Aleppo is our Guernica — and some are cheering on the Luftwaffe

1 hXRw39uwnp5z3ax2lXiWegImagine Guernica. On April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town was bombed for three hours by Hitler’s Luftwaffe in support of Francisco Franco’s fascist regime, leaving over 1,600 people dead. Picasso immortalized the episode in a celebrated painting, Neruda wrote poems about it, and it became an enduring metaphor for people’s suffering in war.

Now imagine a different response to Guernica. Imagine people applauding the bombings, reproaching the victims, and slandering the witnesses. If you can imagine that, then you know Aleppo.

Aleppo — one of the last major rebel strongholds — is on the verge of collapse. Backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Lebanese Hezbollah, and US-equipped Iraqi militias, the Syrian regime army is advancing from the south; from the east, the Islamic State (IS) is rampaging ahead; and, exploiting the stretched rebel defences, the Kurdish YPG is sneaking in from the north. All have been assisted, directly or indirectly, by the relentless attrition of Russian bombs.

But as the conflict moves toward a grim denouement, its mounting toll has elicited a curious response. Many in the west, including prominent liberals, have used the logic of lesser-evilism to welcome this outcome. But to sustain this argument, they’ve had to battle the stubborn resistance of facts.

The balance of atrocities could not be clearer. Consider these facts:

The UN has stopped counting the dead in Syria. But even before the regime’s August 2013 chemical attack, which killed more than 1,400 civilians, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, special investigator for the UN Human Rights Council, had found the regime responsible for eight of the nine massacres perpetrated until then; a year later, even after the rise of IS, the equation remained unchanged. Despite IS’s extreme violence, Pineheiro noted, the regime “remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily”. Since its entry into the war, Russia has surpassed the regime’s kill rate; it has also helped ISIS expand its territory by targeting the rebels fighting it.

But if the balance of atrocities is clear, their moral implications have not been as acutely felt. This in part has to do with the muddled way the story has been reported. On Sunday, when one of Hollywood’s most politically active and humane figures weighed in to condemn the media for “misleading the public on Syria”, one could only welcome the intervention.

Except, Mark Ruffalo, the Oscar-nominated star of Spotlight, was not indicting the media for failing the people of Syria; he was condemning it for being insufficiently sympathetic to the regime and Russia. He was recommending to his 2.23 million Twitter followers an article by Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kinzer in which he alleges that the “American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening”; that it unfairly describes everything Russia and Iran do as “negative and destabilizing”; and it fails to report that in the Assad regime and Russia’s assault on Aleppo, its inhabitants are “finally see[ing] glimmers of hope”. Kinzer’s basis for these claims? A comment “on social media” and the opinion of a “Beirut-based analyst” (in reality a pro-Hizbullah activist who is a contributor to the Russian news outlet RT and the Iranian supreme leader’s personal news site).

To compensate for its fact deficit, Kinzer liberally sprinkles his article with straw men. He claims that journalists are misleading the public by describing Jabhat al-Nusra, as “moderates,” not as “the local al-Qaeda franchise”. As a matter of fact, no one refers to Nusra as “moderates”, and a Nexis search of major newspapers reveals virtually no article that doesn’t refer to it without mentioning its al-Qaeda affiliation.

This article was a sequel to another, published three days after Russia started a series of attacks on MSF-run hospitals, which was boldly titled: “On Syria: Thank you, Russia!” In it Kinzer prescribed that “Russia’s policy should be ours: prevent the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s government, craft a new regime that would include Assad or his supporters, and then work for a cease-fire.” However, to accede to the opposition’s demand for a cease-fire, he insisted, would be to “guarantee continued war”. In a subsequent TV interview, Kinzer lauded the foreign policy wisdom of Donald Trump. (Similar sentiments have also been expressed by his Irish counterpart, Patrick Cockburn of The Independent).

Ruffalo wasn’t the only one promoting this nonsense. Beyond the agoraphobic netherworld of internet conspiracists, it was also warmly received by bestselling authors, Daily Show producers, liberal academics, Pulitzer Prize-winners, and think-tankers.

Why do bien pensant liberals like Ruffalo fall for such dross? Ideological blinkers? Or has dissent become all about aesthetics? It seems at any given moment maintaining an adversarial posture is more important than substantive engagement with an issue. Why bother with details when one can derive them from general principles? And if the reality of an issue contradicts one’s preconceived notions, then reality itself must be brought into question. Shooting the messenger is always a reliable option. But dressed up as criticism of “the mainstream media”, “the establishment”, or “Washington”, even a full-throated defence of fascism acquires the sheen of fearless truth-telling.

There are few things more commonplace than an Oedipal disdain for one’s own government. In this solipsistic worldview, one has no need to understand the dynamics of a foreign crisis; they can be deduced remotely. If you hate your own government then, by virtue of being in its bad books, a Putin or an Assad becomes an ally.

Conversely, if people elsewhere are rising up against their far more repressive states, their cause is tainted because of a sympathetic word they might have received from your government. And all the images of agony do not add up to a tear of sorrow as long as they are relayed by a hated “mainstream media”. Indeed, victims are reproached for eroding ideological certainties by intruding into our consciousness through their spectacular suffering. (Kinzer, unsurprisingly, resents the media’s “obsession with daily suffering”.)

Trapped in the vortex of these paranoid fantasies, these anti-humanist do-gooders have failed to notice that what they consider a brave dissent is actually official US policy. A hint of the administration’s thinking on the subject is offered by two of Obama’s former advisors on Syria — Philip Gordon and Steven Simon. Both have penned op-eds showing their preference for Assad. The administration’s record confirms this. Since the beginning, the administration withheld meaningful support from the Syrian opposition, but now it has explicitly acceded to a Russian plan to preserve Assad. And Assad is winning.

Courage used to mean the ability to stand up for something, regardless of the consequences. It now means standing down from principle and letting others bear the consequences of one’s “difficult” decisions.

Aleppo is our Guernica — and too many are cheering on the Luftwaffe.

Imagine Guernica. On April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town was bombed for three hours by Hitler’s Luftwaffe in support of Francisco Franco’s fascist regime, leaving over 1,600 people dead. Picasso immortalized the episode in a celebrated painting, Neruda wrote poems about it, and it became an enduring metaphor for people’s suffering in war.

Now imagine a different response to Guernica. Imagine people applauding the bombings, reproaching the victims, and slandering the witnesses. If you can imagine that, then you know Aleppo.

