After the wars in Iraq went tits up and western capitalism lost its chums in the loony regimes of Egypt & Tunisia, we in the guild are suspicious of the motives of imperialist forces when hand-wringing about the tragedy of Syria.
There’s been proper, full-on, economic exploitation of Syria’s workers/peasants by its ruling class, a class, inevitably, especially recently, which is subservient to global capital. The Marxist analysis of the Syrian uprising is clear: it’s a seething resentment of economic suffering. The economic policies of the U.S. and European ruling classes, and their enforcement of IMF-dictated poverty and austerity in as many economies as they can is evident in the neo-liberal economic policies of Assad. Yet the US & UK think it’d be good to see the back of the Assad regime. Like in Libya, what the imperialists fancy for Syria is not jobs and justice but an opportunity to get more “boots on the ground” – we note with the full backing of chummy ‘client regimes’ in the Gulf Cooperation Council, i.e., Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Bahrain.
Russia and China fund and supply Assad, they’re vetoing at the UN, they don’t have any more interest in the rights and needs of the Syrian masses than Washington and its allies. We are suspicious that they too are manipulating the situation for power, influence, and, importantly, resources. The Russians have already accused the Qataris and British of having special forces in Syria aiding the rebels. Agitating for a pliant regime in Syria we guess is partially motivated by a desire to undermine Iran’s regional influence too.
If France and the like get “humanitarian corridors,” i.e. free passage of food and medicine via the neighbours, would this simply mean an easy route in for an imperialist army to pile in and start interfering? Or, would it be better for the US for both sides to wear themselves out in a bloody war? Or, because of Russian and Chinese opposition it doesn’t have its hands free for an armed intervention anyway?
Inevitably, much like Yugoslavia, news providers are finding it hard to denote the goodies and the baddies for us. Factions of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ have made contact with Hillary Clinton in Tunis, then there’s another FSA committee based in Turkey made up of ex-army officers; we wonder if either group represents (our admittedly romantic idea) of the revolutionaries, the people stuck on the ground in Homs. There’s certainly no central or unified leadership for the armed revolution.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s not as big a thing in Syria as other Arab nations. It should be kept in mind that claims of “Islamist” influence of Egypt’s revolution could hinder its progress, in Syria such claims (including allegations that al-Qaeda has a presence) could possibly be used to justify outside intervention. What’s so nuts of course is that Assad uses the al-Qaeda defence too – to justify his brutality. One of the original protest movements – the Local Coordinating Committees – sussed this and right from the start were keen to stress their non-sectarian character. Of course, the longer the conflict drags on, the greater the danger of real sectarian divisions appearing (which, as in Iraq, would suit the US nicely).
Incidentally, there’s a sort of Maoist, Trotskyist group who are part of the uprising, called the Syrian Revolutionary Left Tendency, whose declared purpose is to unite the workers: they’ve called for a general strike – the idea that this would be the moment to unify all the anti-Assad groups via ‘action committees’. Their statement of December 2011 states “the future of our people and of its country can only be decided on by the masses of our country”. Without a revolution that puts political and economic power firmly within the hands of Syria’s working people, building a genuinely pro-social justice society is impossible. One thing’s for sure it’s a bloody mess, and without a united, peaceful solution, the next twenty years will be a battle for resources.