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Condemn US aggression against Syria!

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Nick G

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) unequivocally condemns the US imperialist bombing of Syria’s al-Shayrat airbase.

The unleashing of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles onto the airbase is Trump’s response to allegations that the Syrian government had gassed up to 80 of its own civilians at Idlib, currently held by Al Nusrah terrorists.

The aggression gives the lie to those, including Trump himself, who claimed he would be a less bellicose President than rival Hillary Clinton.

The reality is that as the world’s dominant, but declining, imperialism, the US must continually seek total world control, or, as they call it, “full spectrum domination”.

A President, as Commander-in-Chief of US imperialism, may lend his or her own character to the policies and practices of US imperialism, but is ultimately required by the system needs of imperialism to use against other countries a combination of interference, bullying, and subversion, and of control achieved by violence and the threat of violence.

Who is the guilty party?

Even an amateur detective would make some attempt to identify “persons of interest” to a crime, and seek not only hard evidence, but also to determine amongst those possibly guilty the extent to which each had means, motive and opportunity.

Assad had the means, prior to 2013, having amassed a stockpile of chemical weapons as a deterrent against attack by its nuclear-armed neighbour, Israel.

However, accusations of the use of chemical weapons by the government against terrorists at East Ghouta, and the threat by the US to bomb Damascus in retaliation led to a Russian-initiated destruction of those stockpiles by the Syrian government.

That allegation was ultimately disproven when UN Special investigator Carla del Ponte found that so-called “rebels” were likely to have used sarin against Syrian government troops and civilian supporters.

Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by rebel fighters.

“Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Ms Del Ponte said in an interview broadcast on Swiss-Italian television on Sunday.

"This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.

It never been shown that the Syrian government has restarted the manufacture of the chemical weapons it destroyed in 2013, so Assad is unlikely to have had the means to have gassed his own people this week.

Nor has Assad any motive. His armed forces are rolling back the combined terrorist groups and only recently completed the liberation of the major city of Aleppo.  With the terrorists losing ground In Syria, what military or political advantage could there possibly be for the government in using gas on a small number of civilians in a terrorist-held area?  And if there was some advantage, could it possibly outweigh the expected response from the imperialists in the form of military aggression, as a punishment, against Syria?

The Syrian government might conceivably have had the opportunity to use gas against civilians, but this presupposes they had gas and a reason for its use.

The terrorist Islamic fascist forces certainly have the means to use gas.  They used it at East Ghouta in 2013, and the UN special mission on chemical weapons found a further three instances, in 2013, when terrorists had used gas against government troops and civilians. Turkish security forces reportedly found a 2kg canister of sarin when they raided the homes of Al Nusrah fighters in 2013. In July 2014, there were further reports of barrels of sarin found in terrorist-held areas.

Do the terrorists have motive?  They are not only recoiling on the ground in Syria but have lost effective control of Mosul in Iraq. They were briefly faced with the prospect of a new US President who had in the past declared that Syria was “not our problem” and who had indicated his willingness to work with Russia to defeat the Islamic fascist groups.

Trump had placed some 500 US Special Operations soldiers on the ground in Syria, in clear violation of Syrian independence and sovereignty, and was threatening a further 1000, but these were deployed against the terrorists and were not yet engaged in attacking the Syrian armed forces.

As recently as March, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said “our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.” And Secretary of State Tillerson said in late March that “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”

The terrorists had motive aplenty in seeking to reverse the new US Administration’s policy towards Syria.  They needed to deflect US interference in Syria away from their own strongholds and towards the Syrian government forces, and to get the US to become active in Assad’s removal.

The gas attack did just that. Responding to Assad’s alleged gas attack Trump said it “had a big impact on me,” and that “it’s very possible … that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed.”

"It crossed a lot of lines for me," Trump told reporters at the White House. "When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines."

Did the terrorists have opportunity?  Nerve gases do not require sophisticated jet fighters or attack helicopters for their use. The Nazis simply used closed spaces, or gas chambers, when they murdered millions with Zyklon-B.  And in the Tokyo sarin attack of March 20, 1995, the Aum Shinriyko cultists simply released gas in the subway. Under cover of an air attack, it is quite possible that the terrorists may have found opportunity to gas civilians under their control in order to create a false flag to force US imperialism to change course and unleash aggression against the Syrian government.

None of this amounts to hard evidence, and to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is certainly a balance of possibilities scenario that defies the assumptions behind the latest US aggression.

And let’s not let US imperialism get on any moral high horse. Up to 80 people have been horrifically gassed by someone in Syria, but more than 240 civilians were horribly massacred in a coalition air strike on Mosul on March 17, more than three times those at Idlib..

Members and supporters of the Party should try and enter public discussion of this latest act of US aggression, to question the assumptions on which it is based, and to campaign for Australia not to embroil itself in US provocations.


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