The British ‘anti-war’ movement’s hypocrisy over Syria

Through their (in)direct support of Assad, the Stop the War Coalition blindly ignore Russia's own imperialistic goals in the region and prove themselves anything but anti-war.

Noor Barotchi is a British-Syrian national who is a founding member of Bradford Syria Solidarity and a volunteer with the humanitarian aid charities Hand in Hand for Syria and Syria Relief

They call themselves an anti-war movement. Set up in 2001 in the UK to counter the Bush Administration’s ‘War on Terror’, the Stop the War Coalition claims to defend civil liberties.

And yet their binary vision of ‘West equals evil/anti-West equals good’ has led them and other self-professed ‘anti-imperialists’ to adopt a utilitarian vision of the conflict in Syria.

Far from standing with the oppressed, their stance has proven that Syrian blood means little. Most recently, they invited Lebanese-Palestinian nun Mother Agnes Mariam to speak at their International Anti-War Conference, who preaches that Assad is a protector of minorities and all havoc in the country has been caused by militant Sunni jihadists.

The hypocrisy lies in the fact that her views and actions make her the exact opposite of anti-war.

Unfortunately, Agnes Mariam has exploited her religious status to be an accessory to mass murder. Syrian Christians for Peace and Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest based in Syria who is now missing (believed to have been kidnapped by the Al-Qaida affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), have called Sister Agnes a regime agent, the latter claiming that her “interpretation of the facts is always selective and one-sided”.

In 2012, she blamed the Houla massacre on the rebels, claiming that the victims were Alawites and Shia converts. This contradicted the United Nations’ investigation, which found government forces and Shabeeha [paid regime militia] culpable.

Mo’dhamiya (Damascus countryside) has been besieged for almost a year. Civilians living inside are dying of starvation due to the strict blockade imposed by the Syrian government, which prevents food, water and medical supplies getting in. Agnes Mariam allegedly encouraged civilians to evacuate the area by saying that “it is better if unarmed civilians surrender and turn themselves in”. In doing so, she was complicit in the detainment of 200 plus civilians from the area, the fate of whom presently remains unknown.

When the chemical weapons attack was perpetrated in Ghouta, she presented ‘evidence’ to the U.N. to try and pin the blame on the rebels. First, she determined that the videos were “manipulated and disposed with theatrical arrangements.” She then concluded that the children shown in the video were actually Alawite children kidnapped from Latakia (the same line was given by Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media advisor to Assad).

Her polemics, however, were refuted by many organisations, including Human Rights Watch, who issued a statement saying: “there’s just no basis for the claims advanced by Mother Agnes.”

Agnes Mariam has now ‘withdrawn’ from the conference after two keynote speakers, Jeremy Scahill and Owen Jones, refused to share a platform with her. While this is news worthy of celebration, we should not forgive nor forget the fact that StWC invited her in the first place. Through their (in)direct support of Assad, they blindly ignore Russia’s own imperialistic goals in the region and prove themselves anything but anti-war.

43 Responses to “The British ‘anti-war’ movement’s hypocrisy over Syria”

  1. David Lindsay

    who preaches that Assad is a protector of minorities and all havoc in the country has been caused by militant Sunni jihadists

    Whatever can have given her that idea?

    Russia’s own imperialistic goals in the region

    The protection of the Christians.

    Drivel of this kind has already been torn apart today both on Coffee House and on Harry’s Place. Yes, Harry’s Place.

    In both cases, it had been written by the editor of this site. Get the message.

  2. AlexisWolf

    Confused, simplistic & sectarian propaganda. If there was genuine solidarity theses groups Noor represents would be standing with all Syrians not just the foreign sponsored ones doing the zionist / neo con’s dirty work. The StWC seems to be happy to stop the all out NATO war but not the all out NATO war by proxy. The divide and rule tool is working perfectly to exacerbate splits in the ME, wtf is LFF falling in the same hole?

  3. erefdsfsfasfs

    Through their (in)direct support of Assad

    Why the brackets here? This is just the old ‘anyone who opposed the Iraq war objectively supported Saddam’ line trotted out again. By that logic, anyone who supports military action in Syria is an al-Qaeda supporter. Pisspoor.

  4. gulls

    what a load of BS – Owen Jones was too afraid to debate the Syrian conflict with a nun from syria. why? because you and he can’t face being told the truth by someone who has seen first hand the murder and massacres of innocent civilians at the hands of the rebels.

  5. gulls

    Opposition fighters execute 190 civilians in Lattakia countryside

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