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Strong Letter from Syrians Denouncing U.S.-backed "Rebel" Forces Watch

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    I found this article submitted to (and published by) the Honolulu Star Advertiser by Salah Zakkour (a Sunni Muslim Syrian-American from Aleppo) on behalf of 32 other Syrians/Syrian-Americans, on why they support the proposed Stop Arming Terrorists Act (which would preclude assistance to Syrian "rebel" groups, many of whom have close ties with al-Qaeda (and much of the assistance sent to such groups has ended up in terrorist hands) very interesting.

    It is invaluable to hear the opinions of Syrians themselves, especially Sunni Muslim Syrians who have arguably been worst affected by the war.

    Some claim that efforts to stop arming the “rebel” forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian government undermines the Syrian people’s struggle for democracy and reform. They incorrectly believe that the rebels fighting against the Syrian government today are the same people who were peacefully protesting in 2011. In reality, the “rebels” in Syria today have been overtaken by Salafist extremists who are aligned with the likes of al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups.

    It’s easy to oversimplify the situation in Syria because of misinformation, propaganda, and a lack of understanding of Syria’s history and culture. While there were peaceful demands for reforms within Syria’s political system in 2011 — more freedom for political parties and the press, and removal of the state of emergency that had limited democratic freedoms — this peaceful reform movement was quickly hijacked by armed extremists, who came under the control of Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups.

    The nonviolent opposition resisted all forms of external intervention and violence and called for “a democratic national regime,” through “peaceful” and “gradual” change. But it was the violence of those sectarian extremists that forced the nonviolent protestors off the streets.

    This is the reality of the Syria conflict: On the one hand we have extremists, supported by foreign fighters and terrorists from over 100 countries trying to overthrow the elected government of Syria, and on the other hand, we have the Syrian government and army who are defending Syria, with many innocent civilians caught in between. If Syrian President Bashar Assad is removed from power, the nonviolent opposition, religious minorities, and others will be wiped out as Syria will be taken over by the strongest fighting force on the ground — extremists led by groups like al-Qaeda.

    Imagine what would happen to the people of Syria if these violent extremists, who have been carrying out some of the most brutal and disgusting acts against innocent civilians, took over our country. We only have to look at the chaos, devastation and terror in Libya or Iraq to see what will happen to Syria if they are successful.
    Source.

    I find the attempts to make the Syrian Conflict a sectarian one largely emanate from the Salafi-Jihadist groups in Syria and their supporters across the world (including some, unfortunately, on this very website).

    It is worth noting that a large majority of the Syrian Army are Sunni, Bashar Assad's wife is a Sunni, Syria's Defence Minister is a Sunni, etc. We should resist attempts to see the conflict through a sectarian lens, the extremist Jihadists may have hijacked the conflict, but we should not let them hijack our perception of the conflict also.
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    Agree, and I particularly like how in the letter they disguinshed between the initial objectives of the Arab Spring and the Syrians' legitimate desire for political reform & greater freedom, and the current situation where rebels/terrorists/foreign nations have hijacked the revolution and turned Syria into a playground for their proxy wars.
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    (Original post by Palmyra)
    I found this article submitted to (and published by) the Honolulu Star Advertiser by Salah Zakkour (a Sunni Muslim Syrian-American from Aleppo) on behalf of 32 other Syrians/Syrian-Americans, on why they support the proposed Stop Arming Terrorists Act (which would preclude assistance to Syrian "rebel" groups, many of whom have close ties with al-Qaeda (and much of the assistance sent to such groups has ended up in terrorist hands) very interesting.

    It is invaluable to hear the opinions of Syrians themselves, especially Sunni Muslim Syrians who have arguably been worst affected by the war.

    Source.
    Yes. Because 32 Syrian-Americans represent the views of millions of Syrians. What about Syrians who are anti-Assad and want America to help the rebels? Are they not "real" Syrians in your view? It's not hard for you to cherry pick Syrians who happens to agree with your preconceived view on the conflict.

    (Original post by Palmyra)
    I find the attempts to make the Syrian Conflict a sectarian one largely emanate from the Salafi-Jihadist groups in Syria and their supporters across the world (including some, unfortunately, on this very website).

    It is worth noting that a large majority of the Syrian Army are Sunni, Bashar Assad's wife is a Sunni, Syria's Defence Minister is a Sunni, etc. We should resist attempts to see the conflict through a sectarian lens, the extremist Jihadists may have hijacked the conflict, but we should not let them hijack our perception of the conflict also.
    Complete and utter nonsense. I see you've fallen for Assad's propaganda hook, line and sinker.

    The conflict was made sectarian by Assad from the very beginning. He facilitated violence against Sunni Syrians to encourage a sectarian backlash which would rally minorities around his regime. His Alawite Shabiha militia is comprised of thugs who are tasked with killing Sunni civilians and committing ethnic cleansing. Iranian-backed Shiite militias are rampaging throughout the country killing and maiming. For years, Assad has been allowing Sunni jihadists in and out of his country, and gave them support during the Iraq War. Even now, he is funding ISIS by providing them with cash and electricity in return for oil. For you to deny this is to be willfully ignorant of the situation in that country.

