Anti-Imperialism in a Post-Tahrir World

by Corey Oakley of Socialist Alternative (Australia) on August 21, 2012

Originally posted by Socialist Alternative (Australia) as “The left, imperialism and the Syrian revolution.”

Of the millions of people who have risen up in revolt across the Arab world these past 19 months, few have suffered as much for their courage as the revolutionaries fighting the Assad dictatorship in Syria.

The decision of Bashar al-Assad’s regime to use the full force of his security forces against what was a largely peaceful protest movement has transformed the uprising into a full blown civil war, in which up to 20,000 people have died.

Aleppo residents: victims of Assad, not U.S. imperialism.

Yet the Syrian revolution – in the eyes of some on the left – lacks legitimacy. The uprising is denounced as a Western plot, a CIA- or Israeli-backed conspiracy to overthrow a regime that defends the Palestinians. Those fighting Assad’s troops on the ground are condemned as stooges of outside forces – variously Saudi Arabia, the US, Israel and Al Qaeda, among others.

In the West, open support for Assad has been mostly confined to hardline Stalinists or a minority of Assad loyalists among the Palestinian movement. Most on the left initially took a version of what has been called the “third way” – support for the revolution, combined with opposition to imperialist intervention from the West.

But over the last few months, this “third way” has begun to crack apart.

Prominent British leftists Tariq Ali and George Galloway have come out stridently in opposition to the insurrectionary aims of the uprising, claiming that the revolution has been taken over by reactionaries and arguing that a negotiated settlement with the regime is the only answer. Ali, in an interview with Russia Today, said the choice was between a “Western-imposed regime, composed of sundry Syrians who work for the Western intelligence agencies…or the Assad regime.” Galloway, the left populist member of Parliament best known as a campaigner against the Iraq war, goes even further, denouncing the Syrian resistance for not accepting the peace plan advanced by the United Nations.

The patience of the masses for peace initiatives has run out.

Much of this left-agonizing about the Syrian revolt reflects the legacy of Stalinism, which led many to identify leftism with various despotic but “anti-imperialist” regimes that opposed the West and oppressed their own people in equal measure. But others on the left not weighed down by the legacy of Stalinism echo Galloway’s attitude over Syria. John Rees, until a few years ago a leading member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, wrote last month that he was in “broad agreement” with Galloway and Ali.

Rees argues that it is necessary to “attempt to reassert the centrality of imperialism to developments in the Middle East”. His sentiment reflects the attitude of some who see developments in Syria as simply the next phase of the U.S. drive to recolonize the Middle East. It is, they reason, a sequel to the 2003 Iraq War when Western governments and media used rhetoric about “liberation” and “democracy” to provide a cover for imperial conquest.

U.S. Imperialism is not the central issue

The emphasis Galloway, Ali and Rees put on the imperialist threat is profoundly mistaken. Imperialism, in the sense of Western neo-colonialism, is not the main threat facing the masses of Syria, or of the Arab world as a whole.

This can seem a sacrilegious statement to anyone who got their political education on the left in the post-9/11 world. After the 9/11 attack, when the U.S. went to war on Afghanistan, there were a tiny number of political voices who stood against the tide and protested against the war. We were denounced as “knee-jerk anti-imperialists.” In those turbulent days we wore the “knee-jerk” accusation as a badge of pride. If the U.S. military did it, we were against it. And we were right. In those years, anti-imperialism was a crucial starting point because U.S. imperialism was the decisive element in world politics.

The time for “knee-jerk anti-imperialism” has now passed. Not because U.S. imperialism has disappeared from the Middle East, or shed its malevolent intent, but because the world has changed.

The Arab revolution has transformed everything. We now live not in a “post-9/11 world” but in a “post-Tahrir world”. For so long, the Arab masses were the victims of history. Tahrir showed they could be the agents of the future. Like every great revolutionary movement in history, the Arab uprising has sent shivers of fear through the hearts of the old order and its hangers on.

Ranged against the revolution are innumerable reactionary forces. The imperialist powers are one of these, but they are only one.

The Arab revolution is a revolution against imperialism, but it is more fundamentally a class struggle against the Arab regimes. These ruling classes have different relationships to imperialism, particularly to U.S. imperialism. Mubarak was a close ally of the U.S. and Israel. Assad painted himself as an opponent of the U.S. (although this was mostly just rhetoric – Syria backed the first Gulf War and cooperated with the notorious U.S. “renditions” program).

But Mubarak and Assad had two crucial things in common with each other, and with the other Arab rulers:

  1. Their regimes were authoritarian and undemocratic, ruling through the coercive power of a bloated and brutal security apparatus.
  2. Their policies had led to the escalating impoverishment of the mass of their populations, and a huge gap between the living standards of the masses and the ruling elite, with the latter enjoying extreme riches and every luxury.

It is this class division – the alienation of the mass of workers, students, the poor and significant sections of the middle class from the regimes – which is the central antagonism of the Arab revolution. Yes, of course, as in every revolution or civil war, innumerable other forces will try and turn the situation to their advantage. And it is incumbent on the left to oppose imperialist intervention. But the intervention of these forces – whether it be the Russians, the U.S., the Saudis, Iran or the Israelis – does not automatically turn a revolution into a proxy war between great powers.

The nature of the Syrian revolution

The Syrian revolt is not a simple battle between workers and capitalists. But this is entirely to be expected. As Lenin famously wrote in opposition to those who denounced the Irish struggle against colonialism:

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without … revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc. – to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution.

So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution! Only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a “putsch”.

Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.

Only a fool would deny that the imperialist powers are intervening in Syria, or that there are deeply reactionary elements present among the rebel forces. But the negative aspects of the Syrian revolt have been vastly overstated.

One of the major charges originally levelled at the revolutionaries was that the revolt was being led by the reactionary and pro-U.S. Syrian National Council (SNC), which is based in Turkey. It is now generally acknowledged that the SNC has negligible support inside Syria and in no way represents those fighting the regime.

Thus the attention of the opponents of the revolution has shifted to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is charged with being controlled by outside forces, and just as bloodthirsty and brutal as the regime.

“Armies in combat are always more or less symmetrical; were there nothing in common in their methods of struggle they could not inflict blows upon each other. … A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains – let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!” — Leon Trotsky

There are endless interviews by reporters from Britain and U.S. news agencies with fighters in the FSA, as well as reports from Syrian and other Arab journalists who have been in Syria, which paint a completely different picture to that of the critics of the uprising.

Doubtless some of these are written by propagandists for Western imperialism – but not all. Among the most credible reporters to write on Syria is Anand Gopal. Gopal has impeccable anti-imperialist credentials. His reportage from within Afghanistan over many years was eloquent denunciation of both the U.S. occupation and the Taliban. When he writes in support of the Syrian uprising, as he did recently in an extensive article for Harper’s magazine, you have to listen.

Gopal travelled to Taftanaz, a largish Syrian town near the Turkish border. The stories people told Anand described an extraordinary revolutionary process that had taken place before the regime had leveled the town. As in many parts of Syria, the revolt was started by young people. Their protests were very quickly put down; they were jailed and often tortured. But as the revolt developed:

Fighters from the FSA started protecting demonstrations, quietly standing in the back and watching for Mukhabarat. For the first time, the balance of power shifted in favour of the revolution, so much so that the government forces could no longer operate openly. Party officials and secret agents vanished, leaving the town to govern itself.

This led to the development of the kind of self-organisation that has been seen in towns and local communities across Syria. After regime forces withdrew the courts stopped working; trash piled high on the streets. Gopal describes how:

To fill the vacuum, citizens came together to elect councils – farmers formed their own, as did merchants, labourers, teachers, students, health-care workers, judges, engineers and the unemployed. In some cases, the councils merged with pre-existing activist networks called local coordinating committees. They in turn chose delegates to sit on a citywide council, which in Taftanaz and surrounding towns was the only form of government the citizenry recognised.

Gopal visited a mosque where a meeting of the town public-affairs committee was debating how much they could demand from the rich of the town to support the community. One old, moustached man slammed his hands on the floor and shouted, “This is a revolution of the poor! The rich will have to accept that.” He turned to Gopal and explained, “We’ve gone to every house in town and determined what they need and compared it with what donations come in. Everything gets recorded and can be seen by the public.”

