“Syria is very lucky to have Bashar al-Assad as her president. . . [He is] the last Arab ruler.” Reading this one might picture a vulgar member of the regime of clerical fascism in Iran that is the only ally that the Ba’athist dictatorship in Damascus has in the region. I am delighted to disappoint you. These are not the words of a verminous cleric from Persia, but of a second-rate, pseudo-leftist from Scotland named George Galloway – the darling of the morally bankrupt Stop the War Coalition. The group that long ago decided that George W. Bush and Tony Blair were a greater threat to international security and human rights than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden.
This same group, which claims to oppose the use of armed force in conflicts, recently held its annual conference in London. On March 3rd it passed a series of resolutions, the basis of which I repeat here:
“Conference believes: That air attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities will open up a new and even more dangerous period of warfare and instability.
That any military intervention in Syria will not be for humanitarian reasons but to prepare for an attack on Iran by weakening one of its regional allies and cause greater suffering than Syrians are already enduring.”
Reading this you might be tempted to think that this organization was pacifist. You would think that they were on the side of the ordinary people of Syria and Persia. I submit that nothing could be further from the truth. They are not interested in the lives of Syrians or Iranians. They want a quiet life, free of conflict and tough choices, that does not shake their boring world-view that it is impossible for a NATO or capitalist country to perform a moral act.
With these resolutions and countless others, the Stop the War Coalition has said that it prefers the survival of fascism to the risk of confronting it. They speak of the dangers of “instability” if we choose to prevent the mullahs and clerics in Tehran from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon; isn’t destabilising a theocratic, thuggish regime a good thing?
We are asked to believe that foreign military intervention will heap even greater suffering on the people of Syria. Given the reports coming out of Homs, the Stop the War Coalition must genuinely believe that NATO troops plan to march into Baba Amr, and do something worse than force parents to watch while their sons’ throats are slit and their elderly relatives are shot. This may sound absurd, but remember this is from a group that claims moral superiority over those of us who have always lived by the iron-clad belief that in a struggle between the aggressor and the victim, you side with the victim.
In the terrifying wars of aggression waged against the people of Bosnia and then Kosovo in the 1990s, the anti-war movement decided that it was the national socialist regime of Slobodan Milošević’s Serbia that was the victim of aggression. Following NATO intervention against Serbia (long resisted by the fake-left and Stop the War Coalition) the architects of the Siege of Sarajevo and the genocidal killings in Srebrenica are now on trial or in prison, Kosovo is slowly being accepted as a member of the international community, living under the protection of EU peacekeepers, and Bosnia exists as a multi-ethnic, multi-confessional democracy. Had the anti-war movement been listened to, Bosnia would have been cleansed and carved up by two armies of Christian fascists, and Kosovo would have been likewise ethnically cleansed of its Albanian population and would exist as a part of a Greater Serbia.
So there we have it; even while the mass-graves are being exhumed, and the bodies identified at Srebrenica, we are told that it was NATO, and Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton who were the chief antagonists of the conflict in the Balkans. That it was not Milošević, and Mladić, and Karadižić who belonged in the dock at the International Criminal Court, but the elected leaders of the nations whose actions ensured that this revival of fascism and concentration camps and genocide in Southern Europe was short-lived, albeit allowed to rampage across the region for far too long with impunity.
The lack of such action in Syria has led to the city of Homs going from a Sarajevo to a Srebrenica. Already the annihilating and chillingly familiar stories are being told; people fleeing the city, stopped at check-points, the men and boys separated from the women, taken away, and the last thing their mothers and wives and sisters hear from them are their screams as they are butchered and shot.
The response of the Stop the War Coalition? Pass a resolution condemning the use of force against the Ba’athist forces before action has even been considered. But why are we surprised? This is a group comprising the hard-left of this country, groups nostalgic for the days of the USSR, with the most reactionary elements of the Muslim Council of Great Britain. These two groups formed a march of 750,000 people that demanded that the people of Iraq remained the private property of a psychopathic crime family. There they demonstrated their wounds from their noble, titanic struggle against Dick Cheyney, while not a word was said or a protest organized while the leaders of the secular and democratic left in Iraq were being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein, and has only now found its voice on Syria.
The tone of that voice makes one want to vomit. Is it one of condemnation of President Assad, whose death squads have been cutting down the leaders of socialism and trade unions in Lebanon, and whose armed forces are conducting a terrifying war of aggression against the Syrian people? No. It is to defend the right of President Assad to act as he sees fit, and to condemn even the contemplation of action to stop the violence and punish those responsible.
By Liam OConnordocument.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);