The U.S. government is increasing its leading role in the war to topple the government of Syria. At the April 20 meeting of the 11 member “Friends of Syria” held in Istanbul, Turkey, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a doubling of U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels. An additional $123 million in “nonlethal” aid will be provided the imperialist-backed military forces.
The U.S. diplomat also exposed Washington’s guiding hand in the entire war when he reported that “all aid from the … Friends of Syria would now be channeled through the Turkey-based Free Syrian Army group.” (bbc.com, April 21)
Direct U.S. military intervention has grown with the deployment of “200 intelligence, logistic and operations specialists from the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division” to the northern Jordan border with Syria. (bbc.com, April 17)
The European imperialists, led by England and France, have “reached a preliminary agreement on [April 17] that would ease an embargo on oil exports from Syria … part of an effort to enable opposition-held areas with petroleum resources to develop an economic base.” (New York Times, April 18)
Recruitment is being carried out across Europe for mercenaries to fight against the Syrian government. A report by the Center for the Study of Radicalization in London estimated that up to 600 Europeans have gone to fight in Syria in the past two years. This is in addition to thousands of others from other parts of the world. (New York Times, April 17)
The threat of direct U.S. and European military intervention also looms behind the continuing accusations that the Syrian armed forces are using chemical weapons. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon received letters from both the British and French imperialist governments making broad charges.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, on the other hand, has asked the U.N. to look into charges that the Western-backed rebels have unleashed chemical weapons on several occasions.
The U.S. and European governments also cite the worsening condition of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from the fighting as a reason for further Western intervention. However, it is precisely the imperialist intervention that has escalated the situation inside Syria to this disastrous level.
The imperialists are increasingly frustrated with the failure of their puppet forces inside Syria to succeed in toppling the government politically or militarily. In the recent Syrian government military offensive, rebels have been pushed back in several key areas. A long blockade of roads to northern military bases was smashed.
Truckloads of supplies and loyal troops resupplied two bases in Idlib province starting on April 14. Rebel casualties may have reached 50 in this important battle. Fierce fighting in the east, west and south are also reported.
Iran is one of Syria’s strongest supporters and because its government takes positions independent of imperialism, it is another target of United States hostility. The U.S.-backed Israeli regime has made further threats against Iran, as could be seen in an April 19 New York Times article: “Israeli defense and military officials issued explicit warnings … that Israel was prepared to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
During his trip to Israel on April 21, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel underlined these reckless threats by saying that all options were still on the table, including a military strike against Iran, even as he publicly cautioned that such an act would be premature. With Israel receiving over $3 billion a year in U.S. aid — and for decades — no action of this magnitude can be imagined without U.S. approval, and now Hagel has made the U.S. role clear.
Confirming the U.S. dominant role over Israel’s military actions is a huge armaments deal now in its final stages. The U.S. Defense Department is to provide Israel — and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — the two countries that have given most direct military aid to the Syrian counterrevolutionaries — with advanced jets, missiles and other hardware in the amount of $10 billion.
This latest deal follows the sale of $29 billion worth of F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia in 2010. Given the U.S. go-ahead, these weapons of mass destruction threaten both Syria and Iran.
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria took stock of the developing situation in an address to his nation on the anniversary of the 1946 end of the French occupation of his country. He refused to surrender, encouraging the Syrian people to continue the war for independence. The president denounced the colonial Western powers who “have never accepted the idea of other nations having their independence. They want those nations to submit to them.” (weeklystandard.com, April 18)