Syria: Empire’s Last Gasp

IMPERIAL CRUSADE AGAINST SYRIA

Oscar Sánchez Serra

WHY is the United States attacking Syria?

Brazil, Russia – reborn as a superpower and an uncomfortable one – India and China – are emerging economies that are already acting as leaders on the world geopolitical stage. It is said that India and China, also the most populated nations of the world, will mark the rate of development during the 21st century. In other words, one has to be prepared for a global transfer of power. The current empire will not be the most powerful.

For Viktor Burbaki of the U.S. Strategic Culture Foundation, mathematical models of the global geopolitical dynamic have led to the conclusion that a grand-scale victory in a war utilizing conventional means is the only option for the United States being able to reverse the rapid collapse of its geopolitical status. Burbaki affirms that if the current geopolitical dynamic persists, a change in global leadership could be expected by 2025, and the only way in which the United States can derail this process is by unleashing a war on a grand scale.

Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 have already endured imperial attacks, utilizing the same argument based on a pack of lies. The tactic of the world gendarme has never been to challenge states that could dispute its global supremacy, for which reason Burbaki considers that Iran, Syria and Shi’ite groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, face the greatest danger of suffering strikes in the name of a new world redistribution of power. The specialist did not state this the other day, but more than 12 months ago, in February of 2012.

In other words, to get rid of Syria and Iran, obstacles on the route to U.S. global domination, would be Washington’s next natural step.

Paul Farrell, U.S. columnist and financial analyst, stated last April that the United States needed a new war, in order for capital to thrive. He ironically commented then, in a brief note which appeared in Russia Today, “Didn’t WWII get us out of the Great Depression?” He capped this statement off with data which informs his thesis that wars benefit capitalists above all. The Forbes list of world billionaires skyrocketed from 322 in 2000 to 1,426 recently, 31% of them being American.

Marcelo Colussi, Argentine psychologist, professor, writer, journalist and full-time activist for social justice and global dignity, has one of the most convincing answers to the question as to why the United States would attack Syria. When, at the beginning of the 20th century, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge said that his country’s business consisted of doing business, this has today been transformed into doing business with war. Let others do the fighting and here we are to sell them weapons.

In this context, the Argentine intellectual passes his verdict that today, U.S. power is based on wars, always those in other nations, never on its own territory. In any event, war is its axis; its domestic economy is nourished to a large extent by the arms industry and its planetary hegemony (appropriation of raw materials and imposition of the rules of the economic and political game on a global scale, with primacy of the dollar. Today, Washington needs wars. Without wars, the power would not be a power.

What we are seeing now with a besieged Syria, what is leading the Middle East into a war of unforeseeable consequences, with the real target, Iran, following behind and with Israel, which is waiting, pressuring and coercing the master to the North to fulfill its promise of punishing that Persian country, is not a chance operation.

The first victim of war is the truth. While in Iraq the most obscene fallacies were its possession of weapons of mass destruction and its close links with Al Qaeda, and in Iran, the manufacture of powerful nuclear armaments, in Syria the lie is chemical weapons utilized by President Al-Assad against his own people, although nobody with the most elemental common sense believes it, because Syria would be the least to benefit by creating a pretext such as this.

But lies are part of the plan, and this one did not come into existence overnight, nor was it improvised in a bar over a few beers, but in the White House, in 1997, when a group of fevered minds of the alienated ultra-right created a project for the New American Century, with the objective of sustaining the United States as the hegemonic superpower of the planet, at any and all costs.

The objectives of the project are the opening up, stability, control and globalization of markets, as well as security and freedom of trade; unrestricted access to energy sources and raw materials needed to dynamize the U.S. economy and those of its allies; the monitoring and control in real time of people and all significant political and social movements opposed to its interests; the expansion and domination of the financial and industrial capital of its companies and transnational corporations; and the assuring of control over the means of communication and world information.

