In 2011 when his country was subject to a jihadist siege, President Bashar el-Assad’s reaction was against the norm: rather than strengthening the powers of his security services, he cut them back. Six years on, his country is in the process of emerging victorious, in the most important war since Vietnam. This same type of aggression is unfolding in Latin America. Yet here, it is sparking off a far more classic response. In this article, Thierry Meyssan distinguishes the analysis and strategy of President Assad on the one hand and Maduro and Morales on the other. His aim is not to place these leaders in competition, but rather to call upon each of them to remove themselves from political catechisms and to pay due attention to the lessons learnt from the most recent wars.
by Thierry Meyssan
In May 2017, Thierry Meyssan appeared on Russia Today and explained where the South American elites were going wrong in their fight against US imperialism. He insisted that there has been a sea-change in the way the US now wages armed conflicts and we now need to radically rethink how we should defend our homeland.
The operation to destabilize Venezuela continues. The first phase: violent gangs demonstrating against the government killed passers by, as if citizenship created no bonds between them. The second phase: the major food suppliers organized food shortages in the supermarkets. Then some members of the forces attacked several ministers, called for a rebellion and now have retreated into hiding.
Of course the international press never ceases to hold the “regime” responsible for the deaths of demonstrators. Yet it is a fact that a number of videos testify that these demonstrators were deliberately assassinated by demonstrators themselves. No regard is paid to this and on the basis of this false information, the press then proceeds to qualify Nicolas Maduro as a “dictator” just as it did six years ago with respect to Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar el-Assad.
The United States has used the Organization of American States (the OAS) as an arm against President Maduro just like it once used the Arab League against President al-Assad. Caracas, not expecting to be excluded from the Organization, denounced this method and left of its own accord.
Maduro’s government has however two failures on its balance sheet: the vast majority of its voters did not go to the polling stations for the legislative elections of 2015, allowing the opposition to sweep a majority in Parliament. it was caught out by the crisis of food products, even though the same thing had been organized in the past in Chile against Allende and in Venezuela against Chávez. It required several weeks to put in place new circuits to provide food.
In all likelihood, the conflict that begins in Venezuela will not be held back by its borders. It will ooze out, embracing the entire North West of the South American continent and the Caribbean.
An additional step has been taken with military preparations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador following Mexico, Colombia and British Guyana. The team responsible for co-ordinating these measures is from the former Office of Global Democracy Strategy. This was a unit established by President Bill Clinton, then continued by Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz. Mike Pompeo, the current director of the CIA, has confirmed that this unit exists. This has led to rumours in the press, followed up by President Trump, of a US military option.
To save his country, President Maduro’s team has refused to follow the example of President al-Assad. Maduro’s team thinks that there is no real comparison between what is happening in Venezuela and Syria. The United States, the principal capitalist power, would set off to Venezuela to steal its oil, according to a plan that has been repeatedly played out in the past on three continents. This point of view was given further weight by a speech that Evo Morales, Bolivia’s President, recently delivered.
Let us recall that in 2003 and 2011, President Saddam Hussein, the Guide Muammar Gaddafi and a number of President Assad’s advisors reasoned similarly. They thought that the US would attack the following states in succession: Afghanistan and Iraq, then Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and Syria. And why? For the sole reason of bringing about the collapse of regimes that were resisting its imperialism and controlling hydrocarbon resources in an expanded Middle East. A number of anti-imperialist authors cling to this analysis today. So for example, they use it to try to explain the war against Syria by reference to the interruption of the Qatari gas pipeline project.
Now, this line of thinking is turning out to be false. The US is not looking to reverse progressive governments (Libya and Syria), nor to steal the region’s oil and gas. Its intent is to decimate States, to send people of these countries back to a pre-historic time where “man did not love his neighbour as God loved him but would pounce like a wolf upon his neighbour” [Translator’s note: the literal translation of the French original is: “man was a wolf for man”].
Has toppling the Saddam Hussein regime and the regime of Gaddafi brought peace back to these states? No! Wars have continued even though “government of occupation” has been set up in Iraq, then a government composed of other governments in the region including those who collaborated with the imperialists opposed to national independence. Wars are still being waged. This surely evidences that Washington and London had no intention of toppling these regimes nor defending democracy. These were transparent covers for their true intentions which were to eliminate the people in these states. It is a basic observation that rocks our understanding of contemporary imperialism.
This strategy, radically new, was taught by Thomas P. M. Barnett following 11-September 2001. It was publicly revealed and exposed in March 2003 – that is, just before the war against Iraq— in an article in Esquire, then in the eponym book, The Pentagon’s New Map. However, such a strategy appears so cruel in design, that no one imagined it could be implemented.
Imperialism seeks to divide the world in two. One part will be a stable area which profits from the system while in the other part a terrifying chaos will reign. This other will be a zone, where all thought of resisting has been wiped it; where every thought is fixated on surviving; an area where the multinationals can extract raw materials which they need without any duty to account to anyone.
- According to this map, taken from one of Thomas P. M. Barnett’s power point slides, presented at a conference held at the Pentagon in 2003, every state in the pink zone must be destroyed. This project has nothing to with the struggle between classes at the national level nor with exploiting natural resources. Once they are done with the expanded Middle East, the US strategists are preparing to reduce the North West of Latin America to ruins.
