05-09-2015 – In an eerie similarity to the Vietnam War, Australian PM Tony Abbott has denied that it was his office which pushed the US to request Australian assistance to extend air strikes into Syria. In the spirit of never believing anything until it is officially denied, it is a fair assumption to state that the official entry of Australia into the US war on Syria echoes Australia’s entry into the Vietnam War over four decades ago. Then, it was the Australian government which urged the US to intervene militarily in Vietnam, rather than the US requesting Australian participation. This time, there are no conscripts being sent to fight a war for the US empire, but there are certainly Australian troops brandishing military hardware, including six F/A 18F Super Hornet fighter jets, along with a KC-30 refuelling tanker. These jets have already been bombing targets in Iraq, while the tanker has been refuelling US fighter jets.
The criminal US led war to destroy and overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic has now entered its fourth year. The majority of the world’s population vehemently opposed the US led war on Iraq in 2003. Yet around 10 years later, many of those who opposed that war are now either not active or are silent in the face of the West’s war on Syria. It is not being carried out by conventional means – it is not a case of simply declaring war on a sovereign state and sending in uniformed troops to invade and occupy. These days, it is much more convenient for US imperialism to outsource its wars, invasions, and overthrows of states which are not totally compliant to the Washington consensus. In the case of Syria, mercenary jihadists from 81 different countries have been armed, funded and in many cases trained by the US and its NATO allies Britain, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar – and ferried into Syria. All the jihadist groups now in Syria, which claim to be an “opposition”, compete for the weapons and funding flowing in from the West. All jihadist groups, from the so-called “Free Syrian Army”, to Al-Qaeda, to Al-Nusra, to Ahrar Al-Sham, to the manufactured “ISIS” have the same aim – the overthrow of the Syrian Government led by President Assad, on behalf of their benefactors.
Washington, egged on by Canberra, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, London, Paris and the like, have not been successful with their aim of “regime change” in Syria, for a number of reasons. Not the least of these is the fact that the majority of Syrians support and back the secular state of Syria and its current President Bashar Al-Assad. In June 2014, presidential elections were held in Syria. Despite horrific war conditions, 73.42% of Syrians cast a vote, and 88.7% of these voted for Bashar Al-Assad. Many Syrians no doubt rallied behind the government, despite many other concerns, because they recognised that the Syrian Arab Army was the only military force which was protecting civilians against the gruesome and barbaric executions carried out by the Western backed mercenaries. Since that time, the Syrian Arab Army has been joined by the Lebanese Hezbollah, who recognise the danger to neighbouring Lebanon if Al-Qaeda and “ISIS” are able to topple the Syrian government. Hezbollah are a significant fighting force, which was demonstrated during their effective defeat of the Israeli armed forces in 2006.
Another significant reason why the US was not able to destroy Syria in the way that they destroyed Libya in 2011, was the opposition of major powers Russia and China. Russia and China unfortunately did not oppose the NATO bombing of Libya, which was preceded by the same arming and funding of Al-Qaeda linked jihadists. In the case of Syria, however, Russia and China appear to recognise that the war on Syria is also directed at them as much as the Middle East. Russia and China have voiced opposition to the war on Syria in the United Nations, and while they haven’t directly assisted Syria militarily, there are reports of Russian weapons being used by the Syrian armed forces. This is not unusual, however, as Russia and Syria have been allies since the days of the former Soviet Union.
For the first two years of the war on Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, did not exist. Until 2013, no one in Syria had ever heard of “ISIS”. It is extremely suspicious that it mysteriously dropped from the sky, and then received further prominence immediately after the resounding victory of President Assad in the elections of June 2014. This is because ISIS is almost entirely a manufactured proxy force. Forget about the fanfare stating that ISIS aims to establish an Islamic caliphate. The game was given away when it was recently revealed that British SAS forces have been dressing up as ISIS fighters, flying ISIS flags, and attacking the Syrian government under the pretext of “fighting ISIS”. This is on top of the US and British government openly admitting and announcing that they are training the “moderate” Syrian opposition, that is, training the almost entirely non-Syrian jihadists to murder Syrian civilians in the most brutal manner imaginable. The West’s “war against ISIS” is the media line. In reality, ISIS is set up to justify the US war machine intervening anywhere in the world where “ISIS” shows its head.
Washington, backed by Canberra, has in recent years specialised in funding and/or arming proxy forces in efforts to overthrow the government of any country which is too independent for their liking. Hence, there have been ongoing attempts to arm and fund opposition political forces in countries such as Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong, no matter how reactionary the politics of the opposition forces may be. Yet in Syria, it is not an “opposition” which is being armed and funded by the US and it’s Saudi, Turkish, and Qatari allies. Overwhelmingly, the forces of the “Free Syrian Army”, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al Nusra and the rest are not Syrian in the slightest way. In fact, they originate from 81 different non-Syrian countries. So any notion of a “civil war” in Syria is demonstrably false. What’s occurring is a Western led proxy war for “regime change”, an invasion by armed mercenaries, in plain violation of any semblance of international law.
