Los Angeles: Arab Americans for Syria and allied anti-imperialist groups protest U.S. decision to resume arming terrorist factions in Syria, February 7, 2014
Los Angeles: Arab Americans for Syria and allied anti-imperialist groups protest U.S. decision to resume arming terrorist factions in Syria, February 7, 2014
Michael Wreszin, a biographer of radical 20th-century American intellectuals who were prominent antiwar activists, among them the social critic Dwight Macdonald, died on Aug. 12 in Manhattan. He was 85.
Mr. Wreszin, a history professor at Queens College and an antiwar activist himself, was a student of the American left and the many ideological movements competing for dominance of it between the 1920s and 1960s, including socialism, communism, libertarianism and anarchism.
His subjects were cosmopolitan, humanist thinkers who saw a growing militarism in American political culture but whose scrupulous habits of mind could make them misfits in the ideological camps they joined.
In his preface to “A Rebel in Defense of Tradition,” his 1994 biography of Macdonald, Mr. Wreszin described the sliver of ideological ground occupied by one generation of such radical outliers.
“I wanted to study and inform my students about radicals who opposed Stalinist Communism,” he wrote, “but who were also critics of the liberal cold warriors and of much of American foreign policy, as well as capitalist consumer culture.”
All his subjects were of the same type: fiercely independent, sometimes contrarian, lonely freethinkers. The subject of his first book, “Oswald Garrison Villard: Pacifist at War” (1965), was publisher and editor of The Nation magazine from 1900 to 1932.
The terrorist bomb that murdered four of Syria’s key security leaders in Damascus on 18 July sums up the fascist essence of the war being waged against this sovereign country in the name of democracy. Whilst the blast was claimed both by the sickly misnamed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and by a jihadi outfit, the trail of blood leads straight back to imperialism, for whom the export of terror is the necessary corollary of Washington’s ‘diplomatic’ bullying.
The bomb was timed to put pressure on the UN Security Council at the moment when it was deciding about extending the duration of the UN monitoring exercise. Whilst resolving on such an extension is not genuinely contentious – President Assad has welcomed the ongoing presence of monitors – Washington had done its best to pack the would-be resolution with new ultimatums aimed at regime change performed at the point of a gun.
The Chinese Xinhua news agency commented that the draft resolution lacked balance and western diplomats had “displayed arrogance and inflexibility” over the issue, adding that “western diplomats rushed to point fingers at Russia and China after the resolution was defeated, but they have only themselves to blame for trying to force such an ill-considered draft through the Council. ” Both China and Russia stopped the passage of this provocative resolution by use of their veto, instead assisting in the passage of an uncontroversial resolution authorising the monitors for a further 30 days.
Meanwhile, the tame imperialist media maintained a barrage of misinformation, highlighting the temporary seizure of checkpoints on the Iraqi and Turkish sides of the border by the FSA, in a carefully imperialist-managed stunt, trying to throw enough dust in people’s eyes to make them believe that the country’s leadership was already ‘crumbling’. This soon proved to be an illusion, as the rebels were cleared out of the Midan area of Damascus and the borders were rapidly secured.
What these terrorist attacks on Syrian security personnel did succeed in demonstrating, however, was the fascistic character of Washington’s armed stooges. When the FSA grabbed control of a checkpoint in the mountains, wrote the AFP French news agency, the deputy interior minister of Iraq’s government reported that the FSA kidnapped a Syrian lieutenant colonel, cut off his arms and legs and then “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers”.
Hillary Clinton goosesteps down the road to war
“I am no longer willing to stand idly by and watch while this madman in Prague thinks that he can simply mistreat three-and-a-half million people. And I left no doubt that German patience is now finally exhausted. I left no doubt that while it is a characteristic of our German mentality to be tolerant and patient in the face of repeated provocation, there comes a moment when enough is enough! And now finally England and France have made the only possible demand of Czechoslovakia: release the German territory and cede it to the Reich.” (Adolf Hitler, 1938)
So said an earlier imperialist leader, justifying the occupation of another country on the basis of ‘protecting innocent civilians’ – and thanking British and French imperialism for its assistance in this matter.
US permanent representative Susan Rice had already echoed these noble sentiments back in April when she told the UN that her country’s “patience is exhausted” by the supposed failure of Damascus to comply with the Annan Plan. And now, as Washington sees all its efforts to sabotage the Annan Plan and wrest the diplomatic initiative from Russia and China come to nothing, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being driven to express herself in terms which grow daily more Hitlerian in tenor, clamouring that Russia and China must be made to “pay a price” for their insistence upon abiding by international law.
