Why talk of intervention in Syria? It's not about human rights or democracy

| June 8, 2012

This is the second of a two-part commentary by Nahla Abdo. Part I looked at the 'Dark Fall' threatening that has followed the Arab Spring.

On Friday May 25, a massacre took place in an area of the Syrian city of Homs called al-Houle. Women and children were slaughtered, and we saw some of the most grotesque brutality to date. What is interesting, albeit not unique about this massacre is that it happened just one day before the meeting scheduled by the UN to discuss the situation in Syria. As in previous cases of massacres, including Baba Amr, this one was designed by the so-called Syrian Resistance to stir world emotions and entice the UN to take a strong position against Syria. Such hideous events have been plotted by the armed terrorist forces – including most probably Al-Qaeda - which aim at implicating the Syrian government in the events.

It is worth noting here that not unlike previous experiences of bombings and massacres committed by the anti-government forces, the reaction of the West – including some Arab regimes with a stake in the fall of the Syrian government – was swift and condemnatory not of the actual terrorists, but of the government, accusing it of committing the act. Many people all over the world, as well as important countries, including Russia, China and the BRICS, continue to see such an act as part of the plot to change the regime in Syria and bring it under western control.

This and all of what is happening in Syria today should be of concern to all people of conscience and true democratic governments. There is no doubt, at least in my mind, that this fierce plot against Syria is in the service of imperialism only. This is not about human rights, or democracy. This is about imperialist control over the Middle East, and we should be well aware of this. If we are truly concerned about Syrian women, men and children, then we should resist this imperialist attack and pressure our Canadian government to take the proper action and not follow U.S. imperialist interests.


After re-designing and re-drawing some political strategic lines in major Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and the oil well that is Libya, the U.S. - with the help of Israel of course - began to think bigger and hope for a major change throughout the Arab Middle East.

After their devastating defeat and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq - underlined by the statement of President Al-Maliki of Iraq's intent to stay independent and allied to the larger Arab cause - the U.S. began planning further strategies of destruction.

Syria, with its history of steadfastness and critical stance towards U.S imperialism, became the target for the U.S. We need to remember that for the past 30 years or more Syria has been boycotted by the West and especially the U.S.

Syria is perhaps the only Arab country that has been self-sufficient, never borrowing from the World Bank or the IMF. Syria, since 1967, has also remained the only bastion for Arab (especially Palestinian and Lebanese) national and anti-colonial resistance. Syria has also been and remains strongly allied with Russia and Iran: two countries the U.S dreams would disappear from the political map of the world.

How to have an "Arab Spring" in Syria?

The defeat of Israel by the Lebanese resistance in 2006, combined with the repeated failed attempts by the U.S. (and Israel) to silence and threaten Iran, is part of what has the U.S. thinking of Syria. Controlling this region - which requires regime change and the toppling of President Bashar al-Assad - would be the only way to complete the imperialist designs for the 'New Middle East.'

We all remember the abhorrent statement made by Condoleezza Rice in 2006, when she described the devastation of Lebanon and the killings of thousands of Lebanese as part of the birth of a new Middle East, one which she defined as "amenable to the interests of the U.S."

Since then the U.S. has been building new and stronger allies with "moderate" Arab countries. In addition to its close allies with the Ikhwan currently governing Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, it created a new role for its traditional allies, the oil and gas countries of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

We need to remember that the United States' strong alliance with these two monarchies (an Emirate and a Kingdom) is not concerned with the human rights infringements of both countries; it is not interested in the lack of democracy, or rather the dictatorship practiced in Saudi Arabia against its own population.

What is of concern here is that these two countries are willing to spend billions in helping the U.S. to topple Bashar al-Assad and destroy the Syrian national resistance. After all, the removal of this anti-colonial country and the defeat of its resilient and resistant would alter the Arab world's map, ease the control over the Saudi's rivals in Iran, and open the doors wide for full normalization with Israel and suppression of the Palestinian resistance.
Moreover, Syrian steadfastness exposes the Arab and Turkish tools of imperialism in the area; it is a key obstacle for the U.S. to implement its designs on the Middle East.

Qatar bankrolls Syrian opposition

It is not difficult to capture the irony of what is happening now in Syria. We have Qatar, sarcastically named in Arabic as "Qatraeal" (the Israeli Qatar), a population of less than a small city in Syria, spending billions of dollars, covering what otherwise would be NATO expenses. These funds help create "opposition forces" outside Syria, paying for and arming to the teeth. And now al-Qaeda, mercenaries and terrorists from all over the world have been sent to Syria to wreak havoc create conditions where the imperialist powers and their Arab and Turkish tails can say: Assad must go and 'his regime' must be toppled.

The Arab League, controlled by reactionary Arab representatives, froze the Syrian representation in the League (despite the fact Syria was a major country in the establishment of the Arab League.) This move, done with the full backing of the U(S)N, began their war against Syria with a large basket of demands.

First, they demanded changes in the 'regime': a constitution, freedom of press (as if any of these conditions is present in Qatar or Saudi Arabia), and so on. Syria responded positively: serious changes were effected on the ground: over 76 international media outlets including our own CBC and CNN are currently operating in Syria.

