Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

October 10, 2015

The idiot’s guide to writing an anti-imperialist article about Syria

Filed under: journalism,Syria — louisproyect @ 6:40 pm

From left to right: Mike Whitney, Pepe Escobar, John Wight

Do you want to join the ranks of the leftist journalists who number in the thousands at this point covering the West’s brutal attack on progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven Syria? If you agree with me that Mike Whitney, Eric Draitser, Pepe Escobar, Robert Fisk, John Wight, Patrick Higgins, Adam Johnson, and Shamus Cooke need some more help in preventing “regime change” in Syria at the very least and thermonuclear world war as the most extreme outcome, let me advise you on how to write an article that is certain to be published in all the right places.

To start with, don’t worry about plagiarism since this sort of article is not likely to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. When it comes to making the case for Baathist rule, the sky’s the limit.

An Introduction

To start with, you need an opening paragraph. Feel free to use mine:

Once again, the United States is saber-rattling over Syria, demonstrating that Barack Obama will not be satisfied until there is a puppet government in Damascus that is willing to open up the country to penetration from multinational corporations and to host NATO military bases as a beachhead for an attack on Iran and then on Russia. This is part of a new Cold War that has been brewing since the mid-1990s when neo-conservatives decided to liquidate the pole of opposition to Western banks and corporations in those parts of the world that were aligned with Russia.

For credibility’s sake, you need to include a disclaimer close to the beginning that reads something like this:

This is not to say that Bashar al-Assad has been a paragon of leftist virtue. As is commonly understood, he has adopted neoliberal reforms that were forced upon him by sanctions and other forms of economic pressure by Western banks and corporations. He has also jailed opponents of his government unfortunately. If Syria were not under the sorts of pressure that other independent-minded governments had been submitted to, the amount of political prisoners would certainly be reduced.

As long as you say something along these lines, nobody can accuse you of being a Baathist tool (not that such a charge could possibly be made by anybody who was not on the payroll of the CIA.)

Once you get the intro out of the way, you can get down to brass tacks. Using Google, it is not too difficult to dredge up all the talking points that make an article such as this so attractive to Jacobin editor Max Ajl.

Google “Syria proxy war” (2,400,000 results):

Close to the top of the results set, you will find a piece that the Angry Arab wrote for Huffington Post in 2014. Since it is important to find at least one Arab who is not on the Baathist payroll to make excuses for President Assad, it is probably a good idea to cite Mr. Angry rather than plagiarize him. He writes:

There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding. Concurrent with the protest movement that erupted in 2011, Turkey and Gulf regimes had already set up armed rebel groups to help bring down a regime.

You’ll note that Mr. Angry adds the necessary disclaimer: “There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970” but then he deftly proceeds to focus on how Turkey and the Gulf regimes were lurking in the background ready to exploit some understandable discontent. Back in the 1960s, this is the sort of analysis heard frequently from college presidents facing a student strike or occupation. Yes, there were some reasons for students to be unhappy about the war but outside agitators from SDS came in and fomented violence—curse their eyes.

Google “Syria beheading” (842,000 results):

It is essential to document the tendency of the rebels to chop off peoples’ heads. This sort of ghastly image is worth a thousand words even though in the interests of good taste it is probably a mistake to show a head rolling about on the ground. Now most of these results will obviously be referring to ISIS. This does present some problems since some “humanitarian intervention” ZioNazis have written articles in places like the NY Review of Books pointing out that Assad turned a blind eye to ISIS when it was getting a foothold in Syria. I wouldn’t worry too much about this. Nobody cares if you say that the Mossad and the CIA are mainly responsible for ISIS. Consult Global Research on this. They have a vast database of such articles.

But your best bet is to find anything that connects al-Nusra to beheading since the FSA has joined forces on occasion with the group against the Baathist military. This allows you to make an amalgam between al-Nusra, the FSA and beheading. What could be more useful?

You might want to refer to an article titled “Nusra Terrorists Behead 40 in Syria” that appeared in Al-Alam. Now Al-Alam is part of Iran’s state-owned media but I wouldn’t worry about this too much. Most readers will accept the report at face value since they are prepared to think the worst of a group that brought down the WTC and that wants to destroy our progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven way of life.

Google “Syria CIA” (28,100,00 results):

You really hit the jackpot with this one, an embarrassment of riches. There are so many ways to go that your only problem is finding which material is best for discrediting those fighting Assad, who must be likened to the Nicaraguan contras, RENAMO, UNITA and all the other CIA assets from the Reagan era.

But be careful that some malcontent does not bring up the Baathist participation in the CIA rendition program. You have to watch out for comments on your article that might have graphic references to the necessary treatment of stubborn jihadist scum being called to order in a Syria prison:

  • waterboarding,
  • “rectal feeding”—i.e., feeding by rape; liquidating entire solid-food meals, inserting it into detainees rectum via IV, and pumping it into the large intestines,
  • rape threats with broomsticks,
  • “ice water baths,”
  • standing sleep deprivation; sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours,
  • threats with buzzing power drills
  • threats to kill family members and rape mothers

Your best bet is to have the people running the website where your article appears to delete them without skipping a beat. The obvious intention of these creeps is to make the Middle East’s only progressive, peace-loving, pluralistic and clean-shaven government look bad and we can’t have that. You might even reference Christopher Hitchens’s encounter with waterboarding. He didn’t like it very much, I admit, but he did survive the experience after all.

Google “Syria wikileaks” (1,770,000 results)

This goes hand in hand with the search above. For most of your potential readers, any way that you can work the CIA or secret cables revealed by Wikileaks into your article helps you make your overall point even though of course most of them have made up their minds that the opposition to Syria is rotten to the core long ago. As is the case in this type of work, repetition is essential. Why else would Trivago run ads 10 times an hour on CBS during prime time on many popular shows?

I would point you to an article that Robert Naiman wrote for Truthout, a website whose editorial board he sits upon. It is actually a chapter from a book on Wikileaks by Verso that I received a review copy for a while back. The title of the article is “WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath”, one that suits the predominantly conspiracist mindset of much of the left that like Naiman wisely prefers to the retrograde and irrelevant Marxist theory some antediluvians prefer.

Wikileaks refers to a 2006 cable written by a Bush administration official that was in line with the “regime change” orientation that led to the disastrous war in Iraq. Even though the Obama administration that Naiman urged a vote for in 2008 and 2012 abandoned that policy and sought a new orientation to Iran, it is still useful to cite the cable since the entire purpose is to represent US foreign policy as a one-note affair that rules out reorientations such as Nixon’s trip to China, etc.

