SNP Salmond Talk Show on Russia Today, No Surprise for Promoter of Putin’s Syrian Genocide.

“The Alex Salmond [Talk] Show” has been launched on the Putin regime’s foreign propaganda mouthpiece Russia Today (RT). According to the UK guardian many of the colleagues of this seasoned Scottish National Party politician appear to be surprised (see https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/17/be-ashamed-alex-salmond-courts-controversy-rt-russia-today ). No one should be surprised, he has a history of being an apologist for Putin’s frankly fascist regime.

In September 2015 Russia began its direct intervention in Assad’s war against the Syrian people, that has led to the current near collapse of the mainstream opposition, and the ascendancy of the brutally oppressive Assad regime. In October 2015 at the SNP conference, Alex Salmond was calling for non-intervention by the West in Syria, so  effectively supporting Putin’s intervention in Syria:

“There was a moment of excitement when we all rushed into the hall yesterday to hear Alex Salmond set out the party’s position on Syria. ‘There is no one in Syria who is not being bombed by someone,’ he told the conference. For that reason, he wants ‘no more futile military interventions’, and his short speech mentioned the duration of the war in Afghanistan and the lack of money set aside for reconstruction in Libya. This opens up an intriguing dividing line with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, after shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn indicated that he was open to supporting military action in Syria. Could the SNP outflank Corbyn, a former chair of Stop the War, in their dovishness?”

[See https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2015/10/snps-conference-friendly-rousing-and-boring-just-what-party-wants ]

This is exactly the opposite of the support that Syrian activists were desperately calling for. I did a bad cartoon satirizing Salmond and the SNP’s fake pacifism. It reminded me of a 1936 David Low cartoon about non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. It was sarcastically titled “Correct Attitudes in Spain”. This fake pacifism encouraged the spread of fascism in Europe by exposing the truth that democracy had no value.

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Salmond dressed as a policeman is saying “Syria is a domestic dispute, not an assault by criminals. Any forceful intervention will only add to the carnage. The SNP will use it’s 55 votes in UK Parliament, to swing the balance, to ensure time is wasted collecting UN vetoes, and arranging endless futile talks. All in the name of populist tokenism, clarity, sanity and humanity”.

It is not surprising that the year before Salmond was giving guarded praise for Putin:

” In an interview for the forthcoming issue of GQ magazine – given last month as Russia was being accused of military aggression in Crimea but before it had annexed the region from Ukraine – Mr Salmond was questioned about a number of world leaders by Alastair Campbell, the former Labour strategy director.
‘Well, obviously, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but I think Putin’s more effective than the press he gets, I would have thought, and you can see why he carries support in Russia,’ Mr Salmond said.
‘He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics that are obviously difficult to admire.’ ”

[See https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/effective-putin-has-admirable-qualities-says-alex-salmond-9294614.html ]

Salmond is correctly criticized by a Scottish Labour spokesperson in the same article:

” Scottish Labour’s external affairs spokeswoman Patricia Ferguson said: ‘Given he [Salmond] shares Nigel Farage’s politics of division and grievance, it’s hardly a surprise that the First Minister has found common ground with the Ukip Leader.’
‘But his comments about Vladmir Putin are insensitive and ill-judged given the precarious situation in Ukraine. For Scotland’s First Minister to admit his admiration for someone with such a controversial record on human rights and democracy does not reflect well on our country.’ ”

It is time to question Alex Salmond, and question his previous statements and positions. This man is not a democrat, and is certainly not progressive.

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Jeremy Corbyn’s silence over Aleppo shows how he has become a lobbyist for Iran (2016)

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Jeremy Corbyn’s silence over Aleppo shows how he has become a lobbyist for Iran (2016)

[ source = http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jeremy-corbyns-silence-over-aleppo-shows-how-he-has-become-lobbyist-iran-1597582 ]

By Sam Hamad,  12/12/2016

As Aleppo was consumed by fascist counterrevolution, while the people of the formerly liberated eastern areas of the city were being cleansed or dying waiting to be cleansed, Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the [UK] Labour Party and Her Majesty’s Opposition, was attending a Christmas fundraising dinner for the Stop the War Coalition (SWC). You might think his attendance of such an event is generally innocuous and unconnected to far off happenings in Syria. You’d be wrong.

