The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:02 pm

I didn't know this history and would not be surprised in the slightest if LaRouche and Duke turned out to be conscious agents of deep political power:


Russian attempts to woo American white supremacists have backfired

A quarter-century after American neo-fascists began looking to Russia for support, the relationship is on its heels.

The first, most prominent neo-fascist to travel to a newly independent Russia appears to be Lyndon LaRouche. A font of anti-Semitic conspiracy, LaRouche found fertile ground in Russia.

In October 1992, LaRouche’s Schiller Institute joined with the Russian State Humanitarian University to organize a conference on “Alternative Approaches to Economic Reform.” As LaRouche’s magazine would later relate, his ideas had “reach[ed] Moscow in time of troubles,” with his teachings, according to one conference participant, “open[ing] for us a new world.” The American fascist even managed at one point to speak in front of the entire Russian parliament.

LaRouche also partnered with Sergei Glazyev, a one-time Minister of External Economic Relations of the Russian Federation who later joined the opposition against President Boris Yeltsin. Glazyev’s patronage, as researcher Anton Shekhovtsov would write, allowed LaRouche to become “an opinion maker and commentator on political and economic issues in Russia — a status that LaRouche could not enjoy in his home country where he has remained a fringe political figure.”

Russia presents “an unmatched opportunity to help protect the longevity of the white race,” said David Duke.


LaRouche was soon superseded in Russia by another American white supremacist, however — one who gained newfound prominence decades later during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It’s unclear how David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan leader and anti-Semitic white supremacist extraordinaire, first ended up in Russia. Regardless of how he landed there, Duke says that his five years in Russia were some of the most productive in his life.

Duke sold his books in the Russian parliament and attended numerous white supremacist conferences in the country, often as the lone American representative. Toward the turn of the century, Duke began saying that Russia presented “an unmatched opportunity to help protect the longevity of the white race.” He clarified that Moscow — a city he said had “the largest number of [w]hite people of any city in the entire world” — was the “key to white survival.”

Along the way, Duke brought other American neo-fascists to Moscow, including Preston Wiginton, a Texas white supremacist who courted Russian skinheads in his own right.

Duke never managed to build the official ties LaRouche amassed. However, one photo hints at the types of audiences Duke attained while in Russia. In a black suit and maroon tie, Duke stands next to a man with a scraggly beard, a dark blazer, and drooping eyes — a man who would, in years to come, be referred to as “Putin’s Brain,” and who would become one of the primary nodes between Russian circles and American white nationalists.

Image
David Duke (left) and Alexander Dugin (right) pose in an undated photo.


More: https://thinkprogress.org/how-russia-wo ... cf6e3b814/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:47 pm

None of these characters seem to have much concern for Syrian people.

Image

The European Far-Right’s Sick Love Affair With Bashar al-Assad

The latest xenophobic far-right talking point, now that Assad’s forces are resurgent, is the idea of forced repatriation. That idea was on full display at a press conference last Monday, where Blex’s delegation of AfD politicians wanted to share their impressions of their trip to war-torn Syria. Blex, a short bespectacled man who is disliked by his fellow AfD functionaries for being a shameless suck-up, tried to argue that deporting refugees back to Syria would be “more humane” than allowing them to stay in Europe.

Aside from his posts about buying a coffee and what women in Damascus look like (“blue jeans instead of black veils!”), Blex caused an uproar when he published a photo of himself and the Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmed Badr al-Din Hassoun, who once threatened Europe and the U.S. with suicide bombers. Hassoun also reportedly told the German politicians that Syrians in Germany must return home. “Merkel, invite him!” Blex wrote.

The 43-year-old Blex, who was also in Russian-annexed Crimea last month to “discuss the lifting of sanctions,” found his tour of Damascus’ inner city (as opposed to its destroyed suburbs) to have many positive moments. “I thought the requests for selfies were sympathetic,” he told The Daily Beast. “People just came up to us and asked for selfies.”

Harald Weyel was also part of Blex’s delegation to Syria. The 58-year-old likes to cite Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees from Syria as proof that the war is no longer a threat. “America says that Syria is safe,” Weyel told The Daily Beast. He read that on Trump’s Twitter, and says that Blex told him that, too.

As a young man, Weyel wanted to join the army. Military service runs in his family (he is the son of a black American GI and the grandson of a Luftwaffe soldier). Instead, he has ended up joining a party whose rank and file finds it totally hilarious when Weyel, a trained economist who was born and raised in a mountainous region in western Germany, gets onstage and cracks jokes about his skin color being an “optical illusion.”

Weyel dismisses the other German politicians who slam him and his colleagues for courting the Assad regime while, as the Green Party spokesman has put it, “their ‘hosts’ throw bombs on children less than 15 kilometers away.” Weyel doesn’t necessarily dispute those facts (he refers to Assad’s brutal torture methods as Handwerkzeug—“tools of the trade”)— but he is open to alternative facts, as well. “Who are you gonna believe?” He asks. He says anti-Assad German politicians are just “swimming with the mainstream.”

Blex, Weyel, and the AfD aren’t the only ones trying to paint Syria’s war zone as a paradise. In 2016, a delegation from the Alliance of Peace and Freedom—a European political party composed of Nazis, fascists, and Holocaust deniers—also made its way to Syria. It was not their first visit. In Damascus, they were taken out to nightclubs by their translators and met with, amongst others, the minister for information, whom they later claimed gave them a list of names for all the “terrorists” who had left to go to Europe.

Udo Voigt, who sits in Brussels as the former leader of the German neo-Nazi party (the NPD)—and who supports Russia’s stance on Ukraine—was part of the Alliance of Peace and Freedom’s trip to Syria. Voigt once praised Hitler as a “great statesman.” He returned from Damascus in 2016 to announce that he “did not notice any oppression,” adding, “there is no reason to flee.”


https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-europ ... r-al-assad
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:53 pm

Another important critique:


Who knows what's going on in Syria?