Again it is necessary to ward off complaints from ZioNazis who will try to embarrass you by referring to articles that appeared before the Arab Spring along the lines of the March 26 2009 NY Times: “With Isolation Over, Syria Is Happy to Talk” or even after the revolt in Syria broke out in early 2011 when Hillary Clinton referred to Bashar al-Assad as a “reformer”. Your best bet is to dismiss such reports as disinformation carefully intended to lull us into believing that “regime change” was not being plotted in Washington.

The Conclusion

You should include the following points:

–Russian intervention is designed to bring the war to an end. It is only through a muscular application of force that the jihadist threat can be overcome. It might make sense to refer to the WWII alliance between the USSR and the USA, as Putin has done. Many of your readers will be inclined to think of the Syrian rebels as the modern-day equivalent of the Japanese and German last-ditch resistance to the allied war machine. Surely, there is a much more calibrated approach by the Russians even if a bunch of hospitals had to be leveled in rebel-controlled areas. You can always say that if the USA bombed a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, why make a big deal about Russia?

–Stress civilized values and the need to preserve them. You might want to borrow some of Christopher Hitchens’s lofty prose from the early 2000’s. He really knew how to make the case for preserving Enlightenment values:

We know that the enemies of our civilization and of Arab-Muslim civilization have emerged from what is actually a root cause. The root cause is the political slum of client states from Saudi Arabia through Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, that has been allowed to dominate the region under U.S. patronage, and uses people and resources as if they were a gas station with a few flyblown attendants.

Indeed, there is at least one veteran leftist who is clearly channeling Christopher Hitchens (let’s hope he goes easy on the whiskey and smokes):

In particular the Saudi gang of corrupt potentates, sitting in gilded palaces in Riyadh, have long been dredging a deep well of hypocrisy as part of the US-led grand coalition against IS and its medieval barbarism. A state that beheads almost as many people in public as IS, the oil-rich kingdom’s status as a close Western ally is beyond reprehensible.

(John Wight, “The West and ISIS”)

The Russia-ISIS shuffle

Now I don’t have any easy answers for this but in terms of what Mr. Wight wrote, you might want to think about how to handle a rather delicate matter, namely the general perception that Russia is not attacking ISIS but the other groups that are more interested in getting rid of Assad than in building a Caliphate based on a medieval model. Your best bet is go on the offensive and claim that such groups are just as bad even if it involves stretching the truth. You might even break the truth here and there. A readership that has been reading Global Research, Jacobin and WSWS.org for the past few years has been softened up to the point that it would probably believe that the FSA intends to invade the USA and convert Bill Maher to Islam at the point of a gun.

62 Comments »

  1. I just don’t get your obsessive/compulosion with Syria. What’s the diff between a KGB Thug and Goldman-Sachs Thugs? Except the former effectively uses force and the latter has been an utter and complete failure since 1945. And your demonization of Assad recalls the hysterical denunciations of Qaddafy and Saddam Hussein and Chavez and Allende and Nkrumah and Mao and Ho and and and which places YOU in the FUNDAMENTALIST CAPITALIST IMPERIALIST CAMP ALONG WITH SAM HARRIS and CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS and LINDSAY GRAHAM AND BEN CARSON AND HILLARY CLINTON AND TED CRUZ and and and.

    Comment by thom — October 10, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

  2. And is you need to use the word “idiot’s” then perhaps your argument is failing as badly as US policy on damned near every front. Lo. The apocalypse loometh.

    Comment by thom — October 10, 2015 @ 6:57 pm

  3. Thom, you don’t understand. Imperialism prefers Assad to those who oppose them. He is a lesser evil. Also, I would not not put Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein in the same category as the others. I would group them with Somoza and Suharto. I understand that it is difficult to understand how a leftist can take the side of a revolution against someone that Thomas Friedman and Henry Kissinger hates but you have to understand that I was trained in the Trotskyist movement. There is much about that movement I totally reject but not its willingness to back, for example, the Hungarians who resisted Russian tanks in 1956 and so on.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 10, 2015 @ 7:22 pm

  4. Three main reasons for which NATO is not attacking Russia right now

    http://bit.ly/1N5jafT

    Comment by failedevolution — October 10, 2015 @ 7:48 pm

  5. Yes of course it makes sense that the world’s most powerful imperialists perfer Assad to real socialists that oppose him. Why else would the world’s most powerful imperialists have stabed the FSA in the back? Since when have the world’s most powerful imperialists been in the habit of settling for second best??
    You should clarify just exactly how you would propose to support the socialist elements in the FSA . You should justify that with this support the FSA has reasonable chance of success. You should provide a full background check on the leadership of the FSA and explain why we can expect that these leaders will establish a just socialist caliphate in Syria. You should clarify if your support would come from NGOs or from governments. You should expain why if these governments meddle in the affairs of other people if they will allow other people to meddle in their affiars. You should explain if this involvement is expected to be a one time thing or if some government should be in the bussiness of esablishing a world wide socialist caliphate and if this government should also decide on the purity of the countries under the caliphate. If you reject frquent meddling in foriegn waters what makes Syria say different from Libya or Sudan or Zaire or Columbia, or Israel?
    Molavi said, if you set the bar to an exception to the rule to low you are no longer talking about an exception to the rule but about making a new rule. Because it was Molavi that said that it must be true. He was at least as reliable as Trostsky wasn’t he? Just how well did Trotsky’s support for the Hungarians who rebeled against Stalin actually work out?

    Comment by Curt Kastens — October 10, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

  6. 1) So where do you get the moral authority to ban, censor, accuse of “trolling” and otherwise become a bully when someone lumps you in with the imperialist camp when you yourself routinely set up a ludicrous strawman to knock down on the Syria question? You consistently invoke some kind of totally imaginary fervently pro-Assad, pro-Putin tankie crackpot who, for whatever strange reason that you can never really explain, is nevertheless obliged to distance himself from such dictatorial pieces of shit as Assad and Putin and at the same time is “in league” with right-wing Islamophobes.

    Feel free to disagree with Angry Arab or WSWS or whoever, but it’s really a disingenuous and dick move to straight out draw a definite community of interests extending between them, isolationist/right-wing “anti-empire dissidents” and mainstream hawks and Islamophobes like Maher, Hitchens, etc. At best, you’ve far from succeeded in relieving the burden of proof of the existence of an *actual* “red-brown alliance”, either deliberately or as an unconscious adaptation of socialists to bourgeois isolationism. Indeed, the “red-brown alliance” pointed to by the pro-interventionist left is as unsubstantiated a conspiracy theory as the “cultural Marxism” theory favored by neo-Nazi Euroskeptics and Islamophobes. It would too easy to go for the cheap and obvious dig and trot out my obverse of the “red-brown alliance” theory and put you in place of the “knee-jerk anti-imperialists,” and I would you’d resist the urge too.

