Syria and Britain


A demonstration against the regime of Bashar al Assad over the weekend in Homs, Syria. Are these people dupes of an American plot, as some on the British left claim?



The Guardian is well-known as a newspaper on the left of the political spectrum. As a sideline, and wholly unrelated to his work for the paper, The Guardian's Middle East editor Brian Whitaker runs the website al-Bab, to "introduce non-Arabs to the Arabs and their culture. Western explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries portrayed the Arab world as a strange, exotic and sometimes terrifying place. Al-Bab seeks to portray the Arab world neither as an object of fear nor as a cultural curiosity - fascinating though it may be."

It is worth checking out al-Bab from time to time but today especially so. Whitaker introduced me to a new term "Zio-American plot." That's what Syria's official news agency calls the uprising against the Assad regime.

Apparently Syria's official line has been picked up by segments of Britain's hard left.   Whitaker points readers to an article by Aisling Byrne of Conflicts Forum in Beirut currently posted at a number of internet sites.

"What we are seeing in Syria is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime 'more compatible' with US interests in the region.

"The blueprint for this project is essentially a report produced by the neo-conservative Brookings Institute for regime change in Iran in 2009."

It's a foolish charge. There may be neo-cons at Brookings but I think it will come as a surprise to everyone concerned to hear Brookings given the blanket description of "neo-conservative."

Brookings is not neo-con but I find that Byrne's views are certainly neo-colonialist. She seems to be saying Syrians cannot rise up against the Ba'ath/Assad dictatorship on their own. They have to be dupes of American foreign policy ... or Zio-American foreign policy.

As for Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has provided facilities for those fleeing the conflict, is he part of this neo-con plot? It will come as surprise to him to find out he is.