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Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists campaign for war against Syria
By Johannes Stern
26 March 2012
In recent weeks, Egypt’s misnamed Revolutionary Socialists (RS) have stepped up their campaign in support of imperialist war plans against Syria. Since the beginning of March, the RS have published a series of articles denouncing the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and criticising the imperialist powers for not launching a military intervention against Syria.
The RS are further attacking China for being complicit in killings in Syria. According to media reports, student members of the RS expelled a representative of the Chinese embassy from a seminar at the University in Alexandria on March 10. They attacked the Chinese representative for his country’s support for the Syrian regime, holding up banners reading: “Your country endorses the killing of our Syrian brothers”. A picture of the incident has since then been prominently placed on the RS’s website.
China along with Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution last month that was meant to prepare a Western-backed intervention against Syria.
The principal responsibility for the bloodshed in Syria lies with the US and its allies, however, and not with the Assad regime. By calling for foreign intervention in Syria, the RS are exposing themselves as tools of imperialism, willing to endorse the type of imperialist intervention that devastated Libya, causing 50,000 deaths and installing a far-right Islamist regime in Tripoli.
For nearly a year, the imperialist powers and their allies in Turkey and the Gulf monarchies have been preparing the ground for a military intervention in Syria. The US, France and the UK all declared their support for regime change in Damascus and have armed the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) through their proxies in the Gulf. Qatar is smuggling arms into Syria via the pro-US monarchy of Jordan.
In Syria itself, the Western-backed “rebel” groups—dominated by Sunni Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and including al-Qaeda-type forces—are conducting a guerrilla war, hoping to topple Assad and install a pro-US regime. A Human Rights Watch report recently accused the US-backed “rebels” of numerous abuses: kidnappings, torture, forced confessions, and summary executions of security personnel and civilians.
As in Libya, imperialism is relying on its pseudo-left allies to hide its crimes. Amid the deepest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s and facing a revolutionary upsurge of the international working class, petty-bourgeois groups such as Egypt’s RS, the American International Socialist Organisation (ISO) and the Pabloite New Anti-Capitalist Party in France have been drawn into the camp of counter-revolution.
Opposing social revolution at home, they openly support imperialist aggression abroad. In propaganda articles, they uncritically present Western-backed armed groups as “revolutionaries” and criticise the imperialist powers for being too hesitant to launch wars of aggression, while uncritically presenting unverified accounts of civilian casualties due to Syrian government intervention.
They recently published a piece by Yusef Khalil and the ISO’s Lee Sustar, titled “Will Syria’s regime crush the revolution?” The article was first published in English on the ISO’s web site on March 5 and a few days later in Arabic on the RS web site. This article falsifies the events in Syria, gets caught in its own contradictions, and ultimately critiques imperialism from the right, for not being aggressive enough in launching war with Syria.
The article begins by denouncing the Syrian army’s attack on the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs in early March, when it was held by US-backed “rebel” forces. It alleges that Syrian troops are carrying out “summary executions,” citing Al Jazeera reports and remaining completely silent on US backing for the armed groups that seized Baba Amr.
Based on Al Jazeera reports—which show that the Assad regime used heavy artillery against the heavily armed US-backed “rebels”—the ISO and RS make the inflammatory, unproven claim that the Syrian government is “demonstrating its willingness to detain and slaughter all men of fighting age.”
By Ben Shapiro
March 23, 2012
As the Associated Press reports today, the Obama administration told Congress yesterday that it would “wave democracy requirements to release up to $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt despite concerns that the country is backsliding on commitments it made to democratic governance and the rule of law.” And that’s not all. Thanks to Egypt not going to open war with Israel (even while funneling weapons to the Gaza Strip), they will be the beneficiaries of $200 million in additional taxpayer-funded foreign aid.
So much for the democratic Arab Spring.
This gives the lie to the notion that the Obama Administration ever cared about democracy in the region. They were willing to overthrow one dictator – an American ally, Hosni Mubarak – in favor of a second dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s because Obama believes, as Woodrow Wilson did, in one-time self-determination, meaning that if the Egyptians choose to live under tyranny, we must back their play. That didn’t work out well for the Soviet Union, to which Wilson gave his tacit sign-off; it won’t work out well for the Egyptians.
But that doesn’t bother Obama. He’s not just non-interventionist anymore with regard to Islamism – he’s funding it. A senior State Department official told the AP that the decision to continue with funding reflects “our overarching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy.” But there will be no transition to democracy so long as Obama continues to sign checks to dictators. And Obama knows it – that’s why he cut off U.S. support to Mubarak. Even Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) knows that:
I know Secretary Clinton wants the democratic transition in Egypt to succeed, but by waiving the conditions we send a contradictory message. The Egyptian military should be defending fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, not harassing and arresting those who are working for democracy.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Egypt has a dictatorship of a different stripe. It’s a stripe Obama apparently likes. And that should be frightening for America and her allies.
US to give “non-lethal” aid to Syrian opposition
By Niall Green
26 March 2012
US President Barack Obama pledged Sunday to deliver “non-lethal” supplies to Western-backed anti-government insurgents in Syria. The announcement came as Kofi Annan, due to head a United Nations mission to Damascus, was in Moscow for talks with the Russian government on the crisis in Syria.
Obama’s announcement was made following talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of the nuclear security conference taking place Monday and Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea. Turkey has played host to Syrian opposition forces, including the main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council (SNC), and its military wing, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The US president stated that he and Erdogan agreed that foreign assistance to these armed opposition groups would aid the transition to a “legitimate government.”
The SNC and the FSA have been promoted in the West as the official representatives of opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, the leaderships of these organizations have little popular backing inside Syria, where there are a large number of disparate and fractious armed groups, including Sunni Islamist fighters.
Backed by the Western powers and the Arab monarchies, especially Washington’s allies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, these opposition forces have failed to win broad support across Syria, especially in the capital, Damascus, and the main economic hub, Aleppo. Rather, the opposition militants resort to terrorist methods and sectarian violence has allowed Assad to present himself as the defender of stability and the rights of non-Sunni minority groups.
Following Obama’s announcement, White House spokesman Ben Rhodes indicated that “strategic communication” equipment would be provided by the US to opposition forces. “It is important to the opposition as they’re formulating their vision of an inclusive and democratic Syria to have the ability to communicate,” Rhodes told reporters traveling with Obama.
The clear purpose of this type of “non-lethal” materiel is to allow the Syrian opposition to more effectively coordinate its attacks on government forces and institutions. High-tech communications equipment will also enable insurgents operating inside Syria to receive orders from their headquarters in neighboring Turkey and Jordan.
In the event of an international military intervention against Syria, such communication devices will provide the link between fighters on the ground and the warplanes and missiles of foreign armed forces. This would allow a replay of the tactics used during the NATO-led war against Libya last year, when local fighters called in Western air strikes to incinerate the Gaddafi regime’s army.
Obama’s announcement largely undercuts the mission of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to Syria before it has started. Annan, who has already held talks with the Assad government on behalf of the UN, is due to leave for Syria this week with a team of international observers to study and report on the conflict.
This push for regime-change against Syria has been opposed by Russia and China, who view the US-led charge to refashion the energy-rich Middle East as a direct threat to their interests. Russia, in particular, has close economic and security ties to Syria, including billions of dollars in trade and arms deals. The Syrian port of Tartus is home to Russia’s only naval base in the Mediterranean, and Moscow has deployed several warships to the Syrian coast.
The Russian government had presented Annan’s mission as a diplomatic coup for its position. Speaking in Berlin last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that he was “very glad” that the Security Council had backed Annan’s assignment to Syria, adding that it was a sign that the Western powers and the Arab League had “abandoned ultimatums, abandoned threats and have abandoned attempts to address the problem by making unilateral demands.”
Russia has increased pressure on the Syrian regime to come to a compromise with elements of the opposition, with Lavrov telling the Russian parliament last week that Assad had been too slow to implement reforms. In addition, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov recently announced that talks would be held in Moscow with Syrian oppositionists, including the National Coordination Committee, the second largest opposition bloc in Syria.
The US and its allies viewed the mission by Kofi Annan as a means to get Russia and China to back a non-binding Security Council resolution calling for Assad’s forces to withdraw from centers of fighting while monitoring takes place, a measure that Washington hopes will provide breathing room for the divided and beleaguered opposition militants.
Reiteration from above:
“In Syria itself, the Western-backed “rebel” groups—dominated by Sunni Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood and including al-Qaeda-type forces—are conducting a guerrilla war, hoping to topple Assad and install a pro-US regime. A Human Rights Watch report recently accused the US-backed “rebels” of numerous abuses: kidnappings, torture, forced confessions, and summary executions of security personnel and civilians.”