The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 14th April 2017

Beware of ‘False Flags’

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

US SECRETARY of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow for talks with the Russian leadership this week. According to the American media, the US foreign minister was sent to deliver some sort of ultimatum to the Kremlin telling them to end their support for the Syrian government or face more sanctions and other unspecified consequences. But his hand was weakened by the failure of the G7 Group of imperialist countries to back a British call for escalating sanctions against Syria and Russia.

The visit comes several days after a US missile strike on a Syrian air base, allegedly in retaliation for a Syrian poison-gas attack on imperialist-backed rebel gangs. This was dismissed as ‘fake news’ by the Syrians and Russians, who both maintain that nerve gas was released into the atmosphere when an ISIS arms dump in which it was illegally stashed was bombed by Syrian jets.

Two US destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean fired 59 Tomahawk Cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in Homs province. Only 23 missiles hit the base, killing seven soldiers and nine civilians. The rest were brought down by the air defences and the base was operational again the next day.

The Russians say they hope for “productive talks”, which are important not only for Russia—US ties but “for the overall atmosphere on the world stage”. Tillerson had earlier acknowledged that Russia could play a role in Syria’s future but only if it dumped its long-term ally in the Middle East. That’s not likely to happen.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that calls on Russia to distance itself from President Bashar Assad were short-sighted and absurd, and the Russian government has condemned the US missile attack as an act of aggression based on a pretext that the Kremlin says was a ‘false flag’ operation. President Putin said that he now has information about a new provocation, similar to the alleged chemical attack in Idlib province, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb. The goal is to discredit the government of Syrian President Assad, he added.

“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one — and I cannot call it otherwise — are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,” Putin said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow.

“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State (ISIS) on the world stage,” he added.

Putin reiterated the call for a proper investigation, saying that the alleged use of chemical weapons demands one.

“We are planning to address the corresponding UN structure in The Hague and call on the international community to investigate thoroughly all those reports and take appropriate action based on the results of such a probe,” he said.

The World Peace Council (WPC) in Prague has strongly condemned the recent US missile attack against Syria, saying that the US committed a crime under a pretext that has no evidence and that it would further deteriorate the situations in Syria and the region.

“The US bombing of Syria constitutes not only the violation of the principles of the UN Charter but is also the continuation of the US policies of the previous US administrations,” the Council said.

“After having created, trained and financed the armed mercenary groups of ISIS and others, the USA, NATO and the EU along with its allies in the region, are providing support to armed terrorist groups, through attacks on the Syrian army,” the statement added.

The WPC expressed solidarity with the Syrian people and the peoples of the region for their rights to determine freely and without any foreign interference their fortunes.

The WPC also condemned: “The double moral of the imperialists, who carry out attacks on peoples and nations, driving hundreds of thousands to become refugees and at the same time ‘shed tears’ about the displaced people who run away for their lives. The WPC calls upon its members and friends to condemn the imperialist interventions and plans in the region and to express their solidarity with the peoples in need.”