June­–July 2015        

Bloody parasites

Stephen Gowans

The dictator of Bahrain—who, with the help of Saudi soldiers and tanks, ruthlessly crushed an Arab Spring uprising that demanded a representative democracy—is spending a leisurely day in Britain, one of the world’s oldest parliamentary “democracies,” visiting a horse show with his fellow-parasite Queen Elizabeth II.
     Britain is neck-deep in the undemocratic campaign to topple the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, amply assisted by Saudi Arabia and other tyrannies of the Persian Gulf, who have provided arms, training and money to Al-Qa‘ida and other Sunni religious fanatics to wage holy war against the secular, anti-sectarian, anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist government of Assad. Assad must be toppled, the misnamed Friends of Syria declare, because he is a dictator who thwarted an Arab Spring uprising.
     Sensitive to the legitimate demands inherent in the uprising, the Syrian government made major concessions, amending its constitution to open up political participation and holding a multi-candidate presidential election, which Assad won.
     Is Syria a democracy? By Western standards, not yet, Assad concedes. But “if you want to compare me with your closest friend, Saudi Arabia, of course we are democratic,” Assad told a French journalist.
     In response to news that traces of the chemical warfare agents ricin and sarin have been found in Syria, the former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, ever vigilant for opportunities to vilify Assad, pronounced the Syrian government guilty of hiding chemical weapons, even though UN inspectors say the discovery is not evidence of “a lingering weapons programme” or “new use or production.”
     “You’re dealing with a regime that is not very credible on weapons of mass destruction programmes,” Ford insisted, to lend weight to his case. To be sure, his observation is incontestable, but not in connection with Syria and only insofar as it refers to the regime in Washington, which infamously concocted a fiction about Saddam Hussein concealing weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war on Iraq. The accusations levelled at Syria are no less baseless, notwithstanding Ford’s transparently politically inspired arguments.
     The Bahraini king’s hobnobbing with “Her Majesty” calls to mind the observation attributed to Diderot that humanity will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest—though an updated version would need to include the rulers of the world’s now dominant socio-political system, along with an expanded definition of priests to include mainstream journalists, think-tank experts, and PR hacks, to say nothing of former US ambassadors, labouring to mislead public opinion into accepting yet another war on a country that seeks to chart its own course, free from subservience to the dictates of Washington and its political masters in Wall Street.
     “Syria,” Assad asserts, “is an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.” And therein is the issue. Ford, the New York Times and other instruments of the Western ruling class want the Syrian people to work for the interests of Western bankers, high-level corporate executives and major investors, as the Saudis, Bahrainis and other puppet Arab monarchies do.
     And they’re willing to lie, deceive the public, do deals with Al-Qa‘ida and wage wars of aggression to get their way. Into the Middle East they stride, their hypocrisy going naked, with the new priests scrambling desperately to drape it with pleasing raiment.

Home page  >  Socialist Voice  >  June­–July 2015  >  Bloody parasites
Baile  >  Socialist Voice  >  Meitheamh–Iúil 2015  >  Bloody parasites