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Proletarian issue 50 (October 2012)
Terrorist atrocities mount in Syria
Faced with the determined stance of the Syrian masses and their leadership, and the principled position of Iran, Russia and China, imperialism has dusted off its filthy manual of proxy war.
Last month, the CPGB-ML summarised the situation in Syria as follows:

Despite the money, arms and mercenary thugs being provided to Syrian terror groups, and even while under imminent threat of an all-out external air war, the progressive government in Damascus is still managing to deal very effectively with the Nato-organised insurgency on its soil.” (Leaflet: ‘No cooperation with war crimes in Syria! Join the axis of resistance’14 September 2012)

In this situation, the imperialist-backed terrorist opposition is resorting to ever more desperate tactics and brutal atrocities, but in the face of the steadfast resistance of the Syrian people, led by the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party and President Bashar al-Assad, and the country’s powerful defences, alongside the resolute opposition of Iran, Russia and China, imperialism at present does not dare to launch an all-out war of external intervention.

All these factors have contributed to the stance so far adopted by the veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, who has succeeded Kofi Annan as the United Nations envoy for Syria.

Contrary to the expectations of many, and doubtless an inordinate amount of imperialist pressure, on the day that two terrorist bombs hit government facilities in Damascus, and on the eve of his first visit there in his current capacity, Brahimi pointedly refused to join the reactionary chorus demanding the ouster of President Assad. He told Al Jazeera: “It is too early to speak about who should go and who should stay. Mr Assad is there and is the president of the present government.”

He also said he opposed any form of foreign military intervention in Syria, saying that when force becomes involved in diplomacy, “it means failure”. (Quoted in ‘Rebels bomb heavily guarded Damascus neighbourhood’ by David D Kirkpatrick and Rick Gladstone, New York Times, 2 September 2012)

Terrorist crimes becoming impossible to deny

For her part, Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned that the pro-imperialist rebels would not be immune from prosecution under international law for the atrocities they are committing. Going decidedly off message so far as the Nato imperialists and their local stooges are concerned, even allowing for her ‘even-handed’ rebukes to the Damascus government, the veteran South African anti-apartheid lawyer spoke out as videos from the city of Aleppo showed a mass execution of bound and blindfolded Syrian government soldiers, as well as the subsequent abuse of their bodies.

The New York Times reported: “One of the videos ... showed at least 20 corpses lying in a crooked row on a bloodstained street curb. The victims wore fatigues but no shoes. Several appeared to have been shot in the head.

In that video and another that captured the same scene, different rebel groups appear to take responsibility for the killings ... If confirmed, the executions were likely to add to growing concerns about the conduct of the militias fighting to topple the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and particularly their treatment of prisoners.

In a brutal episode in late July, a group of rebel fighters was seen in a video executing several captives – members of an Aleppo family accused of being enforcers for the government – with a spray of gunfire. In recent days, other videos have captured summary executions by the rebels.

Condemning the “undoubted climb in human rights violations” by the terrorists, Pillay warned: “Opposition forces should be under no illusion that they will be immune from prosecution.”

It is not as though the terrorists and their devoted supporters make any great attempt to disguise their bestial nature. If anything, they revel in it. A video posted online by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a tiny group of notorious MI6 assets, who despite being based in the UK are perennially cited in the media as a supposedly reliable source on the alleged misdeeds of the Syrian government, lauded the above-cited atrocity in these terms:

‘Assad’s dogs’, the man says, panning the camera across the scene of bodies contorted in anguish or slumped in a foetal position. ‘God is great.’” (‘UN warns Syrian rebels over atrocities’ by Kareem Fahim, New York Times, 11 September 2012)

Another report in the same newspaper described, albeit practically in passing, how the terrorists had attacked a hospital:

In the city of Homs ... fighters seeking Mr Assad’s ouster claimed that they had captured a national hospital. Rebels provided video showing a lengthy tunnel they had dug to plant explosives underneath a hospital, an explosion that sent an enormous cloud of smoke up over the city and crouching fighters moving toward the building as many shots rang out. Another activist described the same events independently.” (‘Syrian minister assails Egyptian and Turkish leaders’ by David D Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 4 September 2011)

And this house organ of the US bourgeoisie, whose grandiloquent motto has long been “all the news that’s fit to print”, gave even shorter shrift to the threats made to attack commercial aircraft and civilian airports, using the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that the terrorists have now acquired from their external patrons:

At the same time, the sightings have raised concerns about the spread of the weapons, which can also be used against commercial airliners.” (‘Syrian rebels say they have captured military post’ by Kareem Fahim, New York Times, 2 September 2012)

Needless to say, all these actual and threatened atrocities, such as the cold-blooded killing of prisoners, the blowing up of hospitals, and attacking civil aircraft, are expressly forbidden by the rules of war established in international law.

But they come straight out of the imperialist handbook of counter-insurgency and proxy war, designed to topple progressive governments, in particular as developed and refined in the imperialist wars waged against Nicaragua and Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Fighting for theocracy not democracy

It is also increasingly clear that the terrorists are not fighting for the greater democratisation of Syrian society, but rather to impose a reactionary sunni theocracy in the service of imperialism – something that would pose a mortal threat to the mosaic of ethnic and religious communities that collectively make up Syrian society and who have hitherto largely lived in harmony with one another.

In a 4 September report, David D Kirkpatrick noted:

If the fighters seeking to oust Mr Assad sometimes portray their battle as a struggle for democracy, the sunni muslim children of the Zaatari camp tell a much uglier story of sectarian revenge. Asked for their own views of the grown-up battle that drove them from their homes, child after child brought up their hatred of the Alawites and a thirst for revenge. Children as young as 10 or 11 vowed never to play with Syrian Alawite children or even pledged to kill them.

Parroting older relatives – some of whom openly egged them on – the youngsters offered a disturbing premonition of the road ahead for Syria.

Reporting the professed views of a 13-year-old girl, Kirkpatrick continued: “She hates the Alawites, she said, but not exclusively. She also hates Hassan Nasrallah – the leader of the Iranian-backed Lebanese shiite militia Hizbollah, which supports the Assad government – as well as China and Russia.” (‘Syrian children offer glimpse of a future of reprisals’, New York Times)

Inevitably, such reactionary communalism is largely fuelled from outside the country. Even the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, normally a pin-up organisation for imperialist ‘humanitarian intervention’, was forced to concede this recently:

In Paris, a French doctor who just returned from a two-week medical mission to a rebel-controlled hospital in the battleground of Aleppo said he was surprised by the number of militants from outside Syria who had joined the fight in the goal of establishing an Islamist government ...

The doctor, Jacques Bérès, 71, a surgeon who is known for missions to war zones and who is a co-founder of the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview with Reuters that he had treated about 40 patients a day, and that 60 percent were rebel fighters, half of whom were from outside Syria.

‘It’s really something strange to see,’ he said, according to Reuters. ‘They are directly saying that they aren’t interested in Bashar al-Assad’s fall, but are thinking about how to take power afterward and set up an Islamic state with shariah law to become part of the world emirate’.” (‘Syria criticises France’s support of rebels’ by David D Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 10 September 2012)

Such ‘useful idiots’ are but the frontline stooges for imperialism’s war against the Syrian people.

Hands off Syria!

Victory to the Syrian masses led by the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party!

Victory to President Assad!


:: Defend Syria , ProletarianTV YouTube (October 2012)
:: No cooperation with war crimes in Syria. Join the axis of resistance , Leaflet (September 2012)
:: Syria stands defiant. US imperialism stands exposed , Lalkar (September 2012)
:: Syria - US imperialism sows the seeds for the next world war , Proletarian issue 49 (August 2012)

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