Shameless Galloway Has Decided Assad Will Fall

George Galloway has written an astounding piece, attacking Assad, and both denying and “contextualising” his former outspoken support for the murderous regime.

You will remember this:

I want to be very clear. I was clear in July, and what I said in July has followed me all over the world by the American and Israeli propaganda machine, so I want to be very clear again. All dignified people in the world, whether Arabs or Muslims or others with dignity, are very proud of the speech made by President Bashar Al-Assad a few days ago here in Damascus.

For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that’s why I’m proud to be here and addressing you this evening.
The reason why Syria is being threatened is not because of anything bad which she did, but because of the good which she is doing.
So I say to you, citizens of the last Arab country, this is a time for courage, for unity, for wisdom, for determination, to face these enemies with the dignity your president has shown, and I believe, God willing, we will prevail and triumph, fwa-salam aleikum.

–George Galloway at Damascus University, November 2005

And this:

Syria is the shoe which didn’t drop. And I have a theory for that. The Syrian regime is authoritarian, no doubt, freedoms personal and political, are, of course, scant, it is a one party state, and the father in this case successfully handed over power to the son. So on one level it is a candidate [for an uprising]. And yet it has not. And what is the reason for that? Well, here is my theory: the government of Syria for a long time has pursued a policy of Arab-ness. Of Arab nationalism, of Arab dignity, of support for the Palestinian cause, material support, material support for the resistance, rejection for the foreign occupation of Iraq. And a refusal to bow before the foreign powers. This is the perception, and it is largely the reality, though the perception is greater than the reality. And I think that has somehow inoculated the Bashar Al Assad regime from the kind of events we are seeing elsewhere. Of course Syria is not the richest place, and there are extreme divisions between the very rich and very poor, but most people support the government because of its stand on Arab issues and the West. They think that Bashar is heir to a tradition of which they are quite proud.

These may be famous last words, but that is my take on it.

Now – in a remarkable piece on Socialist Unity – Galloway has changed his tune.

He starts off by reminding us all how his Viva Palestina outfit was hosted and assisted by Assad:

I lived in that camp last year, on that water-front, when the then dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak was stalling about letting the Viva Palestina 5 convoy sail for Gaza (after more than a fortnight of Syrian hospitality the convoy sailed though I was banned). The people of Latakia, a beautiful seaside holiday resort, were good to me. I cannot be silent about their suffering now.

However, Galloway then makes a quite astonishing interjection, which signals a significant change of tack.

Historically, I was never close to the Syrian regime, I’m writing this from my house which I called Tal-al-Zattar after the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon which suffered a massacre facilitated by another Assad more than thirty years ago and carried out by his then Phalangist allies.

The reference to the Tel al-Zataar massacre is significant. Galloway describes it correctly. As many or quite possibly more Palestinians were slaughtered by Phalangists at Tel al Zataar as at Sabra and Shatila. Nevertheless, the Assad family’s complicity in the slaughter of Palestinians – which Galloway knew about, as we can see – didn’t stop him from supporting them, or indeed presenting them as friends of  the Palestinians.

Why is this?

Simple. As far as people like Galloway are concerned, it isn’t dead Palestinians that count. The identities of those who can be blamed for their deaths is the only thing that matters.

It is for this reason that the Tel al-Zataar massacre is almost never mentioned, commemorated or protested. The dead have been forgotten.

Galloway gives the game away in a paragraph, a little later in his article:

It was possible to judge Syria by the nature of its enemies – Israel, US, British and French imperialism, the Arab reactionaries, the Salafist sectarian fanatics – for as long as the Syrian people remained either supported or were largely quiescent behind the regime even if only for fear of something worse.

In other words, Galloway’s open alliance, collaboration with and toadying to Assad was a product of his “enemy’s enemy” policy. In following that approach, he sided with the killers of Palestinians and the killers of Jews. What a disgusting man he is.

It is telling that Galloway has jumped ship now. He must clearly think it is sinking.

Socialist Unity must know what the reaction to this piece will be. They have turned comments off.