Syria: A Few Lingering Questions

Syria: A Few Lingering Questions

Very little is known about the movement to overthrow the Syrian regime aside from the clear foreign backing it receives. Are the protestors aligned with this movement? How many opposition parties are involved, and what is the end goal of the protests? Civil unrest in a country rarely warrants the funding and backing of numerous outside countries, unless there are vested interests at stake. Recent terrorist attacks which are unusual to Syria but common in countries where foreign intervention has been staged have added to the growing list of puzzles when it comes to Syria. What is known, according to the Telegraph, is that Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj.

Who was behind the recent car bombing in Damascus?In recent weeks, the surge in protests in Syria has dominated the international stage. Suddenly, countless individuals have become experts on the current situation in Syria after reading a few articles on CNN, watching Barbara Walters interview Bashar al-Assad, and because Barack Obama said so. However, the situation in Syria is unique from its sister protests in Egypt, Tunisia, and the rest of the conveniently timed uprisings in the Middle East. It should be noted that this article is far from an absolute gospel on who to believe about Syria and which side to be on. Instead, it is an invitation for readers and concerned global citizens to consider the facts and disparities between what the mainstream media is reporting about Syria and the actual conflicts taking place inside the country.

Ironically, many individuals who typically question the objectivity of the media have eagerly believed the mainstream narrative about Syria, despite clear contradictions between independent reports regarding the situation and the media’s spin. This is where the uniqueness of Syria comes into play: Bashar al-Assad is by no means an angel, and he is certainly not in the running for world’s most compassionate leader award. However, very little initiative has been taken to answer the following questions:

How reliable is the United Nations Human Rights report on Syria? The report authors, who happen to include munitions manufacturer Raytheon (they supplied NATO with salvos for its operations in Libya), themselves admit that they were never inside Syria to complete their investigation. Instead, they interviewed witnesses provided by the Syrian opposition. The Syrian government did not respond to allegations in the report, and to say it is one-sided would be putting it gently. Media outlets have done little to investigate the UN report and have instead used it to promote sensational headlines calling for regime change in Syria.

What’s at stake for the United States? Hidden interests in the Middle East are nothing revolutionary to expose. In fact, everyone expects the United States and other Western powers to meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations. What is surprising is the lack of questioning directed towards US interests when it comes to Syria. According to the Washington Post, “Classified US diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as six million dollars to opposition groups since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria.”

Why is the Arab League Mission being questioned? Initially the opposition in Syria welcomed the visit by 150 Arab League observers into Syria. The mission was also endorsed by Syria in what was an Arab League plan which called for the withdrawal of military forces and a halt of violence against civilians. However, the Arab League mission has taken issue with some of the narratives emerging from media sources concerning Syria. Many were anticipating the Arab League mission to fail in stopping the violence and allow for possible foreign military intervention in Syria. Instead, the officials in the mission are reporting findings that contradict accusations which were previously wildly held against the Syrian regime, including that of government snipers attacking protestors. However, the Syrian government has also complained that snipers are attacking both protestors and Syrian troops. The head of the Arab Parliament recently called for the withdrawal of the Arab League monitors, claiming it gave Syria “cover” for its ongoing violations. The timing of the call to pull the Arab League out of Syria and the ongoing campaign to discredit the head of the Arab League monitors, Sudanese Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, raise questions regarding the motive behind the mission and whether or not a truly independent task force can be sent to Syria.

What and who is backing the Free Syria Army? Very little is known about the movement to overthrow the Syrian regime aside from the clear foreign backing it receives. Are the protestors aligned with this movement? How many opposition parties are involved, and what is the end goal of the protests? Civil unrest in a country rarely warrants the funding and backing of numerous outside countries, unless there are vested interests at stake. Recent terrorist attacks which are unusual to Syria but common in countries where foreign intervention has been staged have added to the growing list of puzzles when it comes to Syria. What is known, according to the Telegraph, is that Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.” What should be questioned or at least researched into is Belhadj’s ties to al-Qaeda and the fact that his organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), is listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. Is it a mere coincidence that as soon as groups affiliated with terrorism start associating with segments of the Syrian opposition that car bombs start to go off in the middle of Damascus?

When it comes to Syria, asking one question leads down a road populated with others. Although it would be more convenient to simply believe what the media and world powers are insisting about the country, individuals with conscience should consider the above questions and the many ahead when it comes to the situation in Syria.

