Libya and Syria in the Year Zero
The ideological terrorism of the system in the alternative media
The animalistic lynching of an injured and half-conscious Gaddafi by an angry mob of dissidents was a fitting epilogue for the murderous civil war instigated by NATO in Libya to achieve violent regime change in the country. The macabre ritual murder of the once powerful leader in the hands of his armed persecutors was supposed to signal on the one hand, the formal end of the Civil War and the final victory of the 'rebel' forces over the forces of Gaddafi’s "tyranny." On the other hand, as astutely noted by Robert Fisk, the horrible end of Gaddafi and the recycling of the scene of his savage murder by systemic media, was intended undoubtedly as a warning for the fate that awaits another Arab head-of-state who is currently fighting for political - and indeed physical - survival, Bashar al-Assad of Syria.[i] Is it really surprising that the tide of blog posts, comments and texts dedicated to the Libyan "revolution" that flooded alternative media outlets (in full compliance with the dominant line of systemic media, if we may add) for as long as hostilities lasted, almost completely disappeared after the success of the NATO operation and the influx of the “thuwar”[ii] from Zintan and Mizrata into the capital Tripoli and Bani Walid? All the armies of passionate "insurrectionary" bloggers who for months were asking for the head of the tyrant on a plate and demanded in their websites from all anarchist and libertarians an unconditional oath of loyalty to the cause of "liberation" of the Libyan "proletariat", simply withdrew their interest from the troubled country, just at the moment when the "revolution" triumphed and the radical restructuring of Libyan society could - in theory at least - finally begin!
During the nine months of war, many left-wing groups, collectives and individuals who refused to offer “earth and water” to the NATO infantry (stressing that no emancipatory process could prevail in Libya since the "rebellion" was quick to tie its fortunes to the chariot of the transnational elite through inviting NATO intervention) had to suffer the invective and vitriolic attacks of the Internet “freedom fighters” who dismissed them off hand as "apologists of tyranny," as "the regime's mouthpieces" and "vicious propagandists of the massacre of Libyan civilians". When warned repeatedly of the reactionary social composition of the insurgent forces[iii], of the racist pogroms unleashed against African immigrants and black Libyans, of the intense wahhabite theological influences within the ranks of militants and of the political hegemony over the movement attained by the bourgeois gang of Benghazi, the online “freedom fighters” argued in favour of the existence of a mass "proletarian" ghost-component of the insurrection, which supposedly did not agree either with NATO, or the shadow government of Abdel-Jalil and would make the "revolution" in Libya. It would suffice that Gaddafi should be deposed from power, even if his demise were to be the direct outcome of a NATO raid against Libya.
To the dispassionate analysis of class correlations prevailing in Libyan society, the mapping of the social strata that composed the warring camps and the chronic antagonistic relationship of the Gaddafi regime against the key institution of heteronomy in the period of neoliberal modernity, the internationalized market economy, the supporters of the rebellion retorted that they were speaking on behalf of the “People” who took up arms against the “Tyrant”. In their effort to support the NATO coup, the online "hyper-anarchists" seemed to forget that the abstract, sacramental entity of the "People" in such a general and vague sense, without any reference to the class background and the liberating potential of an uprising, belongs only to the political discourse of fossilized formations in the Stalinist Left. Moreover, Hitler also bore arms against the regime in 1923 and so did the Phalangists of Primo de Rivera in Spain in '36 and in 2008, the wealthy white population in the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz in response to measures introduced by Morales for the radical redistribution of social wealth.[iv] Should anarchists and libertarian leftists have supported these "insurgents"? By such practices of ideological terrorism the attempt was made to delegitimize anti-imperialist discourse within the libertarian / anarchist space. By means of verbal bullying against those who dared to express dissent, the proponents of the systemic line on Libya attempted to crush any other view.
What is the reason then that the internet "freedom fighters", those who stressed the plebeian origins and the emancipatory dimension of the Libyan uprising (which was about to expire before the invasion of the transnational elite and was barely kept alive by the artificial “life-support” of the NATO air-bombardment campaign), no longer bombard us with news and posts in the alternative media concerning “Year Zero” of the Libyan Revolution? One wonders why they do not keep us informed about the radical achievements of the revolution in the country, ever since the tyrant was wiped out. Why they do not push us all “doubting Thomases” into a corner, indicating the progress of the "revolution within the revolution", the rise of the counterpower of popular committees, and of progressive anti-imperialist measures applied “from below” against the "modernizing" reforms of the collaborationist Transitional Council. So quickly did they lose interest in the rebellion which embodied the great hope of mankind (as they claimed)? Why is radio silence maintained on the part of insurrectionist “mujahedeen” in the time of their final triumph?
