Across the Bay

Monday, November 15, 2004

On Romanticism and Fascism (Lite!)

A discussion has been taking place over at the H-Levant Discussion Log (here and here. The relevant threads are "Non-Iraqi Arabs in Rashid Ali's Wartime Baghdad" and "De-Baathification, Nazism, and history") that touches on the relation between the Baath and Nazism and Fascism.

The threads were started by Keith Watenpaugh, your average post-colonial Arabist/Third-Worldist; an academic totally smitten by Arab nationalist romanticism, and a prime apologist on its behalf. Those two elements, romanticism and apologetics, are painfully obvious in his posts. Here's a sample:

"Following the Rashid Ali al-Gaylani coup in Iraq during WWII, large numbers of young Arab nationalists gravitated to Baghdad from Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. For a brief period Iraq was the only "liberated" Arab state. Within a few months, Rashid Ali's government would collapse in the face of a British re-invasion of the country.

I am trying to compile a list of Arabs who went to Iraq at that time. I already know of several, including Baathists al-Arsuzi and Aflaq, however if list members are aware of other cases, please let me know on or off list.

Although it's likely related to a paper of his (“The Generation of 1900 in Rashid Ali al-Kaylani’s Baghdad (1940-1941): Reassessing the Iraqi Interregnum and Early Pan-Arabist Thought,” Iraq: Notions of Self and the Other since the Late-Ottoman Era, Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) Amman, Jordan, 1/7/2005), I'll go out on a limb and guess another reason why he's interested. The common exercise of all these MESA types is to draw parallels between the current US presence in Iraq to British colonialism. Hence "luminary" Rashid Khalidi's recent article, and in fact, his latest book (see his older talk at UCLA for a repetition of the same points). Here's the main point:

"The United States is perceived as stepping into the boots of Western colonial occupiers, still bitterly remembered from Morocco to Iran.
By invading, occupying and imposing a new regime on Iraq, the United States may be following, intentionally or not, in the footsteps of the old Western colonial powers—and doing so in a region that within living memory ended a lengthy struggle to expel colonial occupations. They fought from 1830 to 1962 to kick out the French from Algeria. From 1882 to 1956 they fought to get the British out of Egypt. That’s within the lifetime of every person over 45 in the Middle East. Foreign troops on their soil against their will is deeply familiar.

So I have a feeling that Watenpaugh's interest in the "Rashid Ali Model" is actually meant to first paint an idealized picture of non-Iraqi young Arabs heeding the call of Arab nationalism and flocking to Iraq to defeat British colonialism. Then, a parallel is to be drawn to non-Iraqi young Arabs flocking to Iraq today to defeat the new colonialism of the US, as defined by Khalidi above. The catchy title of this paper by Watenpaugh says it all: "The Guiding Principles and the U.S. 'Mandate' for Iraq: 20th Century Colonialism and America’s New Empire."

This type of romanticism has been echoed by Juan Cole, if you remember his piece in Le Monde Diplomatique that I referred to a few times on the blog, where he jumped on Sadr's insurgency and talked of a reemerging nationalism, "which we thought was dead," that transcends Sunni-Shiite divisions, etc. He still makes hints at it at every chance he gets on his blog. See also this horrible piece by the attention-hungry, and incredibly stupid upstart, Mark "Indiana Jones" LeVine. (LeVine looks in his crystal ball, recycles Cole and Khalidi, and echoes Watenpaugh's fantasy in this statement: "Iraqi public opinion might be inflamed to the point of sparking a more general Sunni or yet more significantly Sunni-Shi'i revolt. This actually happened in 1920..."). This is the bug of Arab nationalism/Third-Worldism that makes all these MESA folks high, and, to be frank, quite hilarious. That's the "expertise" you see: dig the past for romanticized episodes, then look in the crystal ball and project them into the future.

Enter Joshua Landis to break up the party:

"Dear Keith,
I believe only a few Syrians went to Iraq at the time of the Kaylani

Zaki al-Arsuzi (the Alawi leader) did not go to Iraq. In fact he
counseled his followers against it. He likened Kaylani to a donkey who
had fallen in line with British plans. Kaylani did send a relative to
make contact with Arsuzi in mid-March 1941, a few weeks before the coup
took place, but Arsuzi refused to be drawn into his plans. He explained
to his followers that it was a trap, that Kaylani didn't have a prayer
of success and would only compromise the nationalists. Why? He explained
that the British were too strong and would crush the revolt and arrest
anyone who joined it. Because of this, he ordered his followers to
remain neutral. He turned out to be right. (See Sami al-Jundi al-Baath,
p. 28-29.

