The reckless bombing by Israel near Damascus in early May has provoked a sharp response. Syrian state media quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying he would turn the Golan Heights into a “resistance front,” allowing combatants to attack Israel from the area. (Reuters, May 11)
The Golan is Syrian territory that was seized by Israel in the 1967 war and continues to be occupied by the Zionist regime. Syria has continuously protested the seizure, but no major fighting has occurred there for the past 40 years.
According to Reuters, Palestinian groups inside Syria, who reflect the half million Palestinian refugees living there, said they were “preparing for new operations against Israel” and that President Assad “would support such operations” to fight to retake the Golan Heights.
General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the powerful Hezbollah group in Lebanon — an organization which beat back Israel’s 2006 invasion of southern Lebanon and is the only Arab military force so far able to defeat Israel — announced in a television broadcast that his organization would offer material and political support toward efforts to liberate the Syrian Golan. He also announced that Syria would be supplying his militia forces with even more advanced weapons in response to the Israeli aggression.
At a Turkish city on the border with Syria, two car bombs exploded on May 11, killing 46 people. Top Turkish government officials announced that they “suspected” the Syrian government was behind the attack. The Syrian government immediately denounced the attacks and denied responsibility.
In unusually harsh language, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi charged the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with responsibility for the bombings by turning the border areas with Syria into “international terrorist concentrations,” and allowing Turkish houses, farms and properties to be turned into centers and passageways for terrorist groups.
“He added that the Turkish government has been facilitating the delivery of weapons, explosive devices, car bombs, money and killers into Syria. Al-Zoubi held Erdogan and the Turkish government directly responsible, both morally and politically, towards the peoples of Syria and Turkey, the region, and the whole world.” (Sana.sy.eng, May 12)
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was expelled from Syria last year, met this past week with a leading “rebel” military commander at a Turkish border crossing. State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrella announced that their meeting included Ford stepping “several meters deep into Syrian territory” while U.S. aid to the rebels was delivered. (Turkishweekly.net, May 12)
The U.S. and Russia jointly announced a diplomatic initiative that called for an international conference on Syria in the near future. It is uncertain what can emerge from such a meeting. Clearly Washington is trying to end the strong military and political support Russia continues to extend to the Syrian government.
A misleading manifesto
Despite the open and obvious controlling hand of the U.S. and other imperialist powers behind the Syrian opposition, some claiming to be on the “left” continue to call for support of the rebels. The Syrian protest movement may have begun with genuine grievances and goals. But the armed opposition to the Syrian government has clearly become an imperialist intervention to overthrow a government that long has been unwilling to submit to Washington and Israel.
A manifesto issued by a so-called “Global Campaign of Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution” was published on May 1 in the Socialist Worker, organ of the International Socialist Organization in the United States. Its demands echo those of the U.S. government and its NATO allies. They say the departure of President Bashar al-Assad and the victory of the “rebels” would “begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.” But where in the world has imperialism brought benefits to the colonized people?
The admitted role of the CIA in coordinating all military shipments, aided by the most repressive and anti-democratic monarchies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is brushed aside as “cynical self-interest” that is trying “to crush and subvert the uprising, while selling illusions and deceptive lies.”
No mention or acknowledgment appears in the manifesto of the decisive and growing influence of the reactionary fundamentalist militias that fight a sectarian war. Western media admit that the leading militia in Syria is the al-Nusra Front, which recently announced that it is a wing of al-Qaida. Even heavy pressure from the U.S. secretary of state is barely managing to hold together the opposition forces in a sham “unity.”
Those who signed the manifesto could learn something about how the balance of forces changes in a real war from a real hero of the liberation struggle. Leila Khaled brought the issue of Palestine to world attention as part of a dramatic 1969 airline hijacking. Today, she is a member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a member of the Palestine National Council.
In February 2013, Khaled paid a five-day visit to Turkey, speaking at conferences and seminars. In reference to Syria, she said: “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is always with the people and their legitimate and just demands, but the latest developments in Syria clearly indicate that there is a U.S.-Turkish-Saudi alliance with the goal of destroying and weakening Syria as a country, because it has said ‘no’ to the U.S. and has not signed agreements with the Zionist entity [Israel] and hosts half a million Palestinian refugees.”
Khaled also “warned against schemes by the enemies of the peoples of the region being conducted under false slogans.” (pflp.ps/English, Feb. 4)