The struggle continues: Syria’s grass-roots civil opposition

Originally posted on Tahrir-ICN September 2013

Bustan Al Qasr, 13 September 2013 Source: أحرار بستان القصر والكلاسة

Bustan Al Qasr, 13 September 2013
Source: أحرار بستان القصر والكلاسة

The discourse on Syria has been dominated by discussions of militarization, Islamization, sectarianism and geopolitical concerns. Conversely there has been relatively little focus on Syria’s grass roots civil opposition. This has led to a lack of knowledge outside of Syria for activists who want to stand in solidarity with Syria’s revolutionaries but don’t know where to start. This article attempts to provide an introduction to some of the many civil resistance initiatives taking place on the ground and efforts at revolutionary self-organization. It is by no means a comprehensive overview. It focuses on initiatives that are non-party political  or religiously aligned.[1] It must be remembered that prior to March 2011 there was not a functioning civil society in Syria as rights to free expression, assembly and association were highly restricted with severe consequences for those who failed to comply.[2]

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The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology

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Graphic from Institute for the Study of War

Originally posted on Tahrir-ICN September 2013

One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of Syria’s revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger that the increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist about the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to move forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be given the solidarity they deserve. Continue reading

The life and work of anarchist Omar Aziz, and his impact on self-organization in the Syrian revolution

Originally posted on Tahrir-ICN August 2013

Photo from: Yallasouriya

Photo from: Yallasouriya

Omar Aziz (fondly known by friends as Abu Kamel) was born in Damascus. He returned to Syria from exile in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the early days of the Syrian revolution. An intellectual, economist, anarchist, husband and father, at the age of 63, he committed himself to the revolutionary struggle. He worked together with local activists to collect humanitarian aid and distribute it to suburbs of Damascus that were under attack by the regime. Through his writing and activity he promoted local self-governance, horizontal organization, cooperation, solidarity and mutual aid as the means by which people could emancipate themselves from the tyranny of the state. Together with comrades, Aziz founded the first local committee in Barzeh, Damascus.The example spread across Syria and with it some of the most promising and lasting examples of non-hierarchical self organization to have emerged from the countries of the Arab Spring.

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What’s happening in KSA?

Originally posted on Tahrir-ICN June 2013

Protester in Qatif defy state security (From: Press TV)

Protesters in Qatif defy state security
(From: Press TV)

There have been increasing protests in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks but with a media-blackout, very little information exists on what is happening inside the kingdom. This blog provides a brief  background and snapshot of some of the recent protests, and is certainly not comprehensive of all that is happening. The information has been compiled from mainstream news reports, the reports of independent human rights organizations and Saudi twitter users on the ground. (There are links to videos of recent protests below) Continue reading