Socialist Worker

Say no to war on Syria and Iraq

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2422

The US has launched a massive air assault over Syria this week, after two weeks of bombing Iraq.

Still from US defence department footage of missiles being fired at Syria from the USS Arleigh Burke on Tuesday of this week

Still from US defence department footage of missiles being fired at Syria from the USS Arleigh Burke on Tuesday of this week


David Cameron backed the bombing and looked set to get parliament to support British forces joining attacks on Iraq.

Syrian socialist Ghayath Naisse told Socialist Worker that the West’s actions “can only make things worse”.

“Western intervention has been a disaster for Iraq and Libya,” he said. “It can only bring even greater disaster for Syria.

“And it will strengthen Isis, which tries to paint itself as the only serious ­anti-imperialist movement, rather than the sectarian outfit it is.”

The new attacks threaten to drag the whole region into greater instability. More than 100,000 Kurdish refugees fled from Syria to Turkey last weekend to escape the conflict.

Western rulers aren’t motivated by humanitarian concerns.

Ghayath said, “After defeat in Iraq and the Arab revolutions, the imperial powers are seizing on the opportunity to reimpose their hegemony over the region.”

He added that the Arab states that have joined the intervention also want to boost the counter-revolution.

“Saudi Arabia and the Gulf kingdoms used political Islam to maintain internal and regional order,” he said.

“Now they see Islamic State as a direct threat to this.”

Fear of the revolutions lies behind the latest wars. Bashar al-Assad’s regime used Islamic State to help break the popular revolution.

“Assad and Islamic State had an unofficial agreement not to attack each other,” explained Ghayath. 

“This left the regime free to bomb cities, while the Islamists murdered secular activists.”

Assad now sees a chance to regain “legitimacy” with the West as part of an alliance against Islamic State. Ghayath added that there is a “consensus” among rebel groups to welcome the West.

“The regime and sections of the opposition are competing to become the most effective US ally in the battle against Islamic State,” he said.

But the West is no ally of the struggle against dictatorships or Islamic State.

The roots of the problem lie with the West. 

“Islamic State is the child of the Western occupation of Iraq and the sectarian disaster that followed,” said Ghayath.

“Only a popular mass movement is capable of confronting it and the authoritarian regimes.”

Protest on Thursday 25 September, 5:30pm, Downing Street, central London. stopwar.org.uk

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