Hands off Syria – its people must decide its future


THE Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has reiterated that the sole way to resolve Syria’s current crisis is through a ‘national model’. He added: ‘What took place in Libya is not the model to settle the Syrian crisis and no plan or model except a “national model” will work in Syria.’

He rapped the West and its ‘colonialist character’ for seeking to undermine Syria’s regional role. Assad emphasised that the Western approach works in such a way that today they resort to occupation as a means to impose their views.

The colonialist nature of the West has not changed,’ he asserted. ‘From the colonialist standpoint, regional countries should not move according to their national interests and if any country moves against the West’s values and interests, they say no, like what happened to Iran’s nuclear programme.’

President Assad also reiterated that ‘some regional states have been subjected to pressures due to Syria’s stance on Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and the resistance, and are thus attempting to undermine or eliminate the Syrian role in the region.’

He said: ‘The Arab League issued the cover for (NATO-led) Libya bombings.’ He added: ‘Syria was the only country that opposed the move and therefore we had to pay the price for this policy; consequently, immediately following our decision they acted through the Arab League to put the attack on Syria on their agenda. This has been the Arab League reality in the past, as it is at present.’

He further suggested that the US is behind al-Qaeda terror actions. ‘Who invented al-Qaeda? Did Afghanistan or Pakistan invent it or the US, with the money from Arab states?’

Assad explained that at the time of former US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, the US referred to al-Qaeda as ‘freedom fighters’, ‘but years later they changed their label to “terrorist”. Now, some of them (al-Qaeda members) have come back to collaborate with the Americans, and the US now says we have good radicals and bad radicals.’

Assad is of course correct that only the Syrian people can decide the future of their country. He was also right to emphasise that even friendly states would have to accept this.

He was speaking on the eve of today’s Geneva conference, held under the auspices of an Action Group, made up of the permanent members of the Security Council and the foreign ministers of Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, and Baroness Ashton of the EU.

Iran and the Syrian Foreign Minister are excluded.

Its task is to launch a Syrian transitional government, which could include ‘members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation’. This coded formulation means that Assad and his close supporters are to be excluded.

Presumably, Syria is to be informed as to who has been selected to govern them – an example of western democracy at work!

Obviously the Action Group is an agency of imperialism, established to get Russia to agree to what the US-UK wants to happen. Currently the Stalinist bureaucracy is saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ at the same time, but will have to say one or the other.

Assad obviously understands that even Iran, which is seeking to attend, would act in its national interests and not necessarily in the Syrian interest.

After all, Iran supported the removal of Assad’s fellow Baathist Saddam Hussein in 2003, and supported the removal of the Arab nationalist Gadaffi.

Given an offer on its nuclear programme, Iran could well be tempted to do an about-turn in the case of Syria. Assad is correct to say that even ‘friendly states’ should not be seeking to impose a settlement on Syria.

The working people of the world must support Syria 100%. The trade unions must spell it out, that in the event of an imperialist assault on Syria they will call a general strike to bring down the coalition. After all, the Syrian people are not our enemy. Our enemy is at home and is the British ruling class.