Saturday, April 08, 2017

My Thoughts on the US Airstrike against Assad

There is something that is happening right now, something that most people aren't talking about, either because they haven't noticed it yet or, like the Syrian regime, they are ignoring and at the same time trying to kill it. Emerging from the cinders of a country, Syrians are developing a common sense of identity and a new way of looking at the world. They are, in effect, becoming a new country. Whether it is a new Syria is a different question. The old country, with its corrupt Baathist-socialist legacy and the politicisation of all aspects of life and the corresponding ideological baggage, is now giving way to a country where being an exile underpins your sense of national identity, and necessitates pragmatism.

These Syrians don't need expensive post-grad diplomas and degrees in journalism and international relations to understand that the US strike was in their interest, even if the motives behind it were not. These are the same Syrians who celebrated the election victories of the AKP and President Erdogan in Turkey, and who breathed a collective sigh of relief when the coup attempt against President Erdogan failed, or who cheer on when the Israeli Airforce attacks the Assad regime and its Hezbullah allies.

When Syrians take these positions, they are not interested in domestic Turkish or American entanglements and they are not interested in tying the Syrian revolution with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. They are interested solely in dealing with the dictator whose family has had its boot on their necks for the past forty years. They are, in effect, expressing as Syrians a nascent national interest, their national interest. We should probably listen to what these people have to say, instead of ignoring them or trying to change their point of view.

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