Socialist Worker

Trump’s missiles pour more fuel on the fire

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2549

The USS Porter, one of the two warships that launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria last week, shown here launching a Tomahawk cruise missile at Iraq in 2003

The USS Porter, one of the two warships that launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria last week, shown here launching a Tomahawk cruise missile at Iraq in 2003 (Pic: US military)


US president Donald Trump took advantage of the Syrian regime’s latest atrocity last week to launch a major cruise missile attack on the Shayrat airfield.

Trump cynically mourned the “beautiful babies” killed by Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship.

This rings hollow from someone who has repeatedly tried to stop all Syrian refugees coming to the US, preferring to leave them to suffer and die.

Up to 70 people, including 20 children, died and many more were injured after Syrian regime forces bombed the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib.

The victims’ symptoms were consistent with nerve gases, such as sarin, that Assad used to kill around 1,200 people in 2013.

In a U-turn from his previous claim that he would not get involved with fighting Assad, Trump ordered the missile assault.

It won’t help suffering Syrian people. It will mean more deaths.

The West’s warmongers have no need to invent fake atrocities by a regime that commits so many real ones.

Despite initial boasting from the US military that its strike had reduced Assad’s ability to deploy chemical weapons, it had little ­military impact.

The airfield was back in use the following day, as the regime stepped up its bombing of rebel held areas.

Although barely a third of Trump’s 59 Tomahawk missiles hit their targets, his missile strike did succeed in killing several Syrian civilians, reportedly including children.

Faced with aggressive talk from the regime’s allies, the US ­administration rapidly stressed that this was a one-off “warning shot” with no immediate follow-up planned.

But the precedent has been set—and the tense rivalry between imperialist world and regional powers ratcheted up closer to war.

The Russian government denounced Trump’s “clear act of aggression”.

Slaughtering

Russian president Vladimir Putin has actively aided the Syrian regime in slaughtering its people to put down the popular revolution that erupted in 2011.

Russia said it would stop ­exchanging information with US forces in Syria.

If this hapens it risks clashes between Russian and Western jets bombing Isis.

Russia has also promised to reinforce the Syrian regime’s anti-aircraft defences and has sent its own cruise missile warship to the eastern Mediterranean.

The Syrian and Russian governments’ claim that the poison gas came from a rebel stockpile, which their bombs hit, is far-fetched.

The West’s warmongers have no need to invent fake atrocities by a regime that commits so many real ones.

But their crocodile tears are a poor camouflage for the power games that can only pour more fuel on the fire they started in the Middle East.


‘We demand that all foreign military forces leave Syria’

Mazen alAhmad in Damascus, Syria

Syria’s bloodthirsty dictatorship has waged a total war against the people and called in its allies Russia, Iran and sectarian militia from Lebanon and Iraq to support it.

This has opened the door for all the regional and imperialist powers to intervene in Syria.

The regime, the US, Turkey and Israel unceasingly bomb and kill Syrian civilians. They all bring death to our people and destruction to our country.

Last week’s air strike by the US is nothing but a symptom of this rivalry between imperialists. It is impossible to choose a “lesser evil” among these horrors.

The regime has used all the arms at its disposal to kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians and force millions into exile.

But the imperialist interventions by both Russia and the US only add to the bloodbath.

We are against the Assad regime and for its fall—but only at the hands of the struggle by our people.

We are against any foreign military intervention, whoever it is by, and we demand the departure of all foreign military forces and militia.

For all that the Syrian masses are exhausted, they return to the streets whenever the guns go silent. The revolutionary potential of the working masses remains immense.

Mazen is part of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria


Western bombs are never the answer

Donald Trump’s allies have united behind his airstrikes—and so have many politicians who once opposed him.

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the liberal group in the European parliament, said, “It is the first time I’m not totally opposed to Trump”.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson praised Trump’s “direct and proportionate response”.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said he didn’t just support it, but regretted not voting to bomb Assad sooner.

Force

Senior politicians in both main US parties, including Trump’s former presidential rival Hillary Clinton, called for further action to “take out” Assad’s air force.

Even some on the left have bought into the argument that the West must do something to help Syrians facing the regime’s bloodshed.

But Western bombs are never the answer. They have already slaughtered hundreds of Syrians and Iraqis in the campaign against the sectarian group Isis.

Despite boasts about “surgical strikes”, recent hits have included a mosque, and an apartment block full of displaced families.

Their previous wars in Iraq and Libya were sold as humanitarian interventions. The reality was mass bloodshed and a legacy of chaos that helped create Isis.

Some politicians seek to soften up the opposition to war by holding up what sound like softer options.

Theresa May called for weapons inspections and a long term plan for regime change.

This is the same script that was used about former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Invasion

Even before the 2003 invasion, sanctions and bombing killed many thousands of Iraqis.

Others call for a misleadingly-named “no-fly zone”. This means a huge bombing operation to wipe out the regime’s air power.

The Syrian regime’s Russian backing mean that this would take even more intense bombing than no?fly zones imposed on weaker regimes in the past.

One simple thing that can be done in the West to help Syrians would be to lift our rulers’ border closure and welcome in Syrian refugees.

But the only solution for Syria lies in a revival of the revolutionary process that swept the Arab world in 2011.

We can help that by keeping our rulers’ bloody hands off the region.


Tories line up behind attack

Britain’s forces are already attacking Iraq and Syria as part of a US?led campaign against sectarian Isis.

So unsurprisingly the Tories lined up to defend Trump’s attack.

“We cannot allow this suffering in Syria,” said Theresa May in Saudi Arabia—while she was in talks with the Saudi regime that’s blockading Yemen into famine.

Socialists in Britain have a responsibility to oppose their rulers’ wars and the alliance with the US.

Stop the War Coalition protesters chanted “Theresa May shame on you” and “no more bombing, no more war” outside Downing Street last Friday night.


US ratchets up tension with warships off Korean coast

A US naval strike group was diverted towards the Korean peninsula this week.

This armada includes two missile cruisers, a squadron of destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

USS Carl Vincent

USS Carl Vincent (Pic: United States Navy/Wiki Commons)


with its squadron of almost 100 planes and helicopters.

The deployment was officially a response to recent missile launches by the North Korean dictatorship. But it was also a message to the Chinese government.

Blustered

Donald Trump’s administration has blustered against China building new island bases in the disputed South China Sea.

An increased naval presence in the region backs those words up with weaponry.

While neither side is in a rush for a war, the risk of an incident increases with every new deployment.

Trump aims to increase “defence” spending by both the US and its allies. But the world will not be safe until the war machine is dismantled.


Arms dealers make a killing

Arms manufacturer Raytheon saw its stock value soar by over a billion dollars after Trump fired its missiles last week.

Arms firms Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics gained nearly five billion dollars on the stock market between them.

But it’s not just Trump’s operations that make a killing for bosses in the West.

The Saudi onslaught on Yemen uses British-made weapons—and the Tories are trying to sell them even more.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s sarin chemical weapons were probably made with supplies sold to him by Britain, as former foreign secretary William Hague admitted in 2014.


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