GUEST BLOG: Comrade Dave Brownz – A Letter from Aleppo

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If anyone wanted conclusive proof that Syria has become the battleground between the two main imperialist blocs collaborating to smash the Syrian revolution all they have to do is look at the fate of Aleppo. A native of Aleppo recently wrote of his terrible decision to finally leave that city because of the Russian blitzkrieg:

A letter from under Russian bombs in Aleppo
“I didn’t ever expect this time would come, but I have to give up. I am leaving for a place I am not sure even exists.”

“Dear Rabi,
You ask about Aleppo, let me tell you about the city where we grew up together.
We haven’t seen a good day in years. The shelling never stops, even for an hour or two. Life has changed, all the places you remember are gone: forget them, it is too painful. The bombs dropped by the regime are indiscriminate, destroying everything in their path. Everything is changed, destroyed or deserted, without life.

Even in our dreams we no longer know what “safety” means. Every time you open your eyes you don’t know if it the last time you will see your kids. The people you used to know are not here anymore. People from the surrounding towns and villages have moved to the city in the past few years, hoping to find safety. Aleppo was always seen as a safe place. But many of them had to move on. People keep trying to find safer places, so they keep coming and going. We are happy to help, but it is hard and we get tired.
Aleppo is not fully besieged yet. But moving around our city has become very difficult. People are living day by day; their hope has died along with their city and, many times, their loved ones. The simplest things in life have become very hard. To buy food, bread or water for your family you have to wait in a long, long line–and then keep waiting. You spend all the time looking around, paying attention to every noise, as if you could hear whether you are the next one that will be hit by a strike. The remaining time, you think about your family: will they be still alive when you get home? Will your home still be there? In the end you may get what you came for. If you are lucky you get home safely, without being killed by a bomb from a plane.
It is not just fighting on the front lines, it’s not just the continuous bombing. There are snipers hidden in every corner on the way out of the city. We are constantly adapting our lives. Schools have had to move underground, and medical centers have to manage with limited supplies. We tried to build new democratic institutions: we elected new leaders. Everything has been a struggle.
We tried to go north to different neighborhoods, but bombs were falling there. We could see the planes flying above us, they sometimes display Syrian flags, sometimes Russian, sometimes we don’t even know. It feels like they are following us everywhere we go.
The surrounding communities of Anadan, Marah, Tal Refat, Hretan, Bynoon, Azaz are also suffering. These towns and villages started a peaceful revolution. They stood with Aleppo when Syrian government forces attacked civilians in the city. They took in people fleeing the bombs and the shelling. But what happened to them? They were bombed, every single day. People do not know who the planes are aiming for and whether they will be next to die. Tens of air strikes per day, for the last 120 days.
And now it is time to leave. I didn’t ever expect this time would come, but I have to give up. I am leaving for a place I am not sure even exists. Many friends of mine are already waiting along the Turkish border. It is an open, cold space, crowded with 70,000 people, where the temperature is freezing. But my heart will always remain here.
Aleppo stands in front of a big war machine armed only with small weapons. It is not just a geographical target. Aleppo is karama, it is dignity, it is the revolution against injustice. Goodbye Aleppo; my hometown, the place where I spent my childhood, where all my memories are. I hope to see you there again one day, my friend.
Your childhood companion,
S.
Editor’s note: This letter was sent to and translated by Rabi Bana, a human rights activist born in Aleppo in 1984, who left Syria in late 2012. He works in Beirut and Turkey for an international NGO that supports Syrian civil society. Born in Aleppo in 1980, S. has been involved in peaceful protest demanding freedom and democracy from the beginning of the uprising in 2011. He is a founder of the Aleppo Media Center and works in education for the city government.

This Russian blitzkrieg is worse than Guernica the Basque township destroyed by German Nazi bombers during the civil war. In Spain the Republic was attacked by Franco’s fascists with the support of the Western imperialist powers. Around the world the labor movement and the Stalinist Communist Parties rallied to the Republican side in the civil war and many travelled to Spain to form international brigades.

