[Marxism] Carnage in Syria a Product of US Empowerment of Saudi Arabia--really?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Feb 18 10:47:28 MST 2016

Since I follow Vijay Prashad on Twitter, I became aware of his interview 
with Paul Jay on the Real News Network:


I was intrigued by the subject heading. Is the carnage in Syria really a 
product of US empowerment of Saudi Arabia?

Unlike raving Baathist lunatics like Mike Whitney, Vijay Prashad is a 
far more subtle commentator on the region taking great care to give the 
appearance that he is opposed to all intervention, either from the USA, 
Turkey and Saudi Arabia on one side and Russia and Iran on the other. 
This distinguishes him from the Baathist amen corner even though most of 
the discussion with Paul Jay had to do with Saudi Arabia's role in a 
proxy war--as they put it.

But what does this really mean? (This is a rhetorical question since I 
am used to Vijay seeing Marxmail as a one-way street.)

There have been, by Vijay's admission, 470,000 deaths in Syria. On one 
side you have MIG's, armored helicopters, tanks, heavy artillery, poison 
gas, rocket launchers that were in and of themselves insufficient to 
quell the rebellion. So now we have Russian bombers and battleships 
firing cruise missiles. On the other side, you have had for the most 
part machine guns and mortars with anti-tank weapons only entering the 
picture fairly recently. Does anybody think that an anti-tank weapon has 
been used to kill massive numbers of pro-Assad Syrians? Why would you 
waste a TOW missile on a Damascus high-rise when it would be much more 
useful aimed at a tank? This is not to speak of the refusal of the 
bloodthirsty Saudis to refuse supplying MANPAD's to the rebels.

I don't know if Vijay Prashad or Paul Jay ever bothered watching a film 
like "Return to Homs" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuiFGECCmRw), 
which shows the asymmetrical nature of the war in Syria. Young men hide 
out in bombed out buildings looking like those in Stalingrad 1943 poke 
their machine guns out of holes in the wall to try to stop tanks. That's 
what the war has been about. And here we have a couple of Marxists, 
progressives, radicals, anti-imperialists--whatever they want to call 
themselves--basically arguing that the carnage in Syria is to be blamed 
by Turkey or Saudi Arabia providing machine guns and bullets to people 
whose only goal is to get rid of family dynasty that has enriched itself 
while the country goes hungry.

Sad, really.

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