Saturday, 31 August 2013

Non aux frappes symboliques et de bonne conscience. Oui aux frappes utiles en Syrie

Image result for le monde blogs ignace leverrier

 'If the West had earlier decided to send a strong warning to President Bashar Al Assad and his entourage - "Your silence is killing us" slogan on Friday 29 July 2011 - and had not deaf ear to the cries for help that had launched their revolutionary in vain for months successively claiming "international protection" (Friday, September 9, 2011), the "no-fly" (28 October 2011), "an area protected "(Friday, December 2, 2011) and" support for the Free "Syrian Army (13 January 2012), we would not be here today . The plan might have looked for another solution to the escalating crisis and the jihadists have not made their appearance, with the initial support of the Mukhabarat Syria to become a convenient scarecrow and a useful excuse for inaction Western democracies." '

A Father Finds the Son He Thought He Had Lost

After Chemical Attack, Father and Son Are Reunited

Video posted online on Monday shows a man overcome with emotion as he is reunited with his young son, who he thought had been killed in a chemical weapons attack last week on the town of Zamalka. Friends and neighbors celebrate around them, hugging and kissing one another, as the two embrace. "Thank you, God," the man weeps. Later, his son sits on his lap, hair neatly combed, and cries. The man strokes and kisses his cheeks, cooing, "Don't be upset. I am beside you, my darling. I am beside you."

Karl Marx in the New-York Tribune 1861
The American Question in England

When America was like Syria is now.
"This is, in fact, a masterly piece of logic. Anti-Slavery England cannot sympathize with the North breaking down the withering influence of slaveocracy, because she cannot forget that the North, while bound by that influence, supported the slave-trade, mobbed the Abolitionists, and had its Democratic institutions tainted by the slavedriver’s prejudices. She cannot sympathize with Mr. Lincoln’s Administration, because she had to find fault with Mr. Buchanan’s Administration. She must needs sullenly cavil at the present movement of the Northern resurrection, cheer up the Northern sympathizers with the slave-trade, branded in the Republican platform, and coquet with the Southern slaveocracy, setting up an empire of its own, because she cannot forget that the North of yesterday was not the North of to-day. The necessity of justifying its attitude by such pettifogging Old Bailey pleas proves more than anything else that the anti-Northern part of the English press is instigated by hidden motives, too mean and dastardly to be openly avowed."

Elizabeth O'Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War

Image result for Elizabeth O'Bagy: On the Front Lines of Syria's Civil War

 These people aren't going to gas their own side, or tolerate anyone who does.

 "Moderate opposition forces—a collection of groups known as the Free Syrian Army—continue to lead the fight against the Syrian regime. While traveling with some of these Free Syrian Army battalions, I've watched them defend Alawi and Christian villages from government forces and extremist groups. They've demonstrated a willingness to submit to civilian authority, working closely with local administrative councils. And they have struggled to ensure that their fight against Assad will pave the way for a flourishing civil society. One local council I visited in a part of Aleppo controlled by the Free Syrian Army was holding weekly forums in which citizens were able to speak freely, and have their concerns addressed directly by local authorities."

That's Obama up at bat in the middle. "Just do it" reads the slogan.

Come Friendly Bombs And Fall On Slough

As long as it doesn't kill a load of civilians, many residents of Slough wouldn't be that bothered.

Damascus residents 'hold their breath' as strike looms

In this Sunday, 25 August, 2013 photo, a Syrian child watches as his mother who fled her home because of Syria's civil war prepares a meal in the kitchen at the Kertaj Hotel in Damascus, Syria.

 "Two-and-a-half years since the start of the uprising, and with more than 100,000 Syrians killed, many people in Syria want to see an end to the violence."

 I'm not sure anybody is going to admit to wanting it to continue. The question is, what will stop it?

 I won't hold you in suspense. The answer is (a) arm the rebels. Anyone who answered (b) preventing American airstrikes, needs to stay after class.

 I was thinking earlier about what the "hands off Syria" people claim is going to happen. How many people do they think are going to be killed, and how many of those civilians. Will they be using depleted uranium and white phosphorous? If the answers to these question are not very many or none, but you're saying that is a slippery slope, can you tell me exactly how they are going to get from the airstrikes to full-scale war? If it is the principle of the thing, can you you explain to Syrians why your principles are more important than their lives?

