[Marxism] Saul Landau on Syria

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 22 08:42:25 MDT 2013


Apparently he has joined the MRZine, Voltairenet, Global Research, PSL 
wing of the left:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/22/obamas-syrian-horror/

This comment caught my eye:

"Photos and horror stories show ruins where homes and public buildings 
once stood, dramatize famine where restaurants and markets once offered 
abundant food."

Well, New York restaurants and markets offer abundant food but that does 
not mean that the half of the city that is beneath the poverty line can 
enjoy it. In point of fact, Egypt was ranked 116 in the world in terms 
of UN Human Development Indicators in 2011 and may have also had 
"abundant food". But that did not assuage the poor people whose anger 
over the price of bread erupted into the Tahrir Square uprising. 
Meanwhile, Syria was ranked 119. I am afraid that for those not 
privileged enough to accompany Saul around on his Potemkin Village 
visits to Syria might have been suffering a famine for all practical 
purposes.

Saul advises that "Witnesses in northwest Syria testify that some rebels 
have used those weapons to slaughter Alawite and Christian villages."

Once upon a time Saul was a reliable journalist but advancing years (if 
I ever write nonsense like his when I reach my late 70s, please advise 
my wife to take away my Macbook) and an eagerness to make the case for 
Baathism have eroded his standards. His ability to vouch for "witnesses" 
is guarded at best.

You can find another article by Saul on Huffington Post that states:

Just weeks after the first March 2011 protests -- Arab Springtime -- the 
media disregarded eyewitness evidence of armed groups shooting at and 
killing members of Syria's security forces as well as civilians. 
Reporter Pepe Escobar witnessed "the shooting deaths of nine Syrian 
soldiers in Banyas" as early as April 10, 2011 (Asia Times, April 6, 2012).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/saul-landau/syria-intervention_b_1594036.html

You will note the quote from Escobar above. To my knowledge, Escobar has 
*never* reported from Libya or Syria but prefers to write his 
Islamophobic garbage from afar.

But I urge you to check out the referenced April 6, 2012 article here:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ND06Ak03.html

It does not contain a single word about shootings in Banyas. Now there 
are others who have written about Banyas but not Escobar.

Now in terms of the killing of 9 Syrian soldiers back on April 10, 2011, 
Maybe this was a response to the killing of peaceful protestors that had 
been ongoing:

BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political
April 8, 2011 Friday

Syrian forces kill more than 10 protesters in Dar'a - eyewitness

Al-Arabiyah television carried at 1135 GMT on 8 April an interview with 
an eyewitness on media reports that there will be protests in the city 
of Dar'a today, 8 April.

Asked about the situation on the ground, the eyewitness said : "Thus 
far, more than 10 people have been martyred. The security forces 
attacked Al-Umari Mosque and Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Abazid Mosque in the 
Al-Mahatah (station) area. They first dispersed the demonstrators using 
an internationally prohibited gas. It was not teargas. They used an 
internationally prohibited gas in these attacks. The security forces 
fired live ammunition at the people to disperse them. Reports said that 
a number of people were martyred or injured."

Asked about the slogans raised in these protests, the eyewitness said 
that "the slogans called for punishing those who killed the martyrs. 
They (the security forces) are still pursuing a policy of oppression and 
adopting an outdated and rotten security mentality in their dealing with 
the Syrian people."

* * * * *

Now maybe the Syrians should have refrained from using violence even 
after Baathist snipers had been picking them off. Frankly, I suspect 
that many of the apologists for the al-Assad dictatorship would have 
preferred this since their idea of peace is that of the graveyard.









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