To that end it has not even stinted on mercenaries, who abound in Syria – well paid and armed – nor in the deployment of U.S. military might, as well as creating situations within nations, such as the manufacture and unveiling of the so-called Arab Spring in North Africa, which ended with the assassination, recorded live, of Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Who thought up and armed this insanity based on the industry of death, the real sustenance of the U.S. economy? Illustrious neo-cons with senior positions in the administrations of Reagan, George Bush (father and son); in other words: Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Quayle, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton and Richard Perle, among others. Who sheltered them politically? The Republican Party, the Democratic Party, AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), or the pro-Israeli lobby in the nation of the stars and stripes; and many powerful organizations on Wall Street, in the media and in the powerful military-industrial complex. It would seem that it is not important who the President happens to be.

The Twin Towers were brought down, but this provided the basis for the rising up of the Project, sowing the divine fundamentalist idea that the United States is the only nation capable of combating the terrible evils of Islamist terrorism, drug trafficking, or organized crime, even though it is within its own territory that most terrorists are harbored, where the highest quantity of drugs are consumed, and where criminals enjoy impunity. An implacable media crusade was launched which fixed fear and danger in the mentality of citizens of the world.

It has reached the extent that, even the UN, in its investigation into the existence of chemical weapons in Syria – the key pretext for the aggression – has stated that its research is only to confirm whether they were used or not, and not who utilized them.

A variant of the of the Arab Spring was already tested out in Syria, but failed in destabilizing the country, hence the recourse of destroying the nation and leaving it without a government, and without order, because social anarchy there would justify a U.S. presence, plus that of its allies with all their troops and even a coalition. This would provide a gateway to Iran, additionally keeping a close watch on the dangerous Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a commitment to Israel which, since its defeat by this force in 2006, has not been able to heal its wounds.

Who can be left in any doubt that all of this is an orchestrated plot, and that the United States and its allies are not bothered as to whether or not chemical weapons enter the equation?

What does interest it is the geo-strategic situation of Damascus and imperial power, even if this involves a bloodbath in this nation of heroic people, and world peace is once again trampled by the nation and government which sets itself up as the paradigm of human rights. But it should be careful. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

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Syria: Backing Away from War?

New Worker

US president Barack Obama has suspended his threat to rain death and destruction on Syria following a week of intense diplomatic efforts by Russia and China to prevent the Syrian crisis escalating into a general war in the Middle East. Obama has asked Congress to postpone a vote authorising the use of force to destroy Syria’s stockpile of poison gas that the Americans claim was used in an attack that killed hundreds in Damascus in August.

There is little doubt that Obama’s U-turn was forced on the leader of US imperialism by the wave of anti-war protests that have swept America and world, opposition from senior officers in the US armed forces and amongst America’s ruling circles and the growing fear that his war motion would be defeated in Congress.

Last Saturday over 100,000 people filled the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square for a peace vigil and to hear Pope Francis call war a “defeat for humanity”. The next day the Pope denounced the proposed US attack as a “commercial war to sell arms” while the Americans failed to win any significant support at the G20 summit talks in St Petersburg.

Only four countries — France, Turkey, Canada and Saudi Arabia (plus a British prime minister rebuffed by his own Parliament) backed America at a working dinner set aside to discuss the Syria crisis.

On Monday American foreign minister John Kerry said Assad could avert an attack by surrendering all his chemical weapons stocks to the international community within a week following talks with the British government in London. This was immediately taken up by the Russians who kicked the proposal into the international arena. Though Kerry initially claimed he was only speaking rhetorically it appears that Obama had raised the face-saving formula with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the side-lines of the G20 talks.

Accepted

Obama has now accepted a Russian plan to put all Syria’s chemical weapons under international control which has been welcomed by leaders of most of the Third World. Syria, which has vigorously denied any involvement in last month’s atrocity, has endorsed the plan while their army has driven out the rebels from the key Christian village of Maaloula, which was briefly occupied by the Al Qaeda terror gangs earlier in the week.