    Ofc the Syrian Army is majority Sunni, they comprise 75% of the population. There's a reason why Syrian regime forces have been running out of manpower, namely, that Sunnis - and increasingly large numbers of Alawites - are not willing to fight for his regime, and have been deserting/dodging conscription, which is why thousands of Iranian-backed terrorists have flooded the country in an attempt to shore up his crumbling regime. And there are Arab soldiers in Israel, yet you still call Israel an apartheid state, when Assad's Syria is closer to anything resembling an apartheid state in that region. Assad barely has a proper army anymore, instead he's relying on the Iranian-backed NDF which is led by Alawite officers. (Assad, for good reason, doesn't trust Sunnis to lead his armed forces.) In any case, I'm sure you can imagine the penalty for refusing to join the army when the government calls you up. These Sunnis are not fighting voluntarily. They're being forced to fight and die for the government that is killing their brethren.

    There are obviously going to be some Sunnis who support Assad for one reason or another, but few are going to be part of his inner circle. Assad's regime traditionally relied heavily on the Sunni middle classes for support, though I would assume all that support has pretty much evaporated, since anyone with money is leaving the country. (You would know that if you've read the article I posted earlier on Assad conscripting 50-year-olds.) There were Jews who fought for Nazi Germany. Does that mean Nazi Germany wasn't a murderous, Jew-killing regime?

    But then you're Iranian, so ofc you'd deny that your fellow Iranians are helping Assad kill Sunnis and make the conflict sectarian in nature.
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    (Original post by Cato the Elder)
    Yes. Because 32 Syrian-Americans represent the views of millions of Syrians. What about Syrians who are anti-Assad and want America to help the rebels? Are they not "real" Syrians in your view? It's not hard for you to cherry pick Syrians who happens to agree with your preconceived view on the conflict.
    They are important voices too, but pro-Assad Sunni Syrians do not get the media time anti-Assad individuals do, which is why I think this letter is important to highlight.

    There are obviously going to be some Sunnis who support Assad for one reason or another, but few are going to be part of his inner circle. Assad's regime traditionally relied heavily on the Sunni middle classes for support, though I would assume all that support has pretty much evaporated, since anyone with money is leaving the country. (You would know that if you've read the article I posted earlier on Assad conscripting 50-year-olds.) There were Jews who fought for Nazi Germany. Does that mean Nazi Germany wasn't a murderous, Jew-killing regime?
    His inner circle - such as his wife, Defence Minister, or Vice President - all Sunnis?

    Of course the well-off are leaving, in virtually every civil war those with the means to leave are the ones that do so.

    But then you're Iranian, so ofc you'd deny that your fellow Iranians are helping Assad kill Sunnis and make the conflict sectarian in nature.
    I'm not Iranian.
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    (Original post by Palmyra)
    They are important voices too, but pro-Assad Sunni Syrians do not get the media time anti-Assad individuals do, which is why I think this letter is important to highlight.
    Fair enough.


    (Original post by Palmyra)
    His inner circle - such as his wife, Defence Minister, or Vice President - all Sunnis?
    All of them?

    Last time I checked, most of his family are Alawites. Any Sunnis in his inner circle are an anomaly.

    (Original post by Palmyra)
    Of course the well-off are leaving, in virtually every civil war those with the means to leave are the ones that do so.
    They are also leaving because they don't want to be forced to fight for Assad.



    (Original post by Palmyra)
    I'm not Iranian.
    You always came across as if you were.
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    (Original post by Cato the Elder)
    All of them?

    Last time I checked, most of his family are Alawites. Any Sunnis in his inner circle are an anomaly.
    All of them? He only has one wife (Asma), and she is Sunni.

    The Syrian Defence Minister is Fahd al-Freij, a Sunni.

    There are two Syrian Vice Presidents: Farouk al-Sharaa and Najah al-Attar (a female VP, I'm not sure your Idlib friends would approve) - and they are both also Sunni Muslims.
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    (Original post by Palmyra)
    All of them? He only has one wife (Asma), and she is Sunni.

    The Syrian Defence Minister is Fahd al-Freij, a Sunni.

    There are two Syrian Vice Presidents: Farouk al-Sharaa and Najah al-Attar (a female VP, I'm not sure your Idlib friends would approve) - and they are both also Sunni Muslims.
    As I said before, they are anomalies.
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    (Original post by Cato the Elder)
    As I said before, they are anomalies.
    His wife is an "anomaly", lol.
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    The original FSA-aligned rebels are collapsing. Not particularly because they're giving up, but because it's just becoming too difficult to maintain anything resembling a coherent unified front. The Islamist and Islamist-lite ones are increasingly going over to the al-Nusra-led Army of Conquest, while the secular ones are going over to Rojava.
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    (Original post by Palmyra)
    I found this article submitted to (and published by) the Honolulu Star Advertiser by Salah Zakkour (a Sunni Muslim Syrian-American from Aleppo) on behalf of 32 other Syrians/Syrian-Americans, on why they support the proposed Stop Arming Terrorists Act (which would preclude assistance to Syrian "rebel" groups, many of whom have close ties with al-Qaeda (and much of the assistance sent to such groups has ended up in terrorist hands) very interesting.

    It is invaluable to hear the opinions of Syrians themselves, especially Sunni Muslim Syrians who have arguably been worst affected by the war.


    Source.

    I find the attempts to make the Syrian Conflict a sectarian one largely emanate from the Salafi-Jihadist groups in Syria and their supporters across the world (including some, unfortunately, on this very website).

    It is worth noting that a large majority of the Syrian Army are Sunni, Bashar Assad's wife is a Sunni, Syria's Defence Minister is a Sunni, etc. We should resist attempts to see the conflict through a sectarian lens, the extremist Jihadists may have hijacked the conflict, but we should not let them hijack our perception of the conflict also.
    In Bashar Al Assad we trust.
 
 
 
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