Revolution and counter-revolution in Syria

Halaby, Marcus; Copley, Sam

Publisher:  Workers Power
Date Written:  11/08/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX18052

A large part of the Western left and radical media have written off the struggle against the totalitarian Assad regime in Syria as irretrievably lost. Effectively, for them, the counterrevolution has triumphed. And alongside them, there are also those who never supported the revolutionary uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the first place.



This journal has continued to defend those Syrian rebel forces that have continued to fight the regime, many of which are locally formed militia groups, or deserters from Assad’s armed forces. We have continued to support the local committees and rudimentary popular organs trying to organise food supplies and medical treatment under a series of starvation sieges, barrel bomb attacks, and takfiri Islamist terror, including from Islamic State (IS).

Certainly our support, which included the call for all progressive forces to raise funds for weapons and other war materials, does not include political support to the foreign-based representatives of the official Syrian opposition, or to those Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders on the ground who keep urging the USA to intervene. A US intervention, even a full-scale invasion, would not replace Assad’s regime with the democracy that the revolutionaries of 2011 fought and died for. One has only to look at Iraq to see the result of such invasions and occupations.

Without indulging in ridiculous conspiracy theories, however, one can say that the USA is indeed the ultimate parent of IS, as it once was of the warlords and Taliban in Afghanistan, and even of al-Qaeda. This does not mean that those forces are, or ever were simply US puppets. However, because their originators were spawned in the anti-Soviet, late Cold War period, the USA and its regional allies have at various times used them against what they considered to be more dangerous foes, rather as Israel once fostered Hamas against the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). All eventually became Frankenstein’s monsters, turning on their parents or masters.

No outside interventions from regional powers, whether from Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar, will bring liberation to the Syrian people. The Saudi assault on Yemen makes this clear. And the recently launched Turkish assault on the swathe of IS-controlled territory separating the Kurdish areas in the north is not intended to liberate the Kurds – indeed 90 per cent of the targets have been PKK-affiliated fighting units. The Turkish aim is to prevent the Kurds creating a contiguous territory, because that might encourage Kurds in Turkey to press harder for their own national rights.

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