Aleppo — one of the last major rebel strongholds — is on the verge of collapse. Backed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Lebanese Hezbollah, and US-equipped Iraqi militias, the Syrian regime army is advancing from the south; from the east, the Islamic State (IS) is rampaging ahead; and, exploiting the stretched rebel defences, the Kurdish YPG is sneaking in from the north. All have been assisted, directly or indirectly, by the relentless attrition of Russian bombs.

But as the conflict moves toward a grim denouement, its mounting toll has elicited a curious response. Many in the west, including prominent liberals, have used the logic of lesser-evilism to welcome this outcome. But to sustain this argument, they’ve had to battle the stubborn resistance of facts.

The balance of atrocities could not be clearer. Consider these facts:

According to the most recent Syrian Center for Policy Research (SCPR) estimate, nearly 470,000 have died in the conflict. Syrian Network for Human Rights estimates that the regime and Russia are responsible for over 95% of the civilian deaths.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on the war in Syria has indicted the regime for “the crimes against humanity of extermination; murder; rape or other forms of sexual violence; torture; imprisonment; enforced disappearance and other inhuman acts”.
The regime’s main ally, Russia, has been accused by Amnesty International of “egregious” war crimes, including the deliberate targeting of civilians and aid workers.
The UN Commission of Inquiry has also accused the regime of using starvation as a weapon of war and for the “deliberate destruction of health care infrastructure”. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has reported 94 strikes on 63 of its medical facilities and, by the end of last year, Physicians for Human Rights, calculated that the regime and its allies were responsible for 287 of the 346 attacks on medical facilities and 667 of the 705 medical personnel killed.
A Syrian military defector has produced photographic evidence of at least 6,786 detainees killed under the regime’s torture.
The regime has used rape systematically, as policy.
A survey of refugees by the Berlin Social Science Center shows that the regime’s violence is the primary cause for their flight.

The UN has stopped counting the dead in Syria. But even before the regime’s August 2013 chemical attack, which killed more than 1,400 civilians, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, special investigator for the UN Human Rights Council, had found the regime responsible for eight of the nine massacres perpetrated until then; a year later, even after the rise of IS, the equation remained unchanged. Despite IS’s extreme violence, Pineheiro noted, the regime “remains responsible for the majority of the civilian casualties, killing and maiming scores of civilians daily”. Since its entry into the war, Russia has surpassed the regime’s kill rate; it has also helped ISIS expand its territory by targeting the rebels fighting it.

But if the balance of atrocities is clear, their moral implications have not been as acutely felt. This in part has to do with the muddled way the story has been reported. On Sunday, when one of Hollywood’s most politically active and humane figures weighed in to condemn the media for “misleading the public on Syria”, one could only welcome the intervention.

Except, Mark Ruffalo, the Oscar-nominated star of Spotlight, was not indicting the media for failing the people of Syria; he was condemning it for being insufficiently sympathetic to the regime and Russia. He was recommending to his 2.23 million Twitter followers an article by Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kinzer in which he alleges that the “American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening”; that it unfairly describes everything Russia and Iran do as “negative and destabilizing”; and it fails to report that in the Assad regime and Russia’s assault on Aleppo, its inhabitants are “finally see[ing] glimmers of hope”. Kinzer’s basis for these claims? A comment “on social media” and the opinion of a “Beirut-based analyst” (in reality a pro-Hizbullah activist who is a contributor to the Russian news outlet RT and the Iranian supreme leader’s personal news site).

To compensate for its fact deficit, Kinzer liberally sprinkles his article with straw men. He claims that journalists are misleading the public by describing Jabhat al-Nusra, as “moderates,” not as “the local al-Qaeda franchise”. As a matter of fact, no one refers to Nusra as “moderates”, and a Nexis search of major newspapers reveals virtually no article that doesn’t refer to it without mentioning its al-Qaeda affiliation.

This article was a sequel to another, published three days after Russia started a series of attacks on MSF-run hospitals, which was boldly titled: “On Syria: Thank you, Russia!” In it Kinzer prescribed that “Russia’s policy should be ours: prevent the fall of Bashar al-Assad’s government, craft a new regime that would include Assad or his supporters, and then work for a cease-fire.” However, to accede to the opposition’s demand for a cease-fire, he insisted, would be to “guarantee continued war”. In a subsequent TV interview, Kinzer lauded the foreign policy wisdom of Donald Trump. (Similar sentiments have also been expressed by his Irish counterpart, Patrick Cockburn of The Independent).

Ruffalo wasn’t the only one promoting this nonsense. Beyond the agoraphobic netherworld of internet conspiracists, it was also warmly received by bestselling authors, Daily Show producers, liberal academics, Pulitzer Prize-winners, and think-tankers.

Why do bien pensant liberals like Ruffalo fall for such dross? Ideological blinkers? Or has dissent become all about aesthetics? It seems at any given moment maintaining an adversarial posture is more important than substantive engagement with an issue. Why bother with details when one can derive them from general principles? And if the reality of an issue contradicts one’s preconceived notions, then reality itself must be brought into question. Shooting the messenger is always a reliable option. But dressed up as criticism of “the mainstream media”, “the establishment”, or “Washington”, even a full-throated defence of fascism acquires the sheen of fearless truth-telling.

There are few things more commonplace than an Oedipal disdain for one’s own government. In this solipsistic worldview, one has no need to understand the dynamics of a foreign crisis; they can be deduced remotely. If you hate your own government then, by virtue of being in its bad books, a Putin or an Assad becomes an ally.

Conversely, if people elsewhere are rising up against their far more repressive states, their cause is tainted because of a sympathetic word they might have received from your government. And all the images of agony do not add up to a tear of sorrow as long as they are relayed by a hated “mainstream media”. Indeed, victims are reproached for eroding ideological certainties by intruding into our consciousness through their spectacular suffering. (Kinzer, unsurprisingly, resents the media’s “obsession with daily suffering”.)

Trapped in the vortex of these paranoid fantasies, these anti-humanist do-gooders have failed to notice that what they consider a brave dissent is actually official US policy. A hint of the administration’s thinking on the subject is offered by two of Obama’s former advisors on Syria — Philip Gordon and Steven Simon. Both have penned op-eds showing their preference for Assad. The administration’s record confirms this. Since the beginning, the administration withheld meaningful support from the Syrian opposition, but now it has explicitly acceded to a Russian plan to preserve Assad. And Assad is winning.

Courage used to mean the ability to stand up for something, regardless of the consequences. It now means standing down from principle and letting others bear the consequences of one’s “difficult” decisions.

Aleppo is our Guernica — and too many are cheering on the Luftwaffe.

