2021 / 5 / 4
Syria: Store of Regional and Global Contradictions
If Adam Smith, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Aristotle died, but their ideas are alive and this is reflected in the Syrian crisis?
The aim of this study is to deal with Syrian crisis as a store of regional and global contradictions. The study concluded that there is an interrelated relationship between global and regional interests which make this crisis complicated for decision makers and even for most researchers.
Analysis of Contradictions
Considering the ideology of the Syrian Baathist regime, it must be taken into account that this regime is based on what is called the petite bourgeoisie. Even though national bourgeoisie and some bourgeoisie classes are merged later during the rule of this regime under different programs and economic reforms (1). But we cannot separate the analysis of this regime from Baathist thought and one of its founders, Michel Aflaq, who studied in Europe and influenced by the nationalism that prevailed in Europe at that time, Although Aflaq was initially influenced by the theory of communism, but he later considered it as a hostile ideology to the Arab nationalism.
Due to the conflicts in Syria and success of Nureddin al-Atassi in ruling Syria, Aflaq
was accused of "stealing" his ideas from national thinker Zaki al-Arsuzi (who considered by Syrian regime that he is the true and first founder of Bath party). After Syria was ruled over by Salah Jadid and Hafez al-Assad in 1966, Aflaq was sentenced to death, so he went to live in Iraq. It is worthy mentioned that Aflaq was influenced by the movement of the Italian national resurrection led by Giuseppe Mazzini and he carried its thought to the Arab world. Baathist thought was not a result of the culture of Michel Aflaq, but he imported the idea of the Italian resurrection with its objectives (unity, freedom, independence). As many Arab countries gained independence recently, Aflaq mixed socialism with nationalism as a simple difference with the idea of Mazzini (Italian national resurrection´-or-revival) (2).
Despite the move toward free market economy in the ruling period of president Bashar (4), Syria remained a national socialist country and raised slogans such as independence and anti-imperialism. The thought of national socialism is not new in societies. As an example, Hitler combined nationalism with socialism under National Socialist Party and is considered a pioneer in this thought and he considered communism and capitalism bitter enemies (4). To understand the contradictions store in Syria, we present the following points for easiness despite the overlap of some points with each other.
1- Economic conflict between states with economic independence and capitalism
National Socialism thought focuses on production, independence, agriculture, industry, and non-involvement in the capitalist orbit and establishment of economic independence that does not revolve in that orbit, and here the conflict emerged between this system and its strategies on one hand and Israel as capitalist and national state on the other hand. The economic framework of capitalist Israel is companies that wish to expand (5), so that Israel s economic project collides with the Syrian economic project and the conflict emerged between Syria and Israel where capitalism calls for free competition, and non-partnership of the state in the economic sector as well as there is difference between the Syrian project and the American capitalism and the economic freedom of Adam Smith, which sees globalization, non-private sector partnership with the state, free competition and transnational corporations as a driving force for economic freedom that lead to development (6).
The states that have control of the economic markets in their countries are not relatively consistent with free competition and free market. These states are represented mainly in Russia, China and Iran (7). These countries have relatively economic independence from the capitalist system (8). Here, Kissinger’s idea is embodied about Russia, Iran and China as states with interests that are incompatible with USA (9), and where Iran, Russia and China are obstacles to globalization and free global capitalist economy (10), which represented in Syrian crisis as a struggle between Russia, China and Iran on the one hand and USA on the other hand.
2 - Strategy of the Syrian regime
Although the ideology of the Syrian regime is based on Arab nationalism, it has discords with many Arab countries, such as some Gulf states and Iraq (during the rule of Saddam Hussein), and met with other projects that are ideologically different, including Islamic Iran and China which ruled by the Communist Party. As Bashar took the power, the principle of Hegel emerged: The law of negation of the negation (11), negation of the old and emergence of the new, the developing object simultaneously becomes something different and in a certain sense remains the same. (12). So, Bashar negated his father s rule and became more open and relatively democratic compared to the period of his father s rule, but has relatively the same qualities of the previous rule. Taking into account that this regime believes in strategic patience and getting benefits of the global and regional contradictions and doing things according to its national interests and there is no permanent enemy as everything is governed by its national interests where this regime wants good relations with all parties, but it has its own strategy and way in selection of allies and even in its conflict with the opposition, The Syrian government called for dialogue from the first months of the Syrian crisis and these calls continues so far because no permeant enemy.
