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Total number of comments: 43 (since 2010-09-09 17:49:01)


The Unrepentant Marxist


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  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War'
    • it seems Yassin-Kasab has been to syria, but only the’rebel’ areas (alnusra and alsham) : so why not report of situation in the govt areas?


      That's like asking why only reports from the Baathist POV. There is a debate about Syria just like there was over Spain in 1938. How sad that people like you are supporting Syria's Franco.

    • Has Mondoweiss written any articles about how the US government started funding the Assad opposition in 2006?


      Of course it has. Most of the time it posts stuff that Annie Robbins probably dug up. The fury directed against "Burning Country" reflects the inability of her and other commenters to come to terms with the fact that they have been supporting a fascist-like regime whose main interest is in protecting its capitalist control over the economy through a network of thieves like Rami Makhlouf.

      From the Guardian:

      The firm at the centre of the Panama Papers leak serviced a string of companies for a top financier in Bashar al-Assad’s government in the face of international concern about corruption within the Syrian regime.

      Documents show Mossack Fonseca’s links to Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of the Syrian president, who was described in US diplomatic cables as the country’s “poster boy for corruption”.

      Washington imposed sanctions on Makhlouf in February 2008, saying he was a regime insider who “improperly benefits from and aids the public corruption of Syrian regime officials”. It blacklisted his brother Hafez Makhlouf in 2007.

      The documents show, however, that the Panamanian firm continued to work with the Makhloufs, and in January 2011 it rejected the advice of its own compliance team to cut ties with the family as the crisis in Syria began to unfold.

      full: link to

    • Annie, there's no mention of Nusra in this article because it is an excerpt. Al Nusra and ISIS are covered in depth in the book. In terms of Moon of Alabama, this is a blog that has zero direct knowledge of life inside Syria. In fact, all of the sources you have quoted over the years whenever Syria comes up are based in the West and can be described as Islamophobic. It baffles me how people like you can rally around a blood-soaked dictatorship that has turned most of the country into something resembling Gaza using the same kinds of "war on terrorism" excuses as Netanyahu. Until Hamas was forced to reverse itself on Syria, it called for the overthrow of Assad.

  • 'Say Hello to Zenobia': A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes
    • Use a phrase like “barrel bomb” over and over again as if it is a uniquely evil weapon when, in fact, it is far less lethal and destructive than the ordnance that the United States routinely deploys or hands out to its “allies” like candy on Halloween.


      Well, the issue is not whether it more or less lethal than, for example, the payload of a B-52. It is instead about dropping a 50 gallon barrel filled with explosives, steel ball bearings, 6 inch spike nails, etc on an open-air market. If you want to justify this kind of war crime, I have pity on your miserable soul.

    • "I support the right of Syrians to resist Assad, but when they use violence, and commit savagery, I can’t believe that you and others expect Assad to fight with softness."

      I take it that you believe in the efficacy of dropping barrel bombs on open-air markets, a measure necessary to take out the jihadi cucumbers even if three-year olds get their arms and legs blown off.

    • Isn't this site pro-Palestinian? This is a reminder of what the most militant group said about Bashar al-Assad until it was coerced into softening/reversing its position. Btw, for your information, the group was part of the Muslim Brotherhood that someone was so ready to demonize above.

      World | Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:56pm EST Related: WORLD, SYRIA
      Hamas ditches Assad, backs Syrian revolt

      Leaders of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas turned publicly against their long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad of Syria on Friday, endorsing the revolt aimed at overthrowing his dynastic rule.

      The policy shift deprives Assad of one of his few remaining Sunni Muslim supporters in the Arab world and deepens his international isolation. It was announced in Hamas speeches at Friday prayers in Cairo and a rally in the Gaza Strip.

      Hamas went public after nearly a year of equivocating as Assad’s army, largely led by fellow members of the president’s Alawite sect, has crushed mainly Sunni protesters and rebels.

      In a Middle East split along sectarian lines between Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, the public abandonment of Assad casts immediate questions over Hamas’s future ties with its principal backer Iran, which has stuck by its ally Assad, as well as with Iran’s fellow Shi’ite allies in Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

      “I salute all the nations of the Arab Spring and I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, visiting Egypt from the Gaza Strip, told thousands of Friday worshippers at Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque.

      “We are marching towards Syria, with millions of martyrs,” chanted worshippers at al-Azhar, home to one of the Sunni world’s highest seats of learning. “No Hezbollah and no Iran.

      “The Syrian revolution is an Arab revolution.”

      full: link to

    • Sad to see Jeff Klein writing this kind of garbage. I knew him back in the late 80s when he was involved with Tecnica and when both of us had high hopes that the FSLN could have succeeded in building an alternative to neoliberalism. But writing this kind of pap for a blood-drenched tyranny whose top capitalist crony of Bashar al-Assad was revealed to be hiding billions in Panama banks really makes me want to throw up.

