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An Assad Apologist? Who's Apologizing?

It's for Syrians - not the US - to decide who should lead their country, and Russia is defending that right both politically and militarily

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Four years ago I could have been accused of being 'an Assad apologist'. At that time there was little information coming out of Syria on which to make judgements about the actions of the President of those of the Syrian Arab Army.

This was in contrast to the mass of misinformation, rumour and speculation outside Syria about the alleged crimes of the 'Assad regime', for which it was already judged and sentenced in the court of Western public opinion. So it didn't take much to be accused of being an apologist for Bashar al Assad, merely for raising doubts about those claims and the accompanying portrayal of him as a brutal and deluded psychopath.

Well I've had it with apologies. What business is it of mine to apologise for crimes committed by a man I did not choose to lead a country with which I have no connection? Besides, Syria has at least ten million people who could apologise on behalf of the President they chose, and chose again so recently to defend their interests and territory against the foreign invaders.

They can perhaps tell us why it was that Syrian security forces first opened fire on 'protest rallies', or used excessive violence against 'protestors', even though President Assad has already 'admitted' that such 'mistakes' were made at the beginning of the uprising.

They would no doubt begin by explaining that those rallies were infiltrated by armed men, and shot at by unidentified 'agents provocateurs'. And they would probably also express understanding at the reaction of security forces to the deaths of their colleagues, and explain how these casualties became the defining feature of the Syrian uprising. How every day there were funerals of 'martyred soldiers', killed by snipers or bombs or in other horrific ways by the proliferating gangs of 'rebels' and thugs in the 'Free Syrian Army'.

And as we listened to the real stories from those 'loyal' Syrians - stories unable to penetrate the walls of the echo-chamber of Western media - we might soon begin to wonder what exactly it was that Bashar al Assad must apologise for. Could it be that Assad hasn't actually been trying to 'kill his own people' for the last four years? What actual evidence were we given that this is what he was doing, and why should we believe those who continue to make these claims - even though they also number in the millions?

This is no longer an idle question - it is in fact THE question, as the solution to the whole conflict is narrowed down in Western debate to the fate of one man - Bashar al Assad.

But of course the debate doesn't end there - quite the opposite! Now the focus of Western leaders and henchmen turns onto the supporters and 'apologists' for Assad, who have conveniently fronted up in Syria to defend their ally and partner. Suddenly it is Russia who is 'partly responsible' for the tragedy of Syria, or rather it is that other favorite Western demon - President Putin!

I can say now that I will not be an apologist for Vladimir Putin either. And given his popularity in Russia even exceeds that of Assad in Syria, I don't think Russians will be apologising for him either.

Even though some in Russia may have believed the West's fairy stories of a 'Syrian revolution hijacked by Islamist extremists' they will surely accept their president's considered stand on supporting the Syrian army's current fight against the Western and Gulf-backed terrorist armies.

Hopefully Russians will also understand something which Western leaders so wilfully ignore - that President Putin's red line on Syria is not about President Assad, but about the sovereignty of Syria and the democratic rights of its people.

So now is the time to forget the apologising and to get on the front foot. And I'll be the first to say that I fully support these two leaders, not despite their past actions but because of them.

Had Syria not had the unerring support of Russia at the UN against the endless tricks and lies of her enemies, and the infinite patience of men like Lavrov and Churkin in dealing with duplicitous and intransigent 'Western partners', Syria would now be like Libya, and long past restoration.

With exquisite irony, those Western leaders and media who have for so long been covertly supporting 'the military solution' - or rather dissolution - for Syria now suddenly insist that only a political solution can bring justice and peace. With unbelievable conceit - and deceit - some even claim Russia's new military actions will make matters worse for Syria.

But millions of desperate Syrians welcome the Russian military support - with excitement even - and hope that it will make matters so much worse for the terrorist armies that their sponsors will finally admit defeat.

That day is still a long way ahead, but perhaps now we may also look forward to the day when the legions of 'Obama apologists', 'Cameron apologists' and 'Hollande apologists' will be on the back foot, as the true extent of their role in the criminal campaign against the Syrian government and the Syrian people is exposed.

Or is that just too much to hope for?

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