Socialist Worker

The regime and the West are both threats to Syrian Revolution

by Joseph Daher, Syrian Revolutionary Left Current
Issue No. 2368

The logo of Syrias Revolutionary Left current

The logo of Syria's Revolutionary Left current


The dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad attacked the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta with chemical weapons and toxic gas on Wednesday of last week.

It killed more than 1,000 people, including many women and children.

This new massacre was part of a general offensive against one of the bastions of the revolution. 

It comes in the context of events around the region, especially the clampdown in Egypt. The reaction there has been led by the army and supported by Saudi Arabia, the centre of the counter-revolution. 

But the Syrian people will not kneel. They have been struggling for freedom and dignity for over two years now, despite the brutal repression and large-scale massacres.

Many popular demonstrations across the country condemned this new crime. Fridays are the usual day of mass popular demonstrations, and last Friday was called, “The terrorist Bashar kills civilians with chemical weapons as the world watches”.

Numerous sarcastic messages and placards mocked the West.

US President Barack Obama had said the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” not to be crossed. So revolutionaries wrote on a wall in besieged Homs “The next red line—the use of nuclear weapons”.

Mood 

But intervention by the West is the last thing we need—as a statement by the Revolutionary Left Current that captured the popular mood made clear (see right).

The US and European Union claim to be allies of the Syrian revolution.But the solution they repeatedly propose would be the worst one possible. 

They want a “peaceful transition” to a “political solution” that will maintain the structure of the system.

The only difference between them and the regime’s allies, Russia and Iran, is that the West wants to replace Assad with someone even more compliant.

The victory and spread of the revolution in Syria would be a threat to all the regimes. It would especially threaten the Gulf monarchies and Iran—and therefore the interests of both the US and Russia.

Popular demonstrations have also occurred in recent weeks and months in the areas of Syria liberated from the regime.

They challenge the authoritarianism of some extreme jihadist groups, especially arrests of revolutionary activists. The movement does not want to overthrow a dictatorship only to replace it by a new one.

These jihadist groups are reactionary and sectarian—and the Syrian revolution wants to break down sectarian and ethnic division—but they cannot be compared to the Syrian regime. 

Despite the new massacres and the Western interference, the determination of the Syrian people does not diminish.

As one demonstrator wrote on a placard, “You can jail a revolutionary, but you cannot jail the revolution.”


Who’s who?

Forces with different agendas are fighting over Syria’s future

  • The dictatorship has killed more than 100,000 people. It is backed by Russia, Iran and Hizbollah
  • Protests for reforms quickly became a revolutionary struggle in 2011. Popular committees still control many liberated areas
  • The rebel Free Syrian Army lacks funds, but sectarian jihadists are backed by the rich Gulf states
  • The US and European union have tried to promote politicians in exile and former regime figures, hoping for a smooth ‘transition’

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