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  1. willie says:

    Welcome to the machine. Who cares what happens in Alleco. Who cares how UK taxpayer pounds are spent fighting foreign wars, bombing the deserving. It’s all something that’s happening somewhere else as the war machines roll relentlessly on. And those lucky enough to escape with their lives? Well they’re the unwelcome immigrants coming to leech off our social security system and best kept out. Welcome to the machine – at least we live in the mother of democracies don’t we.

  2. David Sangster says:

    This article, despite my best efforts, just left me hopelessly confused. For a start, the atrocity of Guernica is simple to understand, while the current position of Aleppo is so complex it almost defies explanation. Then – is this article about Aleppo, or is it about the whole Syrian mess? Or is it really about another conflict altogether, with “bien pensant liberals” and “anti-humanist do-gooders” pitted against “full-throated defenders of fascism” and “think-tankers” – all taking place in an “agoraphobic netherworld of internet conspiritors”? Search me.

  3. Pietro_McM says:

    USA, Russia, Assad, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, ISIS, UK Europe, Israel and that’s not even starting on the various Syrian rebel groups. Just who is fighting who out there?

    This isn’t Guernica this is a cluster-f#c<. Come back with another article when you actually know what's going on.

  4. Xuacu says:

    No, it’s not Gernika. It’s a shame to compare democratic Spanish II Republic Army with a bunch of Turkey and Saudi Arabia backed throat cutters.
    Russian Air Force is doing a good job to arrange their face to face meeting with Allah!

  5. bringiton says:

    In any war,the first casualty is the truth.
    We live in a world where the propaganda pedlars determine public opinion and
    that is usually to serve the vested interests of a few.
    Syria is a mess and,as usual,it is the innocents who are paying the price for these vested interests.
    Refusal to help the innocent victims in their time of need is inexcusable and that is what should be making the front pages of our news,not jingoistic support for selfish Tories and the likes.

    1. Connor McEwen says:

      so says me tae

  6. Paul Carline says:

    A biased, Russophobic, analysis from the start. And we’re supposed to believe that the Russian airforce can be equated with the Luftwaffe? The Russians are the only military forces in Syria by invitation – and therefore legally. But of course, if you’ve already swallowed the “Assad is the latest incarnation of the devil” lie, and you believe that it’s now (i.e. since 2001) legitimate to remove heads of state we (the West) have decided to demonise – for resource and geo-political reasons – then there’s not much hope of producing a sensible analysis.
    Syria was one of the 7 Middle East countries already on the American hit list as early as 2001 – and Syria was to be the gateway to attacking Iran (quite apart from it being a rich prize that could be divvied up between the West, Turkey and Israel).
    If Putin had not decided to face down the imperialists, many more Syrians would have died and Syria would have become a basket case like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya (estimated dead in these ‘wars of liberation’: 8 million minimum).
    It was Russia’s intervention alone that has brought this cease fire. And it was Russia’s amazing refusal to retaliate after Turkey’s war crime in shooting down the Russian bomber – and then murdering the pilot – that has saved us from a major war.
    It’s time people switched off the BBC and other mainstream news propaganda about Russia and followed the example of the Latvians who demonstrated against their government for buying and screening the Beeb’s propaganda film portraying an imagined future Russian invasion of Latvia and Estonia. Beware the Beeb’s ‘predictions’ of future terrorist or other scenarios: a year before the London Tube and bus bombings the Beeb produced a film about a possible ‘terrorist’ attack on London. It featured (purely coincidentally of course) the exact same scenario (3 tube trains and a road vehicle) as then happened in July 2005. A contributor to that programme was Peter Power, who (again entirely coincidentally) was running a major exercise in London which coincidentally had the exact same scenario. Too many coincidences for me.
    Fortunately, Putin writes his own scripts.

    1. Valerie says:

      Absolutely agree with this post. More anti Putin rhetoric being cranked up, along with other squirrel stories.

      Putin approached Washington about the ceasefire, and they gladly went for it, as they have skin in the game, as they say, although we don’t know exact numbers. Mostly logistics and weapons to any group opposed to Assad.

      Why do folk find regime change so hard to grasp after all our previous meddling proving that’s what we do?

      People need to start doing a bit of varied reading on this subject. It’s out there if you care to listen.

      Of course Putin has an agenda, but it’s a lot more upfront. He doesn’t want the constant burning of the Middle East, and he wants his pipeline to proceed via Syria.

      But Putin’s pipeline will carry his own oil and gas, unlike all the other regimes trying to get their hands on Syrian resources.

      1. Valerie says:

        Btw, Google Stephen Kinzer. Not the type to go on a social media comment, so nice try by the author at a takedown.

        Mark Ruffalo is one of the few celebs using his fame for good. He is a leading light in the anti fracking movement in USA. He knows his stuff, and not really one for a bandwagon, hence he is not falling for all the anti Putin propaganda, pumped out by the West.

  7. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    It is a disservice to the voice of this contributor that the article needed better editing, at least the version I read.

    What is very clear is that the complexities of Syria’s situation, used as it is as a proxy for larger powers such as the US, Russia, and France, in this case, make it incumbent on those of us with no actual stake in it to be careful what support we give to whom. No side comes out of this with any justification for triumph, while it is the people – the ‘civilians’ – of Syria, who suffer these unimaginable terrors and horrors.

    All of this mess in the middle east has been enormously difficult for ‘bien-pensant liberals’, amongst others, to deal with. The western powers, who deal in arms to combatants on all sides of the various conflicts, are deeply complicit. Yet Europe – and the US – now closes its doors to the thousands and millions of people fleeing the horror in an effort to survive and to ensure the survival of their children. We would all do the same.

    We must begin to put an end to war, to the manufacture and sale of arms. The time for war has passed; the justification for war as a means of resolving conflict has no substance. War creates only more war, creating year more suffering, yet more injustice, dislocation, destruction, and desire for retribution and revenge.

    Many thousands marched yesterday in London against war. I was with them in spirit, and I hope many, many more are also. Let us all speak out against the inhumanity that ‘we’ are visiting on Aleppo, a once-beautiful and populous (and popular) city, amongst many others now lying in ruins.

    After WW2 we said: ‘Never again.’ Do we never learn?