  • The only way to take on ISIS is to take on Wahhabi doctrine
  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • Barely a peep out of those MSNBC outlets on the overthrow of Morsi, or the U.S. role in fomenting the civil war in Syria by supplying rebels with arms. Many of the rebels from outside of the country.


      This is really frightening if I understand it correctly. People here believe that the overthrow of Morsi was a bad thing? What terrible shape the left is in if this is what someone here believes. I have been told that the CIA is responsible for the Arab Spring and now that the overthrow of Morsi was part of that CIA plot. Pinch me. I'm having a bad nightmare.

    • And one could say that the most authentic Arab Spring really began in Palestine and it is the longest running Arab Spring happening in the Middle East where people are trying to free themselves from the oppressive, tyrant state of Israel, and there too the revolt is being squashed by U.S.


      And don't forget about the role of Syria in the Palestinian resistance:

      link to

    • We have different standards, I guess. I don't take other peoples' words on what is in a document. I have to read it myself. Of course, when a document is purported to buttress your own ideological convictions, there is a strong temptation to take it as gospel even if it does not. There's something fishy about this Presidential directive #11. As I have pointed out in an article on the Baathist amen corner, there is zero interest on the class dynamics of the revolt and 100 percent interest in "false flag" operations, CIA conspiracies and the like. I guess young people today have little use for reading Marx. Sad really.

      link to

    • Remember the Arab Spring? What a hoax that was! Just ask the CIA…


      I see that this person agrees with Bandolero. It is really remarkable the degree to which conspiracy theories have taken root among the "anti-imperialist" left and how they are deployed with so little concern for scholarly rigor. So when a Tunisian fruit vendor burned himself to death to protest corruption and economic hardship, he was actually a CIA agent just like the men who flew into the WTC and Pentagon? It really takes one breath away to read such nonsense, especially on a website committed to social justice in the Middle East.

    • as far as torturing 300 palestinians to death i never heard this particular allegation until today. and if i had i wouldn’t trust the information anyway because there’s so much lying going on.\\


      link to

    • the idea there’s ever been a viable strong moderate opposition that could take over and stabilize syria if/when the regime fell is a fantasy


      Is that what you are for, Annie? Armed groups that can take over and stabilize a country? Is that the way that young leftists think today? How depressing.

    • Bandolero: "After Obama failed in 2010 to get a two state solution or even a settlement stop from Netanyahu he unleashed the so-called Arab Spring with his “Presidential Study Directive 11.”


      This is so interesting. Obama "unleashed" the Arab Spring. I am not surprised that [...] thinker would have such strong affinities with Global Research's Anthony Carlucci who wrote that the Arab Spring was a CIA plot. Bandolero's proof for this is Presidential Study Directive #11 that nobody has read except for an outfit in Washington DC that has never released it to the public. I guess when it comes to defending the Baathist dictatorship, scholarship goes out the window.

    • No. I think that they were tortured because they were Palestinians who got on the wrong side of a dictator not just because they were Palestinians. In fact that is how most Palestinians end up being tortured in Israeli prisons, because they were seen as troublemakers.

    • I think that Netanyahu would certainly be envious of Assad who has tortured more than 300 Palestinians to death in his prisons without hearing a single complaint from the axis of resistance. Here are just two of them.

      link to

      link to

    • Annie Robbins: "he’s the royal king of slaughtering civilians in a prison. his military is good at one thing, sharp shooters killing protestors with rocks and an airforce pounding civilian neighborhoods where they can’t get their hands dirty, because when they’re on the ground they’re so afraid of taking on armed resistance they bomb whole neighborhoods to smithereens to make they’re sure their own soldiers are killed so’s not be be held captive."

      Gratified to see her finally understanding Bashar al-Assad.

    • So fascinating to see so little acknowledgement of the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump affinities. Everybody else except the Baathist amen corner seems to understand that the "war on terror" against the horrid anti-Baathist revolt is in the capable hands of Hezbollah, Iran, the Baathist barrel-bombers and the Russian military with Israel cheering them on. An "anti-imperialist" bloc in Orwellian terms:

      What about Bashar al-Assad, the expert says that the Israeli authorities realized that only his army can oppose the radical Islam, and he is the only intelligible negotiation leverage in Syria. Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

      The US losses its interest to the Arab sheikhs, the Saudi Arabia, and shifts to the cooperation with Iran, as it has industrial potential. In any case, Washington will keep loosing [sic] its influence in the Middle East, while Russia will be increasing it.

