May 1, 2012
Here is another new article by Fehim Tastekin that we have translated from Turkish into English. Fehim recently returned from Syria and has been writing articles that reveal the naked reality that Syrians are facing today. His is a rare and important voice in these times cluttered with lies, distortions, propaganda and war-mongering. You can read the original in Turkish here: Gerçek muhalefet kurban / Dünya / Radikal İnternet
by Fehim Tastekin
According to Ali Haydar, the leader of the opposition Syrian Social Nationalist Party, foreign-backed armed groups have stolen the process of the revolution. The real opposition has become a victim of the fighting between the government and armed opposition groups.
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) is one of the notable opposition parties that is stuck between the regime and armed opposition groups in Syria. The party was established to liberate Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestine in 1932 and was forbidden by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party for many years. The party was allowed to enter into politics in 2005. Since then, the party has gradually cultivated a younger base. Ali Haydar, the leader of the party, said (as have other leaders of the domestic opposition) that there is a process that has been unleashed that is undermining the revolt aginst the Assad regime:
“The emergence of armed groups is damaging the process of peaceful change. The result of which will be an occupation by foreign powers and the fragmentation of the country. For this reason, a political solution based on national dialogue is the only way out.” Haydar says that Syrian National Council, which he calls the ‘Istanbul Council’, does not represent the community and blames Turkey for ignoring the real opposition and carrying out American policies. A former politician, who was a three-term deputy and opponent of the regime, told me that Ali Haydar is one of the most reasonable men in Syrian politics. Haydar answered my questions in a SSNP office.
Where is Syria going?
“First, I want to talk about where Syria comes from: Syria is a country that is at the centre of this region. It has enemies: The distant one is America, the close one is Israel. It has, at the same time, internal problems.Ten years ago, we said that this system was losing its power and that the one-party system was no longer working. This system has brought about profound problems. It was clear that the wave in Tunisia would come here. For two reasons: First, the enemy would use this oppurtunity. Second, the demands of the people were just. The demonstrations eventually started. We were together with the movement for peaceful change; however, external forces quickly interfered. Both money and weapons began to flow in. We found ourselves between these forces and the government. We have been sacrificed between the two fronts. The situation has now become a situation between the regime and armed groups. On one hand there is the process of the revolution, on the other hand there is the war between the regime and armed groups.”
Did the weapons used by the regime encourage the arming of the opposition?
“Never. The state did not utilize heavy weapons. It did not interfere in the peaceful demonstrations for months. 30 dissident groups refused to use weapons.”
The opposition says that regime forces have attacked demonstrators and funerals and that they have armed themselves for defensive purposes.
“Do you need a rocket to protect yourself? It is not about self-defense to blow up bridges and kill people because of the sect they belong to or their identity. Armed groups do not do anything to help peaceful demonstrations.”
Even Bashar al-Assad admits some responsibility for the situation at this point. I do not understand why the opposition does not say anything negative about the regime.
“You are right. As a matter of fact the solution begins just at this point: Everybody should admit their mistakes and should believe that dialogue is the only way out. There is no other option except a political solution, because conflicts will literally divide the country.”
Is there a basis for such a division?
“Throughout history, civil wars result in division, but, at the moment, we cannot say that the situation in Syria has crossed into civil war. We must accept that the beating of one side will not be a solution. Therefore, all Syrians should engage in dialogue. Conflict brings about external intervention. Our party found, according to the intelligence we have from our own sources, that money and weapons are flowing to the armed groups from outside.”
Where are they coming from?
“They are coming across the border with Turkey, from the Kuriye region on the Syrian-Iraqi border, and from the Vadim Halid region of Lebanon. This information is excatly right. According to the information the Lebanese branch of our party has, there is a camp, which has trained armed groups in the Akkar region of Lebanon. It is like Nahr al-Bared, which is a Palestinian refugee camp. There was also a camp in Jordan, but the authorities in Amman shut it down because the activities began to affect Jordan negatively. There was a camp America used in the triangle between the borders of Syria, Iraq and Jordan. The dissident armed groups were being trained by America.”