Tuesday, September 23, 2014


* A post Ghassan felt obliged to make after efforts failed in private to alert a budding new American analyst to the problems of the language and concepts he was using in a region wracked with sectarianism.  The screen shots of the discussions  are interesting and highly informative reading about the issue as well as showing examples of the problems the movement was encountering with some domineering solidarists who displayed towards the natives from the region a level of arrogance and disrespect  for their lived experiences and knowledge.

By Ghassan Kadi 23 September 2014 

This article, which was posted on many groups, I hate to say, is full of inaccuracies and incongruent analogies, but my comments are not going to focus on this.  

I quite frankly find it rather dangerous to use/coin the term "Shia Circle". As if it wasn't bad enough for the Islamists (Sunnis) to use the term "the Shiite Crescent" as a means of fear-mongering and a recruitment drive. Now, our friend and ally Andrew Korybko, who should know better, is using a much stronger term that implies encirlement and siege. If the Islamists find out that Western analysts are using such a term, they will use it as fodder and run with it. They will scream out "look at what Iran and the Shia are planning to do to us", and this will give them more reasons and excuses to cry out for taking up arms and push harder to incite new recruits to join the ranks of the IS and other organizations.

As a matter of fact, they are already making such outcries. They are already proclaiming that the Persians invented Chess and are the masters of trickery and military cruelty. They are already claiming that Lebanon is in the hands of Hezbollah and that Iran totally controls Syria and trying to control Iraq and that what we are witnessing now in Iraq is a counter Sunni revolution. Why in God's name does this very well-intentioned author want to give them more ammunition to their naïve argument?

Obviously, Andrew is unaware of what goes on within Sunni circles and how preachers brain-wash the minds of Sunni youths. He is unaware that his words can be used as weapons by the enemies of Syria. This is why, as Syrians, we have to make a vehement appeal to our Western friends and allies to make well-informed statements. We must plead to them to learn about our culture and how Arab/Muslim movers and shakers make their marks on opinions, how they win and lose hearts and minds, how and why Muslim youths are lured into the ranks of ISIL, and how certain words, well-intentioned as they may be, can have serious and very harmful outcomes.

To put things in perspective, in retrospect, the haphazard and ill-informed use of words that come from a position of lack of understanding of the Arabic/Muslim culture is not any different from say an Arab writer writing about American politics and referring to African Americans and to homosexuals in derogatory terms. What is it that makes Western analysts think that the Arab culture does not have its own sensitive issues that require knowledge of the culture?

It means so much to us to have supporters from all over the world, and we are greatly thankful to them. Some however are adamant not to listen to local voices that are trying to help them better understand the cultures they are dealing with. As a Syrian who is fairly senior in age, I find it is rather offensive when I see juvenile and irresponsible words used willy-nilly without any consideration to my culture, all in the name of support.

If some non-Arab supporters don't know what they are talking about and are not fully aware of the sensitivity of what they are saying, and more importantly, if they are too stubborn to accept that they need to learn, it would be much better off for us, if they (with respect) stay out of it.

See original link to post and discussion

Analyst Andrew Korybko posted this in the group and the discussion below the post follows after concerns raised about the term and concept of "Shia Circle".


Korybko introduced his article : "[h]ere is my latest article on "Syria’s Yemeni Opportunity and the Rise of the Shia Circle":

"The inclusion of the Houthis into the Yemeni government and their speedy and skillful demonstration of force and influence over the past week place Saudi Arabia on the strategic defensive. Not only do they have to contend with the prospect of an Iranian-friendly government on their southern Shiite border, but taken in a regional perspective, it appears as though Iran is cementing its Shia Circle. All of this bodes well for Syria, as the Saudis are now faced with a conundrum over whether to aggressively pursue regime change in Damascus and risk domestic Shia destabilization, or to negotiate with arch-rival Iran and reach an agreement to mitigate overall tensions."

Screen shots of post for the record

 Discussion Continued...

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Ghassan Kadi.
13 September 2014

The Saudi Royal family came to power with the help of the father of Wahhabism. They adopted his radical views of Islam initially to gain support, and later on realized that they were able to use that same tool in order to suppress the masses and stay in power.

That was the root of fundamentalism that later on led to the creation of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, war on Syria etc…

With ISIS spiralling out of control and making direct and overt threats to the Saudi royals, the royals now see that they cannot control that monster any longer. The Saudis are serious about curbing ISIS, but they are facing a huge dilemma.

Domestically, Saudi clerics are split into two groups. Sources, including the link below, are not reporting the percentages, but indicating something like an even split between clerics who support the royals in their call to fend off ISIS, and others who literally want to stick to their guns and remain steadfast with the push for fundamentalism.

