, 19 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
This is a thread debunking the absurdities in Charles Lister’s recent article on Syria.

Let’s call it “Charles Lister has lost everything.” Here’s why.
1/ Ppl like Lister preferred to see war & suffering continue as long as it achieved their goal of state collapse rather than focus on abstract issues like humanitarian suffering. Lister opposes attempts to restore normality for Syrians if it means dealing w/ the government.
2/ “The Assad regime has not “won” anything...”

The regime didn’t start the war, but it survived, so it is winning. And it was your insurgency which led the bloodshed & fear just as much as the government’s response to it. Take some responsibility for the policies you supported
3/ “An honest discussion of Syria needs to acknowledge how the regime’s survival guarantees chaos”

An honest discussion would begin by admitting that you have NOT been to Syria and you don’t know anything about the place apart from what interlocutors told you in hotels in Turkey
4/ Lister is right that the government cannot take Idlib, even if he exaggerates the number of people living in Idlib and ignores the dead civilians on the government side- whose deaths provoked the attack on Idlib in the first place.
5/ So Iran’s refusal to take part in the operations reveals Iran’s value to Assad? This logic is hard to follow. Maybe it simply reveals Idlib’s limited value.

Also the Trump admin’s demand that Iran leave never had credibility bc who is the US to demand anything of Syria?
6/ “I’m told by reliable sources that they are turning an eye back to the “far enemy,” the West.”

Lets pretend Lister has sources among global jihadists-and this really stretches our credulity to its limits-their presence is a result of policies advocated by Lister & his friends
7/ Yes the regime will likely not take back Idlib any time soon and yes the north east remains unstable. That’s a result of policies Lister supported so of course he is gloating. There are 15 million people living in the rest of Syria under the government.
8/ “Having refused to support Idlib operations, Iran and Hezbollah appear to have expanded their presence in this central desert region.”

No they have not, they have been reducing their presence and are limited to the Bukamal area on the border.
9/ “Iranian military ops bring with them nonmilitary objectives,including the propagation of Shiite Islamic teaching, recruitment drives 4 Shiite militias, & Iranian religious charities.”

This is NOT TRUE, but even if it was it reveals Lister’s preference for Sunni sectarianism.
10/ “it’s hard not to see such Iranian activities as opportunity for ISIS to counter-recruit.”

ISIS is recruiting in the Kurdish areas. The primary cause of ISIS’s birth & resurgence was a weak state, and Lister bears responsibility since he advocated weakening the Syrian state.
11/ “the de-escalation design was a malign Russian initiative.”

De-escalation saved 100s of thousands of lives & mitigated destruction. Only a malign person would call this malign.

Lister talks like he conducts field work but is just repeating opposition social media gossip.
12/ Of course a government that has been besieged, starved of resources, sanctioned, and survived a war on hundreds of fronts is going to emerge weak, corrupted by the conflict and unable to return to the status quo ante over night...
13/ Lister lists problems that are a direct result of US meddling, US support for Arab militias, or Kurdish militias. Of course the state can’t return to the northeast when the US is opposed to it & the US/Europe are imposing crippling sanctions on the Syrian ppl and economy.
14/ The violence was a response to foreign-led violence of the insurgency Lister was supporting. The state didn’t wake up 1 day & decide to bomb east Ghota. Lister preferred the state not respond & merely wait for insurgents to storm Damascus & replace Assad w/ Zahran Alloush.
15) Lister is right that there will not be a serious reconstruction effort. Yet he supports the policy of holding the Syrian people hostage until demands for regime change are met.
16/ “more necessary than ever for the US & allies to double down”

DC thinks tanks always call for more US “engagement” to fix the consequences of previous destructive US engagement. What’s needed in Syria is a functioning economy & government, which Lister & his friends oppose.
17/ “immediate focus should be on exploiting leverage to set conditions 4 negotiations”

What he means by leverage is the suffering of the Syrian ppl. Let them suffer under our sanctions until the regime offers us concessions. That hasn’t worked now & won’t work in the future.
18) “If the US ends up leaving Syria in its current state of disorder, the resulting chaos will come back to haunt everyone. And there may not be anything anyone can do about it.”

Your policies caused this! until when should we expect the arsonist to be the fireman?
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