Last night’s statement from a Labour “spokesperson” on the Douma gas attack – no wonder no one wanted to put their name to it – was a textbook case of Corbynista equivocation in the face of evil committed by a regime opposed by the West. Corbyn’s record on Syria speaks for itself.
He accepted a free trip to meet Assad paid for by a Palestinian group which blames Jews for the Holocaust, posing with the Syrian leader alongside Jenny Tonge, and writing afterwards that the junket had shown him evidence that “the Israeli tail wags the US dog”.
He was the chair of Stop the War when they compared Assad to Churchill and repeatedly promoted Assad apologists, and he continued to back the group when they were condemned by Peter Tatchell for silencing victims of the Assad regime, and accused by Syria Solidarity UK of tacitly supporting Assad.
Following the Khan Sheikhoun gas attack, Corbyn refused to blame Assad despite Britain, the US and France all agreeing there was no doubt the regime carried it out. He did however appear on Russia Today to immediately endorse Russian reports of Syrian rebels using chemical weapons. He called for an “independent UN investigation“. When such an investigation later found the Assad regime responsible, Corbyn said nothing.
He received a briefing from Declan Hayes, a notorious Assad apologist who has denied that the regime has used chemical weapons. He dined with Marcus Papadopoulos, who claimed “there was no massacre at Aleppo“.
Corbyn’s chief aide Seumas Milne has repeatedly apologised for the Assad regime, writing that warnings of chemical attacks by Assad were a “reprise of the falsehood that paved the way for the invasion of Iraq”, praising Russian intervention in Syria as a “check to unbridled US power” and criticising Nato for working against the Assad regime.
Milne’s deputy in the leader’s office Steve Howell is even worse – he’s repeatedly openly sided with Assad and accused the West of spinning the Aleppo slaughter.
Corbyn’s favourite newspaper, the communist Morning Star, actually backed Assad’s slaughter in Aleppo as “providing aerial support to troops fighting to drive extremists out”.
Corbyn famously said that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. On Syria he doesn’t even pretend to be neutral.