Opportunism and the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ The lucrative businness of ‘revolution’ under imperialism’s command

  • 7/16/14 6:23 PM

On July 29, 2012, The New York Times published an article by Neil MacFarquhar with the following title: “As Syria war drags on, jihadists take bigger role”. As you may guess from the title, the article was about the increasing role of jihadists within the ranks of the so-called Syrian opposition. But at one point, thereporter gave a very interesting detail, quoting an academics, Thomas Pierret, from Edinburgh University:

“Not all foreign fighters are jihadists, either. One Libyan-Irish fighter, Mahdi al-Harati, who helped lead the battle for Tripoli, Libya, organized a group of volunteers for Syria, noted Thomas Pierret, a lecturer in contemporary Syrian Islam at the University of Edinburgh. ‘He is not a jihadi; he sees himself as a Libyan revolutionary there to help the Syrian revolution,’ Mr. Pierret said.”[1]

The name, Mahdi al-Harati, singled out as an example of non-jihadist fighters in Syria is quite interesting indeed. We learn from the same report that he is running the Liwa al-Ummah brigade near Aleppo, in which his brother-in-law Hussan al-Najar fight with the Assad army as well.

We first heard the names of these Tripoli-born, Irish citizens about a year ago in the so-called Libyan uprising. On August 13, 2011, we read about his wherabouts in The Irish Times.[2] He was in a small town called Nalut at Libya-Tunisia border, which hosted the headquarters of the so-called Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade. “Everybody knows the gentle Irishman Harati here” the reporter says. For sure, everybody knew him since he was the commander-in-chief, but about being “gentle”, what do we know…

In February 2011, Al-Harati left Dublin, where he was supposedly living a quiet life with his wife and four children, to join the rebels under NATO command. He and his brother-in-law Hussan al-Najar, a former contractor in Dublin, went to Libya for being engaged in the “revolution business”. They established the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a strange collection of highly-educated men including engineers, doctors, businessmen etc., aiming to capture Tripoli from Gaddafi forces. Al-Harati says, “Our thought was to create a well-organized group to fight at the western part of the country. We didn’t have any ideolgy, we were just revolutionaries.”[3] They were immediately welcomed by the National Transitional Council, and their number increased from 15 to almost 1000 in a few months. They recieved military trainings from Qatari special forces, and they actually took part in the “battle of Tripoli”.

Mahdi al-Harati was the commander of the main assault on Tripoli launched at August 21, 2011. After they took the capital, he became the deputy president of the Tripoli military council. In other words, he became the second man in charge of the organization that is to bring all armed militants together under a national army. The first man was Abdulhakim Belhaj. Yes, the Belhaj of the Lıbyan Islamic Fighting Group, the branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Libya.

The story of Mahdi al-Harati and his brother-in-law Hussan al-Najar, the so-called “revolutionaries of the Arab Spring”, does not end here. Indeed, it gets quite more interesting after al-Harati started to climb up the stairs of career in the “revolution business”.

At the beginning of October 2011, someone broke into the house of the Harati family in Dublin. They stole a large amount of jewelerries crafted in Libya and Egypt. Yet, nor is this all. €200,000 in cash, all in €500 bills and stashed in two separate envelopes, were also stolen. Mahdi al-Harati came back to Dublin in hurry, and told the cops that the money was given to him by U.S. secret agents to aid the war efforts in Libya.[4] The stolen 200K euros from his house in southern Dublin were the sum stashed by al-Harati for himself. In other words, the quiet and gentle Arabic teacher of Libyan origin in Ireland, confessed that he was doing the “revolution business” in Libya on a payroll from the U.S. secret services.

A few days after this incident, he resigned from his post at the “new regime” of Libya. This might be due to the controversies between the Abdulhakim Belhaj group with which al-Harati was involved, and the Mahmoud Jibril clique, which had become violent. His resignment might as well be due to losing his bounty. The man is a professional; why settle down while there are many more opportunities lying ahead… So he is now in Aleppo, leading the Liwa al-Ummah Brigade; once again a strange group of elite fighters with engineers, doctors, businessmen etc. in its ranks.

