The Syrian Crisis
The Syrian crisis is deepening and becoming ever more serious by the day. The internal frictions in Syrian society manipulated by the imperialist powers intent upon foreign intervention have created a situation which poses a major threat to Syria, the region and the world. The arming of terrorist groups determined to undermine the state by those same powers which are calling for sanctions against the government has brought civil war to Syria. While condemning any use of disproportionate force by the state, the state has a duty to protect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, provide security for its citizens and preserve the secular nature of the state. It is also essential that the armed forces are in a position to confront any attack by armed terrorist groups against civilians, law-enforcement members, the armed forces and private and public facilities. In a situation reminiscent of Yugoslavia and the conflict of Kosovo-Metohija the US and the other imperialist powers demand that the Syrian armed forces stop fighting while the forces of the so-called Free Syrian Army and others are given the green light to launch acts of sabotage, subversion, terrorism and murderous sectarian attacks.
Syria, which for many decades had been the object of external annexation, built itself into a stable regional power constructing a non-sectarian Syrian identity and building a state capable of challenging Israeli and US aggression. The Syrian economy had also made progress in terms of economic growth, agricultural development and the establishment of new industries. Syria is a society comprising many minorities and the state also managed to create a secular society and to prevent the growth of sectarianism, particularly preventing the growth of dangerous sectarianism and religious fundamentalism.
However, in the recent decade significant changes took place. First, after September 11, 2001 the Syrian government began co-operating with the US. Syrian intelligence agencies co-operated with the United States and FBI agents arrived in Syria to conduct investigations. It was also alleged that Syria became a favourite rendition centre of the CIA where suspects were brought for interrogation by Syrian interrogators. Secondly, Syria adopted a national strategy which involved moving from a centrally planned economy to a “social market” economy. This retrograde measure meant cuts in subsidies and increased social and economic pressure on the workers and the poor. Agriculture was “liberalised” and the steady introduction of neo-liberal measures since 2005 increased that pressure. Syria also experienced a huge increase in income inequality in the past decade. Recently the public sector share of GNP has consistently fallen proportional to the private sector.
The situation has been exacerbated by US economic sanctions which were renewed by Obama in 2010. In those circumstances it is entirely understandable that Syrian workers and the poor would demand changes to their material conditions. This turn towards market capitalism is a situation which has been exploited by imperialism.
The Workers’ Party expressed its solidarity to the genuine, peaceful, social protests and just demands for economic, social, political and democratic changes in Syria but unequivocally rejects foreign political or military intervention in Syria, which is being currently planned by the USA, the EU, Israel and NATO in active collaboration with Turkey and a number of reactionary, anti-democratic monarchies in the Gulf region. The world need only look to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to understand the reality of imperialism and the myth of so-called humanitarian intervention. The Syrian people alone have the right to decide the future of Syria.
The demands for political, social and economic reforms in Syria by the popular movement and the working class must be addressed and dialogue towards a genuine political settlement facilitated in which a general peaceful settlement that isolates armed groups and respects the right of the peaceful patriotic opposition engaged in legal political work can be achieved. However, it is important never to permit imperialism to obtain succour from these circumstances. An occupied Syria, controlled by fundamentalist elements, would spell disaster for the political, social and economic interests of the working people of Syria and vastly worsen their condition.
However, imperialist forces, liberals and ultra-left groups have united in a global media offensive against Syria. This has nothing to do with the rights of the Syrian people. This campaign is designed to conceal the nature and programme of a coalition of ultra-reactionary and obscurantist religious forces; anti-democratic, tyrannical and despotic states in the region; Israel and the imperialist powers and to prepare the way for intervention and occupation with a view to destabilising and neutralising Syria and its strategic importance in the region, altering the balance of power in the area and creating a region of weak but compliant, loyal client states. This would serve the aggressive and expansionist designs of Israel which continues to occupy the Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms in Lebanon, and guarantee unlimited access by the monopolies to the valuable natural resources of those states.
The broad progressive line traditionally adopted by Syria together with its support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people has long been a thorn in the side of Zionism and imperialism. The destruction of Syria would have a devastating impact on the lives of the Syrian people and the entire region. The examples of the continuing misery, destruction and terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq – and now Libya – are portents of what lies in store for Syria. Already, the killing and injury of civilians, the massacre and beheading of those believed to be loyal to the government, the displacement of thousands from their towns and villages, often on the basis of their religion, by sectarian terrorist groups financed from outside the country.
The US threats of military action against Iran, the Turkish provocations against Syria, the increased military aid by the Obama administration to Israel (a power which already possesses nuclear weapons and has a long history of military aggression against its neighbours), the escalating external pressure on Syria and the growing attacks by criminal terrorist elements demonstrates the dangerous role of the imperialist powers and the attempt by the monopolies and multi-national corporations to seize control of the energy resources of the region. Syria has considerable oil and natural gas reserves.
The Workers’ Party expresses its solidarity with Syrian workers, small farmers, youth, women, the labour movement and the communist and progressive forces in Syria and the peoples of the region.
The Workers’ Party demands:
· Full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria
· An immediate end to all overt and covert financial and military assistance to the so-called Free Syrian Army and other armed terrorist groups
· No intervention by imperialism against Syria and Iran
· An end to sanctions against Syria and Iran
· The Irish government refuse to assist in any war against Syria or Iran
· The Irish government refuse to permit any over-flight of its territory or any use of its facilities to assist any attack against Syria or Iran
· The right of the Syrian people alone to decide the future of Syria free from external interference
International Affairs Committee
Central Executive Committee
The Workers' Party of Ireland