The Syrian government has launched vigorous counteroffensives against recent gains by the imperialist-backed rebels across that country. Intense fighting has been reported in neighborhoods of Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, in the north. In the south, near the Jordanian border, the Syrian army has moved to push back the contra rebels while sharp fighting goes on along the Lebanese border.
The pro-imperialist media have promoted gains by the contras over the past two years while giving subsequent reversals less coverage. Only in the past weeks has it become clear that the contra rebels have received massive airlifts of weapons since December, all coordinated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA has also been exposed as running a military training camp for rebels in northern Jordan, sending hundreds of fighters against the Syrian government.
The weaknesses of the political opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad continue to worry the U.S., Britain and the other Western imperialist powers seeking its overthrow. At an April 10 meeting of the G-8 nations, France and Britain pushed to end the European Union arms embargo to both Syria and the rebels.
Meanwhile, Middle Eastern monarchies subservient to the Western powers have not been bound by this embargo and carry on huge arms shipments aiming to overthrow the Syrian government. While the imperialist nations plot their attack on Syria, “the Syrian National Coalition [the opposition front] will be present on the sidelines.” (guardian.co.uk, April 10)
In an embarrassment for the imperialists, the al-Nusra Front militia in Syria announced that it is officially in alliance with al-Qaida. The United States has been pushing the idea of supporting more “moderate” Syrian factions. However, Moaz al-Khatib, president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, “called on the U.S. to reconsider its decision to list Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization.” (guardian.co.uk)
In the end, the destruction of the nationalist Assad government is more important to U.S. imperialism and its allies than establishing a stable regime of any sort in Syria. The examples of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan all expose the mayhem of imperialist intervention. No viable national government replaced the overturned regimes in those countries.
Will the fighting spread beyond Syria? The open interference of Turkey, Jordan and forces in Lebanon in the fighting in Syria already threaten to spread to those nations. Syrian TV, radio and newspapers have warned Jordan and Turkey that they “could not claim neutrality while actively supporting the insurgents” and “it is difficult to prevent sparks from crossing the border” (New York Times, April 5).
Washington is also aware that their “problem” in Syria is not just getting rid of President Assad. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, James R. Clapper Jr., who is director of national intelligence for the Obama administration, told the committee that fighting would probably continue in Syria for a year or more even if the government were overturned. Powerful peoples’ militias throughout the nation “would fight to the death” against the contra rebels, according to testimony of Robert S. Ford, U.S. ambassador to Syria (New York Times, April 12).
On April 20, the “Friends of Syria” group of 11 nations, headed by the U.S., European imperialists and puppet regimes in the region, will meet in Istanbul to ponder how to increase military and political support to their agents inside Syria. The people of Syria, for their part, continue to suffer death and destruction, fighting on to maintain a government independent of the imperialist powers.