April 19, 2018

An interview with Robin Yassin-Kassab

Image

People talk about Fake News and conspiracy theory in relation to Trump or Ukraine, but it seems that online disinformation has had its worst effect on the public conversation surrounding Syria. How much responsibility do you feel as an author and journalist covering Syria to engage with or correct false claims, fabricated images, social media trolls and so on?

From the start of the revolution in 2011 I aimed to inform and comment on actual events in Syria. Then it became more important to amplify Syrian voices and perspectives, because the English-language media in general was ignoring them. I didn’t pay much attention at first to the more extreme and blatant atrocity denial and propaganda. That was a mistake. The Assad regime, and Russia and Iran, have won the information or narrative war as surely as they’ve defeated the Syrian rebels. The aim of the Kremlin-Assad-Iran propaganda machine is not to create simply one alternative version of reality – because that version is a fiction, holes will inevitably be found in it – but many, so as to cloud the public sphere, so that nobody can be sure what’s happening. That’s why the Russian envoy to the UN claimed in the same speech that 1. there was no chemical atrocity in Douma, and 2. that the (non-existent?) atrocity was perpetrated by the rebels with help from western powers. Such stories are fed by the Kremlin onto western conspiracy theory websites, get picked up by alt-leftists and rightists, then by ignorant and lazy mainstream journalists, then become part of the accepted reality. So now, in order to discuss the latest Russian targeting of the White Helmets first responders, it’s necessary first to dispute endless conspiracy theories that the White Helmets are an al-Qaida front or a tool of western imperialism. Which is very convenient for the war criminals...

What do you think the past seven years have shown us about British and international politics?

Islamophobic and racist overgeneralisations are as prominent on the left as on the right. in a nonsensical and reactionary binarism, ‘progressives’ are more likely to express solidarity with states – even fascist or imperialist states – than with people. As a result there is increasing red-brown convergence.

Analysis and engagement have been sacrificed in favour of (inaccurate) grand narratives and conspiracy theories. This way of seeing the world ends up in demonology. So for instance the triumvirate of evil – Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US – must be blamed for everything from the Arab Spring to ‘inventing ISIS’. (Nobody needs to make stuff up to criticise these states. They certainly commit terrible crimes. But this overgeneralisation leads to a picture of the world which is entirely false. Saudi Arabia, for instance, is scared of ISIS, has been repeatedly attacked by ISIS, funded mainly the Free Army in Syria – but also Jaish al-Islam which, while Salafist, ruthlessly eliminate ISIS and al-Qaeda cells in its area of control. Indeed Saudi Arabia is currently pursuing a fiercely anti-Islamist policy in the Arab world. It underwrote General Sisi’s coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt).

The problem goes beyond the left. Brexit and Trump as well as Corbynism are symptoms of a larger cultural slide involving populism, conspiracism and the dominance of powerful fictions. A rigorous analysis of the phenomenon would have to take on board the role of social media and the growth of a ‘post-literate’ society in which people are simultaneously atomised (working at home, for instance, not meeting fellow workers every day) and strangely connected (to an international internet clique of similar opinion or interest). It may have to do with the collapse of traditional religion, then of its replacements (belief in progress, for instance), and therefore of the basic human need to fit ourselves into big stories.

We started the decade with grassroots revolutions. We’re heading to the end of the decade with these movements crushed on the ground and in the ideological sphere. Two pregnant quotes for our times:

Walter Benjamin – “Behind every rise of fascism is a failed revolution.”

Hannah Arendt – “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.



Image
Author Robin Yassin-Kassab lives in Scotland


https://www.aileanbeaton.com/articles/2 ... n-in-syria
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Elvis » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:02 pm

American Dream wrote:I would say that there's always the possibility that the White Helmets are some sort of nefarious front group


It's quite well established White Helmets are a front group: they're funded with $100,000,000 chiefly by the U.S. and the UK, and that effort includes their "SMART" PR/news agency and others. Even NPR has stopped calling the White Helmets neutral or non-partisan, but rather acknowledges them as a "pro-opposition group" and that shows them as a front group, fronting for their sponsors, mainly the US and UK governments.

Whether that's nefarious or not is debatable; my proposition is that, based on the evidence, they are indeed a nefarious group whose leaders in fact are drawn directly from the terrorist opposition groups who are recruited and supported by the US and various neocon-oriented PTB. For that last reason alone, I would not put it past those terrorists to launch a gas attack against civilians in order to blame it on Assad to draw in more Western military support.


American Dream wrote:I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, Ahmadenijad or others who sign off on murder and torture, just like the American presidents, generals and spy chiefs do.


AD, you have often suggested that your biggest objection to seeing, for example, the White Helmets as a US/neocon propaganda organ, is that it's a view similar to views held by Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, or whomever.

Would it be fair if I changed the wording of your quote above to read:

I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Trump, the CIA, the GOP, neocons like John Bolton or others who sign off on murder and torture, just like the American networks, generals and spy chiefs do.

If I'm "taking the side of Assad" then you're "taking the side of" Trump. Would it then be fair to call you a Trumpist? A neocon sympathizer? An empire lover?

I just think it's faulty logic to reject evidence because [insert name] has also cited it. That's not critical thinking.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Burnt Hill » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:19 pm

Well I am celebrating the holiday so I may be confused.
Elvis wrote:If I'm "taking the side of Assad" then you're "taking the side of" Trump. Would it then be fair to call you a Trumpist? A neocon sympathizer? An empire lover?

Isn't that the type of thinking that AD just rejected?
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Elvis » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:49 pm

Burnt Hill » Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:19 pm wrote:Well I am celebrating the holiday so I may be confused.
Elvis wrote:If I'm "taking the side of Assad" then you're "taking the side of" Trump. Would it then be fair to call you a Trumpist? A neocon sympathizer? An empire lover?

Isn't that the type of thinking that AD just rejected?


No, I understand AD's statement—

"I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, Ahmadenijad or others"

—to mean that if you think the White Helmets are a bogus operation who falsely accuse Assad of gassing civilians, then you are on the side of Putin and Assad, Gaddaffi etc.