The huge dilemma that the royals are facing is in the fact that they cannot be seen by common everyday Saudis to be taking stands that are against the very principles of fundamentalist Wahhabism. After all, this is the doctrine of the royal family and the foundation that gave it power for all those decades.

The Saudis are at a loss. They realize that Bandar’s gamble has failed abysmally in Syria and that the repercussions are already hitting home.

Saudi Arabia is currently in survival mode. The wind of change is blowing and blowing hard, and the royals will have to either change their strategic ideology and have confrontation with its own power base or in order to survive, or simply do nothing and act as sitting ducks waiting for ISIS to take over.
For anyone to imagine that the Saudis continue to be interested in a regime change in Syria is rather illogical even for the Saudis. If anything, they are screaming for help from all possible allies. Would it not be ironic if they eventually go the President Assad begging for support?

Al Saud have played with fire for a long time. The fundamentalist Islam they created in the region has not been any less devastating than Zionsim. They will soon reap the fruit of the karma seed they planted.



Ghassan Kadi.
13 September 2014

I read Obama’s speech fairly differently from some. I see some great deal of potential good in it.
For starters,... his language, and body language in specific, fall in what is colloquially referred to as a “try hard” attempt to look tough. Moreover, his extended ending and the pep-talk to Americans can only be seen, if we were to read in between the lines, to indicate just the contrary. What he is really saying to Americans is that America is no longer the great nation and superpower it used to be. The fact that he sees that Americans need convincing that nothing has changed, and reminding of the superpower status of America are stark indications of the contrary.
Even his gift of speech has weakened and almost disappeared totally. Words used to flow out of his mouth like a torrent, like the words of great orators, and now, he sounds at best like a Don Quixote, a clown. Add to this the signs of ageing, and Obama looks like a tired old man, so much different from the one campaigning for his first term, a man at the end of his tether.

That aside, apart from the negative things he said about the Syrian President, he did not talk about “regime change”; neither directly nor indirectly. And if the USA is going to try not to allow the Syrian government to control Eastern Syria, it would perhaps be because it wishes to keep Western Syria in the hands of the Syrian government. In other words, America could be angling for the partition of Syria into a state bound by the latitude of say Palmyra, leaving the Western coastal region in the hands of the Syrian government, and inserting an extended Kurdish state in between Syria and Iraq. Such a scheme is more “logical” now given the outcome of over three years of war, and evil as it is, is a far lesser ambition than the previous plan of toppling the Syrian government and handing over the full control of the whole of Syria to the fighters.

When Obama talks about supporting the “moderate rebels”, we well know that if he means the FSA, they are virtually exterminated or just on the verge. They can try to rebirth it, but it remains highly unlikely that their efforts will be effective. The genie is out and Obama cannot any longer supply and support Islamists, and he will likely be putting pressure on Turkey soon in this regard.
The elusive “moderates” can only be the Kurds; including Syrian Kurds, most of whom are on the Syrian government’s side. It is highly likely that Obama will try to lure them with the promise of a bigger Kurdish state.

The talk of “regime change” cannot be any longer advantageous to any of the enemies of Syria and the Saudis have much bigger concerns of their own. The Saudis clearly see that their own necks are now on the chopping board, and there are many reports of growing support for ISIS within Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are in survival mode; full stop.

Furthermore, America is in the habit of demonizing its next victim to order to create media frenzy and hysteria to ramp up support for attacking him. I do not see any current demonizing of President Assad. All of the propaganda is targeted at ISIS. Why would America suddenly change its tactics? Bullies have their comfort zones and normally do not make any changes to their modus operandi. In being currently engaged in demonizing President Putin, the Americans are clearly sticking to their old tactics.

This is not to forget that for the first time in more than three years, Obama is talking about taking steps towards stopping further influx of fighters and arms into Syria. He is inadvertently admitting, for the first time, that he was previously aiding their influx, and indirectly confessing that it was a mistake. If this is not a positive development, what is?

America is in deep trouble and it is very obvious. It seems in utter confusion about what to do in the Levant, and in its arrogance, it cannot turn around and suddenly start working with the Syrian government. Some sources however reveal that there has already been American/Syrian communications. Obama is desperately looking for a way out of the mess that American policies have created in the Levant, and he is hoping to find a face saver. This is how I read his speech, and to say that Russia is over-occupied with Ukraine cannot be accurate. Russia is a superpower, and even though the Ukraine issue is a huge one, but superpowers know well how to juggle many issues all at once.

This is how I read Obama’s speech and the current developments; I am not going to apologize for being an optimist.