Syria is under attack by the imperialists and their agents. The Arab spring, which started out as a popular movement against comprador regimes that sell out to the imperialists, has been transformed and co-opted in many places by the imperialists themselves. The imperialists, especially the US and NATO, have sought to use the Arab spring to create color revolutions in places like Libya, Syria, and, eventually, Iran. At the same time, Gulf Arab states, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are seeking to spread their own hegemony in the region, often though the support and financing of Sunni Jihadi groups, in order to challenge Iran. The Zionists in Israel also seek to weaken Syria because to do so weakens Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iranian regime. Turkey, a Western ally, also seeks to extend its influence. Here are points to consider.
1. Several forces are coming together to undermine the Assad regime in Syria. The Western imperialists seek to undermine the regime as part of its war against growing Iranian power in the region. The Assad regime is part of a regional alliance that includes the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. When the United States pulls out of Iraq, pro-Iranian forces hope to fill the vacuum and seek to solidify the alliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran with Iraq. Thus Iranian influence will increase. At the moment, many are biding their time in Iraq.
2. The Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are financing the anti-Assad forces in Syria. The Sunni Gulf states fear the emerging power of Iran, which they seek to stop in Iraq. In addition, it would not be surprising if Qatar is putting boots on the ground against Assad as it did against Gaddafi in Libya. While they are close allies with the West, the Gulf states are willing and able to use the Sunni-Islamist forces that the West keeps at arms length.
3. The Assad regime is a secular one. However, many of the top officials of the regime come from the Alawi, a religious and cultural minority that has suffered terrible oppression in the past. The Alawi were some of the poorest and most discriminated in the region. One of the reasons that the Syrian regime has a greater degree of religious tolerance than other regimes in the region is due to the Alawi origins of the Assad family. Hafez al-Assad, after taking power, removed the provision of the Syrian constitution that only allowed Sunnis to occupy the office of President. The Alawi will not willingly give up their position in society to become lower caste again. This means they will fight tooth-and-nail to keep power. This means that those seeking to take power from them may end up resorting to ethnic terror. There is much potential for Syria to descend into a bloodbath.
4. The Zionists in Israel also seek to weaken Syria because to do so increases their hold on Palestine and increases their power in the region. In Palestine, Hamas, a Sunni organization, has maintained close ties with both the Iranian regime and Gulf states. Because of the ethnic and religious nature of the conflict in Syria, Hamas is in a tough spot. As of now, they have said the conflict in Syria is an internal matter to be resolved by Syrians, but have not come out publicly to back Assad. Hamas has backers in the Gulf states that are coming more and more into conflict with the Iranian state and Iranian-state-aligned forces. In addition, Hamas is religiously and culturally closer to those who oppose Assad. The conflict in Syria will undermine Hamas in Palestine. The West benefits greatly by placing Hamas in such a difficult situation. This is one reason that the Zionists in Israel are moving to destabilize Syria. In addition, a weakened Syria means a weakened Hezbollah in Lebanon. Also, Israel has an interest in isolating and toppling Iran.
5. The Russian state has a longstanding commitment to the Assad regime. The Assad regime had been an ally of the Soviet Union in its revisionist days. Unlike with Libya, at present, the Russian state is seeking to actively block the West from taking down the Assad regime. The Russian state is moving to impede Western efforts to undermine Syria diplomatically and in the UN. Also, the Russian state recently stated it would honor its arms deals with the Syrian regime. The Russian regime is pushing for a peaceful resolution that keeps Assad in power, rather than throwing the regime to the Western wolves. At the same time, if push comes to shove, or if the West cuts the Russian state a deal, it is very possible that the Russian state will cut its losses and abandon its ally. We should not expect the Russian state to go to war with the West over Syria. As broader efforts by the West unfold to isolate the Iranian state, the Iranian state will try to turn to the Russian state too.
6. Despite the left rhetoric or anti-imperialist Jihadi rhetoric of the anti-Assad forces, the reality is that, at this moment, such forces are playing into the hands of the West’s efforts to gain control of the region and the West’s aim of eventually toppling the Iranian regime. The Assad regime, for all its flaws, should be defended against Western intervention.
Hands off Syria! Hands off Iran! No war! No sanctions! No intervention of any kind against Syria and Iran! Uphold the Broad United Front! Hold the Red Flag High!