Fred Halliday has a long piece at OpenDemocracy on the accommodation of sections of the contemporary left with Islamist forces:
The approaching fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States highlights an issue much in evidence in the world today, but one that receives too little historically-informed and critical analysis: the relationship between militant Islamic groups and the left.The piece goes on to show in great detail why this accommodation is deluded, since 'the Islamist programme, ideology and record are diametrically opposed to the left'. (Hat tip: L.)
It is evident that the attacks, and others before and since on US and allied forces around the world, have won the Islamist groups responsible considerable sympathy far beyond the Muslim world, including among those vehemently opposed from a variety of ideological perspectives to the principal manifestations of its power. It is striking, however, that - beyond such often visceral reactions - there are signs of a far more developed and politically articulated accommodation in many parts of the world between Islamism as a political force and many groups of the left.
The latter show every indication of appearing to see some combination of al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizbollah, Hamas, and (not least) Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as exemplifying a new form of international anti-imperialism that matches - even completes - their own historic project. This putative combined movement may be in the eyes of such leftist groups and intellectual trends hampered by "false consciousness", but this does not compromise the impulse to "objectively" support or at least indulge them.
The trend is unmistakeable. Thus the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez flies to Tehran to embrace the Iranian president. London's mayor Ken Livingstone, and the vocal Respect party member of the British parliament George Galloway, welcome the visit to the city of the Egyptian cleric (and Muslim Brotherhood figurehead) Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Many in the sectarian leftist factions (and beyond) who marched against the impending Iraq war showed no qualms about their alignment with radical Muslim organisations, one that has since spiralled from a tactical cooperation to something far more elaborated. It is fascinating to see in the publications of leftist groups and commentators, for example, how history is being rewritten and the language of political argument adjusted to (as it were) accommodate this new accommodation.
The most recent manifestation of this trend arrived during the Lebanon war of July-August 2006. The Basque country militant I witnessed who waved a yellow Hizbollah flag at the head of a protest march is only the tip of a much broader phenomenon. The London demonstrators against the war saw the flourishing of many banners announcing "we are all Hizbollah now", and the coverage of the movement in the leftwing press was notable for its uncritical tone.