Colonisation of mind: The error of seperating establishment secularism from the legacy of colonialism in the Middle Eastern context

Establishment anti-Islamist prejudice as part of colonial legacy

[Draft – to be completed]


From “Radical Islamist” to “Shiite militant” group: The indicative transformation of Hezbollah’s changed description, and the ‘nationalisation’ of Shiite identity

In the past few months I’ve noticed a marked transformation (which probably goes back much before that) in the type of ideological descriptions atrributed to Hezbollah. Historically, Hezbollah, like Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. was labelled as an ‘Islamist’ organisation, or perhaps ‘Shiite Islamist’. However, from close observation I have found that in the past few months the ‘Islamist’ adjunct has ceased to be attributed to Hezbollah. This could not be put down to the rise of the (much more “radical”) ISIS, i.e. where a term historically associated with radicalism has been stripped off such groups as Hezbollah or Hamas and been given to a much scarier proponent. The reason being that the term “Islamist” continues to be used routinely to describe the myriad of Syrian revolutionary groups, many seen to be ‘moderate’ and in direct confrontation with ISIS.

Grey ground? Perhaps not a shift to secularism, but a shift from Islamism nonetheless

[Draft – to be completed]

Missing in action: The US commits a massacre in Syria – and Stop the War Coalition again fails to report

As has been reported in various media outlets, the US on Tuesday bombed a munitions factory belonging to a mainstream rebel brigade along the Syrian-Turkish border. 25 civilians were killed in the US airstrike, with the total number of nationwide deaths (and we should never forget the wounded) reaching 100 civilians on that day alone, with the regime doing its part (including an air-raid on a Damascus suburb market that killed 35 people).

Meanwhile, the still-ongoing Syrian revolution was attacked by all of the Syrian regime (which reportedly used Napalm on an area where it has encountered fierce resistance – see Syrian Civil Defence reports from the scene), the international coalition and ISIS (suicide bombing) – on the same day and in the same area (Idlib province)

Heartbreaking video of granddad who lost 5 of his grandchildren in the US strike, visiting their graves: (To be subtitled)

Interview by the Syrian activist-journalist Hadi Abdullah with a commander of the targeted brigade, says: “What we don’t understand is that we are a completely non-ideological group [i.e. have no political programme, Islamist or otherwise]. We’re not designated as anything and have nothing to do with all of that. We are simply a spontaneous grouping from the revolutionaries of Homs who were displaced off our lands by the criminal regime.”
The destroyed weapons factory cost “hundreds of thousands’ of dollars” but “no one thinks about these things, but the human cost of the women and children they killed. Not a single man or fighter was killed”
“To add to the catastrophes of the Syrian people resisting against the fascist regime, we now have the international coalition to add to our woes. They are trying to put a brake on our advances on Assad’s forces”

Another interview from the scene: Factory hit with 6 rockets. Primary casualty count, 5 children dead, 7 injured in critical condition. First interviewee shows dusted Qur’ans which were in the destroyed factory, and says ‘these are the holiest thing to us, see what they’re doing to us’. The attack on the local-made weapons factory (rebels are not blessed with them and such hits are costly) described as blatant sabotage to slow down rebel advance along Syrian coast (“This is a strong hit for Jaish al-Fateh”). Technical director of the factory also interviewed, states “[What they have done] there is no difference from them and the regime”. Khaled Abdullah concludes the report stating “The international community has not sufficed with blocking weapons and ammunition from the Syrian revolutionaries who were asking for their freedom and justice, but they are striving to destroy what they are trying to produce with their hands to liberate their country and lift injustice”

Meanwhile, Stop the War coalition, which states that its raison d’etre is to oppose Western bombing, has failed to report on the massacre.


The answer has something to do with who was targeted: Jaish al-Sunna, an independent FSA brigade (this is considered the first time the US has bombed an FSA faction, although it has come close before).

The US has now struck every main rebel grouping in Syria, including the two main rebel umbrellas: The Islamic Front (repeatedly) and the Free Syrian Army. Assad, who was only ever ‘threatened’ due to the fear of not being able to keep control of his chemical stash, has not suffered a single airstrike, neither has incidentally Hezbollah, a non-state actor (and hence spared the argument that ‘targeting states has a different dynamic’). Indeed Hezbollah of course was taken off the ‘terrorist list’ after it invaded Syria, whilst Iran was rewarded with sanctions relief – not that we’re pro-sanctions, but the timing of such undertakings have always been a bit conspicuous for us ‘conspiratorial’ minds.