Friday, 30 August 2013

The case for ‘Hands off Syria’
"All of the fears that you hold against a military intervention in Syria have materialized long ago. Entire cities have been flattened, men, women, and children have been brutally mutilated, tortured, raped, and slaughtered. What have we the Syrians got to lose at this point? A few more flattened buildings? A few more lives lost? Or is it the West, which you hate so much the sticking point in your feeble mind?"

If You Tolerate This

 Dr.Rola*: "We have watched people be slaughtered by the régime for 2½ years, and the world has done nothing. Now is the time to act."

 Then Gavin Esler mentioned a slogan from the Spanish Civil War.

 *“We feel like some sort of, not even a second class citizen, like we just don't matter. Like all of these children, and all of these people who are being killed and massacred, we don't matter.

 The whole world has failed our nation and it is innocent civilians who are paying the price.”[…/syria-reports-of-napalmlike-…]

Syria’s largest city just dropped off the Internet
"Internet outages in Syria have a curious history of happening at times convenient for the Assad regime. In November 2012, some 92 percent of national Syrian Internet traffic went offline as the regime was rumoured to be mixing chemical weapon components, while 78 percent of traffic went offline in January when Assad gave a rare public address. Some past localized Internet outages have also coincided with government offensives in those areas."

Image result for Here's what Syrians have to say about intervention

Here's what Syrians have to say about intervention

Abdullah Omar, a Syrian who lives in the rebel-held town of Atmeh, near Turkey, said the majority of people where he lives support US airstrikes.
“They think it will give the rebels an advantage over the regime,” he said. "But in my opinion, it won’t. The Syrian people will keep suffering either from the regime or the extremists.”
“The world’s reaction has come too late,” Omar said. “Even now some are trying to delay the strikes. It’s like sending a message to Bashar that he still has four days to do what he wants."
Muhamad Raslan, a Free Syrian Army fighter, said US missile strikes may be too little and almost too late, but he and his fellow fighters still welcome them.
“Although it is so late for the USA to intervene, it may help us a lot,” Raslan said from the province of Idlib. “But frankly in Syria we do not need anyone to fight for us. We need weapons and ammunition only.”

Palestinian refugee family's escape from Syria via tropical island to new life in Sweden

Victory for the revolution would end much of the suffering.

"I thought the revolution would end and we would get victory. But there was no change, the killings increased and everything became expensive. There was no life for my children, they were living in fear," he said of the civil conflict that has driven nearly 2 million people out of the country – 1 million of them children.

Abdulmaten Taroun

Lecturer from Syria says Britain
should intervene in his country

"He said he has been “living in fear” for his people since the 2011 revolution, and says “although no one would favour a foreign attack against their country, it may be the only option”."

If nothing is done soon, the place will start looking like Luton.

Image result for syrians wait amid fear anticipation groceries

Fears Growing as Syrians Wait for U.S. Attack

"Though some called early on for NATO intervention, others said they wanted support and arms from Washington — not an attack by the American military.

“We know what is best for our country,” said Fahad Darwish, 33, a supermarket worker in Damascus. “We don’t need the Americans to do it for us, and we will win this war by the Free Syrian Army,” he added, referring to the loose-knit rebel coalition."

Image result for Despite words of warning, Israel wants to stay out of Syria conflict

Despite words of warning, Israel
wants to stay out of Syria conflict

Israel not part of anti-Assad plot, also Assad force try to spread terrorism:

"Lebanon charged five people Friday, including one Syrian intelligence officer and two sheikhs, over the twin Tripoli bombings that killed 47 people last week."

Anti-war posters in Westminster

Anti-war campaigners and bishop of London say decision reflects public opinion, but British-Syrian novelist voices disgust

Robin Yassin-Kassab, a British-Syrian novelist, said he was disgusted at the politicians' decision. "In a decade we have gone from a situation where they rushed at the gleam of their leader's mad eye into a criminal war [in Iraq] to not even being able to join a symbolic strike to deter a genocide," he said. "It has been going on for two and a half years and they still do nothing. The left have it all wrong. This was not an imperial war."

