Imperialists — hands off Syria!

31 July 2011 — Workers World

U.S. and French imperialism have flagrantly intervened in the Syrian crisis and made it obvious that they will act to overthrow and replace President Bashir Assad. This is an open threat to the people of Syria. It is a clear signal that progressive forces in the U.S. must give priority to combating this imperialist intervention no matter how they evaluate the Assad government.

Nothing could be more harmful to the people of Syria than the intervention of the U.S., France and other imperialist powers or NATO-member Turkey. Anywhere in the world imperialism steps in it brings death, suffering, political reaction and increased oppression of the peoples involved.

That is the lesson of Iraq. It is the lesson of Afghanistan. It is the lesson of the ongoing and completely illegitimate NATO war on Libya. It was also the lesson earlier of Korea and Vietnam, and of Central America in the 1980s.

Nine years of occupation of Iraq have killed more than a million Iraqis, injured hundreds of thousands and displaced more than 4 million externally and internally. It has destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure and torn Iraqi society apart. It has left the residues of the war machine, from phosphorus to depleted uranium, to poison Iraqis for generations, just as it left Agent Orange in Vietnam. It has left 6 million illiterate in a country that in the 1970s led the region in literacy.

Ten years of U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan has brought the systematic slaughter of Afghan civilians. The puppet government barely rules Kabul and relies on the most reactionary warlords — both Afghan and NATO — in its pretense of administering Afghan society.

The imperialists and their media sold these wars as bringing ‘freedom’ from Saddam Hussein in Iraq and from the Taliban in Afghanistan, but no one has gained in freedom, and only the most corrupt elements have grown richer.

Meanwhile the imperialist banks and corporations have gained a foothold in both countries like they never were able to obtain before these costly wars.

Back in Syria, on July 8 the ambassadors of the two imperialist countries — the military superpower and the former colonial power in Syria — went to the city of Hama about 140 miles north of Damascus to take part in a protest against the Assad government. Hama was the center of the Muslim Brotherhood that was the major opponent of the earlier government of Hafez al-Assad, father of the current president. This is flagrant imperialist interference in —Syrian affairs.

Adding to this arrogance are the statements of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama that the Assad government has lost ‘legitimacy.’ Only the Syrian people can decide this. The criminal regime in Washington has no moral weight — its only and unfortunately still enormous weight rests on the destructive power of the Pentagon and the dollar. Whomever Washington speaks against, gains credibility.

Only the people of Syria have the right to determine who commands the Syrian state. The role of progressive people and organizations in the imperialist countries is to work and fight to keep the U.S., France, the European Union and NATO member Turkey from butting into Syrian affairs.

Imperialists, hands off Syria!
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