Syria became the only Arab country with a serious and modern constitution which demands a 50 per cent representation of peasants in the General Assembly (Majlis al-Shaa'b). Political parties were established in Syria, and democratic parliamentary elections took place earlier this month. Along with this, we should remember that education, from kindergarten to university, is free in Syria. The country also has a strong public health care system which is universal and free as well.

But, immediately after these changes, it became clear that the imperialist powers and its Arab protégés were not going to be satisfied with such changes, nor did they intend to see any democratic change in Syria: they only want a total destruction of the country, the deposing of Assad and the elimination of this powerful and resilient anti-colonial Arab bastion.

The global war machine against Syria continued. With the assistance of the Arab League, a proposal was taken to the General Secretary of the UN demanding an international military intervention in Syria. Here, it is significant to note that a historic event, unprecedented in the history of the Security Council took place: two vetoes, one by Russia and one by China, rejected the UN Security Council proposal. This unprecedented defeat of the U.S. and their historic hegemony over decisions concerning the Middle East has taken the U.S by surprise.

Immediately after this defeat, Susan Rice, the U.S. representative to the UN commented: "I am disgusted by the vetoes of the Chinese and Russians." The response she immediately received by many, and specifically by the Syrian Ambassador to the UN, was as follows: "Why were you not disgusted when your government registered more than 50 vetoes refusing any solution to the Palestinians, supporting the settler-colonial state of Israel?" 

Then they demanded to send an Arab observation team hand-picked by the Qataris and Saudis, approved by the Turkish government and blessed by the UN. They hoped Syria would refuse such a demand. Instead, Syria accepted and the report of the team came against the enemies' wishes, insisting that the Syrian Army was in a war with terrorists armed to the teeth. The Arab League rejected the report of its own team and with the leadership of Qatar they imposed "unprecedented" sanctions on Syria. 

With Turkey aspiring to regain its imperialist past, more armed men were trained and sent into Syria. In the meantime, the falsity and deception of international media and its fabrication of stories about Syria began to become clearer. (This was especially true of Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya - the two main Arabic media outlets, owned by Qatar and Saudi Arabia respectively.)

The exposure of both of these media outlets about what is going on in Syria has so far resulted in the embarrassment and consequent resignation of a number of Al-Jazeera Middle East broadcasters.

After the failure of the U.S. and the Arab League's attempts at toppling the Syrian government and deposing of President Bashar Al-Assad, and the steadfastness of Syria's people and leadership in repelling most terrorist devastations and massacres, the U(S)N, with the approval of the Arab League, developed another plan.

They sent another UN team headed by Kofi Annan to try and reach an agreement between the Syrian government and the armed opposition which plans and trains terrorists outside of Syria. Annan had already made it clear that there are two sides fighting in Syria, recognizing the presence of terrorists.

Still the U.S., Europe, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia kept insisting on the need to remove this resistant country from the Arab map. The same way they treated the Arab League's observers - namely, dismissing their mission and findings - they never stopped talking about the failure which the Annan mission would face.

The current Middle East might be moving towards a new phase, but definitely not the imperialist-designed one. The new Middle East, I believe, will be championed by the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist forces fully supported by Syria and its allies.

The new Middle East will also be guarded by emerging economic and political powers such as the BRICS, Russia and China. All of these countries have strongly criticized the imperialist onslaught on Syria, pledged their full support to the latter, stood and continue to stand in fierce opposition to any NATO or other international intervention in Syria.

What seems to be a new world would be one with multiple economic and military powers, and not just U.S imperialism. It is possible to even suggest the U.S. might, eventually, be the weakest power in the new international power configuration.


Nahla Abdo (Ph.D.) is an Arab feminist, political activist and Professor of Sociology at Carleton University, Ottawa.




This article saddens me. Assad, like his father before him, IS a brutal dictator.

Yes, there are very good reasons for not interfering in Syria.

Yes, the geopolitical forces at work here are daunting, particularly the role of the Saudis in all of this. Generally, the hypocrisy of the USA, Britain and, for what it's worth, Canada, is disgusting. If any kind of peace is to be achieved, Iran must be a part of it.

Meanwhile, people are dying, and the Assad regime is responsible.


Thank you for this excellent article. In Canada the entire spectrum on Syria is occupied by vicious regime change propaganda or confused silence from the "left." To make matters worse, most people actually assume the majority of Syrians are against the "evil" "regime". Let's get it straight - the majority of Syrians in the country, no matter what they thought of Assad before, are against this fake, bloodthirsty "revolution"! The Syrian people have more TOWARDS Assad and AWAY from the NATO mercenaries as time as gone on specifically because of the numerous and now more frequent assassinations, kidnappings, massacres, and sectarian hatred of the Contras on the ground in Syria. The "revolution", in fact a counter-revolution, has zero possibly end-game outside of bloody war on Syria by NATO and Gulf powers, and the armed rebels KNOW this, and are trying to increase bloodshed in order to stimulate intervention by their NATO and Gulf sponsors. That's it. And here you are either WITH the Syrian people and nation against its enemies or WITH NATO, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the sectarian Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist elements leading the counter-revolution.


