The Syrian Conflict Must Be Resolved by the Syrian People Themselves!

Statement of the Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, August, 2012

The crisis in Syria continues to deepen with every passing day. Thousands have been killed or injured, including countless civilians caught in the crossfire between armed opposition groups and government forces. Thousands more have been displaced from their towns and villages and forced into internal or foreign exile by the fighting. In this very real sense, the situation has become a human and social tragedy of the first order.

But what is actually taking place in Syria? Who is really provoking the violence and prolonging the agony of the Syrian people?

The Western corporate‑controlled media would have us believe that the root cause of the conflict is the “tyrannical” government of President Bashar El‑Assad which clings to power at any price, willing to sacrifice the health and security of its own people. This “big lie” is central to the intensifying propaganda campaign to vilify El‑Assad in order to conceal the role of reactionary and clerical forces bent on destabilizing and ultimately overthrowing the current government and seizing power for themselves. And if necessary, this demonization campaign will be used as a pretext for imperialist military intervention and occupation to directly impose “regime change”, as was done in Iraq and most recently in Libya.

The global media offensive against Syria is only one aspect of a multi‑faceted imperialist strategy to crush (and possibly dismember) the Syrian state. The broader objective is to fashion a “New Middle East” of weak and pliant Arab states under the domination of U.S. and European imperialist powers and their local gendarme in the region, the expansionist state of Israel. This would guarantee unfettered access to the petroleum 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 region, its secular character and socially progressive policy orientation, and its firm solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people and its opposition to the expansionist policies of Zionist Israel, Syria has long been in the cross‑hairs of U.S. 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 with a more pliant, pro‑imperialist regime would compound this catastrophe for 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, the most powerful state in the region.

When anti‑government protests erupted in Syria last year, U.S. imperialism and its local and regional backers seized the opportunity to launch its “tried and true” destabilization campaign, using popular discontent (and the at times crude methods used by local Syrian officials to quell the protests) as a cover to move into action. Many Syrians were justifiably angry at the impact of neoliberal “reforms” which weakened national production, increased unemployment, and widened social and economic disparities between the mass of working people and national and foreign capitalists, aided by weak, misguided and sometimes corrupt government officials.

But legitimate opposition voices were quickly either co‑opted or shunted aside by hardcore, heavily 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 Alawite and other minorities, the smuggling of heavy weapons and even mercenaries from abroad, and finally 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 already evident in the conflict proves that this is not a “civil war” but rather a highly coordinated imperialist conspiracy against Syria.

The misnamed “Friends of Syria” – the cabal of U.S. and other imperialist powers, the reactionary and despotic Arab regimes, and the counter‑revolutionary Syrian National Council – have dismissed every attempt of the Assad government to dialogue with the “opposition”, to achieve a ceasefire under the Kofi Annan peace plan, or to introduce constitutional reforms ending the state of emergency and opening the way for more open parliamentary elections. Instead, they have forced through several rounds of anti-Syrian sanctions at the UN Security Council, and have denounced Russia and China for vetoing strident and dangerous resolutions which would have given a green light for foreign imperialist aggression under the sanction of the United Nations, as was done in March 2011 against Libya.

The Harper government has played a particularly despicable role in this sordid affair, beating the drums for sanctions and war on Syria. Unfortunately, the main opposition parties in Canada’s parliament – the Liberals and NDP – have done little better. Indeed, all three parties have thrown in their lot with the imperialist conspiracy against Syria, arguing in favour of “humanitarian interventionism” and the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) as a justification for yet another aggression.

The Communist Party of Canada fundamentally rejects the building war frenzy over Syria and Iran, and warns that such military adventurism could well lead to a dangerous conflagration throughout the Middle East region, and beyond. We call for:
·        full respect of Syrian national sovereignty and independence;
·        the removal of sanctions; an immediate halt to all covert financial and military support to the Free Syrian Army and other armed groups inside Syria; and
·        the renunciation of a military “solution” in favour of a ceasefire by all combatants and a comprehensive national dialogue to restore peace to that troubled country.

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