No 1503 23rd December 2016
Humiliating defeat for imperialism’s vicious sabotage-subversion Syria war further shows impotence and incompetence of two decades of “shock and awe” to re-assert once unquestioned world dominance, increasingly challenged by the Third World masses and undermined by the Great Catastrophe of unstoppable economic failure. Ending of Aleppo siege exposes glaring lies about “Syrian and Russian atrocities” and grotesque hypocrisy of “humanitarian concern” while the Yemen war horror and Mosul blitzkriegs continue. Fake-”left” of all kinds equally exposed swallowing capitalist Goebbels lies and in their “condemnation of terror”. Labourite willingness to feed foul warmongering is vile treachery, and so too is Trot entryism backing it up. But revisionist support for Damascus and its Putinite backers (instead of welcoming only imperialist defeat) is just as treacherous, lining Stalinists up with Russian gangster oligarchs, Trump anti-ISIS hate campaigning, the vile Egyptian Sisi dictatorship and even Duterte death squads. Their tangles underline need for polemical struggle for theory led by Leninist Party
Suppression of the Western sponsored civil war disruption and destruction in eastern Aleppo by the Syrian regime is a significant defeat for brutal imperialist crisis skulduggery.
It adds another telling blow to the disastrous failures that have beset the Washington and its stooge sidekicks – above all the British – in their fascist attempts to re-establish faltering imperialist world domination and control, by blitzing and re-colonising the crucial Middle East, or failing that, fragmenting and destroying its growing ferment of resistance.
But there is no need to celebrate the end of this deliberately barbaric US/Zionist fomented reactionary “rebellion” in Syria as a “victory” as such for the flaky bourgeois nationalist regime in Damascus nor to suggest that it, or its Bonapartist Russian oligarch-state backers, are a way forwards for the world’s working class.
Just the opposite, both are a million miles from leading the working class towards the overthrow of capitalism or of even of developing the revolutionary understanding necessary to advance that fight; in fact both are hostile to such communist grasp.
Outside the particular fight in Aleppo, and a few other sections of the country occupied by Western and Gulf trained and armed pseudo-rebels, their demonising of the great Third World revolt in general, all written off as just “evil terrorism” instead of the initial stirrings of the greatest anti-imperialist rebellion in history (however backward and confused so far), leaves them effectively standing alongside imperialism (and with stooges like Egypt’s vile torturing General Sisi dictatorship).
So wooden headed is Putin’s failure to grasp the real and only source of war and destruction in the world, the capitalist system and its spiralling crisis Great Catastrophe, that he even requests deals and cooperation with the US to help “deal with the terrorist threat” overall.
That just plays into the insane nonsense of the “war on terror” created by imperialism to justify its deliberate “endless war” crisis warmongering.
You might as well ask bank robbers to guard the vault.
The Assad regime equally continues to blame its problems on “reactionary terrorists” instead of on Washington.
Western intriguing has certainly manipulated various stooge and opportunist elements to create the Syrian “opposition” in the first place but that is separate and different to the worldwide “terrorist” upheaval (as further discussed below) and even declared to be so by imperialism, which has constantly insisted that there are “moderate” terrorists i.e outright stooges like those in Aleppo, and “jihadists”, including ISIS and much other upheaval, out of control and reflecting the world turmoil caused by crisis collapse of capitalism.
For the moment however, the need to defend itself against Western inspired sabotage has forced Damascus to fight for its existence against the “moderates”.
The specific Aleppo humiliation it has led to for the crisis wracked capitalist system, can only be to the good.
It will stir further revolutionary contradiction and discontent, on top of the turmoil already long seething throughout the Middle East and all of the Third World, at the monstrous injustice of endless imperialist exploitation and the discontent hugely multiplied as world Slump unfolds and now spread right into the austerity-hammered working masses of the “advanced” nations too.
First off Aleppo exposes the hypocrisy and Goebbels lies of all this vicious onslaught by subterfuge and provocation.
Demented fabrications against the Syrian government reached a crescendo as the siege was finally being ended, with a stream of fantastical allegations of “atrocities” and alleged “cold-blooded shooting of civilians” etc swamping the Western media.
Of course, after half a decade of bitter civil war, there can only be a stinking mess of hatred and savagery, and undoubtedly there could be atrocities on all sides.
But noone knows exactly what happened in the mayhem.
And that is the point.
All such claims, and accusations of “war crimes” are based on precisely no evidence at all, no forensics, and no way of knowing who has done what.
But that does not stop the Western press demonisation, slipping over the utter baselessness of its propaganda with phrases like “as yet unverified accounts” or “reports from credible sources”.
Yes?- and who would these carefully selected “sources” be then, other than the mysteriously fluent-in-English recruited stooges and planted Western collaborators who have berated the “international community” – i.e US dominated imperialism – via their exclusive BBC and Channel 4 News video link-ups for “not intervening or not supplying enough arms”, etc etc, all trying to provoke Western blitzkrieg???
Hardly the actions of a “peoples’ struggle” – but certainly those of a bunch of stooges and Western intelligence-coached agents.
Or would these “sources” be from the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, long ago shown up as a Wizard of Oz pretence, a single exile running a website from a terraced house frontroom in Coventry (!!!!) with an anti-Assad axe to grind – but still daily quoted by all the major bourgeois newspapers and TV news outlets as if this were a major network of on-the-ground reporters and objective intelligence???
Or perhaps from the “neutral” media office of the “Revolutionary Forces of Syria” just revealed to be funded by the British Foreign Office (Prop. Boris Johnson)???
Like the daily stream of “still to be confirmed” accounts of alleged horrors that were deluged out by the Western media six years ago to set up both the bogus Libya “uprising” and this horrifying civil war, (- laughably presented as an extension of the Arab Spring –) these lurid fabrications will never be confirmed and nor can they be in the midst of the deadly fighting made necessary by the “rebels” (as the Western media bias insists on calling the anti-Assad disruption).
Even the reactionary intellectual Peter Hitchens from the even more reactionary Daily Mail, mentally crippled with middle class anti-communist venom and lifelong willing to pump out any number of phoney “tyranny” stories against the workers states, as he was doing just recently against Cuba after Fidel Castro’s death, could not quite swallow all this. Describing conflicts he has experienced as a reporter he says:
...that the old cliché ‘the first casualty of war is truth’ is absolutely right, and should be displayed in letters of fire over every TV and newspaper report of conflict, for ever.
