Syria: Imperialism out to smash Annan plan

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

TWO CHINESE officers have arrived in Syria to join the first team of United Nations observers preparing the ground for the larger 300-strong mission of monitoring the shaky cease-fire brokered by UN special envoy Kofi Annan.

The advance team of international monitors arrived last week after Syria accepted the UN-backed truce aimed at ending the violence and guarantee the conditions for the free and fair general election that will take place in two weeks time. Thirteen UN observers are now at work and their presence has already led to a decline in violence. But the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood militias that are armed and funded by imperialism are continuing their campaign of bombings and assassinations across the country.

Bomb attacks against government offices and the Iranian embassy in the capital, Damascus, increased this week as the reactionary forces stepped up their efforts to sabotage the Annan plan and provide a pretext for open Nato intervention.

Arms and cash for the “Free Syrian Army” and the other terror gangs continues to pour into Syria from Turkey despite the best efforts of Syria’s frontier forces to seal the border. The Turkish government is led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) a front that includes the Turkish Muslim Brothers. And the AKP has backed the armed gangs’ attempts to overthrow the Syrian government from the very start as part of its “Neo-Ottoman” plan to make Turkey the dominant power in the Middle East in partnership with American imperialism.

But Turkish secular bourgeois parties who uphold the principles of Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the Turkish republic, have denounced the AKP’s strategy. Admiral Turker Erturk, the former Commander of the Turkish Naval Academy, said that the AKP had now surrendered to imperialism in every sense of the word and turned Turley into a base for terrorism. The retired Admiral attacked the Turkish government’s participation in the recent “Friends of Syria” conference in Paris that was organised by the United States, Britain, France and some of the Gulf states to impose tough new sanctions against Syria and prepare the way for direct military intervention in Syria in the pattern of what happened in Libya.

This week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped that all attempts to foil the work of the UN monitoring mission in Syria would fail and he condemned the use of “unreliable sources” in reporting events in Syria by the international media.

Russia, which along with People’s China, has twice vetoed imperialist attempts to get a UN mandate for a Libyan-style invasion, is backing the Annan plan and the efforts of the Assad government in Syria to implement the reform package that was overwhelmingly endorsed by a popular referendum in February. At the same time the Russians have been working behind the scenes as a mediator in talks with Syrian opposition groups not controlled by the Nato powers.

Last week envoys from the Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB) went to Moscow for talks. This week representatives from another group, the Syrian Popular Front for Change and Liberation (PFCL), will hold talks in the Kremlin on the crisis.

PFCL representative Qadri Jamil said the talks will centre on “the situation in Syria and around it, and how to start a dialogue inside Syria, which gives a unique opportunity to overcome the crisis by peaceful means.”

“This is the most difficult question. In this case, the issue is not in the dialogue, but in the way to reach it. We need a road map that will lead to dialogue,” Jamil said.

Jamil believes that Moscow can play an important role in the process of preparing dialogue inside Syria and to mediate between the various parties of the Syrian opposition. “It is necessary that all participants in the dialogue agree on common principles and ways of overcoming the crisis,” he said.

The second important task is to speed up the political dialogue. So far, Jamil said, there is only “an imitation of the desire” to begin it.