Resolution on the Civil War in Syria

While most of the resolutions which were passed at the SDUSA National Convention were regarding issues of constitution and bylaws, the organization was able to passed one resolution with some limited opposition regarding the current civil war in Syria. While some of the details of  events on the ground are different now than on August 1, 2012 when the resolution was first written, on the whole the situation is the same.



SDUSA resolution on the Syrian Conflict – proposed August 1, 2012 passed at the National Convention on August 27, 2012


Currently the rebel groups confronting the Assad regime are actually challenging the regime in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. A few weeks ago they were able to confront the regime in Damascus. The Free Syrian Army also holds substantial parts of the country side in certain areas of the country. Because of this a widespread belief is shared by many Western commentators that President Bashir Assad’s dictatorship over Syria is due to end soon. A popular corollary to this point of view is that the Obama administration and the rest of the West need therefore do little more to help the Syrian people to over throw the brutal regime.

The Social Democrats USA does not share this rosy view. Wars often tend to be long bloody and drawn out affairs. They are generally won by those who have the best weapons and are trained to use them. Given the current imbalance between the light weaponry of the fighters of the Syrian Free Army and other opponents of the Assad regime and the sustainable military power of the Assad regime, the odds of victory are still on the side of the regime. Thus Washington and general western inaction will probably guarantee a long continuation of life for the Assad dictatorship.

If, however, in spite of the probabilities after years of fighting and the deaths of tens of thousands of people; the revolutionary forces do achieve victory in Syria the situation of the 12% of Alawite Syrians, the 10% of Syrian Christians and others who now support the Assad government will be incomparably worse than if victory comes to the rebel forces now. The longer the conflict lasts the greater will be the revenge killings and payoffs when the present power relationships are reversed.

Therefore In contrast to conventional thinking on the Syrian crisis, the Social Democrats USA does not believe that the United States should continue its current weak policy in relation to the Syrian conflict. While the SDUSA does not support the John McCain option of unilaterally creating a Libyan style “no fly zone” in Syria, we do believe that the United States should begin to make real contact with Syrian revolutionary forces and to begin giving strong military, intelligence, and economic aid to responsible rebel groups. We should also initiate a diplomatic offensive to rally support to the Syrian revolutionary forces globally.

This aid should be tied to realistic guarantees by rebel groups that they will support both democratic and human rights for all groups of Syrians. Recipients of US aid in particular should by their actions show evidence that they will not upon victory plan massive acts of revenge on the Alawite and Christian and other minority communities.


Thus the United States at this time has basically two alliterative policy options toward Syria. It can continue its present policy of making strong rhetorical statements against the regime but do little to aid the forces opposing that regime or it can go several steps forward and realistically aid the people of Syria in their struggle. Obviously dangers exist for both policies. If the Obama administration takes an activist policy toward Syria there is no guarantee that all will be well. We cannot absolutely guarantee that anti-democratic forces will not take over the revolution. We cannot guarantee that revenge killing and massacres of the current regime’s perceived supporters will not occur. However it is much more probable that American involvement in support of the Syrian revolution will minimize these risks.

If on the other hand the Obama administration does nothing then the results are very dismal. We have lots of evidence of what the regime will do to its enemies once its dictatorship is fully reestablished. It will of course insure the future of a regime of suppression over the Syrian people for decades to come.

If on the contrary the rebel forces would triumph over the regime thanks in large part to aid from Saudi Arabia and other gulf states than the victorious anti Assad regime could easily be the type of totalitarian, Islamic regime that Washington fears most. As a result of all of these facts, the Social Democrats USA calls on the United States government to work actively to end the Assad dictatorship.

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