I think that's a very oblique way of looking at things, it can only hamper objectivity, so I reversed the terms to show that I'm no more an "Assadist" than is AD a "Trumpist."

Hope that helps.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Belligerent Savant » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:59 pm

.
Indeed, I alluded to the same (perhaps more bluntly) at the bottom of the prior page of this thread.

It is absolutely faulty logic, and lacking in critical thinking. No matter; he'll continue to proceed in this faulty reasoning, as he has. For years.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Burnt Hill » Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:30 pm

I could be wrong, and I am under the influence of copious amounts of kind bud - but I thought AD clarified his views on the white helmets in a way that is not in sync with this -


Elvis wrote:"I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, Ahmadenijad or others"

—to mean that if you think the White Helmets are a bogus operation who falsely accuse Assad of gassing civilians, then you are on the side of Putin and Assad, Gaddaffi etc.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby Jerky » Sat Apr 21, 2018 4:16 am

Elvis » 21 Apr 2018 02:02 wrote:
American Dream wrote:I would say that there's always the possibility that the White Helmets are some sort of nefarious front group


It's quite well established White Helmets are a front group: they're funded with $100,000,000 chiefly by the U.S. and the UK, and that effort includes their "SMART" PR/news agency and others. Even NPR has stopped calling the White Helmets neutral or non-partisan, but rather acknowledges them as a "pro-opposition group" and that shows them as a front group, fronting for their sponsors, mainly the US and UK governments.

Whether that's nefarious or not is debatable; my proposition is that, based on the evidence, they are indeed a nefarious group whose leaders in fact are drawn directly from the terrorist opposition groups who are recruited and supported by the US and various neocon-oriented PTB. For that last reason alone, I would not put it past those terrorists to launch a gas attack against civilians in order to blame it on Assad to draw in more Western military support.


American Dream wrote:I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, Ahmadenijad or others who sign off on murder and torture, just like the American presidents, generals and spy chiefs do.


AD, you have often suggested that your biggest objection to seeing, for example, the White Helmets as a US/neocon propaganda organ, is that it's a view similar to views held by Putin, Assad, Gaddaffi, or whomever.

Would it be fair if I changed the wording of your quote above to read:

I reject the idea that "woke", conspiracy-aware people must somehow take the side of Trump, the CIA, the GOP, neocons like John Bolton or others who sign off on murder and torture, just like the American networks, generals and spy chiefs do.

If I'm "taking the side of Assad" then you're "taking the side of" Trump. Would it then be fair to call you a Trumpist? A neocon sympathizer? An empire lover?

I just think it's faulty logic to reject evidence because [insert name] has also cited it. That's not critical thinking.


Elvis, would you please pass along a link or two where one might find the sort of information that might make an otherwise intelligent person such as yourself come to the firm conclusion that the White Helmets are a bunch of terrorists engaging in theater of crisis?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:11 am

Burnt Hill is correct. I reject the idea of choosing "sides" itself. Given the gross misrepresentations that are being represented as "fact", I'm going to let it go at that.
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:21 am

For example, this is fully compatible with an internationalist perspective that is not at all enamoured of western power, is deeply critical of the State and strongly supportive of refugees.

Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians

Mehdi Hasan
April 19 2018, 12:00 p.m.


DEAR BASHAR AL-ASSAD APOLOGISTS,

Sorry to interrupt: I know you’re very busy right now trying to convince yourselves, and the rest of us, that your hero couldn’t possibly have used chemical weapons to kill up to 70 people in rebel-held Douma on April 7. Maybe Robert Fisk’s mysterious doctor has it right — and maybe the hundreds of survivors and eyewitnesses to the attack are all “crisis actors.”

Maybe Assad didn’t use sarin to kill around 100 people in rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun a year ago either. A joint investigation by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found “unmistakable evidence” that he did. Human Rights Watch and Hans Blix also agree that Assad was probably to blame. But maybe they’re all wrong. Or, maybe they’re paid shills for the CIA.

My point is this: Who cares? Seriously, who cares? Whether or not it was Assad who used chemical weapons in Syria earlier this month, or last year, might matter to the leaders of the U.S., the U.K., and France, who decided to launch brazenly illegal and rather pointless airstrikes against his regime, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Syrian president-for-life is a monster who has perpetrated a vast array of blatant human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Now, I totally understand why those of you on the MAGA-supporting far right who cheer for barrel bombs don’t give a damn about any of this. But to those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?

Remember: Whether Assad used chemical weapons in Douma is irrelevant to the moral case against him. What about the rest of his crimes? Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his “indiscriminate bombardments,” according to the U.N., were destroying “homes, medical facilities, schools, water and electrical facilities, bakeries and crops,” without the aid of sarin or chlorine? When he was dropping barrel bombs (68,000 since 2012, according to one count) on defenseless civilians? Or cluster bombs? Or good ol’-fashioned shells?

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his troops “opened fire during protests in the southern part of Syria … and killed peaceful demonstrators” at the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, long before any jihadists had arrived in the country to fight against his regime? Or when his soldiers delivered the brutalized corpse of 25-year-old protester Ghiyath Matar — nicknamed “Little Gandhi” for his commitment to nonviolent activism — to his pregnant wife and parents in Deraya in September 2011?

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his barrel bombs were forcing hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee from their homes? An October 2015 survey of Syrian refugees living in Germany found that seven in 10 of them blamed Assad for the violence in their country, compared to one in three who blamed the Islamic State.

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when he was torturing tens of thousands of Syrians in his dungeons, many of whom ended up dead or disappeared? “The mass scale of deaths of detainees suggests that the government of Syria is responsible for acts that amount to extermination as a crime against humanity,” declared Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chair of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria, in February 2016.

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his security forces were literally starving the people of Madaya, an opposition-held town an hour’s drive from Damascus, in 2015 and 2016? Scores of residents died from malnutrition and starvation, according to Physicians for Human Rights; others were forced to survive on soup made from grass and rice. “Let me be clear,” declared then-U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in January 2016, referring to the situation in Madaya and other regime- and rebel-held towns, “the use of starvation as a weapon of war is a war crime.”