The Syrian government maintains that the poison gas attack was a rebel ”false-flag” provocation designed to provide a pretext for open imperialist intervention. This has been backed by the Russians who have provided proof of rebel held chemical weapons to the United Nations. Russian Duma international affairs committee head Alexei

Pushkov told the Russian parliament that “There are reasons to presume that not only the Syrian government but also the militants possess [chemical weapons]” and that these weapons have been used against the Syrian army. Pushkov said that rebels used chemical weapons near Aleppo in March and that this was acknowledged by Carla Del Ponte, a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic under the auspices of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The TUC in congress this week in Bournemouth said that it “strongly [opposes] external military intervention” in Syria and is committed to “work with civil society organisations” including “Stop the War Coalition, in pursuit of [preventing such action]”. This was welcomed by Stop the War national convener, Lindsey German, as “A great step forward and reflects massive public opposition to David Cameron or President Obama’s plans for a new war in the Middle East.”

But the war-mongers on both sides of the Atlantic are already trying to recover lost ground. Russia has already had to block new French efforts to get a new UN Security Council mandate that would sanction force à la Libya if Syria does not comply with the chemical weapons demands. Now the spotlight has moved from the UN to Geneva where Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Secretary John Kerry will meet this week to hammer out the details of the Russian proposal and hopefully move on to take concrete steps to convene the Geneva Peace Conference that has been stalled through American intransigence.

The drive to war against Syria has been halted for the moment. We must make sure it’s stopped for good. Mass pressure must continue throughout the labour and peace movement to prevent any new American move to attack Syria or any other country in the Middle East that dares to stand in the way of big oil corporations, the feudal Arab oil princes, and the overall strategic interests of US-led imperialism.

Syria: War Profiteers, Slavery, and the Hypocrisy of Imperialism

Nathan Goodman

Across the world, people are protesting against US intervention in Syria. Polls show widespread skepticism of the impending war. Rather than making Americans safer, intervention is likely to support forces connected to al Qaeda. Yet it still seems inevitable that the US government will launch cruise missiles at Syria, escalating the country’s bloody civil war. Why?

Because politicians don’t work for the people. As Thomas Knapp of the Center for a Stateless Society puts it, “politicians and soldiers work for (and constitute part of) the political class. Their job is to transfer as much wealth as possible from your pockets to that class’s bank accounts.”

In that case, they’re doing their job quite well. The war profiteers at Raytheon have seen their stock prices soar in anticipation of the Syrian war. As the Boston Herald reported on August 31st, “The Waltham-based manufacturer of the Tomahawk cruise missiles, expected to be used in any strike on Syria, saw its stock hit a 52-week high last week at $77.93 per share, and has stayed near that high, closing yesterday at $75.41.”

Officials like John Kerry argue that this war is somehow a humanitarian response to atrocities by the Assad regime. But the corporations that stand to profit are no humanitarians. To the contrary, they have been involved in some of the most grotesque human rights violations of our time.

For example, war profiteers profit off slave labor. Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Boeing, and BAE Systems all use prison labor to manufacture military equipment. Prisoners are often forced to labor under sweatshop style conditions, and when they are paid they often receive meager wages like 23 cents an hour. As William Hartung puts it, “There’s no greater restriction on a worker’s rights than being stuck in prison.” Profiting off prison labor creates an incentive to keep prisons full, which may be part of why America has the largest prison population on Earth. Most of America’s prisoners are non-violent offenders, and the majority are people of color. The racism and injustice of slavery remains, and war profiteers benefit from it.

War profiteers also benefit from human rights violations at America’s borders. Their products are used to violate privacy through pervasive surveillance at the border. They are wielded by Border Patrol agents who murder migrant workers and break indigenous communities like the  Tohono O’oodham Nation apart. This aggressive border security helps bosses exploit and abuse undocumented workers. With the threat of deportation and a militarized border hanging over their head, they are deterred from reporting wage theft, sexual violence, and other abuses by their employers. So once again war profiteers enable exploitation, violence and abuse.

Then there’s the warfare they profit from worldwide. General Atomics profits by making Predator drones that kill innocents in Pakistan and Yemen. A litany of corporations profited from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Like the impending war in Syria, this invasion was justified largely under humanitarian pretenses. Yet rather than “liberate” Iraqis, this invasion brutalized them. The US government murdered innocents, tortured prisoners, and illegally used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, to kill Iraqis. American war profiteers made a killing from a war in which the US government crossed the very same “red line” they accuse Assad of crossing.

