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Solidaritätserklärung mit der syrischen Revolution

Im Folgenden dokumentieren wir einen aktuellen Solidaritätsaufruf mit der Syrischen Revolution, dem sich die Initiative Adopt a Revolution anschließt. Initiiert wurde der Aufruf durch die Syrian Revolution Support Bases.

1. August 2014

Anlässlich des ersten Jahrestages der Chemiewaffenangriffe des Assad-Regimes auf Ghuta, welche den Tod von mehreren hundert Menschen verursacht haben, stehen wir, die UnterzeichnerInnen, in Solidarität mit den Millionen von SyrerInnen, die seit März 2011 für Würde und Freiheit kämpfen. Wir rufen die Menschen in der Welt dazu auf, die Revolution und ihre Ziele zu unterstützen und das sofortige Ende der Gewalt und des illegitimen Assad-Regimes zu fordern.

Am Jahrestag des Angriffs, dem 21. August, rufen wir die UnterstützerInnen der syrischen Revolution und der regionalen und weltweiten Aufstände für Freiheit, Würde und soziale Gerechtigkeit, dazu auf, Veranstaltungen zu organisieren, um die Grausamkeiten, Fehlinformationen, Lügen und das beschämendes Schweigen zu verurteilen, sowie politische und materielle Solidarität mit den fortgesetzten Bemühungen der Basis-AktivistInnen zu zeigen.

Die syrischen Revolutionäre kämpfen weiterhin für Freiheit, trotz der vielen Hindernisse, mit denen sie sich konfrontiert sehen. Um die Revolution niederzuschlagen wandte das syrische Regime vier Strategien an: 1) Militarisierung des Aufstandes durch eine sechsmonatige Kampagne gewaltsamer Unterdrückung der friedlichen Proteste 2) Islamisierung des Aufstandes durch Bekämpfung von säkularen Gruppen und Stärkung von Dschihadisten, 3) Konfessionalisierung des Konfliktes durch die Rekrutierung einer zunehmenden Zahl von schiitischen Kämpfern aus dem Ausland, verbunden mit dem Angriff auf sunnitische Gebiete und 4) Internationalisierung des Krieges, indem Iran und Russland eingeladen wurden, eine zentrale Rolle spielen. Gleichzeitig haben Länder wie die USA, Saudi-Arabien und Katar die reaktionären Gruppen gestärkt, um die Revolution zu untergraben.

Der Fall der “Douma 4″ zeigt auch, dass die syrischen Revolutionäre an zwei Fronten kämpfen. Vier mutige AktivistInnen, die für das Violations Documentation Center arbeiteten, wurden im Dezember 2013 von unbekannten, maskierten bewaffneten Männern entführt, die vermutlich islamistischen Gruppen angehörten. Diese AktivistInnen wurden zur Zielscheibe, weil sie sich konsequent gegen jede Form von Tyrannei und Menschenrechtsverletzungen aussprachen, ganz gleich, wer der Täter war. Ihre Entführung ist eine Erinnerung daran, dass sich die syrische Revolution nicht nur gegen die Assad-Diktatur richtet, sondern auch zunehmend gegen reaktionäre und opportunistische Gruppen, welche den Zielen der Revolution widersprechen: Demokratie, soziale Gerechtigkeit und ein Ende des religiösen Sektierertums.

Der erste Jahrestag der Chemiewaffenangriffe ist eine Gelegenheit, die Bedeutung des revolutionären Prozesses zu bekräftigen, nicht nur in Syrien, sondern auch in der gesamten arabischen Welt. Die syrische Kampf gegen die Diktatur, den globalen Dschihadismus, und den Imperialismus, von welcher Seite auch immer dieser kommt, sollte nicht als eine lokale, nicht einmal regionale Angelegenheit betrachtet werden. Es ist Teil eines aufständischen Moments, in dem sich die ganze Welt in einen Kampfplatz verwandelt hat. Die aktuellen Entwicklungen in Irak und der wiederaufgenommene Krieg in Gaza haben gezeigt, dass das Schicksal der syrischen Revolution mit der Situation in der gesamten Region verbunden ist. Der Kampf der Syrer für Würde, Freiheit und Selbstbestimmung kann nicht von den historischen Aufstand gegen den Zionismus abgekoppelt werden oder von den ägyptischen Kämpfen gegen militärischen Despotismus, vom bahrainischen Aufstand gegen die Diktatur, vom kurdischen Kampf um Selbstbestimmung, dem Widerstand der ZapatististInnen und anderer indigener Völker gegen Rassismus und Neoliberalismus oder von den massiven Aufständen der ArbeiterInnen in allen Kontinenten gegen die krisenbedingten Sparmaßnahmen.