In order to understand the consequences of the Syrian crisis, we have to understand what happened in Lebanon after the assassination of Hariri, where President George W. Bush said in 2005 (in the discourse of Syria accusation of Hariri s assassination) that the Syrian regime should withdraw its armed forces from Lebanon and the Syrian regime smoothly withdrew its forces. Then, the American president said again that the Syrian regime should withdraw its secret services from Lebanon and the Syrian regime did so (13), but after the withdrawal of the Syrian forces and secret services from Lebanon, pro-Syrian political streams and Hezbollah in Lebanon organized a march in solidarity with Syria (14), which exceeded one and a half million (15). The Hariri government remained until Walid Jumblatt s split from March 14 and he joined Syria allies. This split is a natural result of a Druze leader as Syria is an important country and ally for them, and after that the Hariri government fell down (16). The influence of Syria again was clear as the same´-or-more without the presence of military forces in Lebanon. This is due to the reason that Syria established during its control of Lebanon alliances with leaders of various sects: Sunni, Druze, Shiite, Christian … etc.
3 - Russia s position on the Syrian crisis
Considering Russia s position on the Syrian crisis, we should not neglect the Aleksandr Dugin’s thought in which Putin and his team believe. Dugin in the eighteenth of the past century, was active in opposition of Soviet power, engaged in some national organizations, and is the founder of the new Eurasian doctrine. Dugin believes that alliances´-or-good relations should be established with the countries of Asia and Europe which strengthen the influence of Russia in this region (16), taking into consideration that after the collapse of the Soviet --union--, large companies and economic forces emerged which already existed at the end of the Soviet period and they believe in economic independence from transnational companies´-or-capitalist companies related to Adam Smith, father of capitalism.
The collapse of Syria according to Dugin, will generate millions of refugees and they will go to Europe, because they will no longer be able to live in chaos which is --dir--ected against Europe. Refugees will make destabilizing in Europe’s social infrastructure--;-- Dugan concluded the result: Russia is fighting in Syria in defense of the interests of Europe (17). Dugin believes that Russia non- intervention and betrayal of the legitimate elected president, Bashar al-Assad, would mean deepening the defeat of the land-based nation and ending the Eurasian political identity. The next attack will be by the maritime- based nation on Iran and the North Caucasus. Dugin says the conflict in west Asia is a conflict between "land-based nations " represented by Russia and China, and “maritime-based nation” represented by the United States. This geopolitical and geo-strategic conflict is a renewed conflict, and its most important round is the land -based power defeat represented by the Soviet --union-- in the ninetieth of the past century. From here, Dugin thinks that Putin s accession to power was a return to Russia s geopolitical identity as a land-based power and to new rounds of conflict between land -based power and maritime-based power, adding "Putin has to stand in this round with Syria because abandoning Assad means Russia s geopolitical suicide," In the Syrian crisis the battle is between the land- based and maritime-based power, which must end, with military decisiveness, leading to multipolarity,-limit- USA influence and going further by believing that Russia s abdication of Assad means that Putin "personally write the death certificate of Russia and the death of the multipolar world’’ (18).
We would point out that Hafez al-Assad brought the Russians since seventieth of the past century in the time of communism in Russia and they set up military bases in Syria such as Tartus Air Base and they are allowed to use Syrian shores for their warships and by that way the Russians has access to the Mediterranean Sea (19). Also, more than 8500 Salafi Jihadists have fought in Syria from Russia and the former Soviet republics (20), so another important issue is a security of Russia. Russia has suffered from Salafi Jihadism in Chechnya, Afghanistan and other areas and has a harsh experience with them. Also, Syria is an Arab country that is not consistent with the US policy that Russia suffers from that policy in Ukraine and eastern Europe, and there is tension because of the US policy towards Russia (21).
