Celebrating imminent ‘fall of Assad’s pro-Iranian regime,’ pro-Israel neocon compares Alawites to Nazis
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
July 26, 2012
Writing in Tablet, a daily online Jewish magazine, Foundation for Defense of Democracies fellow Lee Smith provocatively compares Syria’s increasingly imperiled Alawite minority to the most reviled group in modern history. In a piece revealingly entitled “Cause for Celebration in Syria,” the senior editor of the neoconservative Weekly Standard advises:
Many have noted the increasing presence of Islamists in the armed opposition and are warning that the United States might need to intervene to protect the Alawites and other minorities, like Christians, from being targeted. For instance, former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel has written that “one of the priorities of the international community after Assad falls will be to protect the Alawite community and its allies from vengeance.” Some in the Obama Administration have echoed Riedel, speaking of a “positive democratic transition that is inclusive, that is tolerant, that creates a place for all Syrians.” But that’s not going to happen right now—not after the Alawites have slaughtered thousands of Sunnis. The White House did not move a finger to save them, so why should step in to protect those who hunted them?
The idea that the Assad regime and its supporters warrant American protection simply because they are a minority group is not only strategically incoherent but immoral. During the course of four decades, the Assads have supported terrorist groups that targeted the United States and American allies in Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf Arab states. The Assads have allied with virtually every anti-American power for 40 years, from the Soviet Union to Iran. Does anyone believe that in the aftermath of World War II it was the role of the United States to save the Nazis and their allies from the Red Army? Of course not. Political wisdom begins with being able to distinguish enemies from friends, even if those allies are only temporary. (emphasis added)
In light of Smith’s invidious analogy, it’s worth recalling what Norman Finkelstein said to Yoav Shamir in Defamation, the Israeli filmmaker’s brilliant 2009 documentary on anti-Semitism: “The irony is that the Nazi Holocaust has now become the main ideological weapon for launching wars of aggression,” Finkelstein tells Shamir. “Every time you want to launch a war of aggression, drag in the Nazi Holocaust.”
With Tel Aviv having succeeded, in great part through the effective deployment of its American lobby, in inducing Washington and other lesser proxies — euphemistically known as the “international community” — to launch the latest war of aggression on its behalf against another Arab neighbour, Smith and his ilk will no doubt before long advocate a Nuremberg-style trial for the newest “Hitler” and his Nazi-like supporters.
Meanwhile, they will not cease to remind us of the “existential threat” posed to the ever besieged “Jewish state” as the secular regime it worked so hard to topple is replaced by supposedly Israel-threatening “Islamist elements.”
Maidhc Ó Cathail has written extensively on Israel’s key role in promoting regime change in Syria.