Die syrische Revolution ist an einem Scheideweg, und die syrischen Revolutionäre benötigen dringend Unterstützung, während sie an mehreren Fronten kämpfen. Ein Sieg für die verschiedenen Gegenrevolutionen würde die größte ethnische Säuberung unseres Jahrhunderts dauerhaft machen, das Land zerstört zurücklassen und die Region und die Welt auf gravierende Weise destabilisieren. Ein Sieg für die Revolution würde jedoch in der arabischen Welt und darüber hinaus lange verdrängte soziale und politische Bestrebungen freisetzen.

http://www.adoptrevolution.org/solidaritaetserklaerung-mit-der-syrischen-revolution-august-2014/

Um sich dieser Erklärung anzuschließen, senden Sie eine E-Mail an: srsbases@gmail.com

Syrian Revolution Support Bases

 

Hier dokumentieren wir die ausführliche englische Version.

Statement of solidarity with the Syrian revolution

As Syrians commemorate the first anniversary of the chemical attacks on Al Ghouta, we the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the millions of Syrians who are struggling for dignity and freedom since March 2011. We call on people of the world to pressure the Syrian regime to end its criminal war on the Syrian people and for Bashar al-Assad to step down immediately so that Syria can begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.

On the one-year anniversary of the regime’s chemical weapons attack, we call on supporters of the Syrian Revolution, and of the regionwide and global uprisings for freedom, dignity and social justice, to organize events (rallies, marches, teach-ins, film screenings, lectures, fundraisers, exhibitions,...) to denounce the atrocities, misinformation, lies and shamed silences and to show solidarity, both political and material, with the ongoing efforts of grassroots Syrians. In addition we also bring our support to the campaign Douma4 demanding the liberation of Razan Zaitouneh, Wael Hammadeh, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hammadi who were kidnapped in December 2013 by unknown masked armed men at their workplace, the Violations Documentation Centre, in the city of Douma, located in eastern Ghouta nearby the sites of the chemical attacks. The main reason behind the abduction is that these activists represent a threat to some groups, just as they do to the Assad regime. They represent the Syrian people empowered, aware of their strength when they act collectively, and above all they show that the people refuse any form of submission to authoritarianism. The Islamic Front, which is the military group controlling this region, has done nothing to investigate or to seek the liberation of Razan and the others after their kidnaping. There is no proof yet that the Islamic Front is the kidnapper of the four revolutionaries, despite strong suspicions based on its past practices towards activists and revolutionaries in the region of Ghouta, including, for example, threats to Razan Zaitouneh and to the popular council of Douma, in addition to its past sectarian and antidemocratic discourses and practices. The kidnapping of these four activists is also a reminder that the Syrian people’s revolution for freedom and dignity is not only against the Assad dictatorship, but also increasingly against reactionary and opportunist groups that oppose the objectives of the revolution: democracy, social justice and an end to sectarianism.

August 21st marks the first anniversary of the chemical attacks on Eastern Ghouta in the suburbs of Damascus. Several hundred people, including many children, died within minutes of the attacks. A few hours later, the Syrian regime launched a massive media campaign accusing the opposition of perpetrating the attacks. The regime and its allies knew they wouldn't be able to win the heart and minds of people around the world but they could confuse them and tarnish the image of the revolution. That has been the regime's strategy since the beginning of the uprising. Even renowned journalist Seymour Hersh became a victim of the said strategy. He wrote a long article where he argued al-Nusra Front, the al-Qaeda affiliated group, of being behind the attack. The intention of the terrorist organization, he explained, was to blame the regime and trigger Western intervention that would ultimately topple Assad. His argument was not only implausible but also illogical. Knowing it would be the target of any Western airstrikes, al-Nusra threatened to kill anyone showing support for intervention. In the following months, a number of independent organizations and experts showed that only the Syrian regime could have planned and executed the chemical attacks in al-Ghouta. Despite overwhelming evidence of the Syrian army's role in the attacks, the regime was able to turn the table, reshuffle the cards, and even gain a certain respectability in international arenas, after agreeing to surrender its chemical arsenal. The unraveling of events and the debates surrounding the chemical attacks are paradigmatic of the Syrian tragedy and the regime's ability to effectively manage its horrific war against Syrians.

