Assad’s Propaganda: Summer, Palmyra, and Mourinho

What do Jose Mourinho, ancient artefacts, and tourism have in common?

At first glance, not much, but on investigation we find that they all play a role in the continuous, if somewhat confused, campaign of propaganda by the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

A story that emerged recently, that immediately jumped out at me as somewhat strange, was the news that Jose Mourinho – of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid fame – had been targeted as the next manager for the Syrian football team.

Not one to shy away from controversy, Mourinho was said to be “honoured” at the approach, but ultimately rejected the job offer.

And whilst the audacious bid to land the “special one” came as a shock, in reality, we should not be too surprised when we see this move in the wider context of Assad’s propaganda machine.

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There Can Be No Peace in Syria Until There Is Justice

Whilst the world’s major powers collectively pat themselves on the back for brokering a ceasefire in Syria, they fail to notice that the war, though diluted in its violence, is yet to stop.

Despite the widely reported truce between Regime forces and those opposed to Bashar al-Assad, the death toll continues to rise in Syria. The oft-quoted figure of 250,000 dead has sat unchanged for at least 18-months and is in all likelihood so far from the truth that it should be ignored outright.

Since the ceasefire has come into force, the monthly casualties have dropped substantially, but soldiers, and more worryingly, civilians continue to die en masse.

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John Rees Continues to Massage The Stop the War Coalition Self-Destruct Button

John Rees is in danger of dragging Stop the War Coalition’s reputation further into disrepute. It is a troubling time for the anti-war organisation, and rather than dousing the flames, Rees is adding further fuel to the fire.

Initially, I had no intention of doing another piece criticising Stop the War Coalition. It is not my aim to smear them or to further embroil Jeremy Corbyn into what is rapidly becoming an incredibly bad public relations chapter for the organisation. For what it is worth, I am a fan of Corbyn, and voted for him in the Labour leadership election, despite having concerns about his views on certain foreign policy issues.

Until a few weeks ago, Rees and I were connected on Facebook and regularly debated, discussed, and disagreed on posts made online. We did not see eye to eye and it was for that reason, rather than continuing the endless back-and-forth, that ties were severed. I thought this would be in the interest of both parties as his posts wouldn’t infuriate me, and my comments wouldn’t be seen as trolling him.

However, following the Don’t Bomb Syria march that was held in London on the 12th December, Rees has made public some truly outrageous claims and remarks, and I cannot allow his statements to go unchallenged. The disingenuous comments made by certain StWC members are bringing the organisation into further disrepute and alienating the very people (Syrians and the wider Muslim community) who should be the most active in the anti-war movement.

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Tariq Ali’s Don’t Bomb Syria Speech: Confused, Misinformed, or Simply Untrue?

On Saturday 28th November, thousands of protesters gathered in Whitehall to oppose the UK government’s plans to bomb ISIS in Syria.

Stop the War Coalition led proceedings, and though I was not there in person, I have been able to watch numerous videos of the days events.

One video which stands out from the crowd is that showing Tariq Ali’s speech – or at least 15-minutes of it – at the end of the demonstration.

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On Selective Solidarity

Unlike compassionate conservatism, selective solidarity does exactly what it says on the tin.

It is a phenomenon that cuts across gender, race, and political affiliation. Born from the desire to stand alongside comrades, it is blunted by the hypocrisy inherent in its (il)logic.

Across campaigns and across the world it can be seen to rear its ugly head, but little is done to confront or change it.

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