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      Assad Must Stay!
      Imperialists Must Go!
      Colonial Powers Advocate and Impose Terrorism in Syria!

      By Azza Rojbi

      “I don’t want to bring children into this life,” he says. “It’s better to die without children in Syria than it is to bring children into the world as refugees. How can you build a life on a foundation like this?”

      Mohamed, a 23-year-old newly married Syrian living in a refugee camp in Jordan, in an interview with The New York Times.

      Since 2011, the “Civil War” in Syria, created and fueled by the U.S., its puppets and proxy groups has claimed over 220,000 lives, with at least 680,000 injured according to a United Nations estimate. Furthermore, the UN estimates that over 10 million people were displaced and 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. In the year 2015 alone, one million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, some of them for the second or third time. Another tragic milestone was recorded in early July 2015 when the number of registered refugees reached four million – the largest refugee population from a single conflict worldwide in over a quarter of a century according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC). The human cost of this brutal war drive by imperialist forces has been immense and we continue to see one of humanity's oldest civilizations reduced to ruin. In the recent months human civilization mourned the loss of ancient temples and artifacts at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Palmyra, destroyed by ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham) terrorist groups. The site of Palmyra was once one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world.

      The New Era of War & Occupation

      The U.S. and its allies used the justification of “humanitarian interventions” and fighting terrorism to start and fuel the war against the independent government of Syria. When we look at the global scale we see many other examples of imperialist war and destruction.

      With the excuse of 9/11 (September 11, 2001) imperialist forces launched the new era of war and occupation, starting with the invasion and still ongoing occupation of Afghanistan. Since then the U.S. and it allies have targeted every country in the Middle East and North, East and West Africa that has an independent and anti-imperialist government. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya are completely destroyed and currently Syria and Yemen are fighting against the ongoing imperialist aggression.

      What they have done to Syria?

      Full of ancient Mosques, Roman temples and ruins, castles and souks, Syria has been a cradle of civilization for at least 10,000 years. It has been part of the major empires of history and a melting pot of religion and ethnicity. Today Syria is a country plunged into sectarian war and destruction created by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and their proxy groups.

      < A recent UN-backed report says the war in Syria has plunged 80 percent of its people into poverty, reduced life expectancy by 20 years, and led to massive economic losses estimated at over $200 billion since the conflict began in 2011. This report released by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, also reveals that unemployment rate has surged to 57.7 percent from 15 percent in 2011, four out of five Syrians are now living in poverty while two-thirds are unable to secure basic food and essentials for daily living. The report also cited that education is also "in a state of collapse" with 50.8 percent of school-age children no longer attending school during 2014-2015 and almost half losing three years of schooling. The country’s health care system also deteriorated greatly since the start of the imperialist war and aggression on Syria. Over half of the country’s hospitals were destroyed which leaves many ill and injured without access to basic medical care.

      Suggested Colonial Solutions for Syria?

      According to a study by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the war on Syria is forcing a family to flee every minute. Videos, pictures and accounts of the horrific reality of life in Syria and the atrocities committed by the U.S. backed terrorists in that country are constantly surfacing. With this humanitarian crisis approaching its 5th year, the failure of all political dialogues and moves to bring peace becomes very clear. Years of talks, U.N. resolutions passed, conferences at fancy hotels, backroom deals and no solution in sight! One starts to wonder if these were ever genuine efforts for peace.

      In March 2012, Kofi Annan launched the “six-point peace plan for Syria”. Less than five months later, Kofi Annan resigned from his position as the special envoy to Syria from the U.N. and the Arab League. In his resignation letter he wrote, “As an envoy, I can't want peace more than the protagonists, more than the security council or the international community, for that matter." He also referred to this so called “peace plan for Syria” as “mission impossible”. A year and a half after succeeding Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi also resigned from his position following the failure of two rounds of peace negotiations in Geneva. It becomes more evident that all these political moves and talks are not to bring peace to Syria. It is a way for imperialist forces to buy time to train and arm their puppet and terrorist groups and a platform to further scapegoat the government of Syria.