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when he was bombarding and besieging stateless Palestinians at the Yarmouk refugee camp, a few miles from his presidential palace, in 2012, 2013, and 2014? “The harrowing accounts of [Palestinian] families having to resort to eating cats and dogs, and civilians attacked by [Syrian army] snipers as they forage for food, have become all too familiar details of the horror story that has materialized in Yarmouk,” noted Amnesty International in March 2014.

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when members of his notorious mukhabarat were repeatedly whipping Maher Arar with electrical cables in 2003, at the behest of the U.S. government and long before the Arab Spring kicked off in 2011? The Syrian president was an eager accomplice in the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program, and Syria became one of the “most common” destinations for rendered suspects. To quote former CIA agent Robert Baer: “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria.”

Was Assad any less of a war criminal when he was funneling jihadists from Syria into Iraq to carry out suicide attacks — not just against American soldiers, but against Iraqi civilians, too? “Ninety percent of terrorists from different Arabic nationalities infiltrated Iraq through Syrian territory,” then-prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, claimed in 2009. “I went and met President Bashar al-Assad twice, and presented him with material evidence … that his security forces were involved in … transporting jihadists from Syria to Iraq,” the former Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie revealed in 2015.

Are you really going to tell me this is all “fake news”? All pro-rebel or pro-Gulf propaganda? That none of it happened? That none of the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, or the millions of refugees, are the fault of Assad? That none of the torture was real? Or that Palestinian refugees starved themselves? Maher Arar made it all up? Ghiyath al-Matar killed himself? Seriously?

Is this atrocity denial really necessary? Is it the only way you know how to oppose rapacious U.S. foreign policy, or Saudi-inspired extremism, or Israeli opportunism? By absolving Assad of well-documented war crimes, while smearing all humanitarian rescuers as “Al Qaeda” and all of the civilian victims of his bombs and bullets as “terrorists“? By cozying up to Iran and Russia in order to give the finger to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia? Is this not the “anti-imperialism of fools“?

Let me be clear, before you revert to the usual evasions and whataboutery, or try and smear me as a dupe of the CIA or an agent of the Zionists or the Qataris: Yes, Syrian rebel groups have committed their own fair share of murders, kidnappings, and torture. I’ve been a consistent critic of the rebels (see here, here, and here), and I need no lessons from any of you on their shameful role in prolonging and escalating the violence and chaos in Syria.

But here’s the thing: You can condemn rebel atrocities and western meddling in Syria without heaping praise on, or making excuses for, the loathsome Assad. Have you forgotten the old adage about walking and chewing gum at the same time? Or the one about my enemy’s enemy not being my friend? Denouncing the rebels and their backers doesn’t require defending Assad and his backers. Compared to ISIS, the Syrian president may be, in your view, the lesser of two evils — but he’s still evil.

And, look, we can argue over whether or not to support a “no-fly” zone (I didn’t); arming the rebels (I didn’t); U.S.-led airstrikes (I don’t); or regime change in Damascus (I don’t). What we can’t, and shouldn’t, argue over are the unspeakable war crimes committed by Assad against his own people; what we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to is the vile — and violent — nature of his regime.

The truth is that Bashar al-Assad is not an anti-imperialist of any kind, nor is he a secular bulwark against jihadism; he is a mass murderer, plain and simple. In fact, the Syrian dictator long ago booked his place in the blood-stained pantheon of modern mass murderers, alongside the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Henry Kissinger, and George W. Bush. I can think of few human beings alive today who have more blood on their hands than he has.


https://theintercept.com/2018/04/19/dea ... s-syrians/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:53 pm

Justice is owed but the brutality can never be undone.

Some activists have lost their moral compass with respect to Syria

Image

By Maher Arar. Originally submitted to the Intercept in January, 2017. The publication didn’t publish it. I heard back from the editor but no reason was provided.


I know what you are thinking: why should I read for someone who has been tortured by the Assad regime? Isn’t his opinion biased? And doesn’t his grudge against Assad prevent him from seeing the reality on the ground, as it is? If you are one of those people, please stop right here as my words won’t make a difference to your ears.

But if you are ready to read my words with an open mind then continue reading, and hopefully you will learn one thing or two.

And by the way, to the disappointment of many, my Op-Ed will not only speak to the mind but also to the heart. And because of this, I will not include any references as I find them distracting to you, the reader. Contact me on Twitter (@ArarMaher) and I will be more than happy to provide you with references.

I have been watching the Twitter debate over Syria dramatically evolve for the past five years. And nothing more appalled me than the position taken by many who consider themselves to be on the left side of the political spectrum. Those include Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, to name few. I used to have a lot for respect for them, that is until they lost their moral compass with respect Syria (just read their tweets on Palestine and Syria to find out for yourself the huge contradictions).

I tried my best within the last few weeks to engage some of those activists on Twitter but, unfortunately, I didn’t find any willingness on their part to debate the issue. In fact, I was blocked by Rania Khalek immediately after my defence of Murtaza Hussein’s balanced reporting on Syria. I found it inappropriate for her to mock a colleague and as such could no longer stay silent.

I now came to the conclusion that the inconsistency of positions taken by these activists and their cult-like stubbornness make them look closer to religious zealots than to people who are seeking the truth.

I had decided to not confront these people early on because I naively thought their position would self correct as time went by. But I was wrong as the exact opposite happened: these people- many of whom consider themselves as journalists- have become apologists for the Assad regime. They may not agree with me on this but whether they like or not their selective reporting and bias show easily in their articles and tweets.

In fact, many have even gone lower by mocking the victims of Assad’s atrocities and implicitly, or sometimes explicitly, covering up his wholesale crimes and atrocities. And that explains why, contrary to my old habit of not mentioning names, I started naming names in my tweets. That also explains why I went out of my way to write this Op-Ed, despite having made the decision to lead a private life. Consider this a harsh reaction, but for me nothing is harsher than siding with a dictator who is responsible for the majority of the misery, destruction and deaths of his own people.

