Sunday, 27 November 2011

Syria: the liberal media apologises to viewers and readers for any confusion

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq we, America and Britain’s Liberal-Left media, may very well have given the impression that President Assad of Syria was a bit of a tough-guy hero who spoke for Muslims everywhere in resisting what was evidently an attempt by undemocratic fundamentalist Christian regimes to thwart the will of the Arab World by launching a Crusade against Iraq.

We were rather too busy sneering at the simple-minded warmonger Dubya for having “inherited” the Presidency from his father by somehow soliciting the help of his cousin Jeb to rig the election count in Florida to point out that Bashar al-Assad became Syria’ president after his father’s death because their “parliament” amended the constitution to allow a 34-year old to rule (the minimum age had been 40), and then arranged a democratic referendum in which “Boy” Assad was "elected" unopposed.

Bush’s presidency, we either stated or implied, was invalid, while President Assad was somehow a  legitimate spokemen for his people and for all members of the Islamic diaspora. 

No matter that Western right-wingers constantly pointed out that Assad was a brutal dictator whose power rested on a combination of the country's military and a brutally repressive secret police force which routinely kidnapped, tortured and killed his enemies. As far as we were concerned, Assad was standing up for the Arab in the Street against big, bullying Uncle Sam.

When the Arab spring sprung in Egypt (and elsewhere), we couldn’t get enough of it, because Mubarak was a stooge of the West and was soft on Israel, and that made the oppression carried out by his government much worse that whatever the Syrian government got up to (if anything). Because Assad was an enemy of the States, his hands were cleaner than Mubarak's.  We went a bit tonto with our 24-hour a day coverage and headlines about the dawning of democracy (the lack of which hadn’t bothered us that much before). Like liberals everywhere, we chose a course of unscrupulous optimism about what would happen next – mainly because there was a good chance that the anti-West Muslim League would end up running the show.  

Now that we know the Egyptian military has no intention of relinquishing power, we don’t really know what the hell to say. We’ll get back to you on Egypt.

Libya was a bit trickier – but we handled that by concentrating on the fact that most of the Western regimes seeking to help topple Gaddafi had had their tongues firmly inserted up his sphincter for most of the past decade. It gave us lots of ammunition with which to attack Tony Blair, which we always enjoy. We also like the fact that no one’s quite sure how much control fundamentalist Islamists will have over the new regime – so there’s a decent chance Libya will remain a thorn in the West’s side for decades to come.

Syria, though, is really tricky. We seem to have no choice but to change sides mid-stream and pretend that we always knew Bashar al-Assad was a vicious mad dog stinker ruling without any form of democratic mandate, and that we always really knew that he didn't speak for the Arab people. Next, we’ll probably start to get excited by the possibility that the current anti-American fascist dictatorship will be replaced by an anti-American fascist dictatorship run by fundamentalist Muslims. That’ll be much more acceptable. The important thing is that whoever ends up running Syria is fiercely ant-American – especially if the unthinkable happens and Saint Barack fails to get re-elected next year due to the inherent racism of American right-wingers.

Sorry about any confusion there might have been over our position re the Middle East. Just remember: any enemy of America (and, it goes without saying, Britain and the devil-state, Israel) is a friend of ours.


  1. I am from Finland. I have read many things from internet sites only, of which TV and newspapers don't tell. Actually censorship in the mainstream media makes my country a dictatorship, ruled by the political and economic elite.

    Finland is a corrupt country. Nobody can have a public post without being a member of a political party. In Finland all high-ranking officials, who earn 5000 euros a month or more, are members of political parties.

    No one can criticize the elite in the mainstream media. Any one who criticizes leading politicians, will lose his or her job.

    Finland as well as neighboring Sweden and Norway are dictatorship countries.

  2. Interesting read, Scott.

    There's certainly a lot of hypocrisy all round when it comes to dealings with the Muslim world. Note, for example, America's refusal to give a full reprimand to Bahrain, my current abode, probably because they've got the 5th naval fleet stationed there. One would have expected better from Saint Barak.

    There's also the whole palava with Sadam Hussain, who changed from being Washington's darling during the 1980s' wars against Iran to public enemy number one after 9/11.

    Must say, I was surprised that Basher Asad turned out to be such a bastard. The only decent bloke in the region now seems to be King Abdulla of Jordan. Well, he does speak perfect English, doesn't he!?

  3. Tropical Rob, I read an article recently - can't remember where - that Middle Eastern monarchies tend to be slightly less oppressive and therefore less hated in general than other forms of tyranny. Is that your experience?

    I know it probably looks very different when you're actually there, but I guess Western countries have to be careful about picking a fight with every existing Arab regime in the region (especially when the French are only too happy to sneak in behind everyone else's back to make friends with even the most despicable of regimes, if there's a chance of any mazoolah resulting), and therefore have to remain friendly - or at least neutral - with the less rabid ones, even if, in terms of personal freedom and the rule of law, they don't quite match up to the standards to be found in most mature democracies. As the saying goes (or, at least, went) - "He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard!"