Blanket Thinkers

One of the catchphrases the SWP used to have is "earn the right to criticise". That's one thing the far left has signally failed to do in putting opposing Western intervention on the top of its Syria wishlist. They, and those like them should make sure they have made it clear, not in their own minds, but to the Syrian revolutionaries, that they're first priority is how to support the revolution before uttering word one about intervention. That's the ABC of Leninism.
I reproduce part of a discussion below with some Syrians, not stooges of the CIA, but people who want a revolution in their country. These are the people whose struggle you need to relate to, not the scabs of the Stop The War Coalition. And if you start by saying what a terrible thing the West is, they will chase you off. But there is hope. Robin in the post below points out,
"My talk of ‘infantile leftists’ does not include the entire left of course. Simon Assaf of the Socialist Workers, for instance, understands what’s happening. So does Max Blumenthal. And many others."
Syrian1: Robin , they have always been pro-assad, they used to come down to the protest outside the Syrian Embassy in London, at least on 2 occasions the police were alerted ..
There were only 1 or 2 of them, and Syrian2 on the 2nd occasion alerted the police,as they are scum bags who support this evil tyrant
Dick Gregory: I suspect that the SWP are being confused with the Stop The War Coalition. If it was the SWP they must have been more than usually inane in the way they expressed themselves, their leadership has been better (Assaf) and worse (Orr) on Syria, but have all said they were anti-Assad. Maybe Syrian2 rushed to judgement. Maybe they were carrying Stop The War literature and didn't realise how inappropriate it is.
Syrian1: Anybody who opposes Intervention in My opinion is pro-Assad , this is quite a broad definition, as non-intervention only serves Assad, I remember they were carrying literature against intervention ( this was a year ago i think)
Robin Yassin-Kassab: But yesterday, Dick, the SWP were waving 'stop imperial war' banners. even if they don't want intervention, why do they call it imperial war when it obviously isn't? is it the same failure of analysis that has cursed most of the left, or is it just a trendy lie to pose with?
Dick Gregory: They think they can combine both, but that stopping the supposed threat of British action was the priority. Hence the front page of their paper reading "Don't Bomb Syria."They are wrong, but they might be capable of listening to reason, which is the difference with the real pro-Assad crowd.
I've just seen that the International Socialist Network/ Socialist Resistance statement reads in part,
"Alongside the Stop the War Coalition, we will continue to campaign against intervention in Syria"
so I've left the comment where I saw it:
'Could just be replaced with the three words: Arm The Rebels
Should read "alongside the scabs of the Stop the War Coalition".'

Next move for U.S. divides local Syrians

Image result for Ammar Alo

 I didn't post this before, as I'd got tired of having to point out that I wasn't so keen on Western intervention, but quite wanted to as I have a friend who is from Toledo.

 "Sylvania lawyer Ammar Alo, whose family emigrated from Syria in the 1970s, has become a local leader in the effort to create awareness of the atrocities carried out by Assad. “We’d like to see policies and/or actions that will stop the Syrian regime from killing innocent civilians and innocent Syrians and, stop their military campaign in total,” Mr. Alo, 30, said.

 Asked about a possible U.S. attack on Syrian military installations, Mr. Alo said, “That would definitely help.” "

You've Got A Friend

" 'Wait, wait for political solution.' But there won't be one."
Refugee in Zaatari camp being interviewed by Lyse Doucet just now. Assad is killing the humanity in Syria, he says.
Was hoping to find the Simpsons clip where James Taylor annoys the astronauts with this.

The Syrian Community's March

Sunday, 1 September 2013 at 13:00
American Embassy

"Appeal to all free of the sons of the Syrian community Distinguished to participate in the march in solidarity with our people inside public and affected by the chemical attacks in Gota special condemnation for its gangs stamens of crimes against our people vulnerable and in response to Takmal the international community towards the issue of our people and the revolution glorious ... 
the starting point : U.S. embassy (24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ) per hour at noon. 
endpoint: Downing Street. please all Liberals attendance and generalize this the Post as widely as possible."

With A Little Help From My Friends

 The vote last night in the House of Commons isn't a glorious success for an insurgent anti-war movement, that has stopped Britain's imperial pretensions 4evah. Miliband was on the TV this morning, saying that this will force the government to go down the diplomatic route. What does that mean? Going to the Russians to agree an imperial imposition on the Syrian people, if not retaining Assad at the top, retaining his state of torturers. To impose such a settlement, more force will be needed, a hundred thousand dead will turn into hundreds of thousands dead, and what is left of Syria will be a battleground for al-Qaida.

