YESTERDAY US president Barak Obama finally launched the air and missile strikes he has been threatening inside Syria without the agreement of the Syrian government.
These strikes – in gross violation of international law, which plainly states that such actions are tantamount to a declaration of war against a sovereign nation – were aimed at the bases of the Islamic State (IS) including their stronghold in Raqqa in the east of Syria.
After the initial bombardment from both air and sea it has been reported that at least eight civilians, including three children, have been killed.
Instead of seeking agreement with the Syrian government, whose forces have been fighting IS for years, the US merely notified them just before these raids took place. Until yesterday the imperialist campaign of bombing the IS jihadists had been confined to Iraq where they were carried out with the agreement of the puppet Iraqi regime.
Alongside the US, five Arab nations (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar all violently opposed to the Assad regime) were also involved in the military strikes.
As for Britain, David Cameron is in New York already at a meeting of the UN Security Council where he will give a speech today outlining the extent of British military support for this war, he is widely expected to commit UK air power to the ‘coalition of the willing’ that Obama has assembled.
Yesterday, Cameron was meeting Iranian President Rouhani in New York when he was expected to press the Iranian president to withdraw support for Syrian President Assad, in return for a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The intractable problem dogging the imperialist nations is how to deal with its own creation, (IS was formed, encouraged and armed by the US along with its allies in the Gulf like Saudi Arabia and Qatar) without giving aid to Assad and the Baathist regime which they are determined to overthrow.
The solution Obama has hit upon is to bomb IS and, significantly, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra, which is a bitter rival to IS. The strategy is to damage these groups, considered to be out of the imperialists’ control, and bolster the so-called ‘moderate rebel’ forces fighting Assad.
At present these forces are much too weak to take on the Syrian army and IS and last week Obama pledged to train an extra 5,000 rebels in Saudi Arabia in the next few months. For the simple fact of the matter is that bombing alone cannot do the job the imperialists have set themselves of defeating IS and overthrowing Assad. It requires ‘boots on the ground’ – troops actually battling it out in the towns and countryside.
This is the reality that dominates, despite the much repeated pledge by Obama that no US ground combat forces will be used in either Iraq or Syria – a pledge that was completely undermined by the top US military commander, General Dempsey, who informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that US troops may become involved in ground attacks against IS whatever Obama pledges.
Dempsey poured cold water over the plan to recruit, train and vet 5,000 friendly rebels in three months saying it would take at least a year.
The reason why Obama and Cameron are so desperate to make pledges about not sending in ground troops is the mass opposition of workers in the US and Britain to further imperialist war in the Middle East.
The humiliating memory of their defeats in both the Senate and the UK parliament over their plans to invade Syria and overthrow Assad haunts them, leading to a situation where they are forced to plunge headlong into war without recourse to any democratic niceties.
This attempt to drag the working class into another imperialist war in the Middle East by the imperialist powers must be stopped.
Any decision by Cameron to commit British forces must be met with a general strike to bring him and the government down and establish a workers government.
Imperialism is solely responsible for the murderous carnage in the region and throughout the world, the only way to put an end to this carnage is by destroying imperialism itself through the victory of the world socialist revolution.