Now to the facts.

One has first to acknowledge the spontaneous nature of many uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). What happened in Tunisia and Syria, for example, were spontaneous and understandable reactions by people who have been ruled with an iron-first for decades.

In Syria, under-age kids have been arrested by the Assad regime after spray painting anti-regime slogans (as far as I know those kids didn’t receive these “spray guns” from foreign powers).

What was the reaction of Assad’s Mukhabarat? Predictably, these kids were detained, tortured, and some were returned to their mothers in body bags. And when the families of those boys inquired about the fate of their loved ones they were told to forget about them. When they persisted they were told “bring us your wives and we will make you new boys”. You are smart enough to understand what this expression means.

Now, I want you to consider this: what would your reaction and feelings be as a parent if this was done to your son or daughter?

Despite the horrible atrocities carried out by the regime against peaceful protestors, the uprising, by all credible accounts, remained peaceful for months to come. Isolated incidents of shootings here and there should not distract us from the fact the majority of Syrians never thought about carrying arms to begin with. In fact, Syrians didn’t even call for the downfall of the regime during the early weeks of the uprising. They simply demanded that Assad punishes those who tortured the boys.

Assad could have of course punished the perpetrators for their crimes in order to quiet the people but, alas, a regime whose main pillar is the rule of the powerful doesn’t think like you and me.

Nothing best illustrates how the Assad regime thinks and acts than this story that was related to me directly by a 60-year old man who was imprisoned in Sednaya during the time I was there. And by the way, this gentleman was part of a 11-member group who was detained simply because him and his group demonstrated against the US invasion of Iraq without explicit permission from the government. This is the same group that Giath Matar, the famous peaceful activist whom the regime tortured and then cut his throat in September 2011, would later join.

This elder told me that while being interrogated by a high-ranking intelligence official he tried to reason with him by asking him “why don’t you treat citizens with honour and respect”. This Colonel replied “we want to rule people by the shoes”, a famous Syrian expression that signifies the use of force and humiliation as a tool to subdue the citizenry.

Have you ever watched any of Assad’s interviews? Does he seem like a person who wants to compromise in order to save the country? Didn’t he always refer to ALL of his opponents as terrorists, and he still does? So, instead of putting the onus on his opponents, however fragmented and divided they are, to lay down their arms, why not put the blame on Assad who has always held the key to end this bloodshed much earlier? If Assad really wanted peace, he could have called for elections years ago while immediately excluding his name from the ballot. Is that much to ask to end the bloodshed?

To demonstrate how Assad exploited and manipulated the word “terrorist”, he has always labeled the Muslim Brotherhood as “terrorists”. Well, journalists failed to ask him why he then had supported Hamas and hosted their leadership knowing fully well that Hamas was a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood! What is very disturbing is that the activists mentioned above now liberally use these same meaningless labels (terrorists, extremists, fanatics, etc) to describe Assad’s opponents. This is ironic, and laughable indeed, given these same activists have spent a good part of their career mocking the use of these labels when used by the “empire”.

Are Assad opponents angels? No they are not. Have some of them committed war crimes. Yes you bet, according to many credible reports. Do all people in Syria oppose Assad? Not at all, especially when you know the minority he belongs to – the majority of whom support him- forms 10% of Syrians. Do all Syrians support the rebels? No they don’t. Do some vetted rebels receive weapons from the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Of course they do. To say otherwise is to deny the obvious.

On the other side of the coin, it is equally deceiving to label all of Assad’s opponents as “Islamists”, “Al-Qaeda”, “extremists” or “terrorists”. To do so is to imitate Assad himself as to shield himself from accountability and to justify his reckless campaign of killing and destruction. It is also important to listen to how the majority of Syrians opposing Assad view these groups. What matters most is their opinions and not ours, Westerners living in comfort and peace thousands of miles away from the conflict.


Continues at: https://hummusforthought.com/2018/04/22 ... -to-syria/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:04 pm

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The Permutations of Assadism

Posted on February 28, 2018 by Amar Diwakar

The history of the past century is littered with episodes of anthropogenic evil: Armenia, the Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur. In their aftermaths, reverberated the collective riposte of “never again.” Only to be followed by Syria, awaiting its eventual transcription into modernity’s catalog of barbarism.

Seven years in the making, the internecine conflict has mutated into nothing short of a global catastrophe: culminating in the worst humanitarian tragedy of the postwar period, spawning a refugee crisis of unparalleled proportions, and fermenting a belligerent sectarianism where ‘disaster Islamism’ wound up thriving. As the world looked on in horror and outrage, it simultaneously resigned itself to the conclusion that the Syrian byzantine precluded any objective extrapolation; that it is far too “complicated” to acquire neutral information is invoked with almost chronic exhortation.

A sub-thread to this sophism of withdrawal is a rancid Assadist discourse that has colonized debate in radical circles; one reinforced by ideas promulgated by prominent figures lauded for their ‘anti-imperialist’ credentials. From intellectual luminaries to dissident journalists, the rot runs deep. Indeed, one of the greatest collateral damages the Syrian disaster has wrought has been their respective moral and intellectual decay.

Concomitantly, is a well-coordinated media disinformation campaign sustained by virtual echo chambers of self-referential feedback loops. The sheltering of Assadism under the canopy of ‘anti-imperialism’ has spurred on a lobotomized conspiracy baiting, nourished by a glut of ‘alternative news’ networks that churn out regime apologia across the ideological spectrum. In eschewing the standards of responsible journalism, this multilateral manipulation taskforce works to undermine any concrete public understanding of the revolution’s origin and the scale of barbarity exercised against it, while propping up the narrative of a despot that is the tormentor of millions.

The volatile machinations of war notwithstanding, what might explain a reckless plunge into the toxic realm of information nihilism? And how, in the face of overwhelming violence by one side, can such a moral cul-de-sac be arrived at?