 But we have to stop Cameron's drive to war, we're told. What drive to war? Cameron says he will respect the will of the House of Commons, and there will be no British involvement in military action against Syria. That doesn't sound like a juggernaut driver to me. That sounds like someone who really wants to be seen to be doing something effective, perhaps to impress his wife. But it is nowhere on Cameron's list of priorities, and so it is dropped. When there are further massacres, Cameron may rhetorically attack Miliband for not letting him attack now, but that's all it will be rhetoric.

 There aren't a lot of people in this country who want to help to go to Syrians (they may be a larger number who would like to help, but have been bamboozled by all the talk of "we don't know who we'd be helping" into believing that nothing can help). Nick Griffin of the BNP went to Damascus and praised the government for fighting Islamists. Nigel Farage doesn't want to know. Across the political spectrum there is virtual unanimity in the West that military strikes are a bad thing. I think they are a much worse idea than arming the rebels. I've explained before that there aren't many people in favour of them except Bashar al-Assad, who would hope they would give his government some badly-needed credibility. I know that there are many in Damascus who really would mind Assad being given a taste of his own medicine. They probably know where Iraq is, and what a mess the Americans made of it, as they live in the adjoining country. Good luck with explaining to them that you have stopped the airstrikes that might have killed them with imperialist bombs, and that the Russian missiles fired by their own government shouldn't hurt so much. 

 One advantage Marxism considers it has over other systems of thought is that it views events as a changing process, not as series of isolated snapshots. Viewed in isolation, there was a chemical attack, there was a vote on a Western response, and the vote went for peace. But I think there is a broader context. People are dying in Syria every day, because a government that fired on peaceful protesters is still maintained by the force of Russian arms against the insurgency that arose to defend those protesters. There have been UN monitoring missions, Arab League missions, UN peace plans, and all they have served to do is give the régime time to do more killing, to try to spread the war, to invite sectarian killing, and it is the lack of support for the mainstream Free Syrian Army that has enabled al-Qaida types any influence whatsoever, though once the war is over, they are not going to impose anything on millions of Syrians. What this vote in the House of Commons last night was was a distraction, a placing of the debate about what Britain should do on behalf of Syrians, what the Americans should do on behalf of Syrians. No it would not have helped if they had voted the other way. But those playing up the significance of the vote as a great success insult Syrians. There was never going to be carpet-bombing of Syria, there was never going to be the mass killing of civilians by the USAF (there are reports the Syrian air force has been dropping napalm, which might be a sick tribute to the US war on Vietnam). If you are fooled by a reasonable belief that US intervention is always wrong into believing that anything they do is the worst thing that could happen, more fool you. If you want Syrians to hate you, because you promote the fantasy that the Americans are a more serious threat to them than Assad's forces, that's the way to go about it. 

 I might get back to this subject later, with reference to other events in Iraq. The drive to war in 2003 stemmed from the position that leaving Saddam in power in 1991 had left unfinished business, by talking up the prospect of US intervention while offering no hope to Syrians, those who think of themselves as anti-war may be a similar construction of justification for ruling class belligerence in the future. It might also be noted that it was the sanctions that really killed in Iraq, which nobody protested so much about.

 Somebody put up a link to the West's failure to send gas masks to Syria (there was obviously a worry they would fall around the heads of salafis). Given that what is going on in Syria is an armed rebellion against a capitalist government with support from its imperial patron Russia, the position of international socialists should be to demand that the people of Syria be given the arms they need to topple the government, notably anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. And demanding the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Iran and Lebanon probably won't make a blind bit of difference, but is probably the right thing to do too. Any concentration on the airstrikes Obama might authorise is at best a distraction, a talk of hypotheticals in an imperial Great Game while Syria burns, at worst an endorsement of Bashar al-Assad's right to kill hundreds of kids with sarin gas.

An open letter on Syria to Western narcissists


"But please, don’t let the conflict in Syria be about opposing America. Let it be about Syria, and what might actually help Syrians – you know, the actually existing people who are dying by the tens of thousands in this brutal war. But if you can’t do that, then do me a favour, and please shut up."

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims 'like the walking dead'

Image result for Syria crisis: Incendiary bomb victims 'like the walking dead'

 Original headline, 'The World Has Failed Our Nation'.

 "Eyewitnesses describe a fighter jet dropping the device, a low explosion, followed by columns of fire and smoke.

 Ian Pannell and cameraman Darren Conway's report contains images viewers may find extremely distressing."