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Arsalan Rizvi

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13 Comments

  1. Mustafa
    January 03, 13:14
    Excellent Article! Great thoughts by author! Finally some sensible analysis!
  2. zeinab
    January 04, 13:27
    disappointed to see such a political article on this website. these types of things should be avoided.
    • Ismatullah
      January 30, 01:58
      Islam is a religion that encompasses EVERY single aspect of a human being's life, from the moment of conception to the very moment the last shovel of dirt is placed over his body. <br /><br />As muslims we are required to act whether that by the sword or the pen when we see injustice. <br /><br />This site is run by muslims, and alhamdulillah, by those muslims who know what their duties and responsibilities are.
  3. Mohamed12
    January 08, 02:38
    In response to a comment from #zeinab, we need to have this political discussion to get at reality. The ordeal of Imam Hussain AS suggests a need for the broader community to be knowledgeable about politics and to understand forces at work behind the media.
  4. SN
    January 09, 16:19
    I just returned from Syria after Ziarat. The situation is very tense in the country, There are several channels creating an ethnic and sectarian retoric to the conflict as the real reason to the issue. The common public is suffering increased economic hardships of rising commodity pricing, power and water shortages. Ask any local and they will confirm that Wahabbi factions are the ones spreading the rift and creating and cultivating hartred among the factions. May Allah protect the people of Syria and protect the shrines in the country.
  5. Ali1111
    January 11, 17:11
    such articles proves one thing that this site doesn't want ppl to criticize Iran's silence on Syria's brutal killings.
    • Ismatullah
      January 30, 02:15
      Iran is not a ma'soom country, but anyone doing some research on what's going in Syria would know there are outside hands involved in fomenting this unrest. <br /><br />Syria is Iran's only ally in the region and they would like to see Assad stay. There are very strategic defense pacts between the two nations that the usa and israel would love to remove by means other than all out war. So if Iran seems "silent" (which they are not) regarding an unrest in a couple of cities I wouldn't blame them. They are surrounded by enemies, muslims and non-muslim forces. <br /><br />AND<br /><br />you did "criticize Iran's silence on Syria's brutal killings" and no one has removed your comment.
      • Muslim
        February 22, 17:55
        It is extremely disappointing that Islamic Insights would publish such an article.<br /><br />If Imam Ali was here he would have fought against the Alawi dictatorship. Prophet Muhammad who was the one who taught Ali right from wrong and this is Prophet who is better than Ali (as) would have fought the Alawi as well.<br /><br />I come from a Sunni family but I just call myself a Muslim. I believe that Ghadir Khumm is a historical fact and I believe that Imam Ali was the rightful successor. But I don't call myself a Shia or Sunni , in fact I prefer to go to sunni mosques where people don't concentrate on Ali or Umar or whoever but they focus on Allah. Just go and see for yourself. <br /><br />But back to the brutality of the Syrian dictatorship govt. Read history as to what Ali did to those who called him God. He killed them. I am not at all saying that the Alawi people in general should be killed for they are born with this twisted made up religion and thus they are no guilty of creating this shirk into Islam. But read history....yes even Shia history.... as to what Ali did to those people who called Ali a god. Ali killed those who started a new religion of calling him God because they were not born into it but they deliberately started something so sinister and introduced it in the community. Ali is infinitely less than God and anyone who thinks that the difference between Ali and Allah is not infinite is someone. <br /><br />Continued on next comment
  6. Muslim
    February 22, 17:58
    I ask you brother to swallow your pride....swallow your political pride.....call right what's right.....call wrong what's wrong....as the Qur'an says don't mix right with wrong....yes.....it is not a crystal clear picture as you point out and the western media does not give the full picture...but....almost nothing in history is 100% right or 100% wrong.....in Syria the overwhelming issue is that the people are being brutally killed, about 7 thousand have been killed, children have been tortured, countless Syrian Muslims are held by this nonMuslim govt in Syria in prison in torturous situations. <br /><br />I ask the author and I ask Islamic Insights to summon up the courage and to ask forgiveness from Allah (swt) of their effort to obscure the overwhelming issue in Syria.....please if you want to maximize your akhirat and not sell much of your akhirat for sectarian political pride, then do what is right....ask forgivenes from Allah and acknowledge your mistake publicly and acknowledge the evils the Syrian illegitamite Mushrikeen are inflicting on the Muslims of Syria. May Allah guide the Mushrikeen Alawi people of Syria and may Allah guide us all.<br /><br /><br />Salams, Peace, Love,<br /><br />Brother Muslim
  7. Muslim2
    May 18, 06:41
    I don't support Western interference against Libya's lunatic dictator Ghaddafi. Are you going to pretend that its because he was secretly Shia / Alawi (which you bizarrely seem to be blurring together) and I have "pride" in him?<br /><br />The Syrian dictatorship should be replaced. But there are right ways to do things, and there are wrong ways to do things. As a Muslim, the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Which means that you can't support just anyone who fights the dictatorship in Syria.<br /><br />Just look at the result of Western-backed intervention in Libya. Its now a disaster-zone ruled by hundreds of gangs. Worst than Ghaddafi was even.<br /><br />And your sectarian hatred towards Alawis is very disturbing. Most Alawis in Syria are still poor, and their religious beliefs, however misguided, have nothing to do with the dictatorship, certainly no more than Sunni religious thought had to do with Saddam Hussein's brutality. Its no surprise that some Alawis would see the oppressive Asad regime as being better than a takeover by people with such sectarian hatred, brother.

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