"At this point (thereabouts, memory a bit hazy) you could see he got riled and things really escalated (they were always going to), when he said ‘actually what you’re doing is a typical form of imperialist policy where you’re expecting the West to come in to sort out your problems’.
Now that was the particular button which he pushed which I was waiting for which he shouldn’t have, and at this point I let loose (to be fair, I was already itching for it), and said:
‘My point isn’t whether I ‘want’ Western intervention or not, that’s always been irrelevant since I’ve long said and continue to say that the West do not want to intervene, that they are happy with the situation and would be happy ultimately with Assad coming out on top of a destroyed country, and that’s exactly the point. The whole point is that those Western governments that you have forever portrayed as ‘itching’ to intervene (to topple Bashar) simply don’t want to, seen by the simplest measures they didn’t take such as arming rebels with anti-aircraft weaponry or arming rebels in anyway properly at all beyond 16-bullet per fighter (don’t know if you saw that article) crumbs off the table, mostly supplied anyway through Arab countries.’My problem was that his organisation, Stop the War Coalition, were portraying the Syrian resistance constantly as mere puppets, terrorists, and the reason for what is happening in Syria. My problem was that they were not talking at all about what the Syrian government was doing, who you, Rees, seem to have forgotten the history of ‘imperialism’. That with all their rhetoric they had become simply ‘progressive neoconservatives’ (don’t think I used that term in particular to him though, used others). He then said that my anger was actually typical of ‘emigre politics’ — I said ‘What?’ (as in the Egyptian sense, ‘eih?’ – don’t comprehend). The irony was great (it was a convenient opening for a few things which I was already going to say re: identity politics). It seems he thought I was born and raised in England or something, when I lived all my life in the Middle East before going to university here. I told him that I was getting shot at by Sisi in January of that year, so don’t talk to me about ‘emigre politics.’ He responded that he was at Tahrir Square during the 18 days (I wasn’t surprised by that; incidentally, it was never the point), so don’t talk to me about not taking risks – etc etc . I said ‘fine you were at Tahrir, but that’s irrelevant innit, it wasn’t me who said anything about emigre politics’."