There is even more to tell on the story of the “professional revolutionary a la Arab Spring”, Mahdi al-Harati. Indeed, al-Harati was not as quite as you might guess before his quest in Libya. He was on board of the Mavi Marmara, where 9 were massacred by Israeli soldiers in May, 2010. He was landed from the ship on a stretcher, not because he was injured during the brutal attack of the IDF, but because he had a diabetic shock just before the assault. He had a diabetic shock, he got off alive from the ship and he went back to Dublin as a hero. And he reaped the benefits of this fact exceedingly soon afterwards.

The Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM) helped him out to get on board of the Gaza Flotilla. He established good relations with the anti-war movement in Dublin in this period. And when he took off to Libya to fight under the wings of NATO and at the tail of Al Qaeda, IAWM was calling the “international community” to arm the Transitional National Council and recognize it as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The same IAWM was demanding the $1.3 billion U.S. military aid to Egypt to be channeled to the “Libyan rebels” such as al-Harati.[5] Well, they did…

What is a foreign intervention?

Criticizing the fake “internationalism” of Kautsky who defended the despicable deception of the Mensheviks calling World War I as a defensive or revolutionary war, Lenin made the following point:

“An imperialist war does not cease to be imperialist when charlatans or phrase-mongers or petty-bourgeois philistines put forward sentimental ‘slogans’, but only when the class which is conducting the imperialist war, and is bound to it by millions of economic threads (and even ropes), is really overthrown and is replaced at the helm of state by the really revolutionary class, the proletariat. There is no other way of getting out of an imperialist war, as also out of an imperialist predatory peace.”[6]

Almost 100 years later than Lenin’s argument, we have many more phrase-mongers or petty-bourgeois philistines putting forward sentimental “slogans” on an imperialist war. The petty-bourgeois philistines of our times, once again create despicable deceptions on the nature and agents of just another imperialist aggression. One common tool of deception is to “oppose all foreign intervention”.

Allow me to continue with the Irish “anti-war” movement. The friends of al-Harati and likes issued a statement in March 2011, few days after the dismal decision of the UN Security Council for a “no-fly zone in Libya” was made. In this statement, they were defining what they consider as “foreign intervention” as opposed to what they consider as “genuine support to people’s cause” as follows:

“Had NATO and the UN really wanted to support and protect the rebels, they could have acted differently. They could have sent arms directly to the rebels and dispatched anti-aircraft weaponry to Benghazi, Alzentan and Zintan, near the Tunisian border, and dropped weaponry and supplies to the rebels besieged in Ajdabiya and Misrata. They could have offered medical help and followed the example of many Libyan doctors in exile who hastened home to offer help to the injured. They could have simply united in recognising the Benghazi based National Council as the legitimate government of Libya.”

“So where lies the justification for the intervention? With 39.1 billion barrels of high quality oil reserves, and with the price of oil rising above $105 per barrel, western oil companies are keen to maintain their access to the Lybian oil fields. BP has huge investments there, but Italy and Spain are large buyers of Libyan oil, and most major European companies operate in Libya, including Spain's Repsol, Italy’s Eni, France's Total, Germany's Wintershall and Austria's OMV. As with Iraq, we cannot ignore that the question of oil looms large in this military intervention.”[7]

So what do these contemporary pett-bourgeois philistines consider as an imperialist war? What do they think of as a “foreign intervention”?

Evidently, they do not consider supplying arms, military training and information to the so-called “rebels” is not a way of intervention. In other words, actually launching Tomahawk missiles from Predator drones is a foreign intervention, but supplying the same Tomahawks to the TNC militia is not!

Furthermore, according to the phrase-mongers of our times, the constant demands of the so-called Libyan rebels for a military intervention, especially for air strikes, since the beginning of the upheavel cannot be considered as a call for foreign military intervention as well.

Were these petty-bourgeois philistines ashamaed when they read the report on how Tripoli fell? That story was told by Reuters, i.e. one of the major agents of warmongering mainstream media.[8] It was definitely written for crowing over on how the so-called rebels worked hand-in-hand with the Western capitals. It gives a quite detailed account on the intimate relations between the TNC militia and Western capitals such as how many times they met in the Elysee Palace, how they leaked military information to NATO staff so that NATO aircrafts bomb the targets before they launch ground operations etc.

Do our phrase-mongers know the same imperialist countries which undersigned the UNSC Resolution 1973 were those that provided the Libyan Transitional Council international legitimacy, trained their armed militia including the Al Qaeda mercenaries in the Western Mountains and elsewhere?