    2) Set aside whether or not you think the Lenin-Trotsky theory of the party holds water for working class politics in the 21st century. Even if you junk the party, democratic centralism, etc. I would argue that the theory of permanent revolution still yields crucial insights into political strategy in the epoch of imperialism. The early Comintern toyed with and, where possible, implemented the idea of conditional, critical support for nationalist/anti-colonial movements. Given the tenuous position of the Soviet revolution at the time, I think the tactic was valid. But as a long-term strategy, it should be clear by now that bourgeois nationalism proved mostly ineffectual even in its potential capacity as a “temporary ally” in the World Revolution. The consolidation of Stalinism in the 20th century only made matters messier.

    If Lenin was “tactically” correct on the national question in its immediate historical context, then Luxemburg was vindicated “strategically” in the long run. Not only is there no substitute for the independent organization of the working class, “lesser evils” and “realistic” compromises pretty much without exception have ended up as political (and physical) graveyards for the working and toiling masses of the world. It’s up to the Syrian working class, organized independently, to settle accounts with Baathism. If the Syrian working class, through no fault of its own, was unable to play a similar role that its Egyptian counterpart did earlier in 2011, or at least do so only in a partial and contradictory manner, then by the time the Assad regime, Turkey and the Gulf States intensified their efforts to repress, hijack or reorient mass discontent, whatever lame bourgeois-democratic content there was to an erstwhile Syrian revolution has long since been extirpated.

    Given the abysmal balance of forces in the country, I think we have to own up to the bitter truth that there is no viable *endogenous* solution in Syria for the foreseeable future, and we can thank imperialism for that. But then a progressive solution to the Syrian question never could be articulated within the narrow confines of the Syrian state, could it? The choice between Baathist Syria and a realistic “post-war” debaathified Syria are not meaningfully different outcomes for the Syrian working class. No currently existing political current represents a viable, progressive alternative. This is not apology for “inaction,” this means that genuine internationalism and solidarity with the Syrian working class means a consistent struggle against imperialism, not sophistic and mechanical citations of Trotsky’s hypothetical scenarios about critical support to Brazilian fascism against French imperialism.

    Comment by Daniel — October 10, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

  7. Reblogged this on Andrei Cazacu and commented:
    One of the best reads of the past couple of weeks, I highly recommend it.

    “For credibility’s sake, you need to include a disclaimer close to the beginning that reads something like this:

    This is not to say that Bashar al-Assad has been a paragon of leftist virtue. As is commonly understood, he has adopted neoliberal reforms that were forced upon him by sanctions and other forms of economic pressure by Western banks and corporations. He has also jailed opponents of his government unfortunately. If Syria were not under the sorts of pressure that other independent-minded governments had been submitted to, the amount of political prisoners would certainly be reduced.

    As long as you say something along these lines, nobody can accuse you of being a Baathist tool (not that such a charge could possibly be made by anybody who was not on the payroll of the CIA.)”

    Comment by andreicazacu31 — October 10, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

  8. Indeed, the “red-brown alliance” pointed to by the pro-interventionist left is as unsubstantiated a conspiracy theory as the “cultural Marxism” theory favored by neo-Nazi Euroskeptics and Islamophobes. It would too easy to go for the cheap and obvious dig and trot out my obverse of the “red-brown alliance” theory and put you in place of the “knee-jerk anti-imperialists,” and I would you’d resist the urge too.

    http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/national/why-bnp-supporting-putin-syria

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/11098811/Nigel-Farage-Stop-opposing-Vladmir-Putin-in-Ukraine-and-join-forces-to-defeat-Islamic-terrorists.html

    Comment by louisproyect — October 10, 2015 @ 11:17 pm

  9. Do you seriously think that even comes close to addressing my point? Nice job demonstrating what we already knew: the far-right loves Putin, in their fucked-up narrative he’s some sort of latter day Jan Sobieski saving us all from ISIS. Now all you have to do is show us full-throated, widespread support from socialists for Putin.

    Comment by Daniel — October 10, 2015 @ 11:59 pm

  10. Are you out of your motherfucking mind? I write for CounterPunch, you moron. Just go there and do a search on “Putin” and you will find 14,300 articles in praise of Putin like “http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/29/putin-gobsmacks-uncle-sam-again/”. Unless you don’t think that Mike Whitney, Pepe Escobar, et al are not part of the left, I have no idea what you are talking about. Do you mean the Trotskyist movement? Of course, they don’t go as far as Whitney but they have no problems sponsoring events featuring Boris Kagarlitsky whose think-tank is funded by the Kremlin and who attends conferences organized by Haider’s party in Austria. Wake up and smell the coffee, dude.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 11, 2015 @ 12:06 am

  11. Amazing, I had no idea there was a history of people ostensibly identifying as socialists while totally falling within the orbit of bourgeois politics! It’s almost like all that stuff about the independence of the working class isn’t just sloganeering! So there are soft-headed leftists who think in terms of crude geopolitics and not class struggle, that’s still not exactly the grand red-brown alliance. You can throw in Marcyites like Mazda Majidi as well, if you like. Playing six degrees of Alexander Dugin with this or that nominally left commentator isn’t going to prove your point either – you support Venezuela and Venezuela maintains diplomatic relations with Russia who in turn supports Assad so using your brilliant method we’re all pro-Putin nazbols now!

    Comment by Daniel — October 11, 2015 @ 12:51 am

  12. So there are soft-headed leftists who think in terms of crude geopolitics and not class struggle, that’s still not exactly the grand red-brown alliance.

    That’s fine. Call it what you want but I don’t find Roger Annis and Boris Kagarlitsky “soft-headed”. These are people who have been on the Marxist left for decades and should know better. Both have hailed the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist movement as if it were the second coming of the Paris Commune. That is psychotic.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 11, 2015 @ 12:56 am

  13. Reblogged this on Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis and commented:
    Excellent guide written by Louis Proyect for how ostensible leftists can write articles in support of fascist and other right-wing dictatorships.

    Comment by mkaradjis — October 11, 2015 @ 1:08 am

  14. thom writes: “What’s the diff between a KGB Thug and Goldman-Sachs Thugs? Except the former effectively uses force and the latter has been an utter and complete failure since 1945.”

    I was tempted to dismiss this as incoherent gibberish, but then it occurred to me: wait, this guy’s actually saying that we should leave violence and the use of force to the Russians because, you see, the CIA isn’t any good at it. As if that’s their problem…

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 11, 2015 @ 3:15 am

  15. “Call it what you want but I don’t find Roger Annis and Boris Kagarlitsky “soft-headed”. These are people who have been on the Marxist left for decades and should know better. Both have hailed the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist movement as if it were the second coming of the Paris Commune. That is psychotic.”