As Emma Goldman wrote decades ago, “no one, be it individual or government, engaged in enslaving and exploiting at home, could have the integrity or the desire to free people in other lands.”  By this standard, we must not trust the US government or the war profiteers to “free” anyone in Syria.

Nathan Goodman is a Senior Fellow and Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Why the United States is Waging War Against Syria

Source

In the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack last week, the US and its European allies are moving rapidly to launch a war against Syria. Missile strikes to bombard the country into submission could begin within days. The propaganda campaign coming from the media, aimed at packaging another unpopular war for the public, has shifted into high gear.

The official reasons given for the imminent attack are a pack of unsubstantiated lies, a collection of pretexts aimed at justifying a policy that was planned long in advance.

The real reasons for this latest war can be understood only within the context of the geopolitical, economic and social crisis of American and European capitalism, and the world imperialist system as a whole.

First: From a geopolitical standpoint, the long-planned war against Syria is yet another step in Washington’s campaign, since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, to secure its global dominance through military force. Confronted with the protracted decay in its once-dominant position in the world economy, the United States sees in its military power the means of establishing a hegemonic position. As early as 1992, the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance stated that US policy aimed to prevent the emergence of any power that could become a peer competitor of the United States. In 2002, the US National Security Strategy stated that the United States would use pre-emptive war to achieve this aim.

A central feature of the global explosion of US militarism is Washington’s drive to secure a dominant position not only in the Middle East, but on the entire Eurasian land mass. In recent years, the writings of the late 19th and early 20th century imperialist strategist Sir Halford Mackinder have once again become essential texts for the policymakers in the State Department, Pentagon and CIA. In numerous books and countless articles published in academic journals, what Mackinder called the “world-island”—stretching from the eastern borders of Germany to the western border of China—is deemed to be of decisive strategic importance to the United States and its West European allies.

As one recent study asserts, “The Eurasian landmass ought to be the focal point of the West’s strategic exertions… If the nascent process of Western decline is to be arrested and reversed, a better understanding of the geopolitical relevance of Eurasia, and the struggle therein, and a concerted effort there, is crucial.” [The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West, by Alexandros Petersen] As with all imperialist strategies for world domination, this entails a struggle against powers that are seen as obstacles to its realization. The drive to dominate Eurasia leads inevitably to escalating conflict with Russia and China.

The series of aggressive wars conducted by the United States since the 1990s—in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia—is part of an agenda that envisions the unchallengeable global dominance of the United States. The fact that world domination cannot be achieved without wars that will cost hundreds of millions of lives, and, very possibly, the destruction of the planet, will not deter Washington from plunging ahead.

This strategy of imperialist conquest may be insane, but so was that of Adolf Hitler—whose geopolitical objectives appear almost provincial in scope, when compared to the ambitions of US imperialism. As Trotsky, foreseeing the evolution of American imperialism, wrote nearly 80 years ago:

“For Germany, it was a question of ‘organizing Europe.’ The United States must ‘organize’ the world.”

As for the European powers, for now they see their own imperialist ambitions as best served by tying their fortunes to the Pentagon. They hope they can share in the plunder of US wars and, in the process, legitimize their own looting operations, such as France’s wars in Africa.

Second: Economically, world capitalism is in the fifth year of its deepest crisis since the Great Depression, producing economic stagnation, mass unemployment, and a relentless collapse of living standards. The ever more desperate economic situation—with deepening debts, debased currencies, and intensifying international competition—drives ever more reckless and violent foreign policies.

The Great Depression of the 1930s led to World War II, as the imperialist powers sought to find in war a solution to the maladies of capitalism. The Great Recession that began in 2008, which shows no signs of abating, is leading to World War III. The forms of economic parasitism associated with the processes of global financialization—in which the enrichment of a small stratum of society is achieved through swindling on a massive scale—finds its natural complement in a foreign policy that realizes its objectives through criminal violence.