Political terrorism and racism in the gulags of the new Libyan "democracy"
One explanation could be that perhaps the processes taking place in post-Gaddafi Libya fall far short and come in sharp contrast with this idealized narrative of the emergence of a "democratic" Libya. Post-revolutionary Libya has turned into a vast galley where more than 7,000 people are detained in appalling conditions by the armed gangs and militias who fought on behalf of the Transitional Council. Even systemic journalistic outlets have reported that prisoners suffer systematic abuse, beatings and torture. Deprived of any contact and communication with the outside world, they have no access to counsel or to any organized legal process by which to refute any accusations borne against them, or to challenge the inhumane treatment they suffer in the hands of their abductors.[v]
Of course, revolutionary justice cannot always afford to incorporate in its structure and practice all the delicate arrangements incorporated into civil law, which is practiced in conditions of social “normality”. Indeed, it could not be otherwise, since the function of revolutionary justice is decisively different from that of conventional justice. While conventional justice is engaged in the defence and enforcement of the rules of a heteronomous social system that has already been imposed at all levels, revolutionary justice is in essence a class weapon employed in conditions of social war, a political tool through which the autonomous social strata supporting the revolution try to establish and enforce the basic political, economic and social aspects of a new form of social organization. Thus, while bourgeois law examines cases in which individuals are scrutinized for individual violations of secondary aspects of the system of rules which exists to reproduce the already existing institutional framework, revolutionary justice intervenes actively in the class balance-of-power in order to identify and neutralize the 'enemy within', i.e. those social groups that are hostile toward the revolution, its program and its goals. The element of criminal liability does not necessarily reside in an individual action, defined as an exception to what the Criminal Code determines as mutually acceptable behaviour, but in the totality of actions and the social origins of a person, viewed as part of the wider social unit to which he / she belongs.[vi] The mass slaughter of aristocrats during the terrorist phase of the French Revolution was not because every single nobleman had committed acts that could be perceived as subversive or hostile to the newly created "democratic" regime, but was necessary because of the need to depopulate the aristocratic class and thus weaken its power as an organized social unit inherently opposed and incompatible with the revolution.
However, we must be able to distinguish between proletarian revolutionary justice operating in conditions of civil war and intended primarily to promote the interests of the revolution and suppress potential sources of resistance (political and economic elites, privileged social groups, etc.) to the new form of social organization, and the brutal terrorism practiced by a minority to impose its authority over society as a whole, using the concept of "revolutionary justice" as a tool of ideological mystification. For example, this was the case of "justice" in the former states of existing socialism, where a minority of bureaucrats associated with the Communist Party and their supporters seized power, with the help the Red Army, and imposed a brutal police state in which absolute subordination to the interests of the State was demanded from every citizen, euphimistically baptizing this monstrosity with the lofty name of "proletarian popular justice." This is also the case in Libya, where the meting out of "justice" in the post-Qadhafi era has come under the jurisdiction of the armed gangs and warlords who work on behalf of the Transitional Council and run their respective spheres of influence through the method of intimidation and brutal terrorism.
For argument's sake, suffice it to say that many members of the green resistance were summarily executed when they fell into the hands of their opponents, and whenever the militants managed to escape, the militias of "rebellion" used the Nazi occupation method of abducting the relatives of fighters and using them as hostages to ensure the loyalty of the population and the pacification of the former outposts of the regime. Especially in places like Bani Walid, Zawiya, Azizia, the Sirte and large parts of Tripoli, where the pro-regime element was dominant, the "insurgents" have launched an extensive reign of terror against the civilian population, and there are entire cities and villages wiped out by the fury of the NATO infantry, because their people fought fiercely against – the supposec– all-popular revolt.[vii]
Tawerga, a town of thirty thousand inhabitants, composed almost exclusively by black Libyans, experienced first-hand the wrath of the racist "freedom fighters" when captured by the revolutionary Mizrata brigade. It is no exaggeration to say that the militia crossed the city and its people by fire and ax. It suffered complete destruction, and those black people who were not able to escape in Bani Walid or Sirte, fell victim to the racist paranoia of their persecutors who organized rituals of black “mercenary” lynchings in the central parts of the occupied city, to the delight of the barbarous "rebel" fighters.[viii] The brigade commanders of Mizrata tried to refute the accusations of racism and justify the crimes against humanity committed in Tawerga, claiming that the killings were revenge against a black population of "mercenaries" who had come out openly on the side of the tyrant and had terrorized their city in the past by participating in the shock troops of the Gaddafi regime.
However, the ideological narrative of the siege as told by the leaders of the Mizrata militia and the subsequent flattening of Tawerga already contains obvious racist connotations. Racialist aggression toward what is classified as alien and different, always defines itself as an act of collective self-defense against an imminent threat. As shown in a well-documented article by Maximilian Forte, the racism of Libyan Arabs against the black portion of the population (1.4 million) has an extensive history and deep roots that go back to the period of the monarchy and reach all the way to that segment of the old regime elite which offered tolerance and indirectly supported the 2000 racial riots and racist attacks against black Libyans and immigrants (African workers and students at Libyan everything / one), and subsequently took over the leadership of the population that rebelled against Gaddafi in February 2011.[ix] To be sure, this was not just a superficial ideological debate within the regime between the panafricanist tendency and the faction of right-wing Arab nationalists, but a violent reaction of some of the political forces that made up the Gaddafi power-bloc, against the emerging "African about-turn" conducted by Gaddafi in terms of his foreign policy.
