The admission that British pilots have been embedded with US-led coalition forces engaged in bombing raids in Syria – in flagrant contravention of parliament’s decision to the contrary in 2013 – makes a mockery of ‘democracy’, even in its truncated, bourgeois form.
A bombing campaign in violation of Syria’s national sovereignty, with the avowed aim of attacking the Islamic State terrorists, but in truth aimed at the destruction of Syrian infrastructure, may look to Obama and Cameron like a smart way to achieve the regime change so long denied them. But whilst Her Majesty’s loyal opposition in Westminster may choose to fall for this phoney ‘war against terror’, the steadfast Syrian people know how to distinguish friends from enemies, having spent over four years struggling against all the agencies of imperialist subversion – not least Islamic State itself.
The murder of 38 tourists, mostly British, on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia was seized on by Cameron as the perfect opportunity to stampede public opinion into acquiescing to a possible British air war against Syria. The fact that the attack occurred in North Africa, not the Middle East, did not deter Cameron from asserting that IS poses “an existential threat” to the West and that its members in Syria are plotting “terrible attacks” on British soil.
So, having for years flooded the media with stories about what a ‘bloodthirsty tyrant’ President Assad is, and what heroic ‘freedom fighters’ are the various armed gangs arrayed against his government, the British government now feigns injured innocence when those British citizens whom it has itself helped to ‘radicalise’ take the war propaganda at face value and fly out to join IS … and when all the assistance lavished upon the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ forces within Syria ends up feathering the nest of what we are now encouraged to identify as Public Enemy Number One.
Labour and Tory: joint warmongers
Back in 2013, the Commons refused to support British bombing of Syria, but the government hopes to reverse this now. Defence secretary Michael Fallon declared: “It is a new Parliament and I think new Members of Parliament will want to think very carefully about how we best deal with ISIL, and the illogicality of ISIL not respecting the borderlines.”
Fallon complained that there is an “illogicality” about having to respect international borders whilst IS ignores them. His ‘logic’ is clear: first create your Frankenstein’s monster, then gee it up to violate all borders, then complain that you cannot destroy the monster without yourself trampling over borders – but all in the interests of democracy and good governance, of course.
At one point, Fallon even appeared to be flagging up a new bombing campaign against Libya as well, though “only … where we think there is an imminent threat … to British lives or, for example, to British hostages”.
Not to be outdone, Labour’s acting leader Harriet Harman led speculation that the Sousse outrage might have been planned in Syria, grovelling to the Tories that Labour would look “very, very seriously” at whatever the government proposed. Labour’s shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker likewise declared that “we stand ready to work with the government to defeat ISIL and will carefully consider any proposals that the government decide to bring forward”. (See ‘Labour signals it could back government over Syria bombing’ by Ben Riley-Smith, telegraph.co.uk, 2 July 2015)
How Erdogan sold Turkey to the Muslim Brotherhood
The border most freely violated by Islamic State and all the other terror gangs is that between Syria and Turkey. Ankara has transformed the border area into a permanent armed camp, extending a vital lifeline to the IS terrorists.
Without that constant lifeline, the terror bases in Raqqa and elsewhere in the north would not last long – lacking as they do the sympathy of the vast majority of Syrians and surviving only by the imposition of a permanent reign of terror.
In the run-up to the Turkish elections in June, there were dozens of attacks upon the progressive Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), culminating in two bomb attacks in Diyarbakir that killed three people and wounded over 180. The suspect arrested over the attack is reported to be an IS fighter of Turkish origin with ties to Syria, reinforcing the HDP’s earlier suggestion that all the attacks were connected with IS.
This is just one more proof of the degree to which Erdogan’s witches’ brew of neo-liberal economics and islamist flirtation is destabilising Turkish society, confronting it with a much more real ‘existential threat’ than that supposedly faced by Britain. AKP’s setback at the polls, depriving it of a majority (and hence the ability to change the constitution) and scrabbling to form a coalition government, was in part a reflection of the revulsion felt by many at seeing Turkey threatened with relegation to the status of an islamist auxiliary and imperialist proxy.