Opposing direct NATO intervention in the name of “peace”, while supporting the proxy war waged in the interests of imperialism; this is the way of the latter-day opportunists. Yes, they might have a bit of a red face when they read the news on Tawergha after the “revolution” even in Western media outlets such as the BBC. So they wrote –this time on Syria: 

“Any military intervention by the west will only make matters worse. The military intervention by NATO in Libya last year only worsened the violence with estimates now of up to 30,000 dead and horrific stories from independent NGOs of continued reprisal killings and torture. The town of Tawergha, south of Misrata, home to 30,000 largely black Africans, has been almost wiped out. The western invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan has brought untold violence and consequent suffering to the people there.”

“Whatever happens in Syria the IAWM cannot support any military intervention of any form by western powers. The people of Egypt and Tunisia have shown the world that they are capable of overthrowing western backed dictators without any help from the west. Western leaders should stop meddling in the Arab Spring and allow the people of that region to determine their own future. They could best help the people of Syria by withdrawing their support for the despotic regimes of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”[9]

Now they discover “violence” in Libya and that NATO intervention had made things “worse”! But it was the same organization supporting to provide arms, finances and training to those who were perpetrators of this violence. And when they look at Syria, after the shame of Libya, once again they see and want others to see sheer violence as well. But violence of whom? Beshar el Assad? The Alawis? Or the violence of Western backed islamist mercenaries?

“No to foreign intervention, yes to ‘revolutionaries’ shedding blood on Western capitals’ payroll”! And if you dare to say that these are just the two sides of the coin, you will be doomed as an Assadist or a Gaddafist.

 

 

The question left unanswered: Whose war is this?

The so-called Irish Anti-War Movement is just a single example among many. Their common train of thought relies on the same falsification and/or delusion about the nature of the ongoing mess in the Middle East. In other words, the main problem is their answer to the very simple question: Whose war is this?

Allow me to quote other example on how this falsification and/or delusion works from well-known “left-wing” academics. This is Gilbert Achcar speaking to the Lebanese paper Al Akhbar:

What does the US want from the Arab revolutions? Is it behind the train, on board, or ahead?”

“GA: America certainly isn’t ahead of the train. Washington and its ally the Zionist state were and continue to be extremely concerned about the changes in the Arab world. We know from the Israeli press that they are even concerned for the Syrian regime, because at least it provides a measure of stability. But the US wasn’t entirely surprised by what happened.”[10] 

Here’s another one; Alex Callinicos of the Socialist Workers’ Party, criticisizing Tariq Ali’s analysis of the situation in Syria as “recolonization”:

“The idea that Syria is being ‘recolonised’ implies that it is a long-standing Western priority to remove the Assad regime. But there is no evidence of this. Under Bashar’s father Hafez, the Syrian state established itself as a brutal but reliable capitalist manager.”[11]

He continues by claiming, despite the fact that the “outbreak” in Syria encouraged the regional and Western opponents of the Syrian regime, the chances of sending troops, even providing air cover for the “rebels” are remote. Then we come to the following conclusion:

“The fighting bears all the hallmarks of an improvised and desperate armed rising. We can argue over whether it was wise politically for the rebels to militarise their struggle so quickly. We may regret the absence of the independent working class action that has been so important in the Egyptian revolution.”

“But the way that its Syrian counterpart has so rapidly developed into a civil war doesn’t alter the fact that its roots lie in popular revolt.”[12]

Yet another example; this time from the other side of the Atlantic… This is Immanuel Wallerstein speaking:

“Yet, I don’t think that, a year or two from now, we will find that Assad is gone or the regime basically changed. The reason is that those who are denouncing him the loudest do not really want him to go.”

“Yes, the Israelis continue to obsess about Iran. And yes, Baathist Syria continues to be an Iran-friendly power. But when all is said and done, Syria has been a relatively quiet Arab neighbor, an island of stability for the Israelis. Yes, the Syrians aid Hezbollah, but Hezbollah too has been relatively quiet. Why would the Israelis really want to take the risk of a turbulent post-Baathist Syria? Who would then wield power, and might they not have to improve their credentials by expanding jihad against Israel? And wouldn’t the fall of Assad lead to upsetting the relative quiet and stability that Lebanon now seems to enjoy, and might this not end up with the further strengthening and renewed radicalism of Hezbollah? Israel has a lot to lose, and not too much to gain, if Assad falls.”

