Imperialist intervention (A case study)

No matter how it may have started, there is absolutely no doubt now that the conflict in Syria is not a “civil war” but an imperialist-funded and -driven intervention to pull down a government that refuses to be a puppet of the United States and its NATO allies.

In this full-blown war, more than 70,000 people have been killed and millions displaced. More than 2 million Syrian children continue to grapple with disease, malnutrition and severe psychological trauma. The infrastructure and economy have been devastated.

U.S. imperialism and its allies bear direct responsibility for all of this murder and mayhem.

The Obama administration claims that its intervention is limited to “nonlethal” aid, but this has been shown to be patently untrue.

Almost two years ago, the New York Times found that “a small number of CIA officers” were secretly working with “a shadowy network of intermediaries” — including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to ship arms to the opposition. (New York Times, June 21, 2012)

It has now been confirmed that the CIA has sent large shipments of weapons to Syria via regional proxies since early 2012 at the latest. This secret airlift has in recent months increased dramatically, to include more than 160 military cargo flights through Turkish and Jordanian airports.

Data on the Syrian war’s human toll show that before the escalation of arms shipments, weekly deaths were falling. They rose to unprecedented levels a few months into the program.

Only the fear that they may be unable to control the opposition in Syria — which contains elements similar to al-Qaida — has kept U.S. military aid from being more overt.

Intervening in so-called civil wars is one of the oldest imperialist strategies. Imperialists are always on the alert for internal weaknesses or divisions which they can exacerbate and exploit to exert their dominance. If none exist, they may create them. Conflicts in Ireland, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Palestine, Grenada, the Philippines, Somalia and Congo, to mention a very few, were all labeled “civil wars” in which Western imperialism had a “duty” to intervene.

More recent interventions in Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen have been more open and egregious. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a nation in the world where U.S. imperialism is not attempting to intervene either overtly or covertly to exert its control.

There is a high cost to imperialist intervention. In addition to the devastation and millions of lives destroyed abroad is the human and financial cost to people at home. A recent report by an analyst at the Harvard Kennedy School (“The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan”) estimated that the cost to the U.S. of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone will come to between $4 trillion and $6 trillion — an astronomical sum.

Imperialist intervention does not guarantee victory for the imperialists. So far Washington has been unable to cobble together an opposition government it can rely on. The opposition fighters that kill most effectively belong to groups that the U.S. itself has labeled “terrorist.”

Predictions of the imminent fall of the Bashar al-Assad government have been a combination of propaganda and wishful thinking. Increasingly, the corporate media use the term “stalemate” to describe the conflict. Meanwhile, the main refugee camp for Syrians fleeing the conflict into Jordan has become the fifth-largest city in that country. Rebellions and demonstrations over intolerable conditions have recently hit this camp.

There’s only one way that this war can be stopped. The U.S. and its allies must stop the intervention in Syria and respect Syrian sovereignty. We must also demand that they be held responsible for the terrible damage they have already caused.

No Intervention in Syria! U.S. out of the Middle East!