Imperialism Syria Terrorism United States

Imperialist Aggression on Syria: Fuelling the Conflagration

By Lal Khan

The rowdy and wild Trump seems to have been tamed sooner than most had imagined. The military-industrial complex and the Wall Street have apparently prevailed. The US imperialist establishment has reined in the billionaire ‘outsider’ whose rhetoric of undoing the domination of Washington’s entrenched oligarchy and the deep state stands miserably exposed. The Trump White House has been forced to execute a disgraceful turnaround from the policy that it had been propagating a ‘real change’ in Washington’s strategy just days before this Tomahawk cruise missile strike. Only days before the US special representative to the UN Nicky Halley had stated that Assad’s rule in Syria was a reality that had to be accepted. What has been proved beyond doubt is that the structures and the deep state through which the presidents and politicians govern call the real shots Any change in individual politicians or parties can’t make any fundamental alteration to the priorities or the fundamental interests of the system for which the state and its institutions are constructed and designed.

The major media outlets from the New York times to the BBC seemed to have been briefed much in advance and were prepared for an avalanche of propaganda similar to the supplementary role of military logistics for launching aggression and wars. It’s a rather futile attempt to reassert the US imperialist hegemony in the Middle East and elsewhere. Literally within minutes of the news of the Idlib gas attack, killing almost seventy people, the corporate media swung into action yelling out that Bashar al-Assad was the perpetrator. Even the script of this propaganda exercise was the same, voicing moral outrage and demanding Washington to retaliate. A US website made an interesting comment, “The case of who was responsible for the alleged chemical weapons attack was “solved” in less time than the New York Police Department devotes to investigating a street mugging. The verdict was in and the sentence is now being carried out…One only has to compare this forensic fast-track to the methods employed when the US military carries out air strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen killing hundreds of civilians. The Pentagon routinely insists that it has no credible evidence of any civilian casualties. In those cases in which it deems an investigation unavoidable, it usually takes weeks before it issues a report either denying the carnage or reporting a small fraction of the real death toll.”

The cynical abuse of footages of the mauled Syrian children allegedly gassed by the ‘draconian Asad’ proved only to be a ploy for the support of the Al-Qaida, Al Nusra and other bestial outfits that have been hired as proxies by various imperialist states and are carrying out savagery unforeseen in Syria. From Turkey’s Erdogan to the Saudi Monarchy and from the Zionists in the Israeli rulership to the Gulf Sheikhdoms, the most vicious despotic regimes are singing the chorus of this ‘American nightmare’. The European imperialists, masquerading as human rights advocates and democrats are enthusiastically supporting Trump. Just weeks ago they were denouncing him as a dafter.

More than twenty-five years ago similar imperialist aggression and invasion began in the Middle East with the same false excuses and accusations. Now the claim that this attack was a rebuff to the Syrian government’s use of poison gas is unsubstantiated and a fabrication. Fourteen years ago when the US launched its invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) were evidenced in front of the UN Security Council members, to justify imperialist aggression, by no less authority than General Colin Powell, the Secretary of State under George Bush. These have subsequently been proved to be absolute lies and deceptions. Over a million people were slaughtered and many millions became refugees forced to flee their homes due to this brutal aggression. Tony Blair and George Bush have been declared war criminals by some of the mainstream European institutions. We saw the same theatrics in 2011 for the pretext of the US-NATO war for regime change in Libya.

There is a long history of imperialist colonialisation, invasions and subjugation of the native people by the imperialist powers. In the twentieth century the colonial massacres in the Middle East, brutalities in the Indian subcontinent, the devastations of societies in Northern and Latin America to the ‘Blood Diamond’ genocides and plunder in Africa, there seems to be an unending story of bloodshed and destruction by imperialists in their blind lust for extortion and hegemony. The Vietnam War was not just a horrifying episode but also proved that these imperialist monsters can be defied, defeated and vanquished. In the twenty-first century, these have become only more ferocious and devastating with the technologically advanced weaponry. We have witnessed the bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, with this capitalist hegemony becomes more and more bestial as its organic crisis worsens. New ghastly weaponry such as the cluster bombs and ‘Daisy cutters’ were tested on the children in Afghanistan.

Syria’s conflagration to a large extent was the criminal responsibility of the imperialist hegemonic designs. The drought in Syria between 2007 and 2010 had forced a vast section of its population to migrate to the cities. This created an increased pressure on the already creaking infrastructure even in a nationalised planned economy under Hafiz Al-Asad, Bashar’s father, due to the limitations of an isolated nation state. The western sanctions only targeted the oppressed and the already deprived. The mass discontent led to a small uprising in March 2011 coinciding with the Arab upheaval of that period. Bashar Al-Asad tried to crush it with state force but instead, the revolt started to swell and sharpen. The imperialists were afraid of the revolutionary currents evolving in the movement. They were afraid of the uprising unravelling beyond their control. Initially, the neighbouring reactionary Arab regimes with the backing of their western imperialist bosses intervened through their bestial proxies to install another puppet regime as they had done in Iraq. These proxies were the same against whose affiliated organisations the so-called ‘war on terror’ was launched by the Bush administration in 2001. This insurgency was also launched due to the rivalry of the obscurantist Arab monarchies of the region sponsored and defended by the US imperialism and the Asad regime in Syria. The Baath Socialist Party’s regime had been defying imperialist hegemony since the revolutions of the 1950’s in Syria and other countries of the region. These manoeuvres led to the mass upsurge being aborted and it morphed into a religious and sectarian conflagration that has pulverised and ruined Syria in the last six years. Numerous religious fundamentalist terror groups, proxies of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and western imperialists established their fiefdoms in Syrian territory. The renowned British journalist Finian Cunningham wrote not so long ago,

