A Youtuber named Riley Dennis made a video about the Syrian Conflict a month ago in response to President Donald Trump bombing a Syrian air base that was allegedly used as a launching point for chemical strikes on civilians.
In the video Riley did say that it was meant to serve as a quick and brief introduction to the Syrian War, however it seems like another reason for Riley to continuously harp on President Trump; which there are many things we could bring up with regards to these short comings, the issue of Syria is much bigger than President Trump being in office, in fact the seeds for this conflict were sown long before the past three American administrations.
Most of the ideas behind the Islamic State comes from the ideas of Sayyid Qutb and his book Milestones, the main point of which is that to build an Islamic society a state needs to be established so as to train and teach other Muslims about Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. From this Islamic State other groups would be given support to go and take the fight to their home countries (most of which are backed by foreign powers) and thus add to the Islamic State by overthrowing these oppressive governments.
Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri says it best when he says “the struggle for the establishment of the Muslim state cannot be considered a regional struggle, certainly not after it had been ascertained that the Crusader alliance led by the United States will not allow any Muslim force to reach power in the Arab countries.” (His Own Words: The Writings of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri)
In a previous post the reasons for Israel being established was brought up, one of the more pronounced reasons was that it was meant to serve as a way to assure that Egypt and Syria couldn’t unite to fight against foreign intervention in the Islamic world. This was also the case with the peace treaties that were signed between Egypt and Israel, Dr. Zawahiri says that ” whoever examines the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will realize that it was intended to be a permanent treaty from which Egypt could not break loose. It was concluded in an attempt to establish on the ground, by force and coercion, a situation whereby it would be difficult to change by any government hostile to Israel that comes after al-Muhahideen.” (His Own Words: The Writings of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri)
The Syrian conflict is just another battleground for this idea of bringing back an Islamic way of living in that region, the same conflict took place in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. It also must be noted that this conflict has been going on in this form since 2011, that means that the Islamic State has been able to fight off the worlds powers for about 5 or 6 years (depending on when you think it was established.) However if you consider the Islamic State to have its roots from the Islamic State of Iraq during the Invasion of Iraq then that would mean that it’s history goes back to 2003 or 2004.
At this point it’s really a fight between the Islamic State and those who support it and the West with Russia and it’s ally’s fighting alongside it. In your video you mentioned rebel groups, yet no other group has been able to fight like the Islamic State has been able to, at this point they’re all just names on paper, they don’t control how things happen on the ground.
To drive this home let’s look at the advice that Dr. Zawahiri gave to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi when talking about the best way to create an Islamic state in Iraq:
“So we must think for a long time about our next steps and how we want to attain it, and it is my humble opinion that the Jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals.
The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq
The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before un-Islamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.
There is no doubt that this Emirate will enter into a fierce struggle with the foreign infidel forces, and those supporting them among the local forces, to put it in a state of constant preoccupation with defending itself, to make it impossible for it to establish a stable state which could proclaim a caliphate, and to keep the Jihadist groups in a constant state of war, until these forces find a chance to annihilate them.
The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.
The forth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.” (His Own Words: The Writings of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri)
So to tie this all together, the real war is between those who want an Islamic style of governance in their own lands, and those who don’t want that. This is really a discussion about if people have a right to choose how they want to live, especially if it can be done through the ballot box.
If the problem could have been solved through the democratic process then it would have been solved a long time ago.
(The video that this was in response to can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8vQVPI0h0U&t=33s )