No U.S. intervention in Syria!

By THE EDITORS

In early June, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) initiated discussions among all major U.S. antiwar coalitions regarding the critical need for united local and regional antiwar protests to counter the escalating U.S. and U.S.-backed attacks on Syria. The result was an agreement with UNAC, ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice, the International Action Center, Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait, and now hundreds of other groups for June 28-July 17, 2013 actions in cites across the country.

The central demands of the protest are:

• Stop the U.S./NATO/Israeli war and all forms of intervention against Syria! 

• Self-determination free from outside intervention for the Syrian people!

The joint statement (see text below) recognized that there has been a “conflict that has been raging [in Syria] for more than two years.” Indeed, the signers have evidenced a variety of often counterposed positions on the Syrian civil war, with some forces, including Socialist Action, seeing its origins in the fully justified massive uprising of the Syrian people against the repressive and reactionary Assad dictatorship.

Others partaking in this worthy united effort to stop U.S. intervention in all of its forms and support the right of the Syrian people to self-determination, have declined to take any position on the matter. This includes UNAC, which aspires to unite all activists against the policies of U.S. imperialism. And finally, there are those in the movement who support the Assad regime in one form or another.

All of the endorsers agree, however, that the steady and now rapidly increasing U.S.—as well as Israeli—political, economic, and military intervention has no objective other than “regime change,” that is, the replacement of the Assad regime with one more amenable to advancing the interests of U.S. imperialism to dominate the region and its people and resources in neo-colonial fashion. None of the signers harbor any illusions that the U.S. aim is to provide “humanitarian” aid to the oppressed Syrian people or to help establish any form of democracy in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East; hence the unity statement includes the demand, “U.S. Out of the Middle East!”

The essential facts of the varying forms of U.S. intervention in Syria have been known from the beginning. Today, fewer people than ever believe that the military support from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Libya to the Islamic fundamentalist components of the opposition, often allied with al-Qaida, represented the independent decisions of these repressive and reactionary governments.

These facts were dramatically shown by The New York Times in late June with a detailed account of Libyan military forces of the fundamentalist variety regularly sending massive quantities of heavy weapons from the former Gadhafi army to its Islamic co-thinkers in Syria. This alone demonstrated in bold relief that the U.S. has been willing to allow aid to go even to its professed radical Islamist enemies, provided only that they momentarily advanced U.S. political and economic interests in the Middle East.

These interests also dictated a two-year diplomatic and military effort to patch together a new regime in Syria that would maintain that nation’s essential military, political, and economic structures—and preferably without having to include Assad. To date every U.S. effort to achieve this goal, from the international conferences overseen by U.S. Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to the more recent shift to some form of Geneva conference, have come to naught.

The massive U.S. diplomatic and military pressures on the broad array of opposition forces have proven incapable of uniting them in a common effort to replace Assad with a credible alternative acceptable to imperialism.

Until recently, a major obstacle to this U.S. effort was the undeniable fact that most of the popular Syrian fighting forces had rejected an imperialist-imposed solution. This component of the opposition was based on disparate units of the former Assad army that had refused his orders to slaughter the opposition’s initial mass protests, and the numerous and still present Local Coordinating Committees, which aim to organize community defense organizations and provide vital social services to the country’s massively destroyed infrastructure.

However, recent gains by Assad’s army, bolstered by Hezbollah fighting units from Lebanon, have strengthened the impulse among some desperate rebel sectors to call on the Obama administration to provide them with a massive amount of arms to defeat Assad’s tyranny. This is a mistaken tactic on their part. History has repeatedly demonstrated that imperialist arms never come without fatal strings attached. The Iraqi, Afghani, and Libyan people have learned this lesson all too well. Imperialist intervention produced nothing less than compliant U.S. puppet regimes, exploited to the hilt by their new masters.

In the meantime, the ideological character of the armed struggle has significantly changed due to the strengthened role within it of Islamist fundamentalist groups, many of whom have the vision of imposing a reactionary clerical regime on Syria and isolating the country’s non-Sunni population. Concerns have mounted in Washington regarding the fact that the shipments of arms that its Persian Gulf allies are making to the rebels—which have recently included anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons—mainly favor Islamist-oriented units. The disruptive dangers of a heightened radical Sunni-Hezbollah conflict on its border, including possible intervention by Iranian troops, are of particular concern to Israel.

The Islamist presence, along with the gains by the Assad-Hezbollah military alliance, are major factors that have contributed to the recent declaration by the Obama administration that it would more openly and directly supply arms to sectors of the Syrian opposition. Obama announced the shift in tactics on the eve of his departure for the G-8 conference in Northern Ireland, at which the major imperialist countries were planning to discuss the Syrian issue.

For public consumption, President Obama justified the increased U.S. intervention with the claim that the White House now had “high confidence” that the Assad regime had employed the chemical poison sarin on two occasions during combat in Aleppo. (To date, however, no reliable evidence of the use of sarin has been released.)

In preparing its deeper involvement in the Syrian conflict, the White House also evidently sensed that the time was right to leak to the press some information concerning its earlier covert military aid to the anti-Assad opposition. This echoed reports from sources in the Jordanian government and elsewhere. Thus, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets reported in late June that since late 2012, if not earlier, CIA and U.S. special operations troops have trained several hundred Free Syrian Army troops with materiel including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

The training has been conducted both in northern Jordan—using the ruse of U.S. “war games” with the Jordanian army—and in southern Turkey. But according the British Guardian (March 8, 2013), Jordan now seems to be the preferred scene for U.S. training efforts, since Turkey has allowed radical groups like the al-Nusra Front to become dominant on the northern front, while focusing its own efforts on combating the national struggle of the Kurds.