      The U.S. and its allies have never cared about the interest or the well being of the people of Syria. Their only demand and concern was the overthrow of the independent Syrian government in favor of expanding their hegemony in the Middle East & North Africa. The monotone slogan “Assad must go” became like a broken record repeated by their politicians and media. At a press briefing on September 14, 2015 the White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest said responding to a reporter question about Syria

      “The international community has decided that it’s time for Assad to go. He clearly has lost legitimacy to lead. He has lost the confidence of those citizens of his country -- at least the ones that -- or I guess I should say particularly the ones that he is using the resources of the military to attack.”

      Who is this international community that decided what’s best for the Syrian people? The one that led the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? The one that keeps its eyes closed to the Israeli occupation and massacre of the Palestinian people? The one that keeps its doors and borders shut to the refugees fleeing wars and occupations? Or maybe the one that avoids to talk about the Saudi mass killings of the Yemeni people?

      The hypocrisy and arrogance of the U.S. and its allies is flagrant. What legitimacy does the U.S. have to dictate the fate of other independent nations or to pretend to be a champion of human rights? The fact is that the UN Torture Report released in 2014 condemns the U.S. government as the leading violator of human rights. This same U.S. government that claims the right to bully, blockade, and attack any country in the world in the name of “human rights” and “democracy” is guilty of the most heinous crimes.

      Therefore to the war mongers in Washington chanting “Assad Must Go” the appropriate response is” No, Imperialism Must Go!

      Assad Is Not the Problem, the U.S. is the Problem!

      The U.S. and its allies have been pursuing their strategies to overthrow the Syrian government for years now by supplying logistical and military aid to their proxy groups in Syria. Now the U.S. is claiming to be also fighting terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. The same terrorist groups it has created and armed.

      On October 9, 2015, the U.S. government announced an “operational pause” of the disastrously failed 500 million dollar Pentagon program for arming and training “vetted rebels” in Turkey and sending them back across the border into Syria. Instead, the U.S. announced it is shifting its policy to support the already existing groups on the ground by providing them with arms and ammunition as well as close air support from warplanes deployed by the U.S. and its so-called coalition.

      This announcement was preceded by a letter sent to the State Department, the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on October 2nd, by four senators — three Democrats and a Republican — criticizing the training program “The Syria Train and Equip Program goes beyond simply being an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. As many of us initially warned, it is now aiding the very forces we aim to defeat. On Friday, USCENTCOM confirmed that some of the fighters they had trained and equipped had turned over ammunition and trucks to al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra Front. In exchange for safe passage, the fighters, trained by the U.S. gave up approximately 25% of their U.S.-issued equipment.”

      Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also been playing a big role in facilitating the training and arming of these terrorist groups in Syria. They carried out the dirty work of the U.S. and other imperialist governments in the hope to get a piece of the pie and to serve their own regional aspirations and interests including consolidation of their own unstable and shaky governments with the help of imperialist powers.

      An ISIS commander told the Washington Post on August 12, 2014 that fighters from ISIS/ISIL and the al-Nusra Front — an al-Qaeda offshoot — were treated at Turkish hospitals. He also said in the same interview "Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies."

      In an interview with BBC published on October 18, 2015, a high ranked Saudi official announced that Saudi Arabia is stepping up its supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry to some rebel groups fighting the Syrian government. He said, “the weapons would go to the Free Syrian Army and other small rebel groups.” Saudi Arabia and its imperialist masters continue to supply “rebels” of the Free Syrian Army with material support, even as “hundreds of fighters under the command of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) have reportedly switched allegiance to al-Qaeda-aligned groups," according to a 2013 report by Al-Jazeera.

      It is clear that the goal for the U.S. led coalition to fight ISIS/ISIL was never to eliminate the terrorist group. Their main goal is to create more chaos and destabilization in Syria like they have done in Libya.

