FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syria: Holding the Line Against the Forces of Hell

shutterstock_122493589

When future historians sit down to write the history of the Syrian conflict there is a simple test that will determine whether their objective is to mine and reveal the truth, or whether it is merely to shovel more dirt onto the mountain of the stuff that’s been erected over the course of its five long years as a monument to propaganda.

The test will be their depiction of the Syrian Arab Army and its role in the conflict. If said historians credit it with holding the line against the forces of hell that were committed to the country’s destruction as a secular, non sectarian, multi-religious and ethnic state, enduring the kind of losses and casualties placing it among the most courageous, resilient, and heroic of any army of any nation that has ever existed, then people will know that truth rather than propaganda has prevailed.

The glorification of war and conflict is difficult to resist for those living safely many miles away from its horrors and brutality. Those who do glorify it should take a moment to study and imbibe the words of Jeannette Rankin, who said: “You can no more win a war than you can win and earthquake.”

The war in Syrian confirms the abiding truth of those words when we consider the epic nature of the destruction it has wrought, the tragic human cost, and how it has shaken Syrian society to the very limits of endurance. It means that while the country’s survival as an independent non sectarian state may by now be certain, its ability to fully recover from the earthquake Rankin describes is something that only time will tell.

But the fact the country has managed to achieve its survival and, with it, the opportunity to recover is predominately the achievement of the Syrian Arab Army, whose complexion is a microcosm of the very society and people it has defended – Sunnis, Shia, Druze, Christians, Alawites, etc. In the process of doing so, as these words are being written, it has lost over 60,000 men according to the latest report by Robert Fisk, one of the more estimable Western correspondents based in the region. This is without factoring in the 1000-plus Hezbollah fighters who’ve been killed, along with Kurds and members of the various government-allied militia groups. It also does not include the tens of thousands who’ve been wounded or maimed.

But just think about this staggering statistic of 60,000 killed for a moment. In a country with a population before the conflict began of 25 million, and an army numbering in the region of 220,000 at full strength, the loss of 60,000 troops places the epic nature of the conflict in which they perished on a par with the Eastern Front during the Second World War.

Russian aid and solidarity has of course been a key factor in turning the tide of the Syrian conflict. But all the aid and solidarity in the world amounts little without a people and army’s will to resist the invasion of the country by thousands of extremists whose passions for butchering human beings in the most heinous ways imaginable qualifies their labelling as barbarians.

The salient point lost in the countless columns, reports, and op-eds that have been written and published, equating these barbarians with the Syrian government and its military, is that the Syrian Arab Army and Syrian people are one and the same in that one begins where the other ends and vice versa. The ability and willingness of the army to endure the battering it has, and which no other army in the region could have withstood, has been contingent on the support from the Syrian people. This support has been constant even in the midst of the huge external pressure arrayed against the country from Western powers that at one point were convinced that the army’s collapse and total defeat was only a matter of when and not if.

The current ceasefire, brokered by Russia and supported by Washington, takes place at a time when the conflict has turned emphatically in the government’s favour. During an offensive operation that began in early February, the SAA has smashed its way across the north of the country. Combined with an offensive launched by the multi-ethnic SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) in northern Aleppo province, it has effectively succeeded in encircling Aleppo city and cutting the main supply routes to the opposition forces in control of a large part of the city from Turkey. Given the number of armed factions involved in the conflict, the lack of any central command structure directing its activities, the fact that the ceasefire has thus far held with only a few minor violations is testament to the changed reality on the ground.

The machinations and plotting and mendacity of the Saudis and Turks – not forgetting their Western allies – have all come to naught in a country where every town and street, every hill, village, and road has been touched by war. It is proof that in the last analysis history is made not by governments, diplomats, or functionaries in palatial staterooms and chancelleries. It is made by ordinary men and women willing to fight and die in defence of their people, homes and communities, and whose honour in doing so contrasts with the dishonor of those who made the mistake of regarding Syria as just another piece on their geopolitical chessboard.