Today, in Syria most of the Western left deny that a civil war exists. They are by default on the side of the fascist regime. Trotsky said that Stalinism without workers property would be a kind of fascism. With the end of the Soviet Union Putin inherited Stalin’s mantle. So the crypto-Stalinists today claim there is no popular insurrection in Syria. They buy Assad’s lies that the US created militias to bring about ‘regime change’ and that most of those militias have been overrun by the IS itself a US proxy. There is no revolution and no side to support in Syria for these crypto-Stalinists except Russia as the only force capable of wiping out IS. Others prefer to back peace talks in the hope that the war can be stopped. But they will not talk to the Syrian people about their struggle for survival. The Syrian people may as well not exist.

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There is a third alternative that has been deliberately suppressed by the Western ‘RT left’ and that is the reality of the popular uprising against Assad. Aleppo shows it is a lie to reduce this to a CIA project or to Saudi arms when both (and Turkey) have conspired to stop the arming of the opposition. That is why for all the talk of the US and its proxies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, arming the rebels, none have provided the only weapons capable of decisively defeating Assad’s planes, Surface to Air Missiles (SAMS).

Aleppo (the largest commercial city) shows it is a lie to claim that Assad is the legitimate ruler with majority support. Until Russia began its bombing of the opposition militias 4 months ago, Assad was losing. Not to the IS but to the many local popular militias such as that which held Aleppo for years. How can anyone claim Assad has legitimacy after his gas attacks and barrel bombing of civilians? After half a million deaths and 4 million in exile? Why if Assad has legitimacy does he now need Russia to blast Aleppo into the European dark ages?

The socialist and anarchist left that buys this ruling class shit is no better than the imperialists who unleash genocide on the Syrians. Why? Because they have turned their backs on their duty to mobilise worker support for the Syrian (and any other) revolution despite and because of the apparently unwinnable prospect of defeating the class enemy on 4 fronts –

(1) The imperialist US and its NATO partners plus the Russia/China bloc who will kill millions for the last drop of oil.

(2) Assad and his mercenaries who will complete the genocide of the people and razing of the cities before they surrender to ‘terrorism’.

(3) The IS and other jihadis who are opportunists attempting to insert themselves into the vacuum caused by the unresolved civil war and who are useful as armed thugs against the revolution.

(4) The Western crypto Stalinist left which sits on the sidelines indulging in geopolitical handwashing tut tutting about how it is all so gruesome and uncivilised as the imperialist armies compete on bodycounts and oilwells.

Fortunately for the fate of humanity, when the people rise up they see clearly that when you count the dead children there isn’t a hell of a lot of difference between Russian bombs, Hezbollah and RT ‘socialist’ lies.

While the Syrian revolutionaries fight on the first three fronts, it’s up to us in the rest of the world to expose and defeat the crypto-Stalinist left that acts as a ‘fifth column’ in the workers movements, and organise a campaign for material aid to the revolutionary militias.

No more Guernicas! No more Aleppos!
Victory to the Arab Revolution!
For the workers of the world to live, capitalism must die!
Comrade Dave Brownz is a NZ socialist blogger asking hard questions of global capitalism.

 

44 COMMENTS

  1. What a piece of propaganda, You forgot to mention Allepo has been in the hands of the so called moderate terrorists for the last 3 and a half years, you know the ones who burn people to death, throw people to their death, drown them to death and chop of their heads to make them dead, all with the very able assistance of USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and about 70 other countries simply by their silence, you remember the Saudis who export the very brand of revolution that their minions ISIS Daesh, Al Qaeda etc use, from where I sit, the Sovereign nation of Syria asked for help, Russia is very ably assisting the sovereign state.
    ps, what is the NGO that your native Aleppo guy works for again? wouldnt be propaganda for goodness sake would it? Does this site read content before spewing bull shit?

  2. Apart from the heartfelt letter. What a load of fucking one sided propaganda.Sounds like a Whitehouse press release.
    The United States of Destruction from your view is absolved all responsibility , its all Russias fault, the destruction and destabilizing of the Middle East
    You are either suffering severe historical amnesia or are fucking delusional.

    No more Pago Pago
    No more Phillipines
    No more Guatemala
    No more Nicaragua
    No more Chile
    No more Iran
    No more Iraq
    No more Afghanistan
    No more Vietnam
    No more Korea
    No more Libya
    No more Cuba
    No more Haiti
    No more Panama
    No more Mexico
    No need to list the other 55 countries that have been invaded by the greatest roque nation to ever exist.
    Wake the fuck up clown!

