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Proletarian issue 53 (April 2013)
Editorial: Stop the War maintains deafening silence on Syria as the flames of war leap higher
Despite all the mayhem, death and destruction visited by imperialism’s puppets on the Syrian people, they have got nowhere in their nefarious task of overthrowing the Syrian administration, for the simple reason that President Assad’s government continues to enjoy the support of the majority of the Syrian people and to command the loyalty of the Syrian armed forces.

The realisation of this unwelcome truth is forcing the imperialists to switch from a covert and proxy war to open and direct warfare against the Syrian people. Most favoured among the available options is the creation of a Nato-backed, Turkey-led military coalition, given a semblance of respectability by an invitation from Nato’s stooges in the Arab League to enter Syria and overthrow its legitimate government.

This approach, according to the thinking prevalent in imperialist circles, would carry with it the best chance of neutralising Russian opposition to regime change. If such a war were to be successful, it would open the doors to a subsequent attack on anti-imperialist Iran, as well as to the anti-imperialist resistance in Lebanon, thus bolstering the waning power of US imperialism and of its chief regional client, Israel.

As part of this war preparation effort, and clearly under instruction from his US masters, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently called Turkish prime minister Erdogan and announced the restoration of normal diplomatic relations with Turkey, even going so far as to ‘apologise’ for the massacre of Turkish activists during the Israeli hijacking of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010.

Meanwhile, at the Arab League meeting in Qatar, Syria’s seat in the stooge organisation was handed over to Moaz al-Khatib, a ‘leader’ of the Syrian opposition ‘coalition’ cobbled together by imperialism, while Qatar likewise handed over the Syrian embassy in Doha to the puppet forces.

The rapprochement between Turkey and Israel, two pivotal middle-eastern Nato allies, and the securing of a semblance of legal legitimacy for Nato’s Syrian puppets are both essential prerequisites for a predatory war against Syria.

Meanwhile, in a bid to cut off vital supply lines to Syria, US secretary of state John Kerry made an unannounced visit to Iraq on 24 March, for the sole purpose of pressuring the Iraqi government into blocking flights from Iran to Syria. And Britain and France have been doing their bit for the hoped-for bloodbath by persuading the EU to supply armoured vehicles and other ‘non-lethal’ equipment to the terrorists.

And all the while, in the face of these furious preparations of our rulers for yet another major war in the Middle East, the so-called ‘anti-war movement’ in Britain is doing ... absolutely nothing.

Far from organising and mobilising public opposition to the war against Syria, the Stop the War Coalition has maintained a deadly and deafening silence. Not a single local or national event is currently planned to oppose (or even to pretend to oppose) the Syrian war in the coming months. No national demonstration. Not even a lobby of parliament. And certainly no mobilising of workers to refuse to cooperate; to sabotage and disrupt the preparations for this latest criminal war.

The close connection of StW’s present leadership to Labour – an imperialist party which has consistently put the interests of British corporations far higher than those of workers at home or abroad, and certainly far higher than quibbles over death counts and international law – means that StW is paralysed to do anything beyond what is permitted by the Labour party’s capitalist masters.

As a result of this subservience, the tiny clique of ‘left’-Labourites and their Counterfire/CPB flunkeys who have usurped the leadership of StW have effectively neutralised Britain’s ‘anti-war movement’, demoralising and demobilising thousands of sincere activists by repeating imperialist lies about the countries that are being targeted for attack, and channelling the energy of those that remain into non-threatening activities such as lobbying MPs and circulating petitions. In fact, our ‘anti-war’ leaders are doing the vital job of making sure there is no meaningful, organised domestic opposition to imperialist war – they have tied our movement to the war chariot of imperialism.

The exposure and removal of this clique – the Tony Benns, Jeremy Corbyns, Lindsey Germans and co – is the most important necessary precondition for building a genuinely anti-imperialist movement against war – a movement that extends real proletarian internationalist solidarity to the victims of the barbaric and predatory wars waged by our ‘own’ imperialist rulers. A mass movement of non-cooperation is needed if we are to be successful in stopping the imperialist war machine – and to prevent ourselves from being complicit in its terrible crimes.
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