Unfortunately, some left parties have fallen victim to US propaganda about the Syrian “dictatorship” which is allegedly suppressing a legitimate “revolution”. Left parties which, at other times, claim to stand for secularism, and even socialism and anti-imperialism, effectively reverse their stance when it comes to Syria. The fact that the only forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic, which is secular, multi-cultural and multi-religious – are all part of the most extreme versions of Salafism or Wahabism – seems lost on them. And it is even doubtful whether some have any allegiance to Islam at all, given that British soldiers are amongst them. Plus there have been reports of US soldiers taking part under black balaclavas as well. As President Assad has stated, a revolution requires ideas and leaders. A “revolution” which would return women to pre-medieval times, which rejects even conservative ideas of “democracy”, is quite obviously a reaction to a dark age, rather than a “revolution”.
If the US empire is able to destroy Syria in the way they have Libya, even more immense human suffering will result. Further, the Islamic Republic of Iran will almost certainly be the next target. The takedown of Syria, an Iranian ally, will mean Iran will be more isolated and more vulnerable to open imperialist assault. The proximity of Iran to Russia and China could easily trigger a world war, even if the total destruction of Syria does not. The decision to launch a world war may be incomprehensible to many citizens in the West, yet it may be the only way out for a capitalist ruling class which is desperate to save its system. The longer the US does not confront China, whose socialist dominated economy is tearing strips of the Western economies which are uniformly in recession, the further will the US fall behind. The US cannot accept this. Furthermore, greater integration between Russia and China possibly sets up an alternative trading and financial bloc which emerging countries can orient to. It may seem crazy, but for a crazed US ruling class whipped into a frenzy by its faltering economy, it may just go for what in poker terms is called “double or nothing”. That is, it is prepared to risk everything it has to go for the big prize – the toppling of Russia and China. Needless to say, a global holocaust will be only one of the results.
Canberra’s move to go to war in Syria should not be seen simply as a poor decision, or a mistaken policy that can be abandoned with rational argument. The drive to war stems from the deepest wellsprings of the system of private production for private profit, which has run aground yet again, with little or no prospect of revival. Working people need to make the link between the rapidly deteriorating standard of living in Australia, and ever more reckless and criminal wars overseas. The lawless abuse of refugees and asylum seekers, the ever-increasing surveillance of citizens using the internet, the tracking of communications, heavily armed police patrolling public transport and the recent attempt by the newly constructed “Border Force” to check the visas of people walking down the street, are all examples of increasing repression which occurs when big capital acknowledges that it could potentially lose its political control. They are aware that the skyrocketing cost of living, the unaffordability of housing, the daylight robbery of privatised electricity and water bills, the relentless harassment and bullying of workers by managers, the accelerating destruction of the natural environment, the continual slashing of public funds for health care and education, and the crumbling state of public transport infrastructure can only lead to open rebellion if not contained. Thus the war on the sovereign Syrian Arab Republic and the war on working people here are intricately linked.
This is one of the many reasons why it is in our interests to act to prevent the Australian rulers contributing to a vicious war of aggression against Syria. The Syrian people have endured unbearable suffering at the hands of the West’s covert and overt war, waged with the assistance of Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Gulf Monarchies. They have the misfortune to be in the firing line of the West’s unconscionable arming and funding of non-Syrian mercenaries. These barbarians, whether in the form of the “Free Syrian Army”, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Ahrar Al-Sham or others, have committed unspeakable atrocities against innocent Syrians, with either the knowledge or the participation of the world’s imperialist powers – specifically the US, France and Great Britain, but also Australia.
Some of the left parties who have backed the mythical Syrian “revolution” have, without acknowledging it, partially seen the political problem of offering support to US armed jihadists who appear beyond the pale to even those on the political right. Hence, they have jumped on the bandwagon of an equally mythical “Rojavan Revolution”. What occurred was that nationalist Kurdish groups initially allied themselves with the Syrian government for the first two years of the West’s proxy war. Then, Kurdish nationalists such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) switched sides to ally with the US, presumably because they judged the days of the Syrian government were numbered. They now act under the cover of US air strikes, acting as bomb-spotters for the empire. In doing so, they have turned against the Syria with which they had been allied. A few skirmishes with some ISIS forces do not make them “revolutionaries”, especially when working directly with the US war machine. Moreover, they have also signed agreements with parts of the “Free Syrian Army” – which in practice is identical to ISIS. Workers internationally cannot afford to extend any political support to any group which works side by side with the US empire.
Workers and all those who stand against war need to take an urgent stance against the criminal war against Syria. No matter what your personal political opinion is of the Syrian government or its elected leader President Assad, Syria itself must be defended, and not just for the sake of Syrians, as important as that is. Syria must be defended so that the US war machine – in effect the military/political arm of world capitalism – can be blocked from achieving its goal of “full spectrum dominance”. Workers are entitled to a world without war, but the war against Syria indicates that we are going to have to fight for it. We can be inspired by the brave stance taken by the Syrian people, as well as those actors which have acted to prevent war, such as Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and China. The US and their proxies must be stopped.
AUSTRALIAN TROOPS OUT NOW! VICTORY TO SYRIA!
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