Déjà Vu in Gaza: Israeli Defence Forces expand their ground operation in Gaza

Alfie Gallagher with a piece on the continuing murderous assault being waged by Zionist Israel on the civilian population of Gaza. It appeared on his blog Left From The West on 20 July 2014.

As the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) expand their ground operation in Gaza, I cannot help but feel a numbing sense of déjà vu. Indeed, if I changed a few details, I could almost pass off the article I wrote about the last major crisis there in November 2012 as a commentary on the current violence. Sadly though, the IDF's Operation Protective Edge is longer and far bloodier than its 2012 offensive. At the time of writing, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the IDF have killed over 400 people in Gaza. Palestinians militants have killed 18 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians. The United Nations (UN) estimates that three-quarters of the Palestinian dead are civilians and that at least 73 were under the age of 18. More children will surely die before it's over.

Just as they did in 2012, US government, the EU and the bulk of the mainstream media have framed the current escalation as Israeli self-defence in response to Hamas rocket fire. That argument is just as spurious today as it was back then. In spite of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's self-serving rhetoric, the timing of the current crisis in Gaza was one of his choosing.

On the pretext of rescuing three Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped on June 11 near an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Netanyahu ordered a deadly crackdown on Hamas. He did this even though all of the evidence available to the Israeli intelligence services suggested that the teenagers were killed almost immediately after being abducted by members of the Qawasmeh clan in Hebron, a rogue faction of Hamas that often disobeys the Hamas leadership. There is no evidence that Hamas itself ordered the abduction and murder of the teens.

However, Netanyahu's goverment was angered by the tentative reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah in recent months. Talks between these two rival Palestinian factions led to the formation of a national unity government on June 10. Most of the ministers are independent technocrats and none are members of Hamas, but Netanyahu condemned the formation of the government as an endorsement of terrorism. Moreover, when the both the EU and the US State Department gave cautious, qualified support to the unity government, the Israeli Prime Minister was livid.

The kidnapping of the Israeli teenagers the very next day gave Netanyahu the perfect opportunity to vent his anger. What the Israeli PM presented as a "rescue mission" was in reality a massive IDF campaign against Hamas in the West Bank, one in which 5 Palestinians were killed, 340 were arrested, 1350 homes were searched, and Hamas's social and charity infrastructure was raided and weakened. Hamas''s military wing in Gaza inevitably responded with barrages of rockets into southern Israel, giving Netanyahu his justification for another major military campaign.

So essentially Operation Projective Edge  is just a much bloodier rerun of Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, which was itself a truncated sequel to the bloodbath that was Operation Cast Lead in 2008. The bitter irony is that these operations achieve nothing but a massive increase in rocket fire while they are under way. Indeed, as researchers for the Jerusalem Fund point out, "[t]he single most effective way to bring projectile fire from Gaza to a halt is through a cease-fire agreement." What is more, their analysis demonstrates that the majority of Palestinian projectile fire is in retaliation for IDF incursions, missile strikes, Palestinian injuries/deaths and attacks on Palestinian fisherman.

Of course, Hamas militants are not innocent in all of this. Clearly, the rogue members who abducted and murdered the Israeli teenagers in June knew what the IDF response would be. The Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar argues that there are divisions between the hardline military wing of Hamas and its older, more pragmatic political leaders. In his view, the kidnappers "have brought Hamas to a place where its leadership never intended to go." However, in the context of the recent crackdown and the ongoing blockade of Gaza, it seems the pragmatists have been undermined and the military wing is now in the ascendancy.

With ISIS on the rise in Iraq, Bashar al-Assad "re-elected" in Syria, and Gaza in turmoil, thousands of ordinary people in the Middle East will continue to suffer and to die. For them, nothing ever changes and their blood never dries.


  1. Important to keep doing this Alfie.

  2. Don't understand this placing of Assad's re-election on a par with the rise of ISIS and the Israeli bloodshed inflicted on Palestine and feel it should have no place in this narrative. Thousands of people will not 'continue to suffer or die' because of Bashar al-Assad, in fact it's the complete opposite and that is borne out by the massive endorsement the man received in the recent Presidential elections. The Syrian people recognised what many on this site were simply incapable of taking onboard, that the future of Syria was inextricably tied to the one man who could prevent the disintegration of their historic nation alongside the Balkanisation of the Syrian state. Given the ability of the Syrian Arab Army to stand up to the atrocious terrorist violence imposed by outside forces and prevent the break-up of Syria (a scenario that seems increasingly on the cards in war-torn Iraq) those who argued Assad was a bulwark against the Zionist agenda of Eretz Israel can take succour in the decision of the Syrian people who have backed this analysis in overwhelming numbers. There's much in the article but that at the end is completely uncalled for and for me I just don't know how it fits in. Why drag the horrendous violence inflicted on Syria into this and suggestively place the blame on Assad as though he were somehow of the same ilk as those inflicting the violence on Palestine and Iraq?

  3. that is borne out by the massive endorsement the man received in the recent Presidential elections

    Haha I missed the result, did he get more less than Saddam’s 99% average?

    You should note Sean that even George Galloway thought it was time for Assad to go, a heriditary dictator the same as the British Royals. ‘My enemies enemy...’ is not defensible in this case.

  4. George Galloway might concentrate on lending his support to the independence campaign in his own country before interjecting in Syria. As for the election in Syria it has met the criteria of international standards and is widely recognised as a democratic election. Who is Galloway or anyone else - ourselves included - to tell the Syrian people who should or should not rule. They've reached that decision for themselves and many of us were long aware that Assad carried overwhelming endorsement among Syrians long before this election

  5. Thanks Sean. Ill check out the Syria election points after work. To me it seems Assad (and the rest) use Israel as bullwark against their own people, and thus its right to be put in the bracket the article places him.

    Who is George Galloway? Dunno really, If you wanted to be cruel you could say a brown noser of middle eastern dictators? Its better to say who is isnt, and he isnt some neo-con Zionist shill calling for bloodshed in the middle east.He loved Assad for his support to Palestine too. Of course you can form your own opinions, my point was to put the rest of the site (whom you mentioned) in his camp, its not an incredulous position.

  6. I'm merely saying none of us have the right to tell the Syrian people, who are themselves subject to a barbaric war being waged at the behest of outside imperialist interests, how or who should run their affairs when they've shown us they can determine that for themselves

  7. The point is no matter if Galloway or anyone else for that matter thought it prudent or just or whatever else for Assad to go, the people of Syria clearly think otherwise - a fact many informed observers recognised long, long before this election, which has been deemed to meet democratic standards by almost everyone bar Washington and their lapdogs. The violent protests in that country were orchestrated from the very beginning to destabilise the Syrian society using the same platform so successfully integrated into the Libyan regime change, which became the model. The Syrian people and much of the wider world have seen through this all for what it is and have spoken

  8. Sean,

    The fact that Russia, Iran, Cuba, et cetera declared the Syrian election to be free and fair is about as meaningful as Gerry Adams declaring that black is white.

    How can an election be fair if it excludes most of the candidates who tried to stand in it? The Baath Party-controlled Syrian parliament passed legislation which stipulated that candidates must have lived in Syria for the past 10 years and have the support of at least 35 MPs. This conveniently disqualified all of the opposition figures that the regime itself has exiled over the years. In fact, of the 24 prospective presidential candidates, only Assad and two well-muzzled members of the officially tolerated "opposition" met the strict criteria to run for office.

    Moreover, how can an election be democratic if the vast majority of Syrians outside of Assad's strongholds cannot vote? More than half the Syrian population has either fled the country or is internally displaced. The Syrian electoral commissioners banned from voting all those refugees who did not leave through the regime's official border crossings. How very democratic of them!

    This article explains the mechanics of the Syrian election.

    As long as you've been commenting here, Sean, you've been a shill for the murderous Syrian dictatorship. You're no better than Israeli PM's spokesman Mark Regev.

  9. Yeah right Alfie, spot on with the smear. At all times I've said the situation in Syria was the making of outside forces and that the only viable way for the country to regain stability was under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad. I've said from the outset that when the Syrian people demand greater democratic input if and when such is achieved we should support them one hundred percent in that endeavour. I've no interest in dictatorship of any description so please get your facts straight before you compare me with a scumbag like Mark Regev. You my friend are on the side of the Zionist with your twisted efforts to incorporate the Assad regime into the narrative surrounding the bloodbath taking place in Iraq and in Palestine. All of these events are indeed connected but not as you try to suggest. They are all the logical outworking of a long-running scheme to crush regional powers such as Iraq and Syria that Israel might profit at their expense, becoming in effect the sole regional superpower while also expanding its territory under what we know as the Yinon Plan. The quality of the regime in Damascus or the former Hussein regime in Iraq is not the issue in this instance, we all know they're no model for human rights. But that's never been what I've based my points on, at all times the argument has been that we should support the Assad regime as it was the only way of ensuring survival for the country itself which would otherwise become a failed state to be dismembered at the behest of the Zionist and their partners in Washington and London - just as we see is the case in Iraq and increasingly in Libya

  10. Disinformation or propaganda is classically inserted where you least expect to find it in order to impact at the subliminal level where it can better take root. By associating the one, which perhaps forms part of a contested narrative, with the other which is more readily agreeable, results are there to be attained. This applies as much to your comment associating me with Regev and Bibi as it does your association of Assad with the Zionists and their evil creature currently wreaking all manner of chaos, death and destruction in his country, the ISIS. ISISrael. The conclusion to your piece is straight out of the Mossad's disinfo manual. How can that be saying you criticised the Zionist regime itself? Well that's to be expected from an author such as yourself but if we can only get those damn opponents of ours who will not concede to our narrative to at least bolster the imperialist position in Syria or anywhere else that suits our interests while doing so then it's not a complete loss. People like yourself who agitate against Damascus at this time need to consider what happens were that regime to fall. We only need look at the catastrophe in Libya and across the border in Iraq where society is in a state of total breakdown and killing is an everyday feature of life. Is that what you want for the people of Syria? The country is already half destroyed, with the economy in ruins and over 7 million displaced inside its borders. Who's agenda is this? We know there are huge problems with the record of the Syrian regime and hope to see all this addressed if the war can only be brought to an end. But we also know it's the only Arab country that maintained a principled stand and refused a shameful peace treaty normalising with the enemy like the rest of the sell outs who you leave untouched. It's the Zionist's work you do whether you realise it or not. Regev? Hmmm... It's usually a good idea to avoid name-calling, quite often it can be the kettle calling the pot-arse black

  11. Disinformation, Sean? I'm not the one who tried to pass off Bashar al-Assad's "reelection" as free, fair and democratic. I'm not supporting a dictatorship who responded to initially peaceful protests with mass murder, imprisonment and torture. I don't make excuses for security forces who rape detainees with bottles and sticks. You do.

    You claimed that the Syrian election this year was democratic. I refuted your claim. You can't deal with that -- hence your verbal diarrhea.

  12. That you cling to the notion the situation in Syria arose from peaceful anti-regime protests in Da'raa shows your skewed, Zionist-manipulated understanding of what's happening in that country and indeed the wider region. But if it's a concern for human rights that drives your thinking on such matters rather than an analysis of imperialism and its role in promoting violence and conflict to serve its own strategic ends I dread to think what you've to say on the armed struggle here at home and the horrible things that happened here during its course. Given how akin your comments are to the denunciations of Unionism I can only imagine. At the end of the day Alfie I'd sooner be a shill vomiting out the verbal diarrhea of Damascus than a purveyor of disinformation on behalf of Zionism and its propgandists. For the record I can deal with anyone refuting any claim made by myself, that's par for the course in any debate. Personal insults though are a different story

  13. Sean,

    I supported my argument by citing reports from Amnesty International and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. You just keep pulling factoids out of your own arse.

  14. Amnesty International - that impartial beacon of truth and justice - you're having a laugh, next thing you'll be quoting Human Rights Watch. Amnesty's record on speaking out against abuse in Britain's Irish prisons speaks for who's boss when it counts. Why was US Ambassador Robert S. Ford, protege of the notorious John Negroponte of Honduran infamy, shifted from Baghdad to Damascus only two months before this apparent latest outbreak of the Arab Spring? Informed observers are acutely aware of his role in integrating mercenary death squads into the opposition in Iraq to institute chaos at street level, the purpose being to stem the growing Shiite-led insurgency rising out of Sadr City through the orchestration of tension to promote division. But in hindsight yeah he was probably sent to Syria for completely unrelated reasons and the 'spontaneous' uprising in Da'raa, which coincidentally according to Seymour Hersh was planned out in 2007 (the US-Israeli-Saudi plot to arm vicious sectarian extremists and unleash them on Syria was the focus of his internationally renowned 'Redirection' of that year), was merely happenstance. Long before the slogan 'Arab Spring' was concocted by those who control and manipulate the Western media the violence now ravaging Syria was being planned, with training, funding and arms being supplied to those who were to carry out the task. With that in mind it's not all that strange that in the initial exchanges you reference 70 percent of those injured or killed by gunfire were Syrian policemen, very peaceful protests alright. The whole thing is manipulated from start to finish and serves the same interest as the invasion of Gaza, to neuter political enemies of the Zionist that they might profit at their expense. The intervention in Syria is not responsive to violence (itself of the West's own making) in order to protect the Syrian people from arch-butcher Assad, rather it's a case of orchestrating violence as pretext for expansionist military intervention in pursuit of region-wide conquest on behalf of the powers that be. But I guess that's just pro-Assad verbal diarrhoea pulled from my hole. Check out Hersh's article for yourself, or maybe he speaks out of his backside as well? I'm sure you can locate it for yourself

  15. It's important to place the conflict inside Syria in the context of the US-Israeli project to reshape the region and dismantle the resistance system. That's why I lend support to the Assad regime and oppose Western revisionist accounts that promote, often without realising it, a skewed narrative that deliberately misdirects the audience away from the reality the crisis has been generated to serve the context I've mentioned. Read up on the Yinon plan for yourself, I'm sure it's easily found. My support for Assad is not borne out of some blind addiction to the regime in Syria, which I long ago stated was in need of reform, but because of the true nature of the conflict going on in that country and the source of its genesis. Also because we can see clearly from what's happening in Iraq and Libya what lies in store for the people of Syria should the Zionist scheme prevail. That's why I raised the matter and I still don't see how you thought Assad, ISIS and the Zionist offensive in Gaza neatly fitted together. Your article was perfect until you threw that in. Your insults, language and tone though are a different matter. Good day

  16. Amnesty's record in speaking out on Britain's Irish prisons may not include every instance of abuse or every prisoner who fell foul of mistreatment but it is far better than many other NGOs and they spoke out against many abuses here on many occasions.

  17. Although the argument has become heated, in my view Alfie is right to reference Assad in this piece. Alfie appears to write from a perspective of opposing Israeli actions because they are war crimes. In that sense it is hardly out of place to refer to another war criminal in the Middle East.

    I agree with the implication of the Alfie piece that war criminals are no less so because they take cover behind the banner of anti-imperialism. A war crime can hardly be justified because it is carried out by anti-imperialists. The legitimacy of a grievance doesn't transfer automatically to the means used to redress it. Otherwise rape could be justified on the grounds that anti imperialists might use it to undermine imperialist morale. The Soviets perpetrated massive war crimes through rape in Germany in 1945.

    If we look at the situation in Gaza and hear an Israeli academic state that the way to stop Hamas is to rape their wives and daughters, such an action would be a heinous war crime. It would be no less so were Hamas to advocate raping Israeli women. Although no one from Hamas that I am aware of has advocated this type of abomination.

    I think if the logic reaches the point where we claim some people are more worthy of human rights than others then we are truly racist in that we exclude some people from the category of human. The Nazis called it Untermensch and Menachim Begin is reputed to have subscribed to the same type of perspective.

  18. The Nazis called it Untermensch and Menachim Begin is reputed to have subscribed to the same type of perspective.

    Sorry, so do Hamas (and Muslims in general) with their term 'kuffar' , but then people are keen infantalise them so it's not seriously examined . This is the racism of lower expectations.

  19. Well I don't condemn or oppose the Israeli actions because they are war crimes, I do so because they have no right to be there in the first place. A laudable approach it may well be but what's being said here, that the Syrian Arab Army is currently engaged in war crime? That's the comparison - regardless of what charges have been laid against Assad or his father in the past. To most observers they are defending their country from external attack, a point some have long made while others found it difficult to digest but a point which has become at this stage accepted wisdom given the reams and reams of information that have come out in relation to external funding, arming, manipulating and orchestration that stretches back long before the staged protests began. Basically you's are saying that a country and an army defending themselves from external attack are committing war crime, as I said it worries me to think how all that can be interpreted in regards the criminality of the armed struggle here at home given some of the tactics used. I leave you's to it

  20. I'm off to a wedding here so can't chat much more on this, but regardless of what's said you stick to the same line relentlessly. The approach being taken by Alfie and supported now by yourself in my view criminalises the entirely legitimate Syrian struggle for peace in their own country. Without the unifying presence of Bashar al-Assad that country would long ago have become a basket case vis-a-vis Libya and the like of Iraq, that's the singular reason why he was proffered support, not as a justification for his alleged war crimes or anything else. That's how I call it and I think it's a very dangerous game being played. Should the Provisional IRA then be put on a par with Israel given you yourself have accused it of having committed war crimes and said it matters not the extent or their level when we're dealing with this phenomena? That's the approach both of you's are taking here whether you care to see it or not. Syria has the right to defend itself, that this can even be brought into question I find shocking. Any suggestion that Syria is as Israel in this instance I find absolutely appalling, regardless of whatever you might say about Assad. Enjoy the weekend

  21. Sean,

    I suppose that is one of the essential differences at play. Israel has no right to be there and for that reason it seems right to oppose it on those grounds alone. But equally it has no right to inflict war crimes and that too are grounds alone to oppose it.

    I don't see where anyone anywhere on this thread has argued that a country and an army defending itself from external attack is committing war crimes. The argument is that no army has the right to commit war crimes.

    As for Ireland the IRA committed war crimes: the disappeared and Kingsmill are but two examples. We might not like it, be deeply ashamed of it but there seems no escaping it.

  22. You embrace and adopt the doctrines of the West, themselves designed to criminalise and defeat others while ensuring at all times they will never be subject to these doctrines themselves. Are we saying then that Kingsmill was a war crime devoid of context or are we saying what happened was a manifestation of the realpolitik brought into play by the actions of others? Because this is at the hub of what's in question here to my mind. War crime may well be wrong but we can't divorce such from the context in which it takes place, which is often the greater evil, when making sweeping judgements.
    Who created the situation in Syria, a peaceful region for centuries until the British and French became involved, who created the conditions in which Hafez and others like him flourished? Who created the situation this time around yet again? Like Kingsmill much of this was responsive to a situation defined by others which is as far as I've ever went in any of this despite accusations of being a shill - a true Americanism in itself if ever there were one. But the bottom line is no matter how you choose to spin it the gratuitous linkage between Assad, the Zionist offensive in Gaza and the horrendous killings perpetrated by the ISIS in Iraq and indeed in Syria itself is designed to criminalise, whether by intent or not, the Syrian Arab Army and its legitimate right to self defence. Roy Mason would struggle to do a better job, the criminalisation of Syria is complete when it's considered on a par with Zionism and its evil offspring the ISIS.
    I said this earlier but it seems not to have come through so I'll repeat it. I'm off to a wedding here so can't chat much more on this, but regardless of what's said you stick to the same line relentlessly. The approach being taken by Alfie and supported now by yourself in my view criminalises the entirely legitimate Syrian struggle for peace in their own country. Without the unifying presence of Bashar al-Assad that country would long ago have become a basket case vis-a-vis Libya and the like of Iraq, that's the singular reason why he was proffered support, not as a justification for his alleged war crimes or anything else.
    That's how I call it and I think it's a very dangerous game being played. Should the Provisional IRA then be put on a par with Israel given you yourself have accused it of having committed war crimes and said it matters not the extent or their level when we're dealing with this phenomena? That's the approach both of you's are taking here whether you care to see it or not. Syria has the right to defend itself, just as you yourself had here, that this can even be brought into question I find shocking. Any suggestion that Syria is as Israel in this instance I find absolutely appalling, regardless of whatever you might say about Assad. Enjoy the weekend regardless, too good a day to be spending twisting in the wind when minds are already made up anyway

  23. Sean,

    like yourself I don't have the time and I have made the point so often. I don't share your neutral approach to Israeli war crimes per se, neither to be condemned nor condoned. I have a very different view as you know. I suppose I stick to the reasoning that I subscribe to because little has been said to challenge it. Assad is a major war criminal and I see no point in trying to delude myself that he is not.

    I think you underscore the point very well that context is alibi, something I have been saying for years.

    I do think your case becomes tenuous, given that you were furious at Alfie for drawing a comparison between yourself and Regev's attitude and then likening my approach to Roy Mason; not a debate I really want to be part of. Nothing to be learned from it.

  24. Just to be clear the comparison with Roy Mason did not relate to you but to Alfie, his linking of the Syrian government to the criminal Zionists and their offspring the ISIS is a criminalisation job even he would be proud of

  25. AM- I think you said as much before but it all boils down to the fact that war crimes and crimes of inhumanity are so heinous that context or circumstance or justness of cause can never excuse them.

    Human rights are so called because they belong to every human, without exception. There may be conflicting rights and when there are the greater weight is given to the more serious or important rights, those of which the violation would have a greater detrimental impact.

    War crimes and crimes against humanity are so extreme a violation of human rights that no excuse can ever be made for them. They can never be legitimised.

    Unfortunately in our world today prolific war criminals tend to win wars. Although there is always some level of criminality in war (and on every side) the people who respect human rights tend to lose territory and lose wars. Maybe through a lack of viciousness. I believe Terence MacSwiney's famous statement about suffering was great propaganda and laudable but inherently inaccurate.

    With the world looking on at Gaza impotently and with the US opting out of the international war crimes tribunal we are quickly losing sight of the power of just action and respect for humankind.

    We need to return to a place where human rights are pro actively and enthusiastically enforced by all sides in all wars. There should be just and proportionate sanction for those that transgress the border into inhumanity. Whoever they are.

  26. Simon,

    it escapes easy answer. I suppose there is some truth in the maxim that might is right because might makes it right.

    I don't think we should take up a position because it is laudable - tyrants laud other tyrants. I think we take it up because we believe it to be just. And then we take it up as an intellectual position which we might be caught short on once the battle begins and we find ourselves invoking existential threat, situational logic and military necessity to retreat from the position we initially argued.

    All we can hope to do is try to reach a point in our thinking that makes certain actions such a taboo that the force field they throw up curbs any momentary, instinctive or impulsive tendency to cross the line.

    My own view is that war crimes are beyond the pale and we should be firm about them, never making excuses for their authors on the grounds that they are one our side. We should never be on the side of war criminals but on the side of those who have been the recipients of war criminality.

    Can we do it in practice? We can try. If we fail we should at least desist from pretending we behaved justly for some greater good.

  27. AM, You are right of course that we should stop pretending a war crime can be justified for the greater good.

    I think those ethical conundrums such as 'torturing a suspect to gain knowledge of an incoming attack' or 'what if we kill innocent noncombatants to achieve victory and an overall situation which is more just and equitable for all participants' are inherently flawed and we should all strive to be ethical and moral in all our actions particulaly in war when people are most vulnerable.

    Otherwise it inevitably leads to depravity, inhumanity and injustice.