Almost nothing can be checked. You become totally reliant on the people you are with, and you identify with them.
If you can find a working phone, you will feel justified in shouting whatever you have got into the mouthpiece – as simple and unqualified as possible. And your office will feel justified in putting it on the front page (if you are lucky).
And that is when you are actually there, which is a sort of excuse for bending the rules.
In the past few days we have been bombarded with colourful reports of events in eastern Aleppo, written or transmitted by people in Beirut (180 miles away and in another country), or even London (2,105 miles away and in another world). There have, we are told, been massacres of women and children, people have been burned alive.
The sources for these reports are so-called ‘activists’. Who are they? As far as I know, there was not one single staff reporter for any Western news organisation in eastern Aleppo last week. Not one.
This is for the very good reason that they would have been kidnapped and probably murdered. The zone was ruled without mercy by heavily armed Osama Bin Laden sympathisers, who were bombarding the west of the city with powerful artillery (they frequently killed innocent civilians and struck hospitals, since you ask). That is why you never see pictures of armed males in eastern Aleppo, just beautifully composed photographs of handsome young unarmed men lifting wounded children from the rubble, with the light just right.
For reasons that I find it increasingly hard to understand or excuse, much of the British media refer to these Al Qaeda types coyly as ‘rebels’ (David Cameron used to call them ‘moderates’). But if they were in any other place in the world, including Birmingham or Belmarsh, they would call them extremists, jihadis, terrorists and fanatics.
It is on the behalf of these ‘moderates’ that MPs staged a wholly one-sided debate last week, and on their behalf that so many people have been emoting equally one-sidedly over alleged massacres and supposed war crimes by Syrian and Russian troops – for which I have yet to see a single piece of independent, checkable evidence.
These days the state-sponsored lies have spread to my own country, and to the BBC, and I tell the truth as loudly as I can, simply because I cannot hear anyone else speaking it. If these lies go unchallenged, they will be the basis of some grave wrong yet to come.
Hitchens is himself subtly distorting the picture here too, by pretending that he is “horrified” by the way the Western media has “changed” when it has always been saturated with the carefully controlled fabrications and plants of the intelligence agencies (see way back to the Sixties and the Inside the Company revelations of defecting CIA operative Philip Agee, and much else since), part of the West’s non-stop anti-communist brainwashing machine.
He is also covering up for the sheer crudity of the latest lies which a schoolchild could see through, and secondly a possible shift in Western propaganda strategy anyway because of the “blowback” of its attempted manipulations, turning elements like the ISIS jihadists from attempted counter-revolutionary tools to anti-imperialist revolt.
Why the different treatment he asks disingenuously? – because some of these are reactionary opportunists, in cahoots with the West and the others are anti-imperialist.
Nothing more brazenly inverted reality than the Oscar level performance at the tame pro-Washington United Nations by US representative Samantha Power theatrically asking if the Syrians and Russians were “incapable of shame” and if “there was no barbarity that would not creep you out just a little?”
To which the only rational answer should be “is there no ‘creepy’ Goebbels BIG LIE that American imperialism (and its tailending sidekicks – notably Britain) will not resort to, as its worldwide domination grows increasingly enfeebled and its plans to shock and awe the world into paying for capitalism’s Great Catastrophe, run into ever greater difficulties?”
Even as she spoke Washington was (and is) running two further devastating and utterly depraved wars in the Middle East on top of the sick and degenerate mess it has created in Syria and Libya.
Both are kept hidden away without an ounce of front page tabloid “heartwrenching” concern as yet more tens of thousands of lives are wiped out and more countries are reduced to the warlordist sectarian mess already made of once prosperous and equable Libya.
First is the total flattening destruction of Mosul in northern Iraq via the US stooge Baghdad government – chosen and approved by the American embassy there - the pounding of the million strong city causing massive “collateral damage” of civilian lives by the Baghdad government army and Shia militias, and by Kurdish petty bourgeois opportunism, all trained and guided by thousands of British, American and French “special forces”, as well as massive air bombardment.
This hellhole destruction is a “fight against ISIS terror”, in other words against the still continuing anti-US occupation resistance, which grew from Sunni resistance and the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s army in the wake of the 2003 invasion.
No heroism-implying talk here of “rebels”.
The gigantic attack, barely mentioned except downpage in the “serious” papers, is even more depraved than last year’s onslaught on north-central Iraq, and looking like a rerun of the horrifying destruction of Fallujah in 2004 in revenge for the killing of four American “security agents”.
The other gross butchery is in Yemen, via the primitive feudal stooges in Saudi Arabia, backed up and supplied not just with billions of dollars worth of arms, bombs and missiles, including the “cluster bombs” and “bunker busters” for which the Russians are berated, but with (British) military personnel to use and direct them on behalf of the useless, parasitical, tribalist monarchy still kept in place in Riyadh by imperialism (to secure its own interests).
The last 18 months has witnessed systematic and ruthless destruction and “degrading” of irreplaceable ancient cities, modern ports and civilian infrastructure, along with daily bombing and missile terrorising against the civilian population, bringing a large part of the country into total collapse and threatening much more of it with famine, malnutrition, maiming, and lifetime psychological trauma – if they survive at all.
While the ISIS and other jihadism is demonised for its bizarre ideologically driven destruction, and its use of terror as a weapon (learned from imperialism), the West is casually carrying through far worse, as it has done across the region for nearly two decades of nazi-NATO invasions and sponsored terror.
Gradually the sheer horrifying cynicism of this depraved barbarism in Yemen is emerging:
I am a Yemeni citizen living in our capital, Sana’a, a volunteer with Your Ability Organization, one of many local NGOs founded and based in the capital.
The siege has taken our country back of hundreds of years. Most...is out of work and there are shortages of electricity, gas, food and water. For almost 600 days children have gone to bed, every single night, fearing the sound of airplanes.
Cholera is spreading and the threat of famine looming over millions. We are seeing scenes that remind us of Biafra, Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s. We look back to the Yemen we used to know and so little stands. Memories clash with the reality.
Emotionally it’s a never ending pain with an entire generation of children scarred for life. This legacy of post traumatic stress disorder will have to be addressed if we want to turn Yemen, one day, into a nation which is somehow healing.
Earlier this year I met Mohamed Ahmed, father of two children, both of whom have a serious and painful form of cancer of the tongue. He was looking for help and was only able to reach the capital Sana’a because friends in his village collected donations to fund his journey.
His six-year-old daughter Gaza had cancer of the tongue and despite visiting many hospitals he has not found an effective treatment for her. The only solution is an urgent surgical intervention, possibly with tongue transplant, but due to the war the doctors can’t currently give her this treatment.
I worked with Dr Karim of Mona Relief Organisation and tried to find a way to get Gaza out of Yemen. Her passport, document, everything was ready. But not Sana’a airport: it was closed due to the Saudis’ blockade.
Gaza remained bedridden and suffered severe pain until death took her. Her parents pain did not end: it continues through their second child Mohamed, two years old, who has the same cancer and needs the same treatment.
The British defence secretary Michael Fallon has seen government analysis indicating that UK-made cluster munitions were used by the Saudi-led coalition in the current conflict in Yemen, sources have told the Guardian
It is understood the government’s own investigations back up media reports that such cluster bombs have been deployed in the war. A source told the Guardian that Fallon is among the ministers to have known about the analysis for about a month.
But it is understood ministers have still not been given definitive confirmation by Saudi Arabia, which has publicly denied the allegations and claimed UK-made cluster bombs found are the relics of old conflicts.
The revelation is likely to increase calls on the government to reconsider exports of arms to Saudi Arabia, which have already grown since the US suspended a planned sale of precision-guided munitions last week.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting a Houthi rebel uprising against the Yemeni government since 2015, with Britain providing some military training assistance.
the UK is a signatory to a 2010 international treaty banning cluster munitions. The weapons leave mini-bomblets that can explode much later, killing civilians. The Cluster Munitions Convention commits the UK to disposing of all cluster munitions and working to prevent their use. Saudi Arabia is not a signatory.
The Ministry of Defence would not reveal the contents of the analysis.
Reports from ITV, Sky News and Amnesty International have all pointed to bombs made in the UK and exported before the ban having been dropped in the ongoing war.
Ministers said suggested the bomb found by Amnesty International could have been from a previous conflict, adding that the last supply to the Saudis was in 1989.
Since then, further footage has been published by ITV and Sky, showing the leader of the rebel Houthi government, Abdulaziz bin Habtour, accusing Britain of war crimes. “They have sold cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia,” he told Sky News earlier this month. “They know the Saudis are going to drop them on Yemen ... in Sa’dah and in Sana’a and other provinces.”
Robertson said: “I too have heard from informed sources about the Saudis dropping UK-made cluster munitions in Yemen. It is totally unacceptable and piles pressure on the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office to come clean.”
When it was raised last week at prime minister’s questions by Robertson, Theresa May told the House of Commons allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law would be “properly investigated”. She also defended the UK’s support for Saudi Arabia, saying the intervention in Yemen is backed by the United Nations and “the security of the Gulf is important to us”.
The security of the billions in income that Britain receives from the backward sheikhs for its giant arms industry output is what she means, without which the hollowed out British economy would collapse completely – small wonder that sections of the ruling class want to get out from under the “unnecessary restrictions” of the European Union.
The deliberately and cynically generated “humanitarian” crisis, leaving an entire population starving, children dying and grief beyond reason, is already being covered up with yet more unctuous “charity” hypocrisy now that this secret devastation can no longer be hidden.
These wars are piled on top of the now routine mass terrorising and intimidation of not just the Middle East but also Afghanistan, Pakistan and swathes of Africa, with US (and again British) “Hellfire” death-drones hovering constantly over towns and villages and casually “taking out” any alleged or informer-fingered local resistance to imperialist diktat – (once more christened “terrorism”) – along with as many civilians as are deemed “necessary” or “unavoidable”, all without any of the trials, defence, due process or “just” punishment allegedly offered by the “democracy” and “rule of law” supposedly being brought to the “benighted people”.
Staggeringly, the pretence continues to be made that imperialism is a system of “freedom and democracy”.
What a disgusting hollow joke!
Just ask the Palestinians, themselves the victims of the longest running genocidal oppression in modern history, subject to daily assassinations, punishments, beatings, and terrorising, by the land-thieving Zionist Nazi occupation of their lands, and regular full out butchery onslaughts killing thousands and thousands with equally vile hi-tech weaponry while the West continues with the pretence that this complete colonial monstrosity is somehow a paragon of “democracy”.
What a stinking festering joke on humanity this Jewish Zionist pseudo-“state” is as well.
Meanwhile the revolutionary implications of this grotesque warmongering, and the Aleppo setback, continue to be avoided by all the fake-“left”.
None set out for the working class the worldwide capitalist crisis context of this savage civil war, deliberately provoked and inflamed by Western/Zionist intrigue, and backed with arms and funds from the reactionary Gulf Sheikhdoms (with Washington approval).
None explain it as part of imperialism’s disintegration, as its Great Catastrophe unravels, the 2008 “global meltdown” sliding ever deeper into economic disaster, and soon to lurch further into total collapse, (possibly triggered symbolically by collapse of the oldest capitalist bank of all, Italy’s 1472 Monte dei Paschi).
The only “escape” the ruling class knows is world war conflict, the oncoming Third World War. But none get to monopoly capitalism’s epochal failure as the root cause of the continuous war destruction that has been deliberately imposed on the world for two decades or more, starting with the 1998 blitzing of the Serbian remnants of the Yugoslavian workers state, then Afghanistan and Iraq, then Libya and Ukraine.
None see it, or analyse it, as all of a piece with the crisis collapse and Slump burdens and breakdown besetting Latin America, Africa, southern Europe and increasingly imposed on much of the working class in the richer countries right into the heart of the dominant US itself.
None add to it the turmoil and upheaval erupting everywhere from Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, to Morocco, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan, the Congo and Gambia.
In other words the “left” fail completely to see these Syrian events within a living revolutionary world perspective which must be struggled and fought for in constant development by a conscious purpose-built party of revolutionary theory.
For all their pretences to be “Marxists” or even “Leninist” these groups never develop and fight for such a wide-ranging and historically based perspective, without which it is impossible to understand anything at all about the agonising chaos destroying so many lives, not just in Syria but throughout the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan, let alone find a way to not only to end it which can only be by ending the system which causes it, moribund bankrupt monopoly capitalism degenerating into vicious chauvinism and whipped up hatred.
Least of all do they make clear that Syria and the years of Middle East war before it, is the warm up for greater inter-imperialist conflict to come (in whatever form it takes), as the worldwide market competition by the great multinational corporations grows ever more bitterly cutthroat and desperate.
Instead the fake-“lefts” of all flavours just muddy the water, with a narrow view, limiting what they say to this conflict alone and ending up taking one side or the other against “tyranny” or “terrorism” or “totalitarianism”, and other philistine abstractions, all based on continuing delusions in bourgeois “democracy”.
Most capitulate outright to the imperialist disinformation and lies.
The essentially go along with the chauvinism and war hatred of the meaningless “war on terror”, as a demented “kill them all” atmosphere of scapegoating blame is generated by the imperialist “international community” to escape from its failures (blaming “others” for its bankrupt disasters and then heading for war to destroy “surplus” capital).
Most immediately sickening is disgusting out-and-out Labourite class collaboration, consciously and traitorously attempting to outdo the foul lies and distortions that have poured out of the capitalist media and imperialist political establishment against Syria’s regime since the devastating civil war was deliberately provoked six years ago, and which have continued non-stop as the West has poured in arms, training, money and propaganda non-stop (via its degenerate Sheikhdom stoogery in the Gulf) while fostering and encouraging the foulest of depraved ethnic cleansing, sectarian terrorising and deliberate destruction – all under the pretence that this was a rebellion because “peaceful protest was cruelly suppressed”.
They either go along with all these gobsmacking Goebbels lies – or fail at all to challenge this Nazi-propaganda deluge, tacitly accepting it and thereby invalidating all their “no to war” pacifist hopelessness.
Syria’s war was never “peaceful” but a deliberately instigated violent upheaval from the beginning as repeatedly analysed by the EPSR.
And this was not because the West has always hated the recalcitrant Ba’athist regime, its anti-Zionist posturing and its refusal to go along fully with Western interests – though it does.
The civil war was set going by Washington (using local stoogery) because of the already disastrous failure of its initial 2003 “shock and awe” blitzkrieg on Iraq, the jihadist resistance which it has triggered, and the explosive Egyptian mass street revolt which followed.
Bush’s Iraq war was supposed to re-establish steadily slipping US imperialist authority over the exploited neo-colonial world, increasingly unwilling to accept its lot as near slave driven labour for the multinational plantations and factories.
Simultaneously it would demonstrate to any upcoming capitalist challengers, – particularly bigger powerful rivals like the German dominated EU bloc, or Japan, – just how ruthless the Empire would be to anyone seriously contemplating taking it on.
It was all going to pre-empt the meltdown of the world economy that the bankrupt US ruling class knew was unavoidable, bullying the world into continued acceptance of its “right” to the lion’s share of the world’s resources and labour output.
But Iraq and the vengeful blitzkrieg punishment visited on Afghanistan, deemed responsible for the humiliating and shocking 9/11 guerrilla war attacks which shook the US to the core (despite their pinprick significance relative to such a giant power), rapidly proved a disaster.
They swallowed ever huger $billions and sent home a stream of flag-draped coffins that sapped and undermined morale.
Far from establishing the authority of a “New American Century” the attempted neo-colonial occupations in both countries became enmeshed in ever greater and wider spreading resistance, every increasingly depraved brutality and revelation of fascistic torture and prison camp “punishment” driving another wave of recruits into the “terrorist” ranks; the once anti-Soviet manipulated mujaheddin turning into a dogged Taliban national liberation movement, and the Iraqi resistance consolidating around the Sunni central region, where Saddam Hussein’s main support had come from.
By 2005 Iraq was almost out of control, US authority trapped in the heavily fortified centre of Baghdad, and turning more and more to forced deals with the southern Shias to try and stay on top.
That became a two year civil war with the US occupation importing ever more barbaric methods to try and stay on top, notably fostering terrorising death-squad techniques used previously to massacre tens of thousands in the suppression of central American revolts in El Salvador and Guatemala etc.
Some of the Shia were trained in the foulest of violent depravity to suppress the largely Sunni former Ba’athist resistance, deliberately stirring sectarian hatred as a divide-and-rule tool.
All this time the rottenness of imperialism’s world economy was reaching the total collapse of 2008 (temporarily fended off since only by insane money printing).
War weariness and growing fears about the crisis ate away at the already moth-eaten prestige of presidential “democracy” (which like British “democracy” has long been steadily losing its influence, with ever dropping turnouts and votes revealing working class cynicism, disillusionment, and contempt for the corrupt racket, albeit not yet a conscious grasp of the fraudulence of bourgeois “democracy” overall, as just a cover for the dictatorship of capital).
By 2008 Bush had reached a nadir, the least popular president ever, and threatening to drag down the whole presidential authority.
It was only rescued by the desperate playing of the political correctness “black president” card to install the slick opportunism of the Barack Obama presidency (also bolstered with feminism and later the “gay rights” PC cards), all to keep in place the capitalist “democratic” framework as the crisis broke in full.
Obamaism notionally was “pulling back” troops, reflecting the failure and defeat of the overt neocon aggression, though in reality the occupations were replaced with increasing remote and covert operations, particularly with terrorising drones, illegal assassination squads (“getting” Osama bin Laden eg) and subversion, like the $billions spent encouraging fascist reaction in Ukraine.
Divide and rule was stepped up, to try and keep a lid on the growing insurgencies, particularly by stirring the sectarian divisions already brought to red heat in Iraq’s civil war.
It was also fostered elsewhere, particularly inside the Syrian “rogue state” as part of the constant efforts to weaken the government – part of the US support for the Zionist land-theft occupation of Palestine.
But this low level subversion – supported by the likes of Hillary Clinton according to some of the leaked emails from Wikileaks – was by no means some masterful string pulling operation by an all powerful Washington as it is presented by various fake-“left” groups and much shallow conspiracy theorising even from often excellent "left" radical journalists like John Pilger.
It reflected the weakness of imperialist influence, driven out and hesitant about further entanglement (for the moment).
That was further confirmed in 2011 when the growing ferment of anti-Western hatred, driven by the global crash, exploded in the stunning mass street revolts which brought down Western stooge dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, threatening to spread throughout the Gulf and Saudi Arabia (Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, on into Somalia, perhaps stooge Ethiopia).
It is to head off this giant spontaneous revolt, with a new mass character a step beyond the previous anti-imperialist insurgencies, and the potential to open up all kinds of revolutionary development, that the half-baked subversion and sectarianism was activated in Libya and Syria (while inside Egypt the middle class was stirred up for a “colour revolution” to restore the military dictatorship now bloodily and fascistically suppressing all opposition).
It was not part of some clever long-laid plan by the CIA/Zionist networks etc, but done prematurely and in desperation.
And it promptly went wrong in Libya, the Western-hyped “rebels” revolt – a bunch of monarchist and reactionary petty bourgeois opportunism dressed up bogusly as “more of the Arab Spring” – virtually petering out despite the media inflamed hysteria about “Gaddafi’s atrocities” and “imminent genocide in Benghazi” (now admitted to be a total fabrication), and hidden Western “special forces” interventions (given away by the incompetent British parachuting incident outside the target, for example).
Only all-out nazi-NATO invasion salvaged this disaster, – at some risk for a shattered and crisis-weakened America with a population still hostile to further interventions, making it necessary to pretend it was “led by Europe”.
In Syria meanwhile a similar stunt was able to catch fire, tapping the existing historic Muslim sectarian divisions among a larger population, already inflamed by Western and Zionist subversion and by spillover from the civil war in Iraq.
This was fed by massive external provocation, including secret snipers and provocateurs (filmed by the Damascus government) to provoke the government crackdowns that were then seized on by the Western media deluge as “evidence” of “regime atrocities”, and to dress up this reactionary “rebellion” as another bogus “extension of the Arab Spring”, a patent nonsense since, unlike the upheavals elsewhere, those in Libya and Syria were directed not against Western stooges (like Egypt’s dictator Mubarak) but against “rogue state” leaders obliged to at least posture as anti-imperialist to stay on top of ever growing anti-imperialist anti-Zionist Arab “street” feeling.
The immediate purpose of all this was to shut down any support that Gaddafi or Assad might give the turmoil in Cairo which had been a gigantic shock to imperialism and, even in the limited form taken by the new Muslim Brotherhood presidency, potentially a threat to its entire Middle Eastern control.
The heavily armed and funded Zionist occupation in Palestine, the main attack dog stooge for imperialism in the Middle East, constantly ready to smite and knock down regional anti-imperialism (Arab or Iranian), felt even more immediately threatened, particularly as the Brotherhood’s links to the Hamas leadership in the besieged Gaza strip meant an increased flow of funds, resources and arms to the Palestinian struggle.
For the “rebellion” in Syria there certainly was a massively coordinated flow of imperialist money, arms and training (as has gradually emerged slowly), all directly from, or channelled through, the reactionary Gulf and Saudi sheikhdoms and deliberately stirring even further as much sectarian hatred and devastation as possible within Syria, using all kinds of terror methods and ethnic cleansing.
But that has backfired too, as the initial stoogery took on a life of its own, the Sunni revolt certainly hostile to the Assad regime but breaking loose from initial Western attempts to manipulate it and coalescing with the still evolving anti-American resistance in Iraq, becoming the ISIS rebellion, cutting across both countries and now a major problem, its adoption of ruthless terror methods taking it almost into central Baghdad to topple the stooge US government there.
Notions of a Muslim caliphate, for all the foundation in backward and barmy religious notions, challenge the imperialist settlement going all the way back to the carve-up of the defunct Ottoman empire after the First World War under the secret imperialist treaty agreements which the Bolsheviks finally exposed, including the Sykes-Picot division which drew an arbitrary line in the sand between Syria and Lebanon (for France) and Jordan and Iraq (for Britain).
Cultural, historical and ethnic differences in these new capitalist imposed “nations” have never disappeared and as various local experts were explaining even in the early days of the Iraq war, there is little sense of “national identity” other than that imposed from above.
Hence the seeming “complications” of the Syrian war and the reasons for the difference in propaganda treatment of the “rebels” in Aleppo to the treatment of the ISIS jihadists which Hitchens complains of (above).
Hence the floundering of the American strategy which the new Trump policy has derided, declaring the key problem to be the ISIS revolt, recognising its anti-imperialist nature as a bigger danger for the moment than the bourgeois nationalist Assad regime, particularly now the war has seen the country decimated.
Much of the confusion to date has come from Washington’s weakness: unable to sustain the hugely costly direct colonialism it attempted under Bush, it turned to using covert manipulation and sabotage.
But it is a highly unstable strategy.
Contrary to the nose-tapping theories of the multiple conspiracy theories among sections of the fake-“left” which point “knowingly” at Western manipulation of the Islamists in Afghanistan as evidence that “terrorism is all a CIA plot” (excusing themselves to capitulate to the Western “condemnation” of terrorism) - the jihadists are neither the “creation” of the West, nor simply “paid agents” (a complete nonsense anyway for movements which rely on suicide fanaticism), nor even all that reliable.
Even the plot to bog down the Soviet military intervention in the 1980s as it tried to prop up the socialist orientated revolution in Kabul, was a risky venture which succeeded at least as much because of Moscow’s revisionist philistinism and complacency, already on a path of liquidation of the Soviet Union, as it did from “controlling” the backward religious rural hostility.
Loss of revolutionary perspective in Moscow, already deep into the long revisionist decline begun under Stalin, undermined Red Army morale and the will of the Soviet technicians and trainers who were helping build education, engineering and medical facilities in Afghanistan.
Notably Osama bin Laden, the key figure always cited by the “conspiracists” as part of the Afghanistan “resistance” went on to become the personification of the anti-American anti-imperialist al-Qaeda, the first major “blowback” as the CIA call it.
The great wave of jihadism/terrorism since across the world is clearly not part of any great imperialist plot, from the insurgency in the Philippines to the Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and in the Sinai fighting the restored General Sisi Egyptian pro-Western dictatorship.
The conspiracy theorising, despite elements of truth in it, has been part of the failure of the “left” to give the working class any way to see through the apparent tangle of conflict and horrors in Syria.
Far from untangling anything they have capitulated across the board.
The Labourites, as described, simply vie with imperialism itself to whip up the war hatred against the Assad regime, and behind that the greater demonisation of Putin’s Russia, most swallowing and regurgitating all the shallow propaganda lies, and joining the imperialist war party, or at “best”, adopting a pathetic “peace posture” on the Corbynite “left” which a) does not challenge the characterisation of a “tyrannous dictatorship” and b) is completely ineffectual and useless anyway, since once the overall demonisation is gone along with, all pacifist “No to War” protest is simply pointless.
The Trotskyists equally have gone along with this Western fabrication, just as they have gone along with every stunted up “colour revolution” and Western coordinated “people’s revolt” organised by the CIA or other agencies with a few “freedom” placards and some scratched together “protestors” (either paid for or tapping local axe-grinding petty bourgeois hostility) to set up as much mayhem as possible.
Their middle class sensibilities have an unerring knack for siding against the workers states or even anything which might be heading that way (or even potentially might do so).
From the time of the Hungarian fascist anti-communist revolt of 1956, tapping all kinds of WWII disgruntled nazi and reactionary remnants, organised, armed and supplied across the east European borders from Austria and Germany to try and bring down the new workers state in Budapest, the petty bourgeois Trots have always had an instinct for those movements with an anti-communist element, pitching in with their twisted “political revolution” theories to confuse the working class and helping these counter-revolutionary movements.
They supported the similar 1968 “Prague Spring” counter-revolution against the Czechoslovakian workers state and the subsequent 1980s Polish reactionary Solidarnosc movement, dressed up as a “trade union” and lavishly funded by CIA and Vatican money but fairly rapidly revealing its fascist colours, (putting pre-war nazi-allied leader Pilsudski’s coat of arms on its stationary for example), all amply confirmed post-1990 by Solidarnosc leader Lech Walesa’s grovelling to the West and the CIA installed Polish reactionary Pope John Paul, and by a stream of reactionary capitalist restorationist governments ever since.
Their “political revolution” convolutions have obviously been even more discredited by the liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1989-91 which demonstrated this “theorising” to be the reactionary garbage that Leninist understanding always grasped it was, and nothing but encouragement for the counter-revolution which subsequently dismantled and plundered the great achievements and developments made by 74 years of working class rule, without a capitalist boss in sight.
So they pitched in from the beginning with the bogus “revolt” in Libya against anti-imperialist bourgeois nationalist Muammar Gaddafi, swallowing the shallow nonsense this was a “street rebellion” and equally went along with the pretence that there was a “peoples’ revolt” in Syria – denouncing the “dictatorial regime”.
As the nature of the “rebels” became clearer, and details emerged more and more of the Western funding and backing for them, some of the Trot and crypto-Trot groups have retreated from their initial outright support for the “street movements”, based around the notion that there were “democratic” forces among them – the usual fantasy of the Trots, ignoring the obvious character of movements in reality, to pretend that there are “better” elements among them – these silent “better leaderships” obviously in concordance with the Trotskyists.
When caught out and the truly reactionary nature of the movements becomes undeniable the story is usually that the their movements were “hijacked” or “did not do enough”.
So it has been with Libya and Syria which, as they have descended into more and more obvious barbarism, have been essentially avoided by these “lefts”.
The fly “sophistication” of the CPGB Weekly Worker which is as hostile as any of the fake-“left” to the Syrian regime and the Russians, and pours out bilious poison against what it calls “political Islam”, deemed “even more reactionary” than imperialism, has been backpedalling as the extent of imperialist intervention and paid disinformation has become more exposed.
Of course, opines its latest paper agnostically, “you cannot really believe anything”, ostensibly even-handedly declaring that “all sides have their own version of who committed a massacre”.
But “all sides” are not precisely the same are they WW? One is imperialism which has invaded the region (and which until recently you tended to go along with, demonising the Syrians, Iranians and Russians).
That should always be disbelieved on principle unless hard evidence emerges otherwise, or unless one of the critical realist pieces thrown up by the bourgeois press should expose something to its detriment (which happens for various reasons such as infighting and recriminations among sections of the bourgeoisie, over Brexit eg, or for maintaining the fiction of an “objective” press, which without some leavening of the (partial) truth would see its propaganda rapidly lose all impact, or for technical information reasons, particularly for investors, in the financial press).
The other is the victim being blitzed and devastated and against whom the great deluge of lies is poured out precisely to sustain monopoly imperialist warmongering.
The WW argument sounds like the Leninist principle of wishing for the defeat of imperialism, from whatever direction, and by whoever is taking it on, without necessarily supporting or trusting such bourgeois nationalism as the opportunist Ba’athists in Damascus. Perfectly correct.
But applied this way it is actually academic nitpicking, and dishonest to boot. Of course if Western news says the Russians bombed an aid convoy, or cold-bloodedly slaughtered 100 civilians and the Russians say they did not, then you can only disbelieve one side at a time and the pretence of “balance” is just so much cop-out.
To underline this sophistry the WW’s resident Middle East commentator Yasmine Mather goes on to declare:
Of course, none of this justifies the horrific crimes committed by the Syrian army and its Iranian and Lebanese allies, who even in victory have shown terrible vindictiveness and brutality in dealing with the civilian population.
So that’s a big vote of confidence in completely unverified imperialist allegations then?
It all makes mockery of the WW’s disdain for other Trot groups especially as the CPGB plays through the same excuses for initially supporting this obvious counter-revolution:
Despite all this, some sections of what remains of the Fourth International and pro-Zionist groups such as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty tell us that the western-supported ‘Syrian revolution’ was a significant part of the ‘Arab spring’ to be defended by socialists. I have no doubt that there were genuine protests by the Syrian opposition in the winter and spring of 2013 against the Assad regime...
...but this was killed off once pro-Sadui jihadist got involved.
As if that was not clear straight off!
And the real target of the WW’s hatred becomes clear in its pessimistic conclusion that:
The so-called ‘socialists’ who support imperialist interventions for ‘humanitarian’ reasons should hang their head in shame. The only hope of defeating political Islam in the region is through a revolution from below – a prospect that every imperialist intervention over the last three decades has made more distant.
So not a question of defeating imperialism at all then?? Just blaming it for not smashing up the Middle East more judiciously???
What a bunch of poisonous confusion mongers these former revisionist, now crypto-Trotskyists have become!
Meanwhile warning the working class not to trust Assad or Putin politically is a different matter entirely, and confusion on this produces equally disastrous results from the “left” journalists and mostly revisionist groups supporting Assad and cheering on Putin’s intervention.
Defeat for the main imperialist enemy is the Leninist principle, but no faith or trust in anything which is not clearly Leninism, a workers state (eg Cuba, revisionist China, North Korea, Vietnam - for all their revisionist shortcomings) or at least heading clearly in that direction.
As it happens the past record of Russian intervention is one of grotesque heavy handedness, particularly over Chechnya for example where it has behaved like a complete imperialist thug, brutally and crudely suppressing a perfectly valid national-liberation struggle (as the EPSR analysed in 2004 - see issue 1248 14-09-04) which continues to have the same justification as any other such struggle for as long as Russia remains an oligarch serving capitalist restoration.
Despite the balancing act the Putinite state carries out between the oligarchs and the former Soviet legacy, (reining in the greatest billionaire excesses in order to prevent total collapse and to head off the potential revolution that is sure to revive otherwise - as it started to in the late 1990s) this Bonapartism does not show significant signs of returning to Soviet relationships economically or politically.
To the contrary - Putin’s agonising over the forthcoming centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, not wanting to celebrate positively what is the most significant advance in human history of the twentieth century, or in fact the last half millennium, demonstrates clearly his anti-communism.
And this anti-revolutionism, equally apparent in the Assad regime, finds its crudest expression in the sweeping condemnations of “terrorism” that both blame for the civil war and the disruption instead of seeing capitalism as the enemy.
All of which conveniently allows the revisionists and the “conspiracists” to line themselves up with the rest of the craven fake-“left”, joining the “anti-terrorist” chorus of the horrified petty bourgeoisie (stampeded by the hurricane of imperialist scaremongering and hatred) and even putting them alongside the monstrous Donald Trump and his “bomb the shit out of ISIS” nazism.
These shallow condemnations of some generic “terrorism” (which is only a name applied by imperialism to all the anti-imperialist confusion and turmoil in the world,) takes the revisionists into some very bizarre and reactionary places.
First of all it is a completely un-Marxist way of grasping the world to accept such a meaningless concept as “terrorism” as some kind of generic political philosophy (to be opposed) when it is only a description of a technique or method of fighting (which is not normally that advocated by Marxism for reasons of effectiveness only, the mass political education of the working class movement in revolutionary understanding being seen as the better course).
Secondly it suggests there is some other class element in the world (and therefore some other set of property relations) called “jihadism” etc which is a million miles from Marxist analysis, in which modern history is dominated by the conflict between the two major classes, of monopoly capitalism and great proletarian majority.
Bizarre and confused as they are (the result of decades of revisionist miseducation), the rising turmoils are nearly all anti-imperialist, except for the bogus groupings assembled or recruited by capitalism, who on close analysis mostly prove to be assorted reactionaries, petty bourgeois stooges and opportunism, or sometimes confused sectarianism (and the latter are constantly “blowing-back” as the impact of the world crisis overrides everything).
Only concrete and specific analysis – the constant insistence throughout Lenin’s brilliant 50 volume strong writings, – of each and every one of these movements, can allow the sheep to be sorted from the goats.
But declaring that all “jihadism” is just “reactionary headbanging” and “mercenaries for imperialism” as Lalkar/Proletarian does for example, is nothing to do with such an analysis but instead is the shallowest of philistine impressionism.
It results in major tangles and wrong alignments.
First, if all “Islamic jihadism” is to be condemned what becomes of such obvious anti-imperialism as the Hamas leadership of the Palestinian revolt (and the more so because its Sunni-ism puts it against Assad)? Is it still a “revolutionary duty to support them” as Proletarian has pompously declared before (wrongly in fact, as the same Leninist principle of wishing for the defeat of the main enemy but without supporting non-Marxist leadership, even here, still applies).
Or conversely what is to be said of the Iranian Ayatollahocracy, already an actual Islamic State, with sharia law, brutally repressive of communism, full of “jihadist” revolutionary guards, and fighting alongside Assad in Syria, but declared to be part of an “axis of resistance” by Proletarian and therefore also to be “supported”???
Or what of the Sinai guerrilla fighters who both support the Gaza Palestinians and are increasingly militantly taking on the barbaric Sisi Egyptian regime, which after a bogus “new revolt extending the Arab Spring for secular democracy” (idiotically cheered on by Lalkar/Proletarian), suppressed the actual Arab Spring with cold blooded massacres of unarmed women and children in the streets in 2013 and has followed through with a vicious repression of mass execution, torture and intensive anti-working class surveillance, while re-establishing links with the Zionists, and being back on the payroll of Washington military and civil subsidy bribes????
Staggeringly the confusion that follows from all-out support for Syria leads on to denouncing everything else and all the spontaneous struggles which fall on the other side.
Its shallow one-sidedness is nothing to do with the profound dialectical grasp of movement and change which is at the heart of Marxism, for all the posturing pretences these mountebanks have of being a “party of theory”.
Condemning all “terror” means failing to see the great turmoil in the world, as part of the great crisis breakdown of capitalism and the resistance developing everywhere, which while it is a long way from being any kind of conscious proletarian movement, let alone a communist movement or even particularly on a direct path towards such, is certainly not the “enemy”.
This path puts the revisionists in some very weird places - effectively declaring that Donald Trump nazism is progress for example, and standing alongside the monstrous barbarism being inflicted on Mosul by American and British troops!!
They even hesitantly cheer on the grotesque capitalist supporting, demagogue Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, whose fascist egging on of death-squad vigilantism - notionally against “drug dealers” - has seen the summary execution of over 5000 mostly poor and working class victims untried, and unproven of any crimes, which even if true are not deserving of this kind of barbarity.
Since when has this kind of “clean-up”, which can equally “take out” all kinds of “rebellious individuals” with no questions asked, had anything to do with revolution and anti-imperialism?
It is not civil war, being fought with a conscious revolutionary purpose.
Just the opposite, Duterte is part of a capitalist ruling class and state. He even venerates the most grotesque of all the capitalist stooges in the Philippines, reburying the dictator Ferdinand Marcos recently, in a heros’ graveyard, and confesses personally to such killing:
The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has repeated claims that he killed suspected criminals as he vowed no let-up in his war on drugs that has already claimed thousands of lives.
In an hour-long speech on Friday to Filipinos in Singapore, Duterte referred to international news coverage of his claims this week that in his previous role as mayor of a major southern city he killed suspects to set an example for police.
“To spare you embarrassment about the crawlers on television that have been running on CNN and even the BBC since yesterday that says Duterte admits killing or shooting the criminals: they were not mistaken,” he said.
People in the 6,500-strong crowd cheered as Duterte used his trademark strong language to promise his drug war would continue.
“Sons of whores I will really kill these idiots,” he said.
“My campaign on drugs will not end, until the end of my term six years from now when every drug pusher is [killed],” he said, making a throat-cutting gesture.
Duterte said he had killed three men during a hostage-taking incident in Davao City where he was mayor for more than 20 years.
“It was not because I was walking around that I killed,” he said. “It was actually an event that was covered by the TV … I said I killed about three of them. I didn’t really know how many bullets from my gun went through inside their bodies.”
More than 5,000 people have been killed since Duterte took office in late June, leading to fears of mass extrajudicial killings and a breakdown in the rule of law.
A report by the Guardian in October cited a senior officer in the police force who claimed he led one of 10 special operations teams, each with 16 members, tasked with killing suspected drug users, dealers and criminals.
The officer claimed the hit squads were composed of active police officers and that the murders were conducted in such a way as to make them appear to be perpetrated by vigilantes to deliberately obscure police involvement and preclude investigation.
So if Trump’s rightwingers start to emulate this “strong man” shooting down “drug dealers” or maybe “illegal immigrants”, is that good too?
But again Duterte’s fight “against terrorists” – sending the capitalist state military to suppress the long running Islamic national liberation insurgency in the southern islands – overrides rationality for the Proletarian.
Duterte’s notional anti-Americanism is given as a reason to support this populist capitalist dictator - the recent US compromise deals and signs that he might not mean it, and the recent suppression of communist fighters, being the only basis for any doubts by the Proletarian.
But Duterte is simply riding the genuine tide of anti-imperialism in the monstrously oppressed and exploited people – as a dozen other such bourgeois nationalist thug dictators have done such as Panama’s Noriega, and Saddam Hussein.
And it is not ruled out that conditions of crisis will lead to all kinds of challenges against the empire by various countries and their national bourgeois leaders, as Saddam found himself doing. It is virtually guaranteed in fact.
But declaring this to be a reason to support them is not only nonsense but leads to all these subsequent positions, ending up alongside the foulest specimens being thrown up by capitalism’s slide into Nazi warmongering and repression.
Only brains addled with decades of Stalin’s revisionism could think so, saturated with the view that imperialism can no longer expand (as set out in Stalin’s 1952 Economic Problems of Socialism book) and can be “contained” by “peace struggle” while gradually the world shifts towards socialism.
Hence the revisionist’s outright support for Saddam Hussein (and Gaddafi, Assad, even Putin) (EPSR 1184 13-05-03):
The SLP Youth delusions about Saddam Hussein’s “anti-imperialist” credentials flow directly out of this paralysed inability to discuss Stalinism’s ultimate bankruptcy.
Moscow’s weak-minded determination to discourage “revolutionary provocations”, which led the mighty German CP to sleepwalk into total annihilation in 1933 and the Indonesian CP (even bigger and even more impressive) to do the same in 1965, - never stopped pretending that anti-imperialist nationalism (e.g. the Sukarno regime pre-1965 in Indonesia) was just as good for the eventual triumph of world socialism (via the Soviet camp winning the peaceful competition with the imperialist camp) as all-the-way revolutionary socialist regimes.
In such Revisionist thinking, once Saddam had stopped being a totally tame stooge of US imperialist policy in the 1970s and had started doing arms deals with the Soviet Union, - then nothing further should be anticipated than the continued onward triumphal march of Moscow’s international “anti-imperialist” coalition of the Socialist Camp, the Non-Aligned states of national-liberation, and the world communist movement.
The obvious total collapse of this Revisionist nonsense post-1990 still cannot register with Stalin worship sectarianism. Naturally, in the world of such long-standing gradualist delusions, such spontaneous “anti-imperialism” resistance (as Saddamism had evolved into under decaying monopoly capitalist pressure would “inevitably go the whole hog one day into total socialist defiance and independence”; - just like it was supposed to happen the whole world over in the good old days of Stalinism. What sad rot.
Leninist science, freed from Revisionist blinkers, would surely have reached the completely different conclusion that the opportunist tyrant Saddam (admitted by SLP Youth) was first and foremost never to be identified as anything but TOTALLY UNRELIABLE, - a petty bourgeois class-treachery, anti-theory disaster just waiting to happen, - going completely rotten just like so many other Moscow Revisionism protégés of the treacherous “peaceful road/peaceful coexistence” era.
Any defeat or setback for the imperialist occupation policy, - by any means, - was the only sensible perspective to educate the world revolutionary movements understanding with, concentrating on the CLASS ENEMY as the only fixed point in this swirling, anti-theory, anti-communist chaos that has been unleashed on the world by the ultimate failure of Stalinist Revisionism, - and encouraging no confidence whatever in any chance defiance of monopoly imperialism that opportunist nationalism might produce (but didn’t under Saddam, - but might usefully yet, under the Shias).
In Iraq as everywhere, an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY is a party of world revolutionary perspective, replacing the collapse into Stalinist Revisionist nonsense of the Third International from the 1920s onwards, - and ONLY such a party can be built on and relied-upon, in Iraq or anywhere else, including Britain.
Further contradictions thrown up now include the obvious fact that Putinism is not socialism, and continues to run an oligarch gangster capitalism; to solve this Lalkar/Proletarian recently ran a gigantic 5-page article to “prove” that Russia is no longer an oligarch state, but a new kind of “bourgeois nationalism”.
The wriggling revisionist evasions of Marxism get barmier and more dishonest daily.
Only the fight for Leninism can make any sense.
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