In so doing, the stakes are raised not only over Syria and Iran, but also over Washington’s relations with Moscow and Beijing. Clinton’s increasingly incendiary words will not soon be forgotten in either of these capitals, or around the world, and cannot be unsaid. Whatever happens now in Syria, the outline of future, more global conflicts has suddenly sharpened. As Washington continues to nerve itself up to escalate aggression against the sovereign nation of Syria into full-scale military intervention, it is ever-more incautiously revealing its aggressive intentions on a global scale: the reassertion of US hegemonic power, implemented via a hostile encirclement of, and ultimately war against, Russia and China, a conflagration that would endanger all humanity.
Infuriated by the failure to secure a majority in favour of sanctions and military threats during June’s conference in Geneva, Clinton slipped into crude invective against those who persist in allegiance to the internationally endorsed Annan Plan.
Having failed, at the UN Security Council before and then again at the Geneva conference, to shift this consensus, Clinton scuttled off to Paris to a meeting of the so-called ‘Friends of Syria’ to vent her spleen. There she hectored nervous delegates, ordering them to “demand” that Russia and China “get off the sidelines” and “support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people”, going on to rant: “I don’t think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime. The only way that will change this is if every nation represented here directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price, because they are holding up progress” – progress towards the criminal overthrow of the legitimate government of Syria, be it understood.
Russia and China both responded to this incontinent outburst with unruffled dignity, rooting themselves on the international consensus around the Annan Plan rather than being distracted by the clownish antics of the ‘Friends of Syria’ – a private circus invented by Sarkozy, and with Clinton as ringmaster, whose sole purpose is to act as a pseudo-diplomatic smokescreen for the Syrian counter-revolution.
Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov had this to say about Clinton’s wild words: “What worries us more than anything is that such remarks go against the final document of the Geneva talks, the adoption of which was approved with the participation of the US secretary of state.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Liu Weimin, dismissed Clinton’s outburst as “totally unacceptable”, pointing out that “On the Syria problem, China’s fair and constructive stance, and its contributions toward diplomatic efforts, have attained the wide understanding and support of relevant parties in the international community.” He went on to warn that “Any words and deeds that slander China and sow discord between China and other countries will be in vain.”
Participants in the Geneva conference had arrived with very different agendas.
Whilst for Russia and China everything hinged on the successful application of the internationally-agreed Annan Plan, the aggressor countries of the US, Britain and France, ably seconded by their flunkeys in Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar, sought nothing short of the overthrow of Syria’s head of state. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, chief banker and armourer of the rebellion on behalf of its US masters, let Kuwait and Qatar keep its seat warm in Geneva whilst it concentrated on trying to intimidate Syria by piling its forces up against her southern border.
Despite much hectoring from Hillary Clinton and co, the Geneva session failed to deliver the outcome desired by the warmongers, restricting itself to recommending that Syria seek by “mutual consent” to establish a “transitional government”. As a first step, all are urged to recommit to the ceasefire.
What exactly this recommendation intends in practice for the legitimate governing authority is not obvious. After all, Damascus has struggled throughout to maintain the ceasefire, whilst the rebellion has trampled all over it with increasing abandon. And as regards the possibility of a ‘transitional government’, that is indeed a matter exclusively for the ‘mutual consent’ of the Syrian people.
Some might consider that such consent was best expressed by the Syrian people themselves, unprompted by even the most august international gathering. That was rather the point of the February referendum on the constitution and the May parliamentary elections, after all. In any case, given that the gangsters of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ refuse point-blank to countenance any transition plan that does not include “buffer-zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo and the arming of rebel fighters” – and of course the toppling of President Assad – the likelihood is that the world will never have the chance to find out what such a suggested political solution might have entailed.
The truth is that imperialism does not want peace, but is instead encouraging its armed flunkeys to keep stoking up civil war. It is clear that the Nato aggressors value the UN only when it can offer an appearance of legitimacy to the imperialist policy of Anschluss (annexation) and blitzkrieg.
Whatever we are to understand about the provenance of a ‘transitional government’, however, the real significance of the Geneva outcome is that yet another US effort to grab the diplomatic initiative from Russia and China has come to naught, further undermining Washington’s claims to be acting on behalf of the ‘international community’, weakening US prestige in the Arab world and making it harder to lash together a new ‘coalition of the willing’ from amongst its own imperialist rivals.
