A good piece from Moments of Clarity that expresses a lot of what I’m feeling about the Syrian situation, an issue that has sadly not been headline news as the Olympics are taking centre stage (I’m the first to stress the centrality of sport but it’s going a little too far at the moment…..)
Some of us on the left are caught in a very difficult position intellectually on questions like Syria and Libya that is not of our making and I suppose is borne of impotence as much as anything. On the one hand we are horrified at Assad’s murderous regime and want him overthrown. There seems to be overwhelming evidence that they are committing atrocities. Some of the arguments of the ‘anti-war left’ are bordering on isolationist and it is frankly indefensible to be defending or in any way aligning with a regime that has murdered thousands of its own people since the uprising began.
On the other though I am naturally suspicious of Western intervention. We all know that the British, Americans and NATO will only intervene if there is some material or geo-strategic benefit in it for them and are quite capable of atrocities of their own. Their criticism of Assad is hypocritical when you look at the West’s role in the Arab world in the last 100 years or so. Reading some of the pro-war voices on the web and their simplistic, abstract and naïve posturing makes my skin crawl. “MsIntervention”, whose extraordinary twitter profile can be found here,is a particularly egregious offender in that regard. Reading some of her stuff one does wonder if she has any understanding of the world beyond her international jet-setting and right-wing establishment arse-kissing (and her love for Tony Blair is bordering on self-parody). There’s money to be made in advocating frequent wars and large amounts of military spending though, isn’t there……
So it’s not an easy situation. There are no straightforward answers. But writing off the struggle of the Syrian people in the name of “anti-imperialism” is the politics of the school playground, indulged in by people who should frankly know better.
While the world’s gaze if fixed on London and the Olympics, in Syria, the battle for Aleppo has well and truly begun. This is clearly an attempt by the Assad regime to reassert itself after the bombings and raids into Damascus that knocked it so badly off-balance. So, it is a crucial battle, whichever side wins will have the momentum in the conflict and a possibly decisive tactical advantage. You can’t help but feel that if Assad and his loyal forces win that the retribution against the city itself and the Syrian people in general will be swift and bloody and although it may be far away from here and seemingly a world away from the glitz and glamour of London, the repercussions will inevitably be felt eventually on British shores.
However, the international community, such as it is, is merely a spectator in this fight, it is watching on…
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