Ramzy Baroud comments on the horrifying situation in Syria, in a complex piece that makes many good points. Here is an exerpt:

True, Syria was and will remain a target for Western pressures. But what needs to be realized is that these pressures are motivated by specific policies concerning Israel, and not with regards to a family-centered dictatorship that openly murders innocent civilians in cold blood. In fact, there are many similarities in the pattern of behavior applied by the Syrian army and the Israeli army. Reports of causalities in Syria’s uprising cite over 1,600 dead, 2,000 wounded (Al Jazeera, July 27) and nearly 3,000 disappearances (CNN, July 28). Unfortunately this violence is not new, and is hardy compelled by fear of international conspiracy to undermine the al-Ba’ath regime. The 1982 Hama uprising was crushed with equal if not greater violence, where the dead were estimated between 10,000 and 40,000.


Baroud’s comparison between Syria and Israel is very compelling. But, if anything, Israel appears to be far more brutal and villainous, performing its brutality in furtherance of a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing and land stealing that has been going on in front of the world now for over sixty years, and which seems to be intensifying over recent years, moving towards some kind of unspeakable endgame. So where, amidst the justified concern over events in Syria, is the concern over Israel, not to mention Bahrain, Honduras (where a community was recently torched), US/Nato aggression against Libya (which, according to ‘reports’, has slain at least as many civilians as Assad has slain, not to mention presumably far greater numbers of soldiers that Obama had no business executing), etc.?

In fact, Syria’s crimes are opposed by the UN, while Israel’s are defended there, thanks largely to the US. If the US is so concerned to save lives it could start by telling Germany not to send tanks to Saudi Arabia, which is using them to kill civilians in Bahrain. It could stop supporting Israel’s ongoing killings and oppressions. It could stop bombing Libya. It could stop feeding weapons into Mexico. There is so much it could do. Obama could stop covertly stirring up the conflict in Syria.

Oh, but wait. That doesn’t happen, does it? I mean, it might, but ‘adults in the room’ don’t like to talk about it, do they? The US is never involved in stirring up unrest, right?

See, what I also find striking about Baroud’s comments is that he dismisses the role of US/Israeli interference in Syria, like all ‘serious’ commentators do (you know, not including crazy loons like Webster Tarpley). Alternative commentators seem to suffer from some kind of dementia, don’t they? They routinely acknowledge, as even mainstream media do, that the US is massively committed to covert operations, of all kinds, worldwide, and that the US makes extensive investments in what is euphemistically called ‘promoting democracy’ in regimes that the US would like to see undergo ‘regime change’, and that Mossad ops are probably busier than US covert operations, and so on and so on. All sensible alternative commentators recognize that such interferences are most active in the regimes the US most wants to overthrow, from Iran to Venezuela, YET IN ANY SPECIFIC CASE THEY ROUTINELY ASSERT THAT OUTSIDE INFLUENCE IS NEGLIBLE OR NONEXISTENT!

See how this is a contradiction? Apparently US interference is everywhere and nowhere, according to these wise and sober minds…

Given Baroud’s denial that outside interference matters (but just consider how the US government would react if Mexico was stirring up massive, partially violent, revolutionary unrest in Arizona, Mexico and California), I suppose its not surprising that he accepts without question casualty numbers provided by opponents of Assad’s government, while denying the government’s claims of government soldiers and police killed. Needless to say, all these numbers should be doubted, but Baroud seems to claim ‘journalist’s license’, accepting one side’s numbers without question, while denying the other side’s numbers.

And so it appears that the Left is playing the same role with Syria that it did with Libya, largely pushing for a war that it should be opposing, uncritically building up propaganda for war. Had Obama prevailed in Libya more quickly, we would probably already be at war against Syria, I suspect. As it is, momentum is building towards war. This Nobel prize winning president is already (somewhat) openly at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, and looks to be headed toward seventh and eight wars in Syria and Iran. Then who knows what will follow. China?

We on the Left, need to stand for something, and that should start with standing against war. We should be apologizing to Syria for our interference there, ending sanctions that already exist, not applying new sanctions, and reaching out to help foster a negotiated peace. But that brings us back to Israel. Until we start being an honest broker in Israel, in Libya, in Honduras, and so on and so on and so on, we can hardly have any credibility in Syria or anywhere else, beyond the credibility that comes at the point of a gun. So, we seem to be relying on gun-based ‘credibility’ more and more. Our message of ‘peace’ to the world is “do what we want you to do or you will be sorry, one way or another!”.

It’s time for a new way, but that will take an approach to progressive politics that moves away from the Dems and looks for new alliances, new ways of formulating old arguments, new ways of resolving old differences. We need a people based new way.?