Written by Daniel Sugasti
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:19
In 2010, the outbreak of the revolutionary process in Maghreb and the Middle East imposed a programmatic and political test on all the political organisations that claim to be “socialist” or at least “left”.
The immense mobilisations of the peoples of that region to defeat the terrible dictatorships that have been oppressing the region for decades posed a crossroads of iron for the left in general: either we take sides with the oppressed people or we support the pro-imperialist dictatorships.
This dilemma was presented even more ruthlessly in the cases of Libya and Syria, countries where the vicious repression against popular mobilisations carried out by Gadhafi and al-Assad administrations respectively caused a legitimate and generalised arming of the masses and transformed the character of the class struggle to a civil war.
That was how the different political positions demanded a consistent military counterpart. Within this framework, as it is well known, the political Castro-Chavist organisations, enrolled within the broad “Bolivarian” span, the same as Stalinism in its different variants took up their positions in favour of the military victory of the Libyan and Syrian dictatorships and consistently with this and with twin fervour for the defeat of the peoples who had taken up arms to challenge them.
The schema that the Castro-Chavists use to explain the current political process in Syria is the same as the one used to argue in Libya : 1) There is no such thing as a popular revolution underway; 2) What really does exist is imperialist invasion trying to topple an “anti-imperialist leader” (al-Assad) and a purpose for which they use mercenary bands or “terrorists” paid directly by the CIA and the petromonarchies of Saudi Arabia or Qatar;3) Considering the above, it is the duty of the left to rally around al-Assad, “against imperialism”.
Armed with this tall tale, Castro-Chavist trends argue against all those who have the nerve to defend the Libyan and Syrian revolutions – among them the IWL-FI – and they argue that to uphold the struggle of the Syrian rebels against al-Assad means to “play the imperialist game”. And yet reality has proved the contrary to be true.
Is the imperialist intervention meant to topple al-Assad?
The current American air raid against the positions of the Islamic State (IS) on the Syrian territory, with the explicit agreement of al-Assad and from the practical point of view with Iran’s and Russia’s support restates this controversy more clearly.
What did the Syrian dictator do when the imperialist bombardments began? Did he expose them as an unacceptable aggression on Syrian sovereignty? Did he organise any kind of resistance?
Nothing nearly like that – contrary to what would be expected from an “anti-imperialist” champion according to the description we get from Castro-Chavism. He greeted every international effort to tackle terrorism as long as it is “co-ordinated” with Syrian government: “Syria is ready to cooperate and coordinate all efforts, whether regional or international, to combat terrorism“. 
Shortly after the beginning of the bombardments of the “international coalition” led by the USA, the Syrian Foreign Minister himself, Walid Muallem, admitted that this “coordination” existed and emphasised that the Syrian regime “was informed that the US and some of its allies will target the terrorist organization of the ISIS in Syria hours before launching the airstrikes” and they supported the measure; “they, [the USA] said the attacks would last for three years […] Anyway, if their aim is to strike against ISIS, it’s OK.” 
In this vein, the Syrian diplomat urged: “It is time to join our efforts against terrorism because the imminent danger engulfs not only our country, but also the whole world.” 
A Syrian newspaper reported another Syrian diplomat confessing. “The USA military are now fighting in the same trenches as the generals of Syrian army; this is a war against terrorism inside Syria.” 
The need to struggle against the IS is undeniable. It is a bourgeois organisation with a theocratic ultra-reactionary programme, which in its advance to conquer territories devastates oil cities and towns in which they impose a dictatorial regime based on physical extermination of the mass movement (beheading, crucifying, practicing genital mutilation and sexual enslavement of women). There is no doubt that the IS defeat is a necessity for the continuity of the revolutionary process in the Middle East.
But this does not mean that in the name of the need to defeat them the left is bound to support the “war against terrorism” or let it go, which is materialised by the armed intervention of genocides a thousand times more terrible: the imperialism. And this is what Castro-Chavism is doing in order to keep the Syrian dictator in power.
In order to conceal this reality, the Castro-Chavist propaganda asserts that the offensive against the IS positions is actually a simple “distraction” to hide the true purpose of overthrowing Assad. This is not true.
Because the showdown against IS is real. It is simplistic to say that “the CIA” spawned the IS in a macabre laboratory only to be able to “justify” the imperialism’s attacks on Syria.
Imperialism is trying to “stabilise” the Middle East and, within this framework, the bourgeois sectors grouped in the IS have reached limits that Washington can no longer tolerate. Their intention to create a “caliphate” exploiting the oil of a part of the territories of Iraq and Syria would boost other fundamentalist factions without control by imperialism.
