Celebrating “Revolution”: Syrian-American Council Comes To Washington

SAC-Logo-largeFour years after the launch of an imperialist proxy war on Syria a tiny group within the Syrian-American community calling itself the Syrian-American Council (SAC) organized a fourth anniversary celebration for what it calls the Syrian revolution. SAC is a front group for a minute fraction of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters within the Syrian-American community founded by a handful of wealthy Syrian-American businessmen that either chose to leave or were forced to leave Syria in the early 1980s as one of the previous MB campaigns of wide scale violence was quelled by the Syrian Army. SAC describes itselfas the largest and oldest grassroots organization of Syrian-Americans… devoted to community organizing, awareness-raising, youth empowerment, media outreach, advocacy, and support for Syrians seeking to build a free, democratic, and pluralistic Syria”, a description anyone remotely familiar with the history of the MB in Syria would find laughable. SAC was established not uncoincidentally back in 2005, two years after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq and as the US regime was escalating its anti-Syrian rhetoric and bellicosity in the wake of the assassination of the late Lebanese premier and billionaire Rafiq al-Hariri. With a lack of understanding of the inner workings of the US political system and its foreign policy and with an unrealistic belief in their ability to make themselves relevant to both, the opportunistic and ideologically-driven clique behind SAC hoped to leverage US military might against a government they viewed, perhaps justifiably from their perspective, with an irrational hatred. 

The pivotal role Syria played in the defeat and failure of the US in Iraq was not yet clear at the time, and the defeat of the US-Israel alliance in the 2006 war by the Syrian-backed Lebanese resistance forces was still one year away.  Less than two years after the establishment of SAC in Chicago, Illinois a new balance of power emerged in the region with Syria at the center of an anti-imperialist axis-of-resistance. Since then, and with its hopes dashed, SAC remained largely dormant until four years ago when its hopes the US regime may finally be able and willing to take down the hated government in Damascus and deliver Syria to the MB were rekindled. But it was not to be. Instead, all that’s left for SAC and the Syrian “revolution” groupies in the US is to hold annual celebrations commemorating a fictitious popular uprising and revolution that always enjoyed more support in Washington DC than it did in Damascus or Aleppo. So it’s only natural that Washington would be chosen as the venue for what’s become an annual event.

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Washington DC, USA

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Damascus, Syria

But just exactly how did SAC celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Syrian revolution? Under the slogan of “The Revolution Continues” they began with a visit to Congress to meet with members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s cheerleading squad. They appealed to members of Congress on moral and human rights grounds framing their pleas in the context of the need for the US to promote democracy and defend human rights in Syria. They not only chose to overlook the fact these same politicians wholeheartedly support Israel’s occupation of Palestine and endorsed repeated Israeli massacres, they deliberately chose to meet with the most fanatical supporters of  Israel and its occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights. SAC, of course, never mentions the occupied Golan when meeting with US officials. It speaks volumes about the nature of the Syrian “revolution” and those who support it that they consider Israel’s most fanatical supporters in the US to be the most receptive to their message and supportive of their calls for an all-out, US military assault on Syria.  

After meeting with Congress SAC proceeded to a US State Department “meeting” and then headed to the White House for a “briefing.” Here again the main theme was US regime moral authority and the need for the US to rescue Syria from the tyrannical dictator killing innocent women and children. At all times they maintained the façade of a US regime dedicated to promoting human rights and democracy around the world. It’s not necessary to revisit the history of US war crimes and active opposition to democracy and human rights everywhere. To reveal the complete and utter moral bankruptcy of those behind SAC it is sufficient to mention the very recent war crimes of the US in another Arab country bordering Syria. This is the same regime that knowingly and deliberately murdered 5000 children in Iraq every month for over a decade, but on which SAC calls to save Syria’s children. It is also the same regime that is complicit in every Israeli aggression and war crime and openly described last summer’s massacre in Gaza as “legitimate self-defense.” After completing these obscene meetings in which they attributed moral authority to US officials they proceeded to a swank hotel because as we all know any celebration of a US-backed “revolution” is incomplete without a Washington “gala.”

To cap the celebration SAC organized a rally across the White House at Lafayette Park. The event attracted less than 300 people, only about half of which were Syrian-Americans. Despite the low turnout it was quite theatrical at times and was attended by long forgotten figures such as Ghassan Hitto, George Sabra and Mouaz Khatib. Had the media been interested in covering the event they could have produced a “Where Are They Now” segment on western-promoted celebrity revolutionaries.  The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), whose Arab contingent shares SAC’s ideological orientation, helped organize the rally and used its network of activists to increase the turnout.  There is also a close relationship between CAIR and SAC as well as an overlap of leadership.  SAC representatives met with CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad to coordinate their efforts.

Four years after the launch of an imperialist aggression on Syria a small but proud country has stood up for itself and exposed both the false narrative promoted by Western governments and the lack of support among Syrians of their local clients and self-serving collaborators which SAC represents in the US. All that’s left of the Syrian “revolution” is a stale narrative and empty sloganeering about “freedom” and “dignity” and that’s all that was on display in Washington last weekend. SAC not only celebrated but promised to “continue the revolution” before returning to the safety and tranquility of their American suburbs. They proudly proclaimed a determination and bravado that would be admirable if they weren’t sitting in a hotel ballroom or enjoying a picnic at an American park as Syria continues to endure a barbaric, foreign-instigated campaign of violence directed against its people, state, and society.

The maintenance of thoroughly debunked lies and narratives as well as the hypocrisy of the entire charade was astounding to watch, and the pseudo-moralistic ranting and sloganeering about democracy and human rights in the buildings and parks of Washington DC rang hollow. Next year SAC will return to this city to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Syrian “revolution”, but they will, once again, do so with very little support from Syrian-Americans. SAC should plan to return to Lafayette Park for many years to come because the Syrian people have decided Umayyad Square will remain off-limits to them and those they represent.