One might wonder why Jeremy Corbyn has been so quiet on Syria on the face of the fall of Aleppo, or why, when challenged by Peter Tatchell, he had to leave to find out what the correct public line of his leadership was on Syria? Or why, during the emergency debate on Aleppo in the UK parliament, the alleged internationalist Corbyn stayed only to hear the meandering, incoherent speech of his shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, before leaving without saying a word? If you are wondering these things then you ought to look no further than not simply his connection with the SWC, but his ideological congruence with it.

The SWC has been among the loudest voices over the last five years that have sought to push narratives supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, as well as his partners Iran and Russia, as they unleashed a genocidal war against Syrians who rose up against them in the name of freedom and self-determination. It has hosted a number of pro-regime and, not-so-ironically if you understand the function of the SWC, pro-war voices such as its vice chairman and Corbyn’s long-standing comrade George Galloway, who took to Twitter to praise the ‘Syrian Arab Army’ at a time when it was going door-to-door murdering men, women and children in Aleppo. Though the SWC always disputes its support for Assad, Iran and Russia, a look at its output on the conflict over the years ought to leave one with very little doubt regarding their allegiances.

However, the fact that the leader of the UK’s largest political party and the leader of the official opposition saw fit to attend this fundraiser is no surprise. Since becoming leader of the opposition, Corbyn has had to be more cautious about stating his views openly, but by just briefly looking into his recent history on these questions, his true views on the situation in Syria are obvious. It was he who was national chair of the SWC as they organised pro-Assad demos following Assad’s gassing to death of over one thousands Syrian civilians at Ghouta, or when they invited Mother Agnes Mariam, who is not just a supporter of but a fully-fledged propagandist for Assad’s genocidal war effort, to a ‘peace’ conference.

Moreover, if one takes a look through Corbyn’s interventions in the British parliament, one can see that in every debate on whether the UK government should materially support Syrians resisting Assad, Iran and Russia, one can see the same essential message of hostility towards the Syrian revolution. This is not a subtle thing – though Corbyn might pay lip service to condemning in vague terms the “violence” in Syria, as a backbench MP, his interventions in parliament concerning Syria sought to repeat the regime’s narrative that the rebels were Islamic extremists, akin to the Taliban.

In addition to this, Corbyn has essentially lobbied for Iran to be rewarded for its intervention in Syria, underwriting and participating in genocide, with a seat at the top table in terms of negotiating over Syria’s future. This is not a point that should be glossed over. While progressives from all backgrounds understand that the dynamic in Syria, beyond all the complexities, is one between armed forces that arose as part of a popular revolution and a brutal tyrant and his foreign imperialist allies attempting to crush the revolution, those who are sympathetic to the regime have attempted to portray the revolution as a ‘western’ conspiracy against Iran.

“Corbyn could easily be described as a lobbyist for the Iranian regime.”

Corbyn is, of course, not crude enough to state this openly, but in combination with his will to slander the rebels as being akin to the Taliban and tie them to Islamic terrorism, he has been keen to push this idea as a justification for Iranian intervention on behalf of Assad. This is precisely what he did in a debate in parliament in May 2013, when he claimed that despite the presence of its troops in Syria, Iran was only ‘presumably helping Assad’ as it felt “under threat” from the Syrian revolution due to the “vast amount of arms” being supplied to the rebels, adding that Iran might be “next on the western countries” hit list’.