Significantly, the United States is sweeping aside the United Nations and proceeding to war without the approval of the UN Security Council, where Russia and China have veto power, much as the League of Nations collapsed after fascist Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia in 1935.

Third: All the imperialist countries confront an ever-worsening social crisis produced by rising social inequality and class tensions. In the United States—where the wealthiest 10 percent of the population owns nearly three quarters of the wealth, and the top 1 percent monopolizes half of that—cities are being forced into bankruptcy amid a relentless assault on wages and living standards.

In Europe, the European Union is disintegrating amid rising tensions between the European powers and an assault on jobs and living standards symbolized by the social devastation of Greece. The more bitter and intractable the conflicts between the major European powers, the more they turn to external aggression as the only policy upon which they can all agree.

The imperialist powers increasingly see war as a means to distract attention from the exposure of their criminal operations directed against the people. The timing of the current war is clearly related to the political crisis provoked by Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass, illegal spying by intelligence agencies against the populations of the United States and the major European powers. Imperialist militarism is seen by the ruling elite as an essential means of directing social tensions outward, along the useless and destructive channels of war.

But the twentieth century teaches that the ruling classes that hoped to extricate themselves from the bankruptcy of capitalism by winning big at the roulette table of militarism, eventually discovered that the odds of history were against them and they had made some very bad bets.

The Syrian war, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will produce death and suffering on a massive scale, intensify the world economic and political crisis, and bring mankind as a whole closer to catastrophe.

The launching of war against yet another small country testifies not only to the brutality, but also the bankruptcy of American and European capitalism and the entire world system based on exploitation and plunder. The only way out of the bloody dead end of capitalism and imperialism is through the united struggle of the international working class for the victory of the World Socialist Revolution.

Summer of Imperialism in Middle East, North Africa

MENA_map

Lucien Gauthier

(reprinted from Informations Ouvrières No. 264, the weekly newspaper of the Independent Workers Party of France)

In the middle of August, the violence but also the “negotiations” have increased across the Middle East and in the Maghreb.

More than two years after the fall of Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, the situation in these two regions, far from being “stabilized,” as U.S. imperialism would like it, is witnessing ever-increasing contradictions.

EGYPT
Mobilizations by millions upon millions of workers, youth, and people as a whole led to the fall of President Morsi. Many political forces of the Egyptian opposition have carefully avoided saying that the regime in Egypt was not made up solely by the Muslim Brotherhood, but was formed by a coalition of this current with the Egyptian Army.

In the face of these latest revolutionary developments, the top military brass, in conjunction with the U.S. administration, ousted Morsi to preserve the regime.

For decades, it has been the highest echelons of the Army that in fact run the country and constitute its main political, economic and legal force.

In this situation, part of the population that does not want a return to military rule continues to mobilize to demand the return of President Morsi.

Faced with the risk of an all-out explosive situation, the U.S. administration is pushing with all its weight for the Muslim Brotherhood to be reinstated in the Egyptian government via the formation of a government of national unity in Egypt. This country is indeed one of the pillars of imperialist domination in the Middle East. An explosion of Egypt could lead to a general explosion in the Middle East, already marked by a major drift toward its dislocation.

IN IRAQ AND SYRIA
“The Islamic State in Iraq,” that is to say, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks that left dozens dead during the holiday of Aïd, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Le Monde (August 13) said that the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda has now extended its influence in Syria. The newspaper notes that the organization “imposes its methods wherever it goes: decapitation of Alawites, anti-Christian violence and even attacks on Sunni forces considered too luke-warm. This was the case in Rakka, where the Islamic State in Iraq eventually ousted all other rebel forces through abductions and assassinations.”

NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE STATE OF ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
Given all these developments, the U.S. administration has thrown all its weight to force the leaders of the State of Israel to reopen negotiations with the “Palestinian Authority.” This has caused profound contradictions in the government of the State of Israel, as major sectors of the state apparatus oppose any negotiations and in fact are pushing for greater confrontations with the Palestinians.

