What Next in Syria?

by Berry Friesen (October 13, 2015)

What will the empire do next in Syria?

Ever since September 30, when Russia entered the war and complicated the empire’s plan to take down Syria’s government and divide up its territory, the world has been anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Will the empire make Russia bleed like it made the Soviet Union bleed in Afghanistan? That’s seems to be why the empire is providing more armaments to the various mercenaries fighting the Syrian army north of Damascus.  But then it also is providing more arms to the Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria.  That seems more like a strategy aimed at ISIS and Turkey.  And it is coordinating flights in Syrian air space with Russia, apparently trying to avoid a confrontation.

As we entertain such questions, we often assume each party to the Syrian conflict wants to win through a quick and favorable end to the fighting.  That assumption is correct for some parties (e.g., Syria, Turkey, Russia), but it is not correct for others (e.g., USA, Israel, France), which prefer the fighting to continue indefinitely because it weakens rivals, opens opportunities for future exploitation and expands markets for favored arms industries. Libya is the textbook case of the latter strategy in operation.

Another complicating factor is a division among imperial leaders over tactics.  President Obama is committed to dominating the world through managed conflicts in which surrogates and proxies shed most of the blood.  The neo-conservative establishment in the USA is committed to flashy, shock-and-awe displays.  It’s easy to mistake this debate around tactics as a debate about purposes.

Sorting it out is demanding.  Why bother?

Because the empire needs our consent to succeed.  It gains our consent by telling us stories—moral narratives—that we accept and tacitly support.  This is how the empire is legitimatized.

To effectively oppose this process, we must do the work of debunking the imperial narrative and revealing its deceitfulness and moral depravity.

Thankfully, people are at work to help.  It’s still a lot of effort to absorb what they tell us, but it is doable.  Here is a baker’s dozen of the sources I’ve found most valuable over the past four-and-one-half years as I’ve tried to follow events in Syria. For each source, I note what in particular I find valuable.

Moon of Alabama (links to new reports, analysis, high quality comment board)

Levant Report (links to news reports, perspective)

Land Destroyer Report (links to news reports, analysis)

Asia Times (links to news reports, perspectives)

Indian Punchline (analysis)

Voltaire Network (analysis)

The Saker (links to news reports, analysis)

Antiwar (news synthesis, links to news reports, perspectives)

Consortium News (links to news reports, analysis)

CounterPunch  (perspectives of Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, Pepe Escobar, Mike Whitney)

Almasdar News (news reports)

PressTV (news reports)

RT (news synthesis)

Nor can we ignore the Western mainstream media.  It provides the moral narrative meant to win our hearts and minds (as well as the daily details to fill in that narrative).  All of this is valuable information to have, not necessarily because it is true, but because it tells us what the empire wants us to think.  So whether FOX News or National Public Radio, the New York Times or the Associated Press stories in your local daily, it too is relevant to this work of resisting the empire.