Syria: Imperialism prolongs a proxy war it cannot win
In the same week in April that Peter Clarke, former head of the Metropolitan Police’s counterterrorism unit, was appointed as witchfinder-general tasked with sniffing out and uprooting alleged “islamic radicalisation” in Birmingham’s schools, news broke that an eighteen year old Muslim student from Brighton, Abdullah Deghayes, had just got himself killed fighting against the government in Syria.
If Clarke really wants to understand what makes it possible for tragically deluded youngsters like Abdullah Deghayes to convince themselves that trying to subvert Syria is a cause worth dying for, he need look no further than the endless brainwashing by the BBC and all the other imperialist media. They have spent the past three years portraying President Assad as “a bloodthirsty tyrant hell-bent on killing his own people”, pretending that the proxy war engineered by the West to overthrow his progressive government is “a civil war against a sectarian regime”, and doing everything possible to sanitise the atrocious crimes committed against the Syrian people by the West-backed jihadis. When coverage of the Syrian crisis in the media amounts to a permanent recruitment advert for the Free Syrian Army, why wouldn’t some poor saps decide to sign up? After all, isn’t that how the British army recruits youth into signing up as imperialist tools in all its wars of oppression?
UNHRC lackeys roll over
Shamefully this endless tide of mendacious propaganda also washes up at the UN Human Rights Council. At its recent 25th session, it pushed through a resolution on the violation of human rights in Syria designed for the sole purpose of sanitising the actions of the “rebels”. The resolution was the handiwork of the usual suspects: the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Morocco and the Gulf states. China, Russia, Venezuela and Cuba voted against it, and despite all the imperialist arm twisting eleven other countries abstained, including South Africa.
In a statement the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the obvious bias of this resolution. “For instance, while enumerating the violations of human rights the resolution does not make any mention of violence on the part of rebels… mass executions, abductions of women and children, sexual violence, the use of children soldiers, mortar shelling of densely populated areas, as well as the terrorist acts committed by the groups making up the Syrian Free Army and closely linked to the Islamic Front,” noting in addition that the West is “trying to pass off as a moderate opposition” some of the groups that committed these atrocities”.
The statement went on to point out that, in light of the fact that an independent commission had found that each jihadist group ran their own jails and torture centres, a “one-sided appeal to the Syrian government to publish a full list of penitentiaries sounds rather strange”.
What really let the cat out of the bag, though, was the refusal by the UN body to include a condemnation of terror in Syria, ” despite the fact that the agreed counter-terrorism clause is in Resolution 2139 of the UN Security Council.”
Erdogan’s impotent outburst against Twitter in March, in reality a scalded reaction to being caught discussing running a false flag operation across the Syrian border, demonstrates Ankara’s continuing meddling. The latest example to come to light was the complicity of Turkish border guards in the terrorist seizure of the border town of Kessab, home amongst others to some 2,000 Christian Armenians. Refugees who fled the invasion told an Armenian MP how the armed groups launched the attack from Turkish soil: “In the early hours on Saturday [March 22] Turkish border guards disappeared and terrorists, representatives of different countries, attacked Kessab from there with the support of artillery.” Following the invasion, Ankara got itself in deeper, shooting down a Syrian Air Force jet in Syrian airspace over the Kessab crossing in an effort to hamper the pursuit of the terrorists.
In order to avoid falling captive to the terrorists and being killed or used as human shields by al-Nusra, most of the population fled under the protection of local self-defence forces, aided by the regular Syrian army. Around 850 refugee families have now found a safe haven in Latakia. The Armenian government has thanked Syria for affording the Armenians this protection and condemned Turkey’s complicity in the attack. With most of the population in a place of safety, the army is now in a better position to clear out the terror nest.
For US imperialism, now that it has opened up Pandora’s Box in the Ukraine and is getting ever more out of its depth, its aim in Syria appears to be less to see its proxies overthrow Syria’s government (an ever less credible prospect) than just to keep the pot boiling in the hope that “something might turn up”. In short, imperialism knows it cannot win, but it dare not admit to losing. This cynical “strategy” has the effect of prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people solely in the doomed hope that the West can save face.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the mixture of tragedy and farce which attends Washington’s efforts to breathe life into the corpse of the Free Syrian Army by opening up a new playground for terrorists on the Jordan border: the so-called “Southern Front”.
So toxic have become the other battlefronts of this proxy war, with rival jihadist outfits at each other’s throats and the supposedly “moderate” FSA regarded with derision by the rest of the pack, that in a last throw of the dice imperialism is gambling everything on opening a new front on the Jordanian border, the so-called “Southern Front”. A shiny new control centre in Amman, run as a joint CIA/Jordan/Saudi venture, is now tasked with co-ordinating all the different armed gangs, getting everybody slotted neatly onto rosters and allocating times to launch cross-border incursions. Wages are paid to outfits which can convince the control centre of their “moderate” nature, and all eligible groups are to be subsumed within an umbrella group, known simply as “Southern Front”.
But whilst all this may look great to armchair CIA warriors back in Langley, the practice is already panning out somewhat differently. Demoralisation is rampant within the control centre itself, the al-Nusra jihadis are said to be playing the same disruptive role in the south as ISIS is playing elsewhere, and the prospect of a motivated, unified proxy army capable of working to an agenda set by Washington is more fantastical than ever.
Writing in the New York Times, Ben Hubbard reports that “many rebels say they believe that the Obama administration is giving just enough to keep the rebel cause alive, but not enough to actually help it win, as part of a dark strategy aimed at prolonging the war.” A former Syrian fighter pilot who turned traitor and now works in the operations room moans that “The aid that comes in now is only enough to keep us alive, and it covers only the lowest level of needs. They call it aid, but I don’t consider it aid,” he said. “I consider it buying time and giving people the illusion that there is aid when really there is not.” Nor it seems is this gloomy assessment just an isolated whinge: “despite recent reports of an invigorated ‘southern front’ of rebel forces, recent interviews with more than two dozen rebel commanders, fighters and Jordanian and foreign officials painted a picture of a largely stagnant southern battlefield.” (“Warily, Jordan Assists Rebels in Syrian War”, Ben Hubbard, April 10)
And a report in the LA Times fears that opening this scrubbed-up new Southern Front, banked on as “a last chance to turn around the civil war that has begun to tilt heavily in favour of Assad,” could now prove “too little too late”, as “the type of intra-rebel clashes that have come to define the opposition in northern and eastern Syria has already begun to wreak havoc in the south.” ( LA Times: US shifts Syria strategy to ‘southern front’, 22 March, Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell)
Whilst there is every reason to doubt that meddling on the Jordan border will prove any more fruitful than meddling on the Lebanese or Turkish borders has hitherto, there is very good reason to believe that getting too visibly involved could badly destabilise the corrupt kingdom of Jordan itself, following in the footsteps of Turkey.
The same LA Times piece remarks that “Here in Jordan, many fear that a southern offensive may draw the country inexorably into the Syrian conflict, which has sent thousands of refugees across the border and sowed instability in the kingdom. ‘Increasing the flow of refugees and security blowback are the two things Jordan doesn’t want,’ affirmed Mouin Rabbani, Amman-based director of Crisis Management Initiative. ‘A southern push is most likely to achieve both of them.'”
May the Syrian President, army and people soon sweep this rubbish from their suffering country!
Victory to Assad!