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The U.S. in Syria: Imperialism -- Not Humanitarianism

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The U.S. in Syria: Imperialism -- Not Humanitarianism

by Larry Everest


The Syrian uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad is entering its second year, with signs that the U.S. and its allies are moving toward more direct and aggressive intervention.


The Syrian people's revolt against Assad's brutal, oppressive, pro-imperialist rule began a year ago last March, inspired by the popular uprisings sweeping the region. Since then it has gone through various twists and turns and involved a wide range of political forces, including both the Syrian masses as well as reactionary Islamists, pro-U.S. exiles, and former members of the regime. Assad has responded with extreme violence--firing directly on protesters, arresting and torturing suspected opponents, and indiscriminately shelling neighborhoods. An estimated 8,000 have been killed and many thousands more wounded or driven from their homes.


Assad's assault--which has been extensively covered by the U.S. and European imperialist media--has rightly shocked the consciences of many around the world. After initially taking a low-key approach to the uprising, the U.S. rulers have seized on the situation and people's righteous outrage at the carnage to assert their "duty" and "responsibility" to intervene to befriend and protect the Syrian people and force Assad to step down.


On February 3, President Obama condemned Assad for his "disdain for human life and dignity," and proclaimed, "the suffering citizens of Syria must know: we are with you, and the Assad regime must come to an end." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced Assad as a "war criminal." There have also been calls by prominent forces in the U.S. for military intervention, ostensibly to stop the slaughter and allow the Syrian people to determine their own destiny.


The U.S. Agenda: Imperialist Dominance --NOT Humanitarianism


However, look at what U.S. officials and strategists actually say about their motives for intervening in Syria and removing Assad, and it's evident that moves by the rulers of the U.S. in relation to Syria have nothing whatsoever to do with stopping violence in the region or emancipating the Syrian people from tyranny and oppression.


Rather, the imperialists' own words make clear that their maneuvers and machinations are aimed at seizing on the Syrian uprising to get rid of a troublesome regime, and strengthen Israel and overall U.S. imperialist control of the Middle East--and that any "humanitarian relief" they may (or may not) provide is window dressing to facilitate that goal.   The U.S. moves in Syria need to be seen in the context of this battle for dominance in this region, which is most acutely focused now in the intensifying confrontation between the U.S. and Israel against Iran, and the growing possibility of a military attack by the U.S. and Israel on Iran. (It's not possible in this article to get more into the U.S. and Israeli war moves against Iran. See coverage and analysis online at, including "Threats, Aggression, War Preparations...and Lies--U.S. and Israel Accelerate Campaign Against Iran," Revolution #262, March 11, 2012.)

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Larry Everest is the author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage 2004), a correspondent for Revolution newspaper ( where this first appeared, who has reported from Iran, Iraq and Palestine, and a (more...)
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