Michel Aflaq did support the coup. He formed student committees in
support of Rashid Ali and launched a "Victory in Iraq" movement. "It was
an opportunity to bring home to our young followers the significance of
our Party's basic doctrine of Arab unity." Michel Aflaq told Patrick
Seale. (see Struggle for Syria, p. 10)

Seale does not say that Aflaq went to Iraq and he interviewed him on the

The Syrian that did go was Akram al-Hawrani along with a "few junior
officers," according to Seale. Jamal al-Atasi, who joined the Aflaq wing
of the Baath, says that Hawrani, Afif al-Bizri, and he went to Iraq and
were briefly arrested by the French when they fled back into Syria when
the coup failed.

Shukri al-Quwwatli headed a committee to raise funds for Rashid Ali.

Although the Rashid Ali movement clearly inspired enthusiasm among young
Syrian nationalists, there is not much indication that more than a
handful actually went to Iraq.

Oh Josh, you're such a party pooper! You just ruined their wet fantasy!

Watenpaugh replies:

"Thanks for the responses and the corrections. My sources, do place
al-Arsuzi in Baghdad 1939-1941 teaching after the loss of the Province
of Alexandretta, the source is Maqdisi's intro to the Complete Works -
Jundi is a very problematic source, and as I argue in my book, has the
texture of hagiography. It is quite probable that he left shortly before or
shortly after the coup and I am conflating his experience with someone else.

That said, my initial query was on "young men:" under 40 who may have
gone, and from anecdotal conversations with Syrians of that generation still
alive, it seems many did go "under the radar." The numbers of "Com. in
Support" of the nationalist government that arose in Damascus and
elsewhere at the time, and the later links between the Syrian Baath and the Iraqi
Baath all lead me to suspect that the degree of exchange between Syria
and Iraq at that time was more profound than we currently know.

I think the next step would be to check arrest/deportation orders in the
PRO and at Nantes.

Geoff's other query is well-placed. Italian and to a lesser extent
French fascism exerted a tremendous magnetic attraction on inter-war Arab
nationalists, and while Arab students studying in Germany often returned
with a glowing appraisal of Hitler's Germany, it just didn't have as
much appeal. What this points to is a need to more broadly approach the
study of fascism in the Middle East in the pre-war period in a way that is not
linked to post-war struggles between Palestinians and Israelis, or now clumsy
efforts at De-Baathification.

Josh pushes on and puts this poseur in his place, as he's clearly misread the sources:

"Dear Keith,

I am a bit surprised that you find Jundi's memoirs "problematic" because they have the "texture of hagiography" and thus prefer Maqdisi's short biographic sketch.

I would argue quite the opposite. Jundi is critical of Arsuzi (though he admired him and was his student), whereas, Maqdisi is the hagiographer.

A few examples:
Maqdisi consistently makes the argument that Arsuzi was a "saint" and pushes the notion that he was a prophet of his age who was in direct communication with the creator. He takes Arsuzi at his word that by the tender age of seven, Arsuzi had "memorized the Qur'an" and that as a child he was able to engage the Alawite religious shaykhs, who "flocked to his parents' house," on questions of "fate, eternity, and the divine spirit." They were "dazzled" by his brilliance and special religious insight. According to Antun Maqdisi, the Alawite shaykhs believed he was divinely inspired and a saint. (Complete Works, vol. 1: p. 14-16.)

Maqdisi relates how throughout his life Arsuzi had frequent spiritual experiences in which he went into trances, felt "strong reverberations overtake his entire being, and... a totalizing light transform him and all existing things in a metaphysical light... [and] divine transfiguration." (Ibid., 8.) He also had dreams in which Khidr, one of the many Alawite emanations of the Divine, appeared to him and gave him signs. Maqdisi sprinkles these divine revelations throughout his account of Arsuzi's life, reinforcing the notion that at major turning points the saint-like Arsuzi was inspired by direct communication with the creator.