    1. willie says:

      No we never learn. The slaughter never stops save for a rest. And do the people really care. Of course not because if they did they would require their governments to desist from war. But they don’t and indeed in our very own caring democracy the trade unions, God bless them, protect and demand the rights of their members to make ever more weapons of mass slaughter. We could of course say it is the capatilist class who profits from weapon manufacture, and of course they do. But do the workers care either as workers or electors. Of course they don’t. Inoculation against war is only effective in the immediate aftermath of a war such as ww2 and then it wears off. Clearly we need more inoculations. Kill or cure – they tell me Trident is the one. Now that is strong medicine.

  8. Kevin Brown says:

    When one wishes to spin the truth to publish a propaganda diatribe, it is important to not include statements that are iffy at best and more likely completely untrue (this is advice to the author). That has the effect of discrediting the article completely. I stopped reading when I got to the bit about Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own people. From what I have read, that one was a false flag attack intended to discredit the Syrian government.

    What has happened to Bella Caledonia?

    1. What’s your point Kevin? What’s your analysis of the situation in Syria and wider region? It seems you think its so self-evident you dont need to spell it out? Please enlighten us.

      1. J Galt says:

        Bella the man is peddling a blatant lie about the chemical attack to support his argument.

        And what will the the fiendish Russians be up to next – bayoneting babies, crucifying nuns?

        I wouldn’t trust the UK media as far as I could throw it to tell me who exactly bombed the hospitals – if indeed they were bombed.

      2. Kevin Brown says:

        Mike, I have just scrolled through the more recent comments. They cover the topic nicely, with links. No need for me to rehash these analyses in detail, but in summary, by my reading the ‘usual suspects’ who govern the Washington/Westminster imperium — the Warfare State, big oil, AIPAC/Israeli lobby, those lovely people with the Project for a New American Century et alia — have coalesced to depose Assad’s government to serve their own agendas. The Russians, with the blessings of the elected government of Syria (i.e., legally), have moved in to oppose Al Nusrah, ISIS and the rest, in effect, ‘our’ (their) imperial shock troops/mercenaries.

        The MSM’s efforts to spin this conflict to be other then the above is beautifully illustrated by ‘Assad’s’ Sarin gas attack on his own people — a false flag from start to finish with Kerry pointing to YouTube posts as ‘evidence’. Remember, Kerry only wanted to aim ‘one really small missile’ on Syria after that event, before the Russians outmanoeuvred him, as usual, and stopped it?

        We don’t come to Bella Caledonia for this kind of ‘analysis’. We can always find such on Fox News, if we are inclined to go there.

        1. I share your contempt for the ‘Washington/Westminster imperium’ as you, I think, know.

          I’m not sure how you respond to the serious allegations about Assad’s regime though as documented by the UN, Amnesty, and dozens of independent bodies?
          What agenda do they have and how do they go about fabricating these stories?

          Can you make some comment on these please?

          Comparing us to Fox New is, as you know, a preposterous and insulting comment to make.

  9. Dave Forbes says:

    A timely and insightful analysis…agree about the editing, however! All the West has ever accomplished in the Islamic world is to mess things up further – the Arab Spring has proven to be a catastrophe for most Arabs, but to the weapons salesmen with the all-year tans and dazzling white teeth, it’s bonanza time! Theocratic/tribal societies aren’t well understood in post-religious Northern Europe…we need to recognise our own limitations more clearly.

  10. Peterh says:

    Don’t know where to begin with this nonesensical piece of blatant propaganda dressed up as “fact”. BC published a similar piece of rubbish a few months ago which was roundly slaughtered by Everyman and his dog, they obviously thought enough time had passed to have another go.
    No doubt we’ll be requested to show some understanding of this complex issue.

  11. Matthew Glynn says:

    Interesting article with more than a grain of truth. Echoing Orwell, R.W Johnsen wrote on the left’s moral hypocrisy, ‘the left have always proclaimed to hate military aggression and fascism, but when it comes to the crunch, they hate a Tory Prime Minister even more.’ Too true and no more evident than today. People’s visceral hatred of Tories blurs their moral vision. In fact, they are more sympathetic to the actions of proto-fascist European dictatorship whose leader persecutes homosexuals and assassinates civilians on foreign soil with radiation. They have greater support and have done nothing to tackle his massacres; in fact, they have openly encouraged them by opposing any action against him.

    Moral hypocrisy, that is what left is good for in Scotland, nothing more. When people are drowning in the Med the clarion call of humanist universalism is heard far and wide, “we must stop this! They are human beings!” “It is our duty”. But saving people from gassing and mass rape? Sorry, we don’t do that. That’s just “Iraq all over again”. The hypocrisy is clear: Syrian children drowning is unacceptable; gassing Syrian children is OK. A moral embarrassment; self-righteousness masquerading as benevolence. Well Done.

  12. Dave Coull says:

    “Aleppo is our Guernica” – what a stupid statement.

    Guernica is a small town, present population about the same size as Montrose. In 1936, the population size of Guernica was about the same as Brechin. Also, in 1936, there was absolutely no question who was in control of this very small town. Anti-fascist forces were in control.

    Aleppo isn’t Montrose, it isn’t Brechin, and it isn’t Guernica. Aleppo is Syria’s biggest city. It’s population of two and a half million is about three times the size of Glasgow. It is also extremely large in area. Different parts of the city and its surrounding areas are under the control of very different factions and militias. These different factions and militias are rivals of each other, as well as opponents of the Assad dictatorship.

    Two of the factions with an armed presence in or around areas of Aleppo are Islamic State, and the Al-Nusrah Front. Both of these groups are unquestionably fascist. The Al-Nusrah Front is the Syrian arm of Al Qaida. Their main disagreement with Islamic State is that they do not recognise Al-Baghdadi as the Caliph. Apart from that, they’re in agreement about most other things.

    Neither the Al-Nusrah Front nor Islamic State have agreed to a cease-fire, and they won’t. Therefore, anybody attacking them has not breached any cease-fire.

    There is a way allegedly more “moderate” factions in Aleppo could ensure bombing stops. They could unite together to attack both the Al Nusrah Front and Daesh. They have enouigh strength to do this if they had the will to do it. They could drive Al Nusrah and IS out of Aleppo and the surrounding area. And it wouldn’t be a breach of the cease-fire, because there IS no cease-fire where Al Nusrah Front and IS are concerned. With Daesh and the Al-Nusrah Front driven out, there would be no excuse for anybody to attack Aleppo or its surrounding area. But they won’t do this, because, the truth is, they also have quite a lot in common with these Islamic fascists.

    Syria’s nearest thing to the freedom fighters of Spain in 1936 are the Kurds and their Arab allies. They really ARE prepared to fight Daesh and Al Nusrah Front and all Islamic fascists, as they have proved. But it’s not Russia that has been bombing the Kurds. It’s our NATO ally, Turkey. Because Turkey has a lucrative business in buying oil from Daesh, and supplying weapons to them, and the Kurds are threatening to cut that off.

