[Marxism] Fwd: The origins of the criminal Assad dynasty
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 19 08:58:33 MST 2017
The Syrian revolution has been the most divisive issue on the
international left in decades. Support for similar uprisings in Tunisia,
Egypt and elsewhere was near unanimous, but many baulked at showing
solidarity with the movements in Libya and Syria. Some argue that along
with Iran, the Syrian regime is the last holdout against US imperialism
in the region, and should be championed on that basis. Others initially
supported popular demands for democratic and economic reform, yet now
insist on defending the regime as a necessary, albeit imperfect,
anti-imperialist counterweight to the Americans.
This has led many on the left to adopt positions that deny the agency
and revolutionary potential of the Syrian people, and has led many to
articulate deeply Islamophobic arguments to discredit the anti-Assad
forces on the ground.
The purpose of this article is not to explain why this is a fundamental
betrayal of the most basic premise of the left, which is to support
struggles of workers and the oppressed for economic and political
rights. That has been done elsewhere, most notably in the outstanding
book by Leila Al-Shami and Robin Yassin-Kassab, Burning Country: Syrians
in Revolution and War.
Rather, I seek here merely to re-establish some basic facts about the
Syrian Ba’ath regime, particularly focusing on its most “radical”
period. I argue that the Ba’ath were never socialist and that Hafez
al-Assad was utterly uninterested in the cause of Arabism, socialism, or
Palestinian liberation. To do this I will explore the conditions of his
rise to power and the counter-revolutionary nature of his subsequent
intervention in the Lebanese civil war.
For those who need no convincing on these fronts, I hope this piece can
add something to your historical knowledge regarding the last period of
radicalisation and revolution in the Middle East.
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