(…)

“But isn’t that exactly why Obama and his advisors see no good options? They were pressured into the Libyan operation. The U.S. didn’t lose many lives, but did they really gain geopolitical advantage as a result? Is the new Libyan regime, if one can say there is a new Libyan regime, something better? Or is this the beginning of a long internal instability, as Iraq has turned out to be?”

“So, when Russia vetoed the U.N. resolution on Syria, I can imagine a sigh of relief in Washington. The pressure to up the ante and begin a Libyan-style intervention was lifted. Obama was protected against Republican harassment on Syria by the Russian veto. And Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, could shift all blame to the Russians. They were ‘disgusting,’ she said, oh so diplomatically.”[13]

Having read these statements, let’s go back to the original question: whose war is this?

According to these “leftist” academics, it is definitely not the war of imperialism. According to Achcar, the best description of what is happening is “revolutionary process”. According to his colleague Callinicos, it is a “revolution” rooted in popular uprising.  According to all three (and for many more in the Western academia indeed), the chances are open for the near future; there are quite distinct possibilities and imperialism is simply trying to take the process under control.

Hence the formula of these gentlemen is this: do not lend credence to the “anti-imperialistic rhetoric” of the left; do not lend credence to the “orientalists” and “islamophobes” who complain about Islamist extremists, the Salafists, the Al Qaeda etc.; support the “revolution” as it is rooted in popular causes though it is not led by any genuine class force. 

Let’s dissect this formulation for a while:

  1.      Is it just rough anti-imperialist rhetoric?

What factors would you look for in order to decide whether an ongoing process is in line with the interests of imperialism, hence manipulated and oriented by imperialist centers? Probably, first and foremost, you would check whether reactions on a clear class base against imperialism and capitalist rule are getting intensified or not. Then, you would check the status of forces that are positioned against the interests of imperialism for current and political reasons. And along with this, you would check how the alliances and cooperation structures of imperialism are getting transformed.

When we look at the events ongoing in the Middle East for almost the last two years now in view of these three criteria, what do we see?

Can we say that the workers of the region are now waging a more conscious, massive and stronger against imperialism and capitalist powers? In other words, can we say that the workers of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria etc. are now closer to become class-for-itself after all these happenings? Although one can cite several partial gains in Tunisia and Egypt, no one can give a satisfactory answer to the question, how the overthrow of dictatorial regimes made positive feedback on working class organization and struggles even in these two countries. In contrast, we observe that in these countries bourgeois rules have been “restored”, preserving the backbone of the old regimes. We now have new capitalist orders in the region, with greater advantages. They have greater advantages, because the Western mainstream media, think tanks, etc. with the participation of “leftist” intellectuals as well, granted them the label of being “revolutionaries”. As we underlined in a recently published pamphlet[14], any political force that take the power with a social revolution is legitimate. So they are granted a great deal of legitimacy by all apparatuses of Western powers. Hence, we now have bourgeois political powers which are backed by the mass bases of islamist organizations, and equipped with the ideological advantages of Islamism in ruling their own toiling classes, as well as in their pursuits vis-à-vis the peoples of the region.

Well, what are the implications of these restored bourgeois powers in terms of imperialism’s alliances and collaboration structures in the region? Do the “leftist” intellectuals who claim that Israel is uncomfortable with the developments in the region see the fact that the same Israel is accelerating its military operations in the Sinai Peninsula (officially) after thirty years as a sign of its “discontent”? Or is it just a reflection of the great void opened in front of Israel in which it is now maneuvering? Is it too difficult to comprehend that, after these developments, Israel grabbed the chance of smashing Iran’s alliance structure into pieces, which is a situation that it could not even imagine two years ago? Furthermore, does it mean nothing when the officials of the Zionist state make statements on the so-called chemical weapons of the Syrian regime and using it as a pretext for a possible intervention? Does it mean nothing when they threaten Syria, Lebanon and Iran with military intervention and have almost no counter-reaction from the rest of the world?

Let’s look at Turkey… Yes, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government has been warmongering in such a fervor that it has even been stretching the nerves of the U.S. administration before its presidential elections. It is also a fact that it has taken uncalculated risks as seen in the examples of the developments in Syria’s Kurdish region and the growing tensions among the Alawite population of Turkey.  Yet, anyone who even has the slightest idea about Turkey can see that this government is convinced that its neo-Ottoman delusions, for which it has invested a lot for at least the last decade, have finally met the chance to come true with the so-called “Arab Spring”. The AKP government is not troubled by the developments in the region, but it is troubled vis-à-vis the possible hurdles before the roles it is willing to play. Those who were cheering Erdogan two years ago because of his “stand against Israel” should think about how the same Erdogan became a political figure drawing put “operational plans” against Syria with his NATO allies.

