Jeff Mackler, a socialist turned libertarian apologist for Assad, has an article in Counterpunch titled “Trump’s ‘No Fly Zone’ Escalates US War Against Syria.” Most of the article deals in alternative facts that make it more parody than political analysis–especially in claiming the US is not fighting ISIS but is instead trying to take down the Assad regime. When you deal in alternative facts, uncomfortable realities get brushed aside. Like the fact that out of over 10,000 US airstrikes since 2014, only three involved hostile encounters with Assad forces. Thousands of civilians have been killed by US bombing but only one Syrian war plane last month, 62 Syrian soldiers at Deir ez-Zour in 2016, & empty airport hangars at Shayrat air base in April.
We’ll put aside most of Mackler’s alternative realities to address his claim that the groups he leads–Socialist Action (a lilliputian cult) & the United National Antiwar Coalition (a small pro-Assad group) do not take a position on the Assad government but defend “Syria’s right to self-determination.” This is where Mackler rides the rail between alternative facts & bold-faced lies. One need only visit the FB walls of the Hands Off Syria Coalition which Mackler founded to see enthusiastic adulation & glorification of Assad.
In Socialist Action’s statement on the US bombing of Shayrat air base in retaliation for Syrian gassing of civilians at Khan Sheikhoun, they said: “Neither Trump nor any other US government agency presented a shred of proof that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin nerve gas in its bombing of al-Qaida/Nusra Front or any other “rebel” held buildings in Idlib province.” If that isn’t a position in defense of the Assad regime, then what the hell is it? In fact in this article Mackler spends some time defending the recent discredited report by Seymour Hersh that Assad did not use Sarin gas at Khan Sheikhoun or at any other time. Syrians on the ground when Assad was bombing civilians claim it was sarin gas but Mackler dodges that by referring to them as al-Qaida/Nusra Front rebels, ignoring the photographic proof that many were children.
There’s no reason for Mackler to play coy with us about his support for Assad though he has every reason for shame in supporting a fascistic capitalist regime against a popular revolution. There’s no reason to play coy since last year his group sponsored a speaking tour for Eva Bartlett, a leading propagandist for the Assad regime who believes reptilian Jewish bankers run the world. They also invited Vanessa Beeley but at the time she was embedded up the ass of the Syrian army & could not get away.
The entire political position Mackler lays out in one rancid apologetic after another is support for the Assad regime. He calls it self-determination to kid himself & deceive his disciples but when Mackler says he doesn’t take a position on the Assad regime what he means is that he will steadfastly refuse to condemn the monstrous human rights & war crimes of the Assad regime & will instead justify them in the name of self-determination against US imperialism. He will justify the carpet bombing of civilians by saying they were all al-Qaida operatives while also denying the Syrian use of sarin gas, barrel bombs, or the use of thermonuclear bombs by Russian bombers. He will turn a blind eye to reports that since 2011 the Assad regime has tortured & hung to death over 13,000 Syrians, including women & children, & dumped them in mass graves, & he will scoff at the claim that nearly 107,000 Syrians are still in Assad’s gulag.
Maybe Mackler should explain which Syrians he thinks have the right to self-determination. Just the ones that run the government? Just the fascistic capitalist class? What about the nearly half a million who have died by Syrian, Russian, & US bombs or the over 4 million who fled for their lives? What about those who were tortured to death & those still in Assad’s prisons? Who are they? Are they activists who rose up against Assad’s dictatorship in 2011? What did they do to deserve such a fate & to be excluded from that self-determination thing? Mackler should explain but our man won’t explain because when you side with dictatorship against a popular revolution & still want to call yourself a socialist, you end up talking through your ass.
(Photo is Assad propagandist Eva Bartlett next to Mackler standing)