The differences about Syria could not be more volatile nor more consequential. Many rail against the left as a whipping post but there is no left on Syria–or at least not much of one. What the complexities of the conflict have done is expose the theoretical & political bankruptcy of those who call themselves leftists but employ the analytical methods of libertarians: impressionism, paranoia, speculations, slanders, & conspiracy thinking.
Assadists dispute indisputable facts claiming Assad is not a dictator, there was never a popular uprising against him, & that Syria & Russia are not engaged in carpet bombing. They are certain the US is in a regime-change operation. In a formulaic way they understand the character of US military interventions & that there is no such thing as a humanitarian intervention headed by the US Pentagon.
On the other hand, many who understand the political character of the Assad dictatorship & of Syrian & Russian bombing do not understand the character of US militarism & want the US to impose & enforce a No Fly Zone–which is the quickest way to Armageddon. They don’t understand what the US has been doing militarily in Syria since 2011. They also don’t understand the character of a No Fly Zone as an act of war. Or do they?
It’s possible the US had its crosshairs set on regime change in Syria prior to the 2011 uprising against Assad. It’s possible that in the future they will try to get rid of him. But now they subordinate that goal to unity on destroying the popular opposition to Assad & making a mangled mess of the paramilitary operations. All of the regimes involved can live with dictatorship but non can tolerate popular democratic uprisings against it.
It’s a mistake to think opposition to Assad manifests only in the armed militias. It was a massive unarmed movement before Assad militarized it by bombing entire cities. His carpet bombing, mass arrests, disappearances, torture for over five years have certainly not made Syrians change their minds about the character of his despotism.
It’s not clear where this political breach among activists is headed. What is clear is that while these differences are being slugged out in exchanges of invective, Syrian civilians are being bombed to smithereens. What is clear is that the only principled, practical, possible way to resolve differences is to demand all military forces involved in Syria stop the bombing & to demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all ground & air forces. Anything less is a capitulation to militarism & Armageddon.