Progressive intellectuals, concerned citizens, and humanists were shocked on August 21st but they felt powerless. Their neutrality, under the pretext that both sides are evil, and their silences and inactivity allowed the Syrian regime to isolate and besiege the Syrian revolution. As the revolution became increasingly invisible, the regime's narrative became more hegemonic. Many supposedly progressive intellectuals dismissed the revolutionary struggle of several hundred thousands Syrians in a myriad different arenas, and portrayed the situation as a civil war between Shia and Sunnis, a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, or a violent conflict between global Jihadists and a regular army. As the revolution became unthinkable, the regime propaganda turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sadly, in such a conjuncture the silence of progressive intellectuals became a license to kill Syrians.

The dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons program was very good news for Israel and the West but a tragedy for most Syrians. It meant a despotic regime could use all types of what is euphemistically referred to as conventional weapons against its population, as long as it cooperates with the West. Tens of thousands of Syrians were killed in a thousand different ways by conventional weapons after August 21, 2013. This new chapter in the Syrian conflict created confusion in the West and parts of the Arab World. In Syria however, people who endured the Assad family's rule for more than forty years, are aware the root of the problem is dictatorship. This confusion affected many cultures and political groups. For example, in the weeks following August 21st, the anti-war movement in the US and Europe demonstrated against potential airstrikes that were to target Syria, but was silent about Assad's siege of entire neighborhoods, and other atrocities. Syrians living in besieged areas were puzzled by these movements' political alignment with the regime. How can anyone dismiss the siege of around 20,000 Palestinians in Yarmouk camp for more than a year and the starvation to death of 128 residents? While certain Western and Arab journalists argue that the main issue is the increasing number of al-Qaeda sympathizers in Northern Syria, many secular and pious inhabitants in Aleppo, Azaz, Anadan, and other cities in the North think about how to escape the terrifying death of explosive barrels dropped on them by Assad's cruel war machine. Often times, pilots drop a second bomb on the same location, a few minutes later, to kill rescuers and cause more damage. While professionals in humanitarian assistance discuss useless strategies to compel Assad to distribute UN aid more fairly, poor families who never received assistance from the regime, have left their villages to seek better opportunities elsewhere. For some of them the journey ends in al-Zaatari camp in Jordan where the most unfortunate who can't afford to buy blankets are powerless as they watch the freezing body of their child gesticulate before surrendering to a treacherous death. While self-described impartial observers argue the problem in Syria is not the regime's monumental savagery but ISIS's medieval barbarism, most Syrians know that this is a false dichotomy and that both forms of violence are cruel and should end. While progressive intellectuals explain in Manichean fashion that neutrality in Syria's turmoil is the preferred position because both sides of the conflict are war criminals, Syrian activists feel such a stance is based on false equivalence and a flawed logic. Their struggles cannot be equated to the regime's collective punishment of entire cities or the killing of revolutionaries after long and painful hours of torture in a dark cell at the Palestine Branch of military intelligence.

Creating confusion is part of Assad's brutal war against Syrians but it is always combined with other strategies. To kill the revolution, the Syrian regime pursued four strategies: 1) militarization of the revolts through a six-months long campaign of violent repression of peaceful protests 2) islamization of the uprising by targeting secular groups and empowering Jihadists, 3) sectarianization of the conflict through the recruitment of an increasing number of Shia fighters from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Afghanistan, coupled with the targeting of Sunnis cities and villages, and 4) internationalization of the war by inviting Iran, China, and Russia to play a central role in the conflict and consequently inciting the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to use Syria as a battleground against these forces.