Whilst this does not mean the war will not happen, it does create the least auspicious conditions for imperialism to wage it successfully. Only days after Clinton’s intemperate intervention, Kofi Annan reported that he had held “very candid and constructive” talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, during which they had “agreed an approach” to end the violence, which he would now share this with rebel groups.
The BBC reported on 9 July that Annan “said criticism of the international community’s failure to negotiate a political solution had too often focused on Russia, which has opposed foreign intervention, noting that ‘Russia has influence, but I don’t think that events will be determined by Russia alone.’ ” It is Moscow’s weapons trade with Damascus, in breach of no UN sanction, which has drawn the exclusive ire of Washington, whilst Saudi Arabia and Qatar openly call for the arming and financing of the Free Syrian Army, Turkey offers a rear base for rebel troops on Syria’s border, and the US is on record as providing so-called ‘non-lethal’ aid like communications (to say nothing of all the clandestine support to rebels throughout).
Whilst carefully preserving the ‘even-handed’ distribution of blame between aggressors and victims, Annan’s conclusion that “All these countries say they want a peaceful solution, but they undertake individual and collective actions that undermine the very meaning of Security Council resolutions” is more than anything a humiliating slap in the face for Clinton, rubbing salt in America’s wounded pride.
Searching for a pretext
But with the crisis putting fire under Yankee feet, Washington cannot but persist in its search for a pretext to turn the covert war against Syria into an open military conflagration. The sick propaganda exercise mounted around the Houla massacre misfired badly when the imperialist explanation pinning blame on the government was rapidly exposed as a fraud, not only by independent investigators but also by such mainstream sources as Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
When this stunt failed to stampede the UN into compliance with US warmongering, Washington looked to its proxies to come up with a casus belli. Turkey stepped into the breach on 22 June, sending a spy plane into Syrian airspace to test her coastal defences and then squawking blue murder when those defences promptly shot it down. At first blush this looked like another golden opportunity to bounce the international community into open war.
The only problem is that Turkey’s own imaginative record of events – a Turkish plane callously shot down whilst passing peacefully through international airspace – was at once debunked by no less than the eminently respectable Wall Street Journal! Their journalists reported that “US intelligence indicates that a Turkish warplane shot down by Syrian forces was most likely hit by shore-based anti-aircraft guns while it was inside Syrian airspace, American officials said, a finding in tune with Syria’s account and at odds with Turkey. ”
Squarely contradicting the Turkish version, a senior US defence official is quoted as saying “We see no indication that it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.” (‘Doubts cast on Turkey’s story of jet’ by Julian Barnes, Adam Entous and Joe Parkinson, 30 June 2012)
Despite Ankara’s repeated violation of Syrian borders, President Assad has continued to bend over backwards to defuse the tension, telling the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet that everything possible would be done to prevent the situation “turning into an armed conflict that would harm both countries”. He noted that it was Ankara’s decision to sever all military and diplomatic communications that had left Syria uncertain as to the origin or intentions of the straying plane, adding that “The plane used the corridor used by the Israeli planes three times in the past – we learned it was Turkish after we shot it down.”
Turkey ‘responded’ to its own stunt by deploying rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along its border with Syria, having doubtless been given the green light to do so by Washington. However embarrassing the failure to get their propaganda line straight, neither Washington nor Ankara will readily give up on a good excuse for the war they need. The same Wall Street Journal article cited US defence officials as saying they weren’t alarmed by the concentration of Turkish forces on the border, claiming this to be a “very measured” approach.
General Martin Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, smirked that “I’ve asked them, and they are not seeking to be provocative”! Behind this faux naïf posture it is clear that Washington knows exactly what Ankara is up to, since it is Washington that is really calling the shots, however much Ankara may try to kid itself that it can advance its own Ottoman aspirations by tucking in behind US war plans.
Nato predictably condemned Syria’s sensible act of self-defence – and threatened unspecified dire consequences should such actions recur. Meanwhile, Turkey’s prime minister blithely announced Ankara’s open willingness to attack targets within Syrian borders, declaring that “Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target.”
With FSA mercenaries regularly crossing the border to launch terrorist attacks, this is like a mugger telling his victim to keep his hands behind his back whilst punching him in the face.
