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The "Arab spring" in Syria
Material posted: Publication date: 05-10-2013

Erupted in late 2010, a series of revolutions called "Arab spring" in early 2011 has come to Syria. The processes of the Arab spring, its causes, driving forces, dynamics and after two years, there are many interpretations. Most of the examinations indicates a combination of several factors related to the global crisis of 2008 that led to the deterioration of the economic situation of third world countries, especially the poorest part of the population.

On the other hand, the initial heat of protests stands the westernized youth of these countries that actively use communication technologies that have in common a protest with a "color revolution" of the previous decade, the "Arab spring" is rather narrower concept, since the outbreak of unrest similar slogans and participants were held in Iran, Albania, Mali, Turkey, Sudan, and other non-Arab Muslim countries. It became common for the Islamic world.

Modern infrastructure requires the development of information technology, numerous contingent of specialists to service them. More extensive development of non-productive sphere. Impact and penetration in Islamic countries elements of the economy and lifestyle of the consumer society, forming an appropriate environment and consciousness. Expanded interlayer calling itself (for example, in Russia) "creative class", a mentality which can be called "Western". Its speakers make demands of granting them political and civil rights, "according to international standards", i.e. standards of Western democracies.

But Western democracy is based on the principles of atomicity of the individual, freedom of choice, contrary to the principles of Islamic Ummah and predetermination only the will of Allah. That requires the rejection of Islam and the absolute secularization of society, or produce the original Islamic forms of democracy. In the political sphere the claims of the "creative class" are expressed in demanding the extension of political and civil liberties, the replacement of the authoritarian state to a democratic, secular, Western-type, suppression, tyranny and corruption of the authorities.

The traditional response of Islam to Westernization – tightening public and private life in accordance with Sharia law, the strengthening of fanaticism, a desire to bring the norms of Islam in all spheres of life. In a similar manner two centuries ago there was Wahhabism, today hailed as a "versatile tool" to repair all the troubles of the Islamic world. A broader manifestation of the reactionary response to change is Islamism – of "political Islam". Emerging tensions and excitements are presented the opportunity of Islamists coming to power and build an Islamic state. The social basis of Islamism uneducated and poor. Power steering – fanatical leaders with theological education. Its component in the protest made by the representatives of the petty and middle bourgeoisie, dissatisfied with the economic conditions of their countries, the distribution of cash flows, bureaucracy and corruption hindering the development of their business. Thus, the main ideas and driving forces of the "Arab spring" is the opposite. The protesters are unified by the hatred for authoritarian regimes and demand a more equitable distribution of GDP. The paradox is that "creative protest" without involving the "dark Islamist masses" cannot count on widespread support because of the mass street protests – the main tactic of the "color revolutions". Although the victory of Islamists mean for westernized layers the loss of even the existing rights and freedoms.

The regimes against which the protest is directed "spring", originated as a result of adaptation of the Islamic world to the conditions of the previous (post-war) era. Authoritarian regimes with strong elements of secularism and the formal elected representation of the people in power have ceased to correspond to the time lost its former ideals of the national liberation struggle and building of socially oriented States, decomposed from the inside, wallowing in abuse, cronyism and corruption. The exception was Iran, who managed to find a new version of the existence of Islam in the modern world. The example inspires many Islamists. As Iran is a Shiite state, for most of the Muslim world adhere to the Sunni branch copying the Iranian model is problematic. Due to the different role of the leader of the Ummah in Sunni and Shiite. "The Ayatollah regime" is very natural for the Iranians-Shiites, represent the elected Sunni mullahs as such it is difficult, though not impossible. Sunni traditions inherent to the Caliph at the head of state, uniting temporal and spiritual power.

The embodiment of the Sunni "Islamic state" are monarchies of the Persian Gulf, absorbing the contradictions of the distribution of the indigenous population of oil revenue. Basic "creative class" of those countries – salaried employees from around the world, the poor guest workers from Muslim countries. Yet the Gulf States did not escape the "Arab spring", although the unrest has not taken a particularly massive and protracted. Monarchy implement their model of the "Islamic state", the construction of which is outside implies dependence on the monarchy of the donor. For Saudi Arabia and Qatar "Arab spring" serves as a tool to enhance their influence on the Islamic world.