A key tool for implementing this policy was to allocate considerable resources from state revenues (mainly oil revenues) in initiatives and programs of regional integration in order for Libya to function as a catalyst for the unification of Africa and as a driving force for the emancipation of the black continent from its multilevel dependence and subordination to the interests of the transnational elite. Suffice to say that Libya was by far the largest contributor to the transnational project of launching the first African satellite, which would relieve the states of Africa, from the payment of annual charges of $ 500 million in European telecommunications multinationals. Moreover, the old regime had placed thirty billion U.S. dollars at the disposal of the Africa Investment Bank, a multilateral organization whose mission has been to provide loans at zero interest for the implementation of development projects in the African continent - an initiative aimed at ending the domination of African states by the IMF. Finally, everyone knows that Libya was the “invisible”, backroom opponent who prevented U.S. plans to establish a permanent military command for Africa, by offering generous financial incentives for African countries who resisted American pressures to install permanent military bases.[x] The attempt of strengthening relations between Libya and the countries of Black Africa in a context of gradual integration at the regional level and independence from western domination, had a corresponding dimension within Libyan society. First, the introduction of equal political and social rights for black Libyans who suffered serious racial discrimination during the period of the monarchy. Secondly, in recent years with the influx of African workers and the establishment of state programs awarding grants to senior Libyan educational institutions to a variety of foreign students from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
It was only natural that the extreme right-wing of the hardline pan-Arab establishment should perceive this shift in policy as an abandonment of the ideals of pan-Arab ideology and as potentially undermining for the cultural dominance of the Arab element, while economic assistance to African countries was seen by the same circles as a tragic and unnecessary waste of public money.
The mythology of the African "mercenaries" who were committing atrocities against "genuine" Libyans[xi] was aimed from the outset at the creation of an ideological framework within which the presence of black Africans in the Libyan nation of the the post-Gaddafi era would be fully delegitimized. Moreover, if we attempt to interpret the word "mercenary" with a reference to the racialist worldview of the Libyan "insurgents", we see that the term does not necessarily denote a foreign soldier who was recruited by the regime to fight in Libya in return for money. This misconception cost the activists of Human Rights Watch hundreds of hours of futile searching all over Libyan territory, in a vain effort to find traces of this mercenary ghost-army, of which the crimes and brutality were constantly advocated by the propaganda machine of the transnational elite, in collaboration with the continuous but unsubstantiated allegations of the leaders of "insurgents".
Instead, if one replaces the technical interpretation of the term "mercenary", with the political-racist interpretation (already used as an accusation against blacks in the racial riots of 2000), we understand that the word as used in the official political discourse of the insurgents suggested black Libyans and African immigrants, in fact did not belong to the "real" Libyan nation and fought for the “dictator” because they had been bought off through the social benefits, subsidies and entitlements offered to them by the regime. Based on this racist outlook, the black community in Libya is nothing but a random agglomeration of "invaders", fundamentally foreign to the ethnic and cultural nucleus of the "real" Libyan nation - namely, Arab ethnicity and culture - who sold their soul to devil so as to continue to have access to the economic benefits introduced under the rule of Gaddafi. Thus, if the black population of the country fought by Gaddafi’s side and fiercely opposed the NATO attack, then "revolutionary" Libya has every reason to treat the black community as a dangerous destabilizing force which needs to be crushed. The racist pogroms, mass deportations, imprisonment and murder of black immigrants and Libyans, are simply necessary measures of self-defense that the young "revolutionary" regime is obliged to take against the African supporters of Gaddafi’s junta.[xii]
Let us risk a prediction. The new Libya will never live up to the "revolutionary" fantasies entertained by the internet supporters of the “rebellion”. Our view is that it is not even suceed in developing the basic formal institutions of a typical representative oligarchy at the national level. The new pro-Western regime will have to resort to a police state model of governance to control the critical mass of the vast "green" social majority, which in our opinion is suppressed only temporarily and is currently reorganizing.
As one fighter of green resistance stated, “It does not matter how long it takes, we will rise again as sure as the sun rises. It is only a matter of time. It may not be today – we are a patient people. Right now, many of us have to lay low while the leaders regroup and put certain things in place so that we can take our resistance to the next level, but we know our time will come and we are only waiting for the word to take up our arms.
We have to be organized and this takes time, especially under the present conditions of occupation. Our people are being tortured and raped and murdered for supporting the leader and defending their revolution. We have had to leave our homes and watch these dogs destroy them and steal everything from us. But our day will come – we can never forget the crimes committed against us by NATO and these murdering thieves who call themselves revolutionaries and Muslims.
