Last man standing

George Galloway, langjähriger Freund und Unterstützer Saddam Husseins und großer Freund des syrischen Regimes bekommt langsam kalte Füße und meint, sich doch ein wenig von seinem alten Idol Bashir al-Assad distanzieren zu müssen:

But in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, and, by 2006, Bashar al-Assad was left standing as the last Arab leader not to be in the pocket of the West. Syria was hated, I said that night in the library – not because of the bad things it had done, but because of the good. I outlined them thus: Syria has refused to sign a surrender peace with Israel, refused to abandon its territory on the Golan to the illegal occupiers. Syria has refused to abandon the Palestinian resistance, continuing to give safe haven for the leaders, and fighters, of virtually the whole gamut of resistance organisations. Syria has insisted on supporting the Lebanese resistance, has refused to allow its territory to be used as a base against the resistance in Iraq and so forth. It was all true, of course, but it was not the whole truth.

The dark side of the Syrian regime, its authoritarian character, its police state mentality – above all, its deep-seated corruption, fantastically exacerbated by the regime’s neo-liberal turn with its attendant privatisations – substituting state property for private ownership by the regime’s comprador, by and large. This was another part of the truth, though partly concealed by the Arab nationalist, anti-imperialist character of the Syrian people and their government. This has been the experience lived by most Syrians for more than forty years. That’s a lot of darkness.

It was formerly possible to judge Syria by the nature of its enemies – Israeli, US, British and French imperialism, the Arab reactionaries, the Salafist sectarian fanatics – for as long as the Syrian people remained either supportive or were largely quiescent behind the regime, even if only for fear of something worse. And for as long as the president, Bashar al-Assad, held out hope for real reform towards democracy, open government and an end to the rampant corruption – much of it concentrated around his own family and close cronies. That hope now dangles by a thread.

To describe the mass uprising in Syria, day after day, for months – undaunted by the steadily rising price in blood being paid by the protesters, as the actions of „terrorists“ and „gunmen“ is a gross distortion. In fact, the regime itself looks more and more like the terrorist, certainly the gunmen, in this picture. This is a genuine popular uprising taking place in Syria, even if it is heavily infiltrated by all of Syria’s enemies – the enemies of all the Arabs in my view.

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