The Houla massacre (and likely many others blamed on the Syrian government with NO evidence) was committed by the rebels. An independent investigation by the German news daily (anti-Assad, like most other big newspapers) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) based on interviews with anti-Assad eyewitnesses. There's no reason to believe that the Syrian army is intentionally killing children. That would not be in its interest at all and there's no credible explanation why. The Contras, on the other hand, have good reasons to do it, and evidence, eyewitness statements, and circumstantial evidence all point to them as the culprits.

American is imperialist, Israel is apartheid fascist. But there are millions of evidences that the Syrian people are being slaughtered by Asad regime, army and shabeeha. The problem is all that is not broadcast on the Syrian TV, which I watch usually. If Syria is being attacked by 'external terrorists' why Syrian TV is not covering that? why Syrian TV does not film funerals in the streets of those who were killed by 'Al-Qaeda'. Why also Syria have closed the doors on all journalists. If your country is being attacked you want the world to see! Asad Regime have produced monster-humans that rape, abuse, kill, torture people. If U.S have imperialist intentions, which it always does, it's no the Syrian people's problem. Syria have exposed what left from the Arab 'left'! Syrian people are testing, not the world, but the Arab conscious and asking the world to break out of the Qatar-Israel-U.S vs. Iran-Syria-Hizballah. I have on the ground information about what happens there. I have people who tell me about the military tanks bombarding towns. Syrian revolution have also exposed the defeated mentalities that we are living with. We (majority of Arabs in the Arab countries) are STILL colonized. 



How about the "Syrians" with green french colonial mandate flags calling for NATO to install them into power? It's not possible to get more colonized than that.

The Syrian army is dealing with literally thousands and thousands of armed terrorists that conduct operations on a large scale and whose activities have only been increasing. The Houla massacre was an operation of 700-800 men alone. They have come from many countries. The Syrian government and army is not slaughtering people; considering that each papercut that goes on in Syria (and many fake cases) is broadcast far and wide on Al Jazeera, then BBC, etc, as a scream for NATO to launch Iraq War 2.0 on Syria, they have been on good behaviour and following the Annan plan!

The Free Syrian Army said openly on TV that it was good to kill not only Alawite women and children, but collaborators families as well (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&list=UUaOD8HpbRfH...). The terrorists define the conflict now. The Syrian government has been honouring the Annan plan, while the terrorists have used it as an excuse to ferociously increase its activities.

The entire program of the terrorists is to cause as much bloodshed and provoke the Syrian Arab Army as much as possible in order to create the impression of a dire humanitarian crisis which would require their NATO and Gulf masters to save them.

IF it is as you say, Syrian (pro-'revolution') people trying to break out of the Qatar-Israel-US versus Iran-Syria-Hezbollah nexus, then they are not doing a good job!

The so-called "revolutionaries" have allowed Qatar, US, and Israel supporting the armed entities to completely define this conflict.

These "true" revolutionaries are shown now to be so small in number and importance compared to the murderers and bandits they allowed to take over their struggle that it's useless to be sentimental about it. I, like everyone else, talks to people in Syria too.

Actually if the Arab Left has ANY credit left it will defend Syria and its freedom from imperialism, wahhabism, salafism, zionism, and reaction.

You know that the Syrian security is exceptionally strong around the borders. Israel-Syria borders (including Jowlan) is very strong; Syria Jordan borders is also very controlled (Jordan has multiple checkpoints kilometers before the borders); Turkey-Syria borders is also securitized. How these people from all over the world get in? what are their nationalities? 

Also; I watch Syria official TV  and there are zero fottages of the 'fighting'. 

In any case as soon as Damascus and Aleppo, who are already joining the revolution, but joining fully with mass strikes and demonstrations; Asad might have to bomb these important middle-class cities and maybe then what left from the so called left will change their mind. 

There is a HUGE interest in Israel in having 'controlled' Syrian people! Only last year on Nabkba day and after 45 years were the borders in Jowlan/Golan heights were crossed by Syrians and Palestinians, which really really threatening the Israeli sense of security. 

in any case, someone like me and many others have close relations with people deep in the towns and villages in Syria and these people actually see Syrians tanks bombarding Syrian homes. The difference is the homes they are bombarding and the people they are killing are working class anf farmers; not the middle-class. 

Long Live Syrian Free and Asad will fall wether you want that or not. 


Here is one example of how fighters get in. The same thing has been happening for months and months allowing for large numbers. Plus, with the kind of money and arms supplied by the Gulf states and NATO, it's not surprising to be able to draw up a large number of fighters from the population. In Libya, businessmen, Qatar and NATO funding militias were more numerous than the army. Surely you don't suggest the "Free Syrian Army" and associated terror groups don't exist, do you? After all, journalists embed themselves with them and they aren't tour guides! Your insinuation that the majority of Syrians are just waiting to join the terrorists is ludicrous too. Syrian people have endorsed the anti-NATO, anti-"regime change" and anti-Islamist takeover path of reforms and national unity, with their votes and spectacular rallies. Support the Syrian people and stop supporting terror.

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