Patrick Cockburn


Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, discusses his article “Why War is Marching on the Road to Damascus;” assigning blame for the Houla massacre and whether it will spark US intervention; why Syria looks like Lebanon before its disastrous 15-year civil war; Saudi Arabia’s continued fight against Iran’s 1979 revolution and the Shia revival; why NATO “safe haven” zones would exacerbate conflict in Syria and lead to wider war; Iraq’s export of suicide bombers; how crony capitalism undermines popular support for Middle East/North Africa governments; and why US politicians don’t care much for long-term sensible foreign policy.

MP3 here. (23:10)

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent, has been visiting Iraq since 1978. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting in recognition of his writing on Iraq. He is the author of, his memoir, The Broken Boy (Jonathan Cape, 2005), and with Andrew Cockburn, Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession (Verso, The Occupation: War, Resistance and Daily Life in Iraq (Verso, 2006) and Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia revival and the Struggle for Iraq.

29 thoughts on “Patrick Cockburn”

  1. 'At one pt. Scott asked 'What would the State Dept. want to see (as the outcome) of this?' and Patrick Cockburn answered ' I don't think they really know'. The question probably should have been "What would Israel like to see ?' And for that the answer would have to be : 'War and destruction'.

  2. Have vision — Think class

    All governments are controlled by the rich ruling class, the 25% most wealthy, surely worldwide and since the beginning of civilization.

    So in Syria, the 25% most wealthy support government, the 25% educated middle-class support the rebellion, and the impoverished laboring-class lower half of society stays out of politics, never goes to the polls and never joins a rebellion.

  3. This interview contradicts a video interview I watched today with Stephen Lendman on PressTv.
    'Pro-Assads were ‘picked’ by killers in Houla massacre: US author'

    An American author says armed groups in Syria had “picked out” pro-government Syrians in the May 25 massacre in the western town of Houla that left more than 100 people dead, Press TV reports.

    “The people who were targeted in Houla… were loyal to the Assad government, they were picked out, they were targeted for assassination,” said Stephen Lendman, a writer and radio host from Chicago, in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

    “These insurgents, these kill gangs… are Western-recruited mercenaries coming from nearby regional countries. These are coming in by the thousands… They come in at different times and this has been going on for a long time.”

    Both cannot be true.

  4. Again with the line that the reports about the Houla massacre never mentioned a militia coming in. This is just not true – I've posted links on Jason Ditz's posts about this, which show that from the beginning, witnesses reported men coming into people's homes. It's a matter of record – does anyone at read anything that doesn't correspond with what they're told by Russian TV?

    I know Scott didn't want to hear Patrick Cockburn say that yes, it was men from an Alawite militia that killed civilians – including many women and children – in cold blood, at close range, while they were hiding in their homes. I'm curious – is he going to ignore that and stay with his story anyway?

    Anyway, it's nice to hear a nuanced discussion by a guest who actually knows something about the situation.

    Not being in the U.S., I don't watch the Sunday morning news shows, but when I see a clip, I'm always amazed at the ignorance (and arrogance) of the 'journalists', the politicians, and the 'experts'. I see the same thing in comments at this website, though, where the people spouting off have no clue…

    1. Hello,
      I was personally disappointed with what Patrick Cockburn had to say in his interview with Scott Horton, maybe because that's not what I wanted to believe. Do you think the interview with Dr. Stephen Lendman, which I posed above, has any validity (or is completely incorrect?) as to what actually took place in Houla?

      Thank you,
      I am David/Daoud, a Canadian living in Morocco.

      1. I don't see anything credible here. It's a guy (whom I've never heard of) sitting in Chicago, claiming he talked to a Russian reporter who supposedly was a witness in Houla, and whose story goes against every other credible report. Believe me, I am no defender of the U.S. government, but a Russian story reported on Iranian TV, which claims that American, Qatari and French (isn't that convenient – all three of them working together) military personnel were picking the targets (women and children in their homes) in Houla is a little far-fetched. What Patrick Cockburn says, on the other hand, is perfectly in line with everything I know and with credible reports.

        1. do you think regimes hostile to western economic dominion are able to counter sectarian conflicts cooked up to destabilize them

          1. Whether the massacre was done by pro- or anti-government forces (or simply apolitical feud settling) is irrelevant.

            No sectarian massacres would be occurring if the Saudi-NATO-Israel alliance hadn't been weakening the state and arming rebels for the last year. Only America & allies get to have a strong state and become a 'melting pot', other countries gets shoved over the cliff into the hellish abyss of civil war.

            This is the cheapest way to do imperial colonialism.

          2. This is so true…and well put…

            That the US and its minions are cooking up sectarian conflict in the Middle East is WITHOUT DOUBT…

            Divide and Conquer…that has been the guiding principle of empires down through the ages…and how many countless human beings have been stepped on as mere bugs so that emperors could achieve their grandiose dreams of world domination…?

