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The menace behind the U.S. attack on Syria
Published Nov 8, 2008 7:04 AM
Four U.S. Black Hawk helicopters swept across the Iraqi-Syrian border Oct. 26
to the al-Sukkariah family farm in the town of Abu Kama. U.S. Special Forces
landed and killed eight civilians, including three children, according to the
Syrian government. It was the first attack of this scale by U.S. military
forces against Syria.
Washington first refused to admit its role in the attack, and then U.S.
officials defended Washington’s “right” to violate Syrian
sovereignty as part of a provocative strategy to cross the border of any
country to attack “terrorists.” (McClatchy Newspapers, Oct. 27)
Regardless of any Pentagon justification, such an attack is considered an
“act of war.”
It is a violation of international law, the UN Charter, and U.S. law,
specifically the War Powers Act.
Tens of thousands of Syrians responded on Oct. 30 with a massive demonstration
outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus that condemned the attack as an act of
aggression, a flagrant violation of international laws and a form of systematic
terrorism exercised by the Bush administration on the Arab region. A favorite
slogan: “No to American terrorism.” (Agence France-Presse, Oct. 30)
The Arab Youth Organization at the 5th General Conference of Arab Youth Union
taking place in Damascus condemned the attack.
Syria demanded a formal apology in the United Nations, cut off diplomatic ties
with Iraq and suspended the work of the joint security committee to draw down
the number of Syrian troops deployed on their common borders.
Throughout the world people and governments have greeted this U.S. war doctrine
with the hostility it deserves. Russia, China and Iran condemned the attack for
violating Syrian sovereignty. Even U.S. client states and allies had to
dissociate themselves from the attack. This included the pro-U.S. Prime
Minister Fouad Siniora of Lebanon, the U.S. client regime in Egypt, the Arab
League and the rightist French government of Sarkozy. Even the puppet Iraqi
regime criticized the attack.
According to Washington, Syria is “not doing enough” to secure its
porous, 300-mile border with Iraq. Washington claims that Syria has allowed
“foreign forces” to sneak into Iraq. (Guardian, Oct. 30)
But the U.S. has no right to be on either side of the border—in Iraq or
The U.S. invasion and its five-year occupation of Iraq are both criminal and
illegal. The real foreign terrorists in the region are the 160,000 U.S. troops
and the more than 100,000 U.S.-paid mercenaries.
Syria–long a U.S. target
As an Arab state attempting to keep free of imperialist domination, Syria has
been a target of both Israel and the U.S. for decades. Washington has spent
years calling for “regime change” in Damascus.
The Bush regime branded Syria a “terrorist” state for its historic
support for the Palestinian struggle, its early opposition to the invasion of
Iraq and its role in Lebanon in opposition to Israeli occupation, invasion and
Israel still occupies a significant piece of Syria–the Golan. Last year
Israel bombed a site that Israel and the U.S. claimed was a potential nuclear
plant, even though Syria should have the right that every other country has of
developing nuclear energy. In 2004 Bush imposed harsh economic sanctions on
Syria claiming that Syria was “destabilizing” U.S. efforts to
Syria has absorbed more than 1.5 million Iraqi refugees since 2003, more than
any of Iraq’s other neighbors. Providing essential housing, food and
education to this large destitute refugee population is an enormous expenditure
for a developing country. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has uprooted almost a fifth
of Iraq’s population of 28 million, including 2.4 million who sought
refuge in surrounding countries.
U.S. puppets fearful
The raid complicated negotiations on a Status of Forces Agreement with U.S.
puppet Iraqi authorities, which Washington protects in the Green Zone. But even
this regime fears signing a SOFA agreement that allows U.S. forces to keep
operating in Iraq after the United Nations mandate expires at the end of
The talks on the SOFA have been bogged down, and a persistent Iraqi demand has
been that Iraqi soil not be used as a launching pad for attacks on other
The government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tried to distance itself
from the attack by claiming that it would open an investigation into the
incident. A government spokesperson, Ali al-Dabbagh, said on Oct. 28,
“Iraq’s constitution does not allow its land to be a base for
launching attacks on neighboring countries.” (Los Angeles Times, Oct.
Some commentators have asked if the U.S. raid on the Syrian village is aimed at
setting a very dangerous precedent for the entire Middle East, and could be
followed by the oft-predicted attack on Iran?
Regardless of the reasons for the U.S. attack, it cannot reverse U.S. fortunes
in the region. The deteriorating U.S. military position in both Iraq and
Afghanistan is obvious to all.
It is essential that international opponents of U.S. wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan raise their voices against imperialist efforts to widen the
Flounders is a co-director of the International Action Center, which is
promoting a petition protesting the U.S. attack on Syria
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