By Joyce Chediac
December 7, 2011
The U.S.-NATO forces, using the United Nations and the Arab League as a cover, are positioning themselves for a military intervention in Syria. At the same time, they have upped their economic war on the government led by Bashir al-Assad.
The scenario resembles what was done against the Libyan government before the U.S.-NATO bombardment began. This time, however, Turkey has joined the imperialist camp in applying economic pressure and letting its soil be used as a rear base for Assad opponents.
This intervention has nothing to do with any repression the Assad government has visited on any people in Syria. It is not meant to “save” the Syrian people any more than the massive bombardment of Libya was meant to “save” Libyans. The goal is to make Syria an imperialist puppet and to destroy the strategic alliance it has with Hezbollah, the national liberation movement in Lebanon, and with Iran. This would be a major blow not just to the people of Syria, but to the whole region.
Sanctions have been imposed on Syria by the U.S., the European Union, the Arab League countries and Turkey. In an unprecedented move, the Arab League has even suspended the membership of Syria — home of one of the greatest Arab civilizations.
In close coordination with the White House, NATO member Turkey has frozen Syria’s financial assets and cut off transactions with Syria’s Central Bank. Turkey was one of Syria’s biggest trading partners. On Dec. 1, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Turkey to impose sanctions against Iran, too. This week Britain also increased sanctions against Iran.
Sanctions are meant to destroy the Syrian economy and to isolate the Assad government from its business support and the population. Money transfers into and out of Syria are blocked, and Syrians cannot use their credit cards abroad.
How Syrian gov’t is being ‘set up’
Like Libya, the Syrian government is being accused of atrocities. The information these charges are based upon does not come from independent human rights organizations. As reported in the establishment Western media and Al-Jazeera, this information comes from the Syrian opposition.
One group quoted widely, the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, is part of the Syrian National Council, which seeks to overthrow the Assad government.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and Western European countries making the accusations against Syria are themselves guilty of decades of atrocities against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.
The U.S. and its allies were unable to get the U.N. Security Council to level sanctions against Syria as it did against Libya with Resolution 1973 last March. Russia and China vetoed this resolution, based on that experience. So the U.S. and the EU convened a so-called “independent” United Nations Human Rights Commission, which has since accused Assad of “crimes against humanity.”
Now the Western powers are talking about “a growing international consensus to take action.” (New York Times, Dec. 1) This “international consensus” is meant as a cover for a U.S.-NATO-Turkey military intervention to recolonize Syria.
Foreign intervention worsens crisis
Already foreign intervention is sharpening Syria’s crisis. Turkey has provided a rear base and an arms source on Turkish soil near the Syrian border for the military opposition to the Assad government. According to the Canadian investigative group, Global Research, this armed opposition is funded by the U.S., Turkey and other NATO allies. This has fueled the fighting so that on Nov. 30 the U.N. declared Syria in a “state of civil war.”
Meanwhile, the Arab League, portrayed as a mediator, has called only for the Assad government to stop fighting. It has made no such demand of the armed opposition.
The Arab League, despite its name, really works against the interests of the Arab people. It invited the U.S. and NATO to bomb Libya last March. The Arab League is dominated by Saudi Arabia and the tiny Persian Gulf emirates, which willingly increased their oil production so the Western powers could impose sanctions on oil producers like Libya, Iran and Syria without having to worry about oil shortfalls.
A U.S.-NATO-Turkey attack on Syria may be coming soon. The Cuban news agency, Granma, reported on Nov. 25 that a U.S. aircraft carrier was approaching the coast of Syria, that the U.S. embassy there ordered its citizens to leave immediately, and that France has proposed a formal NATO military intervention into Syria.
What’s at stake in Syria?
With Syria there is a great deal at stake for the workers and rural poor, not only in that country, but also throughout the Middle East. Syria is in a strategic anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist alliance with Iran, with Hezbollah in Lebanon and with Hamas in Gaza. This alliance is crucial in holding back Israel, which has no declared borders, from militarily attacking and taking over the whole area.