Fake Worlds

In his docu-film HyperNormalisation, Adam Curtis outlines a world deemed much too complex for our leaders to handle. Instead, they have assembled a simplified vision of reality and our place in it; one teeming with anti-systemic rogues ripe for elimination. Supplemented with this is a constellation of immersive apparatuses, wielding tools of manipulation in the service of a methodical enchainment to the illusory worlds of cyber-capitalism, as its algorithms trap us in a cesspool of narcissistic oblivion.

Reality is now simulated: synthetic conditions that are generated seem more “real” than the actual experiential act, what Jean Baudrillard identified as “hyper-reality”. At the heart of this is the notion that our contemporary experience is devoid of equilibrium. Artificial environments of learning, mobile devices, and interface VR or entertainment systems of communication and visual-sound displays have begun to reshape our perceptions and limbic system in ways we are yet grasp intelligibly.

Information has replaced the machine as the basic mode of production. New media exemplifies a profound fragmentation with its myriad streams of content, and when compounded with the disorientation of globalization, has inverted reality into the sphere of the incomprehensible. A departure into techno-fantasies is interwoven with insecurity: in the face of economic and social turmoil, we have fled to a more secure, wistful past on our screens. Neoliberalism’s mantra – the “dictatorship of no alternatives” as Roberto Unger called it – succeeded in terminating the possibility of future-oriented utopia, leaving a nostalgic utopianism to curdle in response.

The late philologist Svetlana Boym acutely observed the contemporaneous proliferation of nostalgia. She understood that “the sentiment itself, the mourning of displacement and temporal irreversibility, is at the very core of the modern condition.” Boym diagnosed nostalgia to be a “historical emotion” of our age, whose attempts to create a “phantom homeland” realized through transhistorical restoration would only breed monstrous consequences.

According to Boym’s typology, a restorative nostalgia “is at the core of recent national and religious revivals. It knows two main plots – the return to origins and the conspiracy.” And so we inhabit a landscape where MAGA hats, Little England, the Hindu Rashtra, and a mythical Caliphate have arrested imaginaries with a panoply of symbolic overtures; as it gestures towards the rehabilitation of a time and space that preserves tradition and absolute truth by zealously pursuing historical revisionism and purification of the social body from contagion.


https://splinteredeye.wordpress.com/201 ... -assadism/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:19 pm

Petrified Assadism

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Petrified wood (wood that has turned into stone)

If you’ve been following Assadist propaganda as closely as me, you’re probably aware that it divides into two fairly distinct approaches: hard and soft.

The soft approach goes something like this. In 2011, Syrians rose up with legitimate grievances but before long (ranging between 6 months and 2 years approximately), the revolt was commandeered by jihadists. It is not unusual for people in this camp to be very critical of Assad, to refer to his neoliberalism, his repression, etc. The only solution to the country’s problems is to convene an international conference that can resolve the crisis through peaceful means. This requires allowing the dictatorship to remain in place since attempts to remove it will only prolong the misery. Vijay Prashad, Phyllis Bennis and the Stop the War Coalition in England are fairly representative of this trend.

The hardies view Assad as the head of a “developmental” state like Gaddafi’s Libya. Attention is paid to the Baathist past when state ownership was central to the economy and when social welfare measures were generous. There is a tendency to characterize the rebellion as illegitimate from the start, with claims that it initiated the violence and was Islamist from the outset. Much of the narrative has a conspiracist quality, with frequent references to Wikileaks and the infamous document on the Judicial Watch website that supposedly proves that the West favored groups like ISIS when in fact, it concludes that this would be the worst possible outcome. Typifying this camp are Stephen Gowans, The Partisan Girl, Vanessa Beeley and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

If you had asked me a year ago how the Grayzone people fit into this spectrum, I would have placed them either in the soft group or in between the two. For example, in a Real News interview in 2017, Max Blumenthal put forward a fairly “soft” position:

In my opinion, they [the media] have abrogated their mission, which should be to challenge mainstream narratives and particularly imperial narratives on issues like Syria. I understand there are massive human rights abuses by the Syrian government, but that’s not reason enough to not explore what the West’s agenda, the Gulf agenda is for that country, what the consequences are, to actually get into the geopolitical issues. [emphasis added]


However, more recently it appears that Blumenthal and his gang are firmly in the hard zone, if not reaching the point where they will be creating a new group that might be called Petrified Assadism. The evidence can be found in recent tweets by Blumenthal that reflect a surprising affinity with deranged propagandists like Stephen Gowans.

Yesterday, Blumenthal linked to a Gowans attack on Medhi Hasan with this preface: “Stephen Gowans on @mehdirhasan’s moral posturing and his attempt to discipline the consequential left”. Here’s the background on this. The chemical attack on Douma has provoked a number articles criticizing the Assadist left for its “false flag” trolling. Among them is Medhi Hasan’s (@mehdirhasan) one on the Intercept titled “Dear Bashar al-Assad Apologists: Your Hero Is a War Criminal Even If He Didn’t Gas Syrians”. Hasan must have irked people like Blumenthal who has endorsed the “false flag” narrative:

Now, I totally understand why those of you on the MAGA-supporting far right [Make America Great Again] who cheer for barrel bombs don’t give a damn about any of this. But to those of you on the anti-war far left who have a soft spot for the dictator in Damascus: Have you lost your minds? Or have you no shame?

Remember: Whether Assad used chemical weapons in Douma is irrelevant to the moral case against him. What about the rest of his crimes? Was Assad any less of a war criminal when his “indiscriminate bombardments,” according to the U.N., were destroying “homes, medical facilities, schools, water and electrical facilities, bakeries and crops,” without the aid of sarin or chlorine? When he was dropping barrel bombs (68,000 since 2012, according to one count) on defenseless civilians? Or cluster bombs? Or good ol’-fashioned shells?