    • Where does my article absolve the US of all responsibility?
      The US is mainly responsible for the situation in the Middle East. But that does not mean that Russia is playing a progressive role. It has its own imperialist interests in backing Assad and that is why it is bombing the shit out of the popular Syrian revolution. You might understand that by reading this:

      “Syria is entering its darkest stage yet. Intense Russian bombardment and Iranian-backed militias have almost encircled rebel-held Aleppo. The city’s last hospital has now been hit by a Russian airstrike.

      In the liberated south, too – where provincial elections were recently held – the revolution is being driven back.

      Hundreds of thousands of new refugees are fleeing, seeking shelter in caves or under trees. Several refugee camps have also been bombed, as Russia wins the country back for Assad, supposedly for the sake of domestic and international stability.

      But the notion that the revolutionary areas of the Arab world can return to stability under the old security states is every bit as historically nostalgic and supernatural as the Islamist idea that the Muslims can return to peace and justice under a medieval-style caliphate.

      The Arab revolutions erupted for a reason – because, over decades, the regimes had failed their people economically, politically, socially and culturally. The regimes inevitably collapsed – are still collapsing – under the weight of this historical failure.

      Faced with a democratic uprising and incapable of genuine reform, Syria’s Assad regime provoked a civil war…”

      Read more
      https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2016/2/11/syria-enters-its-darkest-days-yet

      • Except:
        http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/20/460463173/60-percent-of-syrian-rebels-share-islamic-state-ideology-think-tank-finds
        So to NOT stop the “rebels” is going to make matters far worse – think Taliban/warlord style of extremist Islam regime. If you don’t want to see full-blown ethnic/religious cleansing of any and all minority groups in Syria as well and a permanent civil war between rival rebel factions then supporting Assad is the pretty much the only game in town. And as for “popular Syrian revolution”, it ain’t as popular as you think:
        http://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/257-poll-assad-remains-in-favor.html

        • Oh so those who claim that the Syrian opposition are Islamic militants and not Syrian democrats try to manufacture statistics to prove this.
          The first link is to a ‘thinktank’ funded by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. Did he get this information straight from God. Blair is more extremist than most Islamic radicals. He helped start the war on Iraq that has led to the death of millions. Now his ‘thinktank’is providing ‘facts’ to prove that Islam is the great threat to Western civilisation justifying the never-ending war on terror.

          The second link says that more Syrians support Assad and Iran than “Western backed forces” – meaning presumably the militias “backed” by the US. (“Backed” in the sense of providing some small arms but no Surface to Air Missiles that might down Assad’s or Israel’s or Turkey’s planes).
          So the question builds in a bias against the revolution as a Western regime change when its clear that the US has never been serious about removing Assad. Whereas the object of the revolutionary militias has always been not to do the bidding of the US but get rid of Assad.

          Even so, the story should state that the sample was unrepresentative of the Syrian masses since half a million have been killed by Assad, 4 million are in exile and maybe twice as many displaced inside Syria -as for example those in Aleppo and other cities that have been under siege for years and not able to answer such questions. Unless this research is also linked to Tony Blair also has the ability to talk to the dead.
          I don’t put any credence in this type of research. I put credence in the voices of Syrians who are fighting to the death for democracy and freedom. To hell with Blair and all the Islamophobes of the West.

          • Dave.
            Do you acknowledge the highly respected journalist, Seymour Hersh investigation into who actually carried out the gas attacks in Syria?
            Is the BBC guilty as charged of falsifying footage of gas attacks in Syria?
            Have you conclusive evidence of barrel bombing civilians in Syria and can you please clearly define the difference in effect between Assads , Russias destructive weapons and the weapons of the alledged moderate rebels and their Western backers?
            Would you be so kind to direct me to your articles condemning the decimation of Iraq and Afghanistan by the coalition of the killing including the bombings of hospitals?
            You say that Russia is bombing in the name of; international stability though disagree with that rhetoric. Could you explain how that differs from the R2P doctrine?

      • Hi Alexandra
        Daves article is clearly biased in the favour of denouncing Russian aggression hard for the portion of society who still think there are; reds under the beds to see i guess.. The murder of innocent civilians, the destruction of their infrastructure, torture, rape, is an abomination no matter who is carrying it out, so i make no distinction about who is perpertrating it.
        An yes i do read RT and the Western press. Do you believe everything your infomed of in the Western media?
        Recorded history will actually inform you quite clearly which Nation has and still is the most destructive force on this planet, if you can be bothered to let go of all those years of indoctrination.

      • It doesn’t denounce it either Dave does it?
        There in lies the issue. Russia no doubt has it own objectives as does every other country who is involved in the Middle East including NZ. If the ground of the Middle East only gave up worms, no one would give a fuck would they Dave?
        I fully understand tthough in no way can comprehend what the Syrian population is having to endure. But unless you are going to get up on your soapbox and denounce all Nations who continually engage in the support, financing of terrorist entities, invade and occupy nations, remove and replace elected Sovereign leaders to further their hegemonic political agenda, then your doing all citizens of the globe who have suffered or will suffer from their fucked idealogical crusade an injustice.
        Some Arab regimes collapsed Dave. Has Bahrain been allowed to aquire self determination? Who funded and supported both the Egyptian and Iraq regimes and the brutal hold maintained on the respective citizenry over the decades?
        Who funds and supports the two most brutal, well armed regimes in the Middle East, Israel and the House of Saud the latter who is smashing Yemen to pieces as we speak. Pretty silent on the plight of Yemenis Dave.
        It sure as hell aint Russia.

      • Do you acknowledge the BBC role in falsifying gas attack footage in Syria Dave? Does Seymour Hershs investigation into the gas attacks have any substance in your view?
        Can you point me to conclusive evidence of barrel bombing?
        Would you be so kind as to post your articles referencing the destruction of hospitals by US forces and the decimation of Iraq?
        If Russia is bombing in the name of Internationsl Stability, can you define how it differs from the R2P doctrine?

    • ‘What a load of fucking one sided propaganda.Sounds like a Whitehouse press release.’

      Spot on.

      It is only Russia standing up to US aggression that is preventing the entire world from being converted into an American colony, to be exploited and debased.

      Thankfully the world still has one leader with credibility and compassion, i.e. Putin because none of the western ‘leaders’ have any credibility or compassion. And thankfully, having rescued Russia from the American looters, he has ensured that Russia has built up the military strength necessary to prevent any further incursions by the maniacs who have been in control of the US since WW2.

      • It is only Russia standing up to US aggression that is preventing the entire world from being converted into an American colony

        Yeah well, unintended consequences, if you think that Russia is motivated by concern for the population of Syria or for the rest of the world, then I think you ought to consider a new moniker.

        • Sure Russia has its own interests to take care of but who else is standing up to the most aggressive regime in history. The list of countries laid waste by the USA is long. It has over 100 military bases worldwide. It is the USA that has withdrawn from nuclear nonproliferation treaties not Russia. It controls the financial system of the world, the western media, almost completely, and uses these two as weapons of war. Its covert operations destabilised Syria, destabilised Ukraine and have installed puppet governments throughout the world. Russia is not perfect but its military is primarily defensive. The USA is a fascist state but its control of the media ensures many think it is the land of freedom and democracy.

  3. The western crypto-Stalinist left makes an appearance in the comments. In no way did Dave Brownz excuse the US.

    • Name one statement that positions me anywhere on a left right position, you try and smear the messenger so as not to have to take in the comments. Im not left and Im not right, what fool would position himself so? aw yes that right you do!

  4. I see attempts made to give martial aid to Syrian revolutionaries going down like this.

    Comrade spotter: *Kirk crackle crackle* comrade pilot got a copy.

    Comrade pilot: I have you comrade spotter

    Comrade spotter: I have a large enemy convoy heading east down main road, marking my position with red smoke.

    Comrade pilot: for the mother land

  5. Excellent article Dave! When will people wake up, and retrieve their humanity? let alone any political sense? Genocide is genocide. People like Tony and Pedro need to stop listening to RT, Russian propaganda. Dave clearly says the problem is both US and Russian imperialism, so stop accusing him of speaking for the US! Start showing some real concern for all the hundreds of thousands killed by Assad and now Russia. It’s disgusting how so many on the so- called left have colluded with this unspeakable atrocity! For five years!!! What was the reason people called themselves socialists or anarchists again? In their kind of world is torture, rape, starvations, bombings okay? The US hasn’t done the most killing in this case, but it has definitely allowed it to happen, and is in discussions right now with Russia for an imperialist carve up of Syria, ie the “peace talks”. Now that all the Syrians are dead, or have fled, their cities bombed to oblivion; the big powers and Assad might consider “cessation of hostilities”, while they help themselves to the oil.

