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Syria: revolution is the only peace plan

Jesse McLaren

May 19, 2012

As the UN “peace plan” falls apart in Syria and imperial powers battle for control, the future of Syria depends on the spread of the revolution and solidarity against military intervention.

The UN’s proposed cease-fire is based on bringing together two mutually opposed forces: the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad, and the Syrian revolution. As the head of the UN observer mission has discovered, “no volume of observers can achieve a progressive drop and a permanent end to the violence if the commitment to give dialogue a chance is not genuine.”

But Assad has no interest in dialogue, and a UN diplomat described his response to the cease-fire: “it is the same strategy with a different tactic. Instead of killing 100 they kill 60 and arrest 500.”

But Western powers are cynically using the regime’s violence to promote their own. While Russia has rightly been criticized for continuing to arm Assad, the West is intervening via arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while the threat of direct NATO intervention (being discussed at the summit in Chicago) still looms. As a senior western diplomat said of Kofi Anna’s failing plan, “If Annan does not call off the attempt then it could put us in confrontation with him.”

As in Libya, NATO is trying to use military intervention to gain political control over the revolution, promoting pro-West exiles like Sorbonne professor Burhan Ghalioun—head of the Syrian National Council (SNC). But the ongoing revolution is exposing the failures of the Western-backed exiles. Ghalioun was recently forced to step down as head of the SNC, under pressure from the Local Coordinating Committees (LCC) that are much more representative of the revolution. As a letter from the LCC stated, “we have seen nothing in the past months except political incompetence in the SNC and a total lack of consensus between its vision and that of the revolutionaries.”

Real peace will only come from deepening the Syrian revolution and keeping it free from Western interference, and there is hope from recent mass student protests in Aleppo. As with the Egyptian revolution, the spread of protests to mass strikes will be key to dislodge the dictator and confront the dictatorship. The best way we in the West can help is by stopping any military intervention, and taking inspiration from the Arab Spring to challenge our own regimes.

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