What I have seen with my own two eyes is unbelievable – people committing the cruelest acts - crimes against humanity while they cry out Allahu Akhbar. They are like drugged people. We have uncovered mass graves of Qaddafi loyalists – with their hands tied behind their backs - all executed. I want to tell them that every person they tortured, every person murdered, every woman they raped, every home they destroyed and looted and everything they did to our dear leader and his family will be avenged.
This is not the first time this has happened to us Libyans – this is exactly what happened to us when the Italians occupied our land – thanks to the leader we are a very educated people now – we know our history and our heroes. The NTC has already taken the picture of Omar Al Mukhtar off the Libyan dinar but it does not matter – they can destroy every picture of Omar Al Mukhtar and the leader, because the story of his bravery and the bravery of his son Muammar Qaddafi is in our hearts – these men can never die - and this gives us the belief and certainty that we will overcome these thieves again – believe me, it is only a matter of time”.[xiii]
Moreover, the dissolution of the extensive welfare state of the Jamahiriya regime, the appropriation of Libyan oil by the multinationals in definitely more favorable terms than the 30% profit they were allowed to derive from the agreements concluded with the old regime,[xiv] the need to "free" the labour market and educate the "too-coddled" Libyan worker in new harsh realities of industrial relations within the system of the internationalized market economy,[xv] are factors which undermine decisively the financial means which the Transitional Council has at its disposal to obtain legitimacy for its newly acquired power.[xvi] If we add to the above the meteoric rise of the "Islamic emirate" of Tripoli, where fanatical Muslims feel strong enough to desecrate the graves of “heretical” Sufi theologians and enforce the closing down of fashion shows in order to purify the “sinful” capital in the eyes of God,[xvii] then one understands that the future that awaits the non-privileged social strata of the country, probably does not include the reorganization of the Libyan society according to libertarian standards.
Export of the 'revolution' in Syria
It is no coincidence that the emir (military commander) of Tripoli Abdelhakim Belhadj has already developed important contacts with the shadowy organization that constitutes the armed branch of the Syrian revolt, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The purpose of the negotiations conducted between the two parties was the dispatch of volunteer fighters from Libya to Syria in order to augment the ranks of the FSA, thus making up for the lack of serious defections of Syrian soldiers from the armed forces of the regime.[xviii] We are not going to suggest that the several thousand opposition supporters protesting in Hama and Homs are all members of a centrally-planned conspiracy to destabilize the Ba'ath regime. No doubt the conditions for the existence of multiple nuclei of resistance against the government of President Assad exist in Syria, a key element fostering opposition being the factor of religious sectarianism. Moreover, as a general observation we may argue that never in history has a regime existed that could claim to command the loyalty or even the tolerance of 100% of the population under its authority.
However, one cannot deny the increased weight that the foreign factor is acquiring in the mobilization of forces against the Assad regime. For example, it is hard not to notice that the seat of the "Observatory for Human Rights in Syria" (the communications arm of the insurgency) is in the anti-imperialist metropolis of…. London and that the headquarters of the FSA have been set up inside the territory of Turkey, from which armed militants inflitrate Syrian territory to carry out armed attacks, only to return afterwards to the safety offered to them by the protection of Turkish tanks.[xix] Hence the fact that the insurgency appears strongest in the border areas of Syria, for example in Deraa near the border with Jordan and Israel in the South (with the exception of Homs which is a traditional bastion of anti-Baathist forces, particularly the Islamists). Furthermore, it is very difficult to overlook the pro-imperialist positions that the exiled Syrian National Council (SNC) has already committed itself to, providing its credentials of loyalty to the transnational elite, by stating publically that ones it takes over power it will withdraw from the strategic alliance with Iran and discontinue the logistical support and supply of Lebanese Hezbollah and of the armed Palestinian organizations with weapons and ammunition.[xx]
But above all, one can not ignore the obvious inconsistencies and absurdities contained in the official version of the systemic media about the crisis in Syria. For example, Assad's regime appears to be intolerant towards the opposition and determined to crush the protest movement using diffuse and uncontrolled violence. This formulation treats with utter indifference the constant appeals which the regime has addressed to the insurgents to enter into negotiations in order to satisfy their claims by reforming the status quo. It would not even be an exaggeration to say that any diplomatic opening towards peaceful resolution of the crisis and the prevention of further bloodshed on both sides, was effectively undermined by the United States, through Foreign Secretary Clinton, which dictated to the organizations of the opposition to reject the peace proposals without question, something which they did inspite of the supposed heavy toll this intransigence takes daily on the lives of their supporters.[xxi] Indeed, a marked divergence exists within the camp of dissidents around the question of negotiations with the regime between the exiled SNC who is under the absolute control of the transnational elite and expresses its interests, and the National Coordination Committee (NCC) acting within Syria and is the main coordinating body of thirteen leftist organizations and popular committees actively involved in the anti-regime struggle. Recognizing the military force and the broad political loyalty which the regime still commands - something illustrated by the mass pro-Baathist demonstrations normally suppressed by systemic media - the NCC accepts dialogue with Assad's government subject only to the withdrawal of the army from the streets of rebel cities.[xxii] Thus, it is wrong to argue that Assad never wanted to negotiate with his political opponents. All proposals on the part of the regime for a political settlement of the crisis encountered the intolerance and negativity of the supposedly peaceful opposition, with the active encouragement and diplomatic support of the transnational elite. The responsibility for the impasse should not therefore be allocated exclusively to the regime, but also to the foreign patrons of the SNC, who proclaim at every opportunity that they cannot trust and hold any talks with the Syrian regime. However, if one excludes negotiations as a means to settle the dispute, there remains only the possibility of a full-blown civil war and conducting an armed campaign for the violent overthrow of Assad, to which it is only logical that the regime will respond with whatever means at its disposal.
