible at this point due to the ongoing violence in many regions.
“You are right, but this is a beginning. Other steps will be also taken. Politics can be done with our proposals. It is crucial that a new government is established as a result of the national dialogue. People who love Syria should participate in the election. It is not important that how many votes we get. We can express our concerns in the political process. According to a British survey, fifty percent of the population supports Assad. The consensus of the supporters of the opposition and Assad is this: There is a problem, and we should solve it. How are we going to overcome it? This is what is important.”
‘TURKEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN SIDES’
What do you think about the Syrian National Council?
“The Istanbul Council is not about Syria. They do not represent the people. The real opposition is here. Just as the western media does not mention the real opposition, the regime also never mentions the real opposition.”
Will the Annan Plan work?
“The success of the plan is up to the external players. It is important that Russia/China and the U.S. come to an agreement. The United States seeks its own solution. The plan they envisioned completely failed. The Russians seek a solution, which is trying to persuade the U.S. The negotiations between the U.S. and Russia are continuing at the highest levels. The Americans always utilize a dialogue of firepower. On the one hand, they are talking with the Russians, on the other hand, they want Qatar and Saudi Arabia to support the armed groups. The U.S.A. is struggling to be on the most profitable side of this crisis.”
Can Turkey play a role in an exit strategy?
“The role of Turkey has been negative. It could not keep in an equal distance between all sides. It has been taking sides and has embraced a sectarian attitude. It has adopted a parallel line with American policies and has ignored the real opposition. It did not contact us. We talked with the parties in Turkey. The government knows about us, but it does not contact us. It prefers to support the armed side. It showed the Istanbul Council to the world as if it were the only legitimate representative of the opposition. Turkey must put an end to this policy. It should start over and should be unbiased in relation to the parties of the people. It should focus on this politicial solution. Turkey never mentions ‘dialogue’.”
Translated by The Global Perambulator & Co.
Robert Fisk on Syria: Robert Fisk: Western agreement ‘could leave Syria in Assad’s hands for two more years’
New Ron Paul speech on Syria:http://ronpaulflix.com/2012/06/ron-paul-floor-speech-on-syria-june-27-2012/
John Pilger on ‘psy-ops’ in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan:History is the enemy as ‘brilliant’ psy-ops become the news