            What makes today's empire more sickening than all the rest is the hypocrisy…they cloak their vicious and usatiable hunger for blood in the robes of righteousness…

            sick bastards…starting right at the top with Obama…the Wall Street Barons who installed him as Chief Sock Puppet…and on down the line with the paid prostitutes of Congress, the Press…etc…

  5. DavidDaoud — You are correct

    For it would be counter-productive for those who support the government in Syria to be shooting civilians.

  6. The original source of this story "Allawites kill children" was Debka. The story was pumped out by Debka when the original shelling story failed to gain traction as the victims had been killed at close range. The Independent what a moniker.

    I don't know why Antiwar ??? interviews these people when it can just go to the horses mouth and front up Debka on a weekly basis and cut down the costs of the show. Why can't we have more IDF spokes persons on the programming and a few more interviews with Adam Pearlman the American Al Quaeda front of camera official.

    Give us all a laugh, Scott why don't you.

    1. This so very important, because a war on Syria similar to that perpetrated on Libya is imminent. NATO intends to use the Houla massacre as justification to unseat Assad, but they were looking for some excuse. I suspect that "ummabdulla" may not be just an unbiased contributor to these comments, and would have us believe the msm propaganda.

    2. Please give us links to show where the story came from, At every article about this at antiwar,com, the line is that the original stories never mentioned victims being killed at close range, but the fact is – and this can be easily verified; I've posted links on other stories here – that from the very beginning, the witnesses said that men came into the houses and killed people at close range.

      So give us links showing reports that didn't mention this, and show us how it was invented later. t should be easy if what you're saying is true.

  7. Well Patrick Cockburn must be a very wise man…

    when asked by Horton to comment about reports in Bloomberg that some of those killed in Houla were pro-government people who had refused to cooperate with the rebels…including a recent pro-government candidate in elections who had resisted rebel pressure to step down…well our infinitely wise Mr. Cockburn says "well that is not really credible…"

    But he offers no good reason of course…except this nugget…"well it's a bit late in the day…"…so supposedly because these reports are just now coming to light that this is somehow the reason they are not valid anymore…

    Incredible…I work in engineering which is based mostly on the physics of Isaac Newton who lived more than 300 years ago…does this mean that "it's a bit late in the day…" for physics and the engineering profession as well…?

    This is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard…considering that Cockburn works in the MSM media and his mouthpiece the British Independent is one of the worst Nato propaganda rags out there…well none of this is very surprising…

    1. Patrick Cockburn was in Syria, knows Syria, has some background and can put things in context, presumably has sources there. And you? Yes, we know you're an engineer working in Serbia… and that's your expertise on Syria?

  8. DavidDaoud
    ” I suspect that “ummabdulla” may not be just an unbiased contributor to these comments, and would have us believe the msm propaganda.”

    There is a 99% chance that DavidDaoud is correct, as such a confusion generator is as always, 99% confusion.

  9. Egypt — A Western democracy all the way

    Study carefully the way that Egyptian government functions, as Empire USA is identical. The 51% most wealthy greedy in love with enslaving society.

  10. Sham Bashaar or MOZA khazinohat

    Khalifah Aaed is Appointing PM Bashaar to feed Arabia NOT Khurafi feeding U$army'z

  11. Common horse sense — Run for daylight

    “Please give us links to show… I’ve posted links… So give us links showing… “

    Comes now a confusion lover to demand that we give him more then self-evident facts, links to other peoples opinions which he values more then facts, a lack of common horse sense being his problem.

    But surely, common horse sense is not within our capacity to give, either you have it or you don’t.

  12. Patrick Cockburn is so guarded about declaring an opinion that he does not have much value as a guest on a radio interview. He's a better writer than he is a conversationalist.

    His "late in the day" remark for why the Syrian government's version of of the Houla massacre is bogus is a lame argument.

    1. Why don't you just look up the family for G-ds sake. The whole lot of them have been mispooka and spies for generations. Going all the way back to their origins with the baddest of the bad Oliver Cromwell who laid the ground for the fall of the England and the rise of the independent Bank of England starting the world wide central banking cartel.

      How you people miss these families is utterly beyond me, when they are so in your face.

  13. Even George Orwell in Homage to Catalonia accused Claud Cockburn of being a mispooka because he was feeding false reports of the battle front from a position of safety. How things change and how they remain the same.

    If you can't learn the lessons of history you are condemned to repeat them.

    1. After some googling & intuition I believe that Tonbridge's term 'mispooka' refers to the yiddish word 'mishpukhe' meaning family and thus a slang word for a 'jewish mafia'.

      I had originally thought it was some strange way of saying 'MI Spook' meaning Military Intelligence Agent….

  14. news. Scott you can't stop. I will throw a good monthly donation your way. I don't have tons of money, but you are worth more than a few dollars a month to m

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