Defend Syria and Russia: Imperialism out of the Middle East


14/04/2018 by Ian

Socialist Fight condemns the cruise missile attack on Syria that the USA, Britain and France fired off in the early hours of 14th April, supposedly in response to a chemical attack on insurgents and civilians in the ongoing civil war. This is part of a concerted drive for regime change in Syria that has been underway in the West at least since the overthrow of Gadaffi in Libya in 2011, which was itself modelled on Saddam Hussein’s overthrow by the US and Britain through the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The imperative is to secure imperialist domination over not only Syria but also over Iran and ultimately over Russia and China by balkanisation and regime change. This involves the crippling of all and every Arab and Middle Eastern regime, whether autocratic or democratic, that shows the slightest potential to stand up to Israel in the Middle East and North Africa.

Thus coming off the Iraq war, the imperialists exploited the Arab Spring according to the character of the regime that the masses tried to overthrow, and effectively derailed the inchoate revolutionary upsurge, intervening with arms to bolster the most destructive, nihilistic Islamist elements in order to wreck those Arab regimes that historically stood up to Israel, supposedly in the name of ‘democracy’, most obviously in Libya and Syria. Whereas in Egypt , where the masses brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power against the pro-US, pro-Israel stooge Mubarak, they intervened to crush the masses and promote a Pinochet- type coup against  Mohammad Morsi, the only elected President in Egypt’s history, and installed the brutal Sisi dictatorship.

The progressive intervention of Russia, as a much larger, but in many ways backward and dependent capitalist power, has made this strategy impossible to implement in Syria. The Assad regime is winning the Civil War against what is now a Western and Israeli- backed bloodthirsty Jihadist insurgency, which has completely eclipsed the original Arab Spring movement against the autocracy of Assad. At this point in time there is no revolutionary-democratic movement against Assad, contrary to the fantasies of various fake-lefts.

The Syrian opposition fighting Assad, with the exception of the Kurdish forces, is fundamentally similar to the Mujahedin, Al Qaeda and incipient Taliban forces that fought the USSR in the 1980s. It is fuelled by Sunni sectarianism as part of the Saudi funded attempt to incite a regional Sunni communal war against Iran specifically and Shia in general, which drives Saudi Arabia’s own brutal war in Yemen with its communally driven massacres of the popular base of the Shia Houthi movement. Whereas the Assad regime, for all its brutal autocracy, incorporates Alawite Shia and Christian elements of the population, and has large scale support from secularised Sunnis in preference to the Al Nusra/Al Qaeda Western funded insurgents, as well as the remnants of Islamic State. Assad, and his Russian backers are therefore clearly the lesser evil, and worthy of defence in this civil war against western proxies as well as of course in the face of outright imperialist attack.

It is up to the workers movement in the imperialist countries to stand up for the defence of Syria, and Russia, against this exercise of imperialist piracy, and to call for the defeat of imperialism. This attack clearly involved determined and sustained preparation to try to instil Russophobia into the population; the fake, and farcical, Skripal supposed assassination with supposedly deadly nerve agents that turned out not to be so deadly after all, and now the seeming kidnapping of Yulia Skripal by the intelligence services, is a case in point. The allegations made without proof against Russia, whose assassins, when they do mean business, are far from incompetent and self-incriminating – large sections of the population understandably consider the British state’s story suspect.

An opinion poll found only 21% of the UK population supported attacking Syria over the Douma incident. Many will have noted the speed of the imperialist response to an unproven and highly suspect attack in Syria contrasts blatantly with their failure to even criticise, let alone condemn or threaten war (!) over the openly proclaimed mass shooting of Palestinian Civil Rights marchers on the Great March of Return in Gaza. As well, there is a considerable fear of armed conflict with Russia and a nuclear Third World War over this. Germany and Italy have refused to have anything to do with the attack.

May’s government has blatantly overridden popular opinion in joining Trump and Macron’s attack on Syria, and must be made to pay a political price. It can be brought down by a determined working class opposition. To his credit, Jeremy Corbyn, unlike many past Labour leaders, has not supported this attack on Syria, but his opposition is pacifist, not genuinely socialist, speaking of the ‘dangers’ of ‘escalating’ the conflict, instead of denouncing in principle the neocon wars to destroy semi-colonial countries in the Middle East and reduce them to barbarism and chaos. A socialist opposition should denounce such wars in principle and call for the defence of semi-colonial nations and states against imperialist wars and proxy wars. These include Syria, Russia, and not least Iran who is the target of Trump and Netanyahu, and perhaps the UK lackeys, further down the road.

Imperialist hands off Syria, Iran and and the entire Middle East!


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