Moreover, in a well-documented article published in the British newspaper “Independent”, R. Fisk says the from the first weeks of the outbreak of the rebellion armed attacks against members of the Syrian security forces occurred and that the death count among soldiers and supporters of the regime had already reached to 1,150 victims at the end of October.[xxiii] The fact of an armed uprising in the Syrian territory has now been confirmed by numerous independent sources despite the efforts made by international propaganda apparatus of the transnational elite to present the events in Syria as an uneven confrontation between peaceful demonstrators on the one hand, and a demented, power-hungry dictator on the other.[xxiv] The bomb attack on government buildings carried out in Damascus on 23-12-2011, which killed forty soldiers and civilians and injured one hundred others, proved beyond any doubt that a low-intensity military conflict is in full swing in Syria, discrediting the “idyllic” New Order narrative constructed by systemic media about “peaceful” defenceless demonstrators bravely enduring for so long the ruthless suppression of their movement by the Baathist elite.[xxv]
Indeed, one fails to understand how the "unarmed" and "pacifist" Syrian protesters stood their ground for eight consecutive months against the murderous pounding of the "half-crazed" dictator who supposedly has no inhibition to launch against the protest movement the full firepower of the repressive machinery of the State! In 1982 the father and predecessor of the current President, Hafez al-Assad used lethal force in Hama and defeated the local armed uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood in less than a month.[xxvi] How is it possible that the current president has mobilized the entire army of the country, but he is still unable to crush those who complain having as their only weapons peaceful social disobedience, their voices and fists? Speaking of repression, it would be good to remember that the socialist junta of PASOK in Greece managed to dismantle the entire movement of the Constitution Square by throwing a “mere” three thousand tear-gas canisters against protesters in one day. On the other hand, Assad having put out the tanks in the streets and having instructed his troops to shoot to kill, cannot suppress a movement of peaceful protest. Surely, this description of the unrest in Syria (which is the one that prevails in the mainstream systemic media) defies all logic. And of course the descriptions of the Arab League observers carry little credibility, since in reality, they are not independent and neutral observers, but instruments of a biased organization politically hostile to the Ba’ath regime itself. For argument's sake, suffice to say that the resolution for the expulsion of Syria from the League as a means of “protecting the human rights of Syrian citizens”, passed with the votes of "democratic" states such as Egypt's military junta which in recent months has been engaged in the ruthless repression of the second wave of the Egyptian revolution, Saudi Arabia, whose monarchy was murdering Shiite protesters in the city of Qatif in the days that the vote for the Syrian resolution was being held,[xxvii] Qatar and Bahrain (who defeated in the most brutal manner its own rebellion by the Shiite majority), countries who constitute the blackest forces of reaction in the Arab world par excellance, etc.[xxviii] It is to be understood from the above that the presence of "observers" of the Arab League in Syria has absolutely nothing to do with the defence of the liberties of the Syrian citizens. This diplomatic action is aimed solely to pave the way for military action against the Syrian regime, if the rebellion itself in the end fails to lead it to collapse.
So we are left with two alternative scenarios: either the "unarmed" opposition is a myth assiduously cultivated by the propaganda machinery of the transnational elite and in fact the Syrian army has all along been engaged in a war of attrition against nuclei of army deserters, foreign fighters and armed rebels, or Assad never employed the criminal violence for which he accused against defenceless, peaceful protesters. If that was not the case, then the peaceful protests would have been stifled rather easily in the first few days and certainly they would not have lasted against all logic for eight whole months, facing all this time the most ruthless repression. On the other hand, if the regime is confronted with an armed rebellion in its territory, then the demand issued by the transnational elite for a complete withdrawal of the army from the streets of every rebel city, would be equivalent to a requirement for the regime and the broad social layers that support it to waiver their right to self-defence, at the very moment when the transnational elite in direct cooperation with Turkey and Jordan constantly undermine any peace initiative, incite and foment political rebellion and feeding the guerrilla campaign with weapons, including fighters from abroad.
