Nothing Good Can Come of Israeli Attacks or U.S. Intervention in Syria

May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


In early May, Israel launched bomb attacks against Syria. This was Israel's second attack on Syria in six months. Accurate details of the targets and impact are difficult to ascertain, but whatever the intended targets, the attacks spread terror in an already devastated country. One resident described the attack: "The sky was red all night," and, "We didn't sleep a single second. The explosions started after midnight and continued through the night."

Israel, Barack Obama, and the entire U.S. ruling class media machinery justified Israel's attack as "self-defense." And the attack prompted an orchestrated "debate"—defined by the same ruling class forces and their media—over whether it was in "U.S. interests" to intervene more forcefully than the U.S. has so far in the conflict in Syria for "humanitarian" reasons, or to stop Syria from using chemical weapons.

First, let's be clear that these attacks were nothing but blatant aggression for reactionary aims—the latest in the decades-long history of Israeli crimes in the Middle East and beyond, backed by and in the service of the U.S. and other imperialists. The attacks must be condemned and opposed by people of conscience everywhere.

The basic thing people need to understand about this is: There is nothing good about Israel's attack on Syria, and nothing good that is being done or could be done by the U.S. or Israel through escalated intervention in the war in Syria.

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Syrian refugees living under harsh conditions in Lebanon.
Photo: AP

The U.S. is already "intervening" in Syria—supplying paramilitary material, intelligence, and training and working to define the politics of the armed opposition forces. Its close allies—especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey—are supplying weapons to these forces.

The result has been a horror.

Any escalation in U.S. involvement will escalate the horror, and be entirely in service of imposing U.S. domination over a region to which imperialism has brought vicious exploitation and oppression for decades.

The Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria is itself a creature of and dependent on imperialism. Today Syria is mainly aligned with emerging rivals to U.S. imperialism like Russia, and with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Two years ago, in the context of uprisings throughout the Arab world, a range of forces in Syria took to the streets in protest against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The regime responded to the protests and uprisings with a mix of political overtures to opposition forces and violent repression. The situation was seized on by the U.S. imperialists and their allies to move to replace Assad with a regime aligned and compliant with their interests in the region, and in particular in opposition to Iranian influence.

According to human rights agencies, both sides in the conflict—including the forces the U.S. is seeking to cohere and shape into a new regime—have carried out kidnapping, torture, and summary assassinations of their opponents and civilians. Tens of thousands in Syria have died, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced, with many living in desperate conditions in refugee camps or worse.

The U.S.-sponsored opposition has accused the Syrian regime of using chemical weapons, and on April 30 Obama publicly claimed that the U.S. has evidence of this. He and others in the U.S. ruling class have floated this as a possible pretext for escalated U.S. military intervention in Syria. Evidence of this is difficult to refute or verify. Israel alleges that photographs of dead bodies in Syria prove that the victims died from chemical weapons used by the Syrian regime. The UN body that examined this material determined that there is not a scientific basis to say these were victims of chemical attacks, and the photos did not meet the standard of proof needed for a UN investigation. (On the other hand, there is more definitive documentation that U.S.-backed opposition forces have used the deadly nerve agent Sarin. Carla Del Ponte, commissioner of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, told an Italian-Swiss TV station that the conclusion was reached based on interviews with doctors and Syrian victims now in neighboring countries. [CNN May 6, 2013])

Israel—and Obama—claim that Israel's brazen attack on Syria was "self defense," on Israel's part. But any state built on ethnic cleansing and whose role is to carry out the most heinous crimes around the world in service of empire—from Guatemala to South Africa, and especially in the Middle East—cannot invoke "self-defense" to justify attacks on anyone—including bombing Syria. And one great crime (the Holocaust) cannot be invoked to justify other great crimes.

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There is an understandable impulse on the part of good-hearted people in the U.S. and beyond, even those who know that "in general" U.S. imperialism does not bring good things to the world, to look for some force in the so-called "international community" to intervene to stop the death and destruction in Syria.

But look at the results so far of U.S. "humanitarian" aid: mass death, the use of poison gas, dislocation, and suffering. All with the utterly illegitimate aim of restructuring an oppressive state to serve the needs of the U.S. empire—as was done in Libya.

The last thing the people of the world need is more of such "aid."

Does this mean that all the people in the U.S. can do is look on with horror at the suffering in Syria? No. The most powerful, positive thing people in this country can do is to visibly and actively stage political opposition to all of the crimes of the U.S. and Israel in the region. And this includes taking a strong stand against the latest outrage, the Israeli bomb attacks in Syria in early May.

A positive factor are campus protests, boycotts of Israel (world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking recently refused to travel to Israel for a conference), and other political activities that expose Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people. The more such political action is taken, the more there is potential for people around the world to become aware of and aroused to oppose Israel's crimes against the Palestinians on a progressive, radical and revolutionary basis.

And the more resistance to the U.S. and Israel is informed by the orientation of opposing both reactionary Islamic Jihad and U.S. imperialism—and let's be clear that it's the U.S. that has been responsible for the lion's share of death in the Middle East—the more there is an inspiration and basis for people around the world, including in Syria, to be part of bringing forward another way, beyond the reactionary "alternatives" fighting it out on the ground in Syria today.


See also:


A Statement By Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
February 11, 2011

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