Two steps closer to a U.S. war on Syria

Syria’s counterrevolutionary opposition has taken a step that moves it even closer to U.S. imperialism. At the same time, the Barack Obama administration has moved a step closer to direct and open intervention in the war against Syria, using the pretext that “chemical weapons” have been used.

Only the imperialists’ monopoly of the world media allows Washington, its NATO allies and Israel to create a false pretext such as “chemical weapons” use. First of all, the imperialists themselves use terror weapons that are even more destructive than chemical weapons. Second, the imperialist-armed opposition is responsible for whatever chemical weapons have been used in Syria.

The contras’ overture to Washington was the exiled opposition’s selection of Ghassan Hitto as its “prime minister” at a meeting in Istanbul,Turkey, on March 18. NATO member Turkey and the reactionary Saudi Arabia and Qatar monarchies have been the main source of funds and direct support for the contras. The U.S., other NATO countries and Israel have provided covert aid or passed weapons and other materiel through Turkey.

Hitto is a 50-year-old U.S. citizen who left Syria in his youth and moved to the United States in 1980, where he studied and worked, for at least the last decade, in Texas until moving to Turkey in 2012. His four children were born in the U.S.

The appointment of a longtime U.S. citizen as prime minister of the Syrian opposition makes that opposition more palatable to Washington. U.S. Congress members might be skeptical about directly aiding forces that could share al-Qaida’s ideology.

Chemical weapons ploy

Official U.S. policy has been that it won’t directly intervene in Syria. But Obama took a step closer to direct intervention on March 20 when, on a visit to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, he repeated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “game changer.” (New York Times, March 20) He made his speech while in Palestine’s occupied West Bank.

The reality is that, from the beginning, Washington has given political, diplomatic and material support to the armed opponents of the Bashar al-Assad government. It has even allowed and encouraged Qatar and Saudi Arabia to arm and fund the most extreme of the anti-Assad terrorists, who believe slaughtering people from other religious sects is permissible.

The imperialists have manipulated these reactionary forces, like al-Qaida, against progressive organizations and states in Muslim countries, even though al-Qaida is also anti-Western.

The Syrian government reported the opposition’s use of chemical weapons in the town of Khan Al-Asal in Aleppo province and has asked the United Nations to investigate the damage. The Assad government accuses the opposition terrorists of using these weapons. Of course, there is no guarantee that the imperialist-dominated U.N. will carry out a fair investigation.

U.S. officials at first reacted defensively, saying that there was no evidence of any chemical weapons being used. Obviously, they suspected that their clients in the “Free Syrian Army” had fired such shells. Only later did Obama blame the Assad government.

Israeli officials have warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria by either the government or the opposition could trigger an Israeli intervention. In other words, if the contras — armed and funded by Israel’s allies — launch chemical weapons, that could provoke a wider intervention by the imperialists.

To understand just how hypocritical the U.S. and Israeli position is, consider that both Israel and the U.S. have regularly used the threat of nuclear weapons in their diplomacy.

During the Iraq war and occupation, the Pentagon fired millions of tons of depleted uranium weapons, poisoning vast areas of the country and subjecting future generations to deformed births. Even without special chemical weapons, U.S. aggression killed a million Iraqis and made refugees of millions more while destroying the country’s infrastructure.

During Israeli aggression against Lebanon in 2006, the settler state’s armed forces used white phosphorus explosives that burned through people’s bodies, as well as other weapons they were testing, in combat.

The truth is that the “chemical weapons” pretext, like that of the “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq, is a propaganda gimmick used to sow fear and mobilize support at home — at least passive support — for further Pentagon aggression.

It is the task of the anti-war movement in the imperialist countries, and especially in the U.S., to counter this phony propaganda at every opportunity and oppose all forms of imperialist intervention in Syria’s problems.

U.S., NATO, Israel, hands off Syria