Thursday, December 24, 2015

Syria: US regime change record, so far so bad.

Think about all the crap the Dixie Chicks took
Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

So the Wall Street Journal reports today that the Obama Administration was in communication with the Assad government for some time trying to get President Bashar Assad to step down and have a US stooge replace him.

My understanding of the complex reality that led to the crisis in Syria is limited but there are some obvious causes.   The Assad regime like Saddam Hussein’s former government in Iraq is a secular regime governing a multicultural nation of different religions, tribes and ethnic groups.  It has not been as friendly to western control as Jordan has for example or as close a friend to the US as the Saudis are. An influential leader of Syria’s Christians recently pleaded with Western powers to
stop arming and funding terrorist groups in Syria.   "State institutions need to be strengthened and stabilised. Instead, what we see is their forced dismemberment being fuelled from the outside,", he told a Vatican news source, adding that the majority of Syrian citizens support Assad's government and have always supported it.

Whether it is the case that most of the people support Assad’s government is up for grabs but there’s no doubt that as a multi-cultural nation with numerous minorities, Syria was one of the safer and more stable.  There is no doubt that Assad is a dictator, but the terrorists at the Pentagon have never let that stop them sending US taxpayer money and arms to dictators, all the Emirates and Bahrain are undemocratic ruthless regimes the US props up. Here’s just a couple of the mass murderers the US has armed, funded or installed:

The Congo: Mobutu, killed and estimated 2 million
Chile: Pinochet after the US overthrew and assassinated the Democratically elected Allende
Philippines: Ferdinand Marcos
The Shah of Iran after overthrowing the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh

Just a few of many, the list is a long one.

“Early on, the US looked for cracks in the regime it could exploit to encourage a military coup, but found few.”,
the WSJ informs us. Perhaps this was because there weren’t any at the time. Even dictators can draw loyalty. I am sure that millions of Iraqi’s long for the old Saddam days when they had electricity, water, could go to work without fear of being shot or blown to bits. 

When I traveled the length of Iraq in the early 70’s I stayed in Baghdad a while and people lived normal lives. As one Iraqi I spoke to later in London told me, life was fine as long as you weren’t involved in politics as an oppositionist. The same Iraqi pointed out that getting rid of a US installed dictator like Hussein was very difficult, the “Yanks have deep pockets.”.

The Obama Administration has “grappled to understand” the Assad dictatorship, a dictatorship, “run for 45 years by the Assad family”.. the Journal writes. Well, the US objection to Assad can’t have anything to do with that. The numerous absolute monarchies the US supports, have been run by the same families for years.  In addition, the US ruling class and the Saudi ruling family have been very active in supporting the growth of Islamic religious fundamentalism of the Wahabi variety which, by definition, strives to purify Islamic beliefs and rejects any innovation occurring after the 3rd century of Islam. This Islamic worldview is dominant in Saudi Arabia.  

So religious fundamentalism is not the issue either. After all, until 1999, every Taliban official was on the payroll of the US government. And don’t forget, the nationality of most of the 911 perpetrators were Saudi.

According to the report, Assad had tried many times to get the US to unite with the Syrian government to fight terrorism.  But “The White House’s policy in 2011 was to get to the point of a transition in Syria by finding cracks in the regime and offering incentives (bribes) for people to abandon Assad…….but regime cohesiveness held, and the crackdown continued” Yes, this could well be attributed to fear but not simply fear of retribution from the Assad regime, the fear of whoever the US selected as its replacement would be enough to warm even the opposition to Assad. 

The history of US involvement in the Middle East is one of violence and support for ruthless dictatorial regimes and the Zionist Apartheid state, a foreign policy that has cost millions of lives and a steep decline in US living standards as US workers and the middle class is forced to pay for it.  Part of the reason for the rise of ISIS is the failure of so-called western democracy. The fact is, in the former colonial world, capitalism is incapable of developing “healthy” democratic societies and economies.

In many ways, a proxy war is being fought in Syria between competing imperialist states for control of the world’s resources. In my opinion workers cannot support Assad either. But we certainly cannot support US imperialism. There is no way out it seems on the basis of capitalism and it is most likely what we are seeing is the norm in this era. The working class has been severely weakened with the direct help of US imperialism.  The working class in the US has not entered the stage in a serious way despite the rise of numerous groups confronting austerity, police abuse, racism and environmental destruction but only the international working class can solve the crisis of global capitalism. Since the slowing of China’s economy there has been a huge increase in protests and we may well see an explosion there in the near future.

And I am inclined to agree with Robert Fisk with regards to the so-called moderates or Syrian revolutionaries as some describe them. He wrote  of the moderate opposition in a recent article written at the time of the British entry in to the bombing Syria game:

“At one point last week, one of Cameron’s satraps was even referring to this phantom army as “ground troops”. I doubt if there are 700 active “moderate” foot soldiers in Syria – and I am being very generous, for the figure may be nearer 70 – let alone 70,000.” Robert Fisk, Belfast Telegraph

I think if there was such force, our religious friend above would not be so praising of the Assad regime. "President Assad urged us to do everything in our hands to prevent Christians from leaving Syria.” The patriarch tells the media,  “ I know you are suffering,' he said, 'but please don't leave this land, which has been your home for thousands of years, even before Islam came.' He said that Christians will also be needed when the time comes to rebuild this devastated country."

For him, and representatives of other Syrian minorities, Assad may well be the best bet given the alternatives.

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