Syria and Iran through the American Repositioning

The World and the Consequences of the Big Collapse

After the retreat (withdrawing) of the single great state in the world from acting the role of the global policeman, the burdens are increasing on the other states including the ones which were complaining of the intervention of USA, and were fighting this intervention and pushing to face it militarily in other places in the world.

That is what has appeared in the Middle East through the high costs Iran pays to face the calling for a change in Syria, due to its hegemony over the latter, and the financial burden the Gulf States carry trying to force Iran to withdraw.

After USA withdrawing from Iraq, which was considered as a pure gain for Iran, the heavily Iranian leverage over Iraq will likely, as time passes, lead to widen the size of contrasts between both the neighboring countries. Up till now, the Sunnis are the only who express it clearly.

We should expect another example of changes of the relations in Afghanistan. The interim coalition – which matched the limit of asylum of some al Qaeda leaders to the strong neighbor – will be replaced with disputes and conflicts after the common enemy withdrawing. There are robust reasons that can lead the both sides – whereby each one charges clearly the other with apostasy – to hot or cold confronts, when the common enemy is absent.

The Syrian – Iranian status is suitable to follow the results of the American “military retreating”, which will allow the contrast to appear. This contrast between the limited Iranian venture and Milali (Iranian religious ruling) aspiration in the region will involve Iran in severe problems that can speed depleting its elements of strength.

Even the Soviet Union – whereby Islamic Iranian republic can’t be compared with – couldn’t survive when its internal growth reached the extreme limit. It failed to establish a global market separated from the one of capitalism which was controlled by its enemies. Then, its international leverage became a burden on it.

We can understand from the Soviet experiment, that when the collapsed great state oppressed the first revolution in past Czechoslovakia (that was called Prague Spring), its reputation fell down over the world. Its prestige decreased internally during the failure in Afghanistan, while it was heavily depleting its decreasing energy.

This is what is happening again with Iran in Syria. Where its image as a supporter to the abused ones is being damaged. Its failure to beat the Syrian Revolution also leads to weaken its prestige both internally and externally through the long duration of this confrontation.  At the end of road of the “Iranian mutation”, unavoidable facts emerge and cannot be ignored even by those acrobats who have wasted their countries’ fortune through extending adventures, when they would not meet the needs of post – victory, in case they won. When Malali reach the end, they have to accept a suitable role and leverage that correlate with their abilities and their portion of sharing in the market, not more. Even this, it will not be obtained but in an American offer, which in turn will not be a long – term one.

Perceiving the American retreating cannot be right if seen as a sign of weakness and withdrawing from the position of the unipolarism. Such s hasty conception ignores the centricity of the American economy in the international market, and that USA is still the greatest military power over the world.

It is also hasty to ignore what has appeared: first, it is impossible for any state to rule the world alone; second, the consequences of such an attempt on the one who tries to do. This is what we witnessed when the international hubbub happened following the collapse of the Soviet Union and its “Socialist Group”. The humanity found itself looking at the disappearance of a continent from Geography with the land layers and water rushing to fill the vacuum.

After that collapse, the remained forces of the Cold War world moved in order to fill in the area of the nascent political vacuum, which appeared as available loot, and to defend itself against the similar rushing of the others. This movement, whose two most extremist sides are “New Liberalism” and “Al – Qaeda”, has spread over the world, before its results reverse against the western world. This led to reviving of the Liberians to rule the USA with a program to repair what had been broken, and with a new view to manage the world. In this way, the New Liberalism indeed appeared, and the Obama–ism, a re-action, attempted through the dynamics of the American “institution” and economy to create a new acting that can re-arrange the USA position among the world keeping its centralism based on the market not the armies.

