U.S. direct military threat to Syria grows

The crucial victory by the Syrian Arab Army against imperialist-backed terrorist ‘rebels’ in Qusair, a town near the border with Lebanon, has further disintegrated the military and political opposition to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. At the same time, the threats against Syria’s government by imperialist and reactionary monarchist powers, led by the United States, are increasing.

On June 5, the Syrian army regained the town of Qusair after several weeks of intense fighting. Qusair had been in rebel hands for two years and served as a transit point for foreign fighters and weapons flooding into Syria from the porous Lebanon border.

To aid this victory, volunteers from the Lebanese Hezbollah militia had joined in the fighting on the side of the Syrian government. Syrian troops pursued the retreating rebels into the many villages surrounding Qusair.

The leaders of Hezbollah, which is renowned for liberating Lebanon from Israeli occupation, have clearly defined the struggle to preserve Syria’s government as being part of the struggle against the imperialist and colonialist Western powers and the Zionist state of Israel.

It has also been reported that the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas organization has come out in support of Hezbollah’s position in defense of Syria against the imperialists. Al Quds Al Arabi, the London-based pan-Arab newspaper, reports that the Qassam Brigades have decided to realign themselves with Hezbollah and Iran after bitter infighting over the direction the group should take. The report says that the Brigades wrote a letter to the political leadership of Hamas demanding an alliance with Hezbollah.

The opposition Syrian Coalition, already unable to maintain a unified political front, quickly showed greater signs of disunity. Before the Qusair defeat, the Coalition had agreed to attend an international peace conference proposed jointly by the U.S. and Russia. With this big setback, the military commander of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” announced that the rebels would boycott any peace conference “if we don’t receive ammunition and weapons to change the position on the ground.” (New York Times, June 9)

Of course, the rebels have been receiving massive shipments of armaments from Qatar and Saudi Arabia for the past two years, all coordinated by the Central Intelligence Agency. The Times characterized this position as reflecting “a growing frustration if not desperation.” The rebels, unable to advance on the ground, are really pressing for direct and massive military intervention by the U.S. and its NATO allies.

Military exercises in Jordan

Jordanian media recently reported that 15,000 troops from 17 countries will soon start massive military “exercises” inside Jordan. Participants include the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Italy, Turkey, Yemen, Egypt and others and will include air-sea and land operations.

The “war game,” dubbed Eager Lion 2013, will run for at least two weeks. U.S. troops have already been stationed in Jordan and Turkey along with Patriot missile batteries. The CIA has been widely reported as running training camps for guerrilla forces to be sent into Syria. According to the June 9 Jordan Times, “Major equipment utilised during the exercise will include amphibious assault ships, AV-B Harrier II, C130 Hercules, F18 Hornet, F16 Falcon, Patriot missile system and the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft.” It is unclear how much of this equipment will be left in Jordan.

These war games are a direct threat against the government of Syria and could easily be used to initiate a direct attack on Syria. The U.S. goal of regime change in Syria is unlikely to be stopped by the failures of its proxy rebels.

Two years ago the U.S. and NATO were faced with the total inability of their Libyan proxies to advance militarily. The “solution” was to declare a “no-fly zone” in Libya. Massive bombing of military and civilian targets followed. In the end, the “rebels” simply walked into the capital as imperialist planes cleared their path. A similar playbook may be in preparation for Syria.