While it’s never overtly stated, the inferences here is that Assad and Iran are the victims. The idea, much-loved by Assad, Iran and Russia’s propagandists, that there exists an actual ‘hit list’ of countries that the West wants to overthrow for all kinds of nefarious reasons. As with all conspiracy theories, the essential point of this is not to elucidate any facts but rather to obfuscate them – in this case it’s the crimes of fascistic and anti-human tyrannies that are conceived to be ‘anti-western’ in their geopolitical demeanour and are thus to be supported, regardless of whether there is an actually existing revolution against them or whether they are imposing their hegemony over Syrians seeking self-determination.

Corbyn could easily be described as a lobbyist for the Iranian regime. In the same sleazy manner as the Tory politicians, so hated by Corbyn and his supporters, who claim to support ‘human rights’ in Saudi Arabia before selling them weapons and the means to maintain their domestic tyranny, Corbyn has strongly advocated that such relations be transferred from Saudi’s brutal theocracy to that of the Iranian regime’s.

In article for, of all places, the Morning Star, entitled ‘Rebuilding Relations With Iran’, written in 2014, after the Iranian regime’s brutal crushing of the nascent democratic Green uprising and during its key participation in the genocidal war effort of Assad in Syria, Corbyn makes a sordid case for normalising relations with the regime, employing the usual juvenile whataboutery and dubious historical validations that comprise justifications and apologia Iranian regime. Corbyn vaguely mentions something about the Iranian regime’s treatment of ‘trade union movements’, but doesn’t mention the crushing of the Green Movement or its support for who he calls in the article ‘President Assad of Syria’, who, with Iran’s direction and help had at that point managed to murder around 400,000 people.

But why would Corbyn mention any of Iran’s crimes in Syria in the article – or at all? This a person who has received money from the Iranian regime via its anti-Semitic, sectarian propaganda outlet Press TV, as well as being a guest of the regime on various occasions, including posing for photos with regime officials.

It’s for this reason that, during the emergency debate on Aleppo, Corbyn the internationalist couldn’t find his voice; instead, the dreaded Labour ‘centrists’ and Liberal Democrats put the progressive view on Syria forward. However, the key point of the entire debate was made by George Osborne, who recognised the genocidal dimensions of what was occurring in Syria and the West’s responsibility in failing to support the rebels, but also its capacity in aiding the rise of fascism in Europe.

Corbyn’s stance on Syria makes it impossible for him to understand this dynamic, the dynamic of Syria as an open sore from which the poison of fascism and post-fact populism is spreading and infecting the whole world, the necessity is now for a progressive opposition to emerge. One that not only understands this dynamic but is equipped to meet it head on, as opposed to appease or acquiesce to it. Labourites must understand Syria and Aleppo as existential moments for them and for the very foundations of progressive politics, just as their late colleague Jo Cox did.

The Labour Party is actually a microcosm for the current dynamics that have been exacerbated by the Syrian crisis. The party is currently caught between the legacy of the malfeasance of Blairism, the crimes of which have been a devil on the back of the Syrian revolution, as well as the consequences of such malfeasance – the symbolically ‘left-wing’ symptom of the general disease that is rapidly devouring the centre in western politics.

And make no mistake: this is what Corbyn and his movement represents, socialism at home and support for fascist counterrevolution abroad. The kind of movement that managed to outdo the Daily Mail’s infamous ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts’ by praising the triumph of fascism in Aleppo as a ‘liberation’, much in the same way it praises the triumph of Donald Trump and the ‘alt-right’ in the US as a revolt against ‘neoliberalism’.

The genocide in Syria determined by Russia and Iran is the kind of world order envisioned by Corbyn and his ilk.

Sam Hamad is a Scottish-Egyptian writer based in Edinburgh. He specialises in Middle Eastern affairs.

