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Issue #1847      November 7, 2018

The next stage of the US war on Syria

James F Jeffrey, the US State Department’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement recently declared (October 30) that, “...we [United States] are not going to put this country [Syria] back together, and we are going to do everything we can, and that’s a lot, to ensure nobody else does”.

He was speaking to a small group of journalists in Brussels as he made a tour of European capitals to discuss the stage of play in and around Syria following a summit in Istanbul that called for a ceasefire and steps to a lasting peace.

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Turkey were present at the summit, which the United States did not attend. Jeffrey was following up with the EU/NATO leaders in an effort “to exploit the summit’s results”.

The balance sheet at this stage of the war on Syria, as far as Jeffrey is concerned, is that while Syrian government forces control 60 percent of the country’s territory and half its population, they don’t control any of the oil or gas fields, which are located in the other half of Syria, and this is the territory that United States, Turkey and US “allies” hold.

Jeffrey’s comments and others in similar vein from the US Administration, allow us to more soberly assess at what stage the war on Syria has arrived.

This is important because:

  • The war from the beginning has been covered in a confection of lies by western media and politicians of all political persuasions. This has served to neuter popular opposition to the war, to the point where even significant elements of the left have effectively condoned the war;
  • On the other hand, the minority that has expressed opposition to the war has become complacent, feeling that Russia’s intervention has enabled, or guaranteed that Syria has the war won.

However, Syria was always more than just a target of US imperialism in its own right – it was also seen as:

  • Part of a belt of Iranian influence in the Middle East, so regarded as a stepping stone to Iran, or a link which, if taken out, disrupts Iran’s ability to project power; and
  • One of the “old” Soviet allies (along with Iraq, Libya and others) so entitled to be “mopped up” by the US in the course of its realignment and reconsolidation of power in the Middle East to suit its imperial interests.

While Iran is seen as a US target in its own right – because its people overthrew a US puppet regime, which the US wants to avenge; and because its ruling Shia theocracy challenges Saudi hegemony in the Islamic world, which must be quelled – Iran too, is a key link which, if brought back under US hegemony, will:

  • Strengthen USA’s hold over the middle east (in conjunction with its satrapies, Israel and Saudi Arabia);
  • Tighten the US noose around Russia, whose subjugation and dismemberment is one of USA’s longstanding and key “existential” strategic global objectives; and (of increasing importance)
  • Help spike any extension of the Chinese economic domain through central Asia to the Middle East and Europe. Note that China is already offering post-war economic aid and cooperation to Syria; and the extension of China’s Belt Road Initiative also offers considerable economic opportunity to the broad region.

So, with the failure of all that has gone before in the US War on Syria (other than the inflicting on Syria of massive destruction, death and dislocation, which serves US commercial and strategic interests anyway), the USA, given its strategic objectives have so far been thwarted (but do not just go away because of that) is getting ready to settle in for the long haul.

This will include the United States, with its “allies”:

  • Enhancing its siege and war of attrition operations and provocations against Syria (via proxies, but with increasingly open involvement of US, French, UK, Israeli and other ‘allied’ forces); along with
  • “Consolidation” of US-directed control, governance and exploitation of those parts of Syria excised from Syrian control – up to the point of setting up one or more sovereign states. (Including “upgrading” the status of Israel’s occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights, now it is playing a more overt and active role in the war.)

This is USA’s “middle game”. In view of this, the middle game will give way to the end game only when:

  • The siege and war of attrition against Syria leads to the eventual collapse of the Syrian state and surrender of its people; or
  • The war against Syria is subsumed into a larger regional war, in which it becomes a mere theatre, or a world war involving nuclear powers (Russia, USA, Israel), where it becomes part of a worldwide human catastrophe

The only other possibility is a revolutionary one – the powers instigating and participating in this war will, themselves, cause widespread revolt among their own populations and render themselves incapable of further prosecuting this war, while they deal with matters at home.

Reaching this point however, will likely mean we have arrived at a point of widespread revolt, chaos and revolution in the imperialistically linked countries and witnessing the collapse of the US empire abroad.

Reaching this point may, at this stage seem fantastic, yet it is not only possible but becoming an increasingly urgent need, within context of the broader crisis – social, economic, political and above all ecological – that humanity has arrived at under global monopoly capitalism, where our very existence is under threat.

Next article – NRMA and Manly Fast Ferry

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