On Syria: Use Your Principles, If You Have Any
This is an article about Syria. In it, I won’t be going into depth about who did what to whom and where and when and how. I won’t be analyzing the shadows in photographs or whether that dead child is actually from Gaza or Pakistan. Doing so as the basis of one’s arguments is stepping willfully into a carefully laid propaganda trap. This will primarily be a discussion of principles.
On the Left we’ve been bombarded with repetitive pleas to pay attention to and agitate for the Syrian “rebels.” This always takes the form of berating: we’re not doing enough, we’re not vocal enough. Never does it consider that a true Left stance must be anti-imperialist. This means our positions cannot coincide or dovetail with the grand designs of the West’s ruling classes.
The “do something” Left seems only capable of ignoring that something is always very much “being done,” and that’s precisely why Syria was thrust into chaos. In 2014 fake Left poseur Molly Crabapple was kindly offered space in the historically leftist The Guardian newspaper to exhort her fellow goth liberals to support a no-fly zone in Syria. Two years later her comrade Hillary Clinton amplified that plea in her run for president. If your arguments are useful to power, you are its pawn. If you don’t see it as your job to at least oppose anything the ruling class has planned, you’re not on the Left and have no business addressing people who are.
In this vein I’m sick to death of fact- and analysis-free pleading from my stable of Facebook liberals, armed with dumbfuck juvenile narratives citing the pure, reasonless evil of the Assadoputinist mass-murdering totalitarian thugs, changing their avatars to FSA flags.
Just look at this clip of this smarmy mealy mouthed worm from The Hill, who has never stepped foot in Syria, challenging reporter Vanessa Beeley, who had just spent three days in liberated East Aleppo and was joining in from Damascus. “Did you ask the dead babies and children what they think?” He spoke in sound bites and click bait-caliber outrage of things he read third hand from probable liars. She, on the other hand, spoke passionately, her voice trembling with the reality that she had witnessed, the scenes of devastation and also relief of a people brutalized and imprisoned for years by religious-fanatic contras. The crystal-clear difference between these two journalists, one an utter fake parroting Beltway propaganda from within the Beltway, the other an independent scribe simply reporting what she had seen and heard directly from Syrians. Liberals batted it aside. “It’s on RT,” one disingenuous Facebook ass said, as if the venue changed the authenticity of the live video exchange and the facts presented.
(We don’t even have to do intellectual acrobatics to expose the anti-democratic aims of the rebels; they very plainly state it for us.)
That they are wrong about how to do anti-imperialism doesn’t make them bad people, and all the invective I spew comes from frustration. Frustration with a self-identified Left that has no principles, no demands, no intellect, no standards. Frustration with people who are willing to ally themselves with liberals to undercut the Syrian state thereby allowing the West and its puppets to better propagandize and ultimately destroy Damascus for ruling-class plans of economic domination. Frustration with assholes who embrace the Euro exceptionalism it requires to accept as fact that various Oriental types: Russians and especially Arabs, are slaughtering children for no reason at all, or as an “inevitable” “reaction” to whatever.
Hm. Actually, you know what? Fuck them all. They should have learned long ago to keep their stupid mouths shut when they don’t KNOW ANYTHING. Especially when they act on cartoonish stereotypes to demand the destruction and subsumation of an entire socialist nation to Western financial capital. They are bad people for reveling in and broadcasting their total stupidity and intellectual venality. How many more wars will they allow themselves to be lied into supporting, even after every other one is exposed as based on total fucking lies? How many more incubator babies have to not exist and mass graves not be dug up for them to take one second pause from squawking for the next psy op on cue like a trained parrot? These dimwitted dupes are addicted to being on the side of power. They still see themselves on the side of essential, innate cultural and institutional Euro-American virtue despite the truth that it was all a scam outing every single time, the racist pigs. I wish Bashar the Butcher ™ would personally drop some of them out of planes stuffed inside barrel bombs.
How many of them are cheering at the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey in alleged retaliation for the “taking” of Aleppo? Even if not outwardly, many liberals are smirking in satisfaction at the “justice” of this assassination. I fully expect to see hot takes from the Game Theorists in the coming days [that didn’t take long], but in the meantime, check out these optics! The killer is already a meme for his couture Islamism. There’s a lot of photo dissection from well-meaning sleuths but this is a trap. We can unpack the bullshit without so much amateur blood spatter analysis.
What we won’t see is mention of the direct naming of foreign intelligence agents apparently in Aleppo. The Syrian ambassador to the UN rattled off a list of US, Turkish, Israeli, Jordanian, Qatari, and naturally, many Saudi citizens he says are attempting to escape the city. We’ll see dizzying spin applied to the American jihadi Bilal Abdul Kareem’s display of “fighters” wearing suicide bomb belts because, allegedly, they don’t trust the Syrian Army not to kill them when they board the evacuation buses from East Aleppo. We’re not supoosed to wonder why this Genghis Khan-like force doesn’t just swoop in and bomb the shit out of them instead of acting out a bizarre charade to evacuate and then kill everyone. I guess minds of pure sadistic evil are truly unknowable. And of course, the great drama of Bana Alabed, the 7-year-old girl trapped in East Aleppo under a cascade of Evil Assad’s barrel bombs, has come to an end with her being cuddled on the lap of ISIS-backing Turkish President Erdogan. I’m not joking or exaggerating.
