Jamie Allinson’s “Leftist” take on the Syria conflict: a critique (Part II)
Allinson admits that the situation in Syria is very “complicated” but thinks he can eliminate the complication by merely talking to “people within Syria.” He talks about “charges” that the Free Syrian Army is trained, funded, and armed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and US and then reaches this conclusion: that there “are elements of truth to this story.” Then he adds rather dismissively that “in any revolution” there will be “outside powers” which will “try to do this.”
Allinson is right. There were outside powers in the Spanish Civil War and in the Russian revolution, but Allinson forgets that he is making the case – on Syria – for the side that is receiving the support of outside reactionary forces in the region and the world. Yes, there is outside intervention in every civil war, and reactionary and imperialist powers will try to intervene in every civil war and “revolution,” but Allinson forgot that he is arguing for the recipients of this outside intervention. This is no small matter.
Allinson rejects the notion that the Syrian “revolution” consists of elements “working for Western intelligence agencies.” Well, intelligence information is not easy to come by and we will not know for a while whether any of the parties in Syria are receiving intelligence support or not. But we know for sure that the US and other Western and oil and gas regimes are sponsoring and employing and controlling the very elements that constitute what Allinson calls “the Syrian revolution.” It is a matter of public record that the US government, among others, is sponsoring and paying various sides of the Syrian opposition. We learned from WikiLeaks and from US newspapers that several opposition outlets and personalities are directly funded by the US government, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been involved in sponsoring – nay, controlling – various segments of the exile Syrian opposition and of the various armed groups.
Allinson was even more amusing when he admitted that outside reactionary and imperialist powers are supporting elements in the Syrian opposition and armed groups but added that “the weaponry and funding in question is not very much.” It is rather comical to maintain that while the US, France, UK, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and UAE – among others – are funding and arming elements of the Syrian opposition and armed groups, the amount is rather small. How could the amounts be small with this coalition of some of the wealthiest countries in the world? And the US Congress has been dispensing millions upon millions of dollars, not counting the amount that are spent as part of covert US operations.
Allinson does not in any way object to using some guess work to bolster his claims: he argues that anti-aircraft guns and cannons that have been spotted with the Syrian armed groups “are most likely” to have been taken with defectors. He does not give evidence. He does not need evidence. He has a propaganda task to undertake. Allinson never heard of the massive shipment of arms (the Lutfallah ship) that was intercepted by the Lebanese Army off the coast of Lebanon. Allinson also adds that even the light arms of the FSA “seem to come from the Syrian army itself.” The writer does not bother to tell us about the sources of his “information” perhaps because his guess work has no sources except figments of his imagination. What is rather amusing is that even after the release of public information about Western and Gulfi financial and military support for the gangs of the Free Syrian Army, Allinson does not mind recycling the discredited propaganda story about funding from “Syrian exile businessmen in the Gulf.” The story was peddled early on without evidence in order to disguise the early Gulf funding.
Allinson’s method of research continues: he says that “the regime armor appears to have been hit with improvised bombs.” Appears to whom? Allinson adds that the fact that armed groups are asking for outside help proves that the “conspiracy is perhaps not so massive or effective.” Here, Allinson’s piece deserves a place in the Onion instead being presented as a serious political (and leftist) analysis of the Syrian situation. So according to Allinson, even when armed groups request NATO help, this does not change the leftist character of the “revolution” because the request proves its autonomy. The logic is rather indicative of the efforts of the author who is desperate to find leftism where it does not exist.
To be continued.
This is a critique of Jamie Allinson's article "Syria: Neither Riyadh nor Tehran but Popular Revolution" published in New Left Project (25 August 2012).