The Palestine Chronicle: How Not to Be in Solidarity with Palestinian Refugees in Yarmouk?

My article on the Palestine Chronicle:
The Syrian revolution is not an international conspiracy planned and constructed behind closed offices in Tel Aviv and Washington, it is an honorable revolution of a people who suffered from unbearable brutalities exacted upon it by a regime designed specifically to ensure unconditional subservience and zero dissent. This revolution, despite normal and regrettable setbacks that characterize any revolution, should not be castigated as yet another attempt by international conspirators intending to further destabilize the oil rich Arab World. And this revolution should not be used by the Palestinian left to score political points at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who, for the past sixty years, provided their brothers and sisters with home and shelter....

An Ad to Join the PFLP

Are you skilled in creating fiery yet meaningless slogans?
Are you looking for meaning where none exists?
Are you a person who likes to convince people that he's a principled man of honour when you're nothing more than a political opportunist?
Are you interested in amplifying your significance while denigrating that of others?
Do you like words that end with -ism?

Join the now-dysfunctional and unprincipled PFLP where the relevant is irrelevant, and the irrelevant is ... well ... somehow made relevant ...

Not-Really-Fine Print:
1) Must be born some time before the 70s, and have the capacity to trap your mind in an imagined past while ignoring the realities of the present.
2) Must be a supreme reactionary with minimum capacity to come up with constructive solutions.
3) Must think that anything that happens anytime anywhere in the world is a neo-colonialist Zionist imperialist hegemonic conspiracy to conquer the world. These include by are not limited to: global warming, the Syrian revolution, pollution and the war against Christmas.

The Legacy of Khaled Bakrawi

The merciless murder of Palestinian activist Khaled Bakrawi by the Syrian regime should serve as a wake-up call to all Palestinians who think that this regime will not hesitate before it kills one of our own. His memory should be honoured by increasing our vehement opposition to this murderous regime and its cronies in Lebanon and Iran.

When Bakrawi committed to his activism and adamant refusal to stay idle as his friends, family and comrades in the Yarmouk refugee camp where targeted and killed, he was not doing anything more than his moral duty to fight for what is right.

Rejecting all forms of oppression no matter who commits it and regardless of its political implications is not only worthy of approbation and commendation, but should also serve as an example for people who continue to second-guess their opposition to the Syrian regime.

Bakrawi is a hero by all standards. His opposition to oppression, and his relentless humanitarian support to the victims of this oppression, can only be conducted by those who have one fundamental principle in mind: freedom cannot be attained by busying yourself with secondary political considerations that only benefit the powerful elite. It is a long process that requires moral resolve and persistence even if the cost is your own life.

One cannot make the claim that Bakrawi was not aware of the consequences of his actions, for surely he was an observant young man who knew what the regime is capable of. He knew about the torture chambers in the regime's jails, and he knew about the horrifyingly high number of political prisoners who were stripped from their dignity and lives in order to protect the interests of the rich and elite in Syria. But his determination to alleviate the suffering of his people was unscathed by threats to his life.

His position as a political and humanitarian activist renders considerations adopted by the so-called leaders of the Palestinians factions meaningless and irrelevant. He taught us the meaning of working outside the narrow definitions of power politics and factional allegiances; and this is a lesson that we shall never forget

The legacy of Bakrawi's resolve offers a framework that allows us to rejects the normalization of regressive political conduct within Palestinian politics. It is not enough to muse into mere condemnations and roaring rhetoric of resistance especially when they are not coupled with proper honourable action.

The murder of Bakrawi will not pass as yet another story of the death of a Palestinian activist. To me, despite not knowing this young Palestinian hero personally, his memory will be forever engraved in the minds and hearts of every human being who fights for freedom and justice everywhere in the world.

EVIDENCE: The Americans don't need evidence to invade Syria

When President George Bush decided to invade Iraq over 10 years ago, and drag his country into an intractable conflict that cost the United States trillions of dollars and the death of thousands of American soldiers, he was not interested in any credible evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime actually had any chemical weapons. He, against the wishes of the American people, and against the wishes of the international community, declared war based on the flimsy argument that Hussein posed a threat to the national interests of the United States, and international peace and security. Maybe Hussein did, but the Americans did not have evidence.

This was the Bush agenda; an agenda based on flagrant lies and deception. In fact, just recently, Foreign Policy revealed evidence that CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran.

