Syrian army, militias battle reactionary ‘rebels’

Some recent reports in the Western corporate media put the number killed in nearly two years of fighting in Syria at over 60,000. But these figures must be viewed with suspicion. It is possible that the imperialists, who are arming and bankrolling the contra “rebels,” will use the human tragedy they themselves have caused as a pretext for direct intervention against the Assad government of Syria.

Direct military intervention by the U.S. and its NATO allies grows as a possibility since their puppet “rebels find hearts and minds elusive,” according to another major article in the Jan. 16 New York Times.

The U.S. State Department quickly blamed the Assad government for two deadly explosions at Aleppo University on Jan. 15 without presenting a motive for such an attack or any evidence that the government was its source. Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s U.N. ambassador, blamed the terrorist “rebels” for the 82 people killed and hundreds wounded.

None of the big business media have bothered to note the contradiction in their own reporting as they unanimously cheered on the U.S.-backed French bombing and invasion of the African country of Mali. The imperialist Western powers say their aim is to drive back and destroy insurgent fighters in Mali’s north whom they describe as being like al-Qaida. In Syria, it is precisely the U.S., France and other Western powers that are arming and encouraging forces that are like al-Qaida and that are part of the “rebels.” And they condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for bombing and fighting these forces.

While many sectors of the Syrian population had grievances against the Assad government, the war is forcing many to choose sides. The formation of various people’s militias that are taking up arms against the “rebels” indicates that many are choosing to defend Syria against foreign interference and dismemberment.

Last Nov. 1’s Jerusalem Post expressed concerns about the Shabiha popular militia in Syria modeled on a similar armed force in Iran. On Dec. 12, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Shabiha and another “pro-Assad” militia in Syria. (RTTnews.com) Shabiha, which has operated for most of the past two years, appears to be closely integrated with the Syrian military.

There are also reports that militias have formed spontaneously in heavily contested areas. An article from DNAindia.com on Sept. 13, “Christians Take Up Arms in Aleppo,” detailed how Christians at first organized to protect their churches. As the war has intensified, the Christians have “begun to accept weapons from the Syrian army and joined forces with Armenian groups to repel opposition guerillas.”

Quoting a Christian clergyman now in exile, the article continued, “I am not in support of the government, but the FSA [Free Syrian Army, i.e., rebels] are all a bunch of thugs and thieves.”

Instability within Turkey, Jordan

Problems for the U.S. and NATO are also sharpening within Syria’s neighbors. Both Turkey and Jordan serve as willing conduits for weapons, training and infiltration into Syria, and both have their own problems.

In Diyarbakir in the Kurdish region controlled by Turkey, on Jan. 17, a massive funeral procession mourned the three women activists of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) assassinated in Paris on Jan. 10. The PKK has waged a decades-long war with the Turkish government in a fight for national self-determination for the large Kurdish population of Turkey.

Huge crowds gathered around the coffins draped with PKK flags, in what the Jan. 17 New York Times called perhaps “the largest political gathering that the Turkish government had ever allowed the Kurds to stage.” This follows several months of protest by many others across Turkey against the stationing in their country of U.S., German and Dutch troops and missiles threatening Syria.

Jordan is currently housing an estimated 285,000 refugees from Syria. Jordan’s prime minister, Abdullah Ensour, announced Jan. 17 that “we will stop them and keep them in their country” should another surge of refugees approach the border. (Associated Press)

While speculating on a rush of refugees if the Assad regime were to collapse, Ensour promised to dispatch special military forces to keep the Syrians out.

The Jordanian regime, long a paid client of the U.S. government, is concerned for its own stability. Jordan already is home to nearly two million Palestinians, perhaps one million Iraqi refugees and another 1.7 million immigrants, some having entered with government permission and others without it. The puppet king and his pro-U.S. regime are in a shaky position.