    I also find it very strange — this critique that we spend too much time fretting about the Stalinist psychology on the left (in fact, you’ve given me sh*t on Twitter for writing about Greaves, Klein et al), when in fact it is a huge issue. Take Jacobin alone, which is probably the most popular left-wing periodical in English: Sundara does not consider himself a Stalinist, but as you’ve pointed out, for whatever reason he has enabled to some extent the Stalinist worldview.

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 11, 2015 @ 3:22 am

  16. Well since no one has said just exactly what is to be done for the socialists in Syria let me do that for other worldly leftists who are outraged about Russian and Iranian governmental support for Assad.

    The American people can support the real Syrian leftists with psycic warriors. Yes you know those with remote viewing capabilities and the abilities to bend steel with their minds from a half world away. The first thing that these psycic warriors can do is to identify where the real leftist leaders are. The psycic warriors can then destroy the Baathists and the ISIS forces and hand power over to the leftist leaders that they had identified.
    The motto for the campaign to win support for this plan could be, No visable borders stand between us and our Syrian brothers in arms. With such a motto and such a plan there is no way that any sane person in America could oppose it. A no costs and a no risks plan like that is sure to garner the support of the vast majority of American society especially when every one important signs on to it.
    Oh wait no I have failed to consider that millions of real soldiers and drone pilots in the US military will resent the fact that they would lose the opportunity to take part in a chance to kill Arab wedding participants in the streets of Damascus before they need to kill Arab wedding participants in the streets of Des Moines.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — October 11, 2015 @ 7:51 am

  17. IMHO The “revolution” is both authentic and appropriated. While Assad dictatorship is non socialism divide et impere with russian backing the “other side” is a very disparate power struggle where the “West” surely has blood on their hands supporting various “pawns”. The prime example is IS which is a semi-autonomous fundamentalistic military project that is the fruits of Camp Bucca and the american invasion of Iraq. IS was attached at a very early stage to AQ, and then split up again due to internal power struggles.

    “If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no [Islamic State] now,” recalled the inmate interviewed by TheGuardian. “Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.” The prisoners dubbed the camp “The Academy,” and during his ten months in residence, Baghdadi was one of its faculty members.

    By the time Baghdadi was released on December 8, 2004, he had a virtual Rolodex for reconnecting with his co-conspirators and protégés: they had written one another’s phone numbers in the elastic of their underwear.”

    The graduates of the “West Point” of “Islamic terrorism” without a “paper trail”. Just a “convenient” authentic fundamentalistic multipronged “force for change” that somehow equipped themselves with american “abandoned” military tools and began to carve out the “Caliphate”. Funded by nothing else than what they captured in terms of “oil revenue” and plundered assests in both Iraq and Syria..

    “Secure on the throne, Baghdadi and his éminence grise set about reviving the Islamic State’s flagging fortunes. Military setbacks had forced the group underground in 2008 and subsequent attacks like the one on Abu Umar and Masri had decimated its command structure. Baghdadi and Hajji Bakr were determined to bring the fight out in the open again and seize the territory necessary for establishing a caliphate. The growing unrest in Syria in 2011 played directly into their hands. Presented with an opportunity to inject violence into what had been a peaceful revolt, Baghdadi sent one of his Syrian operatives to set up a secret branch of the Islamic State in the country that year. The branch, later known as the Nusra Front, initially followed the Islamic State’s playbook by attacking civilians as part of a clandestine terror campaign to sow chaos. The hope was that the Islamic State would be able to capitalize on that chaos in order to make its first land grab”

    So who in the fucks name is the émince grise?

    http://raqeb.co/en/2015/10/believer

    “attacking civilans” and “sowing chaos” is 101 COIN as well as “terrorism”. If you look at “history” you will see that the sheer amount this strategy of CO(IN) is vastly more “practiced” than “authentic terrorism”. Also there is very good evidence for “separtists” “terrorists” to be both “supported” “abandoned” and even bombed at different stages of support. There is no “proof” of course but this is how “the imperialistic” machine usually behaves.

    Assad was also “happy” to have his repressive regime house sessions of tortures during the Occupation of Iraq. Iran sold oil to the american invasion force in Afghanistan happy to see the “devil” kill off various movements of “talibans” “non aligned with Iran”. Iran has also “recruited, trained and equipped” various militia movements [from Afghanistan] to fight along Assad. And NO US has not “recruited” IS or the Muslim brotherhood to fight or use in the various complex regional authentic, semi-authentic and induced conflicts, the military “expertise” that make up IS was just housed under “one roof” [as per the remnants of the (at a certain stage- western supported Iraqi Saddam) in house “intelligence COIN team”]. That contingent just happened to Rampage into Syria driven by their own vision to divide and conquer.

    “..but Baghdadi viewed imposing the harsh religious laws as a way of legitimizing his new state as “Islamic,” and terrifying the local population into submission. Like Saddam, he understood the political utility of brutality in the name of religion” Saddam both as a tool and a target.

    Comment by Syntagma squared — October 11, 2015 @ 9:23 am

  18. Personally I am completely against Russia’s attack on the people of Syria, as I was when the USA, Britain, France and a whole host of imperialist nations were queuing up to slaughter and displace the Syrian people.

    I am also in no doubt that imperialist policy has forced the hand of Russia, and they bear the responsibility for the current disastrous state of affairs.

    I think if memory serves me right Proyect was cheerleading when the killing was being done by leading imperialist nations, now like Fox news he seems alarmed. What we get from Proyect in relation to Syria is not so much Marxists analysis but Fox news propaganda and distortion.

    We should never forget that what Proyect represents is the tiny minority of puppets who think they were born to rule Syria. Proyect is every bit as hostile to the real rebels as any Assad or Putin supporter. We should never ever forget this.

    What Proyect wants is for the puppets to take power in Syria and then get on with the job of cleansing the entire region of undesirables.

    If Syria is the Paris commune then ISIS and the Islamists are its brave defenders. You are Gustave Flaubert!

    Comment by Simon Provertier — October 11, 2015 @ 12:37 pm

  19. I would love to listen to a debate with the left luminaries that you seeth with anger against–Draitser, Escobar, Whitley, Wright, etc.

    From what I understand, you aren’t allowed to publish many of your essays on Counter Punch, and this one is an example of why they keep you on a tight lease.

    So you are a Trotsky intellectual–and this monicur allows you to take any absurd position, because you have opted to become totally irrelevant.

    And I doubt you would come across as credible should you ever actually debate with any of the writers you excoriate and denigrate in this screed.

    You have value as entertainment–as your pathetic grasping epitomizes the disengagement and perfidious nature of the carnival barker US left intelligentsia at this phase of imperial decline.

    Dare you to set up a debate with Eric Draitser–you know you wouldn’t come out the other side with your reputation bolstered.

    You can always ply your wares on the corporate right wing, however.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 11, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  20. You consistently invoke some kind of totally imaginary fervently pro-Assad, pro-Putin tankie crackpot . . . .

