By Joe Gill
Middle East Eye
Owen Jones’ call for the left to oppose Putin did not address the most serious charge that the Russian president is escalating the war in Syria
Owen Jones recently implored the British left to take their fight to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. As a leading voice on the left, his piece was interesting more for what he left out.
Jones points out that Putin has many fans on the right in the US and Europe, including Donald Trump and Ukip’s Nigel Farage. Amongst the reasons he suggests the left should put Putin in its crosshairs are his close ties to the far right in Europe, the dreadful toll among journalists who have opposed his rule, his homophobic policies and his links to oligarchs.
But in the entire critique he did not once mention the Russian president’s war in Syria.
Putin’s current bombing campaign and involvement in ground actions is the biggest military action by Russia outside its borders since Brezhnev sent tanks into Afghanistan. Since 30 September, the bombing in Syria has killed more than 1,000 civilians and twice as many IS and al-Nusra fighters. It has radically improved the survival chances of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which until Russia’s intervention was teetering towards disaster.