[End Article]

Fourth comment on “Peace Action” pro-Assad series of so called path to peace articles, with links

handsoffassad-copyThis article (https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-four-trumps-assad-policy-is-still-up-for-grabs/)starts with “….. the forces of the Assad government may have begun to consolidate control over western Syria’s population centers …. However, no matter what territory Syria holds on [Trump’s] inauguration day, the conflict will rage on.” The opening paragraph exposes the bias of these 4 articles on “Choosing the [so called] path the peace in Syria”. The Assad Regime is not Syria. The Assad Regime is a clique that has ruled Syria like a private estate since 1970. To quote Yassin Saleh from an interview in October 2016 “The Assad regime has become a representative of the internal First World in Syria, the Syrian whites. I think the elites in the West find Bashar al-Assad more palatable than other potential interlocutors. He wears expensive suits and has a necktie, and, ultimately, these elites prefer a fascist with a necktie to a fascist with a beard. Meanwhile, they don’t see us, the Syrian people. Those who are trying to own the politics of their own country have been rendered invisible” (https://theintercept.com/2016/10/26/syria-yassin-al-haj-saleh-interview/). It appears the so called western pacifist anti-establishment have joined the elite. This makes me very angry.

Not convinced establishment McCain has any influence on Trump, or that Obama era measures will necessarily survive long under Trump. The Defence Authorization Act 2017 sets out a series of insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles to MANPADS being supplied to the Syrian Opposition. The New York Times actually leaked a memo criticizing Obama’s appeasement of Assad. Right wing think tanks contain many right wing Zionists like Michael Rubin who oppose Iranian power in Syria.
In the real world Trump’s policy will be a continuation of the Western elites’ foreign policy in the Middle East, of getting the support of manageable dictatorships. There is now also a vigorous Russian-Chinese version of this policy. The common enemy are the people of the Middle East, who since 2011 have risen up as a real power. Trump will strike a deal with Putin on spheres of influence, and will certainly not support the toppling of dictatorships.

Limited Military Strikes in response to major war crimes by the Assad regime, would stop when the war crimes stopped. The military strikes and enhanced support for the Syrian Opposition would end when the Syrian Government (minus the Assad Clique) engaged in serious peace negotiations with the Syrian Opposition. Empowering Syrians should be the real objective. This did not happen in Libya or Egypt, and certainly did not happen after the invasions of Iraq and Syria. The opposition of extremists is partly due to the nature of previous US intervention, and the (indirect) financial support of regional dictatorships. The strikes would be against Assad regime assets not Russian assets. Russia is already focusing most of its attacks on Western backed Syrian Opposition.

Arming the Syrian Opposition is about empowering Syrians, not “bringing the fight to the enemy”. This was not tried in Libya. Very little support was provided, and the limited amount bypassed the structure of the National Transitional Council. The result was not a unified professional security force, but a fragmented militia with funding from multiple sources, including regional dictatorships. Funding mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s was part of the Cold War, these fundamentalists had nothing to do with representative government in Afghanistan. Bad comparison as is Iraq.

The CIA programs of training the Syrian Opposition have again avoided the structure of the Free Syrian Army. To unify the command structure of the Free Syrian Army requires a reliable source of equipment and training. This has not been provided by the West as also happened in Libya. This under resourced force has depended on funds from at best “regional authoritarian regimes”. The objective of western elites is not to empower Syrians.

Progressives in the West should not be swallowing the type of misinformation contained in this series of articles. Instead they should be demanding that our “defense services” should be supporting Syrians in their legitimate demands for a representative government. What is reactionary and war mongering is not the defense forces themselves, but the policies our politicians pursue. This is ultimately our responsibility. Pacifism for tyrants is pure hypocrisy and certainly not progressive.

Pavel Felgenhauer on Putin’s Core Reasoning For The War On Syria

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[Posted By Lara Keller 28/12/16 Updated 3/10/17]

Pavel Felgenhauer On Putin’s Core Reasoning For The War On Syria

Extracts from Aljazeera Inside Story by Russian analyst Pavel Felgenhauer exposing Putin’s core reasoning For his war on Syria. Explaining why if Putin wins in Syria more democracy in the Middle East will go from extremely difficult to impossible. See https://youtu.be/OaCFeBFI9qQ

Source: Aljazeera Inside Story – What are President Putin’s plans for Syria? Whole= http://aje.io/sy3c 17th December 2016

Inside Track On Race For Next US Secretary Of State.