Meanwhile, through all the tragic social consequences inflicted by imperialist meddling, the Syrian people continue to press on with the reforms initiated a year ago. Back in February, a national referendum on the proposed new constitution, endorsed by 90 percent of voters, established the ground rules for the ensuing parliamentary elections in May. In line with the reform process, the new constitution dropped an earlier reference to the socialist Ba’ath party as the “leader of the state and society” and opened the door to the formation of new parties, so long as these parties were not run from outside the country or based on a divisive religious or tribal basis.
This democratic challenge to the opposition, opening up a path of political reconciliation and reform to all who hold their homeland dear, was met with boycott and terror from the imperialist-backed rebels, who declined to test out their support among the 23 million Syrians, instead targeting parliamentary candidates for assassination whilst the imperialist media helped out by slandering both the referendum and the subsequent elections.
The election results demonstrated that support for the governing National Progressive Front (NPF) coalition, led by the three million-strong Ba’ath party and including within it two of Syria’s communist parties and eight other parties, remains solid, making it clear that the leadership status of the Ba’ath party in fact depends not upon a phrase in the constitution, but upon widespread popular support for a secular leadership that strives to overcome sectarian divisions and promote the unity and independence of the country.
Such an outcome is most unwelcome to the West, whose strategy depends upon its ability to plunge Syria into sectarian strife, setting one faith group against another to undermine national unity and clear the way for balkanisation.
The new parliament consists of 250 representatives from 16 different regions, and, making nonsense of claims that the elections were simply an exercise in rubber-stamping, only 41 delegates from the previous parliament actually got re-elected. Of the other 209 freshly-elected representatives, over 80 stood as independents. Furthermore, there is a guaranteed built-in majority of seats for workers and peasants (‘category A’) – a requirement that would go down like a lead balloon on either side of the British House of Commons.
Significant in particular were the gains made by the Communist Party of Syria led by Ammar Bakdash. The CPS(B) stood 30 candidates in 15 constituencies and got eight of them elected, three more than last time.
President Assad noted that through the elections the Syrian people were delivering “a serious message to everyone, both inside the country and abroad. The Syrian people were not scared by threats from terrorists who tried to thwart the election or to force us to call the election off. The results have shown that the Syrian people still support the course for reforms that we announced about a year ago, and that the majority support this system of statehood.”
It is the steadfastness of the Syrian masses and their leaders, coupled with the refusal of Russia and China to abet the West’s criminal intentions, and the growing reluctance of many of Washington’s own trade rivals to squander their own national blood and treasure in the service of Uncle Sam, that has so far prevented imperialism from inflicting upon the Syrians what it inflicted upon the Libyans.
It has never been more urgent for British workers to come out in solidarity with the beleaguered Syrian nation. We owe it to them and we owe it to ourselves to denounce the torrent of lies which pours out of the mouths of bourgeois politicians and journalists day after day, and to call shame on those who call themselves anti-war activists yet join in with the hate campaign against President Assad and the country he leads.
Instead, we must stand with our brothers overseas and give all possible support to the Syrian people in their hour of peril. The destruction of independent Syria would be a cruel blow not only to the Syrian people, not only to the Arab nation, but to the whole of progressive humanity, and it must therefore be resisted with every means at our disposal.
Marx long ago proved that the interests of workers and capitalists are diametrically opposed to one another. If British imperialism gains strength and power from dominating territories, subduing populations and controlling raw materials and markets across the globe, it stands to reason that British workers’ ability to resist oppression by the same imperialists at home is weakened every time an opponent of imperialism is destroyed.
Communists and anti-imperialists must take this message clearly into the anti-war movement: wars waged by British capital are not in our interests, and imperialist crimes committed abroad are aimed at us too. It is long past time for British trade unions to adopt a position of collective non-cooperation with Britain’s criminal wars for profit. It is long past time for British workers to refuse to play any part in moving materials, making munitions, pointing guns, or broadcasting imperialism’s warmongering propaganda lies.
That is why we say:
No cooperation with war crimes!
Victory to Syria; victory to Assad!
Death to imperialism!
“Sanctions,” New York Times’ reporter Rick Gladstone writes, have subjected “ordinary Iranians” to “increased deprivations” in order to “punish Iran for enriching uranium that the West suspects is a cover for developing the ability to make nuclear weapons.”  In other words, Iran is suspected of having a secret nuclear weapons program, and so must be sanctioned to force it to abandon it.
