‘Resist Now or Regret it Later’

Russia is not an authentic opposition to Trump and US Policy. And in the Middle East Putin’s minimum engagement is basically aimed at protecting Moscow’s long time ally Assad from total collapse while ensuring their stakes in future power-sharing arrangement in Damascus. But a power-transfer plan is yet to emerge despite several rounds of peace-talks in Geneva. The brutal war that Assad’s regime, with the active help of Russia and Iran, superimposed upon the peaceful protests of 2011 organised under the banner of ‘opposition’ has grown to include much of the world—four of five permanent members of UN Security Council are now involved, along with regional powers Saudi Arabia and NATO member Turkey, and thousands of Shia and Sunni jihadists.

The latest American missile attacks on a Syrian air-base in response to Assad’s alleged use of Chemical Weapons against civilians, particularly women and children, was possibly a warning that America under Trump might reverse Obama’s policy of non-intervention. Not that this was the first time there was international outcry about use of Chemical Weapons by the Syrian regime against its own people. There have been many accusations against Assad in past years, which have been routinely denied, but not effectively rebutted, leaving a lot to read between the lines. But America didn’t react beyond verbal condemnation. No doubt America has always been highly condemnatory of the ‘dictatorial’ Assad regime but until very recently restrained itself from directly interfering in the on-going civil war in Syria and assured American people that Syria won’t be another Vietnam. For one thing Syrians no longer call it a civil war, they call it a genocide and urge the international community not to lie.

America’s policy of regime change, ostensibly to restore democracy and replace autocratic and dictatorial regimes, got its first jolt in Syria, albeit how this imperial policy has created human catastrophe in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, defies description. Change it is but it is for the worse. After the much publicised change everywhere, all the ruling dispensations backed by America and its allies, are now surviving dangerously in a cycle of permanent violence and uncertainty. The six-year-old civil war in Syria rolls on and there is no early end in sight, notwithstanding continuation of Geneva peace diplomacy. Also, every now and then new militant groups are entering the fray making life difficult for ordinary Syrians. Well-armed fundamentalist forces, including the notorious ISIS are oppressors. They haven’t fought a battle seriously against the regime. All they have done is kidnap people, particularly women, put up check points and terrorise residents. With the support of some western powers, particularly Britain, the Syrian Opposition launched their ‘revolution’ with the one point agenda of ending the Assad dictatorship. But western support is not decisive and maybe they want more American commitment in their game plan. Not for nothing British Prime Minister rushed to Washington to congratulate Donald Trump for his bold action—missile attack against Syria.

It’s unlikely that Putin–Trump bonhomie will be over after the attacks. Western Powers desperately need more American involvement in the Syrian war because they have so far failed to contain different stakeholders, more precisely warlords, who have managed to retain their hold over fragmented territories and made Syria a living hell for millions.

It matters little to the people of Syria whether barbarity is by ISIS or by the government in power. Once a centre of ‘Bath Socialism’ is now a dangerous place for socialists. A sizeable portion of the Syrian population had already become refugees in their homeland and neighbouring Lebanon and many had reached western shores risking their lives. The Syrian war scenario has become more complex because of involvement of some regional powers, mainly Iran. And not quite unexpectedly Iran came forward to defend Assad and refute the charges of using Chemical Weapons, notwithstanding bone-chilling pictures of dead Syrian children displayed worldwide by the media. Many see a parallel between Saddam’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and Assad’s ‘Chemical Weapons’. They always use a pretext to launch war—but official denial by the Syrian government was not that convincing. America used nerve gas in Vietnam and they won’t hesitate to use it in future if the situation so demands. If atrocities done by all players active in Syria are taken into account, it can be safely concluded that a process of genocidal annihilation is going on while peace marchers across the world are simply talking of war, not lasting peace.

For the millions of Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans and Iraqis who have been forced to flee their homes, there is no escape from genocidal slaughtering. The Middle East is now a laboratory for testing modern as well as crude weapons. Peace activists across the world have failed to raise voice in unison against ‘death and destruction’. The American war machine that is in the main responsible for creating so many ‘Vietnams’, cannot be stopped unless the people in America resist Trump’s renewed war efforts, the way once the Vietnam era protests marches shook the world in 1969. The massive march and rally against the Vietnam War in 1969 was so far the largest political mobilisation in American history. Despite continuing war crimes against humanity, no Vietnam era demonstration is visible anywhere in the world.

In the 1960’s ‘March Against Death’ succeeded in building international solodarity against war, cutting across partylines and removing national boundaries. And in building that solidarity in five continents John Lenon’s tune ‘Give Peace A Chance’ worked miracle. If the leftists across the world fail to resist further escalation of war in Syria and elsewhere, they will have to regret it later.

Vol. 49, No.42, April 23 - 29, 2017