This is the 8th time the US strikes anti-ISIS rebels in Syria. Stop the War Coalition has failed to report on any strikes,  or more poignantly the civilian casualties resulting from them, against those not designated as ‘terrorist’ organisations (i.e. Jabhat al-Nusra), as it has similarly failed to report on the thousands of proud politically-identifying Muslim (i.e. non-secular) revolutionaries who have died fighting ISIS. These, instead of being hailed as a proud example for the whole world to see of Islam being put in practice and recognising what extremism is (and not requiring ‘the West’ to tell them how to recognise it) – incidentally much before most of the world knew what ‘ISIS’ was – were lumped together as “terrorists” with their killers, those who had been so radicalised because of Western complicity in genocide both in Iraq and (more cynically and nuancely) in Syria.

Because, of course, anyone who has revolted against the secular-fascist (religion detesting) regime is bound to be a “terrorist” (and extra woe befall them if they have beards or shout ‘Allahu Akbar’). Not all Muslims are terrorists, but the politically-identifying ones are. Political Muslims could be tolerated, but only when they serve some value in the wider ‘game’ of anti-establishment politics. When their use or ‘pawn’ value in that posturing field of (anti) establishment identity politics is unavailable, other biases comes into play: To defend their ideological bedfellows (be it the USSR in its occupation of Afghanistan or the Syrian Arab “Socialist” Ba’ath party) they will have no qualms of resorting to their own militant-secularist ‘War on Terror’ lingo. Muslims will cease to have the friendship of those who will use sensitive events to further their own agendas, if necessary in the process demonising Muslims recklessly, perversely and dangerously as collateral damage.

Since 2011, the biggest ‘war on terror’ propagandists, the most people who have used the sensationalist language previously associated with the noughties’ neocons, (‘terrorist’, ‘jihadist’, ‘fanatic fundamentalists’, ‘militant Islamists’ etc etc). have been these very people, who then have the gall to posit themselves as being principled opposed to the essential adoption of the implications of their reckless rhetoric by their very establishments (i.e. in their new ‘counter-extremism’ crackdowns).

MIA Stw website     MIA Stw Twitter     MIA Stw FB

Screenshots (correct as of afternoon of 13/08/15) – Website, Twitter Feed and Facebook page  – all without mention of attack
(click images and zoom to expand)

Apparently though, the collateral damage threshold of civilians killed by the US in anti-revolution strikes which would force them to have to address the unraveling of their narrative, still hasn’t been reached.

I refer to a statement by a protester at a recent Stop the War coalition conference (48:35 in video):

“Three or four years ago we said that the West’s position (or America and Britain and imperialist powers’ position) in Syria is to let two sides to destroy each other and they would probably like Assad or at least his state, his regime to come out on top (i.e. a Sisi solution, an Egypt solution), you didn’t even mention last year when the US coalition bombed rebels, you didn’t even mention the civilian casualties, that’s how low it sunk: your raison d’etre you didn’t even mention it (when civilian casualties came out of US bombing)… Why? Because its inconvenient for your narrative. And then you talk about Islamophobia? You’re the ones who’ve fuelled Islamophobia with all your rhetoric about Islamism being synonymous with extremism, “jihadi takfiri jihadi takfiri.”.. supporting secular fascists, the only fascists can be religious?’

Article titles/themes *(for expansion)* [UPDATED]

The Eternal Spring

Hi everyone. The below are a few random article titles which have been drafts for way too long. I wanted to put them out there for anyone who would like to take them (or ideas/themes within them) and expand upon, as I don’t know if I will be able to do so anytime soon:

– How the unlikely duo of Abdullah and Khamenei served as the cornerstones of the US response to the Arab awakening
– Reverse (Perverse) orientalism: Analyses about Syria are about everything but Syria
– When the US accepts allies: Reactionism and the poisonous ‘T’ word
– Syria’s revolutionary Islamists a far cry from Egypt’s MB
– It is not only Western establishments that must be brought to account for Syria, but the ‘anti-establishments’ as well
– The War on Terror and its Arab proxies
Pawn Warfare: The Western left and the Arab revolutions or How Western establishments put…

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