No U.S.-NATO intervention in Syria


Pressure for a direct military intervention in Syria by the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel and the reactionary Gulf Arab monarchies is reaching a critical point. At any moment, we could hear about drone strikes or attempts to set up a no-fly zone and other acts of war. The American people, in public opinion surveys, have already indicated that they don't want the U.S. to go to war in Syria. Now is the time to speak up loudly, before it is too late.

The current drumbeat for intervention has been stimulated by news stories about a chemical weapons attack on Damascus suburbs, which is said to have killed hundreds of people and sickened many more. Assertions are being made, before the facts can be analyzed scientifically and objectively, that the attack came from the forces of Syrian President Bashir Assad. The Assad government rejects these accusations and claims that the rebels were responsible.

British Foreign Minister William Hague has stated that the NATO powers and allies can circumvent the United Nations Security Council and go straight into armed intervention. The Turkish and French governments are making similarly belligerent declarations. Within the Obama administration, civilian advisors are urging the president to plunge in, while apparently the military is being more cautious.

We do not defend Assad and his government. We remember how, during the Iraq war, that government was only too eager to cooperate with the Bush administration in one of its most barbaric acts, the "extraordinary renditions" and torture of people who had been convicted of no crime. And the Assad regime's political repression has evidently spurred wide domestic opposition.

However, the Syrian armed rebels, as widely reported, include people whose actions have been just as brutal and, more importantly, who threaten to set up a state which they say will repress entire social and religious groups in Syria, including members of the Alawite branch of Islam (to which Assad and some members of his government belong), Christians, Shia Muslims and others. Furthermore, the Al Nusra Front, one of the most powerful sections of the rebel force, has connections with Al Qaeda and is likely to sweep more moderate rebel forces aside very quickly if the government falls. The human rights situation is likely to worsen sharply if such people take state power. These are not friends of the American people.

An escalated war can well set the whole Middle East afire. It is already lapping over Syria's borders into Iraq and Lebanon, and threatening to involve Jordan and other states as well, including possibly Iran.

We question the motives of this sudden push for a massively escalated war. Although Syria is not a big oil producer, its central geographical location in the region makes it a crucial piece of real estate for those who want to control Middle Eastern oil resources. We find it repugnant when concern about human rights is used to promote the oil agenda of international monopoly capital. It is also hypocritical that an alliance which includes feudal despotisms such as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States should claim the mantle of defending democracy, freedom and human rights. The authoritarian government of Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is also a "strange bedfellow" for defenders of human rights.

It is noteworthy that at the point that the new accusations have arisen, the rebel coalition has been in real trouble. There has been actual fighting between its Islamist and secular branches, and between Arab Islamists and Kurdish elements close to the Turkish border. And most analysts have seen the Syrian government forces as winning at this point. Many commentators point out that it would be illogical and self-destructive for the Syrian government to create a pretext for U.S. and NATO intervention at this juncture.

But what if the chemical attacks do turn out to have come from the government side? Even in such an eventuality, we strongly oppose an escalation of the war via U.S. and NATO intervention. No matter who is to blame for the chemical attacks, an escalated war with U.S. and NATO involvement would be disastrous.

The only acceptable option is for the U.S. and NATO, working cooperatively with Russia, Iran and the UN, to apply their considerable diplomatic and economic power to negotiate a peaceful solution.

It is very late, but perhaps not too late to apply the brakes before we go over the cliff.

We urge all people of goodwill to contact the White House, the State Department and their congressional representatives to demand that the United States pull back from the brink.

Photo: Black columns of smoke rise from heavy shelling in the Jobar neighborhood, east of Damascus, Syria, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP/Hassan Ammar)



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  • no war in sirya

    Posted by bouhaicha, 08/29/2013 6:46pm (2 years ago)

  • I fully share your point of view!

    Let's mount an international movement of solidarity to prevent an imperialist war against Syria!

    Posted by Hervé Fuyet, 08/28/2013 2:31pm (2 years ago)

  • stop the war on Syria we are fighting the terrorism we support our troops

    Posted by Ahed Ali , 08/28/2013 1:16pm (2 years ago)

  • Extensive and penetrating comment and literature have been let on this Syria question, maybe the clearest revealed from the commentary, and criticism thereof of leftist analyst, Vijay Prashad. Critics of Prashad, end up meandering back to his well thought out positions.
    Those who want no U. S. involvement in negotiation, preventing military intervention may not want Russia, Iran, NATO and the U. N. involved either.
    This is understandable, but unreasonable.
    With so many geopolitical interests at work, these, and other players are already involved.
    As the clear PW editorial makes clear, there is the ominous potential of the start of world war here in Syria.
    People's activity for peace, especially in the U. S. is needed to make a way for peace through traditional negotiation, communication and compromise.
    War is no alternative in settling the world's differences, as we should be reminded on the 50th anniversary of the anti-imperialist and peaceful warrior, M L K.
    Peace and social justice must carry the day, or we all are dead, hot or cold.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/28/2013 10:07am (2 years ago)

  • It might be a point to which all parties, including China & Russia, can come together to form a coherant policy- or, at least, form a general statement of intolerance over these chemical weapons being used to get everybody on board. I thnk this would be a good time to pressure China and Russia and force their hand so the whole world would be in concert and in the long run that might be the best way, the only way to end the war and strife in Syria. To bomb this target or that target, I dunno how much that would, ultimately, help solve the problem. I assume, like everyone else, there will be retaliation. If all the major nations could participate, that would be ideal.

    Posted by Kevin Kelly, 08/27/2013 9:37pm (2 years ago)

  • Unfortunate as it is, the civil war in Syria must remain a Syrian affair.
    Any meddling by other powers will only complicate an already awful situation.
    The bitter lessons learned in the North vs. South civil wars of Viet Nam and of Korea, need not be repeated.
    The American public has learned these lessons with blood and loss of treasure. Will the Republi-Crats do what is right? ...what is needed ? The answer is "nothing"

    Posted by jules, 08/27/2013 6:38pm (2 years ago)

  • I agree 100% in staying out of Syria and the Middle East. Let the Islamist settle their own differences and keep the U.S. in the U.S. to solve our own problems.

    Posted by RiverRat, 08/27/2013 5:58pm (2 years ago)

  • Syria and the other middle eastern nations such as them have had these problems for centuries, just let the people deal with this there way and the U.S. stay out we already had the same problem in Vietnam and we don't want another

    Posted by David, 08/27/2013 4:33pm (2 years ago)

  • Thank you for the editorial. I disagree, however, that the US should negotiate a settlement to the Syrian civil war. We have no business intervening in the conflict. Any "negotiated settlement" would aim to secure a NATO foothold in Syria. We have no business getting oinvolved in the internal affairs of other countries.

    Posted by Les Bayless, 08/27/2013 4:11pm (2 years ago)

  • A good analysis, and I agree completely with what you say.

    Thank you.

    Posted by Dave Cunningham, 08/27/2013 3:57pm (2 years ago)

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