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Issue #1609      September 4, 2013

People of the world demand HANDS OFF SYRIA!

Statement from the International Department of the CPA

For 30 months the US has been directing a devastating war on Syria. Satisfied with the results of “regime change” in Libya, another of the obstacles to US imperialism’s ambitions in the Middle East, the Obama administration has sought to destroy Syria using the same covert methods. Early protests in the country were hijacked and diverted. Sectarian divisions were played upon and well equipped, fanatical mercenaries were infiltrated into the country to do their worst. But the people of Syria have not been sidelined. They have rallied to defend the sovereignty of their country and US war planners have been left to consider their options. It is important to note that the Australian government has aided and encouraged the US at every stage of this latest, shameful violation of international law.

The toll of US meddling is still mounting – 100,000 people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced. This has shocked the world but the US, Britain, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other outsiders have pressed on with their assistance to the “rebels” wreaking havoc in Syria.

US war planners did consider the possibility that their proxy forces might be defeated so the trigger for a “Plan B” was cocked. Last year, US president Barack Obama warned that, should Syrian forces use chemical weapons on their own people, the US would intervene openly in the conflict. Obama’s “red line” was supposedly crossed with an attack with a neurotoxic agent on the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta on August 21st. The President was quickly on the phone to his allies and thus the world was dragged closer to the brink of a war with nightmarish potential for escalation.

But this plan has not gone smoothly. A tried and true recipe has failed. For years the independent, secular government of President Bashar al-Assad has been demonised in the corporate media. Reporting of the war has stayed loyal to the Pentagon line. Insurgent atrocities have been attributed to government forces and the gains by the Syrian military have been downplayed.

This time, however, people are waking up to the manipulation. They remember the lies about Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, lies that were used to unleash the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. They question the “pact with the devil” entered into by the US and ruthless “Islamist” forces in Libya and Syria. They are appalled by the regular drone assassination attacks that include targets within independent, non-combatant countries. Australians never supported the deployment of troops to shore up the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan. Collective memories of the misery caused by depleted uranium shells in Iraq and agent orange in Indo-China are being recovered.

Disgust at the hypocrisy of the US and its allies is increasing. Protests at the drive to war have broken out within days of Obama’s threatened intervention. Bigger demonstrations are being planned and the leaders of the aggressor countries are getting nervous. The British parliament has voted down support for a bombing campaign. French President Francois Hollande is tip-toeing away from his former support for more direct attacks on Syria.

Cracks are appearing in the edifice of the media-military-industrial complex. The peace-loving people of the world must press on and make the most of this precious opportunity. It appears people are getting past the feelings of powerlessness that overcame the anti-war movement that rallied in unprecedented numbers to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

The complicity of the Australian government in US war plans in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region will not change for the better with the likely election of the Coalition next weekend. Change will have to be forced on those loyal servants and informers of imperialism from outside the parliament – on the streets, in the workplace and in the community. Trade unions need to remember that questions of war and peace are and always have been union issues.

The demand that the Australian government withdraws its support for war on Syria must be pressed on whichever big party of capitalism wins the election. Voters must consider these questions when they vote on Saturday and support candidates that oppose involvement in US military adventures. Australia must use its position on the UN Security Council to stop the illegal invasion.

Next article – Editorial – “Oh what a feeling!”

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