Shoring up terrorism in Syria and Iraq

Notes from the front of 27-10-16

Shoring up terrorism in Syria and Iraq

Despite the orchestrated hysteria around the fate of Aleppo, imperialism’s role in Syria was very obvious in recent days. Attempts by the Syrian and Russian governments to re-open peace negotiations were thwarted by the refusal of the armed opposition in Syria to support the ceasefire in Aleppo, or allow the UN proposed evacuation.

The opposition, ‘moderate’or otherwise, endorsed the refusal of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (ex-al Nusrah, Al Qaeda affiliate) to leave Aleppo. Instead the opposition supported the mortaring of humanitarian corridors opened up to evacuate civilians and wounded patients. For the imperialist aligned forces, and imperialist governments, it remains more important to sustain chaos in Syria than to support a peace process. Neither the US nor British governments supported the UN envoy’s proposals for evacuation.

Since 2011, the US and UK governments have worked with Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to build up the forces of ISIS, Al Nusrah, Arar al Sham, and similar sectarian terrorists. Even today, despite the obvious failure and dangers of this course of action, ISIS fighters are being allowed to leave Mosul in Iraq and head for Raqqa in Syria, with the collaboration of Turkey.

Wikileaks emails have detailed how the US administration was aware that that the Gulf states and Turkey have been engaged in building up ISIS and Al Qaeda. It prefers such forces to strong and independent governments in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi failure in Yemen

The call last week by the governments of US, Britain and France for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen was a major set-back for the Saudi regime.

For some time it has been obvious that the intervention by the Saudi-led coalition has been failing. The limited coalition forces in the south of Yemen have been unable to make any military progress towards the north. In fact, the intervention there has resulted in a considerable strengthening of AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). The Saudis are not fighting it, and previously Ansar Allah (the Houthis) had been its most effective opponent.

The boast of the Saudis at the start of the war, that they had an army of 150,000 ready to invade from the north has proved empty. In the skirmishes in the north this army has retreated from Ansar Allah. The Saudis have suffered the indignity of having their territory under attack. Nor have their attempts to restore the position of ex-President Hadi been successful. He remains in Riyadh while the Saudis bomb and starve Yemen.

The Saudis first agreed, then broke the ceasefire. They are, presumably, not yet convinced by US government intentions. In these circumstances, the demand for an immediate arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, as endorsed by the European Parliament and Jeremy Corbyn, is absolutely crucial for the defence of the people of Yemen.