Obama – ism and its act towards the Syrian situation

Till now[1] the American Administration has succeeded in keeping the Syrian conflict limited in its geographic boarders, with some limited exceptions in Lebanon, but these exceptions are still inside the intended frame, it expects that it will be the best beneficiary at the end. Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the American mentality, which is built upon using the extracted expertise from past events, demonstrated that it doesn’t want to be involved in new marshlands, leaving us to think – again – about how much this work is ethical. It recognizes there is who is ready to denounce it, once there are political forces all over the world that are still ready to denounce everything goes out from USA. It also knows there are parties – inside and outside Syria –that support the ruler authority in Syria, and they will consider overthrowing this authority as assaulting upon the national Syrian sovereignty. That points out that there are those who coldly think about the Syrian reality in the White House without caring for the victims. They justify this attitude by the severe Russian defense of the Syrian dictatorship authority, and by the Syrian oppositions’ stands who were to announce the “Jihad” against the regime, just when USA alluded to use power against the one who has used all the weapons it has, including the chemical weapons, to oppress the people under its rule. Moreover, in Europe, there were stands of either western left or right parties that demonstrated against that intervention.

A hesitated and confused image of Obama is marketed through the American System justification of its policy, which is not caring for the destiny of Syrians. Meanwhile, the president is working to institute constitutive strategy, in order to make his country the “arbiter” not the “ruler”, and the “judge” not “the policeman”.  That is what will require different employment of the military force, depending on alluding to use it more than to use it de facto, except when a clear sake of his country does need that. He (Obama) goes that road because he knows that this role costs less, and makes more gains, and because the prevalent ideology today among the USA rulers gives the historical determinism more importance than the willingness. According to those who believe in these notions, there is no need to break the rocks, as long as waiting the flood to practice- with some motivation- is enough to give them what they want. We can see the facade in the image of the “hesitated” president when we hear the news on strikes of unmanned aerial vehicle on sites of Al – Qaeda in many places around the world, and when we hear about CIA kidnapping a wanted in Libya or assassinating another in Somalia.

Obama – ism deals with the world as an owned opened space, and as the results of the conflicts can weaken all parties but it as long as it keeps the controlled distance. All that contradicts the theoretical wave for bipolarism, which some elders Leftists brought it after the Soviet Union collapse. Bush – ism has just led to it by its intervening method and economic policy that releases the market from any controls. Bush – ism has carried on an economic crisis and empowered its enemies by the benefits of the intervening adventure. Obama – ism thinks its country can still be the strongest all over the world for a long time if it lets others solve their problems on their own as it turns to full – time yielding the benefits of the international market that is going so far in unprecedented limits. It estimates that the widening international market will create a lot of problems. So, it is better for the USA to keep it like that and monitor than to be involved in as along as it is apart from it. This case – of market – will be a burden upon others, weakening their competing with USA. So it just intervenes to put limits of conflicts (with care of managing it) or when and where its interests are at risk, and the intervention allows it to make gains.

A quick look at the rushing of Iran, Russia and the ruler authority in Damascus to ask Obama to retreat from his intention of hitting Bashar Al- Assad forces can reflect the initial indicators of success of his – Obama – method. So, he may gain his reward for his ability of controlling his allies and himself.

The Going – back after Threatening

The problem of the strategy of the ruler authority in Syria and its allies of Milali, is concentrating on a notion saying: The USA is cornered between two probabilities. The first is not to intervene as they have thought for a long time so they have enough time to defeat the Syrian revolution. The second is to intervene, so it will sink in a marshland they have prepared for it confidently to be the second Iraq, or perhaps more painful. However, there is an American policy extracted from the results of the near experiment, and obviously from enough intelligence information. This policy has allowed Obama and his allies to stand by waiting for the exhaustion of the fighters till they reach a stage where they – themselves- need and ask “Obama” for saving them out from the whirlpool that they get themselves trapped in. Then, he, Obama, decide with whom he will deal, and dictate his terms. Just when Obama seriously threatened that he would hit from far to deprive the parties from benefiting of his existing on the ground to change their sites, the Iranian Malali was persuaded not to intervene seriously on the ground.