    1. It was crystal clear that the author is comparing Aleppo and Guernica as symbols of our time and of war.

      Try and not be so drearily narrowly literal Dave.

      1. Dave Forbes says:

        I thought that Dave’s post was by far the best of any here…not dreary or narrow in the least, and accurate on the facts…what’s with the unpleasantness?

        1. No unpleasantness I just didnt understand how he couldnt see what the author was doing?

          1. J Galt says:

            Oh Bella we understand what the author is doing only too clearly!

          2. peterms says:

            I thought he understood very well what the author was doing.

            That was rather the point of the comment. But your response leaves me bemused.

          3. Jen says:

            What are Idrees Ahmad’s credentials as a writer? I think your readers have a right to know this. For all they and you know, Ahmad could be prejudiced against the Assad government to the extent that his bias blinds him to realities on the ground in Syria. His references to Human Rights Watch (whose director Kenneth Roth dearly wants to see Assad deposed) and the notorious Carter Ruck report (commissioned by the Qatari government which funds the jihadis in Syria) based on photographic evidence, with no dates and provided by a military photographer codenamed Caesar, of tortures perpetrated by the Syrian government are already suspect.

            You do yourself no credit printing articles by writers who rely on sources tainted by their association with ISIS, Jabhat al Nusra, other extremist Islamist groups and their backers in the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    2. leavergirl says:

      Great comment from Dave Coull. Aleppo is no Guernica, and the comparison is manipulative. Other than that, others have said it all. Bella is once against barking up a strange tree. But that’s ok. Bella is awesome when you add it all together. 🙂

  13. I love it when everyone becomes an editor.

    I’d also love it as the pro-Assad, pro-Putin people descend if they could respond to just one of the countless sources and references the author links to and cites in his article.

    Presumably all of the NGOs, charities and medical organisations and plethora of news providers and journalists are all in on the conspiracy?

    1. Valerie says:

      Would it be better if we just all posted what a fab piece this is?

      Just on a couple of points then,

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/human-rights-watch-is-not-about-human-rights/5474593

      Global Research draws from all sorts of articles, and you can use the search engine. It a bit like WoS, debunking using evidence, as well as showing different perspectives.

      Last I heard about a MSF hospital getting struck, it was an American plane, and the Doctors had even been trying to phone USA ahead of time, having got info about the air strike. Sadly, the Pentagon doesn’t want an enquiry.

      Just because some of us aren’t swallowing the Putin bad bullshit, doesn’t mean we are pro Putin, however, it’s hard to argue against the facts, he is the only one in there legally, he is working with ground troops to actually destroy Da’esh, and he has brokered the ceasefire.

      Try this account from a man of the cloth

      http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/02/26/voices-from-syria-reports-from-inside-syria-by-revd-andrew-ashdown-part-1/

      What bit of regime change is so hard to understand? The war has been underway for 5 years, and Putin went in, in Sept. last year. This is a huge crease in their plan.

      Any of this misrepresentation sound familiar?

    2. Carnyx says:

      Bella editor said

      “Presumably all of the NGOs, charities and medical organisations and plethora of news providers and journalists are all in on the conspiracy?”

      Did you bother reading the Kinzer articles mentioned above? Also why is no link to them provided so we might make up our own minds? Did you notice Kinzer explained that cut backs in foreign correspondents in the western media leaves western based journalists getting all their information from western govts and think tanks who of course push the party line on them and that line is determined by geopolitics. Kinzer gives a fair account of how and why the press can end up misrepresenting events they are not witness to.

      https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/12/syria-thank-you-russia/UNKMxrzQvvAt8j4sJH03mJ/story.html
      https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html

      As for humanitarian NGO’s well, MSF’s roll in humanitarian intervention is somewhat questionable, they regard themselves as advocates for victims, as opposed to neutral like the Red Cross, and that means they can get themselves entangled in narratives that get exploited for geopolitical ends.

      https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/30/huma-d30.html
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Kouchner
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/2011/03/goodies_and_baddies.html
      http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/syrian-hospital-strikes-unexpected-war.html#more

      1. Valerie says:

        @Editor

        Catching up on my reading, and saw this. A decent, informative piece, for those not aware of the UKs role in arms sales to Saudi.

        https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/02/26/out-to-kill/

        So if you are calling out the UK for these arms sales for the killing in Yemen, does that mean it’s only Putin that is dropping the bad bombs in Syria?

        How many horses are you riding? If the comments disagreeing with the article are ‘pro Assad, and pro Putin’ does that mean you support Hillary Benn, being instrumental in dragging the country into another illegal war? Sounds like some of us readers are terrorist sympathisers.

        How about some of us being glad that someone like Putin wants to actually call a halt? What other country has come out and said that – UK?

    3. Helen Pringle says:

      I think it is a very good article, and thank you for posting it. If commentators think that the alignments in Spain in the Civil War were vastly less complicated than Syria now … well you just really need to read more on Spain in particular, and also on Syria. Maybe the broad goal in Spain was a little clearer – the victory of the Republic, and the defeat of Franco and fascism. But beyond that: to get a sense of the complicated alliances, revisit Homage to Catalonia, or Claudin’s book on the International, or really any vaguely pro-Republic work on Spain. IF there is a conspiracy in regard to Syria (which I don’t believe), its main element seems to be to convince us all that it is just one big ‘mess’, ‘baddies v baddies’ (actual quotation of Australian PM), and we should just let them slaughter each other and let God (Allah) sort them out, and not even attempt to understand. If we fall for the ‘incomprehensible mess’ theory, we just lull ourselves into a moral shell-shock. There are good, decent, and outrageously brave men and women in Syria, we should honour them as much as the Spanish brigades.

    4. yesindyref2 says:

      Ah, I get it. The article isn’t an opinion it’s FACT, and anyone who disagrees is wrong. We also have to completely write another article below the line, and answer every line, line by line, and expound the history of life the universe and all that. 42. Well, wrong. Here’s what I noticed:

      “Aleppo is our Guernica — and some are cheering on the Luftwaffe” – silly comparison.

      “The balance of atrocities could not be clearer.” – nothing is clear.

  14. Carnyx says:

    Profoundly disappointed in Bella for publishing this diatribe, I also regard it as something of disservice to the Kurds to whom I think pro-Independence Scots owe some solidarity.

