Syrian Anarchist Challenges the Rebel/Regime Binary View of Resistance

Three Way Fight


This interview with Nader Atassi, published on Truthout, has been getting some well-deserved attention. Atassi cites a number of voices in Syria concerned with self-determination between two unsatisfactory poles — “not only anarchists, but Trotskyists, Marxists, leftists, and even some liberals.” These passages stood out for me:


“The mainstream coverage always tries to portray people as belonging to some kind of binary. But the Syrian revolution erupted as people demanding self-determination from the one party that was denying it to them: the regime of Bashar al Assad. As time passed, other actors came onto the scene who also denied Syrians their self-determination, even some who fought against the regime. But the position was never simply to be against the regime for the sake of being against the regimeā€¦ The regime took self-determination away from the people, and any removal of the regime that results in replacing it with someone else who will dominate Syrians should not be seen as a success.”

“There is consensus across the board, from US to Russia to Iran, that no matter what happens in Syria, regime institutions should remain intact. The same institutions that were built by the dictatorship. The same institutions that plundered Syria and provoked the popular discontent that started this uprising. The same institutions that are merely the remnants of French colonialism. Everyone in Syria knows that the US’s preferred candidates for leadership roles in any future Syria are those Syrians who were part of the regime and then defected: Ba’athist bureaucrats turned neoliberal technocrats turned ‘defectors.’ These are the people the US would have rule Syria.”

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