This also means that Obama is not beneficially pressured by the necessity of reaching an appeasement, so they cannot extort him. All things they have experimented in Iraq and Afghanistan with the USA are not useful here, and they are just the ones who will remain in the marshland they made. Therefore, they re- commanded Bashar Al – Assad to accept what Russians can use to convince Obama to retreat from his decision depending on their knowledge that America does not desire to overthrow him yet.

When Russian – American agreement was declared, the fog passed away clearing the general view revealing a very clear view: the USA, which was accused by weakness through thirteen months, holds all the ropes allowing others to move freely to put the ropes round their necks before asking it for the solving. Following the method Obama has delineated since his first term of office,  he is still giving an opportunity to the regional forces to suggest solutions in order to select what is suitable; otherwise, he would leave them sinking in their conflicts. It is possible that he is training them to have the condition of playing a role and having leverage in term of using this leverage in favor of USA in the first place, then in their favor.

The Strategic Changes of the Syrian Oppression Behavior

The authority of dictatorship in Syria has been known for decades that it conducts its conflicts on the edge of abyss. However, it has rushed into the abyss facing the public revolution betting on “the Samson’s choice” that it is able to scare its enemies and their supporters dragging them to escape. In this way, it can make its victory in the son- tyrant era as it made its victory in the era of the father – tyrant.

Those who made this decision of rushing have relied on a group of conclusions of Al – Assad the father’s behavior and choices as they have grown conceiving him as a mere genius with sacred inspiration. They are completely convinced that they can get their allies involved in their choices (for example Iran and Hezbollah think that losing Syria has fatal consequences on either Hezbollah existence in Lebanon or Malai authority in Iran).

Therefore, they called off any probability of an internal appeasement. They went the road to get rid of its conditions by a policy, we can call it “implicating policy”. If the allies are ready to support them as a unique choice, it is better to keep it like that. This plan needed more than hitting the civic movement and pushing the internal situation to the military case; it needed releasing the “Jihadist Salafi monster” from the bottle, to scare both the allies and enemies at the same time. They relied obviously on the enmity of both their allies in their conflict with the West and their residents in establishing this policy.

They also relied on political nihilism and on the “Jihadist Salafi”’s non-rational greed for governing with a vital antagonistic power for growing.

This attitude fits the diversion of the ruler authority strategy that was run before the Syrian Revolution and at the beginning of it. When it was proud of its “term paper” as it called it. It was clearly a threat of using it to face all the challenges it experimented. Bashar Al – Assad has threatened many a time “burning the region”. Because of his disability to face the revolution, he transferred the external threatening into a conflict inside the country he rules with the fire and iron.

Instead of using the Kurdish issue inside Turkey, he used the Syrian copy of PKK in the internal conflict. He transformed the issue of Kurdish separation as a problem facing the Syrian people more than worrying the Turks. In the same way, Hezbollah has changed from a pressure element on Israel into a killing instrument inside Syria. The regime’s Palestinian tools (such as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Direction, the defected ones from Fatah Movement and Palestinian Popular Struggle Front) have been diverted to besiege Yarmouk Camp by the regime itself instead of running its threat by sending them to the occupied Golan as a reaction of the frequent Israel strikes on its sites.

An Awful war Al – Assad is waging against the revolutionary people. He has destroyed more than a third of the country, forced around a quarter of the people to flee, and killed more than 150,000 Syrians, including a bit less than the third of them from his loyalties and the denomination he claims and pretends to protect.

It is necessary to search on the motivation that lies behind this diversion of strategy of the tyrant behavior. Did the ruler political mind or the internal, regional or international circumstances force him to do so? This rings a bell especially when his main Lebanese ally keeps on repeating that his “concern” is to limit the conflict inside Syria without extending it to reach Lebanese lands.

The new thing in the Assad – authority strategy during the revolution is working to drag the status in Syria to where the civil initiative can’t control it, and where it can threaten others. The second case resembles the case of a prisoner who threatens others by hurting himself because that action will hit them and their sakes. Assad authority totally did its best to apply its new strategy throughout the developing conflict implicating the revolution in a civil war and trying to drag it totally to a sectarian stage.