In a tweet responding to Hasan, Blumenthal endorsed the reporting of Robert Fisk, the go-to guy for all things Assadist:

Now here is @mehdirhasan reinforcing the official msm/Guardian narrative that if you accept the credibility of Robert Fisk’s reporting from Douma or question the credibility of the insurgent-allied, US-funded White Helmets, you’re a crazy conspiracist…


Since Blumenthal is on record as a supporter of the truthiness of Russian media, I hope he can explain the latest report on RT.com that is sharply opposed to Fisk’s. It relies on coverage by ZDF television in Germany. At first blush, the article’s title appears to be consistent with the tale told by the Kremlin: “’Whole story was staged’: Germany’s ZDF reporter says Douma incident was false flag attack”. However, when you read a bit further, it veers off in an entirely another direction:

The scene of the attack, which allegedly took place on April 7, was in fact the “command post” of a local Islamist group, the [ZDF] reporter said, citing the witnesses he was able to speak to at the refugee camp.

He went on to say that, according to the locals, the militants brought canisters containing chlorine to the area and “actually waited for the Syrian Air Force to bomb the place, which was of particular interest for them.”

As the Syrian forces eventually struck the place, which was apparently a high-priority military target, the chlorine canisters exploded. The locals also told Gack that it is not the first such provocation in Douma that was staged by the militants.
[emphasis added]

According to other witness accounts, the militants deliberately exposed people to chemical agents during what they called “training exercises” then filmed it and later presented as an “evidence” of the alleged chemical attack in Douma.


So RT.com publishes an article that states “chlorine canisters exploded” during a helicopter bombing. These innocent helicopter crews had no intention of gassing people. The dear hearts only wanted to blast them to kingdom come with nice, little barrel bombs.

A good prosecutor would put RT.com in the witness stand and ask which story was right. Was it a totally staged Mission Apollo hoax in which a nonprofessional cast pretended to be dead with artificial foam on their mouths? Or were there dead people whose relatives only had the jihadis to blame? If they hadn’t devilishly been putting chlorine canisters under the direct aim of helicopters, everybody in Douma would have lived happily ever after. Maybe with some amputated limbs and a few killed here and there but all’s fair in love and war.


Continues: https://louisproyect.org/2018/04/23/petrified-assadism/
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Re: The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Postby American Dream » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:24 am

"Neither Right nor Left" brings a huge mess of muddled thinking:


Dereliction of Duty? The Left and the Syrian Civil War

By Evan Sandlin

OCTOBER 30, 2016



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“IF EVER a country deserved rape it’s Afghanistan,” said the late left-wing journalist Alexander Cockburn in January 1980, just before the start of major Soviet operations in Afghanistan. The Afghan government had already imprisoned and executed tens of thousands, alarming even its Soviet backers, whose direct invasion brought more horrors. From 1979 until 1989, roughly 1.5 million Afghan civilians were killed, five million more became refugees, and another two million were internally displaced.

Despite the carnage, a number of Western leftists applauded Soviet actions, characterizing the new government as good-hearted reformers, dedicated to “deep-seated social reform.” The invasion was supported by members of the “old left,” such as the Communist Party USA, as well as by influential figures in the “new left,” like Angela Davis, Daniel Lazare, and Fred Halliday.

Recent gyrations about the Syrian Civil War have a similar moral vacuum. For many on the left, the Assad regime is a longstanding bastion of socialism, secularism, modernization, and anti-imperialism. In a sea of US-backed client states in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, Syria appeared resilient in the face of US power, even as the end of the Cold War decimated left-wing movements around the globe. But the enduring myth of the Assad family’s left-wing orientation is convincingly deconstructed by Syrian authors Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami in Burning Country, their account of the origins of the Syrian Civil War.

The authors recount a long list of the late Hafez al-Assad’s dubious accomplishments, which should ostensibly unsettle left-wing readers: betrayal of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, acceptance of aid from Gulf monarchies, joining the US coalition in the 1991 Gulf War, working “to preserve the Islamic identity of the country,” and economic liberalization. Bashar al-Assad’s socialist credentials are even less convincing. The younger Assad participated in the US “War on Terror,” cut subsidies for food and fuel, aggressively liberalized banking and trade, and opened the country to US and European oil drilling. Far from being a bastion of socialism, Yassin-Kassab and Al-Shami characterize Assad’s Syria as a “fascist” and “corporatist” state.

The authors downplay the effect of US sanctions (they mention them only in passing) and do not credit Hafez al-Assad for some of his more successful modernization efforts. However, it is difficult to see how one could maintain a view of Assad’s Syria as friendly to left-wing causes, let alone basic liberal notions of universal human rights. The only way in which such a view could be supported is if one adopts an outdated “Eastern bloc is good, Western bloc is bad” framework for analyzing international politics.

But this is exactly what many on the left have done. The inability to look outside the Cold War lens has led many leftists to be crude apologists for Assad’s crimes. As a consequence, they have begun to parrot the same tendencies they disparage Western jingoists for.

Acceptance of State Propaganda

Defenders of Assad seem to embrace any reporting that fits the regime’s narrative. The most shameful instance was the reaction to a chemical attack on Ghouta, which left hundreds of Syrian civilians dead, a good number of them children, and was overwhelmingly blamed on Syrian government forces by US media, foreign governments, and international human rights organizations. The UN fact-finding mission reported that the weaponry used indicated access to the Assad regime’s chemical weapons stockpile, Russian-manufactured weaponry, and Syrian government–held territory — all hallmarks of a Syrian government operation.

But many on the left, such as historian Tariq Ali and journalist Robert Fisk, have disputed the evidence in favor of concocting wild conspiracy theories and accepting Russian propaganda. Russia Today (RT), the favorite network of Assad apologists, accused the Islamic State of carrying out the attack through the use of materials smuggled out of Turkey, ignoring the fact that nearly every expert points out that the quality of sarin indicates Syrian government origins. The RT report is supported by the testimony of a single member of parliament in the ultranationalist and anti-Islamist Turkish opposition.

