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26 Feb, 2018 15:54

Democracy Now & guest slammed for backing ‘neocon project of regime change in Syria’

Democracy Now & guest slammed for backing ‘neocon project of regime change in Syria’

Journalist Max Blumenthal called out Democracy Now for pushing for regime change in Syria. The move sparked a war of words between guest Wendy Pearlman and others on Twitter.

Tweeting footage from a Democracy Now discussion about Syria, Blumenthal questioned the news outlet’s apparent backing of “the neocon project of regime change in Syria.” He also pointed to guest Pearlman’s earlier calls for the US to provide air cover to extremist groups in Syria, highlighting just how poorly that strategy worked in Libya.

In his critique of Democracy Now’s coverage, Blumenthal also invoked Pearlman’s 2014 call for the US to further arm the Free Syrian Army. Her article dismissed 12 common arguments against US intervention, including fears arms would end up in the hands of other extremists or that Syria would end up like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Indeed, it has since been revealed that those US weapons given to Syrian rebels did end up in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) hands. The same thing happened when the US approved arming rebels in Libya in 2011 – the arms fell into extremist hands, and Libya remains a failed state.

The Twitter argument then switched to Palestine. A professor at Northwestern University and advocate of Palestinian non-violence, Pearlman has written two books on the Palestinian struggle for statehood. “Of course, she would never even think about calling for the US military to protect Palestinians or give them arms,” Blumenthal added to his criticism.

Pearlman is also a former fellow of the US Institute of Peace which, as RT journalist Dan Cohen noted, is a federally-funded organization to “promote international peace and the resolution of conflicts,” and whose board is appointed by the president. Pearlman replied that she received a dissertation grant from USIP with “zero political input or strings attached.” A 2016 article by former USIP vice president Daniel Serwer calling for the US to bomb Hezbollah if it didn’t follow its order to leave Syria was quickly shared by Blumenthal in response.

Pearlman was soon met with social media users pointing to the presence of Al-Qaeda and IS fighting Syrian government forces, while Blumenthal and others were accused of being Russian trolls for even questioning calls to arm militants.