They call it terrorism when it hits them

THE WORLD was shocked at the bloodbath in Paris last week that only ended when the gunmen were shot down or blew themselves up in the final confrontations with the police and security forces. The gunmen, who killed 129 civilians and wounded hundreds more in the name of the “Islamic State” showed, once again what the Syrian people are up against in their struggle to fend off the barbarous sectarian terror gangs that have spread death and destruction across Syria over the past five years.

Last summer Syrian president Bashar al Assad said: “The West deals with terrorism in a hypocritical way. They call it terrorism when it hits them, and revolution, freedom and democracy when it hits us”. How right he was.

ISIS, along with Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, are fighting to overthrow the Popular Front government of Bashar al Assad that stands for democracy and secularism. But they couldn’t have done it without the less than covert support of US imperialism and the feudal Arab kings of Arabia who all want “regime change” in Syria.

None of these terror gangs could fight without weapons to take on the Syrian Arab Army. But they’re never short of arms and ammunition. The Americans pumped arms to the sectarian bigots in the name of “democracy and human rights” and the bogus “Arab Spring” that the imperialists used as a cover to overthrow the Gaddafi government in Libya while Nato Turkey trained the gunmen and allowed volunteers and arms convoys to cross over into Syria to stoke up the flames of civil war.

None of these terrorist movements could fight without the money to pay their militiamen but they get plenty from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, whose autocratic rulers use their immense oil-wealth to expand their influence across the Arab world under the protection of US imperialism.

All these fundamentalist Muslim movements have their own agendas based on bigotry, intolerance and sectarian hatred. But US imperialism clearly believed that they could control the barbarous forces they unleashed on Syria through guns and money. They also thought that because these fundamentalist movements were utterly reactionary they would have no problem in ultimately allying with the global centre of oppression and exploitation. ISIS has proved them wrong on both counts.

But ISIS is different. When it overran some of the Iraqi oil fields last year it discovered an independent source of income. It no longer needed direct western support to pursue its own vision for the Middle East. It set up its ghastly “Caliphate” in central Iraq and parts of eastern Syria it controls and it sold the oil on the Turkish black market with the covert blessing of the Turkish government.

This wasn’t what US imperialism and Nato intended. Their golden rule is that the oil industry must always remain controlled by the big oil corporations of the United States and Europe and they tried to drive them out. But America’s desultory air-raids were not designed to crush ISIS but simply get them to play ball again with Uncle Sam. ISIS responded first with savage reprisals against western hostages, spreading the war to Europe with more terror in Syria that sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing to the European Union.

The Americans hoped to exploit even that by using the refugees as a pretext for “safe-havens” and “no fly-zones” in Syria to ground the Syrian air-force and pave the way for another Nato invasion a la Libya.

What they didn’t expect was the backlash in France following the Paris attacks. France, once the biggest cheerleader for “regime change” in Syria, has now seen the wisdom of co-operating with the Russians in dealing with the ISIS threat. Let’s hope David Cameron, who still wants the RAF to bomb Syria to get a British seat at the peace conference, learns the lesson.