The problem of this strategy is that the American Administration, which is free from the cold war conditions and from obsessions of emerging Soviet Union – affiliated forces and suffers from the trend of intervention that the Bush – ism has imposed, has proved its ability to see a long – term view of violence between the extreme of both Sunni and Shia, which the choices of the ruler group in Syria has led to. It is a suitable exhaustion of both them, as the American Administration sees. It was sure of its ability to deter the war from extending out of Syria, which was its main concern. As a result, Damascus rulers and their Shia allies remained alone in the marsh of this deep water where the war depleting them and exhausting their powers. In relation to the victims, of course, there is no place for them in these calculations.

With the passage of time with the American Administration continuing on its method of no-implication preventing the extension of the fire in addition to Damascus authority losing control over more terrains, some changes of the authority’s “papers” (used agents) took place as they started to feel their ability of bargaining the authority to make more gains that can widen their independent willingness area. Some of them may have thought that the conditions will allow them to be competitor of Assad not “a paper” in his hands. Kurdistan Democratic Party is a clear example. It obviously deals with Iranian Malali independently from the regime. Its coalition with the regime runs through Iran, because of promises it had from it. Small armed groups and militias started practicing independently in spite of the fact that some of them such as the ones in Jaramana in Goutta of Damascus and in Lattakia were hit by the regime. In fact, this reflects the fact that their independency still needs more time. In the terrains that became out of the control of Damascus authority,  some regime – affiliated groups have become independent and started to work for their own favor after declaring the revolution against the regime. Thus, they became a part of the warlords’ phenomena.

By this time, a parallel changing to the growing of an independent personality of the “papers” took place where the individuals of the oppression authority learn how to be warlords in their turn. Not only as a behavior – what they were conducting throughout the revolution – but also as consciousness of the role exit they have. They observe the signs coming from Washington, as they got used to do that carefully. They would adapt to what the Americans expect from them even if they “pretended to refuse” at the beginning. It is early to judge whether, or not, they have surrendered to the changing context into a political body for a functional group that had served as a protector to the regime till the early stage of the revolution. However, all the indicators assure that the group itself has become ready for a complete change into a political group that has its armed tool “militia”. Although the Alawite denomination considers itself owing to both Iran and Hezbollah for their support, it is not supposed to exclude accepting opportunities of tutelage that USA is concerned to offer taking into consideration many points: i) the civil war is going on; ii) the huge trouble the denomination has got due to the role it plays as a protector to the authority; iii) the changes it undergoes during the process of transformation into a political and armed denomination.

The Changes on the Ground:

Meanwhile, the war in Syria -as any long war does – is depleting the power and sources of its conflicting parties. Like every civil war, big changes are happening in the society where it occurs. A new force is created while changing is occurring over the other existing forces. In this age of wide overlap, all warring parties started losing the control of events. The new forces started to re-evaluate their allies and enemies through their priorities of extending and widening their authority. They also started to besiege and oppress the civic and democratic forces. Thus, the probabilities seemed to be widely open, where there is no constant but greed to authority.  At the same time, the American effort was focused on delimiting the boundary of fire, by sending messages that the USA will not intervene directly, and will also deter its allies to do, if the warring parties keep the battle inside the Syrian geography.

The changes have affected the self-consciousness of the Syrian people after the split has become deeper among its components. Even if the prevalent speech leads to conceive this split as a sectarian one, conceiving it as a complex split is more correct. It is a split between, the urban and the rural, the capital and the outskirts, the poor and the rich, the Islamist and the secular, the Islamist and the Islamist, the secular and the secular….. it is a split that penetrates within all the Syrian community sides. The sever violence prevents us from recognizing this split as much as it prevents it from expressing itself by means of its own voice and in various levels such politics, culture and daily behaviors reflections.

