Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/985/26995

From The Socialist newspaper, 7 March 2018

Syria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha

Competing imperialist interests have contributed to turning Syria into the present nightmare for ordinary people, photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús/CC

Competing imperialist interests have contributed to turning Syria into the present nightmare for ordinary people, photo by Jordi Bernabeu Farrús/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden)

Eastern Goutha, outside Damascus, is "hell on earth", according to United Nations (UN) chief Antonio Guterres.

Nearly 400,000 civilians have been under siege in this rebel enclave since 2013. The day after the UN decision to organise a ceasefire, bombing continued.

Over 700 people have been killed and many thousands wounded in recent weeks. A doctor told the BBC his hospital has "no electricity, no medication, no oxygen, no medication for anaesthesia, no painkillers, no antibiotics".

A stripped-down aid relief convoy, promised since mid-February, has only now entered the besieged area.

The UN security council's decision on 30 days' immediate ceasefire has had little effect. The Assad regime in Syria and its ally Russia state that the conditions for the ceasefire are not clear and that they are entitled to continue "attacking terrorists".

In criticising 'Russian aggression' the western powers are indulging in rank hypocrisy. US forces led several massive military assaults against cities in Iraq over the last decade, including Fallujah and more recently demolishing Mosul in 2017. Today, the major powers back the Saudi regime's air attacks on Yemen, where many civilians have died and chronic hunger and epidemics stalk the land.

The UN resolution speaks of immediate ceasefire except in the case of violations by Isis, al-Qa'ida and al-Nusra.

The dominant armed groups in eastern Goutha are two other militias, Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman. These jihadist groups have regularly launched missiles on inhabited areas of Damascus, causing casualties among the civilian population, although on a far smaller scale than the regime's strikes.

Instead of bringing about peace after Isis was forced to retreat by Assad and his Russian and Iranian allied forces and by US and its proxy militias, the war in Syria has entered a new, if possible even bloodier phase. Those who were supposed to secure peace have stepped up the war.

The conflict revolves around how global and regional powers will secure their positions in a future Syria. Above all, it is a clash over power, influence and prestige between the United States and Russia, with Turkey and Iran as active participants. Israel has also taken action, with fighter aircraft used against Iranian forces in Syria in recent weeks.

At first, Washington supported the same Islamist groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But with the emergence of Isis, which established a 'Caliphate' in 2014, the United States was forced to find new allies.

Its most important allies on the field in recent years have been the Syrian Democratic Forces, with the Kurdish PYD's YPG/YPJ troops in the leadership. The subsequent focus on fighting Isis and Russia's military intervention in Syria since the autumn of 2015, rescued Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Influence

Isis is the convenient opposition that the US uses to maintain troop forces in north eastern Syria. In reality, US actions are about limiting both Russian and Iranian influence. The "stabilisation" that both the US and Russia say they are striving for will be far from stable.

Syria was already a dictatorship shaken by a series of crises before the 'Arab Spring' uprising of 2011 and subsequent civil war.

Today, the country has collapsed, with over 500,000 killed and more than ten million forcibly displaced. This is a result of the wars of imperialism, capitalist exploitation and Assad's dictatorship.

Against this, in order to prevent further war and the revival of Isis or similar groups, a revolutionary socialist movement is needed to liberate the working class and oppressed people.

Turkey's military attack against the Afrin pocket under the control of the Kurdish YPG militia started over a month ago, ostensibly to 'fight terrorism'. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and wounded according to Kurdish sources.

The Turkish regime's goal is to eliminate any Kurdish rule in Afrin and Rojava in northern Syria, thereby crushing Kurdish aspirations for national self-determination. At the same time Erdogan's regime has ramped-up Turkish nationalism at home to hinder the development of a united workers' movement against its authoritarian rule.

The Turkish regime seems open to either an escalated war or some form of agreement with the Assad regime in Syria having previously unequivocally called for Assad's overthrow.

Despite Erdogan's very tough stance, accusing the US of being involved in the attempted coup against him in July 2016, and condemning Washington for its cooperation with the PYD in Syria, the White House has avoided direct conflict with Turkey. Trump's security advisor, Herbert McMaster, visited Ankara to reassure Erdogan.

Russia, which controls the airspace over Afrin, gave Turkey the green light to attack by air - strengthening the theory that Erdogan is looking for some form of agreement with the Assad regime.

