There are no words to describe the absurdity of Moaz al-Khatib seated at a panel entitled “Syrian Arab Republic”. There are no words to describe the irony of hearing the Qatari Emir decry the “oppression and repression of the people” in Syria. There are no words to describe the oxymoronic notion of a US-Saudi backed “revolution”. There are no words to describe the treason of Syrians and Arabs who shamelessly support a movement which is begging John Kerry to rain down NATO Patriot missiles on Syria. There are no words to describe the gruesome images of severed heads “rebels” proudly flaunt before the cameras. There are no words to describe the irrationality of the state-sponsored sectarian scourge that has plagued our region and which threatens to dismember Syria and its neighbours. All this as Syrian and Arab opposition supporters cheer on. There are no words left…
Bet you didn’t know that sectarianism is the new moderation. Note how neither AP nor media which carried this story put quotation marks around the word “moderates”, but are all too eager to do so when referring to “terrorists”. Apparently, when suicide bombs, car bombs, summary executions, beheadings and rape are systematically perpetrated by the rebels against Syrians who don’t support them , then that violence is merely so-called terrorism and warrants quotation marks, especially since the Syrian government refers to it as such. But when the US specifies it is training “largely…Sunnis” to “bolster” the rebels then we must take their secularism and moderation as a given because the US said so. We must cast aside any apprehensions about how fighters selected exclusively from one sect can avoid being sectarian, and ignore the fact that sectarianism and religiosity are not synonymous considering that sectarianism characterizes many non-religious and non-jihadi types too, as the ‘75-‘90 civil war in Lebanon readily demonstrates .
In any case, I am sure the Syrian people will prefer to have their wives raped, their homes looted and their relatives killed at the hands of secular moderate rebels rather than al-Qaeda ones. So nice to have that option now.
Full story here
Surprise, surprise, mainstream media has launched an incredibly dangerous and irresponsible campaign to depict Mikati’s resignation in sectarian terms. A case in point is this report from Sky News:
” He stepped down on Friday in part as a protest over Hezbollah’s refusal to extend the tenure of the country’s police chief, Maj Gen Ashraf Rifi…Mr Rifi, like Mr Mikati, is a Sunni Muslim who is considered a foe by Hezbollah.”
As the sentence above insinuates, Hizbullah has a real problem with all things Sunni: Mikati resigned because he is a Sunni; Hizbullah refuses to extend Rifi’s term because he is a Sunni; Hizbullah considers Rifi a foe because he is Sunni.
What no western or Arab media will tell you is that the real reason Mikati resigned was not the Rifi extension but ongoing outside pressures from the US, Saudi etc. in order to destabilize Lebanon. Nor will they tell you that Rifi is a “foe” because he heads the Internal Security Forces, which is essentially under Hariri’s control. Nor will they admit that Hariri himself is considered a POLITICAL rival by Hizbullah rather than a sectarian one, just as much a rival for Hizbullah as Hariri’s Shi’a aide, Oqab Saqr.
What makes this shitty report particularly absurd is the fact that i also lets it slip that “Hezbollah frequently accusing him [Mikati] of loyalty to the pro-Western opposition.” Now THAT is the real fault line—foreign allegiances and political agendas— rather than sectarian identities.
Another pervasive tendency in mainstream media is to call Syrian opposition supporters “anti-regime activists”, while calling their counterparts “regime supporters”. This labelling misrepresents the much broader political ambitions of the “regime supporters” who may or may not support the government per se, but are united by a fear for their lives, the territorial integrity of their country, communal coexistence and the state’s secular character, among other concerns . By referring to them to as “regime supporters” they are stripped of agency and a political cause and reduced to sectarian Assad groupies. By this logic, the Syrian “anti-regime activists” should be called “Jabhit al-Nusra supporters”, since that is the side they have aligned with. Otherwise, those who support the Syrian Arab Republic should be called precisely that or at the very least be referred to as “anti-terrorist activists” or “anti-sectarianism activists”. And if the objection is that they are government sponsored or supported (which would be an overgeneralization) then I challenge them to show me one opposition activist NGO that is not funded by a foreign government. But balance, accuracy and fairness is as alien to western media as humanity is to the “opposition”.
