The International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) condemns US president Joe Biden for authorizing the February 25 airstrike in Syria. The attack, which comes early in the new US president’s term and is reminiscent of the 2017 bombing of the same country by former US President Donald Trump, shows that US foreign policy remains essentially imperialist whether the resident of the White House is Republican or Democrat, openly or covertly racist.
We condemn this attack on the territory and sovereignty of Syria, an independent country, even as its president Bashar al-Assad is seen by many as a dictator. This airstrike, which was conducted at night, could only sow terror and fear among the people of the country. It aims to browbeat Syria and countries in West Asia and the Global South to bow down to US interests and dictates.
The US claims that the airstrike was carried out in response to a February 15 rocket attack in Northern Iraq that killed a civilian contractor working with the US military and wounded a US service member and other coalition troops. Compared to this, the deployment of seven missiles is an overkill and non-proportionate response, with reports stating that the number of those killed range from one to 22 and that the attack left nine buildings destroyed and two more damaged.
The airstrike on the facilities in eastern Syria was based on intelligence provided by Iraqi authorities saying that these are being used by Shiite militias supported by Iran to house weapons and to actually launch attacks against US interests in Iraq. Iran, however, has earlier called on these militias not to aggravate the situation as it looks forward to re-opening talks with the US on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. Talks for the agreement, popularly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, were scuttled by the Trump administration in 2016. Sources from the militias have also denied that they carried out the attacks.
We condemn the intention behind the attack, which was expressed by Biden: to send a message to Iran, that there will be consequences if the latter continues to support militia groups that pose a threat to, and harm, US personnel and interests. Instead of trying to send this message, Biden should reverse Trump’s policy of scuttling the Iran Nuclear Deal, re-engage in earnest in the negotiations, and generally de-escalate US policy in West Asia, a site of decades of US wars of aggression.
The Pentagon’s defense of the act, that it will de-escalate the situation in Eastern Syria and Iraq flies in the face of the response of the militia, which says that it reserves the right to retaliate. It also runs counter to the reaction of the Syrian government, which warned of consequences that will lead to the escalation of tensions in the region. It is also belied by the condemnation issued by the governments of emerging superpowers China and Russia.
The attack will further inflame tensions in the region, as Iranian-backed Iraqi militias are part of Iraq’s armed forces and have played a crucial role in fighting ISIS. The attack should also be examined in the context of US plans to increase troops and expand and build new military bases in Syria.
The authorization for the bombing — which comes from the post-9-11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF, and not a declaration of war by the US Congress, as mandated by the US Constitution itself — highlights the US’ overweening arrogance and unwarranted aggressiveness in asserting geopolitical dominance in West Asia, the Global South, and the world. There exists no extraordinary threat to US interests to justify the attack.
Instead of attacking sovereign countries over its perception of threats to its interests, the US should pull out its troops from West Asia. The region continues to reel from US military interventions and support for allied regional powers such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. The US should stop upholding its economic and geopolitical interests at the expense of the lives and rights, safety and sovereignty of the peoples of countries in West Asia, the Global South and the world.
The attack on Syria shows the real nature of Biden’s foreign policy, which runs counter to his electoral promise of pursuing diplomacy over military action as foreign policy instrument. Biden is confirming the view of many observers in the world, who say that his administration is imperialism with the trappings of being politically correct in the standards of identity politics.
“America is back,” Biden proclaimed in a security conference days before the US attack on Syrian soil. The airstrike is proof that the US continues to be on the road to forever wars, the imperialist goal of “full-spectrum dominance,” and maintaining its 800-1,000 military bases throughout the globe. The emergence of China and Russia as superpowers is only making it more belligerent. The airstrike in Syria highlights the urgent need to strengthen movements around the world that oppose US wars and militarism, and that fight for peace, freedom and democracy.
We laud organizations in the US and the world that immediately condemned the US attack, which has earned the criticism even of Democratic representatives in the US. Republican backing for the attack, on the other hand, shows generally bipartisan support for US imperialist foreign policy. We are calling on all ILPS members and chapters at various levels to condemn the Biden administration’s attack on Syria and its various moves to defend and assert US dominance in the world.###
01 March 2021