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Syrian Intervention: The British Left in Confusion as The Stop the War Coalition Blames Israel.

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Kriegsspiel: How British Left Sees Middle East.

The British left has had a hard time adjusting to the post-Soviet international scene.

Dropping Marxism, which is based on the working class and democratic movements, some have adopted  mixture of ‘anti-globalisation’ and an anti-imperialism.

Some have considered  just about any country that opposes US foreign policy, from Iran even to Russia,  to be progressive. Others have become obsessed with Israel, considered the epitome of evil. A few clung to the idea that Islamist movements, like the Moslem Brotherhood, were a repeat of the genuine struggles for liberation that marked 1960s anti-colonialism.

Their politics  resemble a Kriegsspiel played by the cast of the Big Bang Theory.

The position of these ‘anti-imperialists on Syria’s unfolding civil war has shown the confusion, political and moral bankruptcy of one of these political currents.

The Stop the War Coalition (StWC), to which most of the British left is affiliated (apart from, notably a miniscule openly  pro-Assad band),   must be going through a hard time.

It is opposed, rightly, to Western Intervention in Syria.

But…

At one point it was allied with the Muslim Association of Britain. That is, the British arm of the Moslem Brotherhood, which now makes up a very substantial  part of the Syrian Opposition. Indeed the Syrian National Council (Arabic: المجلس الوطني السوري‎, al-Majlis al-Waṭanī as-Sūri) according to Wikiepdia, includes many members of the exiled Syrian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now the StWC carries prominently on its site an article by Abdel Bari Atwan, which is headlined.

“Reasons why western military intervention in Syria is coming soon: to protect Israel.”

Atwan is a strident Arab nationalist and former sympathiser with Saddam Hussein. He has expressed this view, Atwan opined (Here): “The events of 11 September will be remembered as the end of the US empire. This is because all empires collapse when they pursue the arrogance of power.”

On the  StWC site Atwan discusses the recent furore about Syria’s possible use of chemical weapons.

He makes this peculiar argument,

What concerns the United States first and foremost is Israel. What the United States really fears is the possibility of these weapons being used against Israelis whether by the regime in a state of despair, which cannot be ruled out, or by the currently militarily stronger jihadist groups in the Syrian territories. When jihadist groups fight against a common enemy like the Syrian regime, this fight would be commendable, but after toppling the Syrian regime, as happened in Libya and earlier in Afghanistan, the Americans’ new enemy would be these very groups.

Overthrowing the regime in Syria has absolutely nothing to do with democracy and human rights, but with the Iranian nuclear programme. This does not mean that the Syrian people’s demands for democratic change are not legitimate. These legitimate demands have been and are being exploited and used by the United States, Europe, and Arabs to shatter Iran’s nuclear aspirations.

We assume, though it is difficult to unpick the reasoning from the rants in this piece, that he thinks that Iran’s nuclear weapons are a threat to Israel. That this is why – Syria interposed – the US wants an end to Assad’s regime.

Most would assume that the USA wants to establish allies in a post-Assad regime. The same motive, dressed up with ‘humanitarian’ concerns  go for the French government, and other European states, which are funding the Free Syrian Army.

The former StWC allies, the Moslem Brotherhood, no doubt prefer this, and their Gulf and Turkish  backing, to the mighty British left.

But there you go.

The article  finishes with this even more curious defence of Syrian chemical weapons,

The Syrian chemical weapons were obtained to serve as deterrence against nuclear Israel, not to be used against the Syrian people or any other people. If the Syrian regime really uses such weapons against its people, something we doubt and strongly oppose, it would deserve any potential consequences. These are Syrian Arab weapons and must remain in Syrian hands. Neither the United States nor any other country has a right to seize or destroy them, as happened to Iraqi weapons, unless all weapons of mass destruction –biological and nuclear — in the Israeli military arsenal are destroyed.

The political degeneration of the StWC is clear.

They are unable to clearly ‘defend’ the vicious regime ruling Syria, they are unable to ‘defend’ the, predominantly Islamist (and anti-democratic) Syrian opposition.

They are fearful that the Free Syrian Army will become the US’s cats-paw.

They are in a complete mess.

Those who support Syrian democrats, oppose the Islamists, and are against Western military intervention, are unlikely to look to them to support their cause.