Jundi, an Ismaili, is skeptical of Arsuzi's formal religious knowledge. He writes that during the early 1940s "I discovered from our conversations that at that time Arsuzi had not read the Quran seriously and if he did later on, he would have had to change many of his ideas. Many people don't know that Arsuzi began to study Arabic in 1940. Before that time, he preferred conversation in French." (p. 28)

This is not to say that Arsuzi was not deeply spiritual, as Maqdisi suggests. Jundi quotes Arsuzi telling him that "Revolution itself is a Sufi faith." Indeed, Arsuzi thought of their small party as a Sufi order more than anything else. Jundi explains how these were among his happiest days because they were filled with study and translation of the small library of books that the students were able to acquire.

As for the question of whether the early Ba`thists looked to Italian Fascism as their true model rather than German National Socialism, Jundi is quite frank about the influence of Nazi theories on the young party. I have never run across a Ba`thi who said that their primary fascist influence was Italian, but it is possible I have missed something. I don't know how many Italians were translated or if many Syrians knew Italian. If you and Geoff can demonstrate that the Ba`thists looked to Mussolini rather than Hitler for inspiration and found their intellectual guidance in Italian rather than German thinkers, you will certainly have overturned conventional wisdom as well as the assertions of many early Ba`thists.

For example Jundi writes:

"We were racists who admired the Nazis. We read their books and the sources of their thought." (p. 27)

He mentions the works of Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1883-85 and The Birth of Tragedy, 1872), Fichte (Addresses to the German Nation), and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the Anglo-German racial theorist who argued that the German nation was the best nation (Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts or The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century, 1899.) The book's central idea is that Western civilization's moral, cultural, scientific, and technological superiority comes largely from the positive influence of the "Germanic" race.) He also mentions someone whose name I don't recognize (Darah, who wrote (Race or al-`arq) and insists, "We were the first to have the idea of translating Hitler's Mein Kampf."

He adds: "Those who lived this period in Damascus can appreciate the tendency of the Arab people to sympathize with Nazism. It was the power that took revenge for them. Losers naturally like winners. But we (the Ba`thists) were of a different school." (27)What he means here is that the Bathists were not like ordinary Syrians who just wanted revenge. Rather, they were deeply interested in Nazi thought and nationalist theories.

Jundi describes how on 29 November 1940, Arsuzi founded a party named al-Ba`th al-`Arabi (the Arab Resurrection or Renaissance), which originally consisted of six students. It was at the apartment of Abd al-Halim Qadur, a law student. Arsuzi gave a four-hour lecture on the occasion which dealt with "democracy, communism, and Nazism."

Arsuzi did not think much of communism or Western-style democracy during the 1940s and early 1950s and tried to warn against them. Jundi explains that Arsuzi's beliefs were "aristocratic" rather than socialist. He believed that a "Za`im" was needed to lead the nationalist revolution, destroy the old order, and guide the masses out of their ignorance and lack of self-awareness and national consciousness.

Jalal al-Sayyid, one of the four original founders of the official Ba`th when it registered for party status in 1947 and a Sunni from Dayr al-Zur in the Jazira, disliked Arsuzi intensely and blamed him and his "wing" of Alawite supporters for introducing the "hatred" of the Alawites for Sunnis and Islam into the party. In his book Hizb al-Ba`th al-`Arabi (1972) he reiterates Jundi's assertions about Arsuzi's dislike of socialism. He writes:

"Arsuzi did not include socialism in his political philosophy. His philosophy was closer to Nazi thought, or actually, closer to the thought of the Romans in dividing people into slaves and masters. He divided people into two classes: the nobles and the peons... He called the mass of people "lache" in French (cowards). In short, he was aristocratic in his thought and looked at the people from on high, whereas, we (the Aflaq and Bitar Ba`thists) looked at the people from their level and as being among them." (P. 19)

Also, I didn't find Jundi and Maqdisi in contradiction about Arsuzi's dates. Both write that Arsuzi went to Iraq to teach for a year after Iskandarun was annexed to Turkey in 1939. Jundi writes that Arsuzi was in Iraq for a bit less than a year. I think we can accept this because the academic calendar doesn't include the summer months. Moreover, I think we can rely on Jundi as a source of Arsuzi's whereabouts during this period because he was in constant contact with him in Damascus and describes their activities in some detail. In fact, Jundi's account, published in 1969, has been accepted by subsequent writers as definitive. Some of these also claimed to be there and to know Arsuzi during these early years. For example Zuhayr al-Mardini, who claimed to know Arsuzi and Aflaq at this time, copies large chunks from Jundi's *al-Ba`th* verbatim in his book, *al-Ustadh,*.