Socialist Action fully supports the June/July actions jointly called for by the major portion of the U.S. antiwar movement and its allies among oppressed people. These protests express our common opposition to all imperialist interventions and afford the peoples of these nations the best opportunity for determining their own futures. Were it not for imperialist intervention over the past century and more, the world would indeed be a qualitatively different place.

While it is undeniable that the very forces that initiated the just struggle against the Assad dictatorship have been seriously weakened, if not marginalized, their ongoing efforts to coalesce the broadest forces possible, today and in the future, regardless of the outcome of the present civil war, will prove decisive.

The fight for freedom and democracy in Syria is in our view inseparable from the fight for socialism—that is, a society where the vast majority organize society in their own interest free from capitalist and imperialist exploitation in its myriad forms. The construction of a deeply rooted revolutionary socialist party in Syria is a prerequisite to the achievement of this objective.

All out against the U.S.-orchestrated wars in Syria and the Middle East! Self-determination for Syria! U.S. out now!

******

United Statement and Call for Action to Oppose U.S./NATO and Israeli War on Syria

No more wars!

U.S. out of the Middle East!

National Days of Action:

 June 28-July 17

The White House’s June 13th announcement that it would begin directly supplying arms to the opposition in Syria is a dramatic escalation of the U.S./NATO war against that country.

Thousands of U.S. troops and intelligence personnel are training opposition forces and coordinating operations in Turkey and Jordan.

Israel, the recipient of more than $3 billion annually in U.S. military aid has carried out heavy bombing raids against Syria. The Pentagon has developed plans for a “no-fly” zone over Syria, threatening a new U.S. air war.

The pretext for this escalation is the assertion, presented without any actual evidence, that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the conflict that has been raging for more than two years.

Like their predecessors, President Obama and other top U.S. officials pretend to be concerned about “democracy” and “human rights” in Syria, but their closest allies in the campaign against Syria are police-state, absolute monarchies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Once again the so-called “Responsibility to protect,” R2P, is used as a pretext for NATO to dominate this region.

Just as the false claim of “weapons of mass destruction” was used as justification for the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the allegations that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian military is meant to mask the real motives of Washington and its allies. Their aim is to carry out “regime change,” as part of the drive to create a “new Middle East.”

The invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S.-backed Israeli war in Lebanon in 2006, the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya, the now-escalating war in Syria and the growing threats against Iran are part of a coordinated regional effort by the United States, Britain and France to dominate this oil-rich and strategic region.

The U.S. government cuts basic services and has eliminated hundreds of thousands of public sector workers jobs in the last three years in the name of  a discredited austerity which has destroyed the economy, but has unlimited billions available for wars of aggression and NSA surveillance of almost every American.

We join together to call for National Days of Action, June 28- July 15, 2013, to demand:

• Stop the U.S./NATO/Israeli war and all forms of intervention against Syria!

• Self-determination free from outside intervention for the Syrian people!

• Fund people’s needs, not the military!

• U.S. Out of the Middle East!

Endorsers:

United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & 

   End Racism)

United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ)

AFI3RM

All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (GC)

Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the

Philippines

Arab Americans for Peace

Arab Americans for Syria – AA4S

BAYAN USA

CRI-Panafricain

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Global Network Against Nuclear Power in Space

Green Party of the United States

Honduras Resistencia USA

International Action Center

International Coalition to Free the Angola 3

Iran Working Group VFP

KmB Pro-People Youth

March Forward!

May 1 Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition

Pakistan USA Freedom Forum

Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

Revival of Panafricanism Forum

SI Solidarity with Iran

Socialist Action

Syrian American Forum

The Green Shadow Cabinet

U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN)

U.S. Peace Council

Ugnayan (Linking the Children of the Motherland)

Veterans For Peace

World Can’t Wait

Akbar Muhammad, International Representative,

Nation of Islam

Ardeshir Ommani, President, American Iranian

Friendship Committee (AIFC)

David Swanson, RootsAction

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report (organization for

identification purpose only)

Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National

Lawyers Guild

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, candidates, Green

Party

Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers

Guild/Los Angeles

Margaret Flowers & Kevin Zeese, PopularResis

tance

Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report (organ-

ization for identification purpose only)

Nada Khader, WESPAC

Prof. Jared Ball, radio host

Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general

Ron Jacobs, journalist

Sami Ramadani, journalist and scholar

Advocates for Indigenous California Language

Survival

ANAKBAYAN Los Angeles and San Diego

BAYAN-SOCAL

Bob Carter, Justice for Palestinians, Houston (orga

nization for identification purpose only)

Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel

Community Futures Collective

Eugene E Ruyle, Peace and Freedom Party

Habi Arts

Kevin Akin, California State Chair, Peace and Free

dom Party

LEF Foundation

Los Angeles Peace Council

Maine Code Pink

Peace and Freedom Party, Santa Cruz County

Peoples Video Network

Philly Against War

Puerto Rican Alliance-LA

RI Peoples Assembly

RI SOS Save Our Schools Coalition

RI Unemployed Council

Sabah Jawad, Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation

School of the Americas Watch – LA (SOA Watch-LA)

SiGAw-GABRIELA USA

Southern California Immigration Coalition (SCIC)

Stop the War Machine, New Mexico

Teach Peace Foundation, Sacramento, Calif.

The Dream Team 2013, RI

Union of Progressive Iranians

West County Toxics Coalition, Richmond, Calif.