Syria: Cameron plots to arm rebels

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE CAMERON government is threatening to veto the European Union’s ban on arms shipments to Syria to pave the way for open imperialist support for the rebels fighting to bring down the Baathist-led popular front government in Damascus.

France is backing the British move but other European countries including Germany are wary of getting involved into direct confrontation with Syria, which could spark off a general war in the Middle East.

The rebels, the reactionary gangs of Muslim Brothers that call themselves the “Free Syrian Army” and the sectarian Al Qaida fanatics, are currently aided and abetted by Turkey, a Nato member outside the EU, and the feudal Arabs led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar whose thrones ultimately depend on the continued support of US imperialism.

In fact Britain is already shipping “humanitarian aid” such as body armour, communications equipment and armoured cars to the rebels and French special forces are believed to be operating inside the country in support of the rebel militias.

But despite this and a seemingly limitless supply of small arms and money, the rebels have been unable to hold on to any part of the country for more than a few days before being driven out by the Syrian army and loyalist militias.

What the rebels want is direct imperialist intervention and Nato air power to hammer the Syrian army to pave the way for the “regime change” long clamoured for in Washington, London and Paris.

The problem is that Syria is a tougher nut to crack. Unlike Iraq or Libya the Syrian armed forces are monolithic and loyal to President Assad’s Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath). Unlike Iraq or Libya, Syria has allies like Iran and Russia who are standing by their friends and working for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The Baathist-led government is supported by a significant Arab nationalist movement and two strong communist parties and by religious leaders from the Muslim and Christian communities who support the secular constitution and are bitterly opposed to the Sunni Muslim sectarians who head the rebel front.

Now many of these leaders are calling on President Assad to mobilise the entire population in support of the army and police.

Last week the Supreme Iftaa Council, the highest Islamic body in the country, called on the Syrian public to support the Syrian army and the youth to join the service to defend the country, its heritage and its religion from “the enemies wanting to rip the country in pieces”.

“Syria is in a state of a real war and the army is doing its job perfectly, but now it’s the citizens’ turn to defend their neighbourhoods and areas as it happened in east of Aleppo, Hama and Homs and other areas when the citizens, both men and women, took up available arms and formed committees of national defence whose mission was to defend the land with the help of the army”.