Thursday, December 15, 2016

Syria, Aleppo and Proxy Wars

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

As I pointed out in a previous post, it is my view that there is no solution to the crisis in the Middle East or Syria on the basis of capitalism. With few reliable media sources reporting from the area including the recent siege of Aleppo and recapture of the eastern section of the city by the Syrian government, it is extremely difficult for those of us so far away to fathom exactly what is happening or who is responsible for which atrocity. What is certain is that the situation for the people of Syria and inhabitants of Aleppo and other devastated cities is a nightmare.

In a previous post, I shared a video and comments from Eva Bartlett, one of the few western journalists who has been present on the ground in Aleppo. Bartlett is an independent journalist who clearly supports the claim by the Syrian government that Islamic fundamentalist terrorists groups are the forces that the Assad government are fighting including in Aleppo. That at least some of them are would not be unusual as the US mass media has referred to similar groups as "rebels" many times in the past.

It is no secret that US imperialism has long sought to crush numerous regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, that are not its client states. The media frenzy against Iran for example is an example of the paranoia the US capitalist class has at the thought of losing its influence and business interests in the region. Recognizing this does not make one a supporter of the Mullahs but if we want to understand the root cause of the rise of the Mullah's we have to start with US and British imperialism that overthrew the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953 and that has a long history of interference in the politics of the region. It was the British and French that carved up the region in their interests 100 years ago.

The US is supporting the horrific Saudi assault in Yemen. The US supplies the planes, the bombs, including the one that landed on a funeral killing 140 people, and provides refueling aircraft to ensure the bombs get to or from their targets. Yet on BBC news America yesterday, the former ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein while affirming this, claimed that the US is not "supporting" the Saudis and is no way responsible for, or complicit in the deaths. In Bahrain as government forces attacked peaceful demonstrators demanding reform and democratic rights from an absolute monarchy and even imprisoned doctors that attended injured victims, the US did nothing despite having 15,000 troops on the island.

Cables released by Wikileaks revealed that in 2006, five years before the Syrian Arab Spring,  William Roebuck, the charge'd' Affairs at the US Embassy in Damascus was urging the US state department to support the Saudi's and Egyptians in destabilizing the Syrian government.

"Roebuck thus argued that the US should try to destabilize the Syrian government by coordinating more closely with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to fan sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia, including by the promotion of 'exaggerated' fears of Shia proselytizing of Sunnis and a concern about 'the spread of Iranian influence' in Syria in the form of mosque construction and business activity."
The Wikileaks Files  pp 298-299.

Tony Cartalucci reports in an article in Global Research in September 2013, "that in 2001 A classified plot is revealed to US Army General Wesley Clark that the US plans to attack and destroy the governments of 7 nations: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. Fora.TV: Wesley Clark at the Commonwealth Club of California, October 3, 2007."


"Paul Wolfowitz, then Undersecretary of Defense, tells US Army General Wesley Clark that the US has 5-10 years to “clean up those old Soviet client regimes, Syria, Iran, Iraq, before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.” Fora.TV: Wesley Clark at the Commonwealth Club of California, October 3, 2007."

The point is that there is ample evidence that the US supports terror groups that have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people over time. Not trusting western media outlets is not support for the Assad regime.

I have stated on this blog on more than one occasion, that there are times when the working class cannot support either side in the struggle between the major powers over markets and global resources. That is the situation in Syria where we are offered either Assad or US imperialism. But in these wars, at this point regional or proxy wars between the powers, there are other factors. The situation in Aleppo is one of them, the working class is being starved to death, brutalized.  I cannot with any certainty say the exact composition of the forces opposing the Syrian government. I can say with certainty that various groupings of Islamo-fascists are present. The US is also supporting fascist forces in the Ukraine.  A member of a socialist organization told me recently that we must "support the revolutionary forces in Syria." I asked him who the revolutionary forces were. I got no answer.

I also think that while not supporting Putin or the Mullah's we have to look at the situation from another angle. The US surrounds Iran with trillions of dollars of weaponry. it has bases encircling both Iran and Russia. it has troops along Russia's western border  and missiles in Poland supposedly to defend against and invasion from Iran that no one in the world with any brains believes except for a significant number of Americans. Russia also has some 40 million Muslims in the country or in the former Soviet states on its periphery.  This is less about Assad than the attempt by US imperialism to weaken its rivals for global supremacy. It is also destabilizing South East Asia with its provocative ventures in the South China Sea.  

So if the victory of the Syrian forces over the "rebels" as the US calls them, brings an end to the violence and savagery in Aleppo, I support it. For those that might accuse me of supporting Assad, I could accuse them equally of supporting the US and the CIA, or Islamic Fundamentalism as a "progressive" force in the region. If there are those that claim the forces opposing the government are revolutionary forces I will have to be convinced of that, in the meantime I support giving the Syrian working class a respite from the violence.

I received the video above through my twitter feed yesterday. It came in from the Middle East Eye, a UK based news agency that the BBC, CNN and other western outlets have used. It is owned I believe by the Guardian UK. It has a different take than Eva Bartlett.

Lastly, Eva Bartlett is in the San Francisco Bay Area and is speaking tonight in Oakland along with Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace. The event is at the Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street and starts at 7pm.  I suggest those that can attend it and draw whatever conclusions you will.

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