Battleground Syria

A catastrophic sectarian war is being called for by US allies in the region, warns Sami Ramadani.

Obama and Cameron want to convince us that directly arming “moderate” fighters in Syria would not aid the al-Nusra Front and other terrorist gangs, now dominant in parts of Syria, including the provinces of Damascus and Aleppo. Yet, despite occasionally fighting against each other, the various armed groups within the NATO backed Free Syrian Army cooperate on the ground and conduct joint operations with the thousands of well-armed al-Nusra terrorists.

During the past two years, an assortment of terrorists flooded in from Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Europe. Some are flown to Turkey to receive their arms and funds, an effort co-ordinated by a specially set up CIA HQ in Turkey. Saudi rulers generally back the Wahhabi Salafis and pro-Saudi secular forces associated with the Lebanese right wing, while Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood. However, Qatari and Saudi funds were given freely, especially during the 18 months of the fighting, to anyone who wanted to fight in Syria or defect from the regime. Qatar’s dictatorial rulers alone have spent $3 billion within two years in its efforts to topple Assad’s regime.

by Dros

by Dros

The arms smuggled into Syria have been on a scale rarely seen, according to the New York Times: “The airlift has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.” US intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, the report said. They also vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.

However, not all those bearing arms have links to external powers. There are thousands who do not engage in offensive operations but carry weapons to defend their communities from attacks. These generally back a ceasefire and negotiations leading to internationally guaranteed elections. This is also the line backed by all the democratic opposition organisations who strongly opposed the militarisation of the conflict. The most prominent coalition of such organisations is the National Co-ordinating Body for Democratic Change in Syria. The coalition includes socialist, Arab nationalist and Kurdish organisations. Many of its socialist leaders have been in and out of regime prisons for many decades.

Unfortunately, even after it became abundantly clear that the initial democratic protest movement had been militarised and hijacked by counter-revolution, some on the left in Britain still talk of the Syrian “revolution”. This is wishful thinking, replacing analysis of the concrete situation, especially now US imperialism has come to the fore, allied to Britain, France, Turkey and the petro-dollar dictators of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The armed groups in Syria are becoming the prelude for a war against anti-imperialist and democratic forces in the region. This war is being waged under sectarian, religious, and racist banners; sectarian against Shia Muslims, religious against Christians and racist against the Iranian people. A recent conference in Cairo, blessed by President Morsi, was attended by many leading Sunni clergy, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Salafi organisations from all over the world. It declared Jihad in Syria and called on all Muslims to join the fight there. Morsi promptly severed all relations with Syria, while keeping them with Israel.

The alliance between the US, some Arab rulers, Israel, Turkey and some Salafi terrorist organisations has become a broad front to defeat the democratic movements in the region, crush the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements and prepare for war against Iran. Syria is where all these contradictions are being played out. Syria as a state and a society is being destroyed, not because the US wants to get rid of a dictator but to bring about regime change to its and Israel’s liking.

The push to destabilise Syria has been going for many years. Former French foreign minister Ronald Dumas has revealed that British officials invited him about four years ago, two years before the current protests began, to join preparations for war on Syria.

Tony Blair and other advocates of the catastrophic Iraq war, which killed a million Iraqis and hundreds of British soldiers, want to follow the US into another war that will be even more catastrophic for the entire Middle East. In the interests of secular and democratic development, this must not happen.

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