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4 finalists for Trump administration Secretary Of State (aka foreign minster). These are probably Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, Bob Corker and David Petraeus. Which of these republicans gets the job must surely depend on:

1. Who knows their place.

2. Who will betray their earlier statements, and pursue the US elites’ imperialist objectives in partnership with the Putin and Xi Jinping regimes. Strange as this sounds, the goal of superpower conflict has always been to use this struggle to gain control over tame dictators in suzerain states, rather than to defeat your rival (unless public opinion stirs from apathy to intervene). Now US has given up on even a patchy commitment to democracy promotion, and Russia and China have similarly given up on an equally patchy commitment to communism, so the efficient path is to carve up the world and use economic or military muscle to undermine independent leadership in weaker states.

3. Who gives the appearance of gravitas, to continue the fiction that the Trump administration will be normal, and so delay international reaction against it.

4. Who has sufficient acumen to advance this new US foreign policy agenda.

Who wins, makes no bloody difference.

Third comment “Peace Action” did publish on Syria.

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Comment to Peace Action’s article by Jon Rainwater “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part Three: The Perils of Another American Quagmire” https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-three-the-perils-of-another-american-quagmire/#comment-75223

[start comment]

Article describes the US right wing obsession about ISIS, and the folly of sending US troops into Syria and Iraq to fight them. Seems fair comment to me. The author welcomes not supporting the armed Syrian Opposition (formed of many mostly cooperating groups!). Seems very wrong to me. Then he states Assad’s complete military victory will lead to Sunni radicalization. Obviously this is not an option either. So the author finishes with the statement “without a political solution, there is no path, for the foreseeable future at least, to sustainable peace in Syria”. It is obvious that a political solution is needed, but there is no way to convince Assad that he needs to take part in a meaningful political process. The Syrian Opposition have been saying for a long time now that it is very obvious that only the threat of a military defeat and meaningful consequences for war crimes, will lead the Assad clique to the negotiating table to engage with working on a political solution.

I must conclude that so far no path to peace has been described by these articles. Seems like a lot of feel good “progressive” talk, but no real solution. Tell this to the activists now waiting in Eastern Aleppo. Waiting now for death by bomb, bullet or if unlucky by torture and starvation. They must be glad you care. Perhaps you or they can convert their executioners to pacifism, any ideas on a speed course? The 4th part will smear the opposition and heap doubt on supporting them. Syria then will have been dealt with, by 4 well researched articles no less and we can breathe a sigh of relief.

[end comment]

 

 

Second comment “Peace Action” seem unable to publish on Syria.

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Not very surprised to find US Peace Action will now not publish a comment in response to their second article “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part Two: Safe Zones Are Not Safe” (see https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-two-safe-zones-arent-safe/ ). The comment reacting to Jon Rainwater’s article was not accepted so far, creating the impression that there is no reply to his arguments. The missing response is below:

[start comment they will not publish………]

To summarize “Safe Zones” need to be militarily protected and can become targets or encourage ethnic cleansing. Part 3 will look at No Bomb Zones (see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/how-a-no-bomb-zone-would-work/) and assume will engage with others ideas of Charles Lister and others (see https://partnershipblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/recent-ideas-for-an-itinerary-of-strong-effective-action-to-empower-the-syrian-people-to-end-the-crisis/ ). Part 1 and 2 seem to be about which paths do not work. “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria” looking forward to resolution on which path is available. Obama has tried sermonizing to Assad will no known result so far.