However, it is evident that once the problem is posed, imperialism will seek to take as much advantage as possible to “make lemonade out of the lemons”.
Secondly, reality proves that, as far as imperialism is concerned, the Syrian government is increasingly useful for the complicated task of stabilising the region. That means that “toppling” al-Assad is not the target at the military level. The contrary is true. It is President Obama who is to be found “in the same trenches” as the Syrian satrap.
It has been a long time now that the Syrian regime has been doing its best to appear as “indispensable” or at least “reliable” for imperialism when it is all about “fighting terrorism”, specifically the IS.
The vicious offensive of the Caliphate hordes that have been, ever since June controlling a third of Iraq and Syria, prepared the ground for the Syrian regime to intensify its policy of being internationally rehabilitated and so be regarded by imperialist powers as an “ally” against the military headway of the IS.
And this policy has been orchestrated together with their main allies: Russia and Iran.
The Cuban newspaper, Granma, acknowledges the fact in a news article, Russian Foreign Minister called for the inclusion of Syria in the struggle against IS, in which Sergei Lavrov is quoted urging the USA to establish an “interaction with the Syrian authorities”. 
On the other hand, at the plenum of the recent General Assembly of the UN, Hassan Roubani (Iran prime minister), insisted on the need of a broad union against “terrorism”: “Extremists of the world met and launched the call, ‘Extremists of the world unite’. But, are we united against extremists?” 
In Latin America, the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, followedalong the same line of al-Assad/Russia/Iran and stressed to the UN, “It is necessary to summon the sovereign governments of Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and to establish a political strategy” and simultaneously he called to “build a peace alliance against terrorism.”.
Within this same lifeline, even the Bolivarian press itself joined this crusade to recover – Assad’s “reliability”. “The Government of President Bashar al-Assad has expressed their decision to cooperate in any international effort against terrorism on the basis of respect for sovereignty and international law, a position shared by many nations, including Russia and Iran “.
To sum it up: in order to favour the permanence of the Syrian dictator in power and using euphemisms like “cooperate with any international effort against terrorism” the Bolivarian left agree with the imperialist bomb raids currently underway in Syria.
Something to “save face”
Despite knowing events are indisputable, there is an effort to conceal this disgraceful collaboration with imperialist aggression on Syrian sovereignty bya ‘smokescreen’ consisting of a series of “criticisms”.
That is why, in order to confuse social activists, Castro-Chavism keeps on unleashing their seemingly inexhaustible repertoire of crazy conspiracy theories.
In the Bolivarian press, we can often find the statement that the creation of the Islamic “Caliphate” is actually part of a plan spawned and meticulously carried out by imperialism – a kind of “organized chaos” – intended to defeat al-Assad and weaken Iran.
If this were so, why would then these governments support or tolerate American bombardments? Is it because they are about to commit suicide?
The “alterative” media like Granma or Telesur should try harder to “warn” their gallant but somehow naïve “anti-imperialist” leaders against this imperial machination hovering over their heads!
Furthermore, al-Assad and their “progressive” relays in Latin America say that with their attacks, the U.S. would be proving the Syrian regime to be right, as long as it has been fighting the “terrorists” for a long time.
Here this manipulation, by no means novel, stands for shoving all the Syrian rebel militias (Free Syrian Army [FSA], Islamic Front , the Revolutionary Front of Syria , local committees, etc.) together with the IS.
As from the very beginning of the revolution, the discursive tactics of the dictatorship consisted in identifying the entire anti-dictatorial forces with “fundamentalist terrorists” acting within the framework of “foreign conspiracy”. In 2013, when what is now known as the IS cropped up, this consisted of regarding all the rebels (Islamic or not) as the makers of the atrocities committed by the “jihadist” organization.
But this plot does not go beyond any minimally serious examination. It is impossible to even compare the Syrian anti-dictatorial rebels with the IS for the simple reason that they are in opposite trenches.
Ever since the al-Qaeda forces, out of whose bowels IS emerged, appeared in the scenery of the Syrian war  we have been warning that they are not part of the broad rebellious resistance, for they don’t fight the Damascus regime and simply limit themselves to attacking the insurgent Syrians. That is why we regard the IS not as part of the resistance against al-Assad (which is what Castro-Chavism say about them) but as the “Fifth column” of the dictatorship.
We must make it clear that when we say they are the “fifth column” we by no means wish to say that there are no contradictions, no rub or armed confrontations between the Syrian dictatorship and this organization. They are not the same thing. Consequently, their interests will at a determined moment collide. What we do say is that when the IS fight the Syrian rebels, they actually benefit al-Assad´s permanence in power.
Actually, in 2013, the IS began to “parasite” on the Syrian rebels, snatching away from them the cities they had liberated from the dictatorship. This situation compelled the Syrian revolutionaries who had been fighting an uneven battle against the Syrian regime to open a “second front” and fight the IS as well.
That is how, in January this year a series of violent confrontation broke out between the Islamic Front, the Army of the Mujahedeen (holy warriors) and the FSA on the one hand and the current IS and the forces of al-Qaeda and IS on the other. The armed clashes occurred in Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Raqqa, Idlib and Deir al Zurleaving only in the first month of combat a death toll of 1,700. 
The price of having to fight both the regime and the IS is extremely high for the anti-dictatorial rebels. Some of the rebel groups that fight the IS estimate that up to half of their forces have been diverted to the second front. 
It is within this framework that last May many groups of Islamic rebels, among them the Islamic Front, the Army of the Mujahedeen, the Army of the Levant and the Islamic Union of the Soldiers of the Levant declared the IS as “military target of the revolution”. 
In the light of these events it is not possible to assert that the Syrian rebels are “the same as” IS. It has no basis in reality.
So it is no coincidence that many rebel militias whom Castro-Chavism indiscriminately accuses of being “pro-imperialist” are against the imperialist attacks.
Such is the case, for example, of the Hazem movement, “The air raids are regarded as a violation of national sovereignty and an attack on Syrian revolution. We shall work only in accordance with the priorities of the revolution; not in accordance with the will of the international alliance.” 
At the same time they assert, “The only beneficiary of this foreign interference in Syria is the regime, particularly in the absence of a genuine strategy to overthrow it” .
Using social networks, diverse Syrian rebel group emphasize, “The al-Assad regime is our main problem”, “al-Assad must go”. “It was al-Assad who spawned the Islamic State.” 
The point is that after the bomb raids began, many Syrian rebel militias could see no concrete difference for the better in their situation at the front lines. A commander of the military brigade al-Shamal Thuwar, which is part of the FSA acting along an extensive Aleppo front, said, “We have not yet received high quality weapons or heavy artillery. We are struggling with a few small weapons and locally made mortars. “
What kind of CIA-financed mercenaries are these opposing bombardments of their “commanding officers”?
Illusions fade away
As far as we are concerned, we shall keep on flatly rejecting any imperialist intervention in Syria and Iraq regardless of its forms. We shall go on exposing that there is nothing humanitarian or progressive about it. Its real target is the colonisation of the region and for this purpose to build up the fundamental pillars of imperialist domination embodied in the genocide dictatorship of the Assad clan.
At the same time, as revolutionaries that we are we insist that the best way of defeating imperialism and putting an end to the atrocities of the Islamic “Caliphate” is to give political and material support to the heroic revolutions that continue their uneven course in Syria and the Middle East.
At present, that stands for fighting side by side with the heroic Kurdish people of Kobane, summoning for the greatest unity between the Syrian rebels of Arab origin and the Kurds altogether against the IS and against the al-Assad dictatorship while we expose the imperialist intervention in Syria and Iraq. Furthermore, we demand from all the governments to send heavy weapons and to open their frontiers – especially in the case of Turkey – for volunteers who may wish to join the Syrian and Kurdish rebels.
As far as other historic periods are concerned, the current frenetic pace at which global events happen enables us to expose the treacherous leaderships in less time.
The Castro-Chavist trend, perched on dictators of all kinds, despite maintaining their extensive influence, have no historic future. The way they attack workers in the capitalist countries ruled by them and their capitulation to imperialism – unavoidable due to their class character – is turning increasingly conspicuous for thousands of activists.Hopefully, for the sake of the international socialist revolution the action and the accelerated global experience of the popular masses will finally tear to pieces any kind of illusion regarding these parties as an alternative in favour of the interests of our peoples.
 The Islamic Front with more than 40 000 declared soldiers, is probably the main rebel force there. Even if they do have a religious programme, their central guideline is the defeat of the dictatorship and for this purpose they also collide with the IS and build alliance with secular rebels
Front of Revolutionaries in Syria, created in December 1013, firstly as an alliance of 14 groups inside the FSA, as a response to the conformation of the Islamic Front or religious orientation. In January 2014, however, they broke off with FSA. They fight against the dictatorship and the IS.
 Al Qaeda is present in Syria by means of the Front called Al Nusra of which the IS is a split away from what is now the IS which occurred in April 2013