Contrary to Gladstone, the West doesn’t really believe that Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program, yet even if we accept it does believe this, the position is indefensible. Why should Iranians be punished for developing a capability that the countries that have imposed sanctions already have?
The reason why, it will be said, is because Iranians are bent on developing nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. Didn’t Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to “wipe Israel off the map”?
Regurgitated regularly by US hawks and Israeli politicians to mobilize support for the bombing of Iran, the claim is demagogic rubbish. Ahmadinejad predicted that Israel as a Zionist state would someday disappear much as South Africa as an apartheid state did. He didn’t threaten the physical destruction of Israel and expressed only the wish that historic Palestine would become a multinational democratic state of Arabs and of Jews who trace their descent from antecedents who arrived in Palestine before the arrival of Zionist settlers, i.e., that it would someday become a more humane alternative to what it is today. 
No less damaging to the argument that Iranians aspire to take Israel out in a hail of nuclear missiles is the reality that it would take decades for Iran to match Israel’s already formidable nuclear arsenal, if indeed it ever aspires to. For the foreseeable future, Israel is in a far better position to wipe Iran off the map. And given Israel’s penchant for flexing its US-built military muscle, is far more likely to be the wiper than the wipee. Already it has almost wiped an entire people from the map of historic Palestine.
But this is irrelevant, for the premise that the West suspects Iran of developing a nuclear weapons capability is false. To be sure, the mass media endlessly recycle the fiction that the West suspects Iran’s uranium enrichment program is a cover for a nuclear weapons program, but who in the West suspects this? Not high officials of the US state, for they have repeatedly said that there’s no evidence that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program.
The consensus view of the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies is that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program years ago. Director of US intelligence James Clapper “said there was no evidence that (Iran) had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon. David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director, concurred with that view…. Other senior United States officials, including Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have made similar statements.” 
Rather than weakening this conclusion, stepped up US espionage has buttressed it. Iran’s leaders “have opted for now against…designing a nuclear warhead,” said one former intelligence official briefed on US intelligence findings. “It isn’t the absence of evidence, it’s the evidence of an absence. Certain things are not being done”  that would indicate that Iran is working on nuclear weapons. Even Mossad, Israeli’s intelligence agency “does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” according to a former senior US intelligence official. 
So, contrary to the repeated claim that the West “suspects” Iran of concealing a nuclear weapons program, no one in a position of authority in the US state believes this to be true. Neither does Israeli intelligence. So why is the United States and its allies subjecting ordinary Iranians to increased deprivations through sanctions?
The answer, according to the grand docent of US foreign policy, Henry Kissinger, is because US policy in the Middle East for the last half century has been aimed at “preventing any power in the region from emerging as a hegemon.” This is another way of saying that the aim of US Middle East policy is to stop any Middle Eastern country from challenging its domination by the United States. Iran, Kissinger points out, has emerged as the principal challenger. 
Indeed, it did so as long ago as 1979, when the local extension of US power in Iran, the Shah, was overthrown, and the country set out on a path of independent economic and political development free from the oppression of a Washington henchman. For the revolutionaries’ boldness in asserting their sovereignty, Washington pressed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq into a war with Iran. This served the same purpose as today’s economic warfare, sabotage, threats of military intervention, and assassinations of Iran’s nuclear scientists: to weaken the country and stifle its development; to prevent it from thriving and thereby becoming an example to other countries of development possibilities outside US domination.
Uranium enrichment has emerged as point of conflict for two reasons.
First, a civilian nuclear power industry strengthens Iran economically and domestic uranium enrichment provides the country with an independent source of nuclear fuel. Were Iran to depend on the West for enriched uranium to power its reactors, it would be forever at the mercy of a hostile US state. Likewise, concern over energy security being in the hands of an outside power has led Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and South Korea to insist over US objections that they be allowed to produce nuclear fuel domestically, without sanction. With US nuclear reactor sales hanging in the balance, it appears that their wishes will be respected.  Iran will be uniquely denied.
Secondly, uranium enrichment provides Tehran with the capability of developing nuclear weapons quickly, if it should ever feel compelled to. Given Washington’s longstanding hostility to an independent Iran, there are good reasons why the country may want to strengthen its means of self-defense. The hypocrisy of the United States championing counter-proliferation—and only selectively since no one is asking Israel to give up its nuclear weapons, and the United States hasn’t the slightest intention of ever relinquishing its own—reveals the illegitimacy of the exercise.
