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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Critique of Proposed VFP Resolution 2015-3 Stop All Foreign Intervention In Syria

This resolution would be laughable if Veterans for Peace policy on Syria wasn't already so at odds with its goals of the organization and the requirements of the Syria people today. The fact is that both the tragedy of more than 200,000 slaughtered and nine million made homeless and rise of Islamic reaction in the form of ISIS are the direct results of the "anti-imperialist" policy advocated by VFP. Unlike in Libya, in Syria the "anti-imperialists" have gotten what they have been demanding, no direct military involvement from NATO and no no-fly zone. Assad has been free to barrel-bomb civilians at will and with the military support he has received from Russian and Iran, he has been able to bomb virtually everyday for years now.

More than 200,000 slaughtered and nine million made homeless and the rise of Islamic reaction in the form of ISIS are the direct results. Now this resolution proposes doubling down on the same failed policies and coming from the same deluded fantasies about the real situation. But then this resolution really isn't about Syria. With all they have gone through, it should be. It really should be. But its not. It lacks any real knowledge or concern about Syrians. It doesn't make a single proposal, like supporting the White Helmets or refugee efforts [MSF], that could make a difference in the terrible situation they find themselves in, but then this resolution really isn't about them, is it? Its about US!
Resolution 2015-3
Stop All Foreign Intervention In Syria
The title is a great one that I can get 100% behind. The fact is that without massive foreign intervention by Russia and Iran, Assad would have been overthrown by the popular uprising years ago. Hundreds of thousand would not be dead, millions would not be homeless and extremist groups like ISIS wouldn't have had a chance to grow in the gaping wound that has become Syria. Deflections weakened the Syrian regime long ago, since 2013 the "Syrian state" has been under Iranian control and run at every level by Iranian officials. It was the massive intervention of Hezbollah that salvaged Assad's military position when he was on the edge of defeat and since then it has been sectarian Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese militias that have kept him in power. Massive financing and weapons deliveries from Russia that has kept him going as well. Without that foreign intervention, the Assad regime would have been bankrupt years ago and the death toll a fraction of what it is today.

But this resolution doesn't oppose that foreign intervention, does it? It doesn't even get a mention.
Whereas, the U.S. has initiated several unnecessary wars resulting in the futile loss of lives and permanent injuries to innumerable American troops and their families, and
This has nothing to do with Syria. Yes, we know the US are imperialists but this has nothing to do with Syria.
Whereas, the crisis in Syria has entered its fifth year, causing the death and injury of possibly half a million Syrians, and

Whereas, the number of dislocated and refugee Syrians has reached close to a third of its population, and

Whereas, the U.S. and its allies are heavily and publicly involved in funding and supporting extremist and terrorist groups in Syria, and
The first two statements are true. The third simple isn't. The US has very publicly contributed several hundred million dollars in non-lethal aid to some moderate forces, and now has trained a "rebel" force of 60 to fight ISIS exclusively, not Assad. Assad and his supporters have said from the time they started shooting the first peaceful protesters that they have been fighting extremist and terrorist groups funded by the US and its allies. That's where this line comes from.
Whereas, the U.S. Administration’s declared policy of regime change in Syria (“Assad must go”) is in violation of international law and has been facing one failure after another, and
Yes, and the US Administration also has a declared policy of a Palestinian state and the self-determination of nations. Imperialist will generally say they are opposed to fascist dictators (“Assad must go”), even as they cultivate them. The question is: What has Obama's real policy towards Assad been? Hint: It hasn't been one of "regime change." Read Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad. These people opportunistically chose to believe Obama is telling the truth when he says "Assad must go" because it suits them. Since Obama's real play here is to deceived people into thinking he opposes Assad, all the while, working to keep him in power [Playing "Good Cop" to Putin's "Bad Cop"] , in passing this resolution, VFP will actually be giving "Left" cover to Obama's true position, which is to keep Assad in power no matter how many Syrian lives it costs.
Whereas, the active support of the United States and its allies for the armed opposition in Syria has resulted in increasing violence and bloodshed, and in strengthening the hands of extremists and terrorist groups, and
The US has enforced an arms embargo against Assad's opposition in Syria. They can't even buy MANPADS from Libya or China with their own money. That's why Assad can barrel-bomb unopposed. That has greatly increased the bloodshed. The pro-Assad fantasy that the US and it allies have been arming the opposition doesn't explain why they lack effective air defense weapons which could stop Assad from ravaging Syrian cities and bring "Death from Above" year after year.
Whereas, only the sovereign people of Syria have the right to decide on the nature of their government and their political system, free of all forms of foreign intervention.
However, we won't even mention, let alone oppose, the real foreign intervention that has been destroying the beautiful country of Syria for four years, we will only oppose the "US intervention" of our fantasies and act as if the US is responsible for this whole mess, not Assad, not Iran, not Russia, just US.
Therefore, we, Veterans For Peace, hereby resolve:

The U.S. must immediately abandon its policy of regime change in Syria;
Easily done! The US doesn't have a policy of regime change in Syria. Hasn't since Bush left office. Wake up!
The U.S. must immediately cease all its direct and indirect, overt and covert, support, arming, financing and enabling of all militants in Syria, and exert all types of pressure on its allies, especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, to do the same;
The US and Israel don't provide support for any militants in Syria,let alone "all militants", Assad regime propaganda to the contrary. As far as VFP demanding that the US, the leading imperialist power, "exert all types of pressure" [does that include military pressure?] on some Arab countries not to support a liberation struggle in another part of the Arab nation? I hope there will be a lot of discussion before adopting such a chauvinist policy.
The U.S. must form a new alliance with countries and forces in the region that are real combatants against terrorism and violent extremism in the region;
I can't wait to hear who those countries are. But they aren't mentioned in the resolution so I guess I will have to wait.
The U.S. must positively press for dialogue and a peaceful solution for the Syrian crisis, a process that is directed and executed fully on the basis of the sovereign and free will of the Syrian people themselves.

Submitted by Faraz Azad
Chair, Iran Working Group
More empty words. The short story is that this resolution carries the same old discredited illusions about the Syrian Revolution against the Assad regime that the "Left" had trumpeted when the death toll was still less than a thousand. They haven't even deepened their analysis, 200.000 deaths later they are content to repeat it. They want to blame the US for everything and the naive reader could be forgiven for thinking the Syria mess has been mainly caused by the US.

This resolution calls for more of the same which means it calls for another 200,000 Syrian lives.

That it will be debated at all at the 2015 Veterans for Peace National Convention is at once a Comedy and a Tragedy.

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria


  1. Clay, if you could make the resolution yours, what would you make It? Lela McNutt

  2. i like this resolution on Syria proposed by Andy Burke.