With regard to economic interests, Syrian government signed a cooperation plan with the Russian side in the energy and electric power sectors in 2018, rehabilitation of oil and gas fields, phosphate mines and many infrastructure projects in all energy sectors in Syria, and " Amrit contract " in 2013, to explore oil and gas in the Syrian territorial waters, funded by Russia, and that Russia will recover expenditures from production, if commercial quantities of oil´-or-gas are discovered (22).
4. Iran s position on the Syrian crisis
In order to understand Iran s position on the Syrian crisis, we must take into consideration that Syria felt isolated after signing the Camp David Accords because it was coordinating its efforts and strategy with Egypt and therefore turned to Iran. Hafez al-Assad entered into an alliance with Iran since eighteenth of the past century (23). Iran resistance project must pass through Syria to Hezbollah and Gaza. Therefore, Iran will spare no effort to defend the regime until the end. In the past, all Arab countries supported Saddam s war against Iran except few Arab countries and Syria is one of them. Bashar Assad strengthened Iranian influence in Syria, rejected Saudi Arabia s call for severing ties with Iran and Hezbollah, and held treaties and economic cooperation with Iran, and there is an increase of contracts and trade agreements between Syria and Iran. In the last visit of Bashar to Tehran in 2019, several economic agreements signed between Syria and Iran (24).
5. China s position on the Syrian crisis
The current Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party, have a new theory : Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and has special concern to development and reform, Xi Jinping tries to reach the glorification that only Mao Zedong achieved (25), He believes that the Salafist jihadists fighting in western China, which have a security impact on China, are the main obstacle to security in the future. China would not hesitate to expand its support to the regime in case of Russians´-or-Iranians’ retreat. China and Syria relations has lasted more than 60 years old (26), China is a national state, Syria is also, Syria is an economically independent, productive and self-sufficient country like China. China s relationship with Syria is different from any other Arab country (27). There are Chinese soldiers in Syria to fight the Chinese Uighurs who are involved in the fight against Bashar Al-Assad. where up to 5,000 Chinese are believed to be fighting in Syria «jihadist organizations» such as «Qaeda» and «Daesh» (28). China also has a security interest in stabilizing Syria, future framework for China after the stability of Syria is to look for an opportunity to invest in the reconstruction of Syria. These future investments will make good profits for China (29).
6. Hezbollah and most Palestinian organizations
Hezbollah and most Palestinian organizations consider Syria as an important center to get weapons and coordinate their effort with Iran´-or-to meet with its leaders. It is the only Arab state that allows passing weapons to Gaza and Hezbollah. Syria sends Syrian-made M302 missiles to Gaza that hit Israel many times from Gaza (30), which angered Israel as well as passing of Iran s Fajr rockets and weapons from Syria (31), and Syria focuses on weakening Israel by supporting Palestinian organizations and Hezbollah but prevent any operation from the Golan borders due to international´-or-regional considerations.
7. Oil and gas
There is a proposed natural gas pipeline extending from Qatar to Turkey (32), where it can then be linked to the Nabucco pipeline to supply Turkey and European customers with gas. But Syria has rejected Qatar s proposal to protect the interests of its ally Russia (Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas) (34).
Qatar s participation in the Syrian crisis may partly be due to its desire to build a pipeline to Turkey via Syria because Syria is the only gateway to that gas pipeline to Europe, Qatar and Turkey was trying to overthrow the Assad regime and support those who fight him. Iran shares its view with Russia (35), as the extension of the gas pipeline to Europe is an existential threat to their economic interests and political influence. Some estimates suggest that Syria is on a sea of oil and this could be a major cause of the Syrian crisis. (36)
8. United States
The financial crises in capitalism need economic corrections namely political corrections as policy is a variable depends on the economy. Therefore, with the business administration of Trump, the United States cooperates with the involved countries in the Syrian conflict to end the Syrian crisis and Trump decided to withdraw US forces from Syria (37). Trump said: Endless Wars, especially those which are fought out of judgement mistakes that were made many years ago (38), and here nothing new. One part of Trump electoral program is cooperation with Russia to end the Syrian crisis (39), and he said wars and especially those launched because of the wrong decisions taken many years ago must be ended , and this is normal for the policy of any country where the economic problems´-or-crises are the central force that push the state to change its policy as well as it is normal for countries that conclude settlements´-or-stop wars sometimes and their policies are in line with their economic power´-or-financial crises.
