Saturday, 28 December 2013

Ship Of Fools

 organic cheeseboard said...

 "Nobody is reading this but still, without Aarowatch this had to go somewhere. Nick Cohen's piece today is also the least functional article ever written. 
Apparently Syria is exactly like the Spanish Civil War because it's, um, fascists vs left-wingers, um no actually they're fascists but hey, and we should be happy, oh no wait upset, about the modern-day international brigade (who are actually Islamists) going over there to fight Assad since they'll come back over here and wreak the same kind of carnage as the International Brigade did, um wait that's not right, or something. "*

 I read Aaronovitch Watch** the the last couple of years of its existence (2009-2011), and it provided excellent criticism of the pro-Iraq War arguments. It intelligently dissected the lack of logic that the war's proponents surrounded their arguments, exposed their promises that the finding of WMD would change everything, that the Americans would be greeted as liberators, that an invasion would be better than allowing another minute of Saddam's rule. They ate people like Nick Cohen for breakfast. Now with the Syrian revolution, they just repeat the same arguments without acknowledging any change in the facts. And put their assumptions into the arguments of their opponents, and think that the garbage that results proves Cohen rather than them a fool. Here's what Cohen actually says,

 "In the Spanish Civil War, Britain and France's refusal to help the legitimate government in Madrid repel the attack by General Franco produced the result they most feared. It was not just that Hitler and Mussolini had no qualms about "illiberal intervention" in Spain, any more than Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia have qualms about illiberal intervention in Syria today. The fascist forces were strengthened for the wider conflict of the Second World War, but so too were the communists. Britain would not intervene in Spain in the 1930s because it did not want to help Stalin. Its very inaction helped him. The fact communists were willing to go to Spain and fight bolstered the prestige of communism. At least they preferred fighting to running away, people said.

 I do not know what would have happened if western powers had imposed no-fly zones and safe havens three years ago. But I know al-Qaida is back from the dead and militant Islamists from Britain and across Europe have gone to Syria, as the International Brigades went to Spain, and we will have to have them back one day."

 This seems like an eminently sensible analogy. OC's first substitution, "um no actually they're fascists", seems to apply to all those fighting Assad, and goes without saying is a libel. The second point about International Brigades is a sensible analogy, if the West doesn't help, people they don't like will fill the gap, and OC goes, Islamists aren't Communists exactly, yah boo sucks.

 I think there are problems with the specific military strategy that Cohen proposes. I think there is a wider problem with appealing to Europe or America or the United Nations to bring an end to Assad, only because it is not going to happen. I was thinking today about the lack of specificity with which Cameron and Obama went to their legislatures for support. That wasn't to spring a surprise on Assad, that was to make the votes easy to lose. But still Cohen seems like much more of a friend to Syrians than the leftists who drone on about the dangers of American intervention, when it is clear there is no invasion on the agenda.

 And won't be at this current level of violence. But there is no way for Assad to regain the consent to govern from the vast majority of Syrians, and so his military strategy is to bomb and starve as many of them into death or exile as he can. That is why Syria is a growing source of instability in the region. With the economy on the rocks, with no prospect of anything more than temporary victories, the rĂ©gime grows more desperate, and the massacres escalate. When there are half a million dead and ten million refugees, maybe the Americans will be forced to do something, though I strongly doubt they will ever risk their own troops in combat in Syria. But even if that proved a bloody mess, the anti-war argument would have been discredited by the carnage that had preceded it. If the argument that the FSA needs to be armed, above all with anti-aircraft weapons to stop the bombing, were put more widely, then we wouldn't face a situation where the socialist movement's international policy is likely to be discredited by its inaction over Syria.


Friday, 27 December 2013

Fake Adra massacre photos expose bloody hands on Left

 'These stories give those outside of Syria a good excuse to look the other way and do nothing while the Syrian government slaughters thousands of Syrian civilians. "Its a civil war" and "Both sides commit war crimes, etc."
 This anti-revolution propaganda campaign is being conducted by the Assad Regime because it directly supports its main strategy of wholesale slaughter. Those on the Left that uncritically promote stories like this from RT and SANA aid Assad's main strategy and they have a lot of blood on their hands.'