The Gulf monarchies also bring old ideological scores, trying to overthrow regimes - the heirs of the ideas of Arab socialism or social Arab States. Although Baathist Iraq and Syria, nasierowski Egypt, Libyan Jamahiriya, Tunisia has long since turned into authoritarian regimes in their political programs remained democratic and socialist vector, and secularism. In the case of modernization of the Arab socialist regimes, these ideas could experience a Renaissance becoming a threat to the Salafi model. Encouraging Islamist component of the protest of the Arab spring, the monarchy act as frankly reactionary conservative force.

The destruction of the Baathist Syria as the last Bastion of the ideas of Arab socialism becomes a Salafi for a matter of principle.

Being essentially an objective phenomenon, the "color revolutions" is fast becoming manipulated by external forces. Western countries are naturally welcome democratization in any region of the world, considering the "natural and lawful" protest providing full support. First information, then the financial and organisational through the implementation of technology "color revolutions".

The next stage is the political support of the already established leadership of the protest, until the introduction of international sanctions, the government – "the Strangler of popular protest". And even, as in the case of Libya, support of the military. Of course, such "help" is far from pure altruism, as a means of conducting their own interests in the region. The first is USA with the idea of world domination and taking control of the energy resources of the planet.

U.S. allies – England and France that have long-standing strategic interests in the region.

The specificity of Syria – acute inter-confessional and inter - ethnic conflict- has affected the course of the processes of the "Arab spring", eventually leading to full-scale civil war. Sunni military and officials of higher and medium and the majority of supervisors opposed the alawites as a social group in society and specifically against the Assad clan and its Alawite environment. Their purpose - elimination of the alawites from the party, state apparatus and army, while preserving the secular nature of Syria, and even the dictatorship of the BA'ath (or its new equivalent) and replacing them with "most people", i.e. the Sunnis. To enlist the support of the "international community" are the slogans about democracy and freedom.

Islamic radicals are against alawites, a sect as Islamic heretics, apostates even more hated than the rest of the kuffar. Their slogan: "Christians to Lebanon, alawites to the grave". Further more fatwas calling for the destruction of the alawites, which led to ethnic cleansing and mass in the atrocities. Played a role the Kurdish factor. Kurdish leaders have demanded the granting Kurds rights of Syrian citizens, separation of the Kurdish areas in the self-governing autonomy.

Since the beginning of protests, the Syrian leaders were in a kind of "political swing". The prospect of regime change in the country under any banner meant, in the end, its transition into the hands of Islamists. Which will inevitably lead to the destruction of (physical) of the entire former senior management of the country, the party, army, security agencies, the destruction of the majority of middle management and a significant part of ordinary members of the BAATH. Under threat of ethnic cleansing and genocide will be minorities, especially alawites and Christians - 5 million people. For clan Assad, the BA'ath about any transfer of power to the final point of the political process, "Syrian spring" speech can not go. For power the current leadership of Syria will fight to the end, its loss means death.

Understanding that the processes of the "Arab revolution" although exploiting the internal protest potential, but are initiated and controlled from the outside, makes one develop a flexible strategy policy. If too hard suppressing the uprisings, the Assad regime will suffer the fate of Gaddafi (March 2011 began the bombing of Libya by NATO aircraft – Muammar Gaddafi was torn to pieces by rebels in October) – a massive foreign military intervention, the armed support of the rebels, the outbreak of the civil war. Air and missile strikes by Western coalition will undermine the military capability of the Syrian army will be left defenseless. The inevitable carnage and chaos. Under the pretext of "ignorance of the order and the genocide of the" possible invasion of Turkish troops and the landing of NATO troops. Syria in confrontation with most of its neighbours: Israel, Turkey, Jordan. With these areas of possible invasion or massive air strikes. Strained relations with Lebanon. Only Iraq behaved neutrally, and at a certain point even expressed timid support.

Soft answer to the protest required a series of concessions. "Area" and its leaders each time would be to inflame their ambitions, to demand more and more. The permanent wave of rallies to flood the country, paralysing the administration. Mode waiting for the fate of Tunisia (President Ben Ali fled in January 2011) or Egypt (Mubarak overthrown in February 2011). Modern information and communication tools played a crucial role in self-organization of performances of the "Arab spring". Therefore, in moments of increase of the mass protests in Tunisia and Egypt in late 2010, the Syrian government started to block social networks on its territory. After the first protest demonstrations in January 2011, in a variety of ways (including sending spam) made impossible the normal functioning of the Syrian segment of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The detention was made known bloggers. Periodically shut off the mobile connection.

