With weapons pouring across borders into Syria to arm the opposition to Assad, the stage is being set for sectarian violence and invasion...
Anyone who has any connection with Syria would have known since November 2011 that the offensive to retake three neighbourhoods controlled by armed Jihadi groups in the city of Homs, in the province of Idlib and in Dara’a would begin in the New Year.
It is mischievous for those at the UN to argue that this offensive is the result of the failed UN Security Council resolution. Everyone has been making preparations for it. That is exactly why in Britain, for example, the Northern Region of the TUC, which has strong links with Palestinian refugee youth in camps in Syria, issued an appeal from its Regional Council in January for affiliated unions to raise funds to provide generators to Palestinian refugee camps in Syria.
Lebanese army on streets of Beirut as tension rises over intervention in Syria
Because of EU/US sanctions, there is a shortage of fuel to generate electricity, plunging the country into darkness for long periods of time, particularly in areas of conflict. There is also a shortage of petrol and diesel, food and medicines and the Syrian pound has collapsed making everything more expensive. So far, as a result of the Northern TUC’s appeal, one generator is providing electricity to the Palestinian refugee camp at Homs and another is being sought for the camp at Dara’a. Palestinian refugees in Syria broadly take the view that the conflict is an internal Syrian affair and as guests in the country, it is not for them to get involved, despite attempts by some Islamists to draw them in.
What they and we know is that weapons are pouring across the Lebanese, Turkish and Iraqi borders for the armed Islamist groups. We also learn interesting snippets from British journalists, like the photographer who crossed the Lebanese border at night in a truck full of rocket launchers on its way to Homs, or the story from Robert Fisk that the Islamists are slaughtering their Alawite neighbours in Homs, and that one of the armed groups in Homs is named the Al Farooq Brigade after the “adviser” to the prophet Mohammed.
We know that unsurprisingly al Qaeda has pronounced against the Syrian government and for the Islamists – bringing them into an unholy alliance, not for the first time, with the US and EU. After all, it was the US who created al Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and the Afghan government, and the US, Britain and France who armed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and put them in power in Libya.
We should not be surprised at such contradictions because capitalism will ally itself with anyone and will perform contradictory acts to try to extend its control over markets. Witness the UN General Assembly resolution calling on Syrian President Assad to go. This was sponsored by the US puppet military junta in Egypt to give cover for US/EU intervention in Syria despite the fact that every year the US ignores a more overwhelmingly supported General Assembly resolution calling on the US to end the blockade of Cuba. The US has no problem with backward, repressive Islamic regimes, whether it’s Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Qatar. They provide reliable allies and good markets for their weaponry
What is happening in Syria has implications for all neighbouring countries, which is why Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan are ignoring the Arab League’s call for sanctions, as are other Arab countries who have suffered from Islamic armed violence. But it’s also creating tension in neighbouring countries and there have already been outbreaks of violence between Sunnis and Shias in northern Lebanon, reflecting the sectarian nature of the conflict in Syria. The army is now on the streets of Beirut as a consequence. Syria also hosts over one million Iraqi refugees, themselves victims of sectarian violence in their home country.
But perhaps this is all part of the creeping war on Iran. Assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, crippling US/EU sanctions on Iran’s central bank and oil, and a bellicose Israel threatening to bomb Iran. We can expect more sabotage in the wake of elections to be held in Iran in April. One thing is clear. We must demand our government does not take us to war again, whether it’s against Syria or Iran. We stand for peace while the US/NATO/EU stand for war. ■