Other works that accept the primary influence of German thinkers on Arsuzi's and Ba`thist thought include:

Antoine Audo, Zaki al-Arsouzi, un arabe face á la modernité (Liban: Dar el-Machreq, 1988); Salim Barakat, al-Fikr al-Qawmi wa Ususuhu al-Falsafiyya `inda Zaki al-Arsuzi (Dimashq: Dar Dimashq lil- Tiba`a wa-al-Nashr, 1979); Nafidh Suwayd, Zaki al-Arsuzi, al-Ab al-Ruhi lil-Hizb al-Ba`th al-`Arabi al-Ishtiraki (Damascus, 1992); Ahmad Sarim, al-Tarbiyya al-Qawmiyya fi Nitaj Zaki al-Arsuzi (Damascus: Dar Hattin lil-Dirasat wa-al-Tarjama wa-al-Nashr, 1993); `Isam Nur al-Din, Hayat Zaki Najib al-Arsuzi wa-Ara'uhu fi al-Siyasa wa-al-Lugha (Beirut : Dar al-Sadaqa al-Arabiyya, 1996); Saleh Omar, "Philosophical Origins of the Arab Ba`th Party: The Work of Zaki al-Arsuzi," Arab Studies Quarterly 18 (Spring 1996): 23-37. (NB: You can read the article online, here. T.) Ismâ`il Fâ`iz, Ma` bidâyât al-ba`th (With the Beginning of the Ba`th), Damascus: Dar Tlâs, 2nd printing. 1989.

I find your argument that "Italian and to a lesser extent French fascism exerted a tremendous magnetic attraction on inter-war Arab nationalists,...[whereas] Hitler's Germany just didn't have as much appeal," intriguing. Nevertheless, I am not sure which sources you are referring to. I would be interested in checking them out.

Josh's post drew a venomous reply from Watenpaugh, who clearly was made to eat humble pie:

" I wish to acknowledge Josh's lengthy post, and as this is incredibly
interesting to about four of us in the entire world, I'll take some of
our exchange of this off list and keep my foot from going further down
my throat. I've been living in the 20s and 30s for the past few years
and only now have returned to the 40s and my control of some of these
sources is rusty at best.

For those of you interested in this moment, please see Josh's
award-winning doctoral dissertation on the late 1940s in Syria, which he
is too modest to mention.

1) In a rush, I confused my Jundis - Adham rather than Sami. Mea culpa.
I even quote the better Jundi in my own article, "'Creating Phantoms:'
Zaki al-Arsuzi, The Alexandretta Crisis and the Formation of Modern Arab
Nationalism in Syria," in The International Journal of Middle East
Studies, 28 (1996), 363-389, which is now on j-stor.

2) The Nazi racialist vector is there. Batatu makes this very apparent
in his discussions of al-Arsuzi and observes that this tendency in his
thought gained him few followers and "left him bitter." Audo, whom I met
in Aleppo several years ago, thought this as well. Consequently, and as
I argued in '96, al-Arsuzi only has relevance in the context of Alawite
ascendance and has almost no real ideological value in the politics of
Baathism - beyond absorbing a tactical understanding of how Republican
Turks Turkified the Hatay.

But Geoff's, Peter's, Josh's and my posts about fascism and Nazism in
the Arab Middle East can be distilled into X areas

First: What time is this Fascism?

It strikes me that when one became a fascist - before the outbreak of
WWII and the Fall of France, perhaps even before the Spanish Civil War -
matters. Hence as I argue in my "Steel Shirts, White Badges and the last
Qabaday: Fascist Forms and the Transformation of Urban Violence in
French Mandate Syria" in France, Syrie et Liban, 1918-1846 - les
dynamiques et les ambiguites de la relation mandataire, Nadine M*ouchy,
ed., (Damascus: Institut Francais d'etudes Arabes de Damas Press, 2003)
325-347, if we consider INTERWAR "fascist-type" movements, the Steel
Shirts, the White Badge, the Phalange, the blue, green, fill in the
blank shirts, what was important were the aesthetics and styles of
organization of a generic Mediterranean, for lack of a better word,
fascism: the overt militarization of relationships of men and boys, the
pretty uniforms, the sense of power and dignity derived from being part
of a mass movement. There was also the basic question of language:
facility in French and Italian was more wide-spread; and travel to
Germany for college and post-graduate training while increasing in the
late 1930s, was still relatively rare and miniscule when compared to the
numbers going to France. The mandate archives in Nantes are filled with
paranoid French secret police reports about the Italians seeking
influence and worry about subterranean French fascism. Among the most
colorful, is one describing how the Banco di Roma rented a theater in
Aleppo, showed American movies and Italian newsreels and distributed
alcohol for free in an effort to seek influence. What is missing is any
credible evidence that Nazism per se was part of the picture in the 30s
and here I must underline 30s.