  1.      Who is an orientalist?

In Tunisia and Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood seized the power. In Libya, a more complex and larger coalition of islamists took the power. In Syria, the political force closest to seizing the political power is the islamists as well. It is true that in some of these countries islamist organizations have a strong popular base, which largely has a plebian, poor and popular character. However, our “leftist” intellectuals who celebrate the victory of the islamists seem to forget that the islamist movement as a political actor in these territories have been part of the old status quo as well. Hence, the following logic is the logic of orientalism itself: the islamists have never seized the power in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria or Libya, but they have a mass support; therefore they assumed the representation of the oppressed. It is an orientalist approach, because it pictures the Middle East from an alien’s point of view based on his or her presumptions and prejudices. It is a picture, a mental construct of the political geography of the region, since the islamist movement have been a component of the power structure and the official ideologies in the region in many sequences. It is only the islamist organizations themselves that have not come to power until the last two years.

Another implication of the genuine orientalism is to codify the entire heritage of enlightenment in the Middile East as exterior, alien; something imposed by despotic regimes. However, this geography has a deep tradition of class movement; a heritage of anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, anti-Zionist struggle. The belief that popular powers can be built only by islamist forces in the Middle East is sheer orientalism.

Therefore, assuming that the defeat of the working class movement, even before it could generate a genuine representation and organization for its own interests is quite ordinary for this geography is just another reflection of orientalist approach. This approach makes an implicit assumption such that the working class forces in the Middle East can only become a component of “democratic popular struggle” against dictatorships, neoliberalism etc.  Hence, it is deemed sufficient to label these processes as “labor movements” and the regime changes as “revolution” only because toiling masses participated in the events. Yet, even purely bourgeois movements could not manage to accomplish a restoration at such scale without the participation and support of the toiling masses to some extent.

  1.      Can there be a working class revolution without working class organization?

For all practical purposes, the following is an odd case to defend: certain Western “left-wing” intellectuals in the genre of Achcar, Wallerstein and Callinicos talk about “revolution”, “revolutionary process” or “popular uprising”. Yet there is no solid indication showing that the working class organization has developed further in the countries where regime changes occur. What is the basis of calling these developments as “revolution” then, while the working class could not even proceed further as regards its level of economic and political organization, let alone seizing the political power?

Another problematic issue is that, they make no qualitative distinction between the events in Tunisia and Egypt and those that occurred afterwards. Large masses participated in the events in Tunisia and Egypt. However, in Libya, we cannot talk about a “popular movement” even at the start or the end of the process. We only had a well-planned operation that had been carried out by imperialist powers and their accomplices.

And in Syria, it is difficult to say on which side we have “popular support”. It is even enough to look at the representatives of the so-called “Syrian opposition” in order to see this bare ambiguity: former officers of the Assad army; the jihadists who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc.; the Muslim Brotherhood whose popular base is way smaller compared to its Egyptian counterpart; former diplomats, academics, politicians etc. who mostly reside in Western countries… These represent the so-called Syrian opposition at large.

On the other hand, since March 2011, we saw many popular rallies in support of the Ba’ath regime, the massiveness of which cannot even be denied by the Western media. It is almost common knowledge that the Alawi, Christians, most of the Kurds, even most of the Sunni poor living in the suburbs of Aleppo and Damascus do not support the so-called “rebels”.

Of course, these facts do not “prove” that the mentioned sections of the Syrian population support Beshar al-Assad unquestionably. This is yet another indication of how the so-called “popular uprising” undermined the possibility for the development of a genuine mass movement against the Ba’ath regime. Most of the Syrian people now feel compelled to take sides with it; because of the dirty war waged on their country and their future by the Western proxies. So what kind of “popular” uprising is this?

 

 

Opportunism now and opportunism 100 years ago

Oddly enough, the world is going through a similar process with the one almost 100 years ago. The opportunists piled up in the Second International back then, supported the imperialist war for the partitioning and re-partitioning of the world. They generated excuses on behalf of their own bourgeoisie, chanted slogans of fake “patriotism” and internationalism to defend the interests of their own imperialists. Within the working class movement, they functioned as the diplomats of their imperial states.

