Friday, August 30, 2013

Doing Nothing in Syria Is Not an "Anti-War" Position

Doing nothing in Syria is not the worst action the international community could take, but it is a pretty poor one as well. With the Syrian Civil War claiming more than a hundred thousand lives and slowly destabilizing its neighbors in the region as the fight turns international, many analysis and commentators have noted that there are no good options for the international community to pursue. This is true, but that does not mean practical and realistic action cannot be taken that would help undermine Assad’s regime and his war on Syria’s people.

Clearly, the failure of the Iraq War and the destruction it produced weighs heavy over the Syria debate, and for good reason. Recognizing the cause for past failures should amend the way we confront future travesties. Yet, just as I find it troubling to see the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol chiming in with their “expertise,” the near callous nature of those who oppose any form of intervention is also disconcerting.

Many have noted some of the unsavory figures and groups that make up portions of the Syrian rebel organization, as well as their disagreeable sources of support. Rand Paul argued against arming any rebel group because It is very clear that any attempt to aid the Syrian rebels would be complicated and dangerous, precisely because we don't know who these people are.” This is simply fallacious. Hussein Ibish states:
Those who argue against arming any of the rebels because of the strength of radical movements are citing the self-fulfilling prophecy, and grim logical consequences, of their own consistent "hands-off" policy recommendations: reluctance to support the FSA for fear of the emergence of extreme Islamists has inexorably and inevitably led to precisely that development. 
Extremists became disproportionately important because they received far more financial and material support from their backers. Meanwhile, nationalist groups associated with the FSA suffered neglect from western and Arab powers that should have recognised their strong interest in a strong FSA.”

The fact that there exists groups we do not want to see with the levers of power should be reason enough to support the ones we would like to see come to power. We don’t have to look far to find them either.

Arming rebels and providing a No-Fly zone would look nothing like the Iraq War carried out in 2003. Much like the intervention in Libya, it would give the Syrian rebels room to maneuver without putting an American soldier in harm’s way.  Marko Attila Hoare, writing in the Guardian, expands on this point:
The west's inaction in the face of the pending Ba'athist and Shia Islamist victory amounts to a colossal failure of leadership. It is all the more surprising, coming as it does after the successful 2011 intervention in Libya, in which western intervention saved the revolution against Gaddafi, without the loss of a single western soldier. In the subsequent free elections in Libya, the liberals defeated the Islamists, dramatically disproving the Cassandras' claims that intervention amounted to support for al-Qaida. Unlike the misguided 2003 adventure in Iraq, an intervention in Syria – in the form of arms supplies to the FSA and the imposition of a no-fly zone – would enjoy broad support both in Syria and the wider region, including from Turkey and the Arab League. In these circumstances, the ostrich-like stance of the anti-interventionists appears all the more bizarre.”
As for any intervention prolonging or intensifying the conflict, I find this argument to be the most inadequate in the anti-interventionist’s arsenal.  The war has already claimed countless lives and created strife in the region. Assad’s regime has stepped well beyond the previous “red lines” of acceptable behavior in war. This war is being perpetrated and executed whether the United States or the international community are involved or not, but that does not mean we are free from culpability. James Bloodworth adds:
For those of us who did support limited military action, it is hard to see how intervention could have made things any worse than they are already. As we have seen before in Rwanda, Srebrenica and now Syria, inaction can have more deleterious consequences than action, the only difference seemingly that politicians who advocate doing nothing get off scot free when civilians die in a way that the proponents of intervention never do – undoutedly a part of its political appeal.”
The war in Syria will continue regardless of whether we are involved in the conflict. Nor can the international community “end” the divisions that exist in Syria. I subscribe the Michael Walzer’s position that any intervention should be to the benefit of the Syrian people, and only pursued if it would help alleviate the conflict over. The international community could clearly achieve these aims as it has in the past, and should act to do so.

Maoists on Maoists - The Afghan Edition

Afghanistan has its fair share of revolutionaries and reactionaries. One of the smaller, less talked about groups that has a small amount of influence due to its English website and association with the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, is the Community (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan.

Like other members of the RIM, these Afghan Maoists are prone to long-winded diatribes on a number of things that few outside of the well versed communist could make sense of. One of their recent "open letters" has to do with the slight rebranding of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA (something I mentioned recently). I won't begin to decipher the endless piece of jargon, the party concludes:
"In the closing sentences of the present discussion, it is necessary to mention that the RCP-USA in its May 1st document, particularly in the section directed against the C(M)PA is again and again referring to only the phrase “Marxism” and  not "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism" or even "Marxism-Leninism". If this party has really become purely "Marxist", then they should add the phrase “Marxist” at the end of their name and call themselves the RCP-USA (Marxist)! But this is not the case for the phrase “Marxism”, according to the RCP-USA, actually means that "Marxism-Leninism" and "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism" belong to the past and should be replaced with Avakianite post-MLM."

The Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan: taking on the issues most important to the working Afghan! When you have a nation divided by militants and extremism, thankfully someone in Afghanistan is taking on the serious issue of proper acronym appropriation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Around the Web - Late August

It has been awhile since I put together a list of links, but a number of great pieces have come to my attention that you may not be familiar with.

Going to Hell
According to Christian doctrine, almost all of us are going to hell.

Egyptian Revolutionaries
The Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists make the case for condemning the Brotherhood and Military. Workers' Liberty made similar statements.

Marko presents the problems inherent with Ed Miliband's dithering on Syria. George Eaton disagrees. I tend to agree with Marko.

Alan Johnson says it is time for the big stick in Syria. Michael Totten has a great piece on the narrowing options for Syria.

Ed Jacobs gives an overview of some of the political parties throughout the UK and their stand on Syria.

In what could surely be an Onion piece, we have Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol all giving expert advice on Syria. Doesn't mean they are wrong on all points, but these cats may not have the best history on successful intervention.

And of course, we have "anti-war" protesters carrying around the Syrian Ba'athist flag in western cities.

Working Class
We have belittled working class work, and it has made for a society of dropouts according to Gavin McInnes.

Of course, conspiracy theorists are already out claiming the Syrian chemical weapons attack was an Israeli/Jewish conspiracy.

Those dastardly Israeli's are helping Syrians in need.

Robert Park's excellent piece on the forgotten genocide in North Korea.

Kim Jong-un has executed his ex-girlfriend for pornography.

March on Washington
Paul Canning notices that Bayard Rustin may finally be getting his due.

Obama, Rustin, and the new LGBT Civil Rights movement.