The Turkish regime’s decision to ambush and shoot down a Russian SU-24 bomber on the Syrian-Turkish border north of Latakia has spotlighted the risk of a larger war in Southwest Asia. Boosting this threat is French President François Hollande’s orders to step up the French bombing of Syria. Right behind French imperialism, British Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for a Europe-wide intervention in the region. Both use the Nov. 13 attack in Paris as a pretext for this new aggression, which is ostensibly aimed at the Islamic State group or I.S.
These two former colonial powers want to get back in as overlords of that region in Southwest Asia, this time under Washington and the Pentagon’s hegemony.
Workers World wants to state up front that we oppose any U.S., French, British, German, Turkish or other NATO, or Saudi or Gulf monarchy or Israeli military intervention in Syria and Iraq. We alert anti-war and working-class forces in the U.S. to stay mobilized to stop further imperialist war and intervention in that region. The Syrian people and government, on the other hand, have the right to defend their sovereignty against imperialism and against I.S. and to invite help from their allies.
It is unlikely that the Russian plane was in Turkish airspace for as long as 17 seconds when it was attacked, as the Turkish government claims. This, however, is of little importance, as is whether the Turkish regime cleared its attack with NATO first.
The central question is what the U.S.-NATO “coalition” represents in the world and in Syria. This imperialist alliance includes the U.S. and all of NATO, the Saudi Arabian and other Gulf monarchies, and Israel. These are the main forces underpinning worldwide reaction and exploitation. They are the enemies of the world’s workers and all oppressed nations. In Syria, they are attempting to depose the sovereign government and either replace it with a puppet state or leave a failed state.
The regimes and ruling classes within this imperialist bloc have had a two-sided approach to organizations like the I.S. and al-Qaida. The U.S. started this in 1979, when it and Saudi Arabia funded and nurtured al-Qaida and groups with similar feudal ideology to fight the Soviet Army and the progressive government in Afghanistan. When these reactionaries killed Afghan women teachers, the imperialist media still called them “freedom fighters.”
That changed drastically following 9/11. Washington then used al-Qaida as its enemy of choice, lying that al-Qaida was allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Later, in 2011, U.S.-NATO again provided air support for opposition groups that would provide the “boots on the ground” to oust the Muammar Gadhafi government in Libya, including those with similar ideology. Meanwhile the French air force started bombing, followed tenfold by the Pentagon.
Then the imperialists armed all the opposition to the Damascus government in Syria and continued to do so even though most arms ending up with the most reactionary forces. During that time, French and Belgian police services set up no obstacles to recruitment to fight against the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria. Many wound up fighting for I.S. Some eventually turned their weapons on civilians in Paris.
These U.S.-NATO imperialist wars have killed at least 1.6 million people and made ten times that number refugees. Imperialist aggression is responsible for the growth of groups like I.S., as is the vicious anti-Muslim propaganda that accompanies war preparation. We must fight Islamophobia as hard as we do any other form of racism or bigotry.
We must not allow the regimes in Washington, Paris, London and Berlin to open another round of war in the region that can have untold consequences there and at home.
Say “No!” to Islamophobia!
U.S. and all its allies, get out of Syria and Iraq!