    • show me where in my opinion printed above do I show allegiance to left or right. I stand in my own thoughts and life, Im not left Im not right, Im open minded and always enjoy when people start using labels instead of facts.

    • Hi Alexandra
      Daves article is clearly biased in the favour of denouncing Russian aggression hard for the portion of society who still think there are; reds under the beds to see i guess.. The murder of innocent civilians, the destruction of their infrastructure, torture, rape, is an abomination no matter who is carrying it out, so i make no distinction about who is perpertrating it.
      An yes i do read RT and the Western press. Do you believe everything your infomed of in the Western media?
      Recorded history will actually inform you quite clearly which Nation has and still is the most destructive force on this planet, if you can be bothered to let go of all those years of indoctrination.

  6. Russian air campaign effect in timelapse type format: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fVyHszcFXE

    As for the situation in Syria generally, I think imperialism is in this instance a useful narrative to explore, as it reveals the dynamic nature of modern geopolitics both regionally and globally.

    Undoubtedly, the Saudi/Qatari/Turkish intervention to arm, radicalise, and co-opt what was a largely peaceful pro-democracy movement into a chauvinistic Sunni Muslim bulwark against the most powerful external node of the Iranian sphere of influence highlights the regional processes at work.

    Until recently, the Wahhabist/Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Ciada agenda to turn a national pro-democracy movement into an extremist Caliphate flooded by foreign fighters was a form of useful idiocy which the US/NATO was happy to support – it gave them great leverage in their negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program. To me, it suggests that the neo-Nazi astroturfing of the Maidan Square protests and subsequent fascist coup in Ukraine was designed to tie Russia down and prevent their intervention on behalf of Assad.

    Russia’s motivation is similarly geopolitical; since the agreement between James Baker III and Yeltsin on the non-expansion of NATO was broken first by Clinton, then in earnest by Blair/Bush and lately Barry/Cameron, Putin has been given the choice of passively watching NATO forces move steadily towards Russia’s land borders, or formulating a disruptive strategy – essentially to put a knife at NATO’s belly to match their knife at Russia’s throat. Ukraine and Syria were the spots where the rubber really threatened to hit the road.

    If Putin had done nothing, then Sevastopol would have been in NATO’s defacto possession, and the Mediterranean port of Tartus lost also to NATO proxies (note that the Ankara-sponsored Turkomen jihadists and their Chechen guests are the mainstay of anti-Assad forces in Latakia province – the ones who executed the captured Russian pilot). Had these ports been lost to NATO proxies as planned, the Black Sea fleet would have been confined to the remote installations at Novorossiysk, and denied significant Mediterranean facilities. It would also have meant that in addition to passing the Turkish controlled straits around the Bosphorous, Russian naval traffic would also have to pass a now-hostile Crimean peninsula. The plan almost worked.

    In this sense, Russia and Iran are now playing a forced hand; join in with the imperialist shenanigans, or be enveloped and face the inevitable consequences. One has to say that Putin has form in this regard; in the face of very calculated Turkish and Saudi brinksmanship, he and Lavrov have raised the stakes in just such a way that the Americans have themselves been forced to make a choice; an Article 4 scenario resulting from an illegal Saudi-Turkish invasion of Syria, or mediation which will result in the Wahhabists being destroyed. It seems now that many of the FSA units which haven’t been radicalised are now fighting alongside the SAA.

    Personally, I hope that this united front, along with the YPG, NDF, SNP and other local units will see the destruction of the Calipahte and Al-Nusra. Following that, I would like to see Assad bundled on the next plane to Sochi, so the Syrian people can form a unity government and finally have free elections. Assad must go, but the war has to be won first. This may be unpalatable realpolitik to some, but one only need look at what the deaths of Saddam and Qaddafi accomplished to see that revenge doesn’t close the book.

