The US political establishment, like that in Europe and particularly that in “Israel” continue to promulgate the narrative that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a mass murderer and an irrational one at that. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the western and “Israel” elites are repeating such lies about a man whose constitution has the following written in the preamble,
“The Syrian Arab role has increased on the regional and international levels over the past decades, which has led to achieving human and national aspirations and achievements in all fields and domains. Syria has occupied an important political position as it is the beating heart of Arabism, the forefront of confrontation with the Zionist enemy and the bedrock of resistance against colonial hegemony on the Arab world and its capabilities and wealth. The long struggle and sacrifices of our people for the sake of its independence, progress and national unity has paved the way for building the strong state and promoting cohesion between the people and their Syrian Arab army which is the main guarantor and protector of the homeland’s sovereignty, security, stability and territorial integrity; thus, forming the solid
foundation of the people’s struggle for liberating all occupied territories”.
While most people in the US remain totally susceptible to anti-Palestinian propaganda that is “Israeli” in origin, when it comes to the most explicitly anti-Zionist leader in the Arab world, President Al-Assad is not only given a pass by many ordinary Americans, particularly those on the typically Zionist centre-right and right, but Al-Assad is in fact given an endorsement.
For powerful “Israeli” lobby groups like AIPAC, it is incredibly worrying that millions of Alex Jones, Michael Savage and Milo Yiannopoulos fans who rarely have anything good to say about Palestine, have become champions of President Assad. Like most people who overthink, AIPAC, the Democratic party and Republican party, mainstream media and intelligence agencies have found some pretty ridiculous explanations for the popularity of Al-Assad among the MAGA Movement. The most ridiculous explanations include the hypothesis that all of these US talk show hosts and personalities work for the Russian government and an equally absurd one is that they are all “Assadists”, as no such term exists. The correct term would be a Ba’athist, although the word is rarely spoken on US air waves. In any case, as none of the major personalities in the MAGA movement are experts on Syrian history, Arab nationalism, Ba’athism or the history of the Al-Assad family since the Corrective Movement of 1970, it is fair to say they are not “Assadists” as the mainstream media misleadingly calls them.
To understand the attraction of Al-Assad to the MAGA movement, one needs to realise who the MAGA movement does not like and why. First of all, they do not like the Palestinians because “Israeli” propaganda including so-called “Christian-Zionist” propaganda has been incredibly effective on the US right. They do not like President Al-Assad’s closest state ally in the Islamic Republic of Iran: 1. Because “Israel” told them so. 2. Because Ronald Reagan told them so in 1980/81 3. Because Iran’s leadership is bearded and doesn’t wear western style business suits and this is too much for the MAGA crowed to accept.
Of course if you hate Muslims you do get an occasionally pass when it comes to dressing in non-western clothes. This is why Hindutva extremist Indian Premier Narendra Modi is embraced by Trump personally and the wider MAGA movement. While Modi’s human rights violations against Muslims when Chief Minister of the Indian state of Gujarat once earned him a ban from entering the United States, he is now supported by a Trump administration that like “Israel” has embraced the ruling BJP in India, in spite of continued discrimination and violence against Muslims, other religious minorities, various ethnic minorities and Dalits. Meanwhile, under Trump, the US demonetisation of Pakistan has reached new heights and of course rather than understand the realities in Pakistan, the MAGA movement simply follows the leader against a Muslim majority nation whose leaders look south Asian because…they are south Asian.
But even when Trump reads from the deep state script and criticises the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Trump’s MAGA movement rarely follows him on that particular issue. The key to understanding this is simple
1. Al-Assad is light skinned and so is his attractive wife
Does this sound superficial? Of course it does, but most inherent prejudices whether racial, cultural or class based are extremely superficial. Because Al-Assad looks like he could be southern European as much as Arab in the eyes of many westerners, he is able to more easily win support from western audiences.
Unconsciously, many from Texas to Copengagen say to themselves that they wouldn’t mind living next to a family who looked like Bashar and Asma Al-Assad while the same probably wouldn’t be true for someone who looked and dressed like Yasser Arafat or Muammar Gaddafi.
While Iran’s leadership is equally tolerant to minorities to that in Syria in spite of exercising a different form of governance, because Iran’s leaders do not dress in a ‘western’ way and are openly devout Muslims, they are automatically considered suspect by the average westerner who grew up on a diet mainstream media which only serves to reinforce cultural prejudices rather than a more worldly understanding of different cultures.
2. Al-Assad takes selfies with Christian clergy
When Palestinian Christians march against the Zionist regime alongside Palestinian Muslims, such marches receive little coverage in the western mainstream and even alternative media. But when Bashar Al-Assad does this, it is used as an example of the fact that he protects Christians and other religious minorities from the likes of Daesh, Jaysh al-Islam and al-Qaeda. While President Al-Assad is valiant in his protection of religious minorities, there are many Muslim leaders whose governments cherish Christianity far more than post-cultural Europe for example and they are never recognised by ‘MAGA media’. Iran’s Armenian Christian community is among the most cherished in the region while Lebanon’s President is mandated by law to be a Christian.
The only conclusion one can draw therefore is that while protecting Christians has helped Al-Assad gain support among the allegedly Christian MAGA crowed, at the end of the day, it is because Assad looks and dresses like someone who those with unconscious racial and cultural prejudices can relate to.
It doesn’t matter that Al-Assad is a Muslim, it doesn’t matter that Al-Assad is an Arab and an Arab Nationalist one at that, it doesn’t matter that Al-Assad is a staunch anti-Zionist, it doesn’t matter that Al-Assad’s closet state partner is Iran – what matters is that in the eyes of the MAGA crowd is that Al-Assad looks like a “white guy”. It is as simply as that.
Of course, Al-Assad is on the right side of history and his government’s seemingly assured victory is good not only for Syria but for the world. That being said, when it comes to those who understand Syria, the world should beware of those who ‘vote’ with racial and cultural prejudices, rather than an objective understanding of the facts, something which in an age of 24 hour anti-Syria propaganda from the mainstream media, is admittedly a difficult task.