“There is a simple explanation why Washington refuses to proscribe the militant groups Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham as the terrorist. Washington relies on them for a regime change in Syria…the putative “secular rebels” have turned out to be indistinguishable from extremist groups like al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and so-called Islamic State (also known as Daesh). The Islamist group Jaysh al-Islam admitted to using chemical weapons against Kurdish militias in Aleppo. It also uses human shields and publishes execution videos – yet it has a delegation at the UN-backed Syria peace talks in Geneva.”

American journalist Seymour Hersh wrote much earlier that the Nusra Front carried out the 2013 Ghouta chemical attack. In an interview last week Bashar Al-Asad had said, “To stop terrorism in Europe, stop supporting terrorism in Syria.”

The US imperialism is further fuelling the Syrian inferno that it had itself ignited with the aim of toppling the Assad government and installing a US puppet regime as they did in Iraq. However, the imperialists have miserably failed even with nearly half a million perishing and more than five million forced to flee as refugees. It’s not only due to the Russian and Iranian backing for Assad that he couldn’t be removed, but more so is the dread and detestation felt by the majority of Syrians towards these US-backed bigots. The Russian and Iranian interventions in Syria are not for any progressive aims either. They have their own axes to grind. The Iranian regime has covertly been in contact and deals with the American imperialists. It became implicit with the nuclear accord. Under the Shiite clergy’s Islamist totalitarianism the society is far from egalitarian and workers and women, in particular, suffer the moneyed clergy’s regime carrying out social, political and economic repression. The Ayatollahs have their own hegemonic rivalry with the Saudi’s Wahabi monarchy in the region. Russia’s deceptive foreign policy and Putin’s diplomatic and military manoeuvres are proving to be flailing. But despite Russia’s posturing at the UN Security Council session it was not really ruffled by this attack on Syria. Above all the Americans notified it well in advance. This in itself says a lot. Putin had naively put his stakes on the false notion that a change in president in the White House could change the basic hegemonic character of US imperialism. With the presence of the Russian military and bases in Syria, it has also become closer to Israel for its own strategic and hegemonic designs. Russia and Israel are beginning to balance their common interests in the country under the Trump administration. Russia and Israel begin to balance their common interests in the country. It’s no accident that one of the most prominent heads of state visiting Putin’s Kremlin court just weeks ago was Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, this insane military adventure comes at a time when the US economy is frail, increasing instability and the social contradictions and sharpening with a rapidly rising discontent amongst the US workers and the youth. This attack will only intensify this instability not only in America but also around the world that is in an unprecedented turmoil. The war hysteria will be the most short-lived ever. Obama was not so opaque to have refrained from a similar attack on Syria. He was perhaps more aware of the economic and military erosion of the US imperialism. He was trying to reform and stabilise a system that was beyond redemption. That exposed his weakness and failures of his tenure. The Russians are not going to go for a big retaliation except for the rhetorical condemnations and veiled threats in the corridors of the feeble and illusory institutions such as the UN Security Council.

All parties in the conflict including Russia and the US are terrified of escalating this catastrophic war that would rapidly unravel beyond the control of the incumbent powers and states. However certain incidents like American missiles killing Russian military personnel on the ground in Syria could make it very cumbersome for Putin not to retaliate. Now some of the top republican senators and policy makers are trying to retreat from the belligerent stance of the ‘impulsive’ Trump. They have started calling it a ‘one off strike’ and not a continual operation. In this epoch of the protracted demise of US imperialism’s once unchallenged hegemony, accidental events can suddenly happen that can hit vital imperialist interests. Such enforced new adventurous wars cannot be ruled out. Its main contradiction is that to protect its economic interests the US is forced to rely more and more on its military power that it cannot afford to sustain and replenish.

But the insanity of new wars by the imperialists is another indication of the historical decay and redundancy of capitalism. Marx had once said, “War is robbery, commerce is generally cheating.” During the first imperialist war of 1914, Lenin had explained its real character to his comrade and friend Inessa Armand, “yes it [war] is a terrible thing; but it’s also terribly profitable!” Paraphrasing Marx, capitalism and later imperialism came onto the arena of history as monsters dripping innocent human blood from its pores. This has been the character of this system throughout its history. Without its revolutionary overthrow, it will keep dragging the human civilisation into the abyss of barbarity. The symptoms of this barbaric fate under capitalism are frighteningly palpable in Syria. Only a revolutionary force and movement based on class struggle, with the objective of a socialist transformation, can salvage the peoples of Syria and the Middle East from the conflict and conflagration that is ravaging this ancient and rich civilisation.