    Final bit of reading, lest anyone wonder just what the Turkish agenda was – and still is; Kerry is throwing Erdogan under the bus, but he isn’t going quietly. Thankfully, it seems that what remains of Turkey’s secular institutions are taking the opportunity to push back against Erdogan and Davutoglu’s re-Islamisation of Turkish institutions and public life:
    http://wtfrly.com/2016/02/25/turkey-court-dundar-gul-arrested-weapons-syria/#.Vs9w2HGqqQJ

    • I mean we have been trying since 2002 to rid the world of Al Qaeda (Al Nusra) and Al Qaeda in Iraq (Now IS). It’s now 2016 and they each have more funds, more manpower, and more weapons and sophisticated ones to boot.

      We sent three division of the most advanced military ever assembled after some poor ass sand farmers. And now we are sending in advisers.

      The only way we end this is if we start paying fair prices for oil

      • We can never rid the world of Al Qaeda because it is a CIA invention, funded by the US taxpayer and the mounting debts created by the Federal Reserve.

        But it does provide a convenient pretext for elimination of liberties of citizens and an excuse to keep producing weapons of ever-greater destructive power, for US corporations to make money from.

        And Al Qaeda did provide a (albeit unconvincing) cover story for the demolition of the Twin Towers and Building 7 on 9/11.

    • Yes imperialism is behind all this.
      But it is not just a proxy war as part of the global face off between the US and Russia/China bloc.

      The Syrian revolution began as part of the Arab Spring, which was the revival of the Arab Revolution from the 1980s.

      The interest of both US and Russia, over an above their long-term rivalry for what is left of the world’s resources, is to smash this armed revolution where it threatens the ‘stability’ of this or that dictatorship.

      Russia has a more direct stake in Syria than the US. As you say it is to do with its access to the Mediterranean as part of its resistance to the expansion of NATO. That is why without serious heavy weapons when the opposition threatened to defeat Assad, Russia stepped up its role from military supplier and advisor to active military intervention.

      That is why most of Russia’s bombs have fallen on the opposition territory and not IS. That is the point of Aleppo.

      As for the endgame in Syria. It cannot be solved by new elections or by the breakup of the country. As we head into a global crash with upheavals everywhere, the Middle East can prove that armed resistance to tyrants and imperialist bombers is the only way to survive.

      What existed at the outset of the Arab Spring, the solidarity between the revolutionaries in all the countries involved, linking for example Egypt, Palestine, Syria and
      Iraq in non-sectarian alliances, has to be rebuilt on the ground.

      Instead of being divided and ruled by this or that dictator or sectarian regime (including Israel) the united masses can kick out all the imperialist invaders and the regional dictatorships from Al Sisi to Erdogan to Khamenei.

      Of course this struggle is global as the span of imperialism and its drive to war is global.

      The result will be a federation of socialist republics of MENA that includes a free Syria, a free Palestine and a free Kurdestan.

      • Hold up a sec. The tactics being employed by Russia and its alies on the ground in Syria is to envelop enemy positions (enemy can mean any one pointing guns at Kurds or Regime forces) with ground forces, spotters then call in air strikes in advance of ground offences to create what Russians call pockets.

        It’s not fair to put the blame on Russia when Putin repeatedly warned the U.S and its alies over many years, predicted accurately the stupidity of braking Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukrain. Not to mention stating his predictions and citing history when vetoing U.S attempts to gain support for military interventions in UN Security Council meetings.

        We wouldn’t be here if Bush and Blair hadn’t hadn’t lied about going to war.

        All our strategic goals amount to is reestablishing commerce with middle eastern oil. And insuring that all that oil is bought and sold in U.S dollars.

      • I think one thing which deserves a little more scrutiny is this point:

        “That is why most of Russia’s bombs have fallen on the opposition territory and not IS. That is the point of Aleppo.”

        If you look at the positions on the map, you’ll see that the IS territory is mostly further east, towards the Iraqi border. The major cities where Russia has been coordinating the consolidation and expansion of the SAA’s formations have largely seen contact with the Nusra Front and assorted smaller groups, some of which I would agree meet your definition of being revolutionary and not simply Islamic extremists engaged in cultural chauvinism.

        The encirclement of Aleppo cut between IS and Nusra held areas for instance. South of Aleppo, the SAA with Russian air support is fighting IS around Khanasser, for instance. Recovering the major cities in the west has seen operations concentrated in Tartus, Latakia, Hama, Damascus, Idlib, Halab, and Western Homs provinces. IS are mostly concentrated in Raqqah, Deir Al Zour, Al Hesakah, Eastern Homs around the stronghold in Palmyra, and Eastern Halab, where they were close to south eastern Aleppo, but have been driven back by the SAA movements along the Aleppo-Itryah highway route.