[end comment they will not publish………]

Comment “Peace Action” Will Not Publish On Syria

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Surprised to get some comments accepted by US Peace Action, in response to their article “Choosing the Path of Peace in Syria Part One: The Siren Song of the No-Fly Zone” (see https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/choosing-the-path-of-peace-in-syria-part-one-the-siren-song-of-the-no-fly-zone/ ). The final comment reacting to Jon Rainwater’s response was not accepted, creating the impression that there was no reply, to his deeply flawed argument. The missing response is below:

[start comment they will not publish………]

A brutal dictatorship is definitely not a country at peace in any sense…………. The counter argument to the problem of No Fly Zones, is in previous comments, even a link to a briefing on the No Bomb Zone Strategy (please see http://www.syriauk.org/p/no-bomb-zone.html for a more detailed briefing)……. Most Libyans wanted to live without Gaddafi’s oppression, not just “many”.

I did engage strongly with why the transition in Libya has gone wrong. You acknowledge the alternative to “intervention” as “partnership”. I went through what should have been done, and what was not done. I agree with you that a “quick military fix” is insufficient, but that does not mean there is not a military dimension to empowering people striving to live without dictatorship.

The concept of partnership was enumerated in previous comment as ……. “The concept of partnership I am referring to, is not confined to reconstruction. The Libyan Opposition needed the resources, arms and training to create a professional armed opposition before Gaddafi was overthrown, so they could provide security after the regime ended. They begged for this and did not receive it. Consequently there was a patchwork of divided militias, and the initiative was given to funding from Sunni monarchies and Egyptian military establishment. This was compounded by lack of reconstruction help after Gaddafi was removed, so the new government could not demonstrate legitimacy by providing food, health and housing security to the Libyan people.”

You say “Peace Action is not an international solidarity group we focus on U.S. policy.” The foreign policies of democratic Western countries are governed by elites, with little public input. This has created shameful serious policy failures, as we both know. My point is that the foreign policy of US, UK, Germany, France …. must be about international solidarity with the peoples (not the elites) of other nations. This is “non interventionist” as not about invading or imperialistically doing things to others, it is about empowerment. You want solutions to all problems which have no military dimension. This is not possible with brutal dictatorships like the Assad regime.

I engaged with the chaos in Libya after the uprising and the limited support from the West. I explained what was done, and what should have been done.

You say “Likewise the forces the U.S. would be backing will not necessarily replace the Assad government with democracy as we can see with some of the brutal authoritarianism in some of the rebel held areas.” This is why we need progressives to expose and campaign for an alternative partnership approach, rather than blanket rejection of any “intervention”.

The “if only” you mention is about “if only” the West had given the Libyan Opposition the resources to enable them to create a cohesive force. Partnership is about empowering others. You are right about the problems of reconstructing governments, especially in an environment of hostile Sunni authoritarian regimes pushing spoilers; but you underestimate the agency of the people of the MENA.

On Bassam Haddad, beware of too narrow sources. Idrees Ahmad has this to say on BH, “How sad that the day Russia/regime commit a major massacre in Syria, Democracy Now! invites an ideologue to equivocate and obfuscate. Just when we thought that DN [Democracy Now] was moving away from Assad apologists and giving Syrians a voice, we get this torrent of drivel from a hack best known for his flatulent prose and morally flaccid posturing.” See http://muftah.org/responding-bassam-haddads-false-binary-syria/ for a demolishing of BH narrative.

On the polls quoted. ORB poll article includes “There must be US and Russian pressure on Bashar al-Assad to compromise, to step down, then it would be possible to reach a solution.” – Male 18-35 from Der ez Zor, Syria. Refugees poll “Of those who responded, 71 percent agreed that an ‘end to the fighting in Syria’ would be ideal. Sixty-five percent of respondents agreed that removal of the Assad regime would be an ideal ending.” Is this sample who reach Turkey representative of Syrians or even Syrian refugees, as 90% causalities caused by Assad and Putin regimes.

[end comment they will not publish………]