[Marxism] The Right to Protect
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jun 1 12:39:16 MDT 2016
Sometimes I really have to scratch my head over the attempts of
otherwise very smart people like Vijay Prashad to view Syria as some
kind of bid by the rebels to lure the Americans into a Samantha
Power-type "right to protect" intervention along the lines of Kosovo. On
ZNet, a website that is actually worse in many ways than CounterPunch
that at least flies its Assadist colors proudly rather than trafficking
in self-flattering semi-anarchist platitudes, you can find his article
titled "The Right to Intervene" that draws lessons from the
"humanitarian facade" that served to justify bombing Milosevic's Serbia,
although rather poorly.
When both of these wars took place, I wrote many articles opposing
Christopher Hitchens type arguments, so much so that I got the
reputation of being an apologist for Milosevic. There are some things I
wrote back then that I'd not write today but in general I'd stick to
being opposed to American intervention everywhere and every place. This
is especially true of Syria where CIA agents worked with Jordan and
Turkey to prevent MANPAD's shipped from Libya getting into the hands of
the FSA. If the USA had not intervened in that fashion, the war would
have ended in early 2013 probably.
Vijay writes: "The rebels in Libya (and later in Syria) had much the
same strategic assessment. If they could elicit state violence, then
they might be able to assert their right to international protection."
If they could elicit state violence? Let me clue you in on this. Assad
didn’t need any help. He was much better at killing civilians than he
ever was at ophthalmology, I'll bet.
I read this sentence over and over, wondering how an important scholar
associated with Edward Said's powerful writings on the Middle East can
come to the point where he would write such a false statement. Elicit
state violence? WTF? You mean when they got their hands on some
automatic rifles so they could prevent death squads from coming into
neighborhoods and preying on nonviolent activists who were organizing
mass demonstrations? What possibly could have possessed him to write
such a conspiratorial scenario as if defectors from Assad's military
were trying to lure the Americans into a “regime change” invasion after
the fashion of the East Ghouta sarin gas attack? Maybe they just didn't
care for 15 year old girls being raped in a Baathist prison.
Missing from Vijay’s article is the one instance where right to protect
did actually took place in Syria rather than the one he warns about
darkly. (You’d think after 5 years of laissez-faire mass murder, this
stuff about Barack Obama being for “regime change” would have been
dropped especially after the Jeffrey Goldberg articles in the Atlantic.)
The article does not mention the Kurds once. Furthermore, in a March 24,
2016 Alternet article titled “How the Kurds Will Save Syria”, he does
not once fret over how American bombers were supporting the YPG’s fight
to oust Daesh from Kobane. He writes, “Bombing runs from the United
States as well as pressure on the Turkish government to allow Iraqi
Kurdish reinforcements to enter the battlefield allowed the YPG to push
ISIS away from Rojava.” Where’s the outrage over American bombing runs?
I guess that you make an exception for the Kurds because they believe in
Murray Bookchin and because they have women in arms. As Orwell put it in
a different context, some people are more equal than others.
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