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Issue #1610      September 11, 2013

Hands off Syria! No to War!

Issued by the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada

The “drums of war” are beating ever louder in the Middle East. For more than two and a half years, the devastating internal conflict in Syria has resulted in over 100,000 casualties, millions of civilians displaced from their homes and communities, and growing sectarian violence in Lebanon, Iraq and other neighbouring countries. Now the war faces a most dangerous escalation.

The United States and some of its NATO allies, along with Saudi Arabia and other reactionary Gulf states, are preparing to launch a coordinated attack in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its own citizens in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, on August 21.

Yet no credible or verifiable evidence has been forthcoming to confirm this dubious claim. It is far more likely that this is a classic “false flag” operation, and that Syrian rebel forces and mercenaries – no doubt with outside guidance and assistance from imperialist quarters – are responsible for this horrendous act in order to provide a pretext for foreign intervention by the imperialist powers to prevent a rebel defeat.

The launching of such unilateral US-led aggression, in the absence of any hard evidence of Syrian government involvement in the chemical attack and without any UN mandate, would be immoral, irresponsible, and a gross violation of international law.

A military attack on Syria would have dire consequences, threatening even more civilian deaths and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. It would further inflame tensions throughout the Middle East and could engulf the entire region in war.

For all these reasons, it is vital that all conscientious people speak out now to demand the Canadian government oppose war on Syria. The Communist Party of Canada condemns these war preparations and the pro-war propaganda that is being whipped up to justify such an attack on Syria.

Background

Protests against the Al-Assad government in Syria began in early 2011 in opposition to neo-liberal “reforms” which increased unemployment and widened social and economic disparities. But legitimate opposition voices were quickly co-opted or shunted aside by hardcore, foreign-financed and armed gangs determined to make Syria ungovernable. Terrorist attacks to spur further government crackdowns, sectarian violence to incite distrust and enmity between the Sunni majority and the Shia, Alawite and other minorities, the smuggling of heavy weapons and even mercenaries from abroad, and open calls for direct foreign intervention in violation of Syria’s national sovereignty – this has been the orchestrated game plan carried out by the “internal opposition”.

The extent of foreign covert intervention in the conflict proves that this is not a “civil war” but rather a highly coordinated imperialist conspiracy against Syria.

But popular support for the rebel forces has since evaporated. Significant sections of the former opposition, disillusioned by the sectarian violence and brutal atrocities committed by the rebel forces, are now supporting the Syrian government and defending Syria’s national sovereignty under threat from this orchestrated conspiracy. On the “war front” the Syrian Armed Forces have made significant advances against the rebels in recent months, leading many observers to predict the imminent collapse of the armed rebellion. This is the real reason why the imperialist powers – under the code-name “Friends of Syria” – are now moving to intervene directly in the conflict.

Gross hypocrisy

US President Obama’s “disgust” at the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria is utterly hypocritical, given that US imperialism itself has been the main violator of international covenants banning the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In addition to its use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during the Second World War, there is credible evidence of its use of biological weapons during the Korean War, its widespread use of napalm and other chemical agents during the Vietnam War, and its use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons in Iraq. It also “looked the other way” when Saddam used chemical weapons in 1988 during the Iraq-Iran conflict because it was anxious to weaken and defeat the Iranian regime for its own imperialist interests. The use of chemical or other WMDs is a heinous war crime.

The real aims

The threatened attack on Syria is part of a broader imperialist strategy to crush (and possibly dismember) the Syrian state. The ultimate objective is to fashion a “New Middle East” of weak and pliant Arab states under the domination of US and European imperialist powers and their local gendarme, the state of Israel. This would guarantee unfettered access to the petroleum, mineral and other natural resources of the region, and extend imperialist geopolitical hegemony into the “underbelly” of Asia, further encircling both the Russian Federation and China.

Undermining the Syrian state is pivotal in achieving this imperialist ambition. Due to its central location in the Middle East, its secular character, and its firm solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people and opposition to the expansionist policies of Zionist Israel, Syria has long been in the cross-hairs of US imperialism. For their own reasons, reactionary Arab regimes – especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar – as well as Turkey are also anxious to weaken and crush Syria.

“Regime change” in Damascus and its replacement by a more pliant, pro-imperialist regime would compound the suffering of the Syrian people. It would also dramatically alter the regional balance of forces, weakening the anti-imperialist forces, and serving as a prelude – and launching pad – for NATO/Israeli aggression against neighbouring Iran.

Worldwide opposition

Despite imperialism’s hysterical campaign to whip up international support for this impending aggression, Washington’s “coalition of the willing” is crumbling quickly. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against any foreign aggression and called on all parties to “give peace a chance” and for a return to the negotiating table in Geneva to reach a political settlement to the conflict. Russia, China, and most developing countries have condemned the call to attack Syria. Even the British Parliament has voted against any British participation in such an attack.

In Canada, all concerned organisations – unions, peace and solidarity groups, and other mass democratic organisations – as well as conscientious and peace-loving individuals, need to speak out quickly and demand that the Harper government reverse its support for such aggression. In the days ahead, the Communist Party of Canada urges all-out support and participation in the anti-war campaign developing across the country to stave off the impending catastrophe!

Next article – Walmart workers protest illegal firings

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