To search for new resources for the organization of political flash mobs of the opposition took more than a month – a regular "Friday" mass demonstrations began in March. Slogans, in General, repeated demands of the liberal opposition: "civil liberties, democracy, punishment of corrupt officials, down with the regime".

In late March, Assad attempted to suppress the speech in the Bud by police action. Police pressure was not enough, it only angered the protesters. In Daree were mass protests, bloodshed. At this point, the government did not dare decisively to suppress speech because it could "get under the hot hand" NATO is siding with the Gaddafi regime. It was necessary to buy time. He was elected a path of gradual concessions: small batches were released political prisoners, displaced the old government - appointed new less odious, canceled the state of emergency, in force for almost half a century. Discriminated against the Kurds was allowed to get Syrian passports. The authorities gave promises of broad democratic reforms. At the same time organized mass Pro-government demonstrations, in order not "to give power to protest the street." The opposition has engaged in political self-organization, ready to engage in the upcoming democratic process: the creation of new political parties preparing for elections campaign. The task of the radical opposition inside the country and sponsors of the "Arab spring" abroad was not part of the democratization of the BA'ath regime, it needed complete disassembly.

In June, near the border with Turkey in the city of Jisr ash-Shughour rebellion broke out. The rebels staged the massacre with government officials, BA'ath party, the police. At the suppression were thrown part of the police and army. The opposition has assured that the riot is suppressed by the army with the involvement of tanks and aircraft. Government sources claimed that army units only blockaded the city, preventing the concentration of terrorists, but was pacified by the riot police. Because these events killed 120 police and no military, the official version seems more credible.

After the chain of riots in the province, the unrest spread Damascus, where the mood of protest managed to bring down. To destabilise the situation, the radicals organized a series of terrorist attacks. After a relatively quiet autumn, armed riots broke out in Holmes - one of the main centres of Islamist opposition. HOMS is the most important transportation and energy hub connecting the North and South of the country. All summer and autumn in HOMS occurred, attacks on military and military units, attacks, attacks, killings of Baathists. As a precautionary gesture 14 December in the city were conducted in troops. The measure proved insufficient, fighting ensued. Until mid-January 2012, the government did not stop the attempts for a peaceful solution, while the rebels had not been shooting of peaceful Pro-government demonstration.

Began the assault on the city by troops with tanks, artillery, aircraft. In HOMS for the first time in the fighting were foreign fighters-jihadists. By April the city was denuded. Given the international and domestic reaction, the anti-Syrian campaign in the world, the authorities announced a truce. Troops left the city. The insurgents re-infiltrated the city, fighting it has taken a protracted nature. Currently a third of the city is held by rebels – quarters of the population of which is tuned to the government's abhorrence. Pulling an armed confrontation more than six months, the Assad regime won the time, "spreading" the simultaneity of the processes of the "Arab spring" in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria. Managed to continue a controlled political process to lead the country to elections on a multiparty basis. Busy legal preparations for the elections part of the opposition was excluded from the process of armed confrontation. At the same time preparations for the elections have allowed the BA'ath to organise their supporters among us. "Loyalists" were the majority of the population, a significant portion of Sunnis, too. SNP could no longer perform his or her current for 40 years functions. The block of socialist parties had long been in crisis. Long-time allies of the BA'ath - Communist party of Syria had been split in two back in the mid 80-ies because of the attitude to Perestroika in the USSR. Devoid of previous support of the Soviet Union, the BAATH lost its need for Alliance with the Communists, and active zaigryval with Iran and other Islamists. The discrepancy between the BA'ath and Communists of the late 80s-90s led to serious disputes, including illegal actions and arrests. Because the Communists and some socialists have criticised a government economic course of the last decade, which objectively evoked sympathy 15-20 % of voters. Now the ruling party desperately needed any ally. The prospect of an Islamist state in the left-anything good did not promise, they once again rallied around the BAATH. The Syrian leadership began to change the political system. In February of 2012 on the national referendum adopted a new Constitution, according to which the BA'ath lost his leadership role, and now acted in electoral processes "on General grounds".