The reason, then, for punishing Iranians with new and more debilitating privations is not because their government has a secret nuclear weapons program —which no one in the US state believes anyway—but because a developing Iran with independent energy, economic and foreign policies threatens Washington’s preferred world political order—one in which the United States has unchallenged primacy.
Given that bankers, corporate lawyers and top corporate executives hold key positions in the US state and given that they fund and contribute to elite policy formulation organizations, it can be concluded that the point of US primacy is to secure the financial and corporate class’s profit-making interests. These include: creation of conditions for low-wage labor; the elimination of infant-industry protections; bans on subsidized pricing of necessities; upward redistribution of income; privatization of heath care and education; weakening environmental and health and safety regulations; and so on; in other words, all that is necessary to make profits fatter, and at the same time, all that makes the lives of ordinary people—in Iran and the West–meaner, poorer, shorter, and more uncertain.
Iran’s economic policy, with its restrictions on foreign investment and foreign ownership, and reliance on state-ownership of key industries, is an anathema to a US corporate and financial elite that depends on free access to profit making opportunities on a global scale.  To secure its interests in Iran, this class of super-wealthy bankers, investors and corporate titans, through its domination of the state, pursues a policy of creating misery among ordinary Iranians to destabilize their country and press their leadership into surrendering Iran to its pre-1979 role as appendage of US economic and foreign policy—and source of lucrative money-making opportunities.
The barbarism—concealed beneath lies about the need to protect Israel from an existential threat posed by an Iran that is “suspected” to be secretly building nuclear weapons –is revealed: Iran is being impoverished and threatened with physical destruction, not because it’s an offensive threat to anyone’s physical safety, but because its insistence on sovereignty is a threat to unrestricted Western corporate and financial domination of the Middle East.
1. Rick Gladstone, “Iranian President Says Oil Embargo Won’t Hurt”, The New York Times, April 10, 2012.
2. Glenn Kessler, “Did Ahmadinejad really say Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’?” The Washington Post, October 6, 2011.
3. James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. agencies see no move by Iran to build a bomb”, The New York Times, February 24, 2012.
4. Joby Warrick and Greg Miller, “U.S. intelligence gains in Iran seen as boost to confidence”, The Washington Post, April 7, 2012.
5. James Risen, “U.S. faces a tricky task in assessment of data on Iran”, The New York Times, March 17, 2012.
6. Henry A. Kissinger, “A new doctrine of intervention?” The Washington Post, March 30, 2012.
7. Carol E. Lee and Jay Solomon, “Obama to discuss North Korea, Iran”, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2012.
8. For an elaboration of this point see Stephen Gowans, “Wars for Profits: A No-Nonsense Guide to Why the United States Seeks to Make Iran an International Pariah”, what’s left, November 9, 2011. http://gowans.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/wars-for-profits-a-no-nonsense-guide-to-why-the-united-states-seeks-to-make-iran-an-international-pariah
This is the text of a speech at the ‘End Intervention in Syria’ rally in London on March, 2012.
Many people ask me: why do I defend Syria. I was born in England, and I’ve lived all my life here. I have no personal or family connection with the Syrian state.
So why defend Syria?
It’s really very simple. I defend Syria for the same reason that Hugo Chavez defends Syria. For the same reason that Fidel Castro defends Syria. For the same reason that Hassan Nasrallah defends Syria:
Because Syria is a crucial part of the global resistance to imperialism and zionism.
Because Syria is an independent, socialist-oriented, pro-Palestinian, Arab Nationalist, internationalist state.
Because Syria is the country where Palestinian refugees are treated with dignity and respect, as equal citizens.
Because Syria is the only Middle Eastern country that provides military, financial and practical assistance to Hezbollah – which we all know is the most successful military movement against zionism in the world.
And because my many Syrian friends describe their homeland as a beautiful, historic country where people can lead a dignified life – regardless of their religious views – without having to bow down to the empire. And there’s a lot to be said for that.
That is why I defend Syria – its people and its government – and that is why the United States, Britain, Israel, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Kuwait and so on oppose it and wish to see it on its knees.
Last year NATO countries bombed Libya, demanding “democracy” in the country. But now it’s clear it was all about oil and it’s not like the Americans and Brits are going to be democratic about it, and share those spoils equally with France and Italy.