    According to the anti-Assad rebel’s own estimation 70% of Aleppo residents support Assad against the Jihadis who have imposed themselves and their sectarian hatreds upon them

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-crisis-rebels-idUSBRE9070VV20130109

    Reporters who have been in the city itself give wildly different accounts of sentiments in Aleppo to reporters based in the west.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/02/aleppo-notebook-the-citys-terrorist-besiegers-will-now-be-besieged/

    The majority of the Syrian population lives in Assad controlled areas, the rebellion against him being largely supported by the poorer sections of the rural Sunni Arab demographic.

    http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=58875

    The Turkish backed Army of Conquest coalition which is active in Aleppo includes al Nusra and other sectarian Jihadi groups have been frequently described as “moderate” in the western press. They were wheeled out at the Geneva talks as “moderates” while the secular Kurdish lead YPG/SDF’s attendence was blocked by Turkey and Saudi. Former head of the CIA Petraeus has been lobbying that Nusra are so moderate the US should actually be arming them, which tells us something of the moderate credentials of the rest of the anti-Assad forces !

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_Conquest
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/31/petraeus-use-al-qaeda-fighters-to-beat-isis.html

    In recent talks the US on Saudi and Turkish wishes attempted to get al Nusra included in the ceasefire.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-says-international-meeting-for-syria-cease-fire-cancelled/2016/02/19/47179aac-d692-11e5-a65b-587e721fb231_story.html

    It’s patently obvious that Kinzer is correct about Nusra being presented as “moderate” in the American press.

  15. Valerie says:

    Syrian Network for Human Rights is one of the sources cited. It claims that Assad and Russia are responsible for 95% civilian deaths??? That’s not even plausible.

    How long have Russia been in there killing civilians, according to this group? Strangely, there is lots of evidence showing Putin trying to prevent the USA going in, for some years, going back to 2012. Yet Putin didn’t get involved in Syria until last year, and did it by getting invited by Assad. Putin has evened up the odds in favour of Assad, and the West is getting desperate, as they might not be able to install a puppet.

    Looking at the Syrian Network for Human Rights website, it’s very odd. Lots of anonymous opinion pieces, and I can only find one man’s name on the whole website. Yet, it has a load of very serious accusations contained in the opinion pieces.

    That, and the denigration of Kinzer and Patrick Cockburn, both respected writers, make me wonder what this is all about.

    1. leavergirl says:

      The interwebs say that the Syrian Network for Human Rights is a haberdasher in Coventry who hasn’t been to Syria for many years.

    2. Paul Carline says:

      Thanks Valerie and leavergirl. This from a reputable source (Veterans Today):

      Yesterday (that was 15 February), the UK Guardian, the world’s last mainstream “investigative news organization,” reported that 470,000 had been killed in the Syrian conflict, a much higher figure than given before. The source for that figure, which any reasonable analyst can assume will be blamed on Russia or the Assad government in Damascus, was not just obscure, it was a total fabrication.

      The Guardian and the hundreds of other news organizations that picked up the story, were quoting the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Within minutes a web page was found, one created from a template in less than an hour.

      Why are those using material from this obvious front, with no visible people, concerned about their own credibility in doing so?

      A Facebook listing was found as well as well as several online voluntary listings typically used by ad hoc groups such as the 1.5 million “non-governmental organizations,” or NGOs the UN no longer bothers to be involved with anymore.

      There is no membership for the SCPR, no governing board, no officers, no offices listed, no specifics of any kind. When I reported this to Veterans Today’s editor, Jim W. Dean, he immediately assumed de facto control of the ethereal organization, not assuming they were a harmless hoax but rather, though done in a humorous vein, they are something else.

      Maybe the vacuous “SCPR” is just like the “SHRO,” the source of the long debunked sarin gas stories that nearly brought the world to war, yes the good old “Syrian Human Rights Observatory,” the all-powerful source of information the Guardian, Washington Post and other news organizations still use.

      Some months ago, it was found initially by Veterans Today and then by Russia Today that the “SHRO” was actually one man living over a noodle shop in the bleak British town of Coventry.

      1. yesindyref2 says:

        Registrant seems to live in Damascus, 4 year old registration, the IP address is hosted in the USA. Not unusual all the same, hosting is cheaper there. Alexa rank 18 million+. About us shows nothing, bland stuff I could put together for the yesindyref2 healthy snack food rugby watching thinktank, contact us just a standard web form, nothing else. Forum not found, it appears to have some reports, policy and events though. Shrug.

  16. john young says:

    Why woul;d any sane person believe a country that kills it,s elected head of state a country that could kill it,s own people to further their aims as in 9-11 et al,a country that allies itself and allows itself to be influenced by another murderous regime Israel we are dutiful camp followers.

  17. Rhisiart Gwilym says:

    You always know the posters who are just regurgitating the Western lamestream propaganda when they use the vocabulary: ‘Regime’ for the elected Syrian government (Do you call Cameron’s government, voted for by 24% of the British electorate, the regime? Why not? That’s a lot less than B al A’s presidential vote, and subsequent opinion-poll approval). ‘Barrel bombs’ – which as all true regurgers know are uniquely wicked, amongst all the munitions of war in use in Syria. ‘Kills his own people’ – really? Any evidence? I mean evidence from actually-trustworthy sources, that stands up to serious inspection? So why do the Syrians all seem jubilant when the SAA and its allies liberate places previously under the blessing of jihadi rule? And there’s the ‘gasses his own people’ tripe. Long since proven to be a false flag by the reliable sources, but still getting echo-chambered by the false-meme suckers.

    And on.

    I confess I couldn’t get right to the end of Ahmad’s piece. But does it acknowledge anywhere the established fact – sic! – that the aggression against Syria by the Washington war-crims and their underlings in the provincial states of the US empire – very much including the stiffs who run the ukstate – is largely carried on on the ground by their non-Syrian mercenaries plus Takfiri-addled crazies (also largely foreign), and that the Western empire has been supplying them since the outset with all the materiel of war, plus diplomatic cover, plus the the massive Western propaganda flood – the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard in my lexicon – plus, of course, lots of funding, and blind-eye-turned outlets and markets for their stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil.

    The Putiniki have been saying since the outset that they want to see a full ceasefire, as soon as the barbarous mercenaries/loonies attacking Syria and devastating the land and its people are sufficiently beaten to concede and hoppit, followed by a political process which includes all ‘rebel’ Syrians who will lay down arms and take part in the peace-making, leading to an authentic election where Syrians – and only Syrians – choose their own government, and retain sovereignty over their own country.

