Germany’s Left Party mobilizes for war against Syria

By Johannes Stern
21 December 2012

Last week, leading figures of the German Left Party, including chairwoman Katja Kipping and vice-chairman Jan van Aken, signed a statement titled “Syria: Freedom needs assistance,” calling for intervention in Syria.

The statement, issued by the Adopt a Revolution (AaR) initiative and the Frankfurt-based human rights organization Medico International, was also signed by leaders of the Social-Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party, and the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Signatories include SPD General Secretary Andrea Nahles, Green Party leader Claudia Roth, and Ruprecht Polenz (CDU), chairman of the foreign committee of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament.

A number of intellectuals, including academics, writers and artists, also signed.

The Left Party is directly supporting the historic crime being committed against Syria. Behind a few cynical phrases about “continued hopes for a peaceful solution” to the “Syrian tragedy”, it seeks to rally support for the brutal, US-led proxy war in Syria to oust President Bashar al-Assad and install a pro-Western stooge regime.

The Left Party has long functioned as an adjunct of the German foreign ministry in the imperialist offensive against Syria. However, in the past it mainly worked with opposition groups who posed as critics of the pro-Western opposition. Now, as German imperialism steps up its aggression against Syria, as part of broader preparations by the NATO powers for direct military intervention in Syria, the Left Party is openly embracing pro-war forces like the AaR group.

Only last Friday the Left Party’s cosignatories, the ruling CDU and the opposition SPD and Greens, voted to deploy two Patriot Missile batteries and 400 soldiers to Turkey’s border with Syria.

The AaR group, the driving force behind the statement, organizes support and collects money for the Syrian opposition. Like the Left Party, the alliance cynically claims in public that its activities are “peaceful” and limited to supporting an unarmed and democratic opposition in Syria.

The statement claims that “unarmed local committees, Kurdish initiatives, student groups, but also Palestinian youth reject the military logic of destruction and defend the democratic awakening.” At the end, the statement calls for donations “for humanitarian aid and the civic engagement of the unarmed local basis committees in Syria.”

This is a cynical fraud. Talk of a “peaceful and democratic” movement in Syria is a fiction, maintained by AaR and the Left Party, to cover up their pro-war campaign and the bloody, ultra-reactionary forces they support.

For over one and a half years, Washington and its regional proxies—Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia—have funneled foreign Islamist fighters into Syria, financing and arming the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and various Al Qaeda-type groups such as the Al-Nusra Front. These reactionary forces are waging a brutal terrorist war in Syria, fomenting sectarian hatred against religious minorities, murdering political opponents and exploding car bombs in civilian areas.

When the AaR and Left Party are calling to donate for the Syrian opposition, they are in fact organizing financial support for such ultra-reactionary forces. The opposition groups promoted by AaR and the Left Party are in a political alliance with US imperialism and its Sunni Islamist proxies.

The “activist” groups supported by AaR and the Left Party include the so-called Local Coordination Committees (LCCs) and the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC), which are both part of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF). The NCSROF is the new umbrella organization of the Syrian opposition, cobbled together under the auspices of the US State Department in Doha last month. The NATO powers and the Gulf States treat it as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

The NCSROF’s Doha Agreement calls on its supporters to “bring down the regime”, rejects “any dialogue or negotiation with the regime” and supports the armed struggle. The NCSROF announced it would “endorse the Joint Command of the Revolutionary Military Councils”, the central leadership of the armed opposition groups in Syria.

The NCSROF openly supports the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front in Syria, regarding them as allies in the war against Assad. When the US put the Al-Nusra Front on its list of “foreign terrorist organizations” last week, NCSROF Secretary General Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib protested against it. He urged Washington to “re-examine” the decision, declaring: “We can have ideological and political differences with certain parties, but the revolutionaries all share the same goal: to overthrow the criminal regime.”

The figures behind AaR share the positions of the NCSROF. They have long called for a no-fly zone and are outspoken defenders of direct military intervention in Syria.

AaR was founded by Elias Perabo, a political science student in Berlin, together with his friend Rami Nakhle, a Beirut-based Syrian blogger. Nakhle is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council (SNC), which makes up the bulk of the NCSROF.

Nakhle is infamous for constantly demanding foreign military intervention in Syria. At a meeting of the Syrian Convention in Washington last April, he directly addressed US-president Barack Obama in an interview: “You have the responsibility to protect our people and so far you have failed to do it… What are you waiting for to intervene?”

At the AaR’s founding press conference on January 4 this year, Amer Al Neser, spokesperson of the SRGC said: “In order to protect Syrian human rights activists, a no-fly zone is urgently needed in the country—and harsher sanctions against the illegal regime.” Since then at least two other AaR members, Ferhad Ahma and Hosan Ibrahim—both speaking as representatives of the SNC—have gone on record to call for Western military intervention.

While the Left Party helps organize the rape of Syria, some of the intellectuals and academics who signed the letter are beginning to pull back.

Only two days after signing the statement, German singer Konstantin Wecker withdrew his signature. He explained in a letter on his Facebook page that he was told by friends that by signing the statement, he did “not at all strengthen the civil society in Syria, but those interests who bombed Libya into a hell on earth.”

Wecker’s reaction highlights the reactionary role played by the Left Party in the war against Syria. The Left Party seeks to create confusion about the character of the Syrian opposition and its ties to the CIA and Islamist terrorist forces, which the Left Party supports—hoping thus to secure the support of layers of the middle class for a brutal imperialist war.

In this, the Left Party, like all the other parties of the German ruling class, is part of the imperialist campaign to recolonize the Middle East.