Sunday, October 30, 2016

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No Angels To Side With

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage writes:


Aleppo And Mosul, Same Military Strategy Yet One Deemed A War Crime, The Other A Necessary Measure To Defeat Armed Islamic Extremists.



Fallujah after American, and Iraqi forces retook the city.

The Syrian government and allies, with Russian air support, fire artillery shells and bomb east Aleppo to defeat or drive out armed Islamic extremists like Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al Nusra.

The Iraqi government and their allies with US, French, and British air support, bomb, and fire artillery into Mosul to defeat and drive out Islamic extremists like Isil.

According to western media east Aleppo has a population of 500K and Mosul 2 million. One is being portrayed as crime, perpetrated by war criminals; the other is being portrayed by western politicians and their media as a necessary and unavoidable battle which we all should support.

Is there not a degree of hypocrisy going on here? It seems to me, the sooner these murderous head chopping thugs are defeated and driven out the better for all, especially the populations of both cities.

Bob Fisk writing in the Independent suggests we compare the media coverage of Mosul and East Aleppo as it reveals a lot:

The bombing of East Aleppo has rightly caused worldwide revulsion and condemnation.
But look at how differently the international media is treating a similar situation in Mosul, 300 miles east of Aleppo, where one million people and an estimated 5,000 Isis fighters are being encircled by the Iraqi army fighting alongside Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia and Sunni paramilitaries and with massive support from a US-led air campaign. In the case of Mosul, unlike Aleppo, the defenders are to blame for endangering civilians by using them as human shields and preventing them leaving. In East Aleppo, fortunately, there are no human shields – though the UN says that half the civilian population wants to depart – but simply innocent victims of Russian savagery.

Destruction in Aleppo by Russian air strikes is compared to the destruction of Grozny in Chechnya sixteen years ago, but, curiously, no analogy is made with Ramadi, a city of 350,000 on the Euphrates in Iraq, that was 80 per cent destroyed by US-led air strikes in 2015. Parallels go further: civilians trapped in East Aleppo are understandably terrified of what the Syrian Mukhabara secret police would do to them if they leave and try to pass through Syrian government checkpoints.

But I talked earlier this year to some truck drivers from Ramadi whom I found sleeping under a bridge in Kirkuk who explained that they could not even go back to the ruins of their homes because checkpoints on the road to the city were manned by a particularly violent Shia militia. They would certainly have to pay a large bribe and stood a good chance of being detained, tortured or murdered.
The extreme bias shown in foreign media coverage of similar events in Iraq and Syria will be a rewarding subject for PhDs students looking at the uses and abuses of propaganda down the ages.

This has been the pattern of reporting of the wars in Syria and Iraq over the last five years. Nothing much has changed since 2003 when the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein had persuaded foreign governments and media alike that the invading American and British armies would be greeted with rapture by the Iraqi people. A year later the invaders were fighting for their lives. Misled by opposition propagandists and their own wishful thinking, foreign government officials and journalists had wholly misread the local political landscape. Much the same thing is happening today.

We learned from the Cold War when great powers become embroiled in other people’s wars, right and wrong evaporates and political advantage becomes all.

I fear the only hope of the Syrian civil war coming to an end is with a victory for the Assad regime, Instead of the British government and protesters howling from the sidelines about Assad being a war criminal, they would be better engaged using their influence to ensure there is democratic settlement followed by democratic election in Syria overseen by international observers.

If it comes to electoral support for Assad or the Islamic factions the Gulf states and Saudis support. I believe Assad would win easily and understandably so as Syria had a long history of being a secular state, indeed its rich mix of religious difference demand it if it's to become once again a stable state...

As a Syrian friend said to me; "Assad may or may not be a criminal but at least you can live a life under his regime."

This will be a bitter pill to swallow for many of those who supported the early protests against the Syrian state demanding democratic reforms, but the alternative might be worse for the people of Syria, one of endless war which neither side can win.

Although this would not be the first time liberation movements have struggled long and hard yet not won their core demands. It happened to the Provisional Republican Movement in Ireland and recently to FARC in Colombia. Both had become involved in an intractable war, neither side could win, yet they had the good sense to recognise this fact and negotiate with the State they regarded as their oppressor.

While this process was far from satisfactory it had the benefit of enabling them to keep their organisations intact so they could join the political fray..*

True it's difficult to be on the side of the angels when none exist but that does not mean we should lose all reason.

As to those who wish to encourage more British military action in Syria, need I remind them of the UK's appalling record within previous conflicts in the region. Once British military planes fly over Aleppo without being invited by the Syrian government they will be upping the ante of war, what ever their cargo. To trust the British government to act honourably in this region is naïve to say the least.

The British military have been part of the problem, their actions in Libya and Iraq fed the flames of war. In Syria they are part of a coalition which is funding and arming an opposition which includes Islamic head choppers and supporters of al Qaeda. At least in the Assad held areas people can live a life, west Aleppo is an example of this. It’s why we rarely see it on our TV screens or read about it in the mainstream media. They prefer to tug at our heartstrings with videos of dead and injured children and destroyed buildings, while politicians like Boris Johnson and the mainstream media demand the UK become further embroiled in the Syrian Civil war.


Bob Fisk's full article can be read here.

How Britain funds the 'propaganda war in Syria

* Due to a recent referendum in Colombia the negotiations are still ongoing.

2 comments :

DaithiD said...

How long would Mosul remain occupied if it were 5000 US troops instead of IS troops? Maybe the 2m there dont want to be "liberated" from the head choppers?

David Higgins said...

How many Brit troops occupied us? There are always mutiple collaborates for their own, usually selfish, reasons doesn't mean the majority of Mosul doesn't oppose I.S. Having said that I know fuck all about Mosul so am open to enlightenment