The latest revelations on the support for the Syrian “rebel” forces by US intelligence agencies demonstrate clearly the pro-imperialist role of the petty-bourgeois “left” groups like the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) and Workers Struggle (LO). By presenting the forces armed by the CIA and hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as “revolutionary forces”, they have acted as tools of imperialism.
Last week, the press reported that American President Barack Obama had signed a secret document authorizing aid to the Syrian “rebels.” This document authorizes the American secret services to arm and supply the anti-Assad forces and guide their ground forces. The press reported that the CIA and its allies—the Saudi monarchy, the Turkish army and the European imperialist powers—were sending into Syria Islamist fighters linked to al Qaeda, who aimed to fight Assad’s secular regime.
Meanwhile, the NPA was hailing the entry of anti-Assad “rebel” forces into the cities of Damascus and Aleppo, publishing the statement of the so-called Syrian Revolutionary Left Tendency (CGRS).
The CGRS wrote: “The revolutionary impetus which has affected the big cities of Damascus and Aleppo these last days reveals just a tiny amount of the revolutionary energy of the Syrian masses. And the actions linked to the revolutionary confrontation in the Damascus suburbs and their extension in all directions appear as a foretaste to the assault on the presidential palace.”
By publishing this document, the NPA sought to give a “revolutionary” halo to what was in fact a CIA operation. “The revolutionary impetus” was an assault by Sunni fighters on cities inhabited by millions, led by al-Qaeda fundamentalists and under the tactical guidance of US intelligence services. (See also: “The CIA proxy war in Syria and the pro-imperialist ‘left’”)
The latter coordinate their operations from Adana in Turkey, the town where NATO’s Incirlik air base is located—a major centre of military and political operations for the US in the Middle East. They are in regular communication with the “rebels”, providing them with details on movements by Assad’s army. Washington has also helped to distribute arms and money provided by its right-wing allies in the Middle East—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Far from being “revolutionary” forces, these are in fact regimes deeply hostile to the struggle of the masses which developed in Tunisia and Egypt last year.
The NPA leaders are of course aware of these political realities. In November, they sent Gilbert Achcar to represent their tendency at a meeting of the Syrian National Council, the organization at the head of the anti-Assad “rebels”. (See also: “French petit-bourgeois ‘left’ plots military intervention in Syria”)
For its part, LO published on its site an article that appeared in the British publication of Workers’ Fight, a movement close to LO, entitled “Syria—Between imperialist power games and the threat of civil war.” The author writes concerning al-Qaeda: “The spokesmen for the opposition have blamed these attacks on the Baath security forces [of Assad], accusing them of trying to substantiate the regime’s derisory claim that al-Qaeda is the real force behind the protest movement.”
LO attempts here to defend the media image of the CIA and its allies, who are leading urban guerrilla fighters, including Al Qaeda forces, in Damascus and Aleppo. The relations between the Syrian “rebels” and the terrorist forces like Al Qaeda have been abundantly documented in the press in the imperialist countries.
These reports are entirely credible, since the war in Syria has become a religious war against a secular regime whose leading cadres are to a great extent Shiite in origin. This will tend to attract the interest of the al-Qaeda forces, who are resolutely anti-secular and violently hostile to Shiites.
LO defends the anti-Assad “rebels” whilst being perfectly aware of their reactionary character and of their lack of support in the working class. LO continues nonetheless to deny that these forces are acting at the behest of imperialism.
The author of the article posted by LO even claims that the imperialist powers would not dare to fully help the anti-Assad forces because of “their fears of losing a loyal servant [Assad] of their regional order”.
This grotesque passage tries to obscure the nevertheless obvious fact that Washington, and its European and Middle Eastern allies are attempting to overthrow Assad by arming militias which are hostile to him. In Syria as in Libya—where the US and its allies, including France, destroyed the existing regime and assassinated Colonel Muammar Gaddafi—the imperialist powers aim to destroy regimes which have long maintained close relations with them.
Having bombarded Libyan towns and killed tens of thousands of Libyans, with the support of the French petit-bourgeois “left”, the NATO forces assassinated Gaddafi and installed a more docile regime in line with their interests.
With the utmost bad faith, the petit-bourgeois tendencies feign an “anti-imperialist” posture, whilst painting the operations of the CIA in the colours of a revolution.
Thus in a July 13 article, the NPA wrote regarding negotiations: “In this merry-go-round of the imperialist powers’ negotiations, the interests of the Syrian people, in revolt and being massacred, are totally absent. A key fact has emerged these last months: the mass revolutionary consciousness....has shaken off the illusion of salvation by an outside military intervention.”
Here the NPA tries to advance the illusion that it is defending a revolutionary process against US or French imperialism in Syria, when in fact this is not the case. It is participating in its own way in the press campaign to drum up support for an outside military intervention.
This pretence of anti-imperialism feigned by the petit-bourgeois “left” is particularly nauseating. It is impossible to be anti-imperialist and to defend the operations of the CIA, which left millions dead during the 20th century in its murderous struggle against the anti-colonial movements. The NPA and LO are uniting with the most reactionary forces on this issue, singing the praises of NATO’s operations in Syria.