News Release

Syria: Why Is the Nonviolent Opposition Being Ignored?

The New York Times reports an anonymous leak from the government: “The Obama administration, concluding that the troops of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria have used chemical weapons against rebel forces in his country’s civil war, has decided to begin supplying the rebels for the first time with small arms and ammunition, according to American officials.”

JAMES PAUL, james.paul.nyc at gmail.com
Author of Syria Unmasked, until recently Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a thinktank that monitors the UN, for 19 years.

He said today: “‘Our’ rebels are losing the war in Syria, in spite of billions of dollars and huge arms transfers from the Saudis and Qatar, aided by the Turks, the U.S. and the Europeans. So now the White House warriors are about to send U.S. arms too. But the shifting tide of the conflict is not about Hezbollah forces and it’s not about arms either (the Gulf oil monarchs have not stopped providing them, nor have the Iranians and the Russians shown restraint). There are plenty enough killing devices on both sides. The shifting tide of the conflict reflects the diminishing support for the rebels inside the country. In a diverse, multi-ethnic society, there is waning enthusiasm and growing opposition to victory by the Sunni fundamentalists and their Saudi friends. Syrians don’t want Washington and the West in charge either, or the Turks and the Qataris. So deep opposition to the dictatorship is proving less salient than the horror of what might replace it if the rebels win. Fortunately, there is a third force that can come to the fore now.

“But the New York Times and all the media are in a chorus of propaganda favoring arms to the rebels and a vision of a two-sided conflict. Day after day, articles that aim in this direction, pumped into the press from the usual sources in Washington, including but not limited to the pro-Israel lobby. The progressive press has had little original to say.” Paul adds, regularly ignoring “the non-violent, non-sectarian democrats in Syria and their achievements.”

“The humanitarian interventionists and the democratic imperialists in the U.S. are ready to fight another war and utterly ignore the possibility of a negotiation involving the real democrats. When are the people in the U.S. and even the ‘progressives’ going to inform themselves and stand up to say ‘no?’”

See Syrian opposition leader Haytham Manna’s recent piece in the Guardian: “Syrians Can be Reconciled — Through Negotiation, not Violence.”

Video: “The Realities of the Syrian conflict: Carla del Ponte” with a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria.