Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Pilger calls for a deal with Assad

John Pilger is hardly alone in saying this:

The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah.  The obstacle is Turkey, an “ally” and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian “rebels”, including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.
A truce – however difficult to achieve – is the only way out of this imperial maze; otherwise, the beheadings will continue. That genuine negotiations with Syria should be seen as “morally questionable” (the Guardian) suggests that the assumptions of moral superiority among those who supported the war criminal Blair remain not only absurd, but dangerous.

In saying it, he merely echoes a range of figures from Peter Hain to Patrick Cockburn and George Galloway.  Nor is he saying this for the first time.  Yet there's a curious logic to the proposal which is odd for anyone professing to be of the radical, anti-imperialist left.

Of course he is correct that the dominant imperialist states are perfectly placed, morally and politically, to negotiate with Assad.  The idea that such talks would taint their diplomats is laughable.  But, however much he wishes it was, this isn't a dispute between the imperialist states and Assad.  The 'truce' he seeks is between those whom he refers to as "'rebels'", with scare quotes, and the regime which he refers to as "Syria", without scare quotes; yet the deal he wants to see negotiated is between imperialist states and "Syria".  And why?  So that Assad can remain in power in order that 'the West' can team up with him to defeat ISIS.

It is only because Pilger et al tend to reduce the Syrian opposition to the machinations of the CIA, MI6 and so on, that the incongruity does not strike them.  Because otherwise, how could one so willingly give the impression that the first duty of the anti-imperialist left is to suggest ways that the imperialist states can defeat a bunch of sectarian jihadis, by throwing their weight behind negotiations to protect and conserve the Assad regime?