The stage is being set for the Trump administration and the Pentagon to launch a new military action against Syria, as evidenced by the open threats against Assad’s government after the unsubstantiated accusation of a chemical attack.
On April 10, Trump canceled his trip to the Summit of the Americas in Peru, and Secretary of Defense Gen. Mattis canceled his trip to San Francisco on April 14, amid government officials’ statements that action will take place within “24 or 48 hours.”
The Russian government is insisting that inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) be allowed to enter the area of East Ghouta to investigate the allegations of the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government has categorically denied its involvement in any chemical attacks and invited such inspectors.
The only beneficiary from such a chemical weapons attack would be the reactionary, Qaeda-affiliated armed factions that had been routed in area after area in Syria during the past months, and were insisting on increased U.S. intervention to rescue their flailing armed struggle.
The Syrian government did not need chemical weapons. It was highly successful in its military operations without using them. The government had already worked out an evacuation plan to transport armed fighters from East Ghouta to Idlib. It makes absolutely no sense that it would, on the eve of its final victory in East Ghouta, launch a chemical weapons assault against civilians or others. Just a week ago, Trump publicly declared, to the surprise of his national security advisors, that he wanted to pull U.S. military forces out of Syria. That is no longer on the table — quite the opposite.
The facts and obvious logic of the situation notwithstanding, the U.S. capitalist-owned media is replaying over and over again the horrific videos of children and other civilians in a state of intense suffering, attributing their pain to a chemical weapons attack ordered by Assad. Such an intense propaganda campaign cannot have any other impact but to prepare the population for the “justice” of another U.S. imperialist intervention in the Middle East.
It is highly likely that a new U.S. attack will be more sustained than the 2017 cruise missile attack on the Shayrat air base in Syria.
Instead the signs point to the probability of a much wider war to reverse the Syrian government’s gains and impending victory against the imperialist-funded terrorists. Such a war could expand and deepen. The Washington Post is functioning as a principal mouthpiece for those in the political and military establishment who demand that the U.S. dramatically escalate its intervention in Syria to confront the Syrian government and Russia. Their goal is to overthrow the Assad government, just like Libya’s government in 2011 and Iraq’s government in 2003. They say, “President Trump will deal another blow to U.S. global leadership if he does not follow through. But a few cruise missiles won’t change anything in Syria. What’s really needed is a concerted strategy for protecting the vital American interests.”
Making their implications explicit, the Washington Post editorial board continues “as long as the dictator [Trump] called ‘Animal Assad’ remains in place, Syria’s wars will continue, breeding Islamist terrorists and propelling refugees toward Europe. Mr. Trump does have an advantage that Mr. Obama lacked: Thanks to the capture by U.S. and allied forces of a large part of eastern Syria, the United States has the capacity to stabilize at least part of the country and has leverage in demanding an acceptable outcome to the war. The costs could be relatively modest…”
It’s important for every worker to understand what the Washington Post is really saying here: the United States needs to occupy a vast swath of Syrian territory, and hold that territory as a military staging ground, and as political leverage, to orchestrate the overthrow of the sovereign government in Damascus.
Trump and his generals, with the support of the Washington Post and others in the capitalist media, are prepared to play a high-stakes game of chicken with Russia, which is in Syria supporting the integrity of the Syrian state. The Russian government has said that there would be “extremely serious” consequences of a U.S. assault on Syria and have previously warned that “if a threat to our servicemen emerges, the Russian armed forces will take retaliatory measures against both missiles and their carriers.”
Yesterday the FBI raided the home, offices and hotel room of Donald Trump’s lawyer, seizing files and communications. The stated purpose of the raid had to do with the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels related to an affair with Trump. Donald Trump undoubtedly recognizes that by embracing a larger war in Syria, a war demanded by his critics in the establishment, he will temporarily mute their criticism of him. Just as happened in his 2017 attack on Syria, they will consider him “acting presidential” so long as he dips his hands in the blood of the Syrian people.
Trump and his extreme right-wing National Security advisor John Bolton, are threatening Russia and Iran as well. On April 9, Israel launched missiles against a Syrian airbase near Homs, killing at least 14 people and particularly targeting Iranian allies of the Syrian government. These airstrikes, according to the Washington Post, destroyed a considerable portion of the Syrian air force. It is obvious now that Israel’s April 9 air assault was step one in a coordinated, larger military offensive that was being planned in the Pentagon.
All members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and all progressive people in the United States need to be on high alert and to organize in your cities for a quick response in the event of U.S. military action.
In some cities (such as Chicago and Los Angeles) people are preparing “Day of” or “Day After” anti-war actions. Such actions are important to reach the public with an anti-war message at the same moment that the launch of a new intervention is underway.
There are also dozens of already-scheduled anti-war actions to “Stop the Wars At Home and Abroad” organized for Apr. 14 and 15. (See a full listing of those actions around the country here.)
There is no more critical issue for the U.S. socialist and progressive movement than to be able to respond decisively to U.S. imperialist war.
It is important to note once again that in the advance of all the U.S. wars in the Middle East — Iraq, Libya, and today in Syria — the media resort to the same time-tested tactics. They demonize the leadership of the targeted entity and promote false and distorted materials to convince the public that the U.S. Empire is pursuing noble objectives while utilizing devastating violence.