Posts Tagged ‘Syria’
From Le Monde,
Les onze hommes sont qualifiés de “soldats apostats”, et leur bourreau, le visage couvert d’une cagoule noire, affirme dans cet enregistrement qu’ils ont été condamnés par un tribunal islamique de la province de Daïr Az Zour, dans l’est de la Syrie. Les “condamnés”, agenouillés et les yeux bandés, sont exécutés d’une balle à l’arrière du crâne. A chaque détonation, des islamistes brandissant des drapeaux noirs crient “Allah est grand.
The rebels from the Front Al-Nosra, linked to Al-Qaeda, have executed 11 Syrians accused of taking part in massacres committed by Bachar Al-Assad’s forces – according to a video put on line Thursday the 16th of May.
The 11 men are called “apostate soldiers”, and their butchers, their faces covered with a black hood, claim, in the video-recording, that they have been condemned by an Islamic Tribunal in the province of Daïr Az Zour in the Eastern Syria. The “condemned”, kneeling and blindfolded, are executed with a bullet in the back of the head. At each shot the Islamists wave black flags and shout, “Allah is Great.”
A further report in English,
Another video from Syria has emerged on YouTube showing jihadists of the rebel al-Nusra Front executing 11 men accused of playing a role in massacres by President Bashar al-Assad.
Earlier this week, footage posted online by a group loyal to the Assad regime showed a man, knife in hand, slicing parts of a dead soldier’s torso before turning to the camera and putting the heart in his mouth.
Like many, every day we have less and less sympathy for the Syrian Islamists.
Indeed with anybody engaged in killing.
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.
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.
France Recognises National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Doubts from the Left.
France Officially Backs Syrian Opposition.
France has become the first European country to recognise the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF) as the sole representative of the Syrian people. (Here) President François Hollande has also announced that France is exploring the question of arming the anti-Assad forces as soon as a provisional government is formed. Six Gulf Arab states took a similar step on Monday.
The NCSROF elected the cleric Mouaz Alkhatib as its leader. Riad Seif and Suheir Atassi, both prominent democracy activists and the latter a secular feminist (according to Wikipedia), were elected vice presidents. The Coalition has “restated its commitment to humanitarian and non-lethal assistance and commended Qatar for its role in the conference” that led to its formation.
It looks probable that the NCSROF is being shaped up for a final confrontation with Assad. The present level of external support, from Turkey, the Gulf States and, more directly, the West, will rise to the point where it will become open.
Is this to be welcomed?
In May the leader of the Front de Gauche, Jean-Luc Mélenchon stated,
L’utilité d’une intervention militaire est une ”illusion”, a estimé aujourd’hui Jean-Luc Mélenchon, le leader du Front de gauche, interrogé sur les déclarations du président François Hollande évoquant l’éventualité d’une telle opération en Syrie.
The usefulness of a military intervention is an “illusion”, Jean-Luc Mélenchon judged today. The leader of the Front de Gauche, replied when asked about the statements of President François Hollande regarding the possibility of such an operation in Syria.
The Parti Communiste Français has stated that,
Le PCF réaffirme sa solidarité avec toutes les forces qui agissent pour la démocratie, la souveraineté et la dignité humaine en Syrie, pour la fin d’un régime de dictature incapable d’assurer un avenir à son propre pays.
The PCF reaffirms its solidarity with all the forces that are fighting for democracy, sovereignty and human dignity in Syria, and for the end of the dictatorial regime that is incapable of guaranteeing these for its own country.
In this vein the PCF recently participated (26th October) in a “MEETING DE SOLIDARITE AVEC LE PEUPLE SYRIEN“.
These positions appear more reasonable than the blanket opposition to attempts to remove the Syrian regime held by some sections of the British left.
But is what will effectively become a proxy armed intervention a move that favours democracy, let alone Syrian sovereignty?
The issue of ‘humanitarian intervention’ is a complex one.
It is clear, however, that France’s decision relates to its interests as well as to democracy. At stake are considerations of political stability and the creation of a regime that is not ‘anti-Western’, even if it is – ‘moderate’ – Islamist.
Qatar, the host for this new alliance, is not, we note, a democracy itself.
There must be serious doubts about engaging one side in a bloody civil war.
The methods used by the armed opposition are not always examples of standards of “human dignity”. Their forays into sectarianism weigh heavily.
The outcome is far from certain.
Will their victory will result in a regime that respects human rights?
Nothing is less sure.
I have very mixed political feelings about Syria.
Like most of the left I loathe the Baathist regime – in ways too obvious to point out.
But should we back the Syrian National Council (SNC)?
Is that what the we seriously want:?
Last night on the Al jazeera (my main source of information apart from Radio France Internationale – given up on the BBC and Channel Four) they were trying to suggest that the Syrian Opposition were ‘democrats’.
I really really do not think so.