Although this case is not well – understandable yet, the American Administration announced to the first Borhan Galion – led delegation that visited it that it is highly concerned about the minorities. This concern remained a constant title all the time. The American Administration conducts in a way that suggests that the events conduces to confessional coalitions, which will need a negotiation table to reach an appeasement dedicating their political existence. So this is what explains the USA on- going persisting on negotiations as a movement that leads the warring parties to recognize one another as legitimate representatives of their communities. It also explains its maneuvers – ranging between tolerating and stressing – in order to prevent any party from defeating the others, and explains keeping the doors open to support the authority by some parties, especially, when they introduce themselves as minorities. According to this equation, we will be mistaken if we thought that the USA will invite Al- Assad authority to negotiation as a representative of the state. Instead, the Americans invite Al –Assad authority as a political coalition where they expect it to demonstrate the stability of its components by time. The ruler authority fights to determine whom it will negotiate, what forms evidence of its recognition that the mutual negotiation – through the imposed conditions over it – means recognizing the legitimacy of its enemies and negate its representation of the state.

This behavior points out Al – Assad authority fears of that the negotiation will lead it to recognize free movements and self-expression to some components of its own coalition if they call for. This case may lead to corner its men between roles of warlords and leaders of a political denomination.

Conclusion: Current Reality in the Context of Open Changes

We can conclude that the retreating was the first proactive reaction against the consequences, but it wasn’t available for all. The difference is resulted from the sort of the state, and its ability of changing that can allow it to think or it will fail without reaching it, as in the case of the “solid states”.

The economic power of the state is a critical factor of success, with its ability to defend its interests and its internal field. It is obvious that the USA is the most capable country to make such retreating, which allowed and will allow the regional explosions to happen in the hot spots between the local competitors although it is not clear yet if the walls, “separating walls” the USA counts on, are able to prevent these explosions from spreading out of the intended limits.

With the USA “repositioning”, the regional powers around the world turn to face the requirements of competing one another. This means the policy of “zeroing the problems” is impossible for all, whereby this policy was available when Bush – ism policy made the USA solve the problems of its allies instead of them.  The new USA policy saves energy and puts barriers to deter the consequences from reaching the Imperial center, and reverse them to the sides from the center. It also re-builds the competitive ability of USA. It is a “withdrawing” from Bush –ism that tried to make the American government the “State of the World”. It is a repositioning that will generate crises and, probably, wars if the regional powers do not recalculate and decrease the limit of their domination expectations in accordance with what fits their income and share in the market and their community power and if they do not care about each other’s interests and respond to their peoples’ need for political participation and their “states” need for reforms. These are the risks that require changing the strategy of the regional coalitions that generated to resist the American domination in order to get adapted to the new nascent condition, which has emerged from the repositioning of this domination and its adoption to the market language.

In the Syrian case, the Syrian community is undergoing a coercing change. We do not mean by “coercing” that it is incompatible with what preceded it. Some of what is occurring is compatible with a reality, which the authority has kept its confessional latent elements for decades. The “coercion” is preventing other probabilities including Syrian national making, whereby the first stage of the revolution was full of elements alluding to have the ability of achieving them.

It is obvious that the regional powers’ interests highly contributed to push the events in this direction while the American Administration waits for new powers, which resulted from this figuration, to get ready to sit together and reach an agreement about solutions that can reinforce both the American control and their existence in a new structure. Apparently, no national power has been founded yet. Moreover, the ones which were in the stage of foundation still suffer from problems (they have become under the oppression of both the new and old dictatorship authorities) that prevent them from affecting the reality to set out other probabilities. Nevertheless, we are not witnessing the end of the Syrian story, which makes all the aforementioned things possible to change.

[1] This Article was written in October 2013


Mr. FAKER AL DEEN is a researcher and the general manager of DRSC He wrote many political analysis articles in several Arabic magazines. He edited and reviewed the book "The Strategy of Dictatorship Authority through Facing the Syrian Revolution". He is the author of a book The Palestinian Refugees amidst the Syrian Tribulation".