IF ANYONE still had any doubt about the true nature of the Syrian rebels, last week’s killings in Paris should have finally opened their eyes. The Charlie Hebdo terror attack and the assault on a Jewish supermarket showed what Syria is up against today.
The gunmen who killed 14 civilians and three police officers in the name of the “Islamic State” are no different to those who are spreading death and destruction across Syria in an attempt to overthrow the Popular Front government of Bashar al Assad in Damascus. In fact they are clearly linked.
Initial French reports suggested that the terrorists were petty Muslim criminals radicalised in prison who were acting on their own. But one of the gunmen, at least, recorded a seven- minute-long “martyrdom” video in front of the “Islamic State” banner in which he discussed support for the reactionary terrorist movement that has seized control of parts of Iraq and Syria.
The “Islamic State” is now in conflict with the imperialists. When the IS militia overran large tracts of Iraq last year it grew too big for its boots. The captured oil wells meant that the Islamic State no longer needed direct western support to pursue its reactionary agenda and when the imperialists attempted to drive their militia out of the oil fields they responded with savage reprisals against western hostages. This wasn’t always the case.
When the imperialists and their feudal Arab allies launched the uprising in Syria in 2011 the “Islamic State in Syria,” as it was known, was supported by the Nato powers. Arms and cash were conveyed across Turkey to sustain the ISIS militia as well as those of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaida in Syria to bring down the Assad government, which has long been an obstacle to total imperialist domination of the Middle East.
Thousands of Muslims were recruited in Europe to join in the anti-Assad crusade with the covert assistance of imperialist intelligence agencies. Over 1,000 French Muslim “volunteers” are believed to have gone to Syria. The Charlie Hebdo terrorists may have been among them. Certainly the ease with which the wife of one of the slain gunmen was able to flee the country suggests some sort of cover-up is going on.
But we may never know the full truth. The investigating French police chief committed suicide within hours after being asked to file a report on the Charlie Hebdo attack and all the Paris gunmen were conveniently killed in the subsequent shoot-outs with the French police.
More than 40 world leaders joined millions of Parisians on Sunday to rally in support of the victims of the terror attacks. Most went to express their grief at the senseless slaughter. But the great and the good from the imperialist camp had another agenda — to fix the public focus on the supposed culture clash between Islam and so-called “western” values and divert any attention from their own role in fomenting the violence in Syria.
They bleat on about the freedom of speech which is enjoyed in differing degrees in the European Union and the United States but say nothing about Britain’s crippling libel laws, which protect the rich and powerful and helped the late Jimmy Saville cover up his sordid perversions. At the same time they are preparing the ground for more restrictions on Internet privacy and the total elimination of encrypted communications.
They are once again talking about a “war on terror” which in reality ends up as a war against the Arabs, as it did in Iraq, Libya and Syria. But none of them say anything about ending imperialism’s support for Syrian rebels and “regime change” in Damascus.If the imperialists really want to stop terror they should stop supporting the Syrian rebels and back Russian mediation efforts to bring an end to the conflict. If they really want to prevent another Charlie Hebdo they should co-operate with Syrian and Iraqi intelligence to break the terror finance and recruitment networks across the western world. But all they want is the Arabs’ oil. They can’t and they won’t do it.
New Worker editorial
16th January 2015