Much of the narrative denouncing the FSA relies on the assumption that it is in some way a cohered force. There is much evidence that it is anything but.

For example Ghaith Abdul Ahad, writing from inside Syria for the Guardian, reported the account of one Syrian army defector, Hameed, who deserted during a demonstration in Rastan when he was ordered to fire on civilian protesters. He took shelter in a local house, and from there was smuggled across the mountains into Turkey, where he joined a detachment of the FSA under the command of Colonel Reyadh Assad. Hameed was anything but pleased about the setup:

We did nothing there [in Turkey], just sat around in our tents and gave press interview. I told them I hadn’t defected to sit in a tent, I wanted to fight. They kept telling me to wait, that they had a plan, but nothing happened.

After three months in Turkey Hameed ran away again, this time he arranged for the rebels to smuggle him back in to Syria. He told Ghaith Abdul Ahad: “There is no such thing as a Free Syria Army. It is a joke. The real revolutionaries are here in Syria, in the mountains.” The same story appears time and again. When Gopal asked a commander in Taftanaz about the FSA leadership he answered: “If I ever see these dogs here, I’ll shoot them myself.”

One of the criticisms of the FSA is that it is being armed by the Saudis and the Western powers. The first thing to say about this is that it is mostly not true. And if you read the accounts of the revolutionaries, it is clear that they are not being swamped with Western arms. On the contrary, there is growing resentment towards the West precisely because they have refused to supply any weaponry.

In this context, is it wrong for the Syrian revolutionaries to demand, and where possible accept, weapons from imperialists, the imperialists’ allies, or anyone else? Of course not. They have every right to do whatever it takes to defend themselves from the horrifying apparatus of Assad’s state.

Demanding, requesting or accepting weapons or aid from an imperialist state does not make you an agent of imperialism. There are numerous historical examples of this. The most famous is the Irish. From the outbreak of World War One, Irish Republicans entered into extensive negotiations with Germany in an attempt to obtain weapons that they could use to rebel against the British. But the suggestion that the Republican movement was simply a pawn of German imperialism, or that the Irish struggle was not worthy of support because it attempted to source guns from the German High Command, is ludicrous.

In another context Trotsky raised a hypothetical question that posed the issue in the starkest terms:

Let us assume that rebellion breaks out tomorrow in the French colony of Algeria under the banner of national independence and that the Italian government, motivated by its own imperialist interests, prepares to send weapons to the rebels. What should the attitude of the Italian workers be in this case? I have purposely taken an example of rebellion against a democratic imperialism with intervention on the side of the rebels from a fascist imperialism.

Should the Italian workers prevent the shipping of arms to the Algerians? Let any ultra-leftists dare answer this question in the affirmative. Every revolutionist, together with the Italian workers and the rebellious Algerians, would spurn such an answer with indignation. Even if a general maritime strike broke out in fascist Italy at the same time, even in this case the strikers should make an exception in favor of those ships carrying aid to the colonial slaves in revolt; otherwise they would be no more than wretched trade unionists – not proletarian revolutionists.

Another constantly-raised issue is the problem of the “militarization” of the struggle. There are leftists who live in a liberal dream world in which the Syrian revolution had a choice between the “Tahrir road” of mass, unarmed demonstrations on the one hand, and civil war on the other. But the revolutionaries did not choose civil war – it was imposed upon them by the regime.

That is not to say there are not problems with the militarization of the revolution. One of the most obvious is it gives increased power to people with guns, and to established power structures on a local and regional level. It makes grass roots control more difficult. And undoubtedly those who can control the arms supply into Syria will pursue their own agenda, and try to bend their clients to their will.

It is at this point that many leftists argue against the SNC and some of the high-profile defectors from the Assad regime on the basis that they are tied to imperialism. They might well be, but what really indicts them is their determination to crush the Syrian revolution, to limit it to a version of what happened when Mubarak fell in Egypt – a transfer from one figurehead of a despotic regime to another, with no change in policy.

So far, that has been the great betrayal of the Arab revolution. In Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has worked hand in glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Israeli Mossad – there is no denying it and it is a disgrace. But the biggest disgrace is not primarily to do with imperialism. What keeps the revolution going is that there is no genuine democracy in Egypt, and there is no justice for workers. The masses who made the revolution still confront the same basic apparatus and the same economic problems that they did before January 25.

In that sense, although the terrain of the struggle is very different, the same revolution is going on in Egypt, in Syria, and across the Arab world. The single most important fact about Syria – and it is the single most important fact about the Arab revolution as a whole – is that is has not been defeated.

Gopal’s Harper’s article illustrates this. It ends with a description of his last day in Taftanaz, at the Friday prayers in a town heavy with “the atmosphere of defeat…[a town] reduced to heaps of rotting trash and broken concrete”. And yet after the prayers, men and boys left the mosque and headed to the central square, the site of so much death:

The protest was a ritual of survival, part of a revolution that seemingly can’t be won, yet somehow refuses to be extinguished. On a mound of twisted metal and concrete shards that had once been a house, a group unfurled a banner that read: EVEN FROM THE RUBBLE, WE WILL FIGHT THE REGIME.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Arthur August 22, 2012 at 8:22 am

Surprisingly good!

Still fails to actively support the Syrian calls for armed assistance and even says “it is incumbent on the left to oppose imperialist intervention”. But that appears to be lip service in a transitional article with the general thrust being to prepare their supporters for at least not opposing assistance even if they still won’t actually support it.


Aaron Aarons September 3, 2012 at 2:25 am

Unlike the two murderous wars against Iraq, in 1991 and 2003-?, which Arthur and his allies here like Patrick Muldowney actively supported and almost the entire global left opposed, it’s much harder to actively oppose imperialist assistance to any faction in Syria for the simple reason that such assistance is basically covert. If the imperialist powers start bombing Syria, there will be something to actively oppose.

But, given the location of Syria right next to the ZIonist state, the U.S. and the other Western imperialists aren’t going to do anything major in regard to Syria until the Israel lobby tells them to. And. like almost everybody else, the Zionists haven’t quite figured out who to support in Syria and what they would like to see happen. This is very much unlike the situation in relation to Iraq, where all the U.S.-led wars and embargoes that have killed millions of Iraqis and left that country economically and militarily crippled were instigated by the Israel lobby to serve the Israeli interest in destroying its main regional rival. (The standard explanation that any of this was a war for oil has been properly debunked by, among others, Arthur, Patrick M, and company, but their alternative claim that it was a ‘war for democracy’ is even less credible, and reminds me of the crap that was dished out to us when I was in seventh grade about 60 years ago.)


Arthur September 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

I generally ignore your posts, even when they contain some point that it might be useful to respond to because your general trollish tone makes it clear that you merely want to draw attention to yourself with no interest in or possibility of persuading anyone to agree with you on anything.

I’m making an exception because it would be churlish not to do so for a comment that acknowledges:

“The standard explanation that any of this was a war for oil has been properly debunked by, among others, Arthur, Patrick M, and company …”

The “Israel Lobby” explanation you advocate was indeed the main alternative theory among opponents of the Iraq war.

In the case of Syria it is fairly obvious (and widely understood) that the Israeli government would prefer Assad to remain in power but knows there is nothing they can do about it. Only Assad’s supporters are shouting about what a heroic resister he is. Everyone actually involved knows the opposite. The Palestinian experience with Syria in Lebanon is such that the Palestine National Council broke into applause when Syrian jet fighters were shot down (even though that was done by Israeli jets).

In the case of the Kuwait war it was completely obvious that the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait was a war for oil. Nearly every country in the world supported the war to remove Iraq from Kuwait. Israel’s main role was to try and draw attention to itself (SCUD attacks) despite the fact that it was the almost the only country in the region that could not take part in the US led UN authorized coalition – because the others would not accept them and the US refused IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) radar codes which meant that any Israeli aircraft trying to join in would be shot down. That situation confirmed that the Israel lobby’s argument that Israel served a vital role as a US ally in the region no longer had any connection to actual strategic realities. The real situation understood from then on among US policy makers was that the Arab-Israeli issue, was, as Paul Wolfowitz described it “unquestionably an albatross around our necks”.

Despite how obvious it was that the Kuwait war had nothing to do with Israel and that Sadaam firing rubbish bins at Israel was pure diversion, unfortunately many Palestinians (including Yassir Arafat) supported Iraq occupying Kuwait, giving credence to the idea that it had something to do with Israel and doing great damage to themselves. (Part of the explanation for Palestinian enthusiasm for Iraq lay in their hostility to Syria which had much more direct involvement and did far more direct damage to Palestinians and was itself hostile to Iraq).

In the case of the 2003 Iraq war it was less obvious that the “Israel lobby” theory explained nothing, but the main reason for its popularity was the absurdity of the oil theory (and vice versa – people were attracted to the oil theory because the Israel lobby theory smelled too much of anti-semitic conspiracy theories). Since the official explanations (WMDs) were obvious lies and there was no left capable of serious analysis, people needed some theory and those were the two on offer (plans to actually hold free elections in Iraq and destabilize the whole region were not publicized at all, as Congress, with the Israel lobby at the head, would certainly have refused funding for such a war).

Although there was more division of opinion among Zionists about Iraq than about Syria, and some did strongly support the war, it was quite noticeable (though not widely noticed) that the Israeli Government simply shut up about it because they did not support it but knew opposition would only annoy the Americans without changing anything and the Israel lobby did NOT mobilize for it. Ths should have been obvious from the way advocates of the theory had to focus on the tiny handful of jewish neocons in the Republican party, whereas the vast majority of people amenable to lobby influence were liberal Democrats and inclined against the war.

The reality of course is that Israel is only able to dominate the region because Arab countries are governed by weak autocracies incapable of defending Arab interests. When Israel is surrounded by modern, industrialized Arab democracies it will be in a much more difficult position. They know that and strongly prefer the region to remain a swamp.


Brian S. September 3, 2012 at 3:02 pm

@Arthur. In fact, Arthur,the “main alternative theory”( in fact not “alternative” but the “main theory” full stop among serious left analysts) was (and is) the one I have articulated in other threads – that this war was driven by the desire to restore / protect / advance the global strategic power of US imperialism. And this perspective was not only that of serious left analysts; it was also the framework in which George W Bush and his entourage, addressed the issue, as all the documentation on the decision making process in the White House evidences.


Arthur September 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Ok, perhaps your “theory” shoulld have been mentioned too.

But in mentioning it one would have to describe it as a non-theory. Its obviously true but doesn’t explain anything.

The oil theory offers a purported explanation of why oil (or even more bizarrely the currencies in which oil is traded) made invading Iraq appear to US imperialist decision makers as something that would “restore / protect / advance the global strategic power of US imperialism”.

You don’t offer an explanation of why invading Iraq, as opposed to for example not invading Iraq, or perhaps invading Venezuela (Chomsky’s next prediction) might be thought by US imperialist leaders likely to restore / protect / advance the global strategic power of US imperialism. After all the overwhelming majority of the foreign policy community were strongly advising that it wouldn’t, and it was pretty obvious from defeat in Vietnam that invasions can result in huge setbacks for the global strategic power of US imperialism. So you have to actually explain what made the invasion attractive and you simply don’t.

Consider that exactly the same “theory” could be and is offered for the failure of the US to act effectively in Syria – they do that to restore / protect / advance the global strategic power of US imperialism.

There is simply no action or inaction that is not “explained” by offering truisms.

The Israel lobby theory offers an explanation of why the US might invade Iraq despite it running counter to US interests (ie because the lobby is able to make the US do things in Israels interests). It therefore qualifies as a theory rather than a non-theory.

The emptiness of your theory is highlighted by the fact that its advocates often simultaneously accept that invading Iraq in fact did nothing to restore / protect / advance the global strategic power of US imperialism and combine it with a theory that the Bush administration were insane. eg Chomsky would adopt your phrasing and then explain failing to establish a puppet regime as some sort of ineptitude.

