Arms and the Means: the Left and Arming the Syrian Opposition.
Is this as clear as it seems?
Does part of the left back arming the Syrian opposition to the murderous Assad regime?
A few months ago the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste site carried an article making this call by Jacques Babel.
the responsibility of the international workers’ and democratic movementto demand that our governments immediately provide weapons to the Free Syrian Army, which should be obliged to defend the Syrian revolution.
Justified mistrust of any direct imperialist intervention should not lead to the abandonment of the Syrian people, but to the demand for the democratic control of supplies and aid, including a greatly increased level of humanitarian assistance.
Our responsibility is to immediately provide all possible assistance to the insurgents, from our civil society to their civil society, and to defend Syrian refugees who manage to get into ‘fortress’ Europe.
15th of June.
The NPA’s most recent statement condemns the projected Western intervention in Syria.
In fact it is titled,
Against any military intervention.
They add, Total support for the Syrian revolution.
What does this mean?
…we reaffirm that the great Western powers, by refusing to deliver the weapons demanded for so many months by the collective structures of struggle set up by the people, also bear a heavy responsibility for the perpetuation of the murderous regime, while contributing to the development of religious obscurantist currents which constitute a second mortal enemy for the Syrian people.
On the Fourth International’s site, there is a statement from some small Arab left groups (Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt) – Revolutionary Left Current (Syria) – Union of Communists (Iraq) – Al-Mounadil-a (Morocco) – Socialist Forum (Lebanon) – League of the Workers’ Left (Tunisia) paints a sombre picture of the horrific events unfolding in Syria.
Despite the enormous losses mentioned above, befalling all Syrians, and the calamity inflicted on them, no international organization or major country – or a lesser one – felt the need to provide practical solidarity or support the Syrians in their struggle for their most basic rights, human dignity, and social justice.
The only exception was some Gulf countries, more specifically Qatar and Saudi Arabia. However, their aim was to control the nature of the conflict and steer it in a sectarian direction, distorting the Syrian revolution and aiming to abort it, as a reflection of their deepest fear that the revolutionary flame will reach their shores. So they backed obscurantist takfiri groups, coming, for the most part, from the four corners of the world, to impose a grotesque vision for rule based on Islamic sharia. These groups were engaged, time and time again, in terrifying massacres against Syrian citizens who opposed their repressive measures and aggressions inside areas under their control or under attack, such as the recent example of villages in the Latakia countryside.
A large block of hostile forces, from around the world, is conspiring against the Syrian people’s revolution, which erupted in tandem with the uprisings spreading through a large section of the Arab region and the Maghreb for the past three years. The people’s uprisings aimed to put an end to a history of brutality, injustice, and exploitation and attain the rights to freedom, dignity, and social justice.
Do they back arming anybody?
This declaration ends with a call, “Break open the arms depots for the Syrian people to struggle for freedom, dignity, and social justice.
A statement by the British Socialist Resistance (British section of the Fourth International) and the International Socialist Network (29th of August) further complicates the position,
For over two years, Britain, the USA and France have stood by, refusing to deliver defensive anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to the progressive and democratic components of the opposition, for fear that the toppling of the Assad regime may extend and deepen the revolution which started in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011.
Gilbert Achcar from the Fourth International yesterday makes this extraordinary claim (displaying what can only be called a mind-reading ability through the complexities of US policy-making),
Washington does not want the Syrian people to topple the dictatorship: it wants to force on the Syrian opposition a deal with the bulk of the regime, minus Assad. This is the so-called Yemen solution that President Barack Obama has been actively pursuing since last year, and that Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to promote by cozing up to his Russian counterpart.
He ends with this observation
…it is the duty of all those who claim to support the right of peoples to self-determination to help the Syrian people get the means of defending themselves.
Not surprisingly this call to arm the “Syrian people” (en bloc) has created a massive rumpus and splits in Left Unity (in which Socialist Resistance and the International Socialist Network Participate).
It may well be the case that (as these two groups say) that,
We reject the notion that this rebellion has been co-opted by imperialism. This remains a popular revolution by a people struggling to free itself from oppression. It is a key component of the Arab spring which has inspired the masses of the region and beyond.
We oppose both the “humanitarian intervention” of Britain, France and the USA, and the pro-Assad intervention by Iran and Russia. Instead, we choose to be on the side of the revolutionary masses struggling for their emancipation, and extend our solidarity in particular to the democratic and progressive components of the revolution.
But how exactly are they going to sift through the complex political forces at play, from traditional Islamists, nationalists, Sunni groups, democrats, nationalists, social democrats, socialists, to jihadists, to get arms to those the Fourth International (and the NPA) considers to be the authentic “revolutionary masses”?
Subscribe to comments with RSS.