Middle East

Oppose US bombing of Syria; Oppose ALL bombing of Syria!

A photo of Damascus under US bombardment. This photo appeared in the Assad-controlled press, so we should be careful in assuming it’s accurate, although it may well be.

Trump has launched his second attack on the Syrian government, this time by reportedly bombing chemical weapons facilities, including a chemical research facility. (We say “reportedly” because we don’t know for sure exactly what the US missiles attacked.)

We have to be clear what the aims as well as the constraints are: The aim is not to overthrow the Assad regime. US Secretary of “Defense” James Mattis made this clear. He saidRight now this is a one-time shot and I believe it has sent a very strong message to dissuade him, to deter him from doing it (chemical weapons attack) again.” So, Mattis, Trump and US imperialism in general have no objection to Assad’s murderous assault on the people of Syria. They have no objection to his imprisoning thousands, torturing opponents to death, bombing hospitals, schools, residential neighborhoods and public markets. Nor any objection to the ethnic cleansing that is being carried out. No, all of that is okay. Their problem is that chemical weapons are too much of a no-no. It’s too embarrassing. Murdering hundreds of thousands is okay, just don’t embarrass us, is the position of US imperialism.

US imperialism of course supported Assad’s neoliberal economic attacks on the Syrian workers and peasants, the attacks carried out in the run-up to the Arab Spring (2011). These were the same “reforms” that enormously enriched a little clique around Assad.

Constraint on US imperialism
The major constraint on US imperialism is the fact that it’s now got serious rivals for the first time, Russian and Chinese imperialism first and foremost. Even the US Defense Department recognized this in a report from July of last year. That same report also commented on the host of “non-government actors”, including the Islamic State.

The entire scenario is carefully choreographed. The US military was careful not to attack any facility where Russian soldiers might be killed. According to the Wall St. Journal, the US let the Russians know what air space they’d be using and, in return, the Russians didn’t shoot down any US rockets. In fact, it’s made sure not to kill Iranian or even Syrian troops. The Russian imperialists, meanwhile, loudly protested and, they claim, have shot down a number of US missiles. What they are not doing is attacking the US Navy ships from which the missiles were launched.

They’re all doing their best to look good to their respective bases while making sure that a wider conflict doesn’t ensue.

Meanwhile, the editors of the Wall St. Journal made clear the real concern of US capitalism/imperialism. It is to develop “a larger strategy to counter the attempt by the Assad-Russia-Iran axis to dominate the Middle East.” If the people of Syria have to be bombed to smithereens, or thousands tortured to death, that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters (to them) is figuring out how to expand US capitalism’s power and profits in the region, vs. some of their rival imperialist powers.

Oppose any role for US capitalism
Just as at home, US capitalism has no common interest with the masses of the Syrian people. They have two interests in Syria: One is to limit the influence of Russian and Iranian imperialism in Syria. The other is to combat the Islamic State and similar groups. (On the issue of combating Russian imperialism, because of his role as a money launderer for the Russian oligarchs/mafia, Trump has a different position from the mainstream of the US capitalist class. This is at the center of their crisis with him. But that is a different issue.)

Even before he took office, Trump made his view clear: The New York Times reported that Trump’s position was “that the United States should focus on defeating the Islamic State, and find common ground with the Syrians (meaning Assad) and their Russian backers…. ‘I’m not saying Assad is a good man, cause he’s not,’ he told the New York Times in an interview in March, ‘but our far greater problem is not Assad, it’s ISIS.'”

Yes the Islamic State is a fascist force, but the reason that Trump and US capitalism in general opposes them is that they are disrupting the US.

How Syrians might see it
It is easily understandable that many people in Syria might support this particular bombing by Trump. Anything to ease the pressure, even just a little bit, might be the attitude. But Trump and US capitalism have absolutely no intention of doing anything to really help the masses of Syrian people. Not now and not in the future. The present attack is just aimed at making US capitalism look good so that they can continue their normal role of looking for a way to exploit the situation in order to increase the power and the profits of US capitalism. That is why socialists should not support it.

The “left” supporters of Assad
A footnote should be added about the “left” supporters of Assad. These are the ones who for years have been ignoring the war crimes of Assad, Putin and Rouhani. They screamed bloody murder about the last US bombing attack – the attack on the al Shayrat airfield. But just a few weeks earlier the US military had bombed a mosque in Syria, killing some 40 civilians. These same “lefts” were silent about that, just as in general they were silent about the US bombardment of Raqqa, which killed hundreds of civilians in the first few days. Since they are silent about the bombing of Syria by Assad and Putin, they have lost all right to oppose the US bombing of Syria. (For a better understanding of where they are coming from, see Putin, Assad and the Syrian Disaster.)