It thus belongs with other non-theories I didn’t mention such as Bush Jr doing it because Bush Senior didn’t, or in revenge for Iraqi attempts to assassinate Bush Sr etc etc. or because he’s insane and heard voices from God telling him to etc etc.


byork September 4, 2012 at 4:45 am

Aaron Aarons, the Israel theory is proven wrong by the fact that Israel did all it could, during 2002, to dissuade the Bush administration from invading Iraq. My source for this is Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Pressure came from Sharon himself but also from “a procession of Israeli officials” during 2002.,7340,L-3444393,00.html The Israelis, including intelligence officials as well as politicians, argued that, if the region were to be destabilized, best to invade Iran. Of course, there was no hope of this happening. (Indeed, what passes for the ‘left’ assured us that Iran would be invaded ten years ago, was the real target, etc, and continues to make the assurance every new year.) The fascistic regime in Iraq had made itself completely do-able during the 1990s. Like all reactionaries, Saddam Hussein was a paper tiger.

Aaron, has it crossed your mind that you were on the same side as every oppressor in the region in arguing against the US-led overthrow of the dictator in Iraq? Muammar Gaddafi et al all saw the writing on the wall… and you now have as much credibility as they.


Aaron Aarons September 24, 2012 at 2:46 am

Sorry, but it is and was in the interest of the Zionists to deny any responsibility for a war that was and still is unpopular with most of the U.S. population. That one article is probably disinformation. But I didn’t intend to say that Israel was the only reason for the second U.S. war against Iraq.

The best way to understand what the U.S. was up to in invading Iraq is to study the 100 ‘Bremer Orders’, issued by Paul Bremer, the U.S.-imposed dictator of Iraq from mid-2003 to mid-2004, that basically destroyed what was left of Iraq’s economy and turned Iraq into a ‘free-market’ neo-colony of the U.S. and of the global capitalist class in general. A good recent article to start with is Patenting Staple Foods (Bremer’s Order 81) Is Ruinous to Iraq’s Agriculture by Adnan Al-Daini.


Diana Barahona August 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Syrian terrorist reveals torture and murder of kidnapped women
A Syrian, 22 years old, confessed on national television to working with armed terrorist groups in Douma, a town in the province of Damascus, and being an accomplice to the abduction, torture during interrogation and murder of women.

She also revealed that after the interrogation, members of the FSA would “slit the throats of the abducted women and dump their lifeless bodies near a slaughterhouse.”


admin August 23, 2012 at 1:22 am

Don’t spam our comment threads, especially with identical comments.


Diana Barahona August 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Everybody should be following Voltaire Network to find out the true nature of the militias fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.
Interview of journalist Yara Saleh, hostage of the Free Syrian Army
“While the fighters had intended to establish an Islamic Emirate there, the Revolutionary Council—commanded by a Syrian defector—was informed of an imminent attack by the national army. In one video, he threatened to KILL THE JOURNALISTS and demanded the removal of the roadblocks encircling the city to be able to get away.”


Brian S. August 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Given what we’ve established about the credibility of Thierry Meyssan, its not really worth commenting on this, but what the heck! This is a fairly murky event, not helped by my inability to access Arabix material. And its not helped by the involvement of Meyssan. Most of the story he tells is his usual fantasy about jihadist Emirates being set up. But he rather gives the game away when he says that the FSA gfighters were initially welcomed on their arrival in El Tal -by locals “in favour of democracy”. Now this is in a suburb of Damascus. The reason is not difficult to see if you look elsewhere on the internet, as the citizens of El Tal have been attacked by on several occassions by the security forces over the last 5 months whenever they have held anti-government demonstrations.


Aaron Aarons September 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Brian S. writes:

But he rather gives the game away when he says that the FSA gfighters [sic!] were initially welcomed on their arrival in El Tal -by locals “in favour of democracy”.

The closest thing to this, and the only occurrence of the word ‘democracy’, I could find in the linked article is in the first paragraph:

Some pro-democracy residents welcomed them, thinking they shared a common objective.

But I don’t see how either version “gives the game away” unless one was under any illusion that there is no opposition to Assad by those who favor something called ‘democracy’. What is important, and for which we have no impartial information here, is what interaction there was between the local population and the invading fighters.


Brian S. September 3, 2012 at 6:08 am

@Aaron Aarons: “unless one was under any illusion that there is no opposition to Assad by those who favor something called ‘democracy’.” But that is exactly the illusion the regime’s media and its mouthpieces like Meyssan propagate!


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