Seumas Milne: support Assad to help Iran

February 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm (apologists and collaborators, Guardian, Human rights, Jim D, liberation, revolution, stalinism, Syria, terror, twat)

As Bashar al-Assad steps up his murderous assault upon the population of Homs, the Guardian‘s tame Stalinist Seumas Milne attempts a defence of Russia’s and China’s veto of the Arab League-backed resolution at the UN. It’s a shoddy, despicable piece of mendacity even by Posh Boy Milne’s debased ‘standards.’ Like the good Stalinist he his, Milne wriggles, obfuscates and sets up a whole regiment of straw men (notably that the the resolution “paved the way” for foreign intervention), before getting to his real point: “It’s been widely claimed that the double veto has given Assad the green light to intensify repression and made a full-scale civil war more likely. But by ruling out UN-backed intervention, it could just as well be argued that it puts pressaure on the main opposition group, the western-backed Syrian National Council, to negotiate – given that its whole strategy has been based on creating the conditions for a Libyan-style no-fly zone.”

It’s worth spending a moment ‘unpackaging’ (as the semiotics people say) that sentence:

1/ Even if it’s true that the veto might encourage the rebels to “negotiate,” as Milne claims, how does that make it not true (as that asshole Milne seems to suggest) that it has also “given Assad the green light to intensify repression”? As one of CIF readers, commenting below the article bluntly observes, “I’m sure the people who are being mortared as I type these words agree with you Seumas.”

2/ What’s all this about a “UN-backed intervention”? No one, but no one, seriously thought that was going to happen and the resolution explicitly ruled it out. Even the Graun‘s “foreign leader writer” David Hearst (generally on the same wavelength as Poshboy) described it as “an intervention the west was never going to make.”

3/ Note the description of the Syrian National Council as “western-backed“: Seumas-speak for ‘stooges who cannot be supported,’ a dog-whistle tip-off to fellow-Stalinists and useful idiots,  and a scandalous slur upon the brave fighters of the Syrian opposition.

4/ “It puts pressure on the main opposition group…to negotiate.” What Milne really means is it puts pressure on the whole opposition to surrender and throw themselves upon the tender mercies of the regime.

Milne and his fellow tyrant-lovers, of course, used the self-same “arguments” against the Libyan opposition. Then as now, these “arguments” amounted, in reality, to support for the regime.

This contempible apologia continues, touching upon all the usual tropes of Stalinist “whataboutery”: Iraq, Afghanistan, the west’s support for the Bahrain dictatorship, Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights…as though any of that has any relevance to the present massacre taking place in Homs, or somehow justifies support for the regime.

But, in an uncharacteristic moment of honesty, Milne finally lets the cat out of the bag and explains the real reason behind his stance. He doesn’t, of course, give a damn about the people of Syria, or the rights and wrongs of the rebellion. He has bigger fish to fry: the geo-political balance of power in the region and the threat to the Iranian leadership – a regime with which  Mr Milne clearly feels some affinity:

“The overthrow of the Syrian regime would be a serious blow to Iran’s influence in the Middle East. And as the conflict in Syria has escalated, so has the western-Israeli confrontation with Iran. Even as US defence secretary Leon Panetta and national intelligence director James Clapper acknowledged that Iran isn’t after all “trying to build a nuclear weapon”, Panetta has let it be known there is a “strong likelihood” Israel will attack Iran as early as April, while Iran faces crippling EU oil sanctions over its nuclear programme.

“Western intervention in Syria – and Russia and China’s opposition to it – can only be understood in that context: as part of a proxy war against Iran, which disastrously threatens to become a direct one.” (NB: check out the links helpfully provided by the Graun, to see that James Clapper actually expressed more or less the opposite views to those attributed to him by Milne).

But, for once, a Stalinist (and for all practical purposes that designation also applies to the degenerate ex-SWP’ers who run the Stop The War Coalition) has made his position clear: the struggles of the masses fighting to cast off oppression must take (at best) second place to the balance of power between states. And any state that opposes the west has to be supported – even when it’s massacring its own people.


  1. Jim Denham said,

  2. Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

    A question. Why is is that the oppressed are always expected or instructed to ‘negotiate’ with their oppressors? Why are they expected to beg crumbs from them?

    If your excellency will only hang half my children and beat me only on alternate Thursdays?

  3. Jim Denham said,

    A very good question, Pussycat.

  4. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    I hope that Milne is murdered in his bed very soon. Just a hope mind. Preferably he will be tortured beforehand. By a Syrian who is not a Oxbridge tosspoTT.

  5. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

  6. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    Milne feels no disgust at his faeces, he values them as a portion of his own body and makes use of them as a ‘gift’. He carries on his high valuation of his own faeces in his written testaments, much like the people who retain a voluptuous feeling in defaecating all through their lives. Just as from the very first, children are one in thinking that babies must be born through the bowel; Milne’s word-excretions must make their appearance like lumps of shit piled high.

  7. Clive said,

    And since Milne was so spectactularly wrong about Libya – calling it ‘stalemate’ just before Gaddafi fell – how can he expect anyone to take him seriously?

  8. Juan said,

    In my view the best comment was by the BTL commenter known by the moniker of 9milerancher

    “Milne is a “fixated fantacist” and consequently his opinion has little merit.
    His ability to reason hasn’t evolved over the years, every column is simply a re-hash of the same opinion. He strikes me as a Kim Philby wannabe.”

    Milne is so predictable that I can’t even bother to respond. It’s like talking to a robot. Cif Middle East is unreadable these days. Apart from a few voices, it’s usually derailed by conspiracists and low-expectations racists like the chap called Berchmans. The level of debate would make a Truffer’s site look intellectual.

  9. Rosie said,

    The piece Jelly links to is good:-

    “Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, has offered up a very creative reinterpretation of what happened at the United Nations last week. Apparently, “Russia and China blocked a bid to force regime change”. This is a little like arguing that David Cameron blocked a French mortar attack on Dover in Brussels last year. It’s not even slightly true.”

    Why the fuck do we have to go to the Telegraph for pieces where the writer knows what he’s talking about? Why does one of the senior writers in a supposedly heavyweight liberal broadsheet sound like he hasn’t learned anything since writing for a student newspaper?

  10. Robin Carmody said,

    Good point, Rosie.

    One thing that needs to be remembered about Milne is that his preference for unreformed, quasi-feudal elites over anything influenced by the modern world is in fact *perfectly* in line with the influence of Winchester College. He espouses a certain set of pseudo-far-left views because they are in fact a better way to reinforce Wykehamist traditionalism (including affinity to corrupt Arab elites and thinly-veiled anti-Semitism) than modern Conservatism is.

  11. Jim Denham said,

    Some degree of sanity and honesty at the Graun, as Simon Tisdall writes a reasonably good piece on Syria and Iran:

  12. charliethechulo said,

    Hamas supporter Azam Tamimi takes Milne to task…would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the tragedy unfolding in Homs:

  13. Jim Denham said,

  14. Syria Media Roundup (February 16) said,

  15. Harry's Place » An exercise in clarification said,

    […] Seumas Milne of The […]

  16. Futures and pasts: a response to John Garvey on future politics and the present moment | Cautiously pessimistic said,

    […] Sanders for softness on the US empire, Corbyn’s more trad-Marxist associations with the likes of Seumas Milne and Stop the War mean he’s prone to be associated with the positions that Garvey criticises later […]

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