Mother’s Day got me thinking how it is no accident that the Arabic and Latin based languages refer to the nation as a she, and depict it in maternal terms such as the “motherland” and “mother country”, due to the very obvious association with birth, origins and blood ties. But their there is also a psychosocial explanation for this: even as adults, individuals continue to need the same love, security, rootedness (often symbolized by kissing the ground of one’s nation), sense of belonging and identity they obtained from their mothers, so they often turn to the nation to fulfill those needs.
When we view the concept of nation in this context, it becomes easy to understand what the loss of Palestine, Iraq and now Syria, means to Arabs. The Empire isn’t merely oppressing our land and people, but is separating us from other motherland, uprooting us from our identities, destroying our heritage as the cradle of civilization and effacing our past, present and future.
With this in mind, today, we not only wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the brave, struggling mothers of our region, but we wish a happy Mother[land]’s Day to our beloved Syria, Palestine and Iraq. We will never stop turning to them for love and identity for they are our roots.
Both the designation of the US citizen, Ghassan Hitto as “interim Prime Minister” by the SNC, and Aron Lund’s myth-shattering report “The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist”, make it increasingly clear that the Syrian opposition (and by Syrian opposition I mean the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition) today is little more than a PR stunt engineered by the US & allies and sustained by corporate media and a slick social media campaign. As detailed by Lund’s study, the FSA is nothing but a branding operation which refers to the uprising in general, or more specifically, to the non-Islamist rebel groups. Elsewhere, Lund asserts that “virtually all of the major armed groups have by now declared that they want an Islamic state,” suggesting that most of the rebels belong to Salafi and Salafi jihadi groups. In other words, the notion of a secular armed opposition is a media creation.
Add to the myth of the FSA , Hitto’s appointment as PM of Nothing Really, and one begins to understand just how much more of a psycho-ops than a pysch- ops campaign we are dealing with, which aims to remold reality in the crudest attempt at wish fulfillment and mass-delusion. Not even language has escaped the new psycho-ops, as concepts like legitimacy have now been re-conceptualized to mean whatever- the- US-recognizes, such as when it arbitrarily decides that the SNC is “the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people”. So over and above the concepts of “popular legitimacy” and “constitutional legitimacy”, we now have the oxymoronic notion of “external legitimacy” which can seemingly exist without either of the other two types.
Just to put things in perspective: The Syrian government is not up against some fantasy Syrian “opposition” but against foreign- backed Salafis, Jihadis and al-Qaeda inspired groups who are not merely Islamists but vehemently sectarian Islamists whose modus operandi includes terrorist bombings and executions. And there is no actual Syrian executive other than President Bashar al-Assad. And no amount of psych-ops or psycho-ops will change either of these facts.
Nothing is sillier than when Syrian opposition activists declare that intellectuals in our anti-imperialist camp have “lost credibility” or are “pseudo-intellectual” or “shabiha” or “Hizbullah groupie” or whatever other label that suggests we are not neutral, expecting us to be insulted. When will they ever learn that when we lose the approval of the oppressors of this world, which they call “credibility”, this is a badge of honour for us? When will they learn that if the only genuine intellectuals are those that belong to the establishment and/or are on the Saudi-Qatari payroll, then we are proud to be pseudo-intellectuals? When will they learn that we do not make pretenses at neutrality like they do but loudly assert our bias towards real freedom, independence and dignity?
When our camp judges their intellectuals, we do not use the White Man’s benchmarks like credibility or neutrality. Arab anti-imperialists merely describe their kind as having been “exposed” [in Arabic, فضح] because in our minds, the only meaningful and morally just criterion is integrity. For when one positions oneself on the same side as America and Saudi Arabia and Israel, what else can this signal but the loss of integrity?
Nothing is more absurd, disturbing and disillusioning as marking as “the anniversary of the Syrian revolution” the same date which signaled the wholesale destruction of the Syrian state; the fratricide that has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people; the rise of Salafi-Takfiri terrorist groups and sectarian militias; the end of communal coexistence; the violation of a once powerful nation’s sovereignty by the US-NATO-Arab alliance and the influx of foreign fighters they have trained and dispatched; the substitution of a secular, anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist political culture with its antithesis— the culture of blind sectarian hatred which looks to reactionary Gulf monarchies as its point of reference, a culture whose leading figures, activists and intellectuals beg imperialist powers to invade their country whether directly or by proxy while assuring Israel of their pacific intentions.
March 15 marks the day that made March 14 [i.e. the day that launched Lebanon’s own US-Wahhabi backed movement whose raison d’etre is the destruction of the Resistance] pale in comparison. No matter what the outcome of this ugly conflict is, March 15 will forever be remembered by the free world as the day that signaled the loss of Syria as we know it. And shame on every Arab and leftist who commemorates this day as anything less.
