The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) calls for peaceful negotiations to end the current standoff in Syria, and emphasizes that the future government of that country is a matter to be decided by the Syrian people only, without outside interference.
The situation in Syria is becoming increasingly violent and dangerous. Not only have armed clashes between the government and opposition factions escalated sharply, but there are increasing signs, attested to by many sources, that the conflict is in danger of developing into a proxy war, in which religious sectarianism is beginning to play a part. Particularly, we are aware of recruiting in other Arab countries of fighters to go to Syria to participate in Syria against the Assad regime, of the presence of Al Qaeda elements among those recruits, and of increased violent conflict among different religious and political factions in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq over the Syria issue, which is now added to existing grievances and frictions in those countries. The whole region could be set ablaze, and very shortly.
We hear of concern among religious and other minorities in Syria (not only Alawites but also Syrian Christians and Jews) who fear that a regime could come to power that would be intolerant of the variety of belief and custom that exists in this ancient country. Recent terrorist acts, including assassinations of a general and a religious leader and bombing in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities, bear the markings of Al Qaeda terrorism.
Though the current government has used harsh methods to maintain its rule and to repress peaceful dissent, corporate controlled media here and in other Western countries do a disservice when they gloss over, or fail to mention that as well as legitimate peaceful protests, the panorama in Syria includes notable levels of violence by people whose agendas are far from those of democracy and personal liberty, and whose methods are very distant from those of the brave protesters who brought down the governments of Egypt and Tunisia. Which of the different factions in the Syrian opposition would come out on top of a “regime change” is far from clear.
For the United States and other NATO powers to become embroiled in this situation can only make it worse, increasing the violence and the suffering of the Syrian people. Yet we hear talk of “no fly zones” and “humanitarian corridors” which, by their very nature, would require armed outside intervention.
The Communist Party USA supports striving for democracy and civil liberties everywhere, but we also support economic justice and the rights of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities. Armed Syrian opposition forces supported by Western powers, or dominated by narrow minded religious factions, are likely to produce neither democracy nor freedom, and certainly are unlikely to produce economic justice and minority rights.
The Assad government has now proposed sweeping constitutional changes, which, if implemented, would be a great step forward for the Syrian people. These changes have been dismissed out of hand as cosmetic by the corporate press and by the Western governments. Instead, “regime change” is now the slogan of the day. We see this as a bad development and a step toward a civil war which could embroil the whole region. Nor are we impressed by the fact that the slogan “regime change” and a proposal to arm the Syrian opposition have been promoted in the UN by Saudi Arabia and other backward monarchies in the region. Although Syria is not one of the largest oil producers, it is so strategically located that we can not dismiss the possibility that the geopolitics of oil are, at least in part, driving the desire for outside intervention.
You might think that the United States and its allies would have learned from Iraq that intervening, under a “humanitarian” guise, in another country’s internal struggles is a recipe for disaster. The nature and leadership of the Syrian government should, rather, are matters to be decided by the Syrian people exclusively, without outside interference. Rather than channeling support to Syrian factions, the United States should be calling for a “hands off” policy while the Syrian conflict is settled by peaceful negotiations.
We call upon members and friends of our party to tell the Obama administration as well as their representatives in Congress: “Hands off Syria!”