Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

France Recognises National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Doubts from the Left.

with 7 comments


France Officially Backs Syrian Opposition.

France has become the first European country to recognise the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF) as the sole representative of the Syrian people.  (Here) President François Hollande has also announced that France is exploring the question of arming the anti-Assad forces as soon as a provisional government is formed. Six Gulf Arab states took a similar step on Monday.

The NCSROF  elected the cleric Mouaz Alkhatib as its leader.  Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, both prominent democracy activists and the latter a secular feminist (according to Wikipedia), were elected vice presidents. The Coalition  has “restated its commitment to humanitarian and non-lethal assistance and commended Qatar for its role in the conference” that led to its formation.

It looks probable  that the NCSROF is being shaped up for a final confrontation with Assad. The present level of external support, from Turkey, the Gulf States and, more directly, the West, will rise to the point where it will become open.

Is this to be welcomed?

In May the leader of the Front de Gauche, Jean-Luc Mélenchon stated,

L’utilité d’une intervention militaire est une “illusion”, a estimé aujourd’hui Jean-Luc Mélenchon, le leader du Front de gauche, interrogé sur les déclarations du président François Hollande évoquant l’éventualité d’une telle opération en Syrie.

The usefulness of a military intervention is an “illusion”, Jean-Luc Mélenchon judged today. The leader of the Front de Gauche, replied when asked about the statements of President  François Hollande regarding the possibility of such an operation in Syria.

The Parti Communiste Français has stated that,

Le PCF réaffirme sa solidarité avec toutes les forces qui agissent pour la démocratie, la souveraineté et la dignité humaine en Syrie, pour la fin d’un régime de dictature incapable d’assurer un avenir à son propre pays.

The PCF reaffirms its solidarity with all the forces that are fighting for democracy, sovereignty and human dignity in Syria, and for the end of the dictatorial regime that is incapable of guaranteeing these for its own country.

In this vein the PCF recently participated (26th October)  in a “MEETING DE SOLIDARITE AVEC LE PEUPLE SYRIEN“.

These positions appear  more reasonable than the blanket opposition to attempts to remove the Syrian regime held by some sections of  the British left.

But is what will effectively become a proxy armed intervention a move that favours democracy, let alone Syrian sovereignty?

The issue of ‘humanitarian intervention’ is a complex one.

It is clear, however, that France’s decision relates to its interests as well as to democracy. At stake are  considerations of political stability and the creation of a regime that is not ‘anti-Western’, even if it is – ‘moderate’ – Islamist.

Qatar, the host for this new alliance,  is not, we note, a democracy itself.

There must be serious doubts about engaging one side in a bloody civil war.

The methods used by the armed opposition are not always examples of  standards of “human dignity”. Their forays into sectarianism weigh heavily.

The outcome is far from certain.

Will their victory will result in a  regime that respects human rights?

Nothing is less sure.


7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. a crucial issue will be, if they are able to co-operate with the Kurdish forces in the North who are especially sceptic towards the FSA and Turkey-leaning forces in the SNC


    November 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

  2. The Surgeons and Zoologists tried with all their might to graft working wings onto pigs.

    They left the Academy weeping in despair but were consoled by the Political Scientists
    who were concurrently trying to turn Arabs into sane bourgeois democrats.

    “You guys have it easy,”the Political Scientists said. “We will never succeed, while you have a hope – however faint – of success.”

    Bingo Little

    November 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  3. As’ad Abukhalil (aka Angry Arab) has run a serious of blog posts on Al Khatib’s islamist pronoucements taken from his own webpage. Worth having a read before offering even critical support for the new coaltion.

    I should aslo say that the whole thing seems extremely artificial not deriving from any activist opposition to the regime but rather from GCC/NATO interests backing their favourite armed groups.

    As for the British left, I had to read you several times. As far as I am aware the big problem with the British left (from the SWP to the AWL) is uncritical support for any and every opposition to Assad. I can only think a few Stalinist micro-sects who oppose every opposition to the regime. (Obviously there are secular, popular and leftist forces opposed to the regime who should receive support but they are pretty marginalised now that the revolt has become militarised.)


