Syrian "Revolution": Campists unite!

Syrian "revolutionaries" engage in democratic decision-making. That's right, they decided to cut the kid's head off.

We're duds!

Those of us who support the elected Syrian government over the foreign-supported and supplied proxy war, the fighters of which are a wahhabist, head-chopping rabble, have it all wrong. We're not anti-imperialists, we're "campists."

(A "campist," in this formulation, is apparently someone who thinks the US/NATO is just so, so imperialist that they're the only imperial power. "Campists" fail to recognize the imperialism of Russia, China, Iran, and Hezbollah as equally imperial. I'm actually comfortable with that, as a first approximation, but as the multi-polar world emerges, if it does, that could change.)

So says the Socialist Worker's Ashley Smith. But why don't I find her convincing?

If I'm to change my mind about the violence in Syria, it'll have to be on the basis of facts, not on al-Jazeerian fantasies or Human Rights Watch bleatings. Ms Smith loses me almost as soon as she begins, as she dutifully repeats the shibboleths of anti-Assad drivel, namely:


  • The "Assad regime" has "massacred" some 400,000 Syrians; no one else, apparetnly, has done any killing at all.

  • Aaaacccckkkk! Barrel bombs!! (I wish someone who bemoans the use of these bombs would take the time to explain how a receptacle filled with explosives is worse than a missile with a modern warhead.)

  • Assad carried out a chemical weapons attack in East Ghota in 2013.

  • Eleven million people have been displaced!! and it's all Assad's fault!

  • The US is trying to "defeat ISIS."


BS like this, I'm afraid, loses me. If the author can't admit that at least half the casualties are authored by the "rebels;" still, after all the proof, prattles on about the 2013 chemical "attack," clearly engineered/faked by "rebels;" doesn't seem to be aware that most of the "displaced" have fled to government-controlled areas, and away from the "rebels;" and thinks that the pathetic efforts the US has undertaken to "bomb" ISIS (sometimes with supplies and money) is consistent with an effort to "defeat" ISIS, well, why read any further?

But I did anyway, just to see if she could could up with something.

I actually found quite interesting is what the article lacks. For example, the world 'Sunni' doesn't appear. Neither does the word 'Alawite,' nor 'Christian,' nor 'Druze,' nor any other of the ethnic groups that make up the fabric of Syrian society, and against whom many of the "rebels" have carried out horrible atrocities, and have promised more. That's a pretty strange omission for someone who pretends accurately to analyze the Syrian conflict. (Good grief! the only appearance of the word 'muslim' is in a sentence about Donald Trump!)

Here's another couple of words that don't appear: 'election,' and 'referendum,' at least not referring to Syria. The one use of 'election' is, of course, about the 2016 presidential election in the US. The two elections and the constitutional referendum that have taken place in Syria since 2011 are unmentionable, of course, because to do so would force any honest author to explain how she could continue to hold that Assad runs a "brutal regime" when he actually heads an elected government. Not one that many leftists will endorse, bien sur, but one which the Syrian public clearly does.

So where IS this anti-imperialist revolution that leftists must support, anyway? If you make the effort to read the stuff she refers us to, you find that all over Syria, "non-violent," "democratic" "revolutionaries" have set up local coordinating committees all across "liberated Syria." According to Mark Boothroyd:

There are now over 400 local councils across liberated Syria and alongside them are a plethora of other civil society organisations; women’s centres, radio stations, journalists unions and many others. While there are conflicts with some armed factions, all are forced to respect the authority of the councils, having emerged from the revolution alongside them, and carrying the support of the communities which the armed groups draw their fighters from.

Mr Boothroyd even draws our attention to the web-site of the Local Council of Aleppo. Since this Council is in a "liberated" area, it's clearly a Council in East Aleppo, currently dominated by Jabhat al-Nusra. Apparently we are to believe that the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda has been "forced to respect" these non-violent revolutionaries, who are only interested in democratic decision-making from below and humanitarian aid.

And if you believe that, well, I wish I had some swampland to sell you. If we know anything about the child-raping head-choppers, democratic decision-making is not way up on their list of priorities.

(East Aleppo is, by the way, the "liberated" area where little Abdullah Issa, 11 years old, was head-chopped by another group of democratic revolutionaries, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, best buds (for now) with Jabhat al-Nusra.)

Even if it's true, and JaN and the non-violent revolutionaries do co-exist and provide services in East Aleppo to the few remaining "civilians" (ie, not many), I'm not convinced collaborating with al-Qaeda is at all revolutionary. A collaboration like that will last about as long as JaN puts up with you, and the\n you'll be chopped.

But Smith really leaves me cold when she quotes favourably from the scholarship of one Gilbert Achcar. Prof Achcar is a professor of development studies and international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He's a well-known Marxist expert and author on Middle Eastern issues and issues of imperialism, among other subjects. But somehow his Marxist anti-imperialism somehow ends up mirroring ... imperialism.

I've written about him before, here.

His viewpoint is that the "Assad regime" is really, really awful, and Da'esh/al-Qaeda are worse, but it would be best if Da'esh/al-Qaeda won, so that Syrians could "wake up" to their oppression, and finally revolt! (So, in some sense, he would agree with me that the "revolt" in Syria isn't a real one. And, of course, disagree with Smith/Boothroyd.)

Not with you there, Professor. These are real people we're talking about here, not people sitting around a pub at the University of London. The best thing that could happen would be, in my opinion, if the fighting stopped, the foreign wahhabis buggered off, and then the Syrians that wanted to pursue further democratic reforms, even revolutionary ones, could do so.

If Mr Boothroyd has described his revolutionaries accurately, that's something they should want, too. Since they're like, totally non-violent, and opposed to foreign intervention, and totally democratic, then presumably they'd find a peaceful Syria a much easier place in which to press for changes.

On the other hand, if Boothroyd/Smith are making shit up, just because they really, really want there to be some revolutionaries there somewhere, well, I could be wrong about that.

But an independent, democratic Syria would be best for Syrians, I'm convinced. And until something drastically changes, supporting the government Syrians themselves elected is the way to go. Even if that makes me, at least for now, a "campist."

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