      On September 27, 2015 Iraq said it had reached a deal to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Iraq as part of an effort to defeat ISIS/ISIL. After a formal request from the Syrian government for military help against terrorist groups in Syria, the coalition of Russia, Iran and Syria started its campaign to eradicate ISIS/ISIL and other terrorist groups. Since then the Russian military air campaign has destroyed hundreds of terrorist camps and facilities in Syria and helped decisively the Syrian army to launch many new successful military offensives against terrorist groups.

      On an interview with CBC's Power & Politics, the Russian ambassador to Canada Alexander Darchiev said that Canada's participation in the U.S.-led coalition air strikes — which began more than a year ago — have been a failed mission with few tangible results.

      Darchiev said, "You can't have political process [to end the civil war] unless you defeat ISIS, and Western obsession with toppling Assad was one of the major reasons why ISIS was able to expand so dramatically."

      Darchiev responded to the U.S. claims that more than 90 percent of Russian air strikes have been directed at the so-called moderate forces in Syria “There is no such species, militarily, as the so-called moderate opposition. We are asking our American friends to show us who these people are…We cannot distinguish between good and bad terrorists, this is [the] wrong strategy.”

      What is the Solution, Political or Military?

      The latest round of negotiations held in Vienna, were much like their predecessors: more fanfare and talks with no significant actions or concrete plan to fight terrorism and bring peace back to Syria. Unlike Russia and Iran, the U.S., its imperialist allies and its proxy groups have no interest in bringing peace and stabilizing the situation in Syria. Their participation in those political moves is not more than a strategy to pressure the Syrian government and buy more space for their proxy rebel forces to better organize themselves.

      Terrorism needs to be wiped out of Syria and Iraq. An organized military action plan coordinated with the government of Syria and Iraq is needed to fight against such brutal and atrocious terrorist groups like ISIS/ISIL and Al Nusra Front. The priority now in Syria needs to be to militarily defeat of ISIS/ISIL and other Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups. Demanding the overthrow of the Syrian government is equal to calling for more local and regional destabilization of the region which will create a political vacuum and space for organized terrorist groups like ISIS/ISIL to take advantage of the situation, therefore intensifying the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq. Remember what happened to Libya! We say yes for a political solution to bring peace to the Syrian internal conflict but only after defeating and eradicating ISIS/ISIL and Al-Qaeda affiliated groups. Anything else is just a continuation of the present situation. The questions are very clear after doing some critical thinking: Who really represents the so-called opposition groups and how influential and popular are they in Syria? Is it possible to stabilize Syria with a weak and fragmented opposition? Is it really possible to form a coalition with the terrorist groups in Syria? Even if a coalition of Syrian government and opposition groups is possible, how do they deal with two-thirds of Syria in the hand of various terrorist groups?

      Working and Oppressed People Unite to Built a Peace and Antiwar Movement

      The last 14 years proved that imperialist countries such as the U.S., Canada, U.K and France don’t shy away from allying themselves with despotic and brutal regimes such as Saudi Arabia or even directly with terrorist groups. All that matters to them is if these alliances serve and advance the interests of imperialist countries. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya were completely destroyed by imperialists so called “humanitarian interventions” and “democracy building” projects. Today we must stand with the Syrian government and the Syrian people against any further imperialist interventions and U.S. backed terrorism. The brave people of Syria have the right to decide who their friend is, who their enemy is or who they want to lead their country without imperialist intervention for plundering their resources and dictating them their fate. The antiwar movement around the world must continue campaigning “U.S. out of the Middle East and Africa”. “Bring the troops home now” is more relevant than ever. “Self-determination for all oppressed nations and countries” must be our guideline to defend humanity and civilization. We must continue to demand, “imperialists, Turkey, Saudi and GCC hands off Syria!” And “no to terrorism by imperialist countries and their puppets!”

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