Categories: Middle East

5 replies »

  1. While this essay rightly condemns the FUKUS imperialism in Syria (aided, abetted, and paid for by the GCC & Qatar), as represented by this repeat violation of the Nuremberg Conventions. the U.N. Charter, and the U.S. Constitution, it wrongly portrays the Syrian people’s stance since the 80% of Syrians living under the protection of the legally-elected Assad government strongly support his actions in protecting them from the 10’s of thousands of jihadi mercenaries transported, paid for, supplied, & armed by the same U.S./NATO/GCC cabal responsible for the latest atrocity (mitigated only by the coordination between U.S. & Russian forces to insure minimal damage & casualties, i.e.; a ‘dog & pony show’) and the effectiveness of the Syrian-Russian air defense systems. This is easily seen in the myriad of photos & video showing the Syrian people celebrating their government after the attack in defiance of the FUKUS crime. So, while you condemn one aspect of the ‘left’ for not condemning the Russian-Syrian-Iranian leadership for their ‘war crimes’, let me point out that whatever their ‘crimes’ (many of which exist only in the minds of the ‘humanitarian industrial complex: HRW, Amnesty, etc. operating as extensions of U.S. policy) may actually be, they pale into insignificance compared to the crimes of the last 3 U.S., U.K., and NATO/E.U. administrations which, jointly, have overseen the slaughter of millions of innocents across MENA, the displacement of 10’s of millions, and the wholesale destruction of entire civilizations in the name of ‘democracy’. One is compelled to ask the question of why you’re focusing on the sardines rather than than the whales?

    • I wonder where Marshalldoc got that 80% support for Assad from. It couldn’t be from the “elections” Assad held, since he got over 99% of the votes in those. Which tells you all you need to know about their validity. As far as the idea that the US paid for and supported the jihadi groups: I’ve seen such claims over and over but have never seen any credible evidence to back that up. It’s as if those people don’t even read the newspaper. Or if they do, in the manner of the Trump supporters, they simply reject whatever reports don’t fit their world view as being “fake news”. Look at who the US troops have been fighting: The Islamic State. And look at the forces that are receiving the overwhelming bulk of US aid as well as direct military assistance: The Kurds. And who were the Kurds fighting? The Islamic State.

      The Syrian people celebrating Assad? Yes, sure and there were all sorts of reports of workers celebrating Stalin too. Marxhalldoc simply doesn’t recognize all the reports of mass arrests, torture (including of teen agers), mass rape, mass executions of dissidents. This is all over the internet, but again I suppose that is fake news.

      There is a reason why Richard Spencer, David Duke, Golden Dawn, the AfD, the totally reactionary Russian Orthodox Church, and a whole host of other such groups support Assad.

      • I wonder where oaklandsocialist get his(?) “many people in Syria might support this particular bombing by Trump”?
        From Prof Bomb Libya Cole? From no less gross imperialist whitewasher Achcar? Or from Zionist colonizers of Palestine?
        And yes, many anti-Soviet “socialists” are just a left boot of “their” imperialists, including backing French colonization of Algeira, for ex.
        Of course, oaklandsocialist is in a very good company – Saudi royals, Zionist colonizers of Palestine and USA rulers who are telling us 24/7 that Assad “gassed his own people”.
        And regarding Stalin and workers, there were USA workers really(!) celebrating USA imperialist crimes, for ex, builders beating up anti-war demonstrators. Hard Hat Riot, anyone?

      • Originally, we were going to trash this comment since in general we don’t allow comments which are slanderous, including those which slander ourselves. But on second thought we thought we’d post it since it’s such a good example of the delusional thinking that the Assad supporters engage in and a good example of their lack of interest in simple fact. Readers who have any doubt that some in Syria may support US bombing of Assad’s forces should take a look at this blog site: http://whoiskillingciviliansinsyria.org/

        When your own government is killing you by the hundreds of thousands, yes you might even be desperate enough to look for relief anywhere. Not that we agree with it, but it’s understandable.

        The writer really shows her contempt for the working class in the end though. All she can see about workers is a group of reactionary hard hats at one moment in time. “lidia” can join Richard Spencer, David Duke, Germany’s AfD, Greece’s Golden Dawn, the British National Party, and Russia’s fascist Aleksander Dugin and the homophobic and misogynistic Russian Orthodox Church, all of which support Assad. And why not, present in his administration is Syria’s very own fascist Syrian Social Nationalist Party. Maybe “lidia” would like to join the SSNP also?

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