  28. AM, you were right to point out my misuse of the word "laudable". I was struggling to find the right word.

  29. I have to agree with seanbres, anyone trying to equate the ISIS,Assad and what's happening in Palestine is failing to grasp what really is going on in the Middle East and Africa.
    To fire down arguments by suggesting George galloway(he who rejects Scottish independence by the way) said this or Amnesty International(who recently stated that most atrocities carried out in Ukraine were done by Russian separatists) said that, is very weak indeed.
    Other observers view ISIS as a CIA funded group, a bit like the mujahideen and Osama bin laden back in the 80's. The western press reports on this group should surely be taken with a pinch of salt similar to the 'white widow' reports in Africa.
    Just like Libya, Syria was a quite liberal country compared to some other Arab countries in that region. And if you take a jook at how Obama and NATO brought 'freedom' to Libya you would think twice about urging these warmongers visiting upon Syria.
    Some would argue that ISIS failed to defeat the Syria army despite lots of assistance from the CIA,mi6 etc that they've decided to target Iran's other new ally, Iraq. Because make no mistake this ISIS carry on is all designed to build up a power base to take on
    Iran....the west real target in the Middle East.

  30. Simon,

    I was thinking more of something Sean had said about laudable but I wasn't criticising either of you, merely pointing out that while a position might well be laudable, that would not be the reason for assuming it. It is also inherently susceptible to populism.

  31. Robert Fisk has no doubt that the people pictured in Syria protesting in the streets were not those fighting at the peak of its civil war. He was in Syria at the time of the protests and the war.

    It is a pity the West (for wont of a better term) intervened to aid the rebels. They still supported the rebels even after one rebel commander's own estimations put Al Qaeda members at 10% of the total rebel force.

    It would have been better if the war wasn't started in the first place but Assad is most likely responsible for War Crimes. The rebels too.

    ISIS are a relatively unknown force but there is little doubt as to whose progeny they are. Financial and military assistance tends not to be the best idea to say the least. As the recipients whether in Afghanistan, Syria or perhaps even in Israel will get strong enough eventually to turn against their masters.

  32. Wolf tone, I definitely didn't defer to Galloway to shoot down an argument, that would be intellectually lazy.
    I was pointing out that even his staunchest defenders now deem his position untenable, and that places you in a peculiar position : Republicans defending a hereditary dictator because he ‘strong arms’ his country into upholding borders the said Republicans also deem illegitimate, British-French creations in the first place.

  33. DaithiD
    I most certainly am not defending Assad/dictator. But when countries that continually masquerade as champions of human rights around the world and pontificate about dictators etc but traditionally propped up dictators in every major continent in the world in recent years, i have to take a step back and question their true motives.
    As a matter of fact some of these countries managed to overthrow dictators/junta much to the chagrin of the US and europe eg Venezuela. And rather than applaud these nations these so called proponents of human rights have been blatantly attempting to reverse their progress and are effectively agitating the collapse of these democratic governments simply because they refuse to allow the west to dictate their policies.
    So for anybody to suggest that the US,UK etc are genuine about the welfare of the people of Syria,Ukraine etc is indeed laughable if not tragic.
    Yes indeed Syria should be a democracy and Assad possibly is a thug but he is no different to the thugs agitating his overthrow in fact i would say these western leaders are worse, after all they at the drop of a hat decide what country they must bring their kind of 'freedom' to, which more often the case tends to be a country that doesnt embrace the western ethos.
    When the ironically named middle east peace envoy Blair is demanding the west bombs the shite out of Syria then surely people must pause and wonder why? This 'democrat' has broken more laws and affected the lives of more people around the world than some so called dictators have. How? simply by lying,cheating,covering up,bending the rules and indeed changing the rules to suit whatever agenda hes affiliated to. And still people fall for his sincerity.
    Whether its the bombing to death of thousands of Iraqis or Libyans abroad, or the covering up of the child rape of his fellow citizens in the UK, this man hasnt a moral bone in his body. So forgive me if i dont fall in behind and chant the narrative that these 'humanitarian' leaders espouse.