Almost 100 years later, under strangely similar conditions of deep capitalist crisis and wars of aggression, we see the opportunism of our times doing the same thing. We see Achcars, instead of Kautskys, mentoring the so-called “Syrian rebels” on their military-political strategy. We see Biskys and Mélénchons now, undersigning the resolutions of European imperialism designed for a military intervention in Libya.

They cry, as the European Left Party cries, “no to foreign intervention, no to no-fly zones, no to NATO”. Very well indeed…

They declare that they will enhace their efforts to help democratic, progressive and left social and political forces in Syria to reach just and peaceful results to the ongoing social and political conflict, and they will take a stand in every international arena (European Parliament, national parliaments in the EU, social movements etc) in order to prevent militaristic strategies that are being contemplated by imperialist forces.[15]

 

Very well again…

But, one still wonders: But where were your principles and efforts to prevent all “militaristic strategies” when your leaders were saying “yes” to the resolution about Libya on March 10, 2011, which says “none of the measures provided for in the options of the UN Charter can be ruled out” and which called upon EU External Representative to make “arrangements for a possible decision in the UN Security Council for further action, such as the extablishment of a no-fly zone”.

One wonders even further: What do you consider as “militaristic strategies”? What do you consider as “foreign intervention”? Is it simply the imposition of no-fly zones, or does it include harboring, training and supporting armed militia by all means against a country?

[1] MacFarquhar, N., “As Syrian war drags on, jihadists take bigger role”, The New York Times, July 29, 2012.

[2] “Irish Libyans join rebels trying to oust Gadafy”, Irish Times, August 13, 2011.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Tinker raiders, soldier, spy”, Sunday World, http://www.sundayworld.com/columnists/index.php?aid=9335

[5] In a press statement of the IAWM dated March 28, 2011, we read the following: “If Libya’s neighbours, Egypt and Tunisia, lent their support – military, logistical, and practical – to the rebel strongholds in Libya, then that would help the Arabs peoples to take control of their revolutions. The best use that Egypt could make of the $1.3bn of military aid that it gets from the US would be to arm the Libyan rebels. Such measures would help to prevent an outcome that the west looks increasingly likely to favour – the partition of the country into a rebel-held east and a Gaddafi controlled rest of the country.” “Irish Anti-War Movement protest: NATO bombing and the no-fly zone”, http://irishantiwar.org/node/1209

[6] Lenin, V.I., “Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky”, Collected Works, vol.28, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1974.

[7]“Irish Anti-War Movement protest: NATO bombing and the no-fly zone”, http://irishantiwar.org/node/1209

[8] Nakhoul, Samia, “Special report: The secret plan to take Tripoli”, Reuters, September 6, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/06/us-libya-endgame-idUSTRE7853C520110906

[9] “Irish Anti-War Movement: Statement on Syria”, February 19, 2012, http://irishantiwar.org/node/1618

[10] Charif, Dima, “Gilbert Achcar: The revolution has just begun”, Al Akhbar, August 24, 2012.

[11] Callinicos, Alex, “The revolution in Syria is rooted in popular uprising”, Socialist Worker, Issue: 2313, July 28, 2012.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Wallerstein, Immanuel, “The Syrian Impasse”, February 15, 2012, http://www.iwallerstein.com/syrian-impasse/

[14] We wrote the following in December 2011:

Why would imperialism want to utilize the concept of “revolution”? Isn’t it risky in view of the ongoing, major crisis of capitalism?

 

We believe that there is a simple answer to this question: because any political power that “comes with a revolution” is legitimate… In other words, the conquest of political power with a revolution necessarily implies the consent of broad masses, which in turn implies legitimacy.

 

Therefore, imperialism has seen the opportunity it might create for itself in planting more legitimate affiliates in the region if it successfully manipulates the concept of revolution. From a different viewpoint, imperialists undertook the risk of playing with the “revolution card” as it is much more credible in view of the current situation of capitalist-imperialism. Once again, they have been choking the genuine, legitimate and rightful demands of toiling masses for their own interest. But this time, by creating the illusion that they are on the side of toiling masses.” (The Political Stance of Communist Party of Turkey on the Developments in the Arab World and the Middle East”, Communist Party of Turkey, December 2011.)

[15] Statement of the European Left Party, “We are against NATO and any other military intervention in Syria”, January 14, 2012, Berlin.

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