Why does al Assad speak good English

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

The Syria conflict has several narratives, all of which struggle for media sovereignty. Ultimately, however, that of Bashar al-Assad prevailed. If it weren't for that, he and his Iranian and Russian allies would not have been able to conquer Aleppo in the shadow of global disinterest.

There are many reasons why this has happened. One of them is that those left in the West who often and happily pretend to be against war and for peace have taken sides with Assad and Putin. We are mainly talking about circles that consider themselves "anti-imperialist", "critical" or "alternative" - ​​and are celebrating the taking of Aleppo as a "liberation" during these hours.

Supposedly critical as these circles are, at this moment they are not focusing on Russian bombs or the atrocities of foreign militias on Assad's side, but on those people who are locked up in East Aleppo and who have been sending out calls for help and farewell messages in the past few days and hours had.

Her special focus is on Bana Alabed, that seven-year-old girl from East Aleppo who now has over three hundred thousand people on Twitter. There is no bana for the "critical mass". It is only seen as a propaganda tool, the maker of which may be based somewhere in Turkey or Qatar.

A detailed article by the research network "The Bellingcat" makes it clear that Bana actually exists and lives in eastern Aleppo. The authors remind the critics of some facts, such as that Bana's profile is mainly managed by her mother, a trained journalist and teacher who speaks English, or that both power supply and access to the Internet are possible in the destroyed city. Meanwhile, Bana's existence cannot be doubted. Her family has been able to leave Aleppo safely in the last few hours. Journalists and activists have already shared numerous pictures of Bana and her parents.

Russian bombs are good

Whether that will change the mind of the critics is another question. No wonder, because regardless of whether they come from the left or the right - most of them have long since created their own image of the conflict by buying every word from Assad and Putin. The comments that can be found under the videos of interviews between the two heads of state often speak volumes.

That is why Assad's victory in Aleppo is seen - how else could it be - as a success against US aggression in the country. The fact that mainly Russian bombs have destroyed hospitals in Syria in the last few weeks and months is not only declared to be a minor matter. Instead, the attacks are justifiably justified, for example by claiming that "terrorists" are using them as "protective shields".

When a "Doctors Without Borders" hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was attacked by US fighter jets last year, the image of the "terrorist" was - rightly - neglected. The same attitude is also the case with regard to the destructive war in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia with significant support from Washington. But as soon as the bombs come from Moscow, many anti-imperialists and alleged peace activists apply a different standard. They are silent or partying.

Assad's "War on Terror"

De facto, the western left has thus accepted the rhetoric of those whom it has always criticized. The "war on terror" suddenly makes sense as soon as it is constructed by Assad, Putin and their propaganda agencies. The main thing is that it fits into your own view of the world. In this context, the fact that the CIA maintained intensive cooperation with the Syrian secret service apparatus after the attacks of September 11th, especially with regard to the brutal torture of "terror suspects", is suppressed in this context.

In Syria, the "good" war on terror looks something like this: All Syrians who are against Assad become "terrorists", "tools of US imperialism" or "puppets" of Saudi Arabia or Turkey declared. They have practically no will of their own, experienced no suffering and are completely dehumanized. Assad himself, on the other hand, is seen as the legitimate president of a sovereign state, as a "quiet, thoughtful man", as Jürgen Todenhöfer called him.

At the same time, his foreign assistants, without whom he would have long since fallen, are hidden or put into perspective. This applies not only to the significant support provided to Iran and Russia, but also to the numerous mercenaries and militias from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These interpretations have meanwhile also gained acceptance among the South American left. For example, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, has repeatedly referred to Assad as the "anti-imperialist president" whom the US wants to overthrow.

The attitude of South American states that have experienced a left-wing liberation struggle became particularly clear in the recent UN vote on the protection of civilians in Syria. Both Cuba and Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela were among the thirteen states that voted against and sided with Moscow, Tehran and the Assad regime.

Ideological delusion

The voices of the Syrian left are also ignored in that discourse. The best example of this is the Syrian intellectual Yassin al-Haj Saleh. He was once imprisoned by the Assad regime for sixteen years because of his membership in the communist party.

But even Saleh, who was tortured by the regime because of his convictions and who continues to denounce the crimes of Assad's power apparatus in interviews, is another distorting truth for many western leftists. Saleh himself is unlikely to be a surprise to their reaction, as he called the left in the West repeatedly ideologically blinded actor who did not want to admit the Syrian revolution.

The conflict is ultimately based on inequality emanating from a small, brutal power elite that has oppressed the majority of the country for decades.

But now the dictator can rub his hands together. His regime won with all its propaganda lies. Bashar al-Assad managed to get both left and right to stand behind him. It is no longer a secret that the Austrian FPÖ, the Italian Forza Nuova, the British BNP and other right-wing extremist groups and parties have been very active for Assad for years. The right-wing extremist congress "Defenders of Europe", which took place in Linz at the end of October, also included Maram Susli alias Partisan Girl, a leading Assad propagandist who is mainly active in social media.

It is all the more important to state at the moment: Anyone who continues to be upset that the dictator is called "dictator", sees in every bearded Syrian a "terrorist" or is surprised that people radicalize themselves under such dystopian conditions, is more guilty than he realizes is.

Emran Feroz

© Qantara.de 2016