Blanket Drive For War Torn Syria"This is the coldest time of year," said Mike Batman. He left Syria 32 years ago.
"And the reason I left was because of the dictatorship," he said.
His own brother was a political prisoner for 16 years. The family didn't recognize him when he was finally let go.
"Have you seen those pictures about the holocaust? He look just like one of them," he said.
He stresses that this is a revolution against a dictator, and not a civil war. A distinction to emphasize a fight for freedom.

Defense minister of Syria’s interim

government calls for more aid
'About London’s and Washington’s announcement that they suspended support because of what they called the spread of extremist and militant groups, Mustafa said, “First they have to support the Syrian people. And when they support them, there will be no place for al-Qaeda or any radical regime. Delaying aid, not supporting the Syrian people, and not effectively helping them has led to the emergence of some extremist groups. The Syrian people will not accept extremism. They are moderate. We are confident that we will achieve victory. But Western countries are giving pretexts to shirk their responsibilities in supporting the Syrian people.” '

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Truce near Damascus broken
as warplanes bomb Aleppo
The proposal for peace talks in Geneva in miniature.
' "They opened heavy machine-gun fire without any reason. It means there are people from the regime who don't want the siege on our town to be lifted. They are trying to end the truce in any way possible," Ahmad, a local activist, told AFP via the Internet.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground, confirmed the fighting, and said the army was sending "heavy reinforcements" towards the town.
On Wednesday rebels raised the national flag above the town in accordance with a ceasefire deal that was supposed to allow food in, but Ahmad said none had arrived.'

Last minute goal helps Qatar edge Palestine 1-0Shitting on their poorer neighbour at the last minute may be a metaphor for something.
Syria aren't defending their title. It won't be a normal country again until Assad is overthrown. If, however, each time he raises the level of barbarity the story is spun as the "threat" (or more insanely, the "actuality"[sic] of same) of Western intervention, he may still be in Damascus for some time.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

What The Future Holds

                                                         With pictures of Syria's past.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Personal Writing #01: Syrian NightmareShiyam Galyon
"This nightmare is worse than anyone could have ever imagined, ever. Anyone following the Syrian Revolution will see it is a true revolution demanded by the people, and rejected by the Assad regime and the UN Security Council. It’s open-season for abuse when a Revolution is denied by the world."

Castle Douglas author Robin Yassin-Kassab returns from war torn Syria Border ITV News

Monday, 23 December 2013


'The latest report from the researchers, to be released today by Citizen Lab and the EFF, notes a dip in new malware campaigns in the aftermath of the Assad regime’s August sarin gas attack in Ghouta, as though the prospect of U.S. intervention was restraining the attackers. As the threat of U.S. reprisals faded in the weeks that followed, the malware kicked up again.'

Don't Get in Bed with Assad"The best counterterrorism strategy remains the empowerment of mainstream Syrian rebels."

Full Report: Writer fundraises for Syrian refugees

"Robin Yassin-Kassab has seen the suffering of Syria's refugees for himself."
He's back on Border TV in a couple of hours to talk about his latest trip. Meanwhile I see these couple of wanky comments on Mike Marqusee's status update, justifying inaction over Syria by claiming that a new Iraq war was being stopped. Corbyn has been one of the best of Labour MPs, and Tariq Ali used to be a revolutionary.
Tariq Ali: "Hell will freeze, Mike, before these jokers reconsider their support for US wars. Cohen is now deeply upset that there has been no intervention in Syria!"
Jeremy Corbyn: "The vote in Parliament in August not to intervene in Syria was of huge significance and may well be the start of a different approach."

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Syria-bound pile of jumpers made by Doris

Doris knits 400 jumpers for
the children of war-torn Syria

"A publicity-shy 92-year-old woman in Swindon has knitted 400 jumpers for children in Syria. The pensioner, who would like to be known only as Doris, sent her handiwork in to an appeal from charity Hand in Hand for Syria." 

British doctors leave for Syria despite Abbas Khan death

Fatima, the mother of Abbas Khan

 "People have been asking, 'why are we going?' The question is why aren't we doing more? The work of UK charities is a drop in the ocean, but I'd rather be part of that than do nothing. The timing of Dr Khan's death is very deliberate by the regime. They know the holiday season means the aid convoys will be coming and it was a very symbolic act – don't come or look what we will do."