Middle East

Mar 7, 2014

Syria’s peace deals, made under threat of starvation, coming undone

Syria's government has negotiated numerous ceasefires with rebel groups, but they seem to be short-lived. Freelance journalist Lauren Williams reports from Beirut.

Qusai Zakarya — a nom de guerre — still can’t believe he is alive. The Syrian opposition activist was recently released to Beirut after 17 days in detention in Damascus, held by the regime of Bashar al-Assad’s notorious Fourth Armoured Division, the elite Republican Guard commanded by the President’s bloodthirsty younger brother and commander of the armed forces, Maher.

Thousands of Syrian prisoners of conscience have died inside Syrian prisons, while thousands more languish in detention, with few ever facing charges. Fewer still who find themselves in Fourth Division hands ever make it out alive.

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3 thoughts on “Syria’s peace deals, made under threat of starvation, coming undone

  1. AR

    It is a continuing mystery that few reporters (apart from Fisk) point out the obvious – as vile an autocracy as Basher’s may be, the non Sunni population know what will happen to them if the Saudi/Qatar funded and US armed jihadis win. Hence they support the Devil they know.

  2. R. Ambrose Raven

    Let us discuss the media view of Syria, and in passing, the actual issues.

    Mainstream media shows gross pro-imperial pro-Zionist bias in reporting Middle Eastern issues (assisted, admittedly, by the extremism and lack of policy of the insurgents and religious fanatics). No competent journalist can plead ignorance not only of the long history of exploitative Western colonialism and neo-colonialism in the Middle East but also the deliberate favouring by the West (officially until recently – unofficially, given past experience, no change) of reactionary al-Qaeda related Islamist groups (as in Libya) which may become more brutal and will certainly be less socially progressive than their predecessor.

    Overthrowing Gaddafi was, after all, Rupert’s Revolution. As John Pilger noted “Gone from the Murdoch press are pejorative “insurgents”. The action in Libya, said The Times, is “a revolution … as revolutions used to be”. “That it was a coup by a gang of Moamar Gaddafi’s ex-cronies and spooks in collusion with NATO was extremely familiar news. The self-appointed “rebel leader”, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was Gaddafi’s feared justice minister.”

    Similarly, the media’s complete lack of explanation of any socio-economic context to Syria’s situation. For the Syrian conflict, “our” Murdoch and self-censored media (including Their ABC) are of course following the script, as with Libya. Thus the Syrian conflict was until recently portrayed as a largely peaceful “pro-democracy” protest movement being brutally quashed by a bloody tyrant. While steadily more unreal, until the middle of 2013 the mainstream media was ignoring that Syria is fighting Islamist insurrectionists assisted by Western and Saudi special forces and weapons.

    An unprecedented water crisis plus food costs and shortages plus underinvestment in agriculture and consequent drift to the cities, rapid population growth and drought/Harmful Climate Change are big factors in Syria’s violence. While the younger Assad was following standard neo-colonialist neoliberalist economic policy since 2006, little is has improved for the average Syrian because of cronyism, corruption, and the inequality inherent in all such policies.

    What are needed are much more socialist policies. Instead, we have absolutely no discussion about reconstruction, nor even any assumption that it will happen.

  3. condel

    Food control is one of the top 5 principles of waging war.If Assad can greatly restrict it despite massive humanitarian aid, it’s all over but i doubt it. he may squeeze a few pockets out. but thats it. Food deprevation is also a function of war per se. you never read about free syrian army being out of arms? so it’s getting food, be sure.

    Free Syrian Army will be supported until Syria is a stone age country – who rules after will be bathist’s with or with out Assad. Without Assad, US allies will aid bathists to wipe out extremists in free army . maybe other free army white collar heads get resettled , foreigners however – bathists can just catch them and shoot them as they are person non gratis. no will care.

    other syrian forces – go home and take their chances. Bath Party can not prevent recriminations – best to let them have them finish off foreigners -Syrian free army can do the job to reaffirm their Bathist support.

    Middle East Dictatorships are very resilient.

    Assad protected Christians, as his father did, 10% of population – coptic christians (considered iligiament by vatican) but most are orthodox christians which Vatican suppotrs

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