Since the eighteenth century and the British Civil War, Western development has been triggered by its attempt to do all it can to avoid chaos. Thomas Hobbes taught us to support the thinking of the State rather than risk experiencing this torment for another time. The notion of chaos only returned to us with Leo Strauss, after the Second World War. This philosopher, who has personally trained a number of personalities within the Pentagon, intended to build a new form of power by plunging part of the world into hell.
Jihadism inflicted onto an expanded Middle East has shown us what is chaos.
While President Assad reacted as anticipated to the events of Deraa (March – April 2011), by sending his army to quell the jihadists of the Mosque al-Omari, he was the first to understand what was happening. Far from increasing the powers of the forces to maintain order to repress the aggression sourced from abroad, he equipped his people with the means to defend their homeland.
First: he lifted the state of emergency, dissolved the special courts, freed the Internet communications and forbid the armed forces to use their arms if to do so would endanger the lives of innocent civilians.
When Assad took these decisions he was clearly not going with the flow. And these decisions were ladened with consequences. For example, at the time of the attack of a military convoy at Banias, soldiers held off using their weapons in self-defence; they preferred to be mutilated by the bombs of their attackers and occasionally die, rather than to fire, risking injuring inhabitants that were looking at them being massacred without intervening.
Like many at this time, I thought that the President was too weak and his troops too loyal; that Syria was going to go down. However six years on, Bashar el-Assad and the Syrian armed forces met the challenge. While at the beginning the soldiers have struggled alone against foreign aggression, gradually, every citizen came on board, to defend the country.
Those who were not able to or who did not want to resist, went into exile. It is clearly the case that the Syrian people have greatly suffered. That said, Syria is the only State in the entire world, since the Vietnam War, to have resisted until imperialism tires itself out and surrenders.
Second: faced with this invasion of a multitude of jihadists, from Muslim populations all over the world – Morocco to China, President Assad took the decision to abandon part of his territory to save his people.
The Syrian Arab Army confined itself to the “useful Syria”, that is, to the cities. It abandoned the countryside and the deserts to the attackers. Damascus kept supervising, uninterruptedly, the provision of food to every region under its control. Contrary to an idea accepted by the West as common knowledge, the only areas where there is famine are those areas under Jihadi control and in the cities that it has besieged; the “ foreign rebels” (forgive this oxymoron), supplied by “humanitarian” associations, use the distribution of food packages as a means of making starving populations submit to them.
The Syria people have seen for themselves how the Republic alone assumed the role of feeding them and protecting them. The Muslim Brotherhood and their jihadists played no part.
Third: In a speech delivered on 12 December 2012, President Assad traced, how he intended to remake political unity in his country. Of special mention, he pointed out the need to draft a new constitution and to submit it to adoption by a qualified majority of his people then to proceed to democratically elect all institutional officials, including of course, the President.
At that time, the Westerners mocked the claim of President Assad to call elections when the war was at its bloodiest. Today, all diplomats involved in resolving this conflict including the UN, support Assad’s plan.
While Jihadi commandos were freely roaming the entire country, notably Damascus, and were murdering politicians even invading their homes where their families were, to do so, President Assad has encouraged dialogue with nationals who oppose him. He guaranteed the security of the liberal Hassan el-Nouri and the Marxist Maher el-Hajjar so that they too, might risk presenting themselves at the presidential elections in June 2014. Despite an appeal to boycott issued by the Muslim Brotherhood and Western governments, despite jihadi terror, despite the fact that millions of citizens were exiled abroad, voter turn out (of those present) was 73.42 %.
In the same way, from the beginning of the war, he created a ministry for National Reconciliation, something never seen before in a country where war is going on. Assad handed the ministry over to Ali Haidar, the President of PSNS, an allied party. He negotiated and concluded thousands of agreements taking into account the amnesty of citizens who had taken arms against the Republic and their integration in the Syrian Arab Army.
During this war, President Assad has never used force against his own people. This is so, despite the allegations of those who freely accuse him of widespread torture. So, let me be clear: he has never set up mass executions nor mandatory conscriptions. It is always possible for a young man to avoid his military obligations. Administrative procedures allow any male citizen to evade national service if he does not desire to defend his country with weapons in hand. Only the exiled who have not had the occasion to pursue these procedures may find themselves in violation of these laws.
For six years, President Assad has not stopped on the one hand, making an appeal to his people, asking them to thrust upon him obligations, and on the other hand, trying to feed them and to protect them, as far as he is able. He has always assumed the risk of giving before receiving. That is why today, he has won the confidence of his people, and can count on their active support.
South American elites are wrong to pursue the fight of the previous decades for a fairer distribution of their wealth. The battle which they must focus is no longer one where the majority of the people and small class of privileged individuals are on opposite sides.
The choice put to the peoples of the expanded Middle East and to the people of South America is this: aut defendendum vobis patriam est aut morendum vobis est (you must either defend your homeland or die). It is this question that they will have to respond to.
The facts prove it: the number one priority of imperialism today is no longer plundering natural resources. Imperialism, unscrupulous, dominates the world. Yet now its vision has expanded to wiping out people and to destroying the societies in the regions where it is already exploiting resources.
In this iron era, the Assad strategy alone allows us to stand tall and free