She organized a new movement "bloc, "National unity" on the basis of SNP in updated which consisted of both the Communist party, the national socialist(social) party, unionists, socialists, moderate Democrats. Some of the Communists are not part of the bloc, speaking on the upcoming elections jointly with left-wing Democrats in the so-called National front for change and liberation (NFPO). BAAS was able to coordinate a significant portion of leftists of various slopes and directions. Under the new Constitution made possible the nomination of independent candidates and prohibited the creation of parties on a religious basis, cutting out Islamist forces from the election process.

At the same time Asad was collecting forces for the armed suppression of the irreconcilable opposition: intensified militia "Shabiha", in military units were recruited from enlisted men of the reservists, and are called young volunteers - conscripts from loyal areas. In the fight against the militants joined the Lebanese Hezbollah, attacked a base of the Syrian opposition in Lebanon. Arrived from Iran the expeditionary force Islamic revolutionary guard composed of up to 4 thousand people. To the action brought Pro-Iranian fighters from Yemen, Iraq, including the "Mahdi Army", the Palestinian PFLP-GC. During this period, the Syrian armed forces pursued a strategy of defence and counter-attacked only in critical situations, when attacks on military installations or major cities. Needed to get out of and increasing diplomatic isolation. Main ally is Iran, itself ostracized on the international scene. Syria managed to enlist the support of members of the UN Security Council – Russia and China. ON the side of Syria, as a "fighter against world imperialism", were made by Cuba and Venezuela. The latter has assisted the supply of gasoline, when experiencing problems with its own production.

Tightening with the active suppression of protest has cost the Syrian leadership is expensive. Not included in the SNP and "National unity" 13 the left parties and the Kurdish nationalist 3 created the "national coordination Committee for democratic change" the most moderate of the opposition blocs – which aims to overthrow the Assad regime by non-violent means. In September held the first Committee meeting in Qatar. Many Syrian political immigrants in exile created the Syrian national Council (SNC), with headquarters in Istanbul. SNA started organizing flash mobs via social networks.

Since the summer of 2011 began the desertion from the army – Sunnis, including senior officers. By the end of 2012 from the ranks of the Syrian army with a total strength of more than 400 thousand, escaped to 50 thousand soldiers and officers. The deserters formed the backbone of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The leadership was taken by the former General and several colonels of the Syrian army. The political platform of the SAA was "the transfer of power to the Sunni majority." The FSA troops have captured significant stockpiles of small arms, ammunition, communications, military installations. At their disposal were dozens of armored vehicles, including tanks, anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems, hundreds of RPGs, barreled artillery, mortars. Returning from Aachen activists of "Muslim brotherhood" started subversive activities, creating combat units, later grouped in the "Syrian Islamic liberation front" SIPHO. In the same direction were active al Qaeda, which has taken an even more radical position, in the end from these groups were created al-Nusra front. With its help, Syria had sent hundreds of fighters from across the Islamic world. In an armed anti-government struggle involved and some of the refugees are Sunnis from Palestine and Iraq, among which the most numerous and the growing influence of "Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant". Thus, In the Syrian civil war intertwined with a civil war in Iraq and the confrontation between Hamas - the PLO. The conflict is spreading to the entire region.

In General, by the fall of 2011, the number of opposition fighters close to 80 thousand. A peaceful course for the Syrian government allowed them to launch extensive terrorist activities across the country, to start capturing cities that stubborn fighting. In this period, the active financing and supply of weapons to armed opposition forces actively joined Gulf monarchies and Turkey. The main opponents of Syria in February 2012 created a diplomatic group "Friends of Syria" called by Damascus "Enemies of Syria". From the Syrian opposition included in the SNA. Actively involved in the work of the League of Arab States (LAS), and leading Arab and Islamic international organization.

Not managed to avoid EU sanctions, then the UN on arms supplies to Syria. But managed to get a clear answer of the international community on the Syrian events and a road map for overcoming the crisis – the so-called "Annan plan". The plan called for a mutual ceasefire, but the opposition of promiscuity, mutual disagreements, the mood of many of its groups in an uncompromising struggle, really was impossible to carry out. However, the main participants of the process adopted "the plan of Annan," by mid-spring 2012 established a temporary lull.