        To suggest that there is anything more to it than the methodical advance of a clear strategy is misleading; if you look at where the RUAF have struck IS, it’s in the northern regions of Idlib and Halab between the strategic cities of Azaz and Jarablus, which is where militant supplies and reinforcements enter Syria, and stolen oil enters Turkey. Elsewhere, they would be overflying Nusra Front formations in control of strategically critical areas to bomb IS formations who are largely rearguarding open desert to protect their Iraqi holdings. To do this of course would make no strategic sense; you use air strikes on the guys you’re about to go into battle with, not the guys who are out of range of your ground forces. Sure, if you have the resources you can do both, but Russian air power in theatre isn’t that massive as yet.

        The ‘Russia hasn’t hit IS as much’ meme is kind of a straw man argument when you look at who holds what territory, and examine the strategy they are advancing to regain control of the western population centres. IS will be hit, but what is interesting now is that many of the non-Jihadist groups will now most likely be advancing alongside Russia and the SAA against Al-Nusra and IS.

  7. Never boring Dave, I will give you that. Who are these crypto Stalinist socialists? Is this the Communist equivalent of, and echo of the Sunni Shiite schism?

    Do I hear an excuse for how Communism panned out in Russia, China, Cambodia etc? Is it like so many religious intolerances going to serve as an excuse for Communist crimes against humanity…..”we Shiites / Protestants / Trotskyists are the good guys, it was really the Sunni / Catholics / Stalinists who did those dreadful things”.

    Note none of these factions ever admit to their opponents following the same God / faith. I don’t buy it. In fact I will go a step further: the seeds of inhumanity are deeply planted in faith based systems. Capitalism, imperialism, communism, Islam, Christianity etc, check the historic record, it comes part and parcel.

    My take is far simpler…maybe a simple minds viewpoint. What is happening in Syria is that people are doing evil in the name of good as they see it. The “good” they do evil deeds to achieve is known by names like Shia, Sunni, capitalism, imperialism, democracy. Doing evil to achieve good wont work. Where is a Gandhi or a Mandela when they are most needed?

    • Nick my argument has nothing to do with faith. Hope possibly, just as the Syrian people hope that they can survive all the forces that are trying to destroy their struggle against tyranny.
      The ‘good’ in this situation is the right of the Syrian people to basic democratic rights such as freedom from political repression and death by bombing.
      There struggle is not being waged in terms of any ideology of ‘good’ that justifies ‘evil’ means.
      That is something I reserve for the liberals in the West who use their democratic privileges to justify the destruction of Syria.
      Stalinism in my book is the actual betrayal of the Russian revolution by a bureaucratic caste under Stalin that eventually led to the restoration of capitalism.
      Crypto-stalinism is the covert admiration for the Russian regime run by survivors of the Stalinist regime because its authoritarian centralism is actually opposed to US hegemony so therefore a ‘lesser evil’ means to a relatively ‘progressive’ end.

      • Dave, lets just put this “faith”, and Stalin thing to bed as it is just to boring to hear Trots etc forever coming up with apologist crap about their breed of socialism and the violence inherent. And a Marxist solution in Syria is going to happen or help if it did.

        Like Mohammed and Jihad, Marx called for revolutionary overthrow of the “system”. Marx called for the expropriation of the means of production and property etc, by force (if necessary…how else)? Dont deny that its all in Das Kapital, I have read it. It is faith based, for whilst a very clever piece of sociology it purports to be a singular truth, and that is laid out nicely in dialectic materialism as the driver of history. Paradise on earth, not in heaven. But promised as a matter of faith, regarded theologically by apostles.

        So to the Russian revolution….I seem to recall that the Soviet outlawed the death penalty very early, only to have the Bolsheviks bring it back post haste. Then the Red terror set in to counter the White terror, both parties advocating and enforcing the violence of the state against all objectors. One Mr Lenin is recorded as demanding the death of any opposition, something Mr Trotsky and his new Red army did very compliantly and well (assisted admirably by Mr Stalin et al). As per Marx, and agreeing with my contention violence is at the heart of Marxist revolution.

