Hands off Syria!

IMPERIALISM’S greedy eyes are focusing again on Syria, whose Baathist-led government has for decades stood firm against American and Israeli attempts to dominate the entire Middle East. Exploiting the unrest their agents have fomented in the first place, they’re moving again to try and win United Nations support for even more sanctions against Syria.

Foreign Secretary William Hague called for stronger international pressure on Syria on Monday. “We do want to see additional sanctions. We want to see stronger international pressure all round. Of course, to be effective, that can’t just be pressure from Western nations; that includes from Arab nations; it includes from Turkey,” he said.

The last time the imperialists tried this on they were thwarted by Russia and China on the UN Security Council. Hopefully this will happen again in the light of the cynical abuse of the UN “mandate” on Libya by the Nato powers, which is being used to provide air-support for a rag-bag of rebels that are little more than auxiliaries for the big oil corporations that want to carve up Libya and grab its immense oil reserves for themselves.

Syria, on the other hand, is not a major oil exporter. But it is a major obstacle to US-led imperialism’s attempts to impose its hegemony throughout the Middle East with the support of Israel and the feudal Arab oil princes who rely on American guns to prop up their thrones.

The bourgeois media says nothing about Arab tyrants, like the king of Saudi Arabia and the oil princes who serve imperialism in the Gulf, while printing lies on a daily basis to demonise the Assad government in Syria. This long-standing hate-campaign has only one purpose — to prepare the western public for intervention.

The Bush adminstration’s plan for a “Greater Middle East”, which envisaged the replacement of all the existing Arab governments with weak sectarian puppet states, was thwarted by Syria’s consistent support for the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance and its alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Today US imperialism’s quest for total control of the oil-rich Middle East continues under Barack Obama. The Obama administration seeks to do so through “regime change” in alliance with the former colonial oppressors of the Arabs — Britain, France and Turkey — who are eagerly following their master’s footsteps in the hope of a share of the spoils if the Americans win.

British and French imperialism have clearly learnt nothing from their past experience in attempting to rule the Arabs, while the Turkish Islamist government backs the Muslim Brothers in pursuit of their neo-Ottoman dream of restoring the position they once in the Middle East before the First World War.

But the imperialists have failed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and victory will prove equally elusive in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Syria’s ruling Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath), which is supported by the Syrian communists and the Syrian masses, has tabled a package of far-reaching reforms in response to the genuine demands of the protesters. But this wasn’t enough, and it will never be enough, for the sectarian Muslim Brothers, whose armed gangs have launched a wave of terror throughout the country in a bid to overthrow the government.

Last month the French and American ambassadors went to the city of Hama, a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold, to openly take part in an anti-government demonstration. This open provocation incited more violence and now the Syrian army is moving to restore order.

British communists must stand by their Syrian comrades in defending existing democratic rights against reactionary Muslim Brothers and their imperialist supporters and the anti-war movement must mobilise to call for an end to all sanctions and threats of intervention in Syria by the British government and the rest of the imperialist camp.