Today Syria is being torn apart by a bloody civil war. Since 2011 the ruling regime of Bashar Al-Assad’s Ba’ath Party has faced an uprising that has threatened to overturn his rule. Since the beginning of the conflict, over 100,000 people have been killed in the fighting, and about 2 million or ten percent of Syria’s population have become refugees in surrounding countries.
In addition to the internal struggle, Syria has become a site of international conflict. The U.S. and its allies support the rebel forces against Assad, while the Russians and Chinese support Assad’s regime. Both sides manipulate the conflict in order to maintain and extend their influence in the region while pretending to support the rights of the Syrian people.
Last month a chemical weapons attack was carried out in Syria. It is unclear which forces are responsible, although it is quite likely that this attack is the work of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. In the weeks following the chemical attacks, it seemed almost certain that the U.S. would go to war, sending missiles into crowded cities and terrorizing the Syrian people. The U.S. government was preparing this slaughter even though only nine percent of Americans supported it, and the U.S. was isolated even from its allies, Britain and Germany, whose governments didn’t get approval for the assault. In spite of this opposition, the U.S. government was prepared to go ahead with an attack on Syria.
Why is Syria a Target for the U.S. government?
In fact, the U.S. interests in Syria have nothing to do with chemical weapons or the brutality of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. Syria has been in the crosshairs of the U.S. government for a long time. The Syrian regime under the Ba’ath party has been in power since 1970. While the Ba’ath party set up a repressive regime, it also took Syria’s resources out of the hands of foreign powers. Syria under the Ba’ath party made an alliance with the Soviet Union and Iran’s Islamic Republic, both enemies of the U.S. Syria has been a thorn in the side of U.S. policy in the Middle East, opposing the Iraq war in 2003, and making alliances with Russia and China against the U.S. For this reason, Syria has been placed by the U.S. in the same category as Iraq was under Saddam Hussein, and the same category as the countries of Iran, Cuba and North Korea – countries with governments the U.S. is working to overthrow.
Civil War – Killers on All Sides
The uprising against the Bashar Al-Assad’s regime began in 2011, inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, known as the Arab Spring. While the uprising in Syria began as a popular outpouring of anger and protest, it rapidly became a civil war driven by international forces which have their own interests. The rebels are indirectly supported by the U.S. as they are mainly armed and funded by the Gulf monarchies, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. These regimes are as brutal and repressive as Assad’s regime, but they happen to be allies of the U.S., receiving billions of dollars in military and financial aid. In addition to this support, the U.S. now wants to begin direct military action to assure the victory of these rebels. Why? Because with these rebel forces in power, they will more likely set up a regime in Syria which will follow orders from Washington.
No U.S. War On Syria
For now, the Obama administration has slightly backed off on its drive for a U.S. slaughter on Syria after the Russian government made a deal with the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons to the U.N. This deal deprived the U.S. of an immediate pretext for war. But this could change quickly – a new pretext could be found, and once again a U.S. war on Syria could be on the horizon.
The conflict in Syria has become an international arm-wrestling match between the U.S. on one side and Russia and China on the other. None of these countries have any interests in the lives of the Syrian people. And this conflict, already costing the lives of tens of thousands of people, will only become a massive slaughter with the addition of U.S. bombs raining down on Syrians.