September 2013        

The destruction of Syria—part of imperialism’s strategy

At the time of writing, the United States is preparing an attack upon the sovereign state of Syria. The same people who told us there was evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq are claiming they have evidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against civilians. The United States and its allies now say they want to intervene in Syria for “humanitarian” reasons.
     However, this imperialist intervention in Syria has been planned for more than a decade. In 2002 the Bush government outlined all the countries where they planned “regime change” in what was comically titled the “Axis of Evil.” These included Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba, North Korea, and Syria. These were all relatively weak countries but refused to bow the knee to imperialism and were therefore all targeted for destruction.
     Since then, both Iraq and Libya have been brutally attacked, their countries destroyed and plunged into a state of chaos and murder.
     In early 2011 there was great discontent within Syria. The neo-liberal reforms introduced by the Assad regime in the 2000s led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs for the Syrian working class as cheap imports flooded in from Turkey. Many rural people lived in great poverty, and their livelihood was threatened by grave water shortages. Young people were frustrated by a lack of civil liberties, and they hated the brutal secret police. This led to the outbreak of large protest movements throughout Syria as the people, inspired by the “Arab Spring,” demanded reform.
     The imperialists, however, and their theocratic allies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar saw this as their opportunity to strike. Weapons, money and provocateurs poured into Syria from the Gulf sates and began to hijack the legitimate protest movements. The Saudis and Qataris were quick to exploit the religious beliefs of the poor and to whip up sectarian hatred against Shi‘a Muslims and Christians. Foreign fighters arrived from all over the Muslim world to wage jihad against the Shi‘a “heretics.” The protests were replaced by an armed revolt.
     The fact that the toxic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia is supporting the “pro-democracy” rebels should give an idea of its real objectives. The NATO countries were also quick to control a section of the rebellion that they could manipulate for their own interests. This became known as the “Free Syrian Army,” and the United States, Britain and France began to give it political support and funds. As the conflict escalated, so did the brutality on both sides. More than 100,000 Syrians have died in the war, and millions more have been displaced or forced to become refugees.
     The destruction of the Syrian state and its replacement with an Islamist anarchy will only benefit the interests of imperialism and allow the United States and its allies to increase their stranglehold over this energy-rich region. It will be ordinary Syrians who suffer the most. Many of the people who originally protested against Assad are now supporting the regime, on the grounds that it is the lesser of two evils. Genuine leftists within Syria have put aside their struggle against the government for the time being so as to defend their people against the Islamist insurgency and the imperialists.
     Syria had previously been a strong, secular state, based on the principles of Arab nationalism. It was a thorn in the side of Israel and of US interests in the Middle East. The Syrian army fought with distinction in the Arab-Israeli War of 1973; it also helped resistance movements such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. The destruction of the Syrian state will leave Shi‘a Muslims and Christians at the mercy of sectarian gangs financed by the brutal Saudi dictatorship. It also means that the way would be paved for an attack upon Shi‘a Muslims in Lebanon and their Hezbollah movement (another thorn in Israel’s side). If Syria and Hezbollah are destroyed, the imperialists will begin their long-planned assault upon Iran.
     Anti-imperialists in Ireland are already mobilising to try to stop the attack on Syria. In Britain the anti-war movement helped to torpedo British plans to attack Syria. The British people are already deeply ashamed by what their country did in Iraq and are determined to stop the same thing happening in Syria.
     The “Socialist” government in France has proved it is a safe pair of hands for imperialism as Hollande ignores the wishes of the people in order to prop up another American war in the Middle East.
     In the United States, Obama and the demented warmonger John McCain have joined hands to tell the people that “this time it will be different.” However, many ordinary Americans are not prepared to be fooled, and opinion polls show that only a small minority support the planned imperialist assault.

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