Aside from the shameless hypocrisy of the British and French decision to arm the foreign and local terrorists and executioners in Syria, aka, “Syrian rebels” or “resistance fighters” as they are now officially called, another stomach-churning aspect of this joint announcement is the language French and British leaders used to justify their intent to violate the EU arms ban. When asked yesterday if the UK would be willing to break the ban, David Cameron responded “We are still an independent country. We can have an independent foreign policy…” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius responded to the same question today by asserting that “France is a sovereign nation,” adding that both France and were prepared to “lift the embargo” even if there was no international support for the decision.
So while the White Man’s sovereignty is not dependent on any international consent for its existence, anti-imperialist nations like Syria do not enjoy a similar right to issue such self-proclaimed professions of sovereignty like France can or chart an “independent foreign policy” like Britain’s. The sovereignty of insubordinate nations like Syria is not merely dependent on the “international community’s” [shorthand for US and Europe] recognition but can be trampled on with impunity and justified in the most counter-intuitive and morally bankrupt terms. More than this, imperialist powers not only get to dictate and violate other nations’ sovereignty, but also to invoke the term as a legal and political defense when rationalizing their own disputed intent to destroy another nation’s right to remain sovereign.
One need only look up the concept of sovereignty in the White Man’s very own introductory text-books to see how brazenly hypocritical the western approach to Syria’s sovereignty is. Quoting from Michael Roskin et al’s “Political Science: An Introduction”: “Sovereignty means “national control over the country’s territory, boss of one’s own turf. Nations are very jealous of their sovereignty and governments take great care to safeguard it. They maintain armies to deter foreign invasion, they control borders with passports and visas and they hunt down terrorists.”
Yet bizarrely, when a state like Syria which still enjoys [international] legal sovereignty and has a seat at the UN, tries to reassert “control of its territory” and “be the boss of its own turf” by “hunting down terrorists” and foreign fighters, it is not merely denied this right but threatened with invasion and punished with externally funded, armed and trained proxies. But what else can the Empire do when its ultimate aim is not regime change but to strip the Syrian state itself of sovereignty by plunging it further into an endless and bloody civil war that can only result in the destruction of Syria the state?
The old colonial powers stage a comeback: the UK and France, whose sovereignty doesn’t rely on the approval of other nations, according to its FM (in contradistinction to anti-imperialist nations’ like Syria whose sovereignty can only be determined by western powers it seems) are in a huge rush to arm Salafi Takfiri and Wahhabi terrorists and just plain old sectarian executioners. You see, even if they end up in these “wrong hands” as Hague admitted recently, its well worth the “balance of risks”. This balance is so lopsided, that these same groups which the respected British charity, Save the Children, has accused of using children as human shields, soldiers and informers, are now lauded as “resistance fighters” by Hague and Fabius. Apparently the only way to stem the bloodshed and defuse the regional sectarian war that Hague brazenly warned of last week, is to arm sectarian child killers, executioners and terrorists. Way to go leaders of the “civilized” liberal western democratic world! Abu Qatada is surely beaming at you with pride.
Full report here
This video proves beyond any reasonable doubt, that Ahmadinejad did in fact hug Chavez’s grieving mother. But as media close to the Iranian president has noted, it is evident from the video that he was clasping his hands in the manner he customarily does when greeting women, in order to avoid shaking their hands. You can see him clasping his hands as he walks towards Chavez’s mother and then giving in as she put her hands over his and leans towards his cheek. With all due respect to the religious sensitivities of some, but it is ridiculous that Iran’s conservative establishment is not capitalizing on their president’s humanity and progressiveness, given that the now viral image has given a tremendous PR boost to Iran in Latin America and beyond.
Shame on this crappy culture that calls itself Lebanese. Watching these ignorant, racist students and kids (doubtless, mimicking their racist parents) trash the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, complaining about how they have flooded schools and apartment buildings, and how they are potential thieves and threats to society. Not once did we hear any Syrian complain or make racist remarks when tens of thousands of Lebanese took refuge in Syrian private homes (not merely government run-camps) during the July War. Shame on their short memory span— less than a century ago my great grandfather, like others of his generation, did not identify himself as “Lebanese” but as from “Bilad al-Sham” (Greater Syria). How absurd.