But what Bush has done is not new. Before him, President Bill Clinton ordered operation Infinite Reach that destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Northern Sudan. The operation which led to the direct death of at least one employee by America's infamous cruise missiles also caused the death of thousands of Sudanese civilians who were dependant on medicine produced by this factory.

According to the Clinton Administration, the factory was a hub for the production of a chemical substance called EMPTA. However, It was later revealed that the CIA, in a manner similar to that of the Bush's administration, manufactured evidence to justify an attack that was to the detriment of those who perished as a result. It is important to point out that even if it was true that the said factory did in fact produce such chemical substance, EMPTA is not banned internationally, and its production is not in contravention with international law and Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.

The history of various American administrations manufacturing evidence to justify illegal attacks and interventions is well-documented. They did it in Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam, and many other places around the world. We all know that the Americans used chemicals in an effort to subdue the resistance in Vietnam - chemicals that, unlike EMPTA, are banned internationally.

The question is, if we already know that American presidents, public officials and other war mongers in Congress are not really that interested in evidence, and that they will do what they wish even if that opposes the will of their own people and international law, then why are we so obsessed with demanding that they corroborate their claims with such "evidence"?


Following the monstrous attack against the civilians in Eastern Ghouta at the outskirts of Damascus, various activists, pundits, lobbyists and others erupted with utter outrage demanding evidence that it was the regime that actually conducted the attack. They asked why would Syria's dictator, Bashar Assad, so counterintuitively, order an attack against Ghouta when he finally agreed to allow international observers to investigate the usage of chemical weapons by both the regime and the rebels? Knowing that such an attack is, from a military perspective, not necessary, and knowing that it will cause a severe backlash that could lead to an intervention, Assad, logically speaking, is not "mad enough" to allow this to happen. He already is in a relatively safe position, and such an attack could, in theory, weaken him.

But Western powers would like us to believe that they have evidence that it was Assad who ordered the attack.

Just today, the French National Intelligence issued a report titled Programme chimique syrien Cas d’emploi passés d’agents chimiques par le régime Attaque chimique conduite par le régime le 21 août 2013. The report which includes a narration of what type of weapons Assad has, and mediocre analysis of how only he could have used them concludes with the following paragraph:

Nous estimons enfin que l’opposition syrienne n’a pas les capacités de conduire une opération d’une telle ampleur avec des agents chimiques. Aucun groupe appartenant à l'insurrection syrienne ne détient, à ce stade, la capacité de stocker et d'utiliser ces agents, a fortiori dans une proportion similaire à celle employée dans la nuit du 21 août 2013 à Damas. Ces groupes n’ont ni l’expérience ni le savoir-faire pour les mettre en œuvre, en particulier par des vecteurs tels que ceux utilisés lors de l’attaque du 21 août.

This report is nothing more than mere conjecture. The French do not have a team that can thoroughly investigate what transpired in Ghouta, nor do they have operatives on the ground to provide them with credible intelligence, nor do they have any "evidence" that the order came from Assad or his generals.

However, this report is supposed to convince French parliamentarians that France has sufficient grounds to join the US in a prospective military intervention in Syria.

Similarly, the American produced a report titled U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013. In a previous blogpost, I have offered a satirical summary of this report in order to illustrate the absurdity of the American administration, and its audacity to think that the public can be convinced that what they have produced amounts to legitimate evidence.

Clearly neither the French nor the Americans are interested in informing the public of what their real intentions are. The only thing that can be done is collect analyses, learn from previous instances of American involvement, and use our intuition and expertise to come with theories. Logical conclusions include oil interests, Israel's safety, subduing Iranian hegemonic ambitions, twisting Russia's and China's arms, advancing American financial and business interests in the region, etc...

But where do we go from here?

What really matters at this point is how can international activists who care about human life in Syria reconcile between the need to oppose any type of foreign military intervention, and the need to diminish the loss of civilian life in Syria? How can we separate the moral objective of opposing the further escalation of Syrian crisis from the immoral support of the Syrian regime? And how can we move away from obsessing with the useless quest of collecting evidence, and move closer finding methods to alleviate the suffering of over 2 million Syrian refugees and unknown number of internally displaced Syrian persons?

