Washington and the other NATO powers claim they want a peaceful resolution to the civil war in Syria. Nothing could be further from the truth. The imperialists have been giving diplomatic aid, funding and arms to the most reactionary forces, including not only pro-imperialist political leaders of the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” but also al-Qaeda-type elements the imperialists publicly called their main enemies when they wanted to invade Afghanistan nearly 11 years ago.
The imperialists’ goal — and this goal is shared by their Israeli junior partner in the region — is to destroy any semblance of independence by Syria. They are doing this even though it means fomenting a religious war that tears Syrian society apart and leaves millions of Syrian casualties.
Washington and London adopted this same strategy in Iraq when it became apparent by 2005 that the U.S.-British occupation force could not win a direct battle against the Iraqi people and their resistance fighters. The U.S. then fomented a religious civil war, even though this meant opening the door to the al-Qaeda grouping there, which had no base in the country during the secular government of Saddam Hussein.
Resistance from Russia and China has prevented the NATO powers from obtaining a United Nations Security Council mandate for military intervention against Syria, as they got against Libya last year. Thus, up to this point imperialist intervention against the Bashir Assad government has been mainly though their client states in the region, specifically NATO-member Turkey and the reactionary Saudi Arabian and Qatari monarchies.
The overwhelming majority of reports in the Western corporate media, as well as in Qatari-based al-Jazeera, have falsely presented the battle for Syria as between pro-democracy forces and the Assad regime, which they characterize as totalitarian.
Reports in the Russian, Chinese and some progressive and communist media have refuted this position. And now a few reports have slipped into the corporate media that give a more accurate view of what is happening in this strategically located country of 20 million people, which had given refuge to more than a million Iraqis fleeing the occupation and sectarian fighting in Iraq.
Two Western journalists, Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans and John Cantlie of Britain, entered Syria from Turkey in mid-July and were immediately kidnapped by an armed group and held for a week. After being freed, Oerlemans told Business News Radio of the Netherlands on July 27 that the group which kidnapped him was made up of foreign fighters, not Syrian: “They all claimed they came from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh and Chechnya, and they said there was some vague ‘emir’ at the head of the group.”
On July 30, the New York Times ran a lengthy article claiming concern about the role of al-Qaeda-type groups in Syria. “Syrians involved in the armed struggle say it is becoming more radicalized: homegrown Muslim jihadists, as well as small groups of fighters from Al Qaeda, are taking a more prominent role and demanding a say in running the resistance,” the article read.
Whatever the actual ties between the imperialist secret services — like the CIA — and these groups, it is apparent that the U.S.-NATO countries have encouraged Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm and pay mercenaries. These armed groups are a direct threat to the lives of Syrians, including many civilians who want no part of a civil war.
The most open statement of foreign intervention was made in a Reuters report of July 27: “Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border, Gulf sources have told Reuters.”
With the situation heading toward open imperialist intervention, this much is obvious: The imperialists aim to destroy the Assad government and wreck Syria. They are indifferent to the human suffering this would cause. As in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and much of the rest of the world, the imperialists will carry out the most criminal adventures in an attempt to reconquer formerly colonized countries. Any progressive, any working-class fighter, must stand for the defense of Syria against this imperialist crime.