THE ‘Friends of Syria’ meeting in Paris on Friday saw the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, frantically beating the war drums against Syria, openly consigning the Annan peace plan and mission, and its programme for democratic changes in Syria, to the dustbin.
The Friends of Syria meeting took place just days after the ‘Action Group’ met in Geneva, from which Syria was excluded.
At this group meeting, the US made an attempt to include the removal of Assad into the final communique, as the essential preliminary for the US version of ‘democratic changes’, whose essence is the smashing of the secular Ba’athist regime in Syria, and ending its existence as a bulwark against Israel and as a major ally of Iran.
The US bid was rebuffed, and its response has been speedy.
As soon as the final press conference was over, the Syrian Opposition, right on cue, declared that it was continuing with the war and that the Annan peace plan was worthless.
This position was then openly championed by Clinton at the Paris ‘Friends of the Syrian Opposition’ meeting.
About 100 delegations, including those from the United States, France, Britain, Germany as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and a group of more than 60 nations, including most European Union and Arab League states were at the meeting.
Hillary Clinton declared that she wanted a UN resolution on a transition in Syria backed by sanctions. ‘We should go back and ask for a resolution in the Security Council that imposes real and immediate consequences for non-compliance, including sanctions under Chapter 7,’ she said.
Chapter 7 of the UN Charter allows for economic sanctions, an arms embargo, and military force.
This is the same Chapter that was last used against Libya, when Muammar Gadaffi was murdered under the auspices of NATO.
China and Russia had voted for the resolution that was used to impose regime change and afterwards, when the damage was done, said that they had been taken for a ride by the US and the UK and that it would not happen again.
Clinton has been attempting to get Russia and China back on board, with little success. At the ‘Friends Meeting’ she mouthed insults and threats at both. She said, ‘It’s quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto while people are being murdered – women, children, brave young men – houses are being destroyed.’
She added: ‘It is just despicable and I ask whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people.’
Yesterday in Tokyo, Clinton engaged in more of the same, abandoning any pretence of supporting a cease-fire: ‘There is no doubt that the opposition is getting more effective in their defence of themselves and in going on the offence against the Syrian military and the Syrian government’s militias.
‘The sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there’s a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region.’
She is giving Russia and China a last chance to jump aboard the regime-change chariot or take the consequences.
There is no doubt that it is the world crisis of capitalism that is driving the imperialist powers to attack Syria and Iran, with even bigger meals on its follow-up menu, including Russia and China.
The only way to stop imperialism’s drive to war is to overthrow it. British and US workers must declare that their enemy is at home and that a ‘catastrophic assault’ on Syria will be met with a general strike and regime-change at home, with the Coalition being brought down and a workers’ government brought in.