In may 2012 parliamentary elections, in which participated a little more than half of the voters defeated the bloc "National unity". Possessing administrative resources BAATH from 250 seats got 134, the other members of SNP – 34, NFPA – 5, an independent non-party candidates – 77. Updated national Council (Parliament) and the government, where Ministerial portfolios have also received representatives of the Union of the BA'ath parties, put forward a proposal on universal truce.

Most of the leaders of the liberal opposition did not agree with the outcome of the election, and went on to capture power by force. The leaders of the opposition armed forces regarded the peace-loving Assad gesture, as a sign of weakness or treachery. Their unconditional requirement for beginning of negotiations was the departure of Assad and his entourage. The technique, tested in Egypt. Freeing the battlefield for the upcoming hostilities, a large part remained in Syria of the opposition leadership left the country. In November, the leaders met in Qatar at the uniting Congress, creating the National coalition of Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces (NKSROS).

A third of seats have been reserved SNA. The rest was taken by the representatives of the parties an irreconcilable opposition. Was elected President MoAZ al-Khatib, the former chief Muslim Mullah's Cathedral, Syria – Umayyad mosque in Damascus. Immediately there was disagreement – the new Chairman of the SNA George Sabra (former Communist, repressed by the BA'ath in the late 80s) refused to transfer the powers of the NCSROF. The same position was taken by the leaders of the SAA. Sabra took a position as acting President of the NCSROF, but after a couple of months – in July 2013 as a result of intrigues he was replaced by Ahmed Jarba of the National coalition as "the Syrian government in exile" recognized by all countries of the EEC and NATO, the Arab League and many other States. Although the past year has demonstrated, the impact of the NCSROF on the events in Syria and few more fizzles. The real power in the areas occupied by the opposition, is the head of the rebel armies and warlords who like the "old man of the Mountain" they are not shown on the people and hard disguise their names to the conspiracy. Most often as the main behind-the-scenes leader of the Islamist forces in Syria is called current al-Qaeda leader Zarqawi.

The beginning of full-scale civil war

In the first half year of the conflict the rebels mostly attacked government forces, despite overwhelming superiority in technique, defensive or at best counter-attacked, trying to regain control of one or another city.

The summer of 2012. Map Maroon – Baathists, and the green opposition, beige and Kurds.

The beginning of summer of 2012 marked the onset of massive opposition groups in Damascus and several other cities. Assad has called the incident a Declaration of war and put before the Syrian army and other armed groups aim to achieve victory by military means. Assad has lifted all restrictions on the use of heavy equipment, artillery, aviation against the rebels. The Syrian army has advanced tanks and other heavy armored vehicles (tank destroyer, gun) to areas of hostilities. The strategic task is to destroy enemy manpower. Since reclaimed areas vulnerable to new attacks, recaptured the city deal again, we need to reduce the number of possible participants in the attacks. Strategic plans aim to dissection of the common areas controlled by the insurgents, isolate them from the borders as a source of arms, ammunition and replenishment. The blockade of the surrounded areas and the destruction of the surrounded groups.

A special part of the strategic plan began measures to alienate the armed forces of the opposition. The interruption of the connection between the territories occupied by the opposition, the elimination of their leaders and military command. At all levels, from senior commanders to individual units and groups. Preferred is the capture of commanders of forces of the special forces for the purpose of obtaining information, and only in case of impossibility of elimination. Since the second half of 2012 to mid 2013 were destroyed prominent military leaders of the opposition: General Salam Idris, General Mustafa al-Sheikh and others. In March 2013 the result of sabotage was seriously wounded commander of the FSA – a former Colonel in the Syrian air force, Riyad al-Asaad. The largest opposition formation, numbering up to 40 000 soldiers were left without military leaders.

Currently, more and more members of the SSA disappointed in the combat and become members of al Nustra or "Muslim Brothers". Part actually adds the weapon and returns to civilian life. Increasing numbers of armed clashes between the FSA and Islamists, are not interested in a secular program is the "free army", and because of a banal division of areas and production. Islamists also not satisfied that the military aid from the "friends of Syria" officially disseminated only to FSA, to prevent the ingress of modern weapons in the hands of international terrorists.