    Check it out, if you doubt that. They’re still saying it now, and demonstrating that they mean what they say. Meanwhile, at the invitation of the current legitimate Syrian government, they and other bona-fide allies have been doing what they have to do, and what the bulk of the Syrian people want them to do, to clear out the foreign killers attacking them at USAmerica plus cronies’ behest.

    None of this is what the Washington gangsters and their underlings want, of course. They made it clear long ago – for those who actually wanted to see – that their aim is to topple the elected government of sovereign Syria, and to install a puppet regime – really a regime this time – which would cooperate with the US government’s plans – wholly illegitimate, and illegal under international law – for the whole region; very much wanted also, of course, by their zio-entity dependency in Palestine.

    Any legitimate Syrian rebels who want to see their country fare better in future need to separate themselves decisively from all that, and – now the USukiznato-axis gangsters have pretty certainly lost their aggressive war against Syria thanks to the decisive intervention of Russia – go the peaceful, constitutional route. The Syrian government is now ready for that too, I reckon.

    I used to come to Bella at the time of the run-up to the first indyref to find stuff which was more reality-based, as an antidote to the torrent of deceit and dirty tricks coming from the unionists and their dishonest lamestream media. It would be a great shame to see Bella slide into that same cesspit now. This is the second time – at least – in a few weeks that this sort of iffy article has appeared here. Maybe the editor needs to leave Bella in charge of a sharper deputy, and take a crash course on the nature of realpolitik, behind the constant deceitful smokescreens of the PBB. Trusting any of the propaganda stream put out by the Western lamestream media, and aiming to follow their view of things, will be the kiss of death.

  18. yesindyref2 says:

    There are two things that are pretty clear about Syria:

    1). Russia has a naval facility in Tartus
    2). The West would prefer it didn’t

  19. Paul Codd says:

    I’m seriously impressed by the high level of literacy on the Syrian conflict by commenters. Even if we’ve been fed a constant diet of propaganda from MSM which other posters have listed, it should never be forgotten that Bashar al Assad is a bona fide evil dictator. Stories of routine rape, torture and summary executions have been verified as true on all sides including by the “legitimate” government. 98% Presidential popularity in his last vote in 2007, only means he is marginally less ego-centric than North Korea’s supreme leader, not that he is the most popular guy in the country. The original popular uprising which was immediately co-opted by Zionist Western intelligence and its allies, started as a genuine longing for change after decades of brutal al Assad rule. Bashar al Assad answered his people’s pleas with sniper fire from the rooftops and snatching of protestors by secret police, never to be seen again.

    Many Syrian people cannot and will not forgive the destruction he and his father have caused their families. Because of this he cannot be the central player in a lasting peace. Regardless of whether or not Russia is the only foreign power addressing ISIS in a real way, Putin is backing Assad to the end. Unfortunately this leaves Syrian people without any viable alternatives thus polarising them into extreme camps on either side.

    Until a 3rd way appears lasting peace seems like a pipe dream. Who will sort this, Russia? USA? Turkey? Israel? Saudi Arabia? Iran? UK? These are the very actors who have exploded the scale of this conflict from Syrian people’s struggle for self-determination to a proxy war between global super-powers. The architects of the conflict are the one’s now solving it with bombs.

    I do believe in miracles however, many Syrians are still deeply polarised and bigoted in their views, especially those who come from areas and families victimised by Assad. But there comes a time when everyone tires of war no matter the blood that has been wasted. The Kurds are also a wild-card that is doing something uniquely different. Women on the front line playing a equal role, distributed military authority… The Kurds might well deserve a comparison with the Spanish Republican brigades. But we don’t hear much about what they’re doing there. Could it be the revolution wasn’t televised?

    1. Rhisiart Gwilym says:

      “Stories of routine rape, torture and summary executions have been verified as true on all sides including by the “legitimate” government.”

      Have they, Paul? What, you mean by really reliable sources with no taint of Western/pro-Western propaganda in them; the authentic stuff. Can’t say I’ve seen anything conclusive of that category. I’ve little doubt that the al-Assad-famiglia faction has done some bad stuff, as all governments do. But all this demonisation – by some of the worst authentic demons in human history – has been verified, has it?

      I remain doubtful. The Western liars (sic) who run the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard of Western propaganda would say that, wouldn’t they. To de-toxify from all that requires an unusually high standard of verification, to separate it from mere regurgitation of the propaganda with which we’ve ALL been gavaged. I’m open-minded, not determined not to see what I don’t want to see. But I haven’t seen it yet.

      1. Can you define what your understanding of “has done some bad stuff” is Rhisiart?

  20. Douglas says:

    The point about Guernika is that it is the town which symbolizes Basque nationhood…the tree of Guernika is the symbol of historic Basque democratic rights…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gernikako_Arbola

    So it was carefully planned by Franco to carpet bomb the town, it was symbolically of huge significance, there was nothing which was casual about it….

    Of course, Franco tried to make out it was the Russians who had bombed the town…

  21. ‘Jen’ you write: “What are Idrees Ahmad’s credentials as a writer? I think your readers have a right to know this…”

    Idrees is a Glasgow-based writer and photographer with a doctorate in sociology and specialization in international conflicts. He is a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling. He has lectured in politics, philosophy, international relations, religion, media, film and cultural studies at the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Sheffield and Creative Arts.

    He is the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press).

    As well as Bella he has written for The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, The National, Vice News, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), Asia Times, IPS News, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

  22. Ken Waldron says:

    Another propaganda piece feeding us the establishment line. So I’m glad it got a kicking in the comments. The title is gratuitously insulting btw. I do hope it’s Idrees Ahmad’s own “Little Bighorn”…

    1. What is the ‘establishment line’ Ken?

      1. Ken Waldron says:

        The demonisation of Assad and the government of Syria for purposes of regime change or regional balkanisation of course.
        Now you answer me: why is Bella plugging the opposition when its acknowledged even by his enemies that Assad’s government would be the democratic choice of the Syrian people?

        The ORB poll conducted face to face in May 2014 finds that more Syrians believe the Assad government best represents their interests and aspirations than they do any of the opposition groups. Ask yourself also why you have repeatedly ignored everything all the commentators have pointed out concerning the veracity of both the article above by Idrees Ahmad and his previous piece here.

      2. J Galt says:

        Bella it comes down to this – the Evil Forces which destoyed Iraq and Lybia, deliberately mudering millions and reducing their peoples to utter misery now wish to destroy the Sovereign State of Syria and it’s People.