    Have you ever heard of Mike Whitney? This abject toady routinely leads cheers (“Way to go Vladimir”) for a Russian blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) in Syria. That’s what I call a tankie. If Whitney ever had any brains or journalistic integrity, he has shown no sign of either recently.

    One cannot exaggerate the unprincipled madness of Whitney’s ravings. They are in a class by themselves. I say this as someone whose attention was first directed to Whitney by a pro-Palestinian Egyptian friend whose opinion I once respected.

    In this respect, I think Louis’s response errs, if at all, on the side of restraint.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — October 11, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  21. From what I understand, you aren’t allowed to publish many of your essays on Counter Punch, and this one is an example of why they keep you on a tight lease.

    I actually have a lease until 2018. I paid a $250 deposit after all.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 11, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

  22. “I understand that it is difficult to understand how a leftist can take the side of a revolution against someone that Thomas Friedman and Henry Kissinger hates but you have to understand that I was trained in the Trotskyist movement.”

    Anarchists understand this, too, given their antipathy towards the state in general. Hence, they tend to avoid engaging in geopolitical analysis dressed in the garb of anti-imperialism.

    Comment by Richard Estes — October 11, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

  23. In fact the anarchists have been much better on Syria and Ukraine than most Trotskyists.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 11, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

  24. I’m always 80% inclined to agree with you on Syria. Sure Jacobin, WSWS etc. are obnoxious Assad sympathizers but why throw your support for the neoliberal FSA and Humane Syrian Al Qaeda™ when the PYD is just around the corner?

    Comment by cartoondiablo — October 11, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

  25. I love it. I have decided to start following your page thanks to this article.

    Comment by workingclasshuman — October 11, 2015 @ 11:15 pm

  26. Well, Mr. Proyect, I don’t know how Counter Punch operates–but if you say that you have to pay to play, I will take your word for it.

    You do develop content, as with your movie reviews that are of interest, but I don’t give much stock it the labels that people adopt (marxist, moaist, anarchist, trotskyist, etc.)

    What matters is what people say–are the ideas expressed cogent and compelling in this evolving reality we share.

    Name-calling, logical fallacies, repeating propaganda smears that are not backed by reliable evidence, etc.–all this is standard fare in the dominant media that is promoted in the West these days.

    Black-hat/White-hat one-upmanship is also standard fare.

    The US empire has begun the steep decline that is inevitable–and I support a future multi-polar world where one country doesn’t come under the thrall of ‘exceptionalist” mafioso international lawbreakers.

    The empire has painted itself into a corner–Putin simply didn’t take the bait and get hooked into a trap. But he simply took the bait and left the hook bare.

    Its not that Putin is so spectacular–its just that the Western establishment are so profoundly mediocre and uninspiring.

    The fact that you have to pay to play, to post content on Counter Punch–this cold reality speaks volumes as to the bankrupt reality that the left intelligensia has helped create in this declining empire.

    Not particularly your fault, Mr. Proyect. But I do suspect that US info warriors give money to many journalists to confuse the population and get with the imperial program–that is why there is such a dearth of compelling reporting on places like Syria and Ukraine. Journalists don’t even question the state propaganda bullet points–they become stenographers.

    But, as a Trotskyist, you are granted a bit more imaginative play as you bolster the state propaganda.

    Hey, it’s better than paying to play, right?

    And you can vacation in South Beach. Everyone’s happy except the victims of imperialist shenanigans and imperial violence.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 11, 2015 @ 11:26 pm

  27. Well, Mr. Proyect, I don’t know how Counter Punch operates–but if you say that you have to pay to play, I will take your word for it.

    Um, that $250 deposit was a joke. In fact the article itself was mostly a joke.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2015 @ 12:45 am

  28. Steven Hunt: “Its not that Putin is so spectacular–its just that the Western establishment are so profoundly mediocre and uninspiring.”

    So would we all be better off under Putin than under Western rule? Have you ever lived in that fucking country (Russia)?

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 12:56 am

  29. Those who cheer on Russian intervention in Syria and Putin’s ‘sphere of influence’ over Ukraine, etc. offer an alternative imperialist order that is far more bleak than the existing one.

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 3:54 am

  30. no, Stepan, you just keep eating your Mcdonalds and drinking the corporate/state propaganda you are compelled to imbibe. it’s exceptional.

    So, should I do my own investigation and form my own relations with people from other countries, like Russia–or should I simply take your word as to the ‘truth’ of that “fucking country”?

    Indeed, who made you the omniscient judge as to the essence of Russia and the many diverse peoples that comprise the largest landmass country in this world?

    Your arrogant ignorance epitomizes why the exceptionalist US unipower is in a precipitous decline.

    Most intelligensia in all societies have to answer to various oligarchies and rackets–but the paid thinkers that comprise the left/right scam are the most exceptional in the craven and deluded depravity.

    Stepan, you seem like a small minded person, amendable toward all manner of state-corporate propaganda–able to discern the characters on the world stage that your betters require you to hate and vilify.

    Mr. Proyect is similar–and he pretends that this article is a good-humored joke, not the vilification and denigration of other thinkers that have strayed outside the official propaganda.

    And, no, Mr. Proyect will never actually engage in an actual debate with the dissidents he smears with such ignoble and obsequious fervor.

    Y’all have internalized the politically correct ideas that mark you as servants of the decrepit and pathetic US empire.

    The real life victims of the invasions you folks support–well, they are simply incidental and collateral.

    That is why the vast majority of humanity enjoys seeing the decline of you exceptionally degenerate McDonald eat’n liars.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 4:23 am

  31. Steven Hunt, I don’t claim to know the ‘essence’ of Russia but I did live there for 3 years, which is 3 years longer than you’ve ever lived there. At least my opinion is informed by some fluency with the society and language. I also happen to teach Soviet history, but nevermind all that. The Communist Party will have its return!

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 4:41 am

  32. Putin’s government is a totalitarian mafia state that wishes it were as powerful as the US empire.

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 5:06 am

  33. Steven Hunt: “no, Stepan, you just keep eating your Mcdonalds and drinking the corporate/state propaganda you are compelled to imbibe. it’s exceptional.”

    Steven here is making a familiar mistake. He is assuming that, because someone is opposed to one imperialist power, that person supports another. If one takes a working class perspective, that requires opposing all imperialist powers without exception. Of course, since the main enemy is at home, one’s main energies have to be devoted to the struggle against the imperialist State in which one lives, but that by no means requires silence about the crimes of other imperialist powers. In the case of Syria, we have a situation where both the US & Russia have intervened militarily. Their objectives are not entirely at loggerheads with each other, but they are also not alighed.