Second: What can one point to as Nazism in the political discourse of
the period?

Again, timing is everything here. As a subsidiary issue: is there
something coherent in Nazism that could actually be drawn upon? Sure,
al-Arsuzi read Fichte, as I note in IJMES, he translated the Reden, no
less, but never published it (?); he and others also read many of those
whom the Nazis retroactively adopted as their "thinkers." Last time I
checked, Nazism like nationalism is a vacuous ideology, with the
exception of "scientific racism" and the role of anti-Semitism, which
students of fascism often use to distinguish fascism from Nazism.
However this racialism, like anti-Semitism, was not unique to Nazism and
was in fact, quasi-dominant in European intellectual circles, left,
right and center. Remember: Eugenics was a viable and legitimate science
up to and including the time of WWII.

What is perplexing therefore is what ideas of the Nazis those in
question integrated into their thought and ideology? This isn't a
rhetorical question. My sense is that there is of course the revenge
motive - the enemy of my enemy - but that's not ideology. What I argue,
instead, in very broad terms is that fascism in the colonial non-West
should be seen as a loss of faith in liberal-nationalism, a turn away
from the Wilsonian moment: and that this loss of faith was increasingly
wide-spread by the mid-1930s - fascism, like communism, filled the
resulting void. Can we point to something and say "that's Nazi" rather
than "that's derivative of generic fascism?"

Third: How tied up in the Palestine-Israel conflict are questions of
fascism and Nazism (and now DeBaathification)?

This is where this discussion began.

There is a certain utility to labeling movements in the Arab world Nazi
or Nazi-influenced. In current thinking it's a conversation stopper, it
delegitimizes ones opponent and consequently, closes down critical
inquiry. This is the seeming undercurrent in Jankowski's Egypt's Young
Rebels (1975): Pan-Arabism is linked to fascism, especially through the
persons of Gamal Abd al-Nasser and Anwar al-Saddat. It creates a
metahistory that can cohere the Jewish Holocaust, Arab opposition to the
formation of Israel and continued Arab rejection.

Just imagine what kind of trouble one could get in were one to question
if interwar Zionist movements were influenced by fascism, where we quite
easily seek the fascist impulses in other colonial-settler movements?

Before we can proceed, we need to uncover what was understood as the
tenets of these ideologies and movements - how did interwar young Arabs
"see" fascism and Nazism? These question must remain in their proper
context: this is Peter's central demand: we must understand what
Phillipe Burrin calls fascism's magnetic attraction as it occurs in a
manner that recovers its local meaning, while not losing sight of linked
international components and strains of thought.

Yeah yeah yeah... Those of you not familiar with academic jabs, the reference to Landis' dissertation wasn't really a compliment. When you refer to someone's dissertation, you're highlighting the fact that it's not published into a book. That's Watenpaugh being unable to publicly admit that he has no clue what he's talking about, despite all the posturing. He tries the lame excuse of the difference between the 20s and 30s vs. the 40s, but to no avail! But it gets even more malicious. In the end, like all Arabists, Watenpaugh cannot help but bring in the Zionists. Besides the usual function of this trope, it's actually meant to draw out a reaction from Landis. Where do you stand on the Zionists, Josh!? That's the point! That way, he can discredit him by association. That's MESA at its best. That's High Priest Edward Said's legacy.

