The War in Syria is a War Against Secularism

Syria’s war, like most wars instigated by foreign powers, is a war for Syria’s resources, her ports and her geographically enviable position in the world. In so far as the world recognises this about Syria, the country can play a vital role along important routes within China’s One Belt–One Road trading and connectivity initiative. Of course, Syria’s proximity to the future routes of One Belt–One Road combined with the desire among allies of western powers, including Qatar, to build a pipeline through the country, remains one of the most dominating motivations for a continued US occupation of north eastern Syrian as well as the continued western support for terrorist groups in western Syria.

But if these aforementioned factors represent the goal of Syria’s antagonists, then the method which is most favoured among these enemies of Syria in order to achieve their goal, is that of undermining a national secular philosophy: Ba’athism, a unifying force in the country. As a political philosophy, Ba’athism is a healthy and functional antidote to all forms of sectarianism and extremism. The essence of Ba’athism is a secular socialist but ultimately mixed economy which avoids the extremes of both communism and capitalism, while more importantly avoiding the extremes of theocracy and ethno-nationalism as the basis of sovereignty or social privilege. While the full name of the governing party in Syria is the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, the Arabism implied is not that of ethno-nationalism but rather, it is a philosophy which strives for social unity among all peoples in lands where Arabic is the historic and present day lingua-franca and where a shared religious, historical and cultural experience has developed between a majority of Arabs and fraternal minorities within a common geographical space – the Arab world.

When comparing Ba’athist doctrines to the US constitution, one sees that the primary differences are economic. Ba’athism encourages social enterprise which is generally requisite in a modern post-colonial developing economy, while the US Constitution was founded on the principles of free market enterprise, which in the 18th century was considered the most effective way of developing a very different kind of  post-colonial settler society – the United States.

Beyond this, both the US and Ba’athism guarantee the freedom of development (what the US calls happiness) and the freedom to pursue peaceful religious activities within the framework of a secular state. Sadly, as America’s own experiment with unconstitutional religious extremism at home continues to retard the level of discourse in US politics, so too has the US found the other forms of religious extremism are a way to violently retard the progress of states whose governments are a roadblock to US economic exploitation. This is the very essence of the method and aim of the US war on Syria.

As a religiously pluralistic state, Syria can only function in the modern world under a secular government. This is why Ba’athism is not only the best legal and ideological system for Syria, but also the most natural if Syria is to flourish as a modern, economically advanced state with high educational and developmental standards. In 2011, when Syria was first subjugated to violence at the hands of foreigners and local proxies of foreign governments, Ba’athism had yet to reach its full developmental apex. This however should neither be a surprise nor a shock as Syria’s modern Ba’athist revolution only took place in March of 1963, while President Hafez al-Assad’s revitalising Corrective Movement only began in 1970. The Syrian Arab Republic is therefore best described as a young society within a very ancient and rich civilisation.

Therefore, while Syria’s growth, like the growth of all developing post-colonial societies was necessarily asymmetrical, it was nevertheless highly functional and more prosperous in 2011 than it had been prior to 1963. For a country like the United States that sought to destroy Syria, this was unacceptable.

The US therefore engineered a narrative which at its most fundamental level postulated that secularism means repression. In order to expand this narrative, the US and its allies falsely painted the Syrian Arab Republic not as an authentic secular government, but as a government based on Alawite nationalism. The most basic statistics reveal this narrative to be a total lie as the majority of men in the Syrian Arab Army and the majority of men and women in government are Sunni Muslims. Likewise, there are Druze and other non-Arabs in all major institutions of state as well as many individuals from the multi-denominational Christian minority. While the US tried to paint Syria as a fake Alawite Apartheid, in reaity, it is the neighbouring regime ruling from Tel Aviv which not only exercises colonial exploitation but socio-economic and religious Apartheid.

None of this mattered however for a Washington which has fully adopted the Zionist agenda that seeks to destroy secular governments in the Arab world in order to retard the developmental progress of Arab states by promoting sectarian conflict. The fact that some in the Arab world have violently rushed to embrace this narrative is not a sign that genuine sectarian tensions exist, but rather it is symptomatic of secular societies that have no yet reached the full stage of their progressive development and therefore Arab societies, however secular, remain more easily exploited than multi-cultural secular societies that have developed at a more rapid pace such as Singapore for example.

Syria is nothing if it is not Ba’athist, Arab Nationalist and secular. The truth of this statement is proved by the fact that competing extremist ideologies ranging from Takfiri Sunni extremism to Kurdish ethno-nationalism have both failed to produce anything remotely successful in the areas that such political groups have occupied and continue to occupy. Likewise, an Alawite nationalist state would be equally dysfunctional were one to be attempted and thankfully, such a state is not being attempted as it would only add fuel to the American divide and rule strategy.

While secularism remains a desirable ideology in all states, in states that are pluralistic, it is the only acceptable option. This is why Syria’s ally Iran, has not attempted to impose its progressive theocracy on Syria, because what works in a country like Iran that is 89% Twelver Shi’a and 99% Muslim, would simply not work in a country as diverse as Syria. This is also why Lebanon has historically been less stable than Syria. While Lebanon is secular, because it has no unifying ideology, its politics have developed along sectarian lines within a secular society. History has shown that this delicate balance is often very easy to exploit by Lebanon’s enemies. By contrast, between 1970 and 2011 Syria was generally a stable country and internally peaceful, unlike its neighbour Lebanon that was plagued by a civil war ignited by foreign provocateurs between 1975 and 1990. Lebanon’s civil war was one part due to foreign provocation and one part due to internal tensions that had not been fully resolved through the adoption of a unifying modern ideology like Ba’athism. This is why so many foreigners have had to pour into Syria in order to cause a conflict, because Syrians themselves were unable to be exploited as easily as Lebanese during their formal civil war.

While Iran does not want to impose its constitutional theocracy on Syria, the US does want to impose its own fractious religious extremism on Syria. Since the 1980s, US politics has been dominated by an extremist Evangelical movement that has attempted to eliminate the secular character of the country, all the while receiving guidance from its “Israeli” ally. Today, rather than debating trade and economic development in a sane way, debates about political moralism, abortion and trading with countries that share ‘cultural values’ as opposed to those who offer economic potential, is the norm. This has allow allowed for the American public to be brainwashed by a sectarian rather than pragmatic foreign policy ethos which helps explain why the US seeks global domination rather than enrichment through cooperation, as China does.

Like the Takfiris in Syria, America’s Evangelicals are also heavily armed and so extreme in their ritualism, that recently an Evangelical church even conducted a rite in which worshippers brought their weapons to a church. It is no wonder why America’s industrial decline occurred at the same time as the rise of Evangelical political and social extremism.

Syria must defend its secular and anti-sectarian nature against all those who seek to exploit it with violence. This is the only way a post-conflict Syria can return to a stage of positive development that prioritises economic improvements without imposing any one religious view and while unilaterally opposing extremist trends within religious groups and pursuing a post-war foreign policy that is both economically pragmatic and one which preserves national dignity. This is the only way that Syria can not just win the war, but also secure a meaningful and lasting peace.

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