Many will hastily accuse us of defending a tyrannical regime, a heteronomous statist structure with authoritarian characteristics. However, as militant libertarians we should not forget that the ongoing conflict in Syria is not between statists and supporters of a stateless society, but between two conflicting heteronomous camps. On the one side is the insurrectionary movement controlled by the SNC, completely dependent upon the leading authoritarian mechanism of neoliberal modernity, the transnational elite, whose political, economic and military aid is absolutely necessary for the opposition for it to gain status as a coherent political force, capable of overthrowing the existing regime and seize power in Syria. Indeed, as in the case of Libya, one can reasonably suggest that without the military protection of the Turkish government and without the active involvement of the Turkish and American diplomacy in the political affairs of the Syrian opposition, the rebellion in Syria would have already expired and would not have managed to undermine the sovereignty of the Syrian elite. This dependence has already manifested its decisive influence - as we wrote above – on the formulation of the political agenda and the international orientation of the opposition, which has already adopted a pro-Western, pro-capitalist line on all state matters that will have to be managed if the insurrection ultimately prevails. On the other hand, we have the Ba’ath regime, which continues to have broad popular support at home and abroad for years it plays the role of strategic counterweight and obstacle to the spread of Zionist - hence systemic - hegemony in the broader Middle East, countering as such the structures promoting the concentration of power on the supranational level.
The anti-imperialist role played by the Syrian regime does not derive from the “revolutionary” or “anti-capitalist consciousness” of the Baathist elite, but by the strategic choices which are necessary for the survival of the Syrian regime itself. And it may be the case that geopolitics addresses the subject of competition between heteronomous state structures in the international arena and their hierarchical stratification at the international level, but the struggle of the Syrian ruling class against the transnational elite has antisystemic features by default, because within the institutional framework of the international system of domination, the division of labor among national units and the position occupied by each of them respectively in the hierarchical totality is specific and inflexible. For example, the system bases its dominance of the (critically important) region of the Middle East on the reproduction of the geopolitical supremacy of Israel in the region, on the perpetuation of the power of the corrupt Gulf monarchies, on the use of the ideological attraction exercised by the Turkish government on young Arabs to effectively manipulate the political aims of popular rebellion in Egypt towards a harmless, 'reformist' orientation[xxix] and, of course, on the dismantling of the strategic alliance between Syria, Iran and the armed resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine. Under these conditions an increase of Syrian regional power against Israel and Turkey is quite impossible within the hierarchical relations and the entrenched division of labour institutionalized by the international system in the area which assigns to all Arab countries - not to mention Iran and the martyred Palestinian people - a subordinate position towards Israel. So, in fact Syria is forced to question the parameters of systemic domination if it wants to "upgrade" its position in the globalized system, since inclusive and unconditional support for the Israeli apartheid appears to be the cornerstone of the transnational elite’s strategy in the region. It may be that the ultimate objective of such a strategy is the strengthening of the Syrian state and the increase of the regional influence of the Syrian elite, a goal in no way compatible with the vision of a stateless society, or of a global confederation of popular assemblies. However, strategic competition between elites may create cracks in the structures which institutionalize the uneven distribution of power at the regional level, thus creating opportunities for potentially antisystemic movements to extract certain areas from the control of the system, thereby undermining the power of the system both in the 'external' regions of the capitalist periphery, and also within the metropolitan capitalist countries.
[i] R. Fisk, What the killing of Gaddafi means to Syria, http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-what-the-killing-of-gaddafi-means-to-syria-2377442.html.
[ii] The word thouvar (thouwar), plural of thair (thair), means revolutionary, and is used to indicate members of batallions (katimpa) who fought against the regime of Gaddafi. In P. Haimzadeh, Who won the war in Libya?, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=332668.
[iii] In his well-documented essay on the Libyan war, Takis Fotopoulos analyses the social base of the Libyan uprising as follows:
“This social basis consists of the main tribes in this area, who were traditionally against Gaddafi, the ‘youth of the internet’ (who have been playing a particularly important role in all the Arab insurrections, since “the US perceives the internet and social networking platforms as major tools for spreading democracy”[iii]) and, especially, the Islamists, who start every rally and battle with the ‘revolutionary’ slogan, ‘God is great’.” In, http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/journal/vol7/vol7_no1_takis_Libya_part1_pseudo_revolution.html.
[iv] R. Carroll & A. Schipani, Bolivia split in two as the wealthy aim to defy the Morales revolution, στο http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/24/bolivia.
[v] K. Sengupta & S. Hughes, Leaked UN report reveals torture, lynchings and abuse in post-Gaddafi Libya, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/leaked-un-report-reveals-torture-lynchings-and-abuse-in-postgaddafi-libya-6266636.html.