In Turkey there is Erdogan, who is influenced by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood. Bashar has described several times Erdogan as a Muslim brotherhood one even though the strong economic relations with Russia and Iran and his good and economic relations with Bashar since 2003, where there are reconciliations between the two countries and facilitation for both citizens from the two countries to travel from Syria to Turkey and vice versa , but he turned against Syria and opened the border to support opponents of Bashar for his interest´-or- for other countries interests and probably some countries that have discords with Bashar al-Assad paid money for him , but the main framework is the project of the Ottoman Empire as he thinks that he is a continuation of the Ottoman Empire, although some of his positions have changed relatively at the end of the Syrian crisis, some words must be taken into account, including "I will pray in the Umayyad Mosque." He also said, "There is Ottoman properties in Damascus" (40), as well as the Turkish minister of interior said in 2019 that Aleppo and Damascus were for us (41), and this explains the conflict between the Turkish Ottoman project and the Syrian regime despite Erdogan thinks that political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhoods are the easy way to reach the Arab world and achieve the dream of the Ottoman Empire.
Nietzsche declared the death of God in 1882 and said, "God has died" (42). Nietzsche says that God died because we, humans, have killed him. Yes, we killed him again in Syria when the values of revolutionary and freedom become the cause of wars, the noble values have been used for political and economic objectives by the parties. different ethical standards were adopted by the countries involved in the conflict and each party accuses the other of being immoral, and we would like to mention here Marx s idea that ethics is something made by the powerful class and are the product of the economically powerful class in society (43), Moral values are a reflection of the relations of production and the economically dominant class that is morally dominant in the feudal, capitalist,´-or-socialist system, ethical values originated from the class owning the forces of production and this idea is consistent with Aristotle idea who considered morality as a variable in policy and the government can choose the economic pattern (44), but their economic problems lead to politics change so the economy is the control and leading variable.
Syria differs from any Arab country in terms of ideological and political view adopted by this country with regional and global contradictions. At the onset of the Syrian crisis, there were asylum seekers and this may be due to what Nietzsche stated that the values of mercy and charity are a trick invented by the weak to take advantage of powerful class. He sees morality as something made by the poor, when they lose all means of conflict and resistance, they resort to morals in order to obtain benefits from the powerful people (45).
But what is the future? The regime will control everything sooner´-or-later. The matter of Idleb will be ended as there is a need to end it and Erdogan will accept the actual situation. The north Syria will return to the Syrian regime and we have wasted more than 9 years of the world time in a conflict that brought us back to zero and where before the Syrian crisis there were no Iranian forces in Syria. Now Saudi Arabia and Israel, which were against Bashar al-Assad in Syrian crisis, demand withdrawal of the Iranian forces from Syria, and we wish that this crisis did not occur, so there will be no war´-or-crisis´-or-Iranian forces …. As prevention is better than cure.
Heraclitus s law is also reflected in the Syrian crisis, The law of the unity and conflict of opposites (46). unity and conflict embodied in many situations, such as the accord between the Qatar and Saudi Arabia in Syrian crisis and their discords later and Saudi Arabia and Turkey have the same position on the Syrian issue. But they have discords in the Egyptian issue, where Saudi Arabia supported Sisi and Turkey supported the deposed president Morsi ...... Here we must consider Aristotle s law “The law of the passage of quantitative changes into qualitative changes (47), (qualitative changes, by gradual accumulation, lead at certain point to radical quality´-or-new type) ............. The important question is what is the new type´-or-quality to be produced by the Syrian crisis after quantitative accumulations lasted for more than 9 years?
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