Question 2: How do you view the fall of Qaddafi and how do you view the situation in Libya today?
Tariq Ali: Qaddafi was toppled by six months of NATO bombings. His friends in the West had got fed up with him and decided to take advantage of the uprisings and remove him from the scene, backed by the Qatari state and businessmen. I had, of course, no time for Qaddafi or his regime, but for anyone on the Left to support the so called ‘No Fly Zone’ and then the NATO assault raises numerous questions. How many did they kill themselves? Six months bombing is no joke and the ‘collateral damage’ is usually heavy.
Question 5: You have been criticized for not being wholeheartedly in support of the Syrian uprising and appearing on Russia TV?
Tariq Ali: The first is a straightforward lie as anyone reading my texts knows full well. But much has changed since the beginning. The Syrian Left, among which I count many friends, old and new, is weak and could not retain control of the mass movement anywhere. They were strong in Aleppo and parts of Damascus but were soon overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood and groups to its Right, backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deserters from Assad were taken over by Turkey and France. So the character of the uprising changed by the end of the first twelve months. How can one not register this fact? The relationship of the forces today does not favour any secular or progressive groups. To pretend otherwise is to be blinded by illusions or the requirements of intra-sectarian left politics. As for Russia Today television, yes I do give them interviews as I do to many networks. So what? They are biased, for sure, just like CNN and BBC World and al-Jazeera. It does not alter what I have to say.