The United National Anti-war Coalition has called upon anti-war activists across the United States to be vigilant against the growing threat of direct Western imperialist war on the Syrian government. UNAC’s recent statement said: “The ominous signs of impending war with Syria escalate. NATO is massing troops and military equipment on Syria’s borders, and preparing to install missiles aimed at Syria. U.S. warships are stationed off Syria’s coast.”
UNAC member groups like the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice responded by scheduling “the day after” demonstrations at the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit if the U.S. and NATO launch a direct attack on Syria.
Demonstrations broke out in many Turkish cities against the scheduled deployment of Patriot missiles along the Syrian border. Press TV and the FARS News Agency have given wide coverage to the thousands of students and others in the streets of the Turkish capital, Ankara, and other cities, some along the southern border. Thousands came out in Ankara on Dec. 25, led by the Turkish Communist Party. Protesters burned U.S. and NATO flags and chanted against imperialism.
The actual military situation across Syria is difficult to determine as President Bashar al-Assad’s government army battles many rebel groups armed and encouraged by the U.S. and other Western powers. UNAC describes as the goal of the U.S. “to gain dominance in a part of the world that holds the vast majority of the known oil reserves.” Much of the Western press is clearly biased, collaborating with the U.S. State Department and the CIA in demonizing President Assad and preparing the public to support a war.
Direct intervention by the U.S. and its allies may be hastened by the failure of the “contra” rebels to win decisive victories and by the continued fighting ability of President Assad’s armed forces. In the central city of Homs, BBC News Online reported on Dec. 30 that government forces pushed rebels out of the Deir Baalbeh district after “days of fierce fighting.”
Other news reports throughout December describe the rebels as able to overrun government positions but not hold them. A map of the fighting in Syria developed by the Institute for the Study of War and released on Dec. 4 still shows the contras as mainly controlling areas in the north bordering Turkey, where they receive training and weapons.
The fighting for control of Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, in the north was featured in the New York Times of Dec. 28. The Times had to admit that the six-month battle exposed “the rebels’ difficulties in organizing a coherent campaign … and some of their fighters’ participation in … the summary killing of prisoners. It has also left rebels vulnerable to allegations of corruption, including the theft of much needed food and other aid.”
The destruction caused by this type of fighting is vast. Some estimates claim that up to 44,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands made homeless. The United Nations estimates that a half million Syrian refugees have crossed into neighboring countries. The violence from the war in Syria could easily spread into Lebanon and Jordan.
Meanwhile, Washington is still having difficulty pasting together a united anti-Assad rebel leadership. Despite months of preparation and billions of dollars in aid, the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces still exists mainly on paper.
The coalition, formed in Qatar in November 2012 with the guidance of the U.S. State Department, included the Jabhat al-Nusra militia. On Dec. 10, the U.S. State Department labeled the Nusra militia “a front for al-Qaeda” and listed them as a foreign terrorist organization. On Dec. 11, the Obama administration recognized the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, pledging hundreds of millions more in aid.
Another continuing difficulty for U.S. imperialist plans is the support given to the Syrian government by both Russia and China. Both are under increasing pressure from the imperialists to end that support.
UNAC concludes its anti-war statement: “We must all agree that the U.S. government has no right to impose its will on other countries, especially those formerly colonized and exploited by the West. … No U.S. or NATO intervention in the internal affairs of Syria! No war! No sanctions! No intervention! Self-determination for the Syrian people!” [UNACpeace.org].