By Nick Clark
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Syria strike shows the callousness of our rulers

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Issue 2600
A still from video footage showing the launch of the US Tomahawk missiles
A still from video footage showing the launch of the US Tomahawk missiles (Pic: US Navy)

Western attacks on Syria last weekend had nothing to do with helping ordinary Syrians.

The US, Britain and France launched some 105 missiles early on Saturday morning. They hit near the city of Homs and areas east, west and south of the capital Damascus.

US president Donald Trump, Theresa May and Tory ministers claim the airstrikes were a response to a reported chemical weapons attack on a suburb in eastern Damascus last week.

But details of exactly what happened had not been confirmed as Socialist Worker went to press. The airstrikes came just hours before inspectors from the United Nations’ Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were due to begin an investigation.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper foreign secretary Boris Johnson claimed the airstrikes were about “standing up for principle and for civilised values”.

It is stinking hypocrisy.

Johnson has stood by British ally Saudi Arabia—and defended continuing to sell it weapons—as its ­airstrikes on Yemen kill thousands of civilians.

The politicians who support the raids are the same ones who oppose all but a few refugees—including Syrian children—being allowed to seek safety in Britain.

They are the same ones who ignore or urge on the recent massacres of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by the Israeli army.

They are the same ones who say there is never enough money for health or education but there is always money for war.

Trump, May and Macron claimed that the strikes would “degrade” and “deter” the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons.

But the scope of the strikes was in fact quite limited. Many of the targeted buildings were reported to be empty or disused.

Many commentators and analysts now admit the strikes have done nothing to stop Bashar al-Assad carrying on his war against the Syrian people.

Trump only acted because to do nothing would have made him look weak after he had loudly threatened Assad and his backers Russia and Iran.

The bombs and missiles were fired to project an image of imperial power—although their restricted nature also reveals the limits of that power.

It’s a dangerous game played against the backdrop of competition between rival powers to carve up the Middle East amid the ruins and mass murder of Syria’s civil war.

The US and Russia have backed opposing sides in Syria, both hoping to shore up influence and power in the region.

The US said Russia’s forces in Syria had been forewarned of the attack.

But every action in Syria can have unknown consequences that risk sliding into an even bigger conflict between the two.

Syrian civilians—and ordinary people across the Middle East—will be the ones to suffer the most.

Butcher Assad drowned revolution in blood

Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Assad launched Syria’s civil war to crush a revolution that threatened to topple his rule in 2011.

The regime’s military attacked the towns and cities at the centre of the revolution.

The actions of Western powers did nothing to help the ordinary Syrians fighting to overthrow the regime. More bombing won’t help them now.

But in 2011 Syrians showed their fates don’t have to be tied to the interests of warring regional powers that care nothing about them.

They rose up and dealt a blow against the murderous regime of Assad.

Despite their rhetorical condemnation of Assad Western powers refused to offer unconditional support to the revolution.

A return of revolution across the Middle East is the only way out of the nightmare.

Israel emboldened by yet more Western bombing

As the US and Britain face off against Russia, wars are also brewing on Syria’s northern and southern borders.

Israel has launched more than 100 airstrikes against Syrian and Iranian bases in southern Syria, where Iranian forces are fighting the rebels.

The Western airstrikes on Saturday have emboldened Israel, whose officials were already reported to see “collision” with Iran as “inevitable”.

After praising the airstrikes, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for similar action against Iran in Syria.

An Israeli missile attack on a Syrian air base earlier this month killed seven Iranians.

A senior Israeli military official told the New York Times newspaper, “It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets—both facilities and people.”

Syrian missiles shot down an Israeli jet after a similar raid in February. Israel claims it launched the raid after an Iranian drone flew over the Golan Heights—an area of Syria occupied by Israel since 1967.

Israel now claims the drone was armed with missiles.

Meanwhile Western ally Turkey is waging a war against the Kurdish groups in the north. The US and Britain backed the Kurds to help them take control of a large part of Syria.

But their ally Turkey, which represses its own Kurdish minority, invaded northern Syria in February. Now the US has indicated it may pull its forces out and abandon the Kurds.

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