US DEFENCE Secretary James Mattis has said that the United States will have no cooperation with the Russian military in Syria, at least for now.
Presently, the only coordination between the US and Russia in Syria is through a special hotline to ensure there are no mishaps involving the two sides’ ground or air forces. We will not be doing anything additional until the Secretary of State and the president have further figured out at what point we are going to start working, alongside our allies, with Russia in the future,’ Mattis said at a press conference in California on Tuesday.
However on Monday, the Israeli airforce shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-22 that was being piloted by a Syrian major over the Golan Heights. On the same day, not too far away from the site of the downing of the Sukhoi, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov had a full-scale meeting with Israeli Premier Netanyahu, in occupied Jerusalem, discussing the war in Syria and in particular Iran’s involvement, and Israel’s desire that Russia should see to it that Iran leaves Syria, and also allow it to bomb any Iranian established bases.
There was a full Russian delegation present at the meeting, including the Russian chief of staff, General Valery Gerasimov, while Netanyahu has confirmed that the meeting dealt with ‘Iran and the situation in Syria’.
The US is not having a dialogue with Russia and the Russian military at the moment over Syria and Iran. It is in fact letting Israel do this job for it. At the same time as Netanyahu was speaking to Lavrov, Qatar and the United States launched a project to expand Washington’s already largest military base in the Middle East region, with both sides, the US and Qatar, discussing a ‘permanent’ American presence in the emirate.
The two sides ‘laid the foundation stone for expanding’ the al-Udeid air base, located 35 kilometres southwest of the capital Doha on Tuesday, the official Qatar News Agency reported. Addressing a press conference following the launch of the project, American Chargé d’Affaires Ryan Gliha called Qatar an ‘indispensable partner for the United States’.
He said: ‘Billions of dollars have been spent already at al-Udeid over the last 15 years to support our operations … These are essential to the fight against Daesh and our ability to lead the coalition.’
The facility houses some 10,000 US forces, as well as warplanes, equipment, and ammunition. It is now being greatly expanded. Meanwhile, Washington’s officials are touring the world warning every state, including its allies, that they will have sanctions imposed on them by the US if they have not stopped importing all Iranian oil by the end of a November 4th deadline. It is being emphasised that there are no exceptions to this diktat.
The Japan Times reports: ‘The United States is pushing foreign countries to cut their oil imports from Iran to zero by November, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday, as the Trump administration escalates its bid to pressure Iran after pulling out of the nuclear deal.’
The Treasury Department has issued public guidance suggesting that countries needed to comply or they would be subject to separate US sanctions as well, prohibiting all transactions between their central banks and Iran’s central bank.
Trump administration officials have been visiting European and Asian countries to say that the US expects their imports of Iranian oil to be zeroed out by November 4th. The US is consciously starving Iran of oil revenues, and is aiming to create a situation where the country is brought to a halt and the Iranian bourgeoisie, and the middle classes take to the streets, so that the US can intervene to carry out a regime change, a task that will require the murder of millions of Iranians.
Workers in the West must give their full support to the Iranian people and all of the oppressed peoples of the Middle East. They must demand all imperialist forces must leave the Middle East at once and spell out that any attempts to attack Iran will lead to the working classes overthrowing the warmongering US and UK ruling classes.