July 2013. Map Brown – Baathists, and the green opposition, the yellow the Kurds.

25 September 2013, the Islamists strongly disassociated themselves from the PAS and created his combined army of 13 of the most active Islamic groups – "military Alliance of Islamic coalition".

It was joined by three brigades of the FSA, armed with U.S. weapons. Armed opposition forces have become increasingly Islamo-radical, in its ranks a growing number of mercenaries, there is less "ideological fighters". A secular liberal opposition loses its influence and becomes buffoonery. The government regularly announces Amnesty to militants and urged to lay down their arms or move to the side of the legitimate authorities. The main appeal is to forcibly mobilized in opposition troops, and finds the partial response group "moderate" fighters join the ranks of "Shabiha". The armed opposition is gradually losing support of the population of the occupied territories. The fighting lead to destruction of infrastructure, which exacerbates the crisis problems. The group of fighters created for the war, not solving the problems of population, food supply, establishing energy and water supply. Their method of solving problems – the terror of having a distant attitude to Sharia law.

Part of the implementation of the plan of separation was from the opposition Kursk regional units (up to 15 000 soldiers), the closure of vast areas of their Turkish-Syrian border and the beginning of hostilities the Kurds against ISIS. The regions inhabited by Syrian Kurds along the Turkish border, was separated from the "loyalist" part of the country districts in opposition. In a state of "armed peace," the Kurds have organized self-government system TEV-DEM, or "democratic socialism" made by the famous Kursk leader Abdullah Ocalan: replacing the nation state with Confederation of Autonomous areas with direct popular self-government. Protection provides an armed people (militia of men and women in equal measure). Authorities – local councils, and national Congress. Two, the system TEV-DEM is functioning properly. The Kurds have already achieved our main goals and we want to continue the current arrangement, aloof from participation in the civil war. Leading to escalating armed conflict with Islamists in the first place with the militants of al Nustra.

Most of Syria is desert territory, in the mountains forest cover is also missing for the most part, so fighting in rough terrain, the insurgents are rare. In rural areas, the tactics of the government troops set up ambushes on caravans and on separate groups of militants with the involvement of helicopters and special forces groups.

As the main hideouts and support bases, the insurgents use the settlements to control the territory of the city. They are easier to hide weapons and hide under the guise of civilians, to organize the production of weapons. Cities are transport nodes where it is convenient to accumulate and to transfer to other areas on the highway, using public transportation. In the city it is easier to organize resistance, using buildings as strongholds.

Therefore, the main theater of military operations in this war become of the city. The fighting on both sides are conducted without considering the cultural and historical significance of the buildings. The exception by government forces is only the most important cult objects. Fights are hard and bloody manner. Government forces try to block or completely surround the regions of the rebels and be forced to pass those long siege. While the army suffers heavy losses, it managed to achieve a breakthrough and to pass from defensive to offensive action. In September - early October 2013, the army waged a fierce battle for the destruction of large forces of fighters in the second largest city of Aleppo.

September 2013 taken from the site: Green – bass player, brown – opposition, blue – battlefields, beige and Kurds.

Armed opposition forces are defeated everywhere.

The last hope for them – a foreign military intervention. In August 2013, was provoked by "serinovy crisis" - in the suburbs of Damascus was used chemical weapons. The US was ready to start the aggression against Syria but did not find support from the allies. Diplomatic intervention of Russia allowed Obama to abandon plans for a strike, not "losing face". However, as the defeat of the opposition, the threat of such intrusion will increase. The civil war in Syria may last for quite a long time, because the parties were engaged in a war of attrition, that is, it will lead to the exhaustion of mobilization resource. This foreshadowed its bloody nature, and the increase in the number of refugees in neighboring countries. Victory is on the side of Assad and BAATH, unless there is active intervention from the outside. But with the growing influence of al Qaeda in the ranks of the militants, there is less chance that the US and its allies openly hold of a creature of al Qaeda in Syria. According to the Syrian government by October 2013 in the civil war killed more than 70,000 people. Independent sources put the figure at 120 000 and 170 000 dead even. More than a million people fled from Syria to other countries.

Michael Khlystov

Part one.

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