Other conspiracy theories have made their way into leftist circles via once-renowned journalist Seymour Hersh, who disputes Syrian government responsibility based upon the testimony of a single anonymous former US Defense Department official. Nevertheless, Hersh’s poorly sourced account has found acceptance among left-wing journalists, including Fisk, Patrick Cockburn (brother of the late Alexander Cockburn), and Peter Lee.

The left-wing denial of Syrian government crimes is almost always explicitly framed in terms of arguing against US intervention. If the chemical weapons claim is false, then the justification for US intervention against Assad crumbles. Similar arguments were made in the run-up to NATO’s intervention in Libya, which amounted to denying Gaddafi’s many crimes.

The Assad regime used chemical weapons. US military intervention would be disastrous. Cannot both of these claims be true at the same time?

What-Aboutism

The phrase “what about” usually follows any recounting of crimes against a Western state. When Israel is condemned on college campuses or global forums, Israeli apologists always make it a point to list a number of countries with comparably worse human rights records. What about Egypt? What about Syria? What about Saudi Arabia?

Of course, this is pure distraction and in no way exonerates the state of Israel. But a large number of leftists have borrowed this tactic whenever Assad’s crimes in Syria are discussed. Take presidential candidate Gloria La Riva, who is leading the ticket for the Party of Socialism and Liberation. When Assad was condemned as a “butcher” in the Democratic debates, La Riva tweeted the following:

#Clinton2016 #Sanders2016, both wrong & lying! #Assad not a “butcher.” They know who’s responsible for terror in #MidEast: US govt, Israel


Condemning Assad or the actions of the Russians in Syria seems to also provoke accusations of hypocrisy and the retelling of Israeli atrocities in Gaza or the US invasion of Iraq. These crimes should indeed be condemned, but Assadist leftists would use them to deny Syrians the space to discuss the repression of their people.

Sometimes the “what-aboutism” doesn’t come from Assadists but from well-intentioned critics of Western foreign policy who simply don’t understand how they are disrupting discussions of Syrian suffering. A recent meme making the rounds on social media transposes the words “Bush foreign policy,” “Obama foreign policy,” “Trump foreign policy,” and “Clinton foreign policy” over the shocking photo of Syrian child Omran Daqneesh. The meme makes a poignant statement about the reality of US foreign policy, that children will be victimized regardless of who is in office, but it does so at the expense of drawing attention away from Syrian suffering.

Nearly 95 percent of all Syrian civilian casualties are perpetrated by the Assad regime, but many leftists place an undue focus on the Western coalition, calling it the “real force that is undermining any possibility of a complete ceasefire in Syria.” Others, such as journalist Patrick Cockburn, maintain that while some Syrians have suffered at the hands of the Assad regime, Syrian government supporters and Alawites have suffered at the hands of rebels. What seems on its face to be a neutral statement of fact is not. It ignores the vastly greater scale of Assad’s atrocities in comparison to those of the rebels, even those affiliated with the Islamic State.

It is grossly inaccurate to discuss a conflict in terms of equal suffering on “sides” when one of those sides is killing the other at a rate of 10 to one. This is readily understood by members of the left in the context of events like the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, which killed over 2,000 Palestinian civilians and 13 Israeli civilians. Journalist Max Blumenthal calls efforts to portray Palestinians and Israelis as equal sides “normalization,” since such framing erases the fact that one side is the oppressor and the other is the oppressed.

Remarkably, though, Blumenthal does not extend such courtesy to the Syrian rebels or even Syrian first responders. Instead, he criticizes their politics extensively while saying virtually nothing about the brutality of the much more powerful (and much more deadly) Assad regime.

Orientalism and Islamophobia

Another prominent thread in left-wing Assadist apologetics is Orientalism and Islamophobia. The view that the natives are backward and need redemption was also a staple of left-wing commentary in defense of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

William Blum called Afghanistan “a backward nation […] most people living in nomadic tribes […] identifying more with ethnic groups than with a larger political concept, a life scarcely different from many centuries earlier.” Alexander Cockburn referred to the Afghans as “sheepshaggers and smugglers, who have furnished in their leisure hours some of the worst arts and crafts to ever penetrate the occidental world.”

Syrians are also portrayed as “stone age” by radical left outlets, such as Global Research or Mint Press, but also by mainstream left-wing columnists. Journalist Robert Fisk accuses the Syrian rebels of being devoid of “good guys,” by which he means rebels and “moderate elements” that hold a strict secular-liberal ideology. Jon Queally also argues against the existence of “good” rebels due to the fact that the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups would rather fight Assad than al-Qaeda. It is stunning that Queally would criticize rebels for focusing their firepower on the government forces responsible for 95 percent of the civilian death toll, but the criticism makes sense if one assumes the rebels have purely sectarian motivations, or if the critic wishes to reduce Syrians to nothing more than their religious identity.

Another problem: The far left has been one of the most active voices against Islamophobia in the West, but also one of the most active disseminators of Islamophobia when discussing Syria. Vijay Prashad, who regularly condemns Islamophobic responses to terrorism in the US and Western Europe, groups Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda in Iraq together as “sectarian” Sunni forces, despite clear differences between the groups. For Prashad, the very presence of Islamists, regardless of their affiliation, is proof that the rebels have been “overrun by the extremists.”

Ajamu Baraka, the vice presidential nominee of the Green Party, similarly ignores any distinction between Islamist groups, claiming that the “problem for the Syrian people is that these moderates the west is supporting are Salafi-Wahhabi fundamentalists who reject representative democracy and support the imposition of sharia law in Syria.”

This statement bears all the hallmarks of US right-wing Islamophobia — the conflation of Salafism, whose adherents are largely apolitical, together with the extremism of ISIS and al-Qaeda; the denial of the right of self-determination for a people based upon their religious beliefs; and the use of “sharia law” as a scary catchphrase to justify state repression. If one were to transpose Baraka’s words into a Donald Trump speech, virtually no one would notice.


Continues: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/der ... civil-war/
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