    November 14, 2012 at 2:25 pm

  4. Sorry Andrew – there is a filter on the number of links which caught you up in its claws.

    Enty I think it’s obvious that the Kurds will strike out on their own.

    My concern is that is going to head for a real blood-bath and that nobody, except perhaps the hard-line Islamists, will benefit.

    Andrew Coates

    November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

  5. Andrew I’ve now had time now to look at this.

    The man is obviously some variety of Islamist, though of what stamp is not clear.

    Al Khatib’s casual racism, conspiracy theories, and plain religious bigotry/madness (love that stuff about wanking), are not of course unusual in such circles.

    Though my Arabic (through the Links to the original) is non-existant, I can well imagine the Angry Arab to be on the right path.

    The Quataris always like to present such people as “moderates”, which makes you wonder what the extremists think!

    Andrew Coates

    November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

  6. I think the issue really is that NATO, and Turkey are really out of the loop here, Qatar is the state that is pumping money in, and that money is going to very selective parts of the “opposition”. To receive support from Qatar groups have to buy into, or appear to buy into the Islamist vision being pushed by Qatar. The support from the Turks / NATO types is much more nebulous, intelligence- ie satellite photos, and communication equipment. So in reality it is far from the CIA stitch up being pushed by some elements of the left.

    The Kurds Ent are in a difficult position, clearly the Syrian forces withdrew on a agreement with the PYD/PKK that the Kurdish areas could not be used by the non kurdish opposition. Indeed the PYD have been very firm in ensuring that neither the opposition factions, nor rival Syrian Kurdish groups get a look in. This means that Turkey is far from happy, and one of the largest Turkish military presence is on the Syrian Kurdish Turkis frontier, The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq is training and arming Syrian Kurds not aligned to the PYD, and clearly has an idea for an extended Kurdish quasi state contra the Iraqi/Syrian/Iranian alliance.

    The problem I have Andrew with my party’s position, PCF, is that there is not a little of a close the eyes, cross the fingers and hope it will all turn out Ok aspect to it. We support democracy, but are not going to anything about the helping those working for it.

    The reality is that one side is heavily armed, and being regularly re-supplied via Iraq from Iran both with arms and personnel- while the other is poorly armed and has to rely on heavily conditioned minimal supplies pushed in from Lebanon. This is not an equal fight and is being heavily manipulated by the Iraqis, the Iranians, and Qatar- with Turkey playing a reluctant substitute for a confused and half hearted “imperialist” America who frankly I think doesn’t really give a hoot. The Turkish public seem to have no taste for intervention and the recent re-organisation of the military leadership does not bode well that the military would be in the moo, or for that matter the state for intervention.

    The latest IEA report shows that the US will be completely independent for fossil fuels dues to unconventional source- tar sand and shale gas. The US’s interest in the Gulf is waning.

    France’s announcement today that will recognise the Qatar conference opposition will be illuminating, what exactly could the French do? They are in no position to provide air cover unless Turkey agree to allow their basis to be used, and the Turkish/French relationship is not one of warm embrace.

    Pete Shield

    November 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

  7. Pete, you’ve given enough reasons why the left should be very wary of taking the side of any specific group!

    Perhaps the PCF have a point.

    Today I note this,

    “On le sait, ces groupes paramilitaires sont financés et armés par le Qatar, l’Arabie saoudite, la Turquie..”

    “Les Frères musulmans, qui dominent le CNS – comme l’ont révélé plusieurs personnalités syriennes qui ont quitté cette structure –, entendent maintenir leur hégémonie.”

    L’absence, au sein de cette coalition, des grandes figures progressistes et de gauche comme Michel Kilo, du Front démocratique, ou du PYD, le principal parti kurde, est peut-être plus inquiétante encore. On note également que le Comité de coordination national pour les changements démocratiques (CCNCD) n’intègre pas cette coalition. « À Doha, il n’y avait qu’une partie de l’opposition, celle dominée par les islamistes, soutenus par la Turquie et les pays du Golfe, qui travaillent comme sous-traitants des États-Unis et de certains pays européens », indiquait Khaled Issa, vice-président du CCNCD.


    Andrew Coates

    November 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: