APP - Understanding Syria and the US

I'm Watermark

Syria: Popular Revolution

We need to challenge the idea that the Syrian Revolution is an imperialist plot hatched in Washington (a lie peddled by regime supporters) or that the West has any interest in a successful Syrian Revolution (a fantasy peddled by the liberal opposition). We also need to challenge the idea that the Arab Spring has come and gone, and that we are now witnessing an Arab Winter.

Instead, we need to view the Arab Spring as part of the global crisis of capitalism, which in the Arab countries was precipitated by a very rapid adoption of neoliberal economic policies (by both pro-imperialist and "anti"-imperialist regimes). So the struggle is not just a political one to replace regime figures at the top of the pyramid. It is also a basic fight for profound social and economic changes to address the underlying issues of tyranny, corruption, occupation, poverty, economic development, social justice, real representation and democracy--all of which cannot be resolved or delivered from the top or overnight.

So we should view what's happening as a revolutionary process, which is far from over and may continue for some years. But we also must realize that there are no such things as pure revolutions. By their nature, revolutions put into motion all kinds of social layers (some of which may hold reactionary ideas) involving millions of people in activity often for the first time in their lives.

These people are making their own history, but often times under some of the worst conditions imaginable, including decades of repression that have destroyed any independent political parties, unions or workers' organization (with the blessing of some leftist parties themselves). It is utterly ridiculous to expect a revolutionary movement to spring forth under these conditions and present to the world its fully formulated Marxist revolutionary program led by the working class.

We are also anti-imperialists and are opposed to U.S. bullying, invasions and occupations in the Middle East, but that doesn't mean we can wash our hands of the Syrian people simply because Washington is determined to interfere in their uprising. Genuine anti-imperialism doesn't mean that we ignore one of the greatest popular efforts to unseat an entrenched ruling class--a movement with such deep social roots that it has withstood the military might of an inhumanely violent dictatorship at a terrible cost: more than 90,000 people killed, hundreds of thousands injured and more than 5 million displaced internally and externally.

Chemical Weapons

After the Iraq War, I think we are all rightly suspicious anytime Washington starts talking about weapons of mass destruction. And after more than 90,000 Syrians have been killed by conventional weapons, why is Obama drawing the line when 150 people are killed by sarin gas?

So let's look at how this has actually played out.

Instead of running with it, Obama initially kept shuffling his feet and moving his red lines. There was no immediate push for international intervention. In fact, there is no international consensus that direct intervention should occur, and instead, this is being used more politically.

Actually, the aggressive push for military intervention from the more hawkish McCain camp isn't so much because Assad has or used chemical weapons, but because they fear that he might lose control of these chemical weapons, and they end up "falling into the hands of the jihadists."
Wow. That's awful close to what I said. Someday, Rose, you'll be a god socialist like me. :)


I predict we will do nothing here. Assad is our guy. We prop up most dictatorships behind the scenes. Toppling him would send the wrong message to the other bullies in the region.
I predict we will do nothing here. Assad is our guy. We prop up most dictatorships behind the scenes. Toppling him would send the wrong message to the other bullies in the region.

But we also typically overthrow them once they get especially brutal, just to avoid bad press.