[vi] This is a dimension of the criminal offense that in turn vanishes in civil law. For example, the social origins of a criminal offender, the circumstances in which he is living and the role played by the poverty factor in the perpetration of the crime, remains by definition outside the worldview of civil justice that conceives of the offender strictly as an individual who possesses reason and free will and therefore bears full responsibility for the moral choices that he makes. Instead, revolutionary justice perceives the person more in the context of his / her social class or origin and less as an independent, isolated unit.
[vii] P. Cockburn, This was always a civil war, and the victors are not merciful, http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/2011/11/26/this-was-always-a-civil-war-and-the-victors-are-not-merciful/.
[viii] G. Ford, Black Libyans make their stand in Sirte and Bani Walid, http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/black-libyans-make-their-stand-sirte-and-bani-walid, και στο Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata, http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/2011/08/13/tawergha-no-longer-exists-only-misrata/.
[ix] For an overview of the 2000 Libyan race riots, the reader can turn to the thorough report compiled by the UN on the subject. The full text is here: Libya Must End Racism Against Black African Migrants and Others, http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1313923&ct=8411733&printmode=1. For the historical continuity and the sociopolitical links between the uprising of 2011 and the race riots of 2000 see, M. Forte, The War in Libya: Race, “Humanism” and the Media, http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/forte200411.html.
[x] D. Glazebrook, NATO’s War on Libya is an Attack on African Development, http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/2011/09/06/natos-war-on-libya-is-an-attack-on-african-developmentdan-glazebrook/.
[xi] This outrageous and ridiculous story was widely recycled at first through melodramatic appeals and complaints in the global social media (facebook, twitter, myspace, etc.). The systemic media took it from there, incessantly repeating the myth of "bloodthirsty Africans" hired by the regime to drown the popular uprising in its own blood. Of course, this myth was officially repudiated after a while, when Human Rights Watch did not find anywhere in Libya traces of this mercenary ghost-army. Yet, these unsubstantiated allegations allowed systemic propaganda to legitimize the NATO intervention against the "paranoid" Gaddafi.
[xii] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-31/black-libyans-targeted-by-rebels-with-sub-saharan-africans-amnesty-says.html, http://panafricannews.blogspot.com/2011/03/libyan-counter-revolutionary-us-backed.html, http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/2011/11/22/rebel-racism-compilation-of-articles-and-videos/, also the video from Reuters’report on the plight of black Libyans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD9PoL28gu4&feature=uploademail.
[xiii] Gerald A. Perreira, Demons Unleashed in Libya, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29864.htm.
[xiv] “Third, despite the supposed about-turn in the lat decade, the regime not only
refused to sell the nation’s wealth to multinationals, but it also lately considered
fully re-nationalizing the country’s oil! Thus, as Forbes — the “Home Page for the
World’s Business Leaders” — revealed, Gaddafi, during a discussion with
Georgetown University students via satellite in January 2009, stated that oil
prices ($43/barrel at the time) were “unbearable” and that Libyan oil “maybe
should be owned by national companies or the public sector at this point, in order
to control the oil prices, the oil production or maybe to stop it”, while in
November 2008 “he made his first visit to Moscow since the Soviet era;
discussions with Putin and President Dimitri Medvedev reportedly involved
visions of a gas cartel that would include Russia, Libya, Iran, Algeria and some
Central Asian nations”. As the same report concluded, “U.S. oil companies should
brace themselves to leave Libya yet again”. Exactly two years later the “humanist”
NATO attack on Libya began!”. In T. Fotopoulos, The pseudo-revolution in Libya and the Degenerate “Left”, http://www.inclusivedemocracy.org/journal/pdf%20files/pdf%20vol7/The%20pseudo-revolution%20in%20Libya%20and%20the%20Degenerate%20''Left''%20part.1.pdf.
[xv] The characterization of workers under the Qaddafi regime as "coddled" and "over-protected" appears in an American study on the Libyan economy from a neoliberal perspective, written in 2007 by Otman & Karlberg entitled "The Libyan Economy". In D. Kovalik, Nato's Great Victory Destroying Libya's Welfare State, http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/2011/11/23/natos-great-victory-destroying-libyas-welfare-state/.
[xvi] Already, demonstrations have taken place against the NTC by disgruntled members of the militia who fought on the NTC side during the civil war and now they are demanding their wages for a nine-month period and a permanent position in the security apparatus of the new regime. In, http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report_libyan-fighters-protest-demanding-salary-from-ntc_1608231.
[xviii] http://indepthafrica.com/global-issues/syria-situation-going-for-worse/, http://www.albawaba.com/news/libyan-fighters-join-free-syrian-army-forces-403268, http://rt.com/news/libya-syria-fighters-smuggled-475/.
[xix] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/world/europe/turkey-is-sheltering-antigovernment-syrian-militia.html, http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2011/10/28/turkey-launches-intervention-in-syria/.
[xxiii] R. Fisk, Assad’s army remains defiant as it burries its dead, http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-assads-army-remains-defiant-as-it-buries-its-dead-2375963.html.
