Syria’s is the strongest anti-imperialist voice currently remaining within the Arab world. It is a major backer of the Palestinian resistance – at least 11 Palestinian fighting organisations, including Hamas, are based in Damascus – and of the Lebanese anti-imperialist resistance movement, Hizbollah. It is the only regional ally of Iran, which itself is also under intensified threat. And it is home to Russia’s only remaining naval base outside the territory of the former Soviet Union.
In early October, months of lobbying and pressure by the United States and the European imperialists came to nothing when Russia and China jointly vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have opened the way to another Libyan-style intervention.
But this by no means signalled the end of imperialism’s drive to war. With Russia and China presently retaining their determination not to repeat the disastrous error they made in the case of Resolution 1973 on Libya, imperialism is taking further unilateral steps, as well as giving free rein and full backing to both domestic counter-revolutionary forces and their regional collaborators, the Arab despots and the Turkish reactionaries.
The pretence – for such it always was – that the Syrian government was only facing peaceful unarmed demonstrators, rather than the reality of a well-armed and well-financed terrorist and insurrectionary movement, has now been cast aside as superfluous to requirements. On 20 November, the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) launched a rocket propelled grenade attack on the headquarters of the ruling Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party in the heart of Damascus. Three days earlier they had attacked an air force intelligence complex in a Damascus suburb.
The FSA’s claims that they are not calling for foreign intervention in Syria are completely devoid of credibility as the actual content of their demands is for the imposition of a ‘no-fly zone’, the creation of so-called ‘protected zones’ and the supply of weapons. Decoded, these demands are simply a call for the same kind of all-out war that was waged against Libya by Nato and its Gulf stooges.
Syria’s membership of the Arab League has been suspended after the country was deemed to have ‘failed to comply’ with a supposed regional ‘peace plan’ – after just a few days!
In reality, Assad’s government was perfectly prepared to accede to the plan’s demands. It was the counter-revolutionary opposition that was not. But as with Iraq before and Libya more recently, the idea was never that Syria be either able or allowed to comply. With demands enforced on only one side in a conflict, the choice is no choice – surrender and be toppled or refuse and be attacked.
The Arab League has now also imposed swingeing sanctions on Syria, including a halt to dealings with the central bank, travel bans, asset freezes and the scrapping of economic projects.
It will be no surprise to readers of Proletarian to learn that the leading voice in the league’s chorus of condemnation against Syria has been Saudi Arabia, with enthusiastic support from Qatar and Bahrain. Already notorious worldwide as barbaric feudal autocracies, and totally reliant on imperialist support for their survival, the Saudi and Bahraini dictatorships only this year provided a vivid example of what the really brutal suppression of a genuine democracy movement actually looks like when they jointly turned their guns on unarmed protestors in Bahrain. The Bahraini government then went on to demonstrate its humanitarian credentials further by imprisoning medics for the ‘crime’ of treating the wounded victims of that barbarous assault.
Qatar, meanwhile, already home to the US Fifth Fleet, has earned itself new notoriety by the actions of its state-owned broadcaster Al Jazeera, which not only aired but actually built a set and created faked footage of the alleged ‘liberation of Green Square’ in Tripoli in August – thus playing a central role in the psychological and propaganda war being waged by the Nato aggressors. Judging by its coverage of the Syrian contras so far, Al Jazeera stands ready to repeat its criminal services in aid of the imperialist plan to topple the Assad government.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government and the British puppet king of Jordan have joined the US, Britain and France in calling for the Syrian government to step down. And both France and Turkey are preparing to set up ‘humanitarian corridors’ to ‘deliver aid’, which, despite the apparently innocuous words, represents a sure way to trigger a wider assault, not least on the pretext of the provision in the Nato charter that any ‘attack’ on one member state is deemed to be an attack on all. France intends to table the proposal at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting this month.
In the face of this mounting aggression, President Assad told the Sunday Times in an interview: “The conflict and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue. I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it.”
He added that, in the event of foreign intervention, he personally would definitely be prepared to fight and die: “This goes without saying and is an absolute.”
The working-class movement and all genuine anti-war forces need to stand 100 percent behind the Syrian government and its armed forces, demanding:
Hands off Syria! Victory to Assad!
No more wars of aggression!