Syria needs solidarity not Western intervention!

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Statement by the Socialist Alliance (Australia)

February 9, 2012 -- Socialist Alliance supports, and expresses its full solidarity with, the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

We also condemn the interference by Western imperialist powers and the threats of military intervention. Further, we call on the Australian government to extract itself from the US alliance and its involvement in aggressive multinational military operations.

The death toll in Syria is now more than 6000. We condemn the Syrian government’s military repression of protests and Assad’s refusal to yield to the wishes of the Syrian people to step down. We also condemn the four decades of repressive rule by Assad and his father Hefaz al-Assad.

Western policy in the resource-rich and strategically important Middle East remains devoted to maintaining Western global dominance. The West’s very selective opposition to tyranny in the Middle East — opposing some, while propping up the most tyrannical regimes in region — is transparently motivated by how compliant a tyranny is to imperialism’s interests.

Socialist Alliance is opposed to any UN Security Council resolution that could be used as a pretext for military intervention by the NATO-led imperialist powers. While the resolution vetoed by Russia and China on February 4 was framed as support for the Syrian democratic uprising and preventing further blood letting, this cannot be taken at face value given that the resolution was sponsored by Morocco and promoted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

All three countries have notoriously undemocratic and violent Western-backed monarchies.

In a similar way, the March 2011 United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya was also framed as support for a democratic uprising and to prevent further bloodshed. However the NATO military intervention it authorised escalated the conflict to a full-scale war that cost at least 30,000 lives.

While the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is dead, and NATO and its allies (including Australia) are calling the aftermath of the intervention "liberation", Libya today is neither democratic nor peaceful.

The past decade's US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are further examples of military interventions sold as bringing peace and democracy, but doing the opposite.

The West’s unconditional support for Israel (including $4 billion annual military aid from the US alone) also makes a mockery of Western claims to support democracy in Syria and other Arab countries. Not only does Israel deny any possibility of national or democratic rights for Palestinians, since 1967 it has illegally occupied the Syrian Golan Heights.

Socialist Alliance condemns attempts by the Western powers and their regional allies to control and manipulate the uprising. We reject the Western-backed externally based Syrian National Council’s claims to be the sole voice of the Syrian uprising.

Socialist Alliance opposes the Western powers, either directly or through their regional proxies, manipulating the uprising and promoting particular groups within the opposition. Already Saudi Arabia and Qatar are giving material support to extremist Islamist groups within the opposition.

Not only are these groups opposed to democracy, they have undermined the multifaith, multiethnic nature of the opposition and assisted the Assad regime which, since the start of the uprising, has tried to smear it as “religious sectarianism”.

Socialist Alliance believes that the struggles of the Syrian people themselves, and the democratic struggles occurring in other Arab countries, offer hope for the liberation of Syria. Western intervention only offers an escalation of violence.

We do not accept that opposing Western intervention in the Middle East means having to support undemocratic regimes as "a lesser evil".

Socialist Alliance:

• condemns the violent repression of democratic protests by the Syrian government;

• supports the Syrian democracy protest movement, as well as similar movements in other Arab countries including Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen;

• condemns attempts to use the Al-Bashar regime's repression of democratic protests in Syria as a pretext for imperialist military intervention and political interference;

• calls on the Australian government to cease its involvement in diplomatic manoeuvres designed to provide pretexts for intervention and interference;

• calls on the Australian government to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and break from the military alliance with the US;

• calls on the Australian government to cease its unconditional support for Israel, to demand full democratic and national rights for Palestinians and demand the return of the Golan Heights to Syria.