Here’s an excellent interview from Democracy Now! with Professor Vijay Prashad of Trinity College in Hartford Connecticut and the American College in Beirut. Yesterday the interview focused on Syria and Iraq. However, I thought that the discussion today, when his focus was on Libya was more insightful and illuminating.
About midway through the interview he says
Libya was going—Gaddafi’s rule was going to fall. There was no need for NATO intervention. In Egypt, the military is very powerful, but you will find something interesting. The soldiers have dark skin compared to the other Egyptians. They are recruited from upper Egypt. They are very disciplined, but they are not exactly with high morale. In Syria, the military has very high morale. You know, it has often been amazing to me. I keep wondering, why did the Turks and others believe that the Syrian regime was going to fall like the Libyan regime? They have completely different military structures, and the morale is completely different.
So you have to ask, why would the US call for the popular Syrian President to step down and defer to a minority uprising of right wing fanatics? Would the morale be so high if the largely Sunni military with many conscripts represents a disaffected population. It doesn’t. It represents the majority of the country, who support the Assad Government. So what is the justification for U.S. calls for Assad to go?
And then he says:
If you just give the Libyan people a destroyed country, how are they going to build a future? And that was the real danger of aerial bombardment of the style the Americans conduct. They level countries and then tell people, “Well, create a democracy.” It doesn’t work like that
Don’t you think the same would be true in Iraq and Syria? Vijay then said, wisely I think, that we should
Let the process take its own way. Let them fight a little bit. Let there be a political dialogue within the rebellion. Let them create alternative structures of power.
Well yes, in Libya, but in Syria and Iraq we might say
“Let there be a political dialogue within the polity – between the various parties with issues and the government.”
In fact, the Syrian government was very responsive to the complaints of the rebels and particularly to anyone who would come and negotiate during the earliest period of the insurrection before it became clear that Syria’s regional enemies had mounted a proxy war, powered by Takfiri (religious fanatics) warriors from all over the world.