Since the first week of the protests the Syrian regime launched a massive campaign of repression by kidnapping and torturing intellectuals and peaceful activists. The goal was to delegitimize the uprising by arresting or killing the most experienced grassroots activists. During this initial period, the regime killed between 6,000 and 7,000 protesters. Assad was sending a clear message: either the end of the protests or military confrontation. While the first option was preferred, the regime didn't mind the militarization of the revolt since it felt that only a minority would fight, and the uprising would therefore quickly lose legitimacy, and would be easily crushed. It is in this context that revolutionaries started forming the first brigades of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The initial role of the FSA was to defend protests in certain neighborhoods. It gradually evolved into a regular army whose aim was to liberate and protect various areas. It was a vicious cycle since the violence of the regime and the cruelty of its intelligence apparatuses pushed for increased militarization of the revolt.

Second, in parallel to its campaign of incarceration, torture, and assassination of journalists, human right activists, and protesters, the regime released more than a thousand jihadists from the notorious Sednaya prison, many of whom became leaders in the largest factions of the Islamic Front, al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These groups gradually isolated and weakened the already decentralized and heterogenous FSA. Activists working with the revolutionary councils, journalists, and the FSA fighters found themselves fighting on two front: the regime and ISIS. ISIS rarely fought the regime and focused instead on taking over areas already liberated by the revolutionaries in Northern Syria. It arrested, tortured, and publicly executed activists and innocent civilians. While Jihadists were fighting and suffocating secular struggles, the Assad regime played the terrorism card very effectively, claiming the vast majority of its opponents belong to al-Qaeda and its offshoots. Domestically, the regime used this narrative to scare secular groups and religious minorities and effectively neutralize them. Internationally, the regime's effort to tarnish the image of the revolution and present it as a sectarian war was also successful. It didn't matter that the FSA was actually fighting ISIS, while the regime hardly ever targeted its headquarters in the liberated North. In January 2014, the entire opposition declared war to the terrorist group, which cost the lives of 8000 to 9000 fighters so far. The regime's official position about fighting terrorism didn't deter it from buying oil from al-Nusra Front in Mayadin, an eastern city close to the Iraqi borders. Despite these facts and the regime's reluctance to fight ISIS, Assad was increasingly seen in the West as the only effective barrage against Jihadists, while the revolutionaries were depicted as extremists or affiliated to al-Qaeda. Assad's media war reinforced al-Qaeda manichean narrative, according to which Syria is the first line of defense of Islamic values and the Mecca of global jihadism. Saudi Arabia and Qatar played a central role in backing the most reactionary Jihadist groups and in facilitating their journey to Syria.

Third, Assad ordered his militias to massacre Sunnis civilians in Darayya, Baniyas, and Houla, to provoke a Sunni reaction and interpellate sectarian impulses on both sides. It wasn't long before al-Nusra and ISIS jumped on the opportunity to turn the revolution into a sectarian conflict by killing Shiite civilians in Aqrab and Hatla. Once again the revolutionaries were caught in-between unable to stop an infernal spiral towards sectarianism. While the increase of sectarianism in Syria has multiple explanations, the absence of political spaces and parties due to totalitarianism is the primary cause. It pushed certain social groups to take refuge in their sects and use it to make their voice heard. In addition, the neighboring countries played a role in amplifying the sectarian trope. Iran, the regime's main ally understood that the only way to maintain its hegemony in the region was to impose a sectarian logic to the conflict. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar played the exact same role from the other side. Iran provided weapons and logistical assistance early on, while the Hezbollah sent fighters initially covertly, and overtly since May 2013. Iran claims the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is fighting extremists in Syria and protecting Shiite holy sites, an argument it is now using in Iraq. Despite the support of Iran and Hezbollah, Assad was unable to stop the revolutionaries' advances in several regions in 2012-13. The regime sought the support of Nuri al-Maliki, Iran's protege in Iraq, who responded promptly by sending more than 10,000 Shia fighters. These takfiri death squads, whose violence is only matched by Al-Nusra and ISIS, fight under the banners of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Liwa’a Abu Fadl al-Abbas. Their sectarian rampage is well documented in places such as an-Nabek, Homs, and Damascus.