1) Stop obsessing with evidence. No matter what transpires from fact-finding missions, the results are not going to satisfy any party. If a UN team issues a report claiming it was the regime that conducted the attack, we will start hearing claims that the UN is biased and is part of an international agenda to depose the Assad regime and replace it with a moral amicable one. If an Arab team reaches a similar conclusion, it will be accused of being a puppet of Western players. If the Russians or Chinese issue a report, it will be rejected based on the claim that their findings are skewed and will be beneficial to the regime only. If international journalists are allowed, then we will hear claims that these journalists are not qualified to present credible findings. No matter what, we will always reach a deadlock.

2) Stop obsessing with conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories are always based on conjecture. All they do is mislead and busy people with neatly written scenarios that may or may not sound plausible. The Americans support Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia funds rebels, rebels steal or acquire chemical weapons. Chemicals weapons are then used. Rebels are blamed for it (for after all, they are the bastion of evil). And now the Americans have a pretext to invade. Sounds plausible, but in reality, it does not matter. Given the relative weakness of the anti-War movement when compared to multi-national corporate conglomerates and the pro-war media apparatus, the Americans will do what they wish whether we like it or not.

3) Stop obsessing with Syria being the only Arab regime that offers support to the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. Surely resistance against Israeli aggression is worthy of support and is encouraged. However, that does not mean that it should be built upon the shoulders of oppression and enslavement of another people. By being overtly involved in Syria through the deployment of thousands of fighters, Hezbollah forfeited its position as the trustworthy and credible champion of resistance against imperialism. Fighting an oppressive regime does not entitle any group to support another oppressive regime in the name of resistance.

4) Focus on the Syrian civilians. Estimates place the number of Syrian refugees at over 2 million. This number is expected to increase to 3 million by the end of the year. All of these refugees are now sharing small tents with big families, have access to minimal care and protection, and are trying to accustom themselves to a life of misery and destitute as prospects for the their return to their homes diminish as time goes by.

5) Focus on redefining the vision of the anti-war movement. The anti-war movement became interested in Syria when Western governments declared their intention to intervene militarily. Slogans such as "hands off Syria" quickly dispersed all over the internet with the declared intent to persuade their governments to avoid intervening militarily. However, this declared intention is deficient because it was not built upon a solid foundation. Anybody with a keen observation of the events in Syria for the past three years predicted that an American intervention was imminent. Efforts to prevents such an interventions should have initiated right when the revolution in Syria began by providing moral support to the Syrians, empowering them to fight the regime on their own, building coalitions with the civil society on the ground, and using our unlimited access to information and media in the West to give their cause as much exposure as possible. None of that took place.

It is not too late to show support to the Syrian people. However, obsessing with meaningless quests to score intellectual and political points against imperialists and war mongers in Washington, London, Ottawa and Paris is not going to lead us anywhere.  

Aleppo - حلب الشهباء

Aleppo - حلب الشهباء 

"نفيت عنك العلى والظرف والأدبا
وإن خلقت لها إن لم تر حلبا 
لو ألف المجد سفراً عن مفاخره
لراح يكتب في عنوانه حلبا"

الأخطل الصغير 

A concise summery of the "U.S. Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013"

Using a "large body of independent sources" collected from "highly credible nongovernmental organizations," the Americans "assess with high confidence" using "the body of information" from "multiple streams of intelligence" which include "local social media reports" that "there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government’s responsibility in the chemical weapons attack."

The full report can be found here.

The Chemical Attack

The question of who committed the Ghouta massacre, and whether Sarin gas was used or not, should not be be relevant in my opinion. It does not matter how civilians are being killed, or who is actually killing them; what matters is that they are being killed. I feel like we should have reached this conclusion a long time ago.

In Syria, both the regime and the rebels (especially those from HASI andJ abhat El-Nusra) are committing massacres against civilians. The Shabiha (funded and trained by the regime) infiltrated the Syrian society, and are killing people mercilessly for a mere disagreement with a regime official. Their tanks surround cities and villages, and their scud missiles do not discriminate between civilians or rebels.

The HASI and Jabhat El-Nusra rebels have already proven their ferocity through several incidents of public executions that involved maiming, amputations, and flesh eating. They've installed checkpoints on various main roads in the country, and when one of their prisoners fail to answer the rudimentary question "how many raka'as are in the Fajir prayer?" he's immediately executed.

If Russia, Iran and China continue to support the regime politically, diplomatically and militarily, and if the Gulf States continue to support murderous Salafi groups, then, I promise that crisis will not end any time soon. More people, will be killed, displaced, and a whole generation will be condemned to poverty, destitutions, crime, and all types of economic and social instabilities.