As the Assad regime turns to increasingly brutal methods in a desperate attempt to stay in power, the West is threatening to undermine the revolution with “no-fly zones”–while ignoring Israel’s threats to bomb Iran.
The revolution against Assad continues to spread, involving battles for control over every major city. Assad is losing control, with defections from high-ranking officials (the Prime Minister fled to Jordan) and troops refusing to fight and defecting. With his regime crumbling, Assad is resorting to increasingly brutal methods to stay in power—including sending fighter jets to bomb cities. Already 20,000 have been killed, 200,000 are refugees and Assad has threatened to use chemical weapons.
The West is arming sections of the Free Syrian Army through Saudi Arabia, and backing the right-wing leadership of the Syrian National Council—in order to try to hijack the revolution. The West has long wanted to remove Assad and impose a more compliant regime as a stepping-stone to confronting Iran.
As with Libya there is inter-imperial rivalry over Syria: France (under its new “socialist” government) is joining the US in pushing for “no-fly zones”, while Russia and China continue to support Assad. “No-fly zones” in Libya allowed NATO powers to bomb and hijack the leadership of the revolution, but the lack of forces on the ground limits their control.
The West’s hypocrisy over “no-fly zones” is revealed by the silent endorsement of Israel’s threats to bomb Iran. The US overthrew Iran’s democratic government in 1953 and installed the brutal shah, and when the Iranian revolution overthrew him the US armed Saddam Hussein to fight Iran. The 2003 Iraq War was supposed to pave the way for invading Iran, but resistance across the region has so far prevented it. So the US unleashed Israel to attack Lebanon in 2006 (during which there were no calls for “no-fly zones”) and threatens to support and Israeli attack on Iran before the US elections.
The best way to support people in the region is by stopping Western military intervention—whether it be “no-fly zones” in Syria, arming Saudi Arabia, or support for Israel.