        So here we have a Soviet state, and yes Dave it is headed by Lenin and Trotsky and Stalin, and Zinoviev etc etc and they together institute a reign of terror that only slows down when Khrushchev calls out Stalins crimes. This is before Trotsky gets hounded out to go elsewhere demanding more violent revolution. So Dave, this “real socialist faith” right from the start demands the blood of non adherents.

        Stalinist monolithic bureaucrats killed the dream? A monolithic state controlled by party apparatchiks, that is how modern industrial societies work. Corporations too have huge bureaucracies. So a bureaucratic caste “betrayed” the revolution? I have worked in bureaucracies, they are run by a caste of corporate Jesuits who don’t question the theology, whether it is Catholicism, capitalism with an MBA, or Leninist Marxism. The caste has a singular trait: institutional non thinking about the means and morality etc, merely keep the wheels turning and go “forward” (where ever that is). And yes, any change to the “faith” is a challenge to their privileges and power. But that is the nature of the beast, apparatchiks did not undermine the Soviet experiment. These guys kept the “faith”, they were paid to, and preferred not see that it was totally flawed from the beginning. It fell apart under their watch from below, the door to the office wasn’t rotten, the foundations were.

        Crypto Stalinists as admirers of the new Russian regime? OK so really what that purports is that the same old guard of Stalinists run Russia, nothing changed, and to support the Russian state is to be a “Stalinist”. I’m somewhat reminded of David Icke and giant space lizards.

        So to where I agree with you: yes the Syrian people like people everywhere need to be left in peace to live their lives free from oppression. Free from violence. And that is the heart of the issue: violence is about coercion and power. Nobody using force in Syria or elsewhere is doing anything for the promotion of peace or resolution. The argument is that they have to be powerful enough to force “peace” on their terms.
        Fortunately we have the examples of Mandela who rejected violent retribution in favour of reconciliation, and of Gandhi who used peaceful means to shame the British. Or the example of Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams who marched with women for peace in Belfast, from which eventually even Paisley and Adams agreed to cooperate peacefully. It can be done, I have little hope that it will be allowed to willingly by the “powers that be”.

  8. Assad is not the devil that the western media make him out to be, there was no peaceful uprising, once again we see a war using Islamic Fundamentalists on behalf of America Saudi Arabia and Turkey and others.
    Go Assad and Putin and finish the job, dont leave one terrorist or their supporters left.
    This article must be written by the CIA as propaganda.

    • There are no atheists in foxholes – so of course militias fighting Assad’s oppression will be Islamic – that doesn’t necessarily make them ISIL however. Unless you treat them all alike.

  9. Wake up Dave. It’s all about a US-backed attempt to topple the Assad regime so a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe can be constructed by US corporations and profits can be made.

    Also, the US wants Russia driven out of the Mediterranean, so it can be throttled and US fascists -let’s face it, that’s what they are- can go back to looting Russia’s resources like they did in the early 1990s.

    Putin won’t allow any of it to happen, of course, because Russia now has far better weapons than the US, and knows how to use them.

    Thus, we are witnessing the last gasps of the dying US empire. It is truly fascinating to watch.

    Soon we will be rid of the worst rogue state ever to have existed on Earth, the rogue state responsible for more deaths of innocent people than Hitler and Stalin put together.

    Listen to what informed Americans have to say on the matter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSiqZN6-TSE

    • Yeah i saw that map of the oil pipe line they wanted to build a few months ago, i went ha so this is the big why America is using Islamists to fight a war.

    • Bang on the money afweknowthetruth.

      Its a tried and tested method the Yanks have used across the globe for decades. You dont have to have a grasp of political science to get it.

  10. Dammit! I keep forgetting. Most people cannot be persuaded to relinquish false beliefs by the presentation of facts or by logical arguments. In fact, quite often, the more evidence that is presented to counter a false belief, the more a false belief is adhered to.

    That is one of many reasons why there is no hope for humanity.

  11. Notice how those who condemn Assad and Russia never mention Isis ???

    Because that is their allies …………….. that is who they are supporting.

    It sounds like the Iranians are doing more than their fair share of fighting terrorists and extremists http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-civil-war-on-the-front-line-with-the-iranian-revolutionary-guards-battling-outside-aleppo-a6891891.html

    I’ve never seen more blatent support for Isis & Al-quada than from the posters and governments calling for regime change in Syria.

    Supporting terrorists and civil war ………

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