Finally, the Syrian regime prospered under advantageous regional and international contexts codified by a common interest to end the momentum of the Arab revolts. The group of countries who unabashedly call themselves “the friends of Syria” have crucified the Syrian revolution a thousand times. This group includes countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, France, and the United States, some of which are as totalitarian as the Syrian regime, and yet they claim to support a revolution for freedom and dignity. In reality, these countries have their divergent agendas, but what they had in common is hatred toward the Syrian regime and fear of a successful revolution that would have lasting impact on their respective societies, and more generally globally. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, funded the most fundamentalist groups and sought their allegiance because of their destructive impact on the terrain. By strengthening various Salafist and Wahhabi groups, they created rivalry, but perhaps more importantly, they prepared the terrain to destroy nationalist and progressive struggles. After initially supporting the Syrian regime for several months in 2011, Saudi Arabia felt it would gain more by pushing for militarization and jihadist holy wars, thereby sending a clear message to the populations of the Arabian Gulf about the high cost of starting a revolt there. In the past three years, Saudi Arabia showed, on multiple occasions, that it can violently repress any populations with aspirations for freedom as it did in Bahrain or Qatif in Saudi Arabia. It also built a tripartite alliance with like-minded regimes, Egypt and Algeria, and openly declared its intensions to suppress the Tunisian and Yemeni revolutions after temporarily crushing the Egyptian revolution. The government of Erdogan played a more subtle role in undermining the revolution. While it welcomed many refugees for pragmatic reasons, it was more interested in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood than helping Syrians establish an authentic democracy. Finally, the United States and Europe were more worried about scoring points against Iran, the security of Israel, and regional stability to maintain a smooth flow of oil, than any real democracy in Syria or the Arab World. In reality, these countries tried to delink the Syrian revolution from its Arab surrounding and most importantly from the Palestinian struggle by supporting the most reactionary groups. The Syrian stalemate was actually not a bad option for the West and Israel since it involved an open war between al-Qaeda and its offshoots on the one hand, and Hezbollah and Iran on the other, all of whom are despised by the West.

Despite the complexity of the Syrian situation and the large number of players involved in the conflict, what is taking place in Syria is quite simple: people rose up to overthrow a tyrant. The past three years have shown that ruling elites in the West and the Arab World have done everything to crush the Syrian Revolution. They have done so either through a complicit silence, a well orchestrated campaign that tarnished the image of the revolution, the funding of the most reactionary factions, or barring refugees from reaching Europe or the US. No government was genuinely willing to help Syrians in their struggle. While some Syrians believed their salvation would come from the West, the vast majority had no such illusion as the slogans and songs of the revolution had amply shown. The banners created by activists in Kafranbel are indicative of such popular mood. One of the banners they were holding in 2011 read, “Down with the regime, down with the opposition, down with the Arab and Islamic nation all together. Down with the security council, down with the world. Down with everything!” The Syrian revolutionaries have exposed the hypocrisy of the friends of Syria on multiple occasions. Instead they sought to build strong relationships with the revolutionaries in the Arab world, Palestinians grassroots activists struggling against the apartheid regime, and various social movements in the West and the Global South.

The first anniversary of the chemical attacks is an occasion to reaffirm the importance of the revolutionary process not only in Syria but also in the entire Arab World. The Syrians' struggle against dictatorship, global jihadism, and western imperialism should not be viewed as local or even regional. It is part of an insurrectionary moment where the world has become the battlefield. The new development in Iraq, among other developments and the war on Gaza have shown that the fate of the Syrian revolution is interconnected to the situation in the entire region. The struggle of Syrians for dignity, freedom, and self-determination cannot therefore be delinked from the Palestinian historic rebellion against Zionism, Egyptian women struggles against military despotism and sexual harassment, the Bahraini courageous uprising against totalitarianism, the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, and the Zapatista and other indigenous populations' resistance against racism and neoliberalism. At the same time, the Syrian revolution is at a crossroads due to the Syrian regime and ISIS advances in several regions. Failure to stop the counter-revolutionary wave in Syria will have tremendous repercussions on Syrian society for a long period and its implications on Egypt, Yemen, or Bahrain will be tremendous. A successful revolution in Syria however would unleash long-repressed revolutionary aspirations in the Arab world and beyond.

Syrian Revolution Support Bases

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