With the now sanctioned “revelation” that chemical weapons have been used by the regime of Syrian President Basir al Assad. The administration of US president Barack Obama has publicly announced its intent to enter more directly into a civil war, which according to the United Nations has already left over 93,000 people dead. While the script may seem familiar, arming the “rebels”, calls for a ‘no fly zone’ and the requisite demonization of today’s villain Bashar al Assad. The performance promises pitfalls with consequences perhaps more dramatic than the warm-ups that we have recently witnessed.
A consideration of the alignment of geopolitical forces in Syria must give any sane person pause for thought. Indeed the slowness and initial caution which has characterized Washington’s approach toward the situation in Syria is telling. That same deliberation and the circumstances which have brought about the current move toward action on the part of the US rulers must indicate the degree to which their drive toward intervention in Syria is not likely to be half-hearted or otherwise partial.
Behind the pretext of chemical weapons use lies the fact of a substantial turn on the battlefield in favor of the Assad regime and the general sense that the engagement of Iran supported Hezbollah fighters and the indirect support of Russia has bolstered the the Syrian Government forces and portends a victory for Assad and his backers that would further strengthen he position of Iran and Russia in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and further weaken the position of US imperialism vis–à–vis the aspirations of regional powers and to a certain extent America’s post-colonial European financial rivals.
The geopolitical power and influence of the United States ruling class in the MENA region has suffered blow after blow since the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran by a mass social movement there. The collapse of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s did nothing to stabilize conditions in the region as regards the political and financial interests of the United States. To the contrary the relative bipolar hegemonic stability of the Cold War period has given way to rising aspirations and increasing political resistance on the part of working people and middle class elements in the region. Recent developments referred to as the ‘Arab Spring’ give evidence to this fact and point to the weakness of once reliable allies in the global quest for “stability” in the bourgeois-nationalist regimes, former Stalinist, proto-Stalinist, and “authoritarian” nation-states. Increasingly the US ruling class finds itself without a reliable transmission belt for its interests in developing countries and is left with no alternative other than direct military intervention as a method of attempting to chart the course of historical events. The effects of these interventions, however, are, as a rule, beyond the control of their progenitors. This may be witnessed by viewing the current relationship of social forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan and as much so in Libya where the European governments played a significant military role.
On the side of the Syrian regime stands Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. A significant question as the conflict in Syria widens is what will be engagement of majority Shiite Iraq. On the side of the Syrian opposition stands most of the Arab governments such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Turkey’s Erdogan regime, and the state of Israel.
Virtually every unresolved conflict in the MENA region stands to be exacerbated by a widening globalized proxy war in Syria. In Saudi Arabia, most of the Gulf states as well as Pakistan, Shiite Muslims experience life as an oppressed minority in the society at the hands of the dominant Sunni Majority. In Bahrain a recent mass uprising on the part of the oppressed Shia majority was recently put down by the direct intervention of Saudi troops and tanks and the massive recruitment of Pakistani mercenary soldiers. Amongst Shiite populations suffering discrimination, sympathy for the minority Alawite (an offshoot of Shia Islam) government of Assad is high and fear of a rise in the power of Sunni Islam is a significant motivator. In Iraq the recently deposed regime of Saddam Hussein oppressed the majority Shiite population until the tables were turned by the US intervention. Sectarian tensions and violence in Iraq remain a significant problem.
Syria shares a border with Israel and Palestine as well as Lebanon. On more than one occasion the Hezbollah forces presently aiding the Assad regime have been in direct military conflict with the Israeli defense forces.
The massive oil resources of the Persian Gulf region are to a great extent husbanded by autocratic monarchical governments such as that in Saudi Arabia. Within these states no real political rights are recognized, women are as a rule subjected to complete patriarchal domination. Hundreds of thousands of contract workers are imported to perform basic labor tasks. These workers hold only temporary status and are generally deprived of most labor rights. As previously mentioned large populations of Shiite Muslims who live in these states are discriminated against. Among the unresolved and potentially volatile conditions in the MENA must be understood the fact that monarchical forms of political rule are not likely to last to the end of the 21st century and that preservation of a stable mechanism for the exploitation of the Gulf region’s vast oil wealth remains at the top of the imperialists concerns.
The article below, text is hot-linked to the complete AFP article is instructive
Syria, Russia dismiss US chemical weapons claims
AFP excerpt—June 15, 2013—
Qassem Saadedine, a Supreme Military Council commander, called Obama’s decision to send weapons “very brave”.
“Our hope is that the weapons will start arriving in the coming weeks, but we are still in talks about when and how to supply weapons. My hope is we will start seeing a change in the next two weeks.”
Islamist rebel fighters on the ground in Syria were more skeptical. “All of us inside Syria know the truth is America hates Sunni Muslims,” said Abu Bilal, a Sunni insurgent in Homs.
“We consider America an enemy and see it as quite unlikely that it will actually give the mujahideen weapons. Instead it will be preparing its own agenda, so that it can hit the rebels just like it will hit the regime,” he told the Reuters news agency.
An Islamist field commander in Hama said he would take the weapons if he could get them: “Everyone here right now is working on the principle that their enemy’s enemy is their friend. America is against Bashar right now, at least publicly.”
“As for us, we will look at the issue this way: we do not object to groups that take weapons from America. We will object to those who try to spread its secular ideas in Syria.”
Links below are for further reading.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/20136171621715181.html Lebanon Spillover