According to one report, over 1,000 Turks have joined IS, with over a hundred coming from one single neighbourhood in Ankara. According to the US-based Liberation News website: “IS went so far as to set up a public donation stand collecting money for the war in Syria. It was reported that the stand was used for signing up new recruits.”
Further: “on 14 August, in Dilova, a town in Kocaeli, a city in northwest Turkey, a group of 10 young men left for Syria, leaving behind a note which read: ‘We are going to Syria and we will not be back until Turkey becomes a state of Islam.’ Speaking to Turkish daily SoL, one of the residents of Dilova said: ‘We recognise the IS guys. They have been in our neighbourhood for over a year and a half. They have IS stickers on their cars. We realised who they really were after watching their actions on TV.’“
So institutionalised has Turkish assistance to Islamic State become that oil stolen from Syrian refineries can be piped over to Turkey from Syrian villages near the border at Hatay. An opposition party deputy in Hatay, Ali Ediboglu, reckons that “as of June 2014, the amount of smuggled Syrian oil sold by ISIS in Turkey reached $800 million”.
Ediboglu told Liberation News: “They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep (border cities in Turkey). They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey.” (‘AKP loses parliamentary majority in the general elections in Turkey’ by Taylor Goel, liberationnews.org, 12 June 2015)
Anglo-American imperialism, chief recruiting officer for Islamic State
Crucial as is the role of Turkey and the other reactionary states in the region in prolonging the agony of a war which imperialism cannot win but dares not relinquish, it is Washington and London themselves that are the ultimate recruiting officers for counter-revolution.
It is reported that 6,000 Syrians have so far been found to volunteer for a “politically moderate military force” (mercenary army) to be trained up by US military advisers. Whilst the ostensible purpose of the force is to attack IS, events on the ground are already making it clear who the real beneficiaries of that training will be.
Navy Captain Scott Rye confessed that there were “complications vetting volunteers and bringing them out of Syria for the training”. Many of these would-be traitors, willing to sell their homeland for up to $400 a month, were clearly a sorry bunch, having to be rejected as “unfit for training”. Bemusedly, Captain Rye confided that one group of recruits “all quit at the same time after training for several weeks”, a development which he said was “unusual” … “I would deem it a one-time event”.
The Captain denied a report that the group pulled out rather than sign a face-saving contract promising not to fight the Assad government. Just where the newly-trained up group have now gone is unknown – perhaps to help IS firm up its ‘existential threat’ against Britain? (‘US military pays Syrian rebels up to $400 per month: Pentagon’ by David Alexander, Reuters, 22 June 2015)
Syria stands firm
Meanwhile, the burden of the real war against Islamic State continues to be shouldered by the Syrian government, army and people. The last word on this should go to an inhabitant of Aleppo, driven almost to distraction by the horrors heaped upon Aleppans by the West-backed terror gangs, yet still standing resolutely with the long-suffering Syrian nation in her war of liberation from imperialist subversion.
“I apologise that I’m very upset, mostly not from the attackers and whoever is supporting them in Turkey over here (and Israel and Jordan in the south); but mainly from the liars in that conference in Britain or at the UN, who keep lying and lying, piles and tons of lies, about ‘freedom’ and ‘barrel bombs’, and live in their perfumed and ironed suits and ties, happy with their PhD degrees in stupidity and fooling the world, having no problem in obtaining clean water, electricity, warm food, and the other services that we are suffering over here to obtain something of.
“Those people travel in first-class airlines, and live in five-star hotels, and are ready to come on TV channels to weep upon the ‘Syrian people’ and blame the ‘regime’, while turning a blind eye upon all the terrorists they are funding and supporting. I wish these people, whether they were Arabs or westerners, muslims or christians, Syrians or others … I wish them Hell! And to taste and suffer the same pain they caused to innocent people.
“The Syrian army has defended the city, and all the lies on the media claiming the terrorists’ victories are nothing but rumours and gossip. President Bashar al-Assad had gifted Aleppo yesterday with about $15.5m as an urgent aid to the city.” (‘Aleppo resident: “Scenes of support for SAA and NDF in Aleppo last night”, ingaza.wordpress.com, 3 July 2015)
Victory to the Syrian government, army and people!
Death to imperialism and its lackeys!