Nouri Mahmoud, spokesperson for the PYD's armed forces, urged the Syrian government to send troops to secure the border with Turkey. But there is no reason for the Kurds in Afrin to trust troops sent by Assad. The regime in Damascus is acting in response to Turkey, but also to regain control of northern Syria from Kurdish rule.

The YPJ/YPG is a force to be reckoned with. But the Kurdish forces also mistakenly relied on support from the US and Russian air bombings, holding back the possibility of building a larger support for their struggle among the people whose livelihoods have been shattered by these airstrikes.

The Kurds' struggle for independence and the class needs of workers and poor in the Middle East will never find any allies in imperialism nor regional pro-capitalist governments. US imperialism has a history of betraying Kurdish people in the region.

Behind the region's deep crises lie the crisis of capitalism and the historic weakness of the workers' movement, whose struggle for democratic socialism is the only way forward.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 7 March 2018:


What we think

May's EU speech kicks the can down the road


Socialist Party news and analysis

NHS: public health - not private profit

Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit

Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs

Them & Us


International Women's Day 2018

Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

Women's oppression: the struggle goes on

The Socialist inbox: International Women's Day


Socialist Party workplace news

UCU strike: bosses on the run

National lecturers' pension strike continues

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on in Merseyside DOO dispute

PCS: Re-elect the left and fight for decent pay

Hull workers united against bosses

FCC Environment strike solid


International socialist news and analysis

Syria: No ceasefire for 'hell on earth' eastern Goutha

Japan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Salford nurseries consultation delayed

Donate to the Socialist Party building fund

Hands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth

TUSC plans to stand on Waltham Forest anti-monster block platform

Derbyshire says: No fracking way!

Coventry shows solidarity with the Syrian people


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Fighting sexual harassment in entertainment

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 7 March 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Syria:

triangleSocialists fight for Palestinian liberation and workers' unity

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleNo to the bombing of Syria!

triangleNo to bombing Syria

Eastern:

triangleGorbachev: Accidental architect of world change

triangleVictory against government's war on eastern European homeless

triangleSheffield Eastern Ave Job Centre strike ends

triangleThree thousand attend Burston strike commemoration rally

US:

triangleBezos housing hypocrisy

triangleThe ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world

triangleThem & us

Turkey:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Turkey's one-man state after recent election

triangleTurkey's 'strongman' Erdogan tightens grip on state power

Isis:

triangleOpinion: British imperialism can take no credit in fight against Isis

Russia:

triangleSupport for Putin's regime dips over major attacks on state pensions

Troops:

triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

Military:

triangle100 years since police went on strike: "never nearer to Bolshevism"

Imperialism:

triangleNicaragua: With the people against the Ortega government and imperialism

United States:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: "Socialism on Trial" - United States 1941

Kurds:

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: The National Question

Saudi Arabia:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Trump:

triangleTrump ally prosecutions

United Nations:

triangleDodgy MP lobbied for genocidal Sri Lankan leader

Yemen:

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime

Middle East:

triangleAhed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

Iraq:

triangleKurdish referendum declared illegal

Arab:

triangleIsrael - Protest rally against the Nationality Law

Bashar al-Assad:

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

CWI:

triangleCatalonia: 'Diada' 2018 an immense show of strength for republic

Iran:

triangleUnited working class movements can defeat Trump

Israel:

triangleAntisemitism smears against Corbyn are battering ram of the right

International

International

19/9/18

Catalonia

Catalonia: 'Diada' 2018 an immense show of strength for republic

19/9/18

South Africa

South Africa: new workers' formations herald fightback against Ramaphosa's capitalist agenda

19/9/18

Jeff Bezos

Bezos housing hypocrisy

12/9/18

Ireland

Ireland housing occupations

12/9/18

Sweden

Sweden: left and far right gain as establishment parties falter

12/9/18

Russia

Support for Putin's regime dips over major attacks on state pensions

12/9/18

Nicaragua

Nicaragua: With the people against the Ortega government and imperialism

5/9/18

Germany

Germany: violent attacks in Chemnitz - how can the far right be stopped?

29/8/18

China

China: Solidarity with Jasic Technology workers

29/8/18

Venezuela

Venezuela: How can reaction and imperialism be defeated?

29/8/18

CWI

The ongoing capitalist crisis and the struggle for a socialist world

24/8/18

China

Solidarity with Jasic Technology workers in Shenzhen, China

22/8/18

Italy

Morandi Bridge disaster - private profit to blame

22/8/18

Romania

Huge anti-government demos in Romania

22/8/18

Argentina

Argentina: The struggle for women's lives has been painted green!

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999