The Wings of War

THE GREEDY eyes of the imperialists are once again focusing on Syria. Turkish tanks, backed by US war-planes, have crossed the border allegedly to drive ISIS out of the Syrian town of Jarablus. Meanwhile the American general in command of US operations in Iraq and Syria warns the Syrian and Russian air-force to stay clear of the Kurdish militia controlled parts of the north of the country that are infested with US special forces and military “advisers”.

Turkey and the United States both claim that they are only moving in to drive ISIS out. The Americans say that they are helping their new Kurdish friends. The Turks are determined to destroy them along with ISIS, which until recently was receiving less than covert military and financial assistance from the Americans and the Turks.

No one seriously believes that the Americans or the Turks have any interest in the welfare of any of the Syrian militias fighting the Syrian government. Their common ground is simply the lust to get their greedy paws on Syria’s land and assets once President Assad is pushed aside and the country partitioned á la Libya into feuding sectarian statelets dependent on Washington and its local lackeys in the region.

That at least has been the dream in the corridors of power in Washington and Ankara for the past five years. But it’s a dream turned sour by the popular resistance of the Baathist-led popular front government and the efforts of Syria’s allies, which include the Lebanese Hezbollah partisan movement, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation. It’s a dream that is becoming a nightmare in Washington with the news that People’s China is stepping up its military assistance to Damascus amidst reports that Beijing is considering sending its own troops to join the fray on the side of the legitimate government of Syria.

The retiring Obama administration is clearly not going to do anything dramatic that could jeopardise Hillary Clinton’s chances during the run-up to the presidential elections in November. Although Mrs Clinton is expected to win that is not a foregone conclusion. What is certain is that she is a supporter of “regime change” in Syria and that she will launch a new aggressive effort to overthrow the Syrian government as soon as she gets her feet behind the desk in the Oval Office. So US imperialism’s strategy at the moment is simply to try to make sure that those Syrian terrorists directly in the pay of imperialism retain their Aleppo enclave ready to pose as the “moderate” alternative to Assad when Mrs Clinton is in the White House.

The Syrian Kurds set up their Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) in November 2013. Rojava is largely run by supporters of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which leads the Kurdish resistance in Turkey. Until recently it was supported by the central Syrian authorities. Syrian commandos worked with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian officials continued to operate frontier check-points. But their agreement to allow US special forces into their zone to help fight ISIS worsened relations with the central government. The Americans have clearly encouraged the Rojavan leadership to adopt a sectarian stance towards Damascus, which led to last week’s armed clashes between the YPG and the Syrian Arab Army.

You need a long spoon to sup with the devil, as Muammar Gaddafi found out soon after his ill-chosen rapprochement with US-led imperialism. ISIS clearly became expendable in 2014 when its forces took over central Iraq and proclaimed an independent “Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. Likewise the Syrian Kurds may discover the true meaning of expendability when they too are no longer of any further use to imperialism in the not too distant future.