      Understanding between the Russian and Israeli leaders is at its top, Avigdor Eskin noted. Thus, the creation of a joint military group is a revolutionary and historical event. Russia and Israel organized a duet, and if it works out, Syria will be soon under control of its legitimate power within its former borders. Israel and Syria will maintain "neutral relations", Eskin concluded.

      link to

  • In a parallel universe where I am a Syrian refugee
    • Don't worry, mariam6. The West has mended its ways as should be indicated by the statement of Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the UN:

      “This is something we share now with the U.S. Government: They don’t want the Assad Government to fail. They want to fight ISIL in a way that won’t harm the Syrian government”

      So inspiring. Russia and the USA are moving closer to a people's front against Daesh just like when FDR and Stalin united against Hitler. Do you think there will be a new popular culture emerging out of this with 50 Cent writing and performing hip-hop tunes denouncing Pussy Riot as "hos" and "bitches" while Quentin Tarantino will make a movie about two friends, one from Russia and one from the USA, dying in a heroic struggle to preserve a pagan temple from the filthy Islamofascists?

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • Bandolero, did the WSJ editorial mention anything about Baathist snipers killing 15 protesters peacefully protesting against the dictatorship on March 7th 2011? I hope for your sake that it did since then you can "explain" that it could not have happened because the WSJ said it did. What a wonderfully wacky way of explaining the world. If the bourgeois media says that burning jet fuel brought down the WTC, it can't be true. If the bourgeois media says that Trotsky was not a paid agent of Adolph Hitler, that proves he was a traitor. If the bourgeois media states that the Baathist prisons were filled with people whose only crime was opposing a system that was no different than any typical 3rd world mafia state, the state must be defended. Pretzel logic incarnate.

    • Oooh. Trotskyism. So scary. We know that the Trotskyites were in league with Hitler and the Mikado. It was necessary to imprison or execute such traitors in the name of stability and building socialism.

      So weird to see a leftist website overflowing with comments so filled with sentiments belonging to a bygone era of cult worship of the Divine Leader. No wonder you are susceptible to Baathist talking points.

    • What is this warning supposed to accomplish? You are not in Syria where dissidents can be hauled off to prison and be tortured for months on end. The CIA must have understood how skilled the Baathists were in the art of torture when they sent a Canadian citizen off to Syria under the "extraordinary rendition" provisions of the war on terror.

    • It is really quite sad to see so many people here, including an "editor-at-large", doing the heavy lifting for a Baathist goon like Assad all in the name of a dubious "anti-imperialism" and "Palestinian solidarity" which doesn't meet the most elementary evidentiary test. When Bandelero shamelessly condemned anti-dictatorship activists for killing 7 cops in late April without mentioning the events that led up to that, he must have assumed that everybody here was a member of the Baathist amen corner. Defense of the Baathist torture state can only be sustained through lies. You people are much better at lying to each other than to people who have bothered to look closely at what is taking place in Syria for the past 30 years or so. Radical politics has to be based on the truth, not lies. As Karl Marx said, we need ruthless criticism of the existing order. That includes the filthy, blood-stained, torturing, neoliberal, sectarian Baathist state.

    • I understand that Bandolero's role here is to operate as a Baathist propagandist. I only wish that he would do a better job in order to make the debate worthwhile. He cites the death of 7 Baathist cops in late April when the dictatorship had been murdering peaceful protesters for at least a month as Wikipedia reports:

      "On 20 March, thousands took to the streets of Daraa for the third straight day, shouting slogans against the country's emergency law. Fifteen persons were killed and scores injured as security forces opened fire on protesters. The courthouse, the Ba'ath party headquarters in the city, and the Syriatel building owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Assad, were then all set on fire. During these clashes, 7 policemen were killed.[8]

      How can you people live with yourself?

    • The ideological muck that appears in the comments section here is frightening. Comparing Lincoln to Assad? The United States was a parliamentary democracy in 1860. In Syria attempts to form parties that were opposed to the Baathist machine would result in imprisonment, torture and death. The Arab Spring was an attempt to achieve democracy. Most people understood that when Syrians took to the streets in April 2011, it was to bring down a dictatorship based on a family dynasty. How otherwise progressive-minded people can take the side of a torture state that sent its snipers against these protests is perhaps something that defies political analysis and requires an expert in abnormal psychology instead.

    • Robbins: "no actually, you did not. you offered no “documentation” whatsoever. you offered cherry picked quotes."

      Forget about the quotes. Look at the evidence. The Baathist air force has made Aleppo, Homs and the suburbs of Damascus look like Stalingrad in 1943 or Grozny in the 1990s or Gaza. And when MANPAD's were sent from Libya to Syria to help bring down MIGs firing rockets and helicopters dropping barrel bombs, the CIA set up a task force with the participation of the states that supposedly were part of the imperialist war on Syria to keep them out of the hands of the FSA. [....]

    • I continue to think the US should have done its best to prevent eruption of revolt in Syria.


      At least this guy comes out and says what most of you feel in your heart but are too embarrassed to admit.

    • Because official US policy in regard to Syria is the same as in Iraq: violent “regime change”, which is illegal under international law.