“Thank you for supporting the children of Aleppo and help us to get out from war. I love you.” 🙄
But again, dissecting photos and memorizing rebel-faction alliances is, in my opinion, a distraction from principles. In many cases I think the citing of these antfucky factoids is meant as a purposeful overload of discourse. Just peep this diarrheal comment on my Facebook, on a post where I simply posted a photo of happy women cleaning a church in East Aleppo. One of my “friends” posted this to “correct” my view of the conflict:
I seriously overestimated you, overrated you, really thought you were a sharp, cultured, politically savvy kid with the brain power and logic of a Greek philosopher. I guess you have just let me down. Big time. I don’t know where to begin to school you on what has been happening in the Mideast for the past 5 years. To mix and mangle all players and label and paint them with one single broad brush is not only ignorant, it’s just factually wrong. Ahrar Al-Sham is not ISIS. ISIS is not Nusra, they are rivals. They fought one another. ISIS is allied with Assad because they were created by him, CIA, Mossad (they never attacked Israel and have been consistently fighting Syrian rebels, Nusra and the Kurds. ISIS is the ace in the hole that Assad has been playing against the West. “Either me, or SIS!” The West gobbled it up, meantime Assad went on to gas his people just like Saddam did, drop made-in-Iran barrel bombs indiscriminately on heavily populated areas in Idlib, Homs and Aleppo. He then brought Russia in to do the dirty work because his military was a joke (or should we say Putin invited himself in). Putin claimed he intervened to fight ISIS but he ended up doing anything but. His true motives were to gain a firm foothold in the Mideast, test Russia’s new weapons and sell these new weapons around the world (Russia weapon sales skyrocketed since they started the bombing in August 2015) as well as an oil pipeline. Putin outfoxed Obama after the red line debacle and then went in and aided and abetted the killing of mostly Syrian civilians. You can bet that they never attacked ISIS, or maybe sparingly did for propaganda purposes, but instead focused solely on weakening and destroying the FSA. Now, Hezbollah: true they were heroes at first after they drove Israel out of Southern Lebanon in 2000, but then once the Syrian war started they got sectarian (they are Shia, and Assad is Alawite, an offshoot of shiism) and backed Assad at the behest of Iran. Iran always wanted to achieve a “Shiite crescent” extending from Qom, through Baghdad, Damascus and then Beirut. This was its chance., Iran mobilized Hezbollah which is its proxy in the Mideast, funded and armed by Iran, and threw its support behind the Syrian dictator. Hezbollah turned terrorist overnight in Syria began slaughtering Sunnis and raising its sectarian flag. Yesterday’s heroes turned today’s zeros. The triumvirate – Iran, Hezbollah and Russia – were instrumental in saving Assad from a certain defeat. The rebels failed to rally behind a credible political leadership, failed to unite on the front line, and were plagued by inner fighting, and the presence of ISIS, which was fighting the FSA, Nusra and the Kurds, made it worse and turned Western political opinion against them. But the real tragedy is that the biggest victims were the civilians who were not spared by Iranian militias, Hezbollah’s soldiers and Russian relentless air attacks. The FSA was supported by Gulf Countries for their own personal gain, which was a proxy war with Iran but all that support was financial, unlike Iran’s, which was both financial and boots on the ground. Anyway, here’s a[n Ezra Klein] video that will explain to you the Syria in 5 minutes: [video]
The Ezra Klein hat tip sent me into a giggling fit. Vox dot com is this guy’s authority on Syria. When I pushed back on his characterization of Hezbollah, he flat-out admitted they were once heroes but now were essentially vampires. He posted a pap-crammed Washington Post piece by a Clinton operative meant to emotionally manipulate me and when none of this worked, he declared me a supporter of totalitarianism. People have allowed their own consciences to be weaponized by the Empire.
When “news” gives us as much proven, sourced facts as the dumbest whiny exploitative op-eds, and two weeks after the indiscriminate rape and pillage of a huge city we still have seen only images of people cheering and cleaning up rubble, people must know — MUST KNOW — that at least — AT LEAST — there is something suspicious about the narrative we’re being force-fed. But hey use Occam’s Razor: did these same assholes lie to us about every other thing? Yes?? Then why in holy fuck would anyone assume they’re telling the truth now?
To be an effective anti-imperialist — and by “effective” I simply mean not willfully becoming a regurgitator of imperial arguments for war — you must support the Syrian state against its powerful enemies. Yes, even if you don’t like Bashar al-Assad and think there needs to be reform or even a complete change of government. If you oppose empire you have no choice but to keep your opinions about Syria to yourself and instead vocally, adamantly support the Syrian Army and government in its fight for survival against all odds. Yes, censor yourself. There’s more at stake than your bourgeois individualist desire to express your personal political ideals in this moment when people are dying and the rulers of the world are trying to kill yet another independent nation.
But frankly, given the steps the Assad government has taken to accomodate all demanded political reforms — even enacting this preamble to the 2014 constitution: Syria is “the beating heart of Arabism,” at “the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth” — if you dislike Assad I’m at a loss as to how to integrate you into any meaningful Left at all.
Long live Bashar the Lion. May the Empire meet its doom under his foot.