So… oil giants Total from France and ENI from Italy are just going to have to wait in the sidelines while the hungry American and British big boys take their juicy oil slices first… ExxonMobil, Chevron, Texaco, BP, Shell…
It’s no surprise then to read in The Wall Street Journal that the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), together with the puppet Libyan “authorities” are launching “investigations” into both companies’ “financial irregularities” in their shady dealings during the forty-two years of Gaddafi’s power. Now who would have imagined this! An Italian oil company involved in kick-backs? Corruption at the highest echelons of the French oil industry?!? Tsk, tsk!!! Unheard of…! The US and UK would never do something like that!! Just ask Enron, ask Halliburton, ask BP…
Clearly, major oil companies will now be judged on how close or how far they were from the Gaddafi’s, and on how much their respective countries contributed to last year’s war effort. Perhaps even on how much and how far and wide they shared their huge ill-obtained profits. It seems that scorecards must now be completed…
It’s worth remembering that at the height of the Libyan fighting last year, the “rebels” found the necessary time, between their “freedom fighting” shifts, to set up a new national oil company. As Bloomberg reported on 22nd March 2011, “The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a March 19 meeting to establish the “Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.”
And just as big oil and big finance always dance together, that report then went on to explain that “The Council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”
Like Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, or Abelard and Eloise, Oil and Money are probably the West’s most universal and paradigmatic duo. Their love affair has been going strong for many decades.
Oil is a mighty powerful global business. Oil companies can make or break governments and entire countries. Nationalizing a foreign oil company like Iran did in the early fifties can put the CIA and MI6 spy agencies into full-gear ousting democratically elected governments and replacing them with “more suitable leaders’.
Trading oil in any currency other than the US Dollar as Saddam Hussein dared to do in November 2002 can get you invaded just a few months later. Even weak Argentina’s finger-pointing at illegal British oil escapades in the Falkland Islands resulted in the Royal Navy dispatching super destroyers and nuclear subs to the region…
Libya is the world’s 9th largest oil producing country and holds Africa’s largest oil reserve. Gaddafi was planning to introduce a new currency for Libyan and regional oil: the Gold Dinar which, contrary to the US Dollar, would have had true intrinsic value. Gaddafi’s central bank, in turn, was fully independent of the global financial usury-based system presently in global free-fall. Gaddafi was using oil revenues for his own people and not for the US/UK/EU/Israeli war efforts in the Middle East and further afield.
So, when the Persian Gulf became the very, very hot spot it is today, the global oil cartel together with the mega-bankers who shuffle those trillions upon trillions of Petro-Dollars all over the world, had to make sure that their respective governments would put their military on red-alert, as the oil giants scrambled for new sources…
The focus is increasingly on oil fields lying in “kinder, gentler” parts of the world: the Falkland Islands, the Brazilian Coasts, and Libya that lies smack in the middle of that easy-to-attack “it’s our-bloody-Mediterranean-Sea” North African Coast.
Last year’s destruction of Libya was a reflection of just this type of complex behind-the-scenes engineering of all these key oil, financial, military, media and political players. It’s the kind of Real News that seldom if ever hits the headlines… just because it is the Real News!
During the better part of last year until the public execution of Muhamar Gaddafi by the Western Power’s proxies inside Libya – i.e., mercenaries, criminals, thugs and CIA/MI6/Mossad agents, aka “Freedom Fighters” – the Western media repeated time and again how very bad Gaddafi had suddenly become overnight; how the poor Libyans were clamouring for “democracy”; and how the heroic Libyan “freedom fighters” based, armed, trained and financed in Benghazi were battling to “liberate” Libya and impose Clintonite “democracy” and “human rights”. Actually these “freedom fighters” overshot their runway: now that Libya is finally “free”, they’re asking for the Eastern Cyrenaica region to secede from the rest of the country.
Was civil war part of the West’s plan for Libya? Last year, after securing full UN backing via Resolution No. 1973 allowing NATO air strikes to devastate the country and impose the most violent regime change seen in recent times, NATO-backed thugs have plunged the country into chaos.
As the “Libya Business News” publication mentions on Tuesday, “About 3,000 people gathered in Benghazi last month to announce that Barca (Cyrenaica) was an autonomous region within a federal state. Barca is at the centre of Libya’s oil industry, with two thirds of production and three quarters of reserves there.” It is one of the three historic regions into which the country is divided. And while Barca has the most oil, the other two is home to two thirds of the population. So the question now is how the rich revenues from rich oil reserves will be “democratically” distributed among the population.
Adrian Salbuchi for RT