Syria: Israel attacks

On 5 May Israeli fighter planes launched massive air strikes on targets near Syria’s capital Damascus. Accounts of the number of targets vary, but it was reported that at least 43 Syrian soldiers were killed at Jamraya Scientific Studies and Research Centre. This followed Israeli air strikes two days before, and came at the end of a week in which Israeli jets violated Lebanese airspace daily. Coming at a pivotal moment in the war for Syria, as government forces began to overturn gains of the ‘rebel’ militias, and in the midst of the orchestrated chemical weapons scare, the imperialists wanted decisive action. Competition for oil and gas and markets underline this recent escalation. The aim of the imperialist and Zionist agenda to destroy the ‘resistance-axis’ of Syria, Iran and Hezbollah has been openly revealed.

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Syria: the British ruling class steps up its offensive

The British state intends to reaffirm its influence in the central Middle East, as it did in the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement. This agreement was secretly negotiated between British and French diplomats who drew a line across the region, roughly along Syria’s south-eastern border. North of the line was to be the French sphere of influence, and south was Britain’s. Today, with the same contemptuous disregard for human life, these two imperialist powers are at the forefront of the struggle to dismember Syria, motivated by the same fight for resources and strategic dominance. Working to get around the EU arms embargo through legal and illegal means, arming opposition forces, which it has nurtured, the British state is stepping up its offensive against Syria.

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A dilemma for imperialism in Syria

US and European imperialism remain intent on removing the Ba’athist state in Syria. The military build-up on Syria’s borders increases with the deployment of US, German, and Dutch Patriot missiles. However, the imperialists face a problem: they have not been able to construct, and they cannot foresee, a reliable replacement for the Syrian government. The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which the imperialists and their Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) allies have funded, has turned into packs of looting gangs and the main fighting force for the opposition has become the fundamentalist militia, the Jahbat Al Nusra (JN), which is both unreliable and unpopular with the population in the areas it has occupied. Atrocities committed by the opposition forces are turning the people against them.

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Syria: British imperialism takes the centre stage

As the war in Syria continues, British Prime Minister David Cameron has made clear the central role British imperialism intends to play in managing the overthrow of the Syrian government, and in grooming the replacement. The stage has been set, with hundreds of British and US troops stationed on Syria’s borders, and a huge military build-up on the northern border with Turkey. Just hours after the election of the US president a marked escalation in the imperialist aggression towards Syria was evident. Following months of stalemate, with imperialist intervention limited to covert support, an opposition government was needed to be the public face of imperialist regime-change. Cue the Doha conference, a NATO-backed summit to forge artificial unity between opposition factions at all costs. Could the new National Coalition for Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition (NCRFSO) be the final vehicle for London, Washington and Paris to ride into Syria?

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Syria: covert intervention and the failure of the British left

Conflict in Syria has raged for 18 months. International and regional powers, whilst talking of ‘diplomatic solutions’ and ‘ceasefire’, continue to stoke an unpredictable fire which could engulf the entire Middle East. Competing warships manoeuvre in the eastern Mediterranean, signalling the scale of the interests involved. Different imperialist powers are sponsoring different interventions, while Russia and China continue to resist these attacks on Syrian sovereignty and their own strategic and economic interests. The scale of the human suffering increases and the capitalist media trumpet their fickle concern about massacres and refugees. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) claims that 234,368 people have fled Syria, fuelling calls for a ‘no-fly zone’. In this context, where does the British left stand? Where is the anti-war movement? Syria has seen the British left hopelessly divided. There is a need for an understanding of imperialism: the international threat it poses and how we are to challenge it. Toby Harbertson reports.

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Houla Massacre in Syria: The Lies of the Ruling Class Media – July 2012

This photo, used by the BBC in connection with the Houla massacre, was revealed by the photographer Marco Di Lauro, to actually depict the skeletons of Kurds killed in Al Musayyib, Iraq, in 2003. The BBC credited the picture as from 'activists'.

On 25 May the massacre of 108 people in Houla near Homs shot to the top of the news agenda around the world, closely followed by 55-78 reported deaths in Qubair on 8 June. Following the Houla massacre, The Independent's headline – 'Syria: The world looks the other way. Will you?' - demonstrates the conclusions which the capitalist media happily jumped to, calling for international action.

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Syria: UN peace plan set up to fail

On 10 May two huge car bombs exploded in Damascus outside a military intelligence building, killing 55 people and injuring 400 more. It was the deadliest attack in a string of bombings throughout Syria. Despite claims by the imperialist-backed opposition that these attacks are orchestrated by the government to discredit the resistance – repeated in the western media – it is becoming clear that Islamic forces are gaining influence. Heavily armed militias of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) now control territory, and have escalated attacks with improvised explosive devices. Despite a UN ceasefire and multi-party elections, the NATO-GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) alliance is stepping up pressure on Syria, arming the opposition, threatening intervention and tightening sanctions. Toby Habertson reports.

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Syria: a bloody stalemate

Escalating violence in western Syria has dominated the news, with daily reports of intense urban fighting. It is now a year since the insurgency began. The UN estimates that over 8,000 people have been killed, and 30,000 displaced. Intense diplomatic manoeuvring demonstrates the strategic importance of Syria for imperialism. Regional domination is the real prize for Britain, the US and France; they view Syria as key to subduing Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and even the Palestinian resistance. Toby Harbertson reports.

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Syria: imperialism orchestrates ‘civil war’

Syria: imperialism orchestrates ‘civil war’On 10 January 2012 Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave his third televised speech since the beginning of ten months of violence. He focused on the ‘unprecedented media attack’ in which ‘over 60 TV channels in the world are devoted to work against Syria’ and the mounting conflict around the borders, funded, armed and organised by foreign forces. Capitalist media condemned Assad as ‘paranoid’, attempting to shift the blame, but on this occasion he is closer to the facts than their reporting. Despite the Syrian Ba’athist government’s history of repression, of betraying the Palestinians and collaborating with the US rendition programme, imperialism views it as insufficiently compliant and has mobilised to destabilise and remove it.

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Syria: imperialists manoeuvre for influence

As the political crisis in Syria deepens the response of imperialist countries has been to repeat the political, economic and media campaign which presaged military intervention in Libya. Whilst in Syria the stakes of intervention are much higher, and the situation within the country is different, it is clear that the Syrian people’s struggles are being used by competing imperialist powers.

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Imperialists step up interference in Syria

The continuing protests against the Assad regime have now been going for six months despite the brutal response of the state. Human rights groups calculate that over 2,500 people have been killed in the ongoing protests; the state claims that armed terrorists have been involved and that around 500 police and security officers have been killed in the same period. There are clearly different strands to the opposition to Assad and Ba’ath Party rule. One is represented by the large protests that have taken place in many cities calling for political reforms, which have been mostly peaceful, but have been suppressed, at times brutally, by the army and security forces. Another strand is armed and associated with the Muslim Brotherhood; their actions in attacking police and security forces are the basis of Assad’s claims that armed gangs and terrorists backed by foreign interests are attempting to break up the Syrian state.

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Syria: brutal repression

On Friday 15 July over one million Syrians took to the streets across the country in continuing protests against the government of President Bashar Al Assad, the biggest protests being in the cities of Hama and Deir Ezzor. The government’s brutal response to these demonstrations left at least 19 people dead as the security forces used live rounds to disperse demonstrators. Human rights groups estimate that over 1,400 people have been killed since the protests began in mid-March. Although 25% of the population of Syria live in poverty, the main demands of the protests remain calls for democratic reform and an end to Ba’ath Party rule. The call for the removal of Bashar Al Assad, now more prevalent on demonstrations, is still not a unanimous opposition demand.

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