[xxiv] Assad Defiant as Syrian Party HQ hit by RPGs, http://rt.com/news/assad-violence-arab-league-777/, Syrian Bloodshed and the West’s Abdication of Journalistic Responsibility, http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2011/10/syrian-bloodshed-and-wests-abdication.html, R. Baroud, Turkey and the Syrian “Abyss”, http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/25/turkey-and-the-syrian-%E2%80%98abyss%E2%80%99/, Syria Deserters Kill at Least 27 Troops: Activists, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jz9nf4csWCMagnRS_yLAP624oEmg?docId=CNG.42d583e694cffdb6a1c0086c90997fa9.5b1, P. J. Watson, Western-Backed Terrorists Kill 30 in Syria Attacks, http://www.infowars.com/western-backed-terrorists-kill-30-in-syria-attacks/, Activists: Syrian Defectors Kill 27 Soldiers, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-12-15/Syria-defectors-violence/51944772/1. Particular emphasis should be given in the bloody ambush that took place on 04.10.2011 near the town of Baniyas where 9 Syrian soldiers were killed and 25 seriously wounded by rebel attacks. It is important to remember the date of the event, which in effect proves that murderous attacks against the security forces were from the beginning part of the supposedly "peaceful" uprising of the opposition, which explains the degree of repression used by the regime. It is interesting also to consider the disgraceful manner in which the "respectable" British newspaper Guardian attempted to distort the facts so as to sustain the mythology of a “peaceful uprising”, decribing in its reports how the nine soldiers were executed by their superiors because they allegedly refused to open fire on civilians in the town of Baniyas, without of course bothering to account to its readers for the existence of 25 soldiers seriously injured, the trucks of the military convoy that was attacked which were overturned in the middle of the road, etc. For a detailed analysis of the issue and purely propagandistic role of the supposedly "free" systemic media see the revealing article
«Syria and the Delusions of the Western Press» by Peter Lee in, http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/04/15/syria-and-the-delusions-of-the-western-press/.
[xxv] Suicide Bombing Changes the Nature of the Syrian Revolution, http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=13029.
[xxvi] The islamist rebels attacked government buildings, schools and universities. They murdered state employees and their families in their customary manner of execution (by cutting their throats) and beheaded teachers and professors who insisted on providing their students with a secular type of education (as happened in Afghanistan and Algeria). The regime’s reaction was decisive, but extremely violent. Assad mobilized artillery and special forces units and retook the rebellious city inch by inch. The result was that over 10.000 people died in the process. In R. Fisk, The Great War for Civilization (Harper Perennial, 2006), pp. 105-6.
[xxvii] Qatif police attack Saudis, kill several, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/211374.html.
[xxviii] Not to mention criminal Turkey, which on the one hand is offering a safe haven to the organizations of the Syrian opposition in the name of its supposed "respect for democracy and human rights", but on the other, did not hesitate recently to use fighter aircraft in order to bomb the civilian population of Kurdish areas, causing carnage and havoc to unarmed civilians! Let us not forget that Gaddafi was - unfairly - accused of the same heinous crime against humanity, an accusation that ultimately was to provide the ideological cover for legitimating the NATO operation ostensibly to terminate the brutal repression implemented by the Libyan regime.
[xxix] This attraction was confirmed during the recent visit of Erdogan in Egypt, where thousands of Egyptians extended a hero’s welcome to the Turkish prime-minister (D. Ezzat, The Erdogan Effect, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1064/fr2. htm). The ideological fascination of the "Arab street" with the Islamist Turkish government is not difficult to explain. At its core, lays the image cultivated by the Turkish government itself as a moderate reform force, that successfully combines adherence to fundamental principles of Islam, while accepting the basic norms of operation of the liberal "democratic"form of government. Furthermore, the hardline, anti-Israeli rhetoric of the Turkish Prime Minister is the means by which Turkey aims to win over the hearts of the Arab masses, since it is probably the first time in history that the average Arab does not have to equate a reformist, liberal political profile, with a servile attitude towards the West in regard to the Palestinian issue and an acceptance of Arab subordination in terms of the relations of the Arab world with the Zionist state. Not to mention finally that a state with a powerful military, such as Turkey, after decades of Arab defeats and humiliation in the battlefields, appears eager to adopt the cause of the defenseless Palestinians as its own and interpolate its military might between the conqueror, Israel, and the victim, the Palestinian people. Of course, all this is not much more than mere words, since in practice, the actions of the Turkish elite in relation to Libya and Syria have finally discredited the myth of an independent Turkish foreign policy, potentially in conflict with the basic parameters of systemic and Zionist regional hegemony. The disintegration of the Iranian-Syrian alliance and the isolation of Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance from a significant ally in the face of the Ba'ath regime in Syria, will undoubtedly change the regional balance of power in favor of Israel and are in complete agreement with the systemic goal of stabilizing the geopolitical domination of the transnational elite in the Middle East.