On the Palestinian side, the participation of leaders of the Palestinian Authority in the pseudo-negotiations has not met with the approval of the masses of Palestinians, who know from experience that nothing positive will come of these “negotiations” for the Palestinian people.

IN TUNISIA
The assassination of Member of Parliament Brahmi, after that of Choukri Belaïd, both leaders of the Popular Front, led to a new wave of mass protests. The international press has presented these developments in Tunisia as an opposition between the Islamist government and a secular opposition. Some groups in Tunisia have done the same. Many articles have sought to draw a parallel with the situation in Egypt.

But the reality is different. The revolutionary mobilizations in Tunisia, framed and structured by the UGTT trade union federation, not only resulted in throwing out Ben Ali, but also led to the liquidation of large parts of the Ben Ali regime — unlike what happened in Egypt, where the army remained in power and preserved the regime.

Thus the mobilization of the people in Tunisia led to the convening of a Constituent Assembly. But the combination of the actions taken by many political parties, all supported by the Major Powers, distorted and gutted the content of these elections, prohibiting de facto the election of a true Constituent Assembly. What resulted was a parliamentary election that led to the formation of a government that brought together the Islamic Party, Ennadha, and two secular parties, one on the right, the Congress for the Republic, and the other on the left, Ettakatol.

The result of this agreement was as follows: the appointed President of the Republic, Marzouki, is a leader of the Congress of the Republic; the Prime Minister comes from Ennadha; and the President of the Constituent Assembly is a leader representing Ettakatol.

Why do they all hide this fact? Precisely because this national coalition agreement has not only preserved the broad policy directives of the Ben Ali government, but has even accelerated them. This coalition government not only did not oppose, let alone challenge, the Association Agreement with the European Union, a “free trade” agreement with the EU, but has gone a step further by signing a special partnership with it.

The coalition government has accepted all the conditions put forward by the IMF and the U.S. administration. And yet it was precisely these agreements that laid the basis for the destruction of the Tunisian economy and that caused the revolutionary uprising in Tunisia two and a half years ago, raising the demand of “Bread and Water — Not Ben Ali” .

Faced with the mobilizations in Tunisia, the Major Powers and some of their relays in Tunisia seek to lay the groundwork for a broader coalition government, including other political forces now in opposition. Thus the President of the Constituent Assembly announced that his work would be put on hold as a gesture toward the opposition. At the same time, he asked the UGTT trade union federation to assume its “historic role by sponsoring talks between the government and the opposition.”

According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), “after more than four hours of negotiations, Ghannouchi, the leaders of the Islamic party Ennadha, and Abassi, the leader of the powerful UGTT union federation, announced that they had made no progress that could lead to a solution to the crisis caused by the assassination of Member of Parliament Brahmi …. The UGTT had found itself placed reluctantly in the role of mediator between the opposition and Ennadha. ”

One question is carefully hidden by the international media, and that is the fact that the sovereignty of the Tunisian people can only be guaranteed by severing the ties of subordination to imperialism. This is valid in Tunisia, but also in Egypt and elsewhere.

South American Leaders Condemn Spain’s Rajoy for Provocation Against Evo Morales

Buenos Aires Herald

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was among several South American leaders who spoke out at an emergency Unasur meeting, convened after Evo Morales was stopped from landing in several European nations. Cristina called on the responsible nations to apologise, and spoke out in defence of the Bolivian leader.

The head of state declared that she had arrived in Cochabamba to “express my own and the Argentine people’s solidarity against the attack that the president of this country [Morales] and our societies have suffered.”

Speaking directly to France, Spain and Portugal, the countries who refused Morales permission to land, Kirchner called for remorse: “I want to ask those who have broken the law peacefully, but very seriously, that they take responsibility and make it right,” she affirmed.

“For once, apologise for what you have done.”

Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro also launched a fierce attack on Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy.

Maduro labelled Rajoy, of the Popular Party, “undignified” for his alleged efforts to check Morales’ presidential jet, and added “we can now take him off his own plane to look for the Euros which he has robbed.”

