Russia’s Move in Syria Raises the Stakes and Alters the Board

Just two weeks ago, we pointed out that Turkey was playing a dangerous game as inter-imperialist rivalry was intensifying in the Levant. We discussed the fact that Russia was now raising the stakes by placing their military assets in the Levant. Over the years, we have discussed the fact that Russia was not going to abandon its only warm water Mediterranean military base at Tartus.

Though Qatar did want to build a natural gas pipeline through Syria that would have ameliorated Turkey’s, and the rest of the EU’s, reliance on Russian gas, Syria said no and so began the need for regime change. The US, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation States (GCC), especially Saudi Arabia, then turned what would have been a minor uprising at best into a full blown civil war along religious lines. Communists know that all religions are different types of false consciousness meant to make the working class submit to the ruling class and tolerate the horrors of modern day capitalism. The imperialists are now using religion as a divisive form of nationalism to get the working class to slaughter each other in a proxy war over borders and pipeline routes.

Turkey was trying to play a dangerous game, and it looks like it blew up in Ankara’s face. The delusions of the Ottoman past made theme think that they could be a regional player pushing a “no fly zone” in support of al Qaeda in Syria (who used to be the bad guys) and a “safe zone” in support of Islamic State and against the Kurds to the north. Well, as of now, it looks like that isn’t happening. As we discussed, Russia has offered Turkey one heck of a deal with the Turkish Stream pipeline and Russia continues to supply almost 60% of Turkey’s natural gas. Well, winter is coming and with it will be cold weather, the need for people to cook, and all of the other things the working class depends on for natural gas. Russia has shown through the example of Ukraine how it will shut off natural gas if it needs to for political leverage.

So, Turkey is caught on the horns of a dilemma: it can directly engage militarily with Russia in Syria, thus breaking international law and possibly inciting WWIII due to the currently existing status of forces agreement that would require China to intervene on Syria’s behalf as well as Iran and Russia or they can just continue to arm and fund al Qaeda and its allies in the region. On top of that, the US is basically ignoring Turkey’s calls that the Kurds are the real enemy and ISIS is just a useful enemy by arming the “from Iraq, to Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters who in recent months have pushed the Islamic State from a major portion of northern Syria along the Turkish border.” So, the place where Turkey wanted to put a no Kurd “safe zone” along the border will most likely now be part of a US backed Kurd offensive against ISIS.  In the face of its current impotence, Ankara is having a complete shit-fit.

The bosses’ press in the US is carefully leaving out the fact that the majority of the “rebels” are actually fascists. Even the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has bedded down with al Qaeda. These fascists, like all fascists before them, will murder workers who do not fit their narrow ideas as to what constitutes the right type of national or racial identity. Like the Nazis, al Qaeda groups like The Army of Islamic Conquest or Jabhat al Nusra will murder whole villages who are a different religion than them. Again, the ideology of religion has just as much of a material basis as race, nationality, and gender – all of which are socially constructed, generated, and reinforced because capitalism needs to divide the working class, get us to identity with a certain group of bosses, and fight amongst ourselves for their benefit.

It’s quite ironic and completely illustrates the tragedy of history and the horrible effects of the fall of the Old Communist Movement (OCM) that the US is having a temper tantrum as Russia bombs the snot out of its moderate jihadist fascists as the Taliban are in the process of overrunning Kunduz. The historical parallels of Afghanistan are now being echoed in Syria. In Afghanistan, it was the then fully revisionist and imperialist USSR being invited in by their allied government to fight the fascist mujahedeen who were armed to the teeth by the US and its allies. These “few stirred up Muslims” have been the cause of death for thousands and thousands of workers, many in the US, around the world. This pattern is now being illustrated as Russia is now sending in “advisors” and “trainers” as well as a wide array of mechanized forces and some pretty devastating air power. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces have not been fully eroded and the Iranian backed militias in Syria like Hezbollah and the National Defense Forces (NDF) still have enough man power to fight on the ground for now, so there is technically some truth to Russia’s assertion that they don’t want to put troops on the ground in Syria now, however, as change is the only constant, and should the SAA lose ground to the US/NATO/GCC backed “moderate” al Qaeda allied Islamist groups heretofore dubbed “the rebels” then Russia is more than willing to sacrifice blood and treasure for oil. China is waiting in the wings and has intimated that they are willing to send in troops to keep the “East Turkistan” Uighur movements from gestating fascist terrorists who have murdered hundreds in the Xinjiang Province.

It is the working class that will continue to suffer when they are given choices like which murderous fascist regime to support in Syria, the US backed terrorists or the Russian backed butcher. It is our children that will be sent to fight and die for oil pipelines, big money geopolitics, and Exxon/Mobil/BP/Shell/Lukoil et al’s profit margins. Workers in The US, Turkey, Russia, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and China, just as workers all over the world, have the same enemy and the same fight against capitalism.

The US’s nightmare scenario is playing out as the EU “will try to bring Russia and the United States together to resolve the Syrian situation in tandem. It looks like the Ukraine and Syria crises will be inexorably linked with broader negotiations, just as Russia had planned, whether the United States is ready to admit it or not.” So, as the US metaphorically continues to play checkers like a cowboy outside of a burned Native American village, confident of its superiority and ever-expanding empire, Russia continues to play chess and use simple moves to change the balance of power on the global board. The US has been constantly trying to lead and shape the world events in order to encircle and blunt Russia’s growing power, but, as of now, they are now in a reactive mode. They are not leading, but they are reacting and attempting to shape a narrative to the working class (in other words, lie lie and lie) in order to get us to support their support for the very same kind of fascist scum that blew up the Twin Towers, has butchered thousands in Nigeria, sells preteen girls into sex slavery in Iraq, and is currently in a major offensive in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Russia has taken the initiative, for now, in shaping world events and negotiations.

So, as Israel gets ready to send more troops and settlers to the Golan Heights simultaneously with al Qaeda taking more territory there, and Russia and the US bomb more and more cities so workers there continue to die as collateral damage, Communist revolution is more needed than ever. We need a real choice, not which fascist or imperialist to support, but an answer to the never-ending wars that capitalism requires due to imperialist expansion. The US empire will defend itself with our blood, just as Russia will. It is up to us to join and build the Progressive Labor Party in order to end this bloodshed once and for all.

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