Mr. Kassab who is 42 and who, according to his website, was born in London, grew up in Scotland, and lived and worked in the following cities and countries: London, France, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Oman, is one of the most vocal and articulate critics of the Assads.
Mr. Kassab aknowledges that peaceful protests are what brought down the first wave of dictatorial Arab regimes:
"Although protesters unashamedly fought back (with rocks, not guns) when attacked, the success of their largely peaceful mass movements seemed an Arab vindication of Gandhian nonviolent resistance strategies."Then he also aknowledges that some countries are different with regard to peaceful protests, without mentioning some obvious differences between these three countries while seeming to insist on a common feature of these countries; the violence.
But then came the much more difficult uprisings in Bahrain, Libya, and Syria.And while suggesting a certain level of violence by putting Syria along with Bahrain and Lybia as different from Tunisia and Egypt, Mr. kassab is still committed to the peaceful feature and peaceful goals of the Syrian revolution 2011.
Even after at least 1,300 deaths and more than 10,000 detentions, according to human rights groups, "selmiyyeh" still resounds on Syrian streets. It's obvious why protest organizers want to keep it that way.Mr Kassab omits to mention here among the 1300 deaths the army and security deaths making it seem as if all these deaths are the result of government crackdown on peaceful protesters. It is obvious why he does so, he doesn't want to mention, not yet, the violence of the protesters, not before giving an explanation first.
But as we continue reading the article, we find that Mr kassab ends up aknowledging the deaths of soldiers and security, presented away form the first premise (the peaceful premise), and justified as the result of regime's actions against its own servicemen, actions whose evidence one can find on youtube! So Mr Kassab only mentions the violence against the regime, not when he does the tally of the deaths, but after he gives an explanation for the violence against the regime.
Moreover, the only evidence he gives to support his explanation for the violence against the regime is...Youtube. Youtube is certainly not a definitive proof of what is going on in Syria and many of Youtube videos have been proven to be fabricated but the images are there on the web and they have now their own autonomous existence independant from what is going on on the ground in Syria. The Syrian Revolution 2011 has inundated the world with youtube videos whose evidential character is only credible to those who issue them and those who want to believe in them and whose only virtue, up to now, has been to stir the emotions of the Syrian diaspora and the international comunity, eager to know what is hapenning in Syria and who might be more easily influenced on forming an opinion through Youtube evidence as compared to Syrians living in Syria. Youtube propaganda does not even touch the Syrian people who should be the main target fo the attempts of the revolution to convince of its virtues. Mr Kassab will however give Syrians inside Syria another persuasive 'treatment' as we will see later. But with the accusation against the regime that it is killing its own we have our second false premise. Because until we have a solid evidence that the regime is killing its own we are not inclined to believe the Syrian revolution 2011 videographed propaganda.
After having affirmed the first two false premises: the peaceful character of the protesters and the deaths of Syrian servicemen as the result of the actions of the regime, Mr. Kassab can now turn to what? To the 'legitimate' violence of the protesters, a legitimacy he didn't even carefully tried to insert in the first two premises but he only suggests from pulling together three countries with very different revolutions but whose only feature is violence that was not forcefully condemned by any official body. So, not only the two false premises don't make a valid conclusion but the conclusion Mr. Kassab seems to draw doesn't even derive form the premises layed out explicitly in his article because these premsies were devoted to negate the violence of the protesters while the violence is only suggested, never argued for .
And a small minority of protesters does now seem to be taking up arms. Syrians -- regime supporters and the apolitical as much as anyone else -- have been furiously buying smuggled weapons since the crisis began. Last week for the first time, anti-regime activists reported that people in Rastan and Talbiseh were meeting tanks with rocket-propelled grenades. Some of the conflicting reports from Jisr al-Shaghour, the besieged town near the northwestern border with Turkey, describe a gun battle between townsmen and the army. And a mukhabarat man was lynched by a grieving crowd in Hama.
In fact, Mr. Kassab inserts his 'conclusion' as a matter of fact and strech it to a new horizon, the possibility of a civil war in Syria. The rest of the article is devoted to imagining civil war scenarios which he uses to implicitly threaten Syrians of a civil war if they do not join immediately the Syrian revolution 2011.
Sadly, Mr. Kassab ends up using the same psychological tools as the regime he is trying to topple, threatening Syrians with civil war if they do not join. This is an implicit recognition that the main battle the Syrian revolution still has to do is to win the majority of Syrians because why do you think both sides are threatening with civil war if not because each of them has not amassed enough support on his side? And this very recognition dispels another premise of the Syrian revolution 2011, that it has the support of the majority of Syrians. Mr Kassab's article proves it doesn't.
The brute facts is that the Syrian revolution 2011 is an armed insurgency, mainly peripheral to Syria's geography and its main cities, conducted on the ground by a disgruntled population who has nothing to lose, financed and armed by external elements, some of them are in the Syrian diaspora, who are presenting the revolution as a peaceful struggle to western audiences while trying to rally the majority of Syrians inside Syria through armed insurgency, threats of a civil war and intimidation, using exactly the methods af any dictatorial regime.
Mr Kassab may be a good fiction writer but his article is a collection of false premises, false conculsions, false hopes, and mainly threats to Syrians inside Syria who will have to bear the heavy burden a civil war while the author himslef agitates the spectre of the civil war from outside Syria where he works and lives. To put it in a nutshell, the discourse of the Syrian revolution 2011 is high on threats and emotions and poor on logic, excatly the sort of coerced persuasion used by dictatorial and populist regimes but not by people who strive to foster and build a democracy.