The silence of (most of) Assad’s supporters

January 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm (apologists and collaborators, Guardian, hell, Jim D, Middle East, murder, reactionay "anti-imperialism", stalinism, Stop The War, Syria, truth, war)

Assad’s friends and supporters on the Stalinist and semi-Stalinist “left” have had little – in most cases nothing – to say about the report accusing his regime of the “systematic killing,” with photographic evidence of torture and starvation, of about 11,000 detainees.

When the Guardian and CNN broke the story on Wednesday, they made no secret of the fact that the report had been commissioned by the government of Qatar, which of course backs the rebels: I expected Assad’s western supporters and apologists to use this  to attack the report’s credibility, even though the three authors are all former war crimes prosecutors with impeccable records, and their main source, “Caesar” provided photographic evidence that experts have pronounced genuine beyond reasonable doubt.

In fact, Assad’s UK supporters – the Morning Star, and the so-called ‘Stop The War Coalition’ – have said simply nothing. One would like to think this was the result of embarrassment and shame. But these people know no shame. The truth is, they simply don’t care, and are betting on their man eventually winning. One doesn’t have to harbour illusions in the rebels (we at Shiraz certainly don’t) to be revolted by the degeneracy of a “left” that can give de facto support to this butcher, and turn a blind eye to killing and torture on an industrial scale.

One exception is the unabashed Assad supporter John Wight over at the miss-named Socialist Unity blog: this preposterous male model, jew-baiter and failed bit-part actor makes no secret of his panting, Gallowayesque admiration for tyrants and strong-men, and wallows in his world of conspiracy-theories. But at least (unlike his gaffer Nooman) he makes no secret of his love for the mass-murderer Assad, and – against all the evidence – simply refuses to accept the findings of the report.


  1. The silence of (most of) Assad’s supporters | OzHouse said,

    […] Jan 24 2014 by admin […]

  2. Babs said,

    What the Assad supporters conveniently forget is the ‘uprising’ began as little more than a peaceful protest to demand for greater political freedom and protesting against the authoritarian regime and was part of the wider Arab Spring disseminating throughout the region. How did the Syrian Government respond? By shooting live rounds at the crowds killing some of them in the process and also detaining and brutally torturing peaceful protestors. The Syrian people took this for a whole YEAR before the uprising turned violent and they started to fight back what with large scale defections from the military who refused to shoot at their own people to protect a despicable hereditary dictatorship. The rebellion to overthrow the Assad regime happened long before any Islamists from outside the country turned up to internationalise the conflict, they turned up much later as the world powers squabbled amongst themselves on what to do and subsequently hijacked the conflict for their own jihadi purposes to create a Caliphate throughout the Muslim world.

    • Jim Denham said,

      Babs: the uncomfortable truth is that if the “West” had intervened at an early stage, a la Libya, then Assad would not now be in power and the Islamo-fascists would not be the “opposition”: isolationism has a price.

      • Babs said,

        Jim, it’s hard to tell what the outcome of Western intervention would entail. Taking Libya and Iraq as but two examples, violent Jihadis, tribal and private militias undermine the authority of the central Government and overall security is woeful affecting the everyday life of ordinary Libyans and Iraqis. It seems like the West is great at destroying a country’s military capability and infrastructure but is terrible at nation building.

    • jimmy glesga said,

      I reckon history will prove you wrong. The West arms dealers were in Saudi during the Libya affair. What is happening now in Syria is Suez over again. But you will be an old muppet when the truth comes out and no one will care. The WEST have been lining up their puppets in smart hotels for the takeover. They did not reckon Assad would fight it out. And incidentally what right had the West to slaughter the Libyan army on the ground with their smart weapons. We were never attacked. Why are the West not trying to oust the Saudi dynasty, they are dictators. But nice friendly dictators!

      • Bob-B said,

        Since you ask, the Responsibility to protect gave the West the right to attack the Libyan army.

      • Peter Storm said,

        Bob-b writes: “the Responsibility to protect gave the West the right to attack the Libyan army.” But who gave “the West” (You? Me? I ‘m sure it is not me) that “Responsibility”?

      • jimmy glesga said,

        We did not intervene when Saudi, UAE moved its troops into Bahrain where there is a Shi’ite majority. Could it be about interests rather than responsibility or the responsibility to look after our interests!

    • Peter Storm said,

      I agree that the Syrian revolt began with peaceful demonstrations that turned violent in answer to ferocious repression by the Assad regime. But this claim is not true: “The Syrian people took this for a whole YEAR before the uprising turned violent and they started to fight back what with large scale defections from the military who refused to shoot at their own people to protect a despicable hereditary dictatorship.” There were small-scale armed attacks already in spring 2011, within weeks of the start of the demonstrations. And the existence of the Free Syrian Army – started partly by deserting government soldiers – was announced on 29 July 2011, according to Wikipedia , while is existed probably already before the summer. We should not exaggerate the peaceful character of the first phase of the anti-regime struggle. There is no need for that: the people were fully justified to take up arms against the regine from Day One.

      • Babs said,

        Peter- I stand corrected. But the regime did initiate the violence, they weren’t responding to it. And yes agree, citizens are allowed to otherthrow dictatorships without having to justify themselves.