    It is necessary to oppose the intervention in Syria by both the US & Russia. It is also necessary to oppose the intervention by regional powers like Turkey, Iran and the House of Saud. The intervention by regional powers is driving the Syrian Civil War along sectarian lines, something directly against the interests of the working class.

    Authentically Left wing forces in Syria are quite weak at present, but only a Left response can provide a way out of the sectarian bloodbath that Syria has become. The best thing that we in the West can do is to campaign for the withdrawal of all imperialist powers and the growth of a working class resistance in significant countries around the region. Although it would be a tall order in “Saudi” Arabia at the moment, that resistance is growing in both Turkey & Iran.

    Comment by ablokeimet — October 12, 2015 @ 5:11 am

  34. Well, my estimation of your opinion of Putin, the government, and the people of Russia is confirmed by your comments.

    My estimation of these subjects is informed by friends that I have developed in the course of my investigations and queries.

    But you are deluded and arrogant enough to believe that I should abjure the information that I am given by many adult Russians and consume your particulare small-minded dogma.

    You can bask in the glow of whatever assignation you bestow in your beloved imperial order–but it is the shittyist, sucks more than Russia.

    But then again if you didn’t have the views you do, you would be able to ply your servitude and be part of the intelligentsia where you are living.

    In Russia you would be among the despised liberals, about five percent that is held in profound disrepute.

    Nah, I will give weight to the opinion of the friends I have developed over the course of seven years of investigation and research.

    Now go throw turds at your photo of Putin you perfidious poppen-jay.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  35. As well, the poverty of your world view is pointed up by your clumsy redbaiting. Where have I conveyed that I would like the Communist Party in Russia to become dominant again?

    But in your manicean butt-hurt, you doth project much.

    You are stuck with the black-hat Soviets against the white-hat capitalist ‘America’. Reductive projection–and this is why you guys make alliance with ISIL and are going down fast.

    Good luck with that–

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  36. Steven Hunt is plainly some right-wing nutjob masquerading as a leftist for some reason. He dismisses the entire Russian left as 5% liberals and calls it a well spent day. It must be fun or something to be the wretched bastard that you are, Steven Hurt, but some of us will never sink to your degenerate level.

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 10:46 am

  37. I’d like to know who these ‘many adult Russians’ are, because that line strikes me as completely made up. Are you talking about your imaginary friends?

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  38. Stepan,

    My friends are not public intellectuals–they are pen-pals of sorts.

    The communist party is the second largest in Russia–and they are very much separate with the liberals that work with US NGOs and various oligarchs aligned with the neoliberal US agents.

    I reject right/left labels–not helpful and quite reductive.

    The people I am close to intellectually are multipolar anti-imperialists.

    Some are self-labled monarchists, new rightists, Chomsky afficianados, ect.

    Sane ideas, scrupulous arguments and judgement, and a non-reductive view of human potential and solidarity.

    So I am open and eclectic with respect to folks with whom I develop friendship and goodwill.

    At this juncture I believe that the US is failing on every level–the intelligentsia has entered senescence, their best thinking will only add to the momentum of decline.

    The hysteria here is off the charts and is very disturbing.

    When a US president tutors the members of the UN as to how indispensable and exceptional the superpower is—this is a signal that continued hegemony is not safely assured.

    I think Putin is one of the more intelligent and sane leaders on the world stage in these times.

    Indeed, I see no need to badger or hate you for seeing the situation with dramatically different assumptions, goals, and teleology.

    Can’t you accept that others see things differently than you?–or are you totalitarian by proclivity?

    Putin has the ability to forge a nascent nationalist ideology that has been a godsend for the Russian people after being abused so vociferously by the West after the collapse of the USSR.

    None is without weakness or blindspots–but at various historical junctures some are more pathologically deluded than others.

    It is humanity enmass that are the ultimate arbitors of which narratives are our salient guides.

    I lean toward the demos more than the few that consider themselves superior and exceptional.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

  39. “I think Putin is one of the more intelligent and sane leaders on the world stage in these times.” Comrade Stalin is my hero and my friend.

    Comment by Stepan Petrichenko (@pyotr_kropotkin) — October 12, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  40. Ablokeimet.

    No, I reject that Russia accepting a legal request by the only legal entity with authority in the state of Syria is imperialism and illegitimate.

    The “authentic left” and other sane citizens of Syria welcome Russia’s assistance in repelling the aggression of the motley crew of US proxies and caliphate fanatics.

    Following your thinking, the Syrian state would sink into total depravity and genocidal mass murder.

    You have not clear, sane strategy to bring stability and stop what would become a nightmare for the majority of Syrians that have been defending the legal government from US sponsored terror for four years.

    Your thinking simply isn’t cogent on this matter.

    Your glibe advice here would be suicide–and the vast majority of Surians would tell you as much if you ever bother to ask for response.

    This is an example of the senescence I referred to above. A type of non-reflective, delusional fanaticism and arrogance among the “left” tendency ensconced in the bowels of the exceptional hegemon.

    Is it any wonder that this mass delusion helped spawn ISIL?

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

  41. Stepan, yes your smearing anyone that strays from you absolutist version of your brand of orthodoxy akin to what is embodied in the metaphor “Stalinist”.

    I don’t actually think you admire Stalin–you mirror and project an authoritarian propensity to smash any view of reality that doesn’t cohere to the brand of corporate-state liberal orthodoxity you desire to enforce on the world as the only acceptable ideology and practice.

    This leads to millions being hounded, hunted, and murdered.

    Ultimately, this specie of fanaticism and closed minded blindness is rooted in your ignorant fear.

    Putin and others have the wisdom to learn from the tragedies–and he is offering a different path as we move into the future.

    Do present what specifically you oppose with respect to what Putin presents as goals we can work toward as common humans.

    Vilification and slander is not a coherent plan out of the mess we have found ourselves.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

  42. What articles will this inspire?

    “New Syrian alliance groups U.S.-backed Kurds, Arabs

    A Kurdish militia that has been fighting Islamic State in Syria with help from U.S.-led air strikes has joined forces with Arab groups in an alliance announced on Monday that may be a prelude to an attack on the jihadists’ base of operations in Raqqa.

    The alliance calling itself the Democratic Forces of Syria includes the Kurdish YPG militia and Syrian Arab groups, some of which fought alongside it in a campaign that drove Islamic State from wide areas of northern Syria earlier this year.

    The Arab groups in the new alliance are operating under the name “The Syrian Arab Coalition” – a grouping which U.S. officials have said would receive support under a new U.S. strategy aimed at fighting Islamic State in Syria.

    A U.S. military official has told Reuters that the Syrian Arab Coalition would push down towards Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital, while staying east of the Euphrates river.

    Keeping the YPG-backed force east of the river could ease Turkish concerns about any further expansion of Kurdish influence in northern Syria. Turkey is worried about the Kurds’ growing power in Syria fuelling separatism among its own Kurds.

    The United States last week announced a shake-up of its support to Syrian rebels fighting IS, effectively ending its program to train fighters outside Syria and focusing instead on providing weapons to groups whose commanders have been U.S.-vetted.

    The YPG has to date proved the most effective partner on the ground for U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State. By deepening ties with groups from Syria’s Arab majority, it could deflect concern among some Arabs that it exists solely to fight for the interests of Kurds.

    The YPG drove deep into Raqqa province earlier this year, but stopped short of advancing on Islamic State’s de facto capital of Raqqa city, saying it wanted Syrian Arab rebels to lead such an assault.

    The new alliance includes the YPG, various Arab groups including Jaysh al-Thuwwar (Army of Rebels) and the Arab tribal Jaysh al-Sanadeed, and an Assyrian Christian group, according to a statement announcing its establishment.

    “The sensitive stage our country Syria is going through and rapid developments on the military and political front … require that there be a united national military force for all Syrians, joining Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and other groups,” said the statement, which was sent to Reuters by a YPG spokesman.

    “Given that these forces in general are democratic and secular forces that believe to a great degree in diversity, we hope that they will receive support” from the U.S.-led coalition, said Nasir Haj Mansour, an official in the defense ministry of the Kurdish administration in YPG-held territory.

    “The current goal in practical terms is to confront Daesh, given that it is the first enemy, but the goal is also to build a democratic Syria in the future,” he said by telephone, using an acronym for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/12/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds-idUSKCN0S60BD20151012

    Comment by Andrew Coates — October 12, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

  43. The idea that an anti imperialist must oppose all imperialism equally is from a military standpoint strategically and tactically incompetent.
    Some with even the a tiny amount of the study of miliatry history should know this. I would provide some footnotes backing up my assertion but if someone needs to see a source for such a basic assertion they are not worthy of getting a footnote.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — October 12, 2015 @ 5:38 pm

  44. “The YPG has to date proved the most effective partner on the ground for U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State.”

    Yep, the murder of the Syrian people was being carried out by the USA and its puppets long before Putin arrived on the scene.

    Of course to the USA and its liberal left lackeys you can easily spot the good rebel from the bad rebel, apparently the bad rebels wear “I like to rape girls” t-shirts, while the good ones dream of rowing on the Orontes River, while being served drinks by surly, head bowed and poorly paid but contented Sunni Muslims, contented that the rowers are free to express their opinions without any threat from the government.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — October 12, 2015 @ 5:49 pm

  45. Andrew, I find the info you provided about the US backing an alliance of Kurds, Assyrian Christians and other nebulous “Arabs” very interesting.

    This mash-up of disperse factions is totally I keeping with the desperate situation that the US empire finds itself given the changing reality on the ground.

    So we are to surmise that this amalgam is stitched together by folks that desire to fight the jihadist extremists–but also want to engage future battles to depose the Syrian government.

    This gets more hilarious by the day.

    If this scenario is really being planned and implemented, then, indeed, the precarious position that the US has stumbled itself into is dire.

    Watch false flag development that will cause friction between Turkey and Russia.

    I think the bombing in Ankara this week to be a type of false flag terrorism. A

    Don’t believe a word these degenerates say: they are desperate to develop an imposed client state in Syria–the will of the citizens be damned.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 12, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

  46. the will of the citizens be damned.

    Absolutely, Bashar al-Assad got 98 percent of the vote in 2007. If that isn’t a mandate, I don’t know what is. Richard Daley would be proud.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 12, 2015 @ 11:32 pm

  47. Mr. Proyect, I am inclined to accept such a high ratio given the larger contexts: the US and its regional allies waging war of aggression; citizens feeling besieged and forsaken.

    Totally logical.

    I have a friend locally, a Syrian Christian man, who was lucky to get most of his family out alive.

    They had financial means and connections.

    This man totally supports the Legitimate Syrian government and Russia’s help (finally).

    He and most of his people believe that the US wants to install a puppet, and is passably and actively supporting ISIL.

    He, wisely, keeps his views to himself–and I do not use electronics to communicate with him.

    This is not a game–this is deadly and dire.

    Comment by Steven Hunt — October 13, 2015 @ 12:50 am

  48. Mr. Proyect, I am inclined to accept such a high ratio given the larger contexts: the US and its regional allies waging war of aggression; citizens feeling besieged and forsaken.

    Hunt, I can deal with disagreements but I can’t deal with morons. Bye.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 13, 2015 @ 12:59 am

  49. Louis,

    Great piece! I’ll be using it with students with whom we work on satire!

    And to top it off, you’ve got these people falling heads over heels with their gushing over Putin, supporting more murder, spewing vile calls for more mass murder and even more murderous acts, urging us to support other imperialist assholes. Just not the American ones. Every other form of imperialist butchery and extortion is OK, just not the U.S.! Bravo!

    Congratulations, man! I love it!!

    Comment by reza — October 13, 2015 @ 4:39 am

  50. One more important point:

    Loved the picture!
    But maybe Mo and Larry’s designations should be switched? So, from left to right, it could read: Pepe Escobar, Mike Whitney, John Wight (John Wight is definitely Curly).

    Comment by reza — October 13, 2015 @ 4:48 am

  51. […] Louis Proyect writes on his site The Unrepentant Marxist: […]

    Pingback by Syria Op-Ed: How to Write Like an “Anti-Imperialist” | EA WorldView — October 13, 2015 @ 6:31 am

  52. Steven Hunt: “No, I reject that Russia accepting a legal request by the only legal entity with authority in the state of Syria is imperialism and illegitimate. ”

    The Syrian Government may be “legal”, but that’s only because the butcher Assad made the laws. There is no legitimate government in Syria.

    Steven Hunt again: “The “authentic left” and other sane citizens of Syria welcome Russia’s assistance in repelling the aggression of the motley crew of US proxies and caliphate fanatics. ”

    They may well welcome Russian assistance in fighting the jihadis, but Russia is targeting the entire opposition, with only marginal attention to Daesh. Russia’s actions are entirely done in pursuit of geopolitical power.

    Andrew Coates: “What articles will this inspire? … http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/12/us-mideast-crisis-syria-kurds-idUSKCN0S60BD20151012

    Well, the YPG is the military arm of the PYD, which is allied with the PKK. These advocate a form of libertarian socialism, though I would need a fair bit of convincing before I believed they had thrown off their Stalinist practices from before Abdullah Ocalan discovered Murray Bookchin.

    As for the Arab forces they are allying with, I’m not familiar with them. The fact that the YPG vouch for them is a point in their favour, but not a conclusive one.