Which leads us to the second thread about Nazism, and the feverish apologia that ensues. For instance, take Geoff Shad, who wants to join in on the action:

"The article Keith forwarded to the list raises important
issues concerning the political process now underway in Iraq, the
character of Ba`thism, and how one should understand the Rashid
`Ali junta.
It is no surprise that the current "reeducation" program in
Iraq should compare the Ba`th and earlier Iraqi nationalists to
the Nazis. On one hand, the CPA appears to have modeled its "de-
Ba`thification" policies on post-World War II denazification in
Germany, as partial and as compromised as that process was, and
certainly Wolfowitz et al equated Saddam with Hitler and the
Ba`th with the Nazis. Moreover, it has been an article of faith
among anti-Ba`th Iraqi exiles that the Ba`th was essentially a
fascist movement if not fully Nazi. Kanan Makiya's _Republic of
Fear_, the ur-text of this train of thought, appears to lay the
blame for the Saddamist cult of personality and all that went
with it not so much on Saddam Husayn and his needs for total
control as on Ba`thism as such, arguing that the
authoritarian/totalitarian tendencies of the post-1968 Iraqi
regime were inherent in the original Ba`thist ideology as
articulated by Bitar, `Arsuzi, and especially `Aflaq.
Is this a correct reading of the early Ba`th? I don't have
my copy of Batatu in front of me, but weren't the Ba`th's
founders more influenced by Marxism and by French rather than
German forms of romantic nationalism than by fascism and Nazism?
Certainly, the Ba`th constitution posits a view of the "Arab
nation" rooted more in culture, language, and a positive sense of
belonging to it as opposed to a racialist vision (which was held
by some liberal Arab nationalists, such as Edmond Rabbath).
Beyond that, the program of the Ba`th can be read as compatible
with the ideals of European social-democratic parties. Arguably,
what made Ba`thist regimes repressive was not the original
ideological program but rather the decision to seek power through
alliances with military cliques rather than democracy, as Bitar
himself admitted shortly before his assassination.
The problem of the junta that backed Rashid `Ali al-Gaylani
is somewhat different. Gaylani himself may well have been
motivated by little more than personal ambition and an Iraqi Arab
nationalism that saw Britain as the main impediment, hence the
alliance of convenience with Italy and Germany. But the officers
of the "Golden Square" who had backed him were products of a
system of political socialization that was at the very least
xenophobic in outlook. We cannot forget that Bakr al-Sidqi,
whose 1936 coup prefigured that of 1941, had won his spurs by
means of a (very popular) pogrom against the Assyrians in 1933,
and that his outlook was shared by many field-grade Iraqi
officers. These same individuals engineered the 1941 coup and
the alliance with Italy and Germany. That the restoration of the
monarchy at end May/beginning June 1941 was followed by the
_farhud_ (pogrom) against Baghdad's Jewish population was
probably no accident. It is probably a stretch to claim that
1941's leaders were "Nazis," as the current "reeducation" program
insists, but pro-Nazi they certainly were at least in a tactical
sense, and xenophobic and exterminationist patterns of thought
were certainly current in Iraqi elite circles during the late
1930s and early 1940s.

So they're not Nazi fascists, they're Nazi-lite, low carb fascists! As Watenpaugh put it:

"[H]ow did interwar young Arabs "see" fascism and Nazism? These question must remain in their proper context: this is Peter's central demand: we must understand what Phillipe Burrin calls fascism's magnetic attraction as it occurs in a manner that recovers its local meaning, while not losing sight of linked international components and strains of thought."

Ridiculous. It's very easy to find out how they "saw" it. Read the sources, namely Husri! There's no escaping the conclusion, as Landis and Hazem Saghieh for instance, make it perfectly clear, that the Baathists/Arab nationalists were racialist fascists, period. (See my posts dealing with Liberalism and Arabism.)

But that's the point, they don't read the sources. Notice how Geoff's first impulse is not to check the primary sources, but to check Batatu's work! How about Aflaq and Husri's own writings!? But Joshua shut them up pretty well, as evidenced by the reply he drew from both Schad and Watenpaugh. For more, read Kanan Makiya's Republic of Fear. He lays out the infatuation with Nazism and European fascism very convincingly. Speaking of which, Makiya points out (p. 168) that Rashid Ali, the post-colonialists' hero, was also behind the pogrom against the Assyrians, and not just Sidqi, as Schad implied. But this shows the bankruptcy of these types, and of the new-Left, who are willing to bestow legitimacy on such figures as Rashid Ali, or Muqtada Sadr, or the Fallujah terrorists, in the name of a romanticized anti-colonialism. As Paul Berman once put it:

"[A] lot of people suppose that any sort of anticolonial movement must be admirable or, at least, acceptable. Or they think that, at minimum, we shouldn't do more than tut-tut-even in the case of a movement that, like the Baath Party, was founded under a Nazi influence. In 1943, no less!"

Thank God for Joshua Landis and his (restrained) smack-down!