  3. finbar said,

    Assad,a war criminal who!s right to justice is don!t talk about my rule its off the table..Im a self professed socialist,and it irks my conscience to say,that this mongrel Assad,deserves the justice that his rule denies those who dare to speak out and fight for his unjust rule.Dragged through the streets should his being be drawn along with his trophy alien non Syrian trophy wife,and hung drawn and quartered for their arrogant defiance of a world looking in horror as his rules inhumanity slaughters the young and old for his ego!s control.

    Are not barrel bombs just made up cluster bombs,that are outlawed in war fair.

  4. flyingrodent said,

    Ye Gods. This is like getting up on your high-horse to denounce folk who make apologetics for Jimmy Saville: they exist, but in such vanishingly tiny numbers that they’re basically an irrelevance. Only a lunatic would pen “Oh no, the Saville-deniers” screeds, and so also it is here.

    It’s worth noting that the left broadly has been entirely behind the Arab Spring from day one, loudly blogging, tweeting and speaking in support of it with the closest thing that lefties can come to an absolute consensus. It’s been an admirable effort throughout.

    Of course, this consensus does tend to break down when the question changes from “Should we hope these people win” to “Should we drop high explosives on the civilians who live in areas under these people’s enemies’ control”, but that’s not surprising or controversial, unless you are an arse.

    • Bob-B said,

      A section of the Left was only interested in the Arab Spring insofar as it threatened regimes that were US clients. Thus, Seumas Milne in his first piece on the Arab Spring (Guardian, 2.2.11) managed to not mention Libya or Syria or Iran. A bit later, when the Libyans were fighting to overthrow Gaddafi, Tariq Ali could not avoid mentioning that country but still managed to ignore Syria (Guardian, 22.2.11).

  5. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    “It’s worth noting that the left broadly has been entirely behind the Arab Spring from day one, loudly blogging, tweeting and speaking in support of it with the closest thing that lefties can come to an absolute consensus. It’s been an admirable effort throughout”.

    Compare and contrast with left wing support of the Russian Revolution, Spanish Republic or even Vietnam.

    In 1919-20 the left organised strikes and mass demonstrations to prevent the Imperialist powers from intervening against the Soviet Republic and the bourgeoisie were in literal terror of revolution even in Britain.

    In 1936-9 lefties volunteered by the tens of thousands to actually fight in Spain.

    In 1968 they could at least get off their arses and march to chant Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh at the American embassy and get beaten up by the police for their trouble (and IIRC Tariq Ali did at least ask the North Vietnamese if they wanted an International Brigade and was told that hippies would be more useful demonstrating in London or Washington than playing ineptly at being guerilla fighters in the Mekong Delta).

    And now?

    We blog and tweet….

    This – i.e. what we are doing right here and now sat in our comfortable chairs tap, tap, tapping away on our keyboards – is neither ‘admirable’ or indeed in any meaningful sense an ‘effort’ – it is the last and almost imperceptible twitches of a political corpse.

    • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      That should of course have appeared as a reply to the Flying Rodent.

    • flyingrodent said,

      Okay. What should people be doing then? Organising a “troops-in” march? Volunteering to personally garotte Allawites on the frontline?

      I’m not about to claim that arsing around on the internet is a moral triumph. On the other hand, it’s noticeable that lefties generally have been firmly on the right side of the Arab Spring in large numbers*, but that almost every time the issue of “Syria and the Left” comes up, it’s guaranteed to be a weak excuse to put the boot into some three blokes and a dog microsect.

      *Although not so keen on the idea of campaigns of transformative violence executed by people with astoundingly bad records on rubbing out civilians,which is, on balance, probably the right stance to take.

      • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

        I literally despair that anything at all can be done in or ‘for’ the Middle East.

        My point was that congratulating ourselves warmly on maintaining a purely verbal ‘absolute consensus’ that in point of fact only lasted until hard choices had to be made in Libya and then Syria is just sad and deluded.

        And armchair supporters of intervention are in this sense no better than armchair isolationists – nothing that we say or do from those armchairs (other than materially aiding whatever refugees do escape these hellholes – perhaps the one thing we can agree on) can plausibly help liberate these people from the failed states and benighted fundamentalist faiths that a cruel history has imposed on them.

        Indeed with our own society visibly disintegrating around us this obsession with countries whose sufferings we can only impotently witness from afar increasingly represents a destructive, divisive and utterly futile form of political Jellabyism.

  6. Jim Denham said,


    I can agree with you that the tendency of some leftists to obsess about international affairs (especially the Middle East) while neglecting domestic politics (even, sometimes, basic trade unionism) is very often a mark of impotence, irrelevance and petty bourgeois posturing. But we are supposed to be internationalists, and the positions we take on international issues and conflicts (even when we’re powerless to intervene) is very often an important indication of what kind of socialism we stand for: the enthusiasm of many western leftists for foul, anti-democratic tyrannies and fascistic “anti-imperialist” movements, tells us something very important about those people and what they represent.

    Btw: is “Jellabyism” a reference to Mrs Jellyby in ‘Bleak House’?

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