No one should ever underestimate the human cost of protecting Syria’s sovereignty and integrity. Do so and you denigrate those who have fallen and those who will undoubtedly fall as and when the fighting resumes. Neither should we underestimate the size of the mountain to climb before Syria is put back together when the guns eventually fall silent.

As one struggle ends another will begin.

This article originally appeared at American Herald Tribune.

More articles by:

John Wight is the author of a politically incorrect and irreverent Hollywood memoir – Dreams That Die – published by Zero Books. He’s also written five novels, which are available as Kindle eBooks. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnWight1

November 13, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Midterm Results are Challenging Racism in America in Unexpected Ways
Victor Grossman
Germany on a Political Seesaw
Cillian Doyle
Fictitious Assets, Hidden Losses and the Collapse of MDM Bank
Lauren Smith
Amnesia and Impunity Reign: Wall Street Celebrates Halliburton’s 100th Anniversary
Joe Emersberger
Moreno’s Neoliberal Restoration Proceeds in Ecuador
Carol Dansereau
Climate and the Infernal Blue Wave: Straight Talk About Saving Humanity
Dave Lindorff
Hey Right Wingers! Signatures Change over Time
Dan Corjescu
Poetry and Barbarism: Adorno’s Challenge
Patrick Bond
Mining Conflicts Multiply, as Critics of ‘Extractivism’ Gather in Johannesburg
Ed Meek
The Kavanaugh Hearings: Text and Subtext
Binoy Kampmark
Concepts of Nonsense: Australian Soft Power
November 12, 2018
Kerron Ó Luain
Poppy Fascism and the English Education System
Conn Hallinan
Nuclear Treaties: Unwrapping Armageddon
Robert Hunziker
Tropical Trump Declares War on Amazonia
John W. Whitehead
Badge of Shame: the Government’s War on Military Veterans
Will Griffin
Military “Service” Serves the Ruling Class
John Eskow
Harold Pinter’s America: Hard Truths and Easy Targets
Rob Okun
Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Mid-Term Divisions: The Trump Take
Dean Baker
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans Destroy Insurance Pools
George Wuerthner
Saving the Buffalohorn/Porcupine: the Lamar Valley of the Gallatin Range
Patrick Howlett-Martin
A Note on the Paris Peace Forum
Joseph G. Ramsey
Does America Have a “Gun Problem”…Or a White Supremacy Capitalist Empire Problem?
Weekend Edition
November 09, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Louis Proyect
Why Democrats Are So Okay With Losing
Andrew Levine
What Now?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Chuck and Nancy’s House of Cards
Brian Cloughley
The Malevolent Hypocrisy of Selective Sanctions
Marc Levy
Welcome, Class of ‘70
David Archuleta Jr.
Facebook Allows Governments to Decide What to Censor
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Zika Scare: a Political and Commercial Maneuver of the Chemical Poisons Industry
Nick Pemberton
When It Comes To Stone Throwing, Democrats Live In A Glass House
Ron Jacobs
Impeach!
Lawrence Davidson
A Tale of Two Massacres
José Tirado
A World Off Balance
Jonah Raskin
Something Has Gone Very Wrong: An Interview With Ecuadoran Author Gabriela Alemán
J.P. Linstroth
Myths on Race and Invasion of the ‘Caravan Horde’
Dean Baker
Good News, the Stock Market is Plunging: Thoughts on Wealth
David Rosen
It’s Time to Decriminalize Sex Work
Dan Glazebrook
US Calls for a Yemen Ceasefire is a Cynical Piece of Political Theatre
Jérôme Duval
Forced Marriage Between Argentina and the IMF Turns into a Fiasco
Jill Richardson
Getting Past Gingrich
Dave Lindorff
Not a Blue Wave, But Perhaps a Foreshock
Martha Rosenberg
Dangerous, Expensive Drugs Aggressively Pushed? You Have These Medical Conflicts of Interest to Thank
Will Solomon
Not Much of a Wave
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Yemeni War Deaths are Five Times Higher Than You’ve Been Led to Believe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail