Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 19, 2016

Bloody Counterrevolution in Aleppo: on Russian Blitzkrieg and US “betrayal”

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 1:19 pm

Source: Bloody Counterrevolution in Aleppo: on Russian Blitzkrieg and US “betrayal”

11 Comments »

  1. “While this should not be a surprise, it is to those who still think the US was merely a weak and ineffective supporter of Syrian freedom. In fact, US Defence Secretary John Kerry was being completely truthful when he recently stated, not only that that the US does not support regime change in Syria (old news)”

    Odd, considering we spent a billion dollars equipping and training ‘moderate rebels’. The ceasefires aren’t a ‘betrayal’ of rebels, they’re a desperate attempt to salvage at least some territory for them. They were in the process of being completely crushed before the recent lull in the fighting. He is right that the peace process is a farce, but for the opposite reason to what he thinks; it’s about trying to get the Russians to stop bombing our proxy forces.

    He also apparently thinks ISIS and al-Nusra aren’t actually terrorists, and whines that rebels are being bombed along with those two groups. Again, funny evidence for a betrayal, because the US has actually called for Russia to stop bombing al-Nusra until the ‘moderates’ can be ‘sorted out’ from the ‘actual terrorists’. In complete violation of no less than two UNSC Resolutions (2249 and 2254):

    2249: 5. Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council, pursuant to the statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria

    2254: 8. Reiterates its call in resolution 2249 (2015) for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the ISSG and determined by the Security Council, pursuant to the Statement of the ISSG of 14 November 2015, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, and notes that the aforementioned ceasefire will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement

    Don’t want to be called a terrorist and targeted as such? Stop associating with terrorists. It’s not particularly complicated.

    The reality is that the US would love to remove Assad, but not so much so that they’re willing to risk open confrontation with Russia over the issue. Much to the frustration of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who appear to be seriously considering invading Syria under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’ anyway. And this would be an actual invasion, unlike Iran who, counter to the whinging of this mkaradjis guy, are legally in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.

    Comment by Plenue — February 28, 2016 @ 11:56 pm

  2. Odd, considering we spent a billion dollars equipping and training ‘moderate rebels’.

    The Washington Post article that alluded to a billion dollars spent on the armed opposition to Assad

    Adam Johnson of FAIR, Patrick Higgins of Jacobin, and countless others have linked to this article that like the ones cited above amounts to some kind of “smoking gun” that proves the USA has been involved in “regime change”. Referring to the article, Higgins lamented the fact that “the United States launched a full-scale war against Syria, and few Americans actually noticed.”

    I guess Higgins is stunned by the monumental expense but maybe he isn’t aware that a billion dollars is chickenfeed when it comes to supporting military adventures. Experts in the field estimate that Iran spends $6 billion per year to prop up the Syrian dictatorship. Syria spent $2.5 billion on its military in 2011, the last year for which data exists. You can safely assume that it has doubled given the escalation of the violence. So if it was $5 billion, Iran and Syria have spent 44 times as much on warfare than those it has been trying to kill.

    full: https://louisproyect.org/2015/09/19/baathist-truthers/

    Comment by louisproyect — February 29, 2016 @ 12:38 am

  3. Seriously? That’s your argument? That it’s a relatively small amount of money? Pathetic. But at least you aren’t outright denying US involvement. Are you gonna talk about Turkish and Gulf State involvement and their funding?

    And I don’t give a rats ass about Assad or his Ba’ath party. But if the choice is between him and ISIS rule or another chaotic failed state, I’ll take him by a mile. He is the legitimate ruler and head of the legitimate government. Is he a nice guy? No, but destroying the country and creating millions of refugees is an improvement how exactly?

    And articles like this mkaradjis one are really just a litany of whining. You rebels lost, deal with it. You took up arms against your government and got crushed. Join the club. Aleppo was your big prize and now it’s completely cut off and your friends withdrawing all over the map. Some Turkish artillery strikes and relocation of a few hundred or even thousand fighters via Turkish territory isn’t going to change that fact. You want the siege of Aleppo to end? Surrender. Those of you who are actually Syrian citizens might even get amnesty (at least if you’re SAA deserters). The rebels are done (other than Aleppo the only significant thing they have is part of Idlib province, soon to be an isolated pocket) now the bulk of the R+6 coalition’s attention can be shifted to ISIS in the east. Heavy fighting around places like Khanasir and the push for Raqqa has been going on for over two weeks.

    And of course it’s just as that push east starts in earnest that Turkey and Saudi Arabia start making noises about invading to “fight ISIS”. Riiiiight. Syria has been used as a stage for proxy warfare for half a decade; anyone who was actually a genuine Syrian freedom fighter was utterly delusional that any secular state they might have managed to create would survive given all the Islamist head-choppers that foreign powers have imported into the country. ‘Civil war’ was a convenient cover, little more.

    Comment by Plenue — February 29, 2016 @ 9:12 pm

  4. But at least you aren’t outright denying US involvement. Are you gonna talk about Turkish and Gulf State involvement and their funding?

    So who in fuck’s name were Syrians supposed to get guns and bullets from to defend them against Assad’s ghoulish military? Madagascar? Uruguay? Your problem is that you are applying a litmus test on where people get weapons. Since no “anti-imperialist” nation would think of coming to the aid of Syrian rebels, what alternative do they have? Throwing rocks at men with machine guns like the Palestinian youth do against the IDF? You think that Baathist soldiers wouldn’t drown them in blood? Having grown accustomed to crypto-Stalinist scum like you over the past 5 years, I suppose that you would jump up and down with glee at the sight of dead protesters in the streets of Homs or Aleppo. Too bad Syrians didn’t need your kosher stamp of approval.

    Comment by louisproyect — February 29, 2016 @ 10:07 pm

  5. Crypto-Stalinist, huh? Okay guy.

    I like how you’re willing to assume that this was ever much of genuine civil war to begin with, a violent outgrowth of the Arab Spring. The sheer number of refugees and the fact that the ‘moderates’ are willing to frequently make alliance with jihadis tells me that there was never much domestic support for the rebellion to begin with, and they have had to look elsewhere to get sufficient manpower to achieve anything. As it stands after fours years of fighting they had managed to capture a grand total of one (out of fourteen) major administrative centers. From where I’m standing this was never much of a real rebellion, and more an excuse for various powers to send in proxy forces to achieve various long-standing goals in Syria.

    Even if everything you say about the SAA and the Syrian government were true, when it’s painfully obvious a rebellion can’t win, at least not without substantial Islamist aid that will obviously back-stab the moderates in a heartbeat should they ever be victorious, maybe the rebels should reconsider their cause. If the SAA is willing to engage in ‘Wehrmacht tactics’ (as you’ve described it, nice Godwin’s Law there) then the notion of continuing a hopeless fight against them when you know they’re willing to destroy the country to stop you is sheer madness. For a cause supposedly all about creating a better Syria, this rebellion has done an immense amount of harm to the country.

    And actually, no, I don’t have any interest in finding ‘good guys’ to supply with weapons. We shouldn’t be supplying anyone with any weapons, anywhere, period. You’re also hopelessly naive if you think the US (or any other power) intervenes inside someone else’s borders for anything other than coldly calculated notions of geopolitics. We’ve never given a shit about Syrian freedom, and neither do Turkey or the Gulf States. Turkey wants Syrian land, Saudi Arabia wants to take out an Iranian ally. Neither has ever had an interest in a better Syrian government, they would be happy with no unified Syria at all.

    Comment by Plenue — March 1, 2016 @ 2:50 am

  6. We shouldn’t be supplying anyone with any weapons, anywhere,

    Of course not. It is up to Russia, Iran, Hizbollah, Afghan and Iraqi Shiite militias to use Syrian women and children as a shooting gallery. They have the right to do this because they are defending a legitimate government. It always gets 98 percent of the vote or so, even if the members of any party opposed to the Assad dynasty would be tortured, jailed or killed. I really wonder how shithooks like you can believe your own propaganda. At least when Stalinists in the 1930s backed the Moscow trials, they had a belief that it had something to do with socialism. Dirtbags like you rally around human garbage like Assad who was going to be profiled in Mademoiselle and Putin who believes that Lenin was the root of all the problems that Russia has had since 1917. You make the filthiest Stalinist look pure as the driven snow by comparison.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 1, 2016 @ 2:59 am

  7. I can tell you’re not exactly a rational intellect. I already said I don’t care about Assad. Again, explain to me how this ‘civil war’ has improved anything.

    Comment by Plenue — March 1, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

  8. Moron, you wrote: “He is the legitimate ruler and head of the legitimate government.” How in fuck’s name did you arrive at such filthy reactionary stance? Were Pinochet, Suharto and Thieu the legitimate rulers and heads of legitimate governments? Hafez al-Assad came to power through a military coup and his son was installed after his death to perpetuate a family dynasty. Your Islamophobia runs so deep that you pimp for this gang that tortured on behalf of the CIA and that backed George HW Bush in the first Gulf War. And you propagandize for this torture state because why? Because it was the Kremlin’s ally? What a degenerated left we are dealing with today.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 1, 2016 @ 8:59 pm

  9. I’m not an Islamophobe. Again I ask, how is the rebels continuing a conflict they have no hope of winning helping the people of Syria? And before the Russian intervention, how was siding with fanatics that would betray them the second the Assad government fell good for Syria? You hate Ba’athists so much yet make no mention of the former Iraqi Baa’athists that form the core of ISIS’s leadership, the buddies of your beloved rebels.

    Degenerated left? Riiiight. Looking around your site I see that one of your hobbies seems to be insulting everyone who doesn’t agree with you, especially journalists. Did it ever occur to you that the people actually in the region have a much better idea of the reality of the situation and are telling the truth? Of course not, everyone is a secret Stalinist and Ba’athist propagandist, and only you are the sole voice of reason, the One True Marxist. I’m especially embarrassed at how you petulantly rant and whine about primary source material and steadfastly claim it doesn’t say what it clearly says, because it doesn’t fit the narrative you’ve constructed for yourself.

    Comment by Plenue — March 2, 2016 @ 4:14 am

  10. Did it ever occur to you that the people actually in the region have a much better idea of the reality of the situation and are telling the truth?

    Of course. Here is one of them:

    Yassin al-Haj Saleh (born 1961) is a Syrian writer, intellectual and former political prisoner. In 1980 and while studying medicine in Aleppo University, the 19-year-old Yassin was arrested by Hafez al-Assad regime because of his membership in the Syrian Communist Party-Political Bureau. He remained in prison for 16 years and 14 days (7/12/1980–21/12/1996). In 1994, the State Security Court, without witnesses or defence, sentenced him to 15-year imprisonment. When his time was up, the security forces asked for his cooperation as a condition of release. He refused and was sent for an additional year to the notorious Tadmur prison. He returned to medical school upon his release, graduated in 2000, but never practiced medicine, instead he turned to writing and is now one of Syria’s leading and most vocal writers.

    Here is some of his writing, which can be found at: http://www.yassinhs.com/

    If the regime’s interests and instincts shed light on the motivations of this unrestrained brutality, intellectual and cultural climates in Syria and in the West have facilitated this systematic industrial killing and made it something acceptable or at least of little significance. The issue has to do with a culturalist tendency that has been dominant for over a generation. This tendency reduces macroscopic societies to the abstract concept of «culture». This concept is in turn reduced to fixed «mentalities», assumed to be especially embodied in religion in our societies, in Islam specifically and Sunni Islam in particular. As such, the Syrian regime is viewed either as a natural outcome of the ahistorical constitution of Syrian society ‒as a Muslim society‒ and so there is no reason to hold it responsible for what is happening. It might even be a victim of its subjects’ mental makeup. Or worse, the regime is viewed as a vanguard of «enlightenment, secularism and modernization» in an otherwise «dark, fanatic and traditional» society. In which case, it must be defended in the face of those opposing it. These characterizations are not only inaccurate but they are in fact politically constructed in the same context that gave birth to the killing industry itself. We understand them best if we think about them as expressions of a racist tendency known to dwell for a generation now in not only «culture» and «identity» but ethnicity and color. Racism is an ideology of class and not of identity, as Benedict Anderson argues, and it is closely linked to social privileges rather than cultural ones. Nearly three generations ago, a pseudo-ethnology justified the Nazi killing industry which claimed the lives of millions of Jews, gypsies and the mentally ill and handicapped. Today, a pseudo-science of mentality ‒a collective mentalogy so to speak‒ justifies the extermination of the poorest and most disadvantaged in Syria as they are described as «fanatic, obscurantists and terrorists».

    This is the intellectual side of the killing industry of which three groups of ideologists partake. Ideologists of the «internal first world» within our country who adopt a colonialist position towards the general population, ideologists of the first world in the West who claim a «civilizing mission» and the heirs of the Leninist «transfer of consciousness» to oblivious classes unaware of their real interests at the hands of a political party that is the embodiment of «scientific consciousness». Is there a structural difference between transferring scientific consciousness to oblivious toiling classes and civilizing primitive populations? Are the colonized «primitives» different from the working class and underclass steeped in spontaneity and narrow demands? How are the British colonialists who used chemical weapons against Iraqis in the early 1930s or against Afghans during the same period worse than Assadist colonialists who used a more developed and lethal version of the same weapon against their wretched subjects in the summer of 2013? Or from Saddam Hussein’s regime which used chemical weapons against its Kurdish citizens more than quarter of a century ago?

    Perhaps that explains the convergence of right-wing Westerners who were never critical of the colonialist project and continue to believe in the civilizing mission with communists of the «transferring scientific consciousness» type who are still nostalgic for the Soviet Union, no less a «prisonhouse of nations» than Tsarist Russia was in the words of Karl Marx.

    It is not in concepts like tyranny, despotism or even totalitarianism that we find an explanatory model for the Assad regime. But rather in the concept of colonialism, and its most brutal models in particular. Models based on genocide as it manifested itself in the «new world» hundreds of years ago and in Russia between the two world wars.

    In Syria, three years after a bitter struggle, some «rebels» fighting against the internal colonial system internalize its logic and exercise a colonial rule whose victims are the same victims of the Assad regime and its most radical opposition. I am talking about religious fascist groups ‒some of them suspected to have hidden ties with the Assad regime‒ that have their own version of the «civilizing mission» or «transferring consciousness», which they try to impose by force on a public they deem «infidel». Being labeled an unbeliever is the extreme form of devaluing human life and legitimating its destruction. It is the most effective justification for racism and genocide. What I want to say here is that there is a prominent cultural dimension to Assad’s killing industry and its derivatives which necessitates an effective cultural act to counter this industry and criminalize it. This is the responsibility of intellectuals before anyone else, Syrian intellectuals first but also intellectuals in France and everywhere else. If there is a culture and an ideology that justify killing and undermine the intellectual, symbolic and moral barricades that protect the lives of the poor and the weak, then any powerful party that feels the need to kill its adversaries and opponents will find in that culture and in that ideology a symbolic arsenal of weapons of mass extermination. No one will be safe if we do not undo this ideology, its factories and its cultural output.

    full: http://www.yassinhs.com/2014/03/16/assads-killing-industry-and-the-role-of-intellectuals/

    Comment by louisproyect — March 2, 2016 @ 1:21 pm

  11. And now the Saudi’s are making noises about dragging Lebanon into this ‘civil war’. Hope you’re happy.

    Comment by Plenue — March 3, 2016 @ 2:06 am


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