It takes a special kind of thinker to support a dictatorship police state which has killed over 6,000 of its own people and locked up nearly 20,000 more in an attempt to crush an uprising calling for freedom, originally triggered by the torture of children.
Alastair Crooke is one such man.
The former British spy made waves soon after setting up in Beirut after he was the source for the Seymour Hersh article claiming Al Qaeda-inspired militant group Fatah Islam was receiving support from the Lebanese government.
It was a claim repeated at the time by officials from Hezbollah, the Iranian-financed Shia militant group which was then seeking to topple the Western-backed Sunni-led government. Crooke had set up his think-tank Conflicts Forum a few years earlier with the express aim of giving voice to Islamist groups.
One of his early salvos across the uprising in Syria came back in July in a piece called ‘Unfolding the Syrian Paradox’ published in the Asia Times Online, the successor to the bankrupt Asia Times.
In his lengthy piece Crooke recognizes a “widespread demand for reform” in Syria but said “most Syrians also believe that President Bashar al-Assad shares their conviction for reform” despite the ruling Baath Party banning any surveys of public opinion that might back up such claims.