“What does Rajoy’s government think? That we still live in colonial times?” The Venezuelan premier continued.

The United States were also subjected to Maduro’s accusations: “They are afraid of Edward Snowden”, he fired. “The imperialist force has driven itself crazy over this 29-year-old man, I warned Evo that he should take care.”

EU Attempts to Reignite Syrian Conflict

New Worker

Syria, Russia and Iran have condemned the European Union’s decision to end its arms embargo on Syria. The Syrian government said: “The recent EU decision proves they are hindering the international efforts aimed at achieving a political settlement to the crisis in Syria based on national dialogue among Syrians”. And Iran warned that some EU states had taken a wrong and dangerous stand in supporting the terrorists which can only undermine international efforts to end the fighting.

Meanwhile US Senator and former Republican presidential candidate John Mc- Cain paid a surprise visit to the rebels in northern Syria on Monday. The leading American war-monger entered Turkey and then sneaked across the border into Syria where he met with leaders of the “Free Syrian Army”. McCain represents the most aggressive sections of the American ruling class and he has constantly pushed for more direct US involvement in the conflict, including arming the rebels.

The EU move, taken at a foreign ministers’ conference in Brussels on Monday, was pushed through by Britain and France despite opposition from many other member states. Fourteen members, led by Austria, Sweden and the Czech Republic, were against lifting arms embargo. Germany expressed caution while Italy and Cyprus backed Britain and France.

Foreign Secretary William Hague naturally hailed the Anglo-French initiative, saying that all the sanctions would be maintained against the Syrian government, but lifted for the rebels — paving the way to open weapons sales to the “Free Syrian Army”, the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaida gangs that are fighting to overthrow the Baathist-led popular front government in Damascus.

Back in Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the EU has made a “double mistake” in imposing the embargo in the first place and then refusing to extend it. Lavrov said that lifting the arms ban would only aggravate the situation in Syria and hinder progress towards the Russian-American sponsored international peace conference to end the fighting in Syria.

The Kremlin now says it will go ahead with deliveries of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, and that the arms will help deter foreign intervention. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the missiles were a “stabilising factor” that could dissuade “some hotheads” from entering the conflict.

Russia agreed to supply Syria with S-300s some years ago but delayed delivery last year following Nato protests. The truck-mounted missiles are capable of striking multiple targets simultaneously with a range of up to 200 km and the system is designed to defend large administrative centres, industrial complexes and military bases.

The Syrian armed forces are winning the war against the NATO-backed rebels — a fact now acknowledged by German intelligence. Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) believes that the foreign-sponsored militant groups in Syria are facing extreme difficulties in the battle and says the Syrian army is capable of conducting successful operations against the foreign-backed militias “at will”. Gerhard Schindler, the head of the BND, told security officials that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is now more stable than it has been in a long time. This is a fundamental reversal from last summer, when the BND predicted that the Syrian government would collapse by early 2013.

Schindler visited Syria earlier in the month for talks with the chief of the Syrian national security agency about the presence of German extremists in the country.

According to the German media the BND currently believes that the foreign-sponsored militant groups in Syria, which include several al-Qaida- affiliated groups, are in deep trouble.

Syrian security forces have inflicted major losses on the rebels in the strategic western city of Qusayr including the chief commander of the terrorist group al-Nusra Front, Abu Omar, who was killed in the fighting in the city last week.

Schindler says that the rebels are fighting each other to gain supremacy in certain regions. There is no functional chain of command between the leaders of the foreign- backed Syrian opposition and its armed elements inside the country, the BND head stated, adding that each new battle weakens the militants further.

Schindler said the Syrian army could regain control of the entire south of the country by the end of 2013 if the conflict continues as it has over the past week and the Syrian army has managed to cut supply lines for weapons and evacuation routes for wounded militants to neighbouring countries.

While Anglo-American and French imperialism move closer to open aggression against Syria the struggle for peace continues. As President Assad said last week: “Syria is determined to tackle terrorism and those who support it regionally and globally, and to find a political solution to the crisis.”