The devastating conflict in Syria which began in 2011 has now reached a new, extremely dangerous stage with the real possibility of direct military confrontation between the two leading nuclear powers, the U.S. (and NATO allies, including Canada) and the Russian Federation. In such a critical situation, it is vital for all progressive and peace-loving forces across Canada and around the world to speak out immediately to counter the deafening drums of war, and to demand that all states and governments act to bring about a negotiated political settlement to this conflict.
The war in Syria has already exacted a staggering toll in death and destruction, with over 400,000 deaths – more than half of which include innocent civilians caught in the crossfire – and millions driven into internal migration or foreign exile as refugees. Industry and national infrastructure have been destroyed on a massive scale, especially in the high combat zones of the country; economic losses estimated in the hundreds of billions; and unemployment and poverty for vast sections of the population.
The conflict in Syria has never been a ‘civil war’ between supporters and opponents of the Assad government in Damascus. Rather, from the outset it has been a proxy war, sponsored and financed by U.S./NATO imperialism and its regional allies – Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf States and Zionist Israel – with the aim of imposing regime change and the weakening and carving up of Syria, as imperialism had done earlier in Iraq and Libya.
Ruling circles in the U.S. and NATO countries have been completely duplicitous about their real intentions in Syria and the region as a whole. Their claims of combatting ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and wanting to protect the lives of innocent civilians, are belied by facts which have surfaced during the course of the conflict.
Ever since the besieged Syrian government asked for and received military assistance from the Russian Federation in September 2015, the balance of forces has shifted decidedly against the ISIS and Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist insurgency and their Western sponsors. Over the past year the Syrian Army, with the help of the Russians and other allies in the region, have done much more to combat the mercenary terrorist forces than the US-led ‘coalition’ offensive had done over the preceding 31/2 years, and now the ‘rebel forces’ are on the verge of defeat in the strategic city of Aleppo.
But instead of welcoming these setbacks to the terrorist forces, Washington and the NATO powers have launched a much more intense and vitriolic propaganda war against the Assad government and the Russian Federation, accusing them of ‘war crimes’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ and once again invoking the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine as a pretext for direct military aggression against the Syrian government and its allies. These latest developments re-confirm that imperialism’s real objective continues to be the overthrow the Assad government, rather than to ‘fight terrorism’.
The bellicose rhetoric and propaganda offensive launched in recent weeks by U.S. and NATO leaders, uncritically parroted by the Western corporate media, has now reached a disturbingly high pitch. Plans being drafted by US/NATO military circles for direct attacks on Syrian and Russian forces; calls for the imposition of a “No Fly Zone” (as was used in Libya in 2011 to overthrow the Kaddafi government); and preparations to launch a direct cyber-attack on the Russian Federation – all of these could lead to a direct confrontation between the US/NATO and the Russian Federation, one which could quickly escalate into a world war, including the use of weapons of mass destruction.
There should be absolutely no underestimation of the urgent nature of the threat of global confrontation and war which have now emerged over the conflict in Syria. It is vital therefore that all anti-imperialist and progressive forces, the broad peace movement and all those dedicated to the cause of peace across Canada break the silence and mobilize to demand that the Canadian government act to defuse tensions by removing its own troops from Syria and the region, and working for a peaceful, negotiated way out the crisis, one which respects the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada calls on all of its Clubs and Committees, and all of its members, friends and supporters to build a broad ‘peace offensive’ as our highest priority at this critical juncture. The Communist Party also calls for full support to initiatives by the Canadian Peace Congress and other peace forces to address and counter this rising danger of war. The CPC also urges all democratic and progressive organizations and movements across the country – the trade union movement, Aboriginal peoples, youth and students, women’s and equality-seeking movements and others – to speak out now for peace, and to still the drums of war.