Friday, 6 February 2015

Patrick Cockburn was talking rubbish on Newsnight* last night.
"The Islamic State is very powerful, it stretches from the border of Iran almost to the Mediterranean."[15m38s] "They are conscripting there, so this means their armies are getting stronger and stronger. They are conscripting from every family, so they will be able to put very large armies into the field."[15m50s]
Raising a conscript army from a population you are terrorising does not make you strong. Do you think those frightened young men would be worth anything in a real fight?
"The main opposition to the Islamic State in Syria is the Syrian Army and Assad. No Syrian Army, no Assad, then ISIS, the Islamic State, have a good chance of taking over the whole of Syria. So there's no-one else."[16m15s]
We see openly what was once concealed, Cockburn thinks we should support Assad. When it's been suggested that Cockburn was an Assad apologist for the last two years, the answer has come back, no, that's just like the claim that those who opposed the Iraq war were supporters of Saddam Hussein. No, it isn't, because opposing a war for régime change is not the same as backing a dictator against a revolution, as Cockburn is doing. No mention of the rebel forces that have actually been fighting against ISIS while Assad has been doing deals with him. No mention of how those being barrel bombed, how the tens of thousands being tortured to death in Assad's prisons are supposed to reach an accommodation with him. "The Islamic State, which is slaughtering tens of thousands of people," I think you're talking about Assad mate.
The answer to this is not an American invasion, but to give the actual rebels the weapons necessary to take on Assad and ISIS. A job that would have been much simpler in 2012, when there was no ISIS. But still, the approach of doing nothing doesn't mean that America is protected from instability in the Middle East, but that if the constructive solutions are spurned, then the more destructive solutions are the only ones on the table. And so Newsnight get to oppose Patrick Cockburn David Frum, the man who invented the term axis of evil to describe the enemies of America's neoconservatives. He doesn't argue to help the Syrian rebels, but to stay out of the fight against ISIS because that would strengthen Iran and Assad, and Iran is the main enemy in the Middle East. If the alternatives for Syrians are to be abandoned to Assad or treated as a pawn against the Iranians, it is no sort of a choice at all, though many will see the Frum position as slightly preferable, given that Iran has taken over large parts of Syria and assisted with Assad's genocide. But to argue against deals with Assad does not have to be to support the neo-conservatives, there is a better way.
Also there is apparent news that Nancy Soderberg supports doing a deal with Assad**, and the former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia exploding the myth that the Saudis are running ISIS.***
**Kirsty Wark: "We spoke earlier to Nancy Soderberg earlier, who said, actually what you have to do is bite the bullet, you have to engage with Assad, Assad is the way we will deal with IS in Syria."[14m38s]
***Sir John Jenkins, "I think the claim that Saudi has been responsible for the rise of Daesh, personally, is absolutely nonsense." [11m25s]

No comments:

Post a Comment