    And the US? They should get the bloody hell out of Syria – and everywhere else on the planet, too. I appreciate the tactical logic of the YPG working with the US air strikes, but it brings so much strategic downside that it’s counter-productive in the long term. The YPG should tell Uncle Sam where to get off and, instead, throw its lot in with the workers and oppressed masses of Syria.

    Curt Carstens: “The idea that an anti imperialist must oppose all imperialism equally is from a military standpoint strategically and tactically incompetent.”

    Military considerations are subordinate to political ones. Politically, all imperialist powers are to be opposed. Even then, however, I said that the main adversary one should confront is the imperialist power of the country in which one lives. This is a matter of effectiveness in the allocation of resources, as well as an essential part of proving one’s bona fides.

    At no stage, though, did I go into the question of the tactical aspects of which forces should be tackled, in what order, from a military perpective. For the record, I think the top priority should be crushing Daesh. The butcher Assad is a threat to the Syrian people, but Daesh is a threat to the world. Once Daesh is gone, I think the US will pull out. This is not because it is a “nice” imperialist power, but because its intervention in Syria is tentative and conflicted, due to the conflicting agendas of its regional clients

    Once the US is gone, the main target should be the butcher Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers. In the course of this, however, care should be taken not to allow jihadis like Jabat al-Nusra and other hard-line groups to grow at the expense of Left and progressive forces. At some point, Assad’s regime would then collapse and the Alawites and Christians who have been living in regime strongholds should be incorporated into a Left front which will wipe out the Islamists.

    Is this a tall order? Yes, definitely. While it’s a very long shot at coming off, it’s better than the snowflake’s chance in hell of a progressive solution being available either from Uncle Sam or from the butcher Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers.

    Comment by ablokeimet — October 13, 2015 @ 6:54 am

  53. This statement, issued in April by the Syrian Communist Party, is required reading. It has the benefit of being from those involved in the struggle on the ground.

    http://www.solidnet.org/syria-syrian-communist-party-unified/syrian-cp-unified-an-appeal-to-the-communist-workers-and-leftist-parties-in-the-world-en

    Here too is my latest Counterpunch piece, which also helps to clarify matters: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/09/no-moral-high-ground-for-the-west-on-syria/

    Comment by John Wight — October 13, 2015 @ 10:18 am

  54. Here is another piece of analysis that is required reading. It’s an article from West Point identifying the reasons for the resilience of the Assad regime, which surprise, surprise is largely due to the support is has from the majority of the Syrian people, inc Sunnis. https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/syrias-sunnis-and-the-regimes-resilience

    As for Louis Proyect, I find it hard to resist any longer the conclusion that he has morphed into the Islamic State’s Lord Haw Haw.

    Comment by John Wight — October 13, 2015 @ 10:27 am

  55. A perfect counter to this drek appears on The American Conservative.

    An Even Better Question for Syria Hawks

    There has always been a glaring contradiction at the heart of the hawkish argument on Syria that they never address. They cite the destabilizing effects of the Syrian civil war as a reason to intervene, and they frequently dress up their interventionist arguments in humanitarian rhetoric, but at the same time they want the U.S. to carry out policies that will kill and displace more Syrians, create more refugees, and make the country even less stable than it currently is. They frame the problem in Syria as one of continued conflict and instability, but their so-called “remedy” promises much more of the same. It’s as if they see a country mostly on fire and ask, “What can our government do to burn the rest of it?”
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/an-even-better-question-for-syria-hawks/

    Brilliantly put!

    Comment by Andre De Angelis — October 13, 2015 @ 11:47 am

  56. John Wight advises us to read https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/syrias-sunnis-and-the-regimes-resilience. It appears on the US Military Academy’s Combatting Terrorism website. No, comrades, this is not satire. This is really where he gets his ideas about what is going on the Middle East. Christopher HItchens must be smiling benignly from afar in between getting a pitchfork in the ass from a devil.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 13, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  57. @#57
    What do you expect from a guy with a truncated understanding of Marxism whose affiliated with a group that extols the virtues of Churchill, Stalin and Assad?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 13, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  58. Louis @57 has no grasp of analysis. West Point is hardly a repository of pro Assad/pro Russia propaganda, which suggests that their take on events in Syria from a military standpoint, citing the fact the the ‘majority’ – you do know what majority means, Louis, don’t you? – is with the govt, as opposed to a minority that is opposed, is worth taking seriously.

    Then of course we have the Syrian Communist Party confirming what those of us who can spot the difference between revolution and counter revolution have been saying – namely that Syria has been invaded by thousands of jihadis from beyond its border, the guys Louis cites as revolutionaries.

    Head choppers are not the same as Sandanistas, Louis, just as al-Zarqawi in Iraq was not the same as the Iraqi resistance to the occupation. There is a marked difference.

    Of course, perhaps to you a Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim. But fortunately your influence on the left is marginal in the extreme and therefore not really of great import in the scheme of things.

    Comment by John Wight — October 13, 2015 @ 2:12 pm

  59. Wight, I would advise you to look at what radicals have to say about Syria, starting with the Middle East Research and Information Project (http://www.merip.org/). In any case, I am preparing a resource guide on understanding Syria that will probably be ignored by you. If there is one thing that is clear about the Baathist amen corner, it is that it is much more comfortable citing the West Point Anti-Terrorism Center et al.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 13, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

  60. The exchange between Proyect and Wight highlights that they are saying the same thing but from different directions.

    Proyect wants to pretend that the ‘genuine’ rebels really really love women and really really want to be like us while Wight thinks he can spot the good rebel from the bad ones and the majority are really really bad and don’t want to be like us. But both claim the good rebel and the bad rebel are clearly defined, and boy aren’t the Kurds just great!

    What both want is the same thing actually, Proyect wants his puppets to cleanse (or to evacuate to use an old Nazi word) the entire region of the undesirable elements, or at least that they are so oppressed and intimidated they dare not speak (think Egypt with bells on), while Wight wants the region cleansed of undesirables but thinks the brutal regimes of the region are ideally set up to carry out the task.

    But at least Wight pays some lip service to the detrimental affects of US imperialism, and seeing as US imperialism is the single most reactionary influence on the region (could they have screwed it up anymore?), he should at least be given credit for having half an eye open.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — October 13, 2015 @ 6:01 pm

  61. The most hilarious thing about this article is that it gives a platform to the very ideas it opposes, creating a starting point for independent investigation (with helpful references) that will ultimately result in the investigator coming back here to mock it. The Robert Naiman article alone, when properly analysed, will create warm feelings of contempt for this and every other piece that attempts to overlay this bare-faced Imperialism with a melting and disfigured image of revolution.

    Even without investigation, the references and quotes being mocked here are still more convincing than most of the satirical attacks against them.

    Brilliant. 🙂

    Comment by Angelis Dania — June 16, 2016 @ 4:03 am


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