The U.S. is not so much pursuing a new Cold War with Russia, as trying to destabilize it militarily on two fronts: in Syria and in Ukraine. As events in the latter claim the spotlight, it's a good time to get a picture of Syria from an insider.
"You asked me about my assessment of the current President of Syria.
Prior to the crisis, Assad's general approval rating was maybe 75%.After the crisis began, and it became apparent that it was a foreign engineered "regime change' project, and not anything real, or grassroots, his approval went up slightly, let's say 80%.
As of today, based on what I hear from friends, relatives, neighbors and various contacts I have across Syria, it is about 80%. I work helping the refugees from Aleppo, so I hear their stories as well, which are from a different community than where I live in Latakia. (Ed note: Latakia is the border area with Turkey largely inhabited by Alawites.)
My assessment is supported by an identical statement of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, who in 2011 was in Paris on church business and stopped in at the FRANCE 24, the English language TV channel that is very anti-Assad. It toes the line of France, and the Holland policy of support for the rebels.
This innocent cleric stated what he saw and felt, but the TV presenter almost flipped! She shouted, "But this is not what we are hearing from Syria at all!" He replied, "Well, I can't tell you anything but the truth." His true statement did not line up with her assumption that every-one in Syria hated him. Not so.[tag]
God save the children of Syria! #withsyria An illustration from the school book of #syria & #jordan 1986
(image by alazaat)
I have been here 21 years, I lived under his father's leadership, and watched the new President come to office in 2000. When his first term finished in 2007 I thought he might start a "new' election process, but he didn't. Now in 2014, May 7th, Syria will have the very first free election based on voters, and not the one party system, as before. There are now 30 registered legal parties, one of which is lead by a woman. The campaign is just beginning, the candidates have been requested to submit their names, and also sign up for campaign funds. The election is open to any Syrian age 18 and over, no pre-registering required, no party affiliation required, you can be independent of any party, and you can vote for any party.
The elementary schools have already begun a program in which the children participate in "play' votes, in order to teach kids the value of voting, because they will be the next generation of voters. This is all brand new here! Before, it was one party, the members voted, then a general referendum public vote was done to accept the party's candidate.
The new constitution was drafted and passed about 2 years ago. It abolished the one party system. Article #3 was controversial, because it demands the President be Muslim. Many people wanted NO religion mentioned, because for 40 years there has been a secular form of government here, but even the Socialists and Communists who were on the drafting com-mittee said that socially the Syrians are not ready for a change on that point, and in the end, even the Christian community accepted it. Maybe one day they will amend it.
I feel that if the "revolution' in Syria, which began March 2011, had been truly a grass roots uprising of the actual Syrian people, living in Syria, the regime change could have happened in 3-6 months. But, from the outset it was so clear that it lacked the local, homegrown sup-port of residents on the ground. It was always a foreign and ex-patriate affair, funded and sup-ported by various Gulf and Western countries for various reasons, none of which was freedom or democracy. I hope that the election can go forward in peace and order and the Syrian people can have their voices heard.
I know they want a leader who will be strong and will continue a policy of resistance. This is another huge factor because the West doesn't understand that Syria's policy of resistance is not sectarian. The vast majority of Syrians, regardless of religion or sect, support resisting the Israeli occupation. After all, it is the brutal occupation of Palestine which is the real cancer of the Middle East.
Lilly Martin, Latakia, Syria
P.S. Lilly, who is fluent in Arabic, posts regularly on her Facebook page "Syria is My Home'.