by New Worker
MEMBERS of various parties met on Thursday 31st March in central London at a New Worker discussion meeting on the wars in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, introduced by Professor Kamal Majid, an Iraqi communist in exile, Theo Russell from the New Worker and Dermot Hudson in the Chair.
Kamal Majid said: “The situation is changing very fast and the war in Syria won't be going on for much longer. Even former Liberal-Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown and former US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz admit that the US has lost the battle in Syria. The US has now decided to take over Iraq, with the aim of separating Iraq and Syria, and disrupting Syria's friendship treaties with Iraq and Iran.”
“But,” he said, “in reality the war in Syria is not a local war. The US had been intervening even before the anti-government protests began in 2011, and its real aim was to remove the Russian naval base at Tartus.”
He said: “Eighty-five per cent of ISIS fighters are Iraqis, most of whom blame the US, which has caused all the problems.”
Four million Sunni refugees had fled from ISIS-occupied regions in Iraq and are living in tents and with no toilets."
Kamal said Vladimir Putin was now hugely popular in the Middle East: “After the US defeat in Syria, middle eastern leaders are now moving towards Putin, as the US is seen as unreliable. Russia's foreign policy is to be friends with everyone, even Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt.”
Commenting on the plan for an autonomous federation in northern Syria, Kamal said: “Up to now the Syrian Kurds have shown support for Syria and Russia, and the leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) has visited Moscow, but the US wants to turn the PYD into its ally.”
Theo Russell said that a year ago it was proving difficult for the Syrian Arab Army to sustain the war, but Russia's limited intervention had transformed the situation and paved the way for genuine peace talks with the Syrian opposition.
He said he said that the Arab League had refused to recognise the Syrian Kurdish federation plan, and backed “the unification of Syrian territories”. But he warned of a possible Kurdish–US alliance and said that there was a US–NATO “Plan B” to divide Syria into separate entities.
He said long-term US policy had been to destroy secular regimes, such as is Iraq, Libya and now Syria, and to destroy nation states, as in the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. He added that US power was not limitless, and had suffered defeats in Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
He pointed out that Security Council resolution 2254 (November 2015) supported strikes against “terrorist acts committed by ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front” and their allies, adding that until then the US–NATO bombing had no legal basis.
Theo also said that the US was protecting the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front: “According to French intelligence, US air strikes against Isis avoided hitting al-Nusra, and US pilots were returning from 75 per cent of missions against Isis saying they couldn’t find targets. And at the Munich security conference John Kerry proposed to: ‘Leave the al-Nusra Front off-limits to bombing, as part of a ceasefire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out'.”