Imperialism’s Dead-End in Syria Hastened by Russia and China’s Increased Support to Syrian Government – Danny Haiphong/Black Agenda Report
“Their efforts have called imperialism’s bluff”
US imperialism’s nearly five-year proxy war to destabilize the sovereign state of Syria has entered a critical juncture. The hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled from the war torn country have given the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the rest of the imperial alliance responsible for the chaos a new basis to continue the war. The ruling class of these bloodthirsty states has used the refugee crisis as a means to renew talk of overthrowing the Syrian government. This has always been imperialism’s primary objective in Syria. What has changed is Russia and China’s willingness to allow the imperialist proxy war to continue without a counter response.
Russia and China have increased their aid to the Syrian government in a broader effort to stabilize the secular state from the ruin imposed by imperialist-backed terrorist forces. Russia’s aid to Syria consists of aircraft, weaponry, and logistical personnel. China is providing naval support. Additionally, Iran and Iraq have also declared support for the non-western coalition’s protection of Syrian sovereignty. This emerging coalition has ingeniously framed its aid to Syria as a serious effort to eradicate ISIS terrorist forces from the region. Their efforts have called imperialism’s bluff.
If Washington and its imperial friends were serious about getting ridd of ISIS terrorists, they would logically support any effort to combat them. But imperialism’s so called coalition to fight ISIS has responded to Russia and China’s support for the Syrian government with more war provocations. The imperialist coalition headed by the US has asked Greece and other allied nations to halt Russian flights into Syria. And through its sworn leader in Washington, the coalition has warned Russia to cease its “military build up” and support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Such hypocritical responses on the part of imperialism reveal the true contours of the coalition’s role in Syria.
“China is proving naval support.”
Rewind to 2011, when the US openly targeted the Syrian government for regime change. The US and its imperial allies gave billions of dollars in support to jihadists groups that invaded Syria from all sides of its borders, primarily through Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. These forces were called “rebels” and “opposition” fighters, not terrorists. So-called “rebels” were depicted as heroic fighters for freedom from the Assad “regime.” Although Syria experienced such false propaganda alongside tens of thousands of civilian casualties and severe damage to its infrastructure, the nation’s people did not allow the terrorist “opposition” to take power. This forced Washington to seek authorization for a full-scale military escalation in Syria, which was ultimately interrupted by Russian intervention and anti-war sentiment globally.
Russia’s successfully brokered peace agreement was the first real embarrassment for the imperialists in Syria. This was followed by the reelection of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in 2014. His reelection was supported by nearly 90 percent of the Syrian electorate. Imperialism countered Assad’s victory with an initiative against a new boogeyman, the Islamic State. The US and its allies have since coalesced to conduct airstrikes in Syria and funnel support to what they now call “moderate” jihadist fighters. A DIA report on the US role in creating ISIS and new revelations that so-called “moderate” jihadist forces can be counted on one hand have further exposed the contradiction between imperialism’s stated aims in Syria and its concrete actions in the region.
“Imperialism has calculated that the development of global resistance in this period must be eradicated.”
Since arguably 1979, when the imperialists sponsored the Mujahideen proxy forces to destabilize socialist Afghanistan, the US and its allies have sought to make the entire region more fit for imperialist penetration. They have done so through a policy of destabilization in the form of both terrorist proxy forces and military invasions. Syria has been on the chopping block for over a decade, with Iran, Russia, and China to follow. These nations form a resistance axis that has proven more than capable of disrupting imperialism’s economic and political hegemony in the world. Imperialism has calculated that the development of global resistance in this period must be eradicated. Endless war has ensued.
The war being waged on Syria provides ample evidence that imperialism has hit a dead end. Jihadist foot soldiers cannot be trusted, as the US-backed destruction of Libya demonstrates clearly. The only choices the US and its allies have in Syria are full-scale military invasion or a withdrawal of aid from the jihadists and a negotiated settlement among all parties, Russia included. The former would potentially send the global capitalist economy into a crash and further isolate the US and its partners in the world. It would also place the jihadists in power, a development that would serve imperialism little benefit. The latter would concede defeat to the forces of resistance and delay imperialism’s plans for the region. Neither option provides long-term relief or benefit for imperialism.
But because imperialism is a global system driven by the interrelated forces of exploitation and profit, the interests of its rulers can only be satisfied by war. War is imperialism’s only means of expansion in a period where the capitalist economy is experiencing a steadily decreasing rate of growth in addition to its periodic crises. No longer can the US or its allies afford to wage war and institute compliant puppet governments capable of developing a particular nation in its image. What imperialism does from here in Syria, as displayed by President Obama’s speech at the recent UN General Assembly, is not a matter of choice. We should expect imperialism to continue to stand against Russia and China’s genuine fight against the Islamic State. If war is all the imperialist system has left in its arsenal, than it will take a counter war of a revolutionary kind to bring about the social transformation necessary for peace.
Danny Haiphong is an organizer for Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and FIST can be reached at email@example.com