      It is really quite breathtaking to observe Bimbolero's evasions. I offer documentation that Obama had no interest in regime change and he simply ignores what I wrote. I can't blame him. The truth is an inconvenience of the worst kind to Baathist tools.

    • Actually Bandolero has about as much credibility as Alex Jones.

    • All this blather about Syria and Israel being on a collision course. Don't any of you people know that Syria intervened against Palestinians in Lebanon? It is scary to see how "anti-imperialists" know so little about Middle East history.

    • The importance of foreign governments saudi, turkish, us, israeli, uk, france etc in the start and continuation of the conflict is mentioned but downplayed.


      I guess that this means the territories of Russia and Iran have been airlifted into Syria.

    • "Why commit US combat troops when our paid terrorists (ISIS, et al), supported by special operation forces and the US, NATO, Israeli air forces, etc, can get the job done?"

      It astonishes me to see such wild claims about the USA paying ISIS. This sort of conspiracy-mongering has infected the left like a gonorrhea strain resistant to antibiotics.

    • Why do all these people like Seymour Hersh, Charles Glass, David Bromwich, Patrick Cockburn, and the Angry Arab insist on depicting the USA as having the same agenda in Syria as it did in Iraq? After 4 years I still see nonsense written about "regime change" with the most tortured attempts to portray, for example, bombing of ISIS as really meant to topple Assad. Do these people really believe their own propaganda?

      To start with, there was never any intention by Barack Obama to launch a “humanitarian intervention” in Syria whatever people like Nicholas Kristof or Samantha Power sought. On October 22nd, 2013, the NY Times reported that “from the beginning, Mr. Obama made it clear to his aides that he did not envision an American military intervention, even as public calls mounted that year for a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from bombings.” The article stressed the role of White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, who had frequently clashed with the hawkish Samantha Power. In contrast to Power and others with a more overtly “humanitarian intervention” perspective, McDonough “who had perhaps the closest ties to Mr. Obama, remained skeptical.” The Times added, “He questioned how much it was in America’s interest to tamp down the violence in Syria.”

  • 'American Sniper' is an antiwar movie
    • The left was certainly wrong in judging this as a gung-ho film. I doubt that many young people will want to enlist after seeing this, as was not the case with Tom Cruise's "Top Gun" or more egregiously the Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris films of an earlier period.

      The film is very much in the "Hurt Locker" vein as well as any number of Israeli films that depict the victimizer as victim. In such films, Arabs are objectified as a kind of alien presence. They serve one and only one purpose, to make the hero (in some ways anti-hero) look like the disillusioned victim of circumstance.

      Unlike Ron Kovic's "Born on the Fourth of July", and Oliver Stone's great film based on it, no memoir has emerged from the Iraq or Afghanistan war that can truly be called antiwar. The best thing I have seen is "The Pat Tillman Story", a documentary about a pro football player killed by "friendly fire" in Afghanistan. I also recommend "The Kill Team", another documentary about Afghanistan based on a true story that evokes Oliver Stone's "Platoon".

      Finally, I found "American Sniper" a flaccid affair, far less interesting than Eastwood's twin films on Iwo Jima. If he wanted to be taken seriously as a filmmaker, he might have considered making one from the POV of one of those objectified "jihadists" who were fending off the Americans in a place like Fallujah. There was a Harper's magazine article from about 10 years ago that interviewed just such a fighter. That was an exception to the rule.

  • In Iraq and Syria the US sanctions its allies while its friends back its enemies (got that?)
    • MANPAD’s don’t make a huge difference.


      But not in the eyes of those getting barrel bombs dropped on them.

    • So, here, it seems, is the lineup: Russia (under sanctions), Iran (under sanctions), Hezbollah (Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization), and Assad’s Syrian regime (target of U.S. regime change) are on our side; Israel (major strategic partner) is fighting the guys on our side!


      it depends on what you mean by "on our side". There is zero evidence that the USA ever gave the FSA the kind of support that Russia gave the Baathists. The support was a combination of words and "support" that made hardly any difference such as MRE rations, walkie-talkies, small arms, etc. In fact, when the FSA was trying to get MANPAD's, the one thing that could have made a difference, the CIA worked with Turkey and Jordan to prevent them from being shipped into Syria.

  • Academia, the 'battleground' in the Palestinian solidarity movement
    • The Hatem Bazian referred to in the article above was the keynote speaker at a Syrian revolution rally in Washington I attended in 2012, not John McCain. It is a pity that so much of the left never figured out that this movement had much in common with the Palestine Solidarity movement. You can see what Bazian said at the rally here:

      link to

  • Rob Reiner wants to pick Palestinians' leaders for them
    • I don't know how generational it is. I'm Reiner's age and wouldn't be caught dead making such a racist statement. It is more a function of living inside the Hollywood bubble.

  • Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson (part 1)

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