Saturday, 16 April 2016
Thanks to UK and US intervention, al-Qaeda now has a mini-state in Yemen. It's Iraq and Isis all over again
Patrick Cockburn shows more clearly than ever that he prefers dictators to popular revolution. It would be nice if his admirers, from Noam Chomsky to Jeremy Corbyn, would acknowledge this. There is extreme dissonance if you say, "I'm not saying things were better when Gadaffi was in power, but...", or "I'm not pro-Assad, but...", and then promote a man who is saying precisely that, that it is better when the tyrants are in charge, that the people love them, that the opposition is just a Western-backed illusion that paved the way for dangerous extremist Muslims.
"There was the same lethal pretence by Western powers in Libya and Syria that the rebels they backed represented the mass of the population and were capable of taking over from existing regimes. In reality, the weakening or destruction of central government created a power vacuum promptly filled by extreme jihadi groups."
It's noticeable that in Yemen, Cockburn presents everything as being the fault of Saudi Arabia - and the West that should be backing dictators, though not the Saudi ones for some reason. He refers a couple of times to suggestions that the pro-the previous dictator and Houthi side has any Iranian backing as inaccurate labelling and having little evidence for it, but gives no reason why we should take his word for it. And this feels a bit like traditional stereotyping of Arabs:
"Yemeni politics is exceptionally complicated and often violent, but violence has traditionally been followed by compromise between warring parties."
In truth it is allowing Assad to proceed with his genocide against Sunni Muslims that has wrecked "a whole country and enable al Qaeda and Isis to use the chaos to establish safe havens." The Institute For War & Peace Reporting* shows how much there is nothing but a barbarous kleptocracy where the Syrian state once was, where it hasn't simply handed over parts of the country to Iran. There can be no end to ISIS while this cancer persists, the very disease Cockburn wants us to preserve.
'My family and I fled Syria on January 24, 2012. Too many of us had already been arrested and it was no longer safe.