Written by Aldo Cordeiro Sauda, Fabio Bosco, Márcio Palmares, Ronald León Núñez and Sebastião Nascimento
Saturday, 22 June 2013
The Syrian Revolution is in danger! The intervention of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah allowed the decadent regime of Bashar Al Assad to regain control in major cities and unleash a new wave of massacres against the population. The counterrevolution has consumed more than 100,000 lives. The Syrian people and the revolution need the support and active solidarity of the workers and youth around the world!
Activists and militants of trade unions and political, popular and students organizations around the world ought to express their solidarity and support for the revolutionary struggle of the Syrian people to topple the dictatorial and genocidal regime of Bashar Al Assad, and at the same time repudiate the intervention of U.S. and European imperialism, as well as the intervention of Russia, China, Iran, and Hezbollah.
Understanding the Syrian revolution and to be in solidarity with it is an essential part of the international struggle of the workers and all the oppressed and exploited against imperialist capitalism.
Discuss this article in your organization. Join the solidarity actions in your city!
1) Is there really a revolution going on in Syria?
Yes! There is a very powerful and profound revolution in Syria! It is part of the social and political process called “Arab Spring” by the press and “North Africa and Middle East revolutions” by us. The revolution in Syria is currently the highest and more critical point of this overall revolution that began in Tunisia and spread throughout North Africa to reach the Middle East. It is a wave of revolutions that clashes primarily against the political regime, that is, against dictatorships that have been ruling these countries for decades in accordance with the interests of imperialism. Then, upon waking up and putting in motion millions who have endured long years of poverty and oppression, these revolutions have become a global fight against the capitalist system. The recent explosion of popular uprisings in Turkey, for example, which started for seemingly “harmless” reasons and immediately became a radical challenge to the established order, demonstrates the nature, extent, and depth of this revolutionary process.
2) Many people say that there is no revolution in Syria, but a civil war between ethnic or religious groups, between Sunnis and Alawites, for example.
Imperialism and the regime of Bashar Al Assad use religion as a weapon to divide Syria and facilitate the work of the counterrevolution. They apply the old strategy of “divide and conquer”. But the Syrian Revolution, by its origin and nature, has nothing to do with conflicts between religious ideologies: it is about the political (and military) struggle against a dictatorial, policing, and terrorist regime. The propaganda reproduced by the international press about the “sectarian strife” aims to generate indifference and prevent revolution from receiving the solidarity it needs. But in fact, the different traditions or aspects of the Islamic religion have coexisted peacefully for decades in Syria and in many Arab countries. It is no coincidence that one of the main slogans of the revolution is: “The Syrian people are one!”
3) Is Syria being overrun by imperialism? In this case, shouldn’t we stand by Syria against the U.S. and Israel?
This is propaganda made by the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad and repeated in Brazil by the leadership of the Stalinists, Social Democrats and Castro-Chavista organizations, like in many other countries. They lie, saying that what is going on is a “war of national liberation” led by Assad in Syria, such as occurred in Iraq since 2003.
However, there is no national liberation war in Syria! There is rather a revolutionary civil war, where the masses took up arms to resist the crimes of the dictatorship, its terror, the methods of extermination, imprisonment and mass killings, the bombings and the use of armed forces against the population. In other words, what we see in Syria is an armed clash between revolution and counterrevolution.
To those who doubt this, just look at the way the regime treats the population. In any war of national liberation, the bourgeois state and its armed forces mobilize the population to fight alongside the regime against the invading army. Bashar Al Assad, in contrast, is massacring the population in order to defeat a revolution, this is, to defeat the Syrian people and the political and military forces that attack the dictatorship to destroy it, as the first act of the victorious revolution, and gain basic democratic and civil freedoms.
4) Is the Syrian regime anti-imperialist?
No! Assad is not, and never has been, anti-imperialist! According to documents revealed by WikiLeaks, the Syrian government has not only practiced arbitrary arrests, torture and systematic killings at the behest of the CIA, but also had, until very recently, extremely narrow relations with the U.S. Secret Service.
The Assad family has been a friend of the American imperialism since a long time ago! The father, Hafez al Assad, from whom Bashar “inherited” the throne of president, actively participated in the first invasion of Iraq, under the U.S. command in 1992. In 1976, when Syria occupied Lebanon in order to defeat the Palestinian national movement, which fought against Israel, Assad was backed by Washington and Tel Aviv. Not surprisingly, the United States are less concerned about the possibility of Assad using its chemical weapons than with the chance of them leaving their trusted hands.
For 40 years, the borders of Syria with Israel were the safest in the world: Assad never took a single shot against Israel! Assad drove his planes, missiles and chemical weapons against his own people, but against Israel he only makes speeches!
Further evidence of the pro-imperialist character of the Assad regime is that there is a Russian military base on national soil! Assad is not only a historical ally of the Americans, but also an agent of Russian capitalists!
5) There are Islamic fundamentalist militias funded by imperialism fighting the regime of Bashar Al Assad? And what is, after all, the Free Syrian Army (FSA)?
Imperialism acts against the revolution in different ways. There are fundamentalist Salafist militias fighting the regime, mainly financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, countries allied with the imperialist powers. It is a military force that has a reactionary program, which fights the regime with a sectarian, confessional-religious point of view as if the revolution was the confrontation between the Sunni majority against the Alawite minority, supposedly represented by Assad.
However, although receiving more resources and being better equipped than the popular and secular (non-religious) militias, which generally are called the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the supply of weapons to Islamic radicals is also limited to light weapons, insufficient to destroy the military regime.
In contrast, the FSA is rooted more among the population, which gives them the social and political support that the Salafist militias often lack to. The Free Syrian Army is a secular military front mostly formed by deserter troops from Syrian army, by civilians who lost everything in the war and joined the revolution, and also by all the sectors that drove the revolution to the way of large mobilizations, like the Local Coordination Committees, who were forced to defend themselves and therefore, often with arms in hands.
The leadership of the FSA, however, advocates a secular, democratic and bourgeois perspective – and being bourgeois, have a tendency of conciliation with the colonial powers. This is in contradiction with the population (and militias) feeling, who rose up against the tyrant and fight for democratic freedoms and social justice, and want nothing from imperialism.
The revolutionaries that fight against al-Assad must make tactical and punctual unity, i.e., form a military with all these trends and armed forces; obviously maintaining their absolute political and class independence and to show Syrian fighters the wavering and inconsistent character of these bourgeois leadership.
6) Should the revolutionaries participate in a revolution where imperialism is also acting?
Imperialism is involved in all aspects of political, economic and cultural development of any country. It should not seem strange to anyone that imperialism also intervenes in the course of a revolution to defeat it or divert it from their own ends.
Imperialism’s intervention makes it more urgent to support the revolution & to prevent it from deviating or defeating this fight and this just cause!
7) Is the U.S. trying to destabilize Syria and then invade Iran?
No. Despite the propaganda disseminated by supporters of the dictatorship, that’s a lie. The U.S. wants, instead, to stabilize the Arab world and defeat the revolutions that shake these countries. They want the return to normalcy, to the previous scenario, in which the masses resignedly endured poverty and oppression. All that the United States does not want is instability.
On the other hand, imperialism does not need to destabilize Syria to invade Iran. The reasons for the war against Iran (which already exists, although it has not taken the form of land invasions or airstrikes) for why it has not yet activated a war with all its forces are: economic and political crisis in the U.S., the fear of repeating the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. The U.S. already has a military enclave in the Middle East responsible for invading neighboring countries and to ensure their interests: the State of Israel. And finally: Israel wouldn’t need to go to war with Syria before attacking Iran. Just the contrary: for Israel, the more stability on its borders, the better!
8) Why is Hezbollah taking part in the Syrian revolution & standing with Assad?
Hezbollah is a bourgeois party based on its army. As such, by its class nature, ultimately, it is a counterrevolutionary organization, i.e., bourgeois & capitalist. It represents the political and economic interests of a powerful faction of the Lebanese bourgeoisie directly tied to Iranian capital. Hezbollah has intervened in the conflict because their supply of weapons and money come from Iran through Syria, and the fall of the regime could put it in a delicate situation within Lebanon.
On the other hand, the intervention of Hezbollah in this conflict is almost naturally in favor of the Assad dictatorship, because it cannot allow political and military forces with a broad social and popular base with democratic aspirations, such as FSA, to threaten its political hegemony based in the discourse of Arab resistance against imperialism. This too would weaken their political positions.
9) So, what is imperialism doing in Syria?
The policy of imperialism has only one strategic objective: to prevent the masses from overthrowing Assad, as this would be a new and categorical victory of the Arab revolution, which is absolutely undesirable both for the U.S., Israel and Europe, as well as for Russia, China and Iran.
The tragic role played by most of the “left” in the world, which stood next to the capitalist dictatorship of Assad against the masses, allows the U.S. government to appear to the eyes of the world with Obama’s “democratic” face, i.e., as a supposed “defender of democracy”.
Taking advantage of this comfortable political position, imperialism acts against the revolution in two ways:
(1) It performs diplomatic efforts aimed at a “negotiated solution” to the armed conflict, seeking to convince Assad to resign. The goal is to achieve a “transitional government”, with members of the opposition and members of the regime, but without Assad. This is the same policy adopted against the revolution in Egypt and Yemen: promoting the resignation of the chief representative of the government to replace him with other government and opposition members that may curb the mass movement and maintain the main features of the regime, the state and its armed forces (which means keeping the capitalist and imperialist order);
(2) Moreover, it supports Salafist militias in the military front of the revolution in case of its eventual victory, that is, if Assad is overthrown. From the point of view of the U.S. and the petrol monarchies of the Persian Gulf, these militias could play a huge counterrevolutionary role by serving the general interests of imperialism. In this case, the fundamentalist militias could form a containment barrier against the victorious mass movement, preventing them to go further in their demands, which could challenge the bourgeois power itself.
Imperialism, in short, though advocating Assad’s departure (not because the Syrian dictator is “anti-imperialist” as the Castro-Chavistas preach, but because he is unable to stabilize the country and defeat the revolution), is not an ally of the revolution. As it doesn’t have the political conditions to make a military intervention with its own troops, as well as does not want a victory of the revolutionary masses, it promotes a “negotiated” solution to calm down the situation and keep the regime in essence, even without Assad.
The UN and European Union prohibition on delivering weapons to the rebel forces is a categorical statement of the fear that imperialism has in arming a revolution that it does not control, denying the assertions of the Castro-Chavistas, who say that the rebels are mercenaries of the CIA.
Therefore, more than ever, it is urgent and necessary: (1) To say NO to any kind of negotiation to save the Baath regime, to save the dictatorship, (2) Say NO to any military intervention of imperialism, and (3) Require all capitalist governments of the world, including the U.S., Europe and the Arab League, to send heavy weapons (tanks, planes, anti-aircraft missiles, etc..), without imposing any condition, for the Free Syrian Army.
10) What should be the position of workers and youth around the world in this conflict?
All those who fight against capitalist exploitation and against all forms of oppression, & those who advocate for democracy, freedom of expression, and civil rights need to side with the Syrian people against the genocidal capitalist dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad.
To defend the Syrian Revolution means defending the struggle of the exploited of the entire world against the imperialist-capitalist system. Therefore, it means that we are against American and European imperialisms, and also against their regional Israeli agents; against the intervention of Russia and China, and also against their regional Iranians agents.
We need to unconditionally defend the revolution, despite its political leadership (the summits of the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition) being bourgeois, and as such, wavering and having conciliatory tendencies. As in every revolution, the strength of the revolutionary process lays with the masses, that is, the guerrilla’s grassroots, the thousands of armed workers and youth fighting the dictatorship with the support of the Syrian people. The victory or defeat of the revolution in Syria will have profound consequences for the struggles of exploited and oppressed peoples around the world. As one of the messages of the revolutionary Syrian city of Kafranbel says:
“This is not just an ‘Arab Spring’, it’s also a tsunami that will uproot all the dictatorship regimes all over the world!“
We echo the slogans of revolutionary Syrians:
Out with Assad!
Long live the Syrian Revolution!
No to imperialist intervention!
Long live international solidarity!