        You either stand with the forces (warts and all) who are fighting this or you stand with the Evil Forces.

  23. Rhisiart Gwilym says:

    @Ed: There’s the – apparently credible – story that Syria was one of the hidden-torture destinations of the Washington gangsters’ victims during the time of the ‘extraordinary rendition’ kidnappings. Sending haphazardly-kidnapped ‘suspects’ off to quiet places where it would all be kept under wraps, to be tortured into giving the sort of ‘confessions’ that the US gangters-in-charge (again in my lexicon, the gics) wanted to hear from them, for their own Great Game realpolitikal purposes. All of this in defiance of international and domestic law, by the USukiznato-axis states, natch, and making an utter mockery of the idea of due process.

    The Syrian government was behaving more like a small mafia famiglia accepting offers they couldn’t refuse from the biggest famiglia, just to keep in with them – though that was at that time. Also, there are stories of beatings and deaths in the Syrian prison system – at that time – which again sound more like a mafia fiefdom in day-to-day action than a democratic state.

    However, these and the other rumours (some of which appear quite credible) aren’t at all out of the ordinary for countries anywhere in the world that have no particular tradition of Western democracy – itself an exceedingly iffy, questionable thing as it happens in practice, rather than what it’s supposed to do in theory.

    I refer you again to the Cameron junta’s non-mandate to rule the whole of Britain plus the occupied six counties of Eire, on 24% of the possible votes; to the murder of David Kelly by the – fanatically ANTI-democratic – English deep-state; to the still unresolved cloud of questions hanging over the 7/7/05 London bombings, obviously to any cold-eyed inspection a possible false-flag, prima facie; to the obviously unresolved, swept-under-the-carpet questions around the paedophilic forced-prostitution rings of powerful people in the Engish-raj class; and on and on…

    And of course, anyone who accepts that the current toxic POTUS-selection clown show in USAmerica is remotely like the functioning of a real constitutional democracy is just irretrievably naive.

    So who are we to lecture about democracy to anyone, anywhere, much less to purport to enforce it militarily (that odd self-contradictory piece of bollocks-reasoning smoke-screen chop-logic of the propaganda machine of imperialist gangsters)?

    The style of state villainy varies from state to state, from place to place about the world. Though of course, these crimes always happen somewhere else; our home-turf is pristine we believe, as a matter of faith.

    I expect – though I haven’t studied the case specifically, in depth – that Syria had it’s share of these criminal corruptions deeply integrated into its power-structure – at that time.

    However, the Syrian ruling establishment has had a profound shock in recent years, starting from before the outbreak of the current Western aggression. Things have changed. The idea of reform and agreement to a genuine democracy as good as it gets anywhere is now definitely in the air for Syria. But not because of any action or trustworthy goodwill coming from the Western gics. Sod R2P and ‘democracy promotion’: Pure smokescreen bollocks by gangsters who don’t give a damn about either – except to prevent them comprehensively.

    I have no certain knowledge – and I doubt anyone posting here, or on the Bella staff has either – exactly how much personal responsibility Bashar al-Assad has for the corruption of the Syrian government – at that time; or how much should be laid on his father. Neither have I any authoritative, sure-as-anything-can-be knowledge of just how credible Syrian elections are; though they sureashell don’t have anything like the flavour of the North Korean set up. About which, may I remind, we’ve ALL been gavaged for years with Western propaganda which you can bet your boots is malevolently cavalier in the matter of honesty about a designated enemy/potential-victim of the Western empire. We don’t really have a lot of balanced, reliable, actually-grown-up knowledge about NK – though an awful lot of we of the chattering classes think we have. It sounds a pretty grim, tinpot dictatorship set-up. But how would I – or you – know for certain, with bona-fide knowledge untainted by the Permanent Bullshit Blizzard?

    Nor is there any cut-and-dried proven certainty that we in Britain are in any position to lecture the Syrian government, de haut en bas, on how to clean up their act. Pot/kettle; first cast out the mote from thine own eye…?

    And need I say anything about Syria’s neighbour the zio-entity in Palestine, when it comes to the crap pretend-democracy stakes? Or the routine crimes against law, against due process, and against humanity that have been going on continuously there for decades?

    So, Ed.: I repeat what I said in my previous post: I’ve little doubt that the al-Assad-famiglia faction has done some bad stuff, AS ALL GOVERNMENTS DO. This post gives a thumbnail of some of the things which appear to be on their charge sheet – for that time. But who are any of us to get on our holier-than-thou high horses about them?

    And now, whatever the SCADs – state crimes against democracy – that happen in the current Russian government, as I’m confident some will be happening, they have nevertheless saved the legitimate Syrian government – yes, sic! – in the nick of time from being overthrown by the criminal mercenary/criminal religious-loony proxies of the criminal USukiznato-axis, and thus have saved the Syrians from then being force-fed with the unspeakable blessings of a gimcrack puppet government, as bad or worse than the barbarous al-Saud gang who currently usurp power in Arabia; it would have been an installed puppet government without any more than a shallow mafia-pretence of democracy or justice, just like the al-Sauds; but – crucially – ready to play ball with the global-realpolitik designs of the Washington gics and their dependent zio-gics.

    That’s been the settled purpose of the Washington gics and their cronies in the axis states from the first. But Russia, with Iran, Hezbollah and the SAA, has now trashed it.

    That, without any serious doubt, is a net good.

  24. Jane says:

    Muhammad Idrees Ahmad (your man’s full name) wrote an article in Counterpunch entitled Obama’s Legacy: An Abyss Gazing Backwards.
    Rick Sterling, of the Syria Solidarity Movement wrote a refutation, also in Counterpunch, entitled Faulty Analysis and Conclusions on Syria.
    I happen to know about another organisation called Syria Solidarity UK (not to be confused with the Syria Solidarity Movement – a bit like Monty Python, except that people are being killed and their country destroyed – not really a joke). So I googled Syria Solidarity UK along with Idrees Ahmad’s name and sure enough, there he was on their lengthy Syrian Revolution Resource Page, quite far down, editing a blog called Pulse. Other resources included The White Helmets, the Syria Campaign and many more. If you want to know more about some of these outfits and their role in the destruction of Syria you could look at the following link. https://wallofcontroversy.wordpress.com/tag/rick-sterling/ Or you could look at The Wall Will Fall, a blog by Vanessa Beeley. I mention these articles and links because I think some of the people writing comments might be interested (though obviously not the editor, who seems to believe the MSM when it comes to Syria even though he doesn’t think much of what the same MSM has to say about Scotland).

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