Revealing Insights from some Documents of the U.S. Military Intelligence Establishment – Another Confirmation of Our Warnings
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 25.09.2018, www.thecommunists.net
The slanderous apologists of the Assad tyranny and Russian imperialism painted the Syrian Revolution since its beginning in March 2011 as a “conspiracy led by the U.S.” The RCIT and other revolutionaries have always refuted this reactionary smear. (1)
The September issue of Le Monde diplomatique contains a highly interesting article which reports about leaked documents from the U.S. military intelligence establishment concerning the Syrian Revolution. (2) These documents confirm, once more, the views of the RCIT and other revolutionaries that U.S. imperialism never supported the Syrian Revolution. Its primary interest has been always to keep the apparatus of the regime and, if possible, to replace the Assad family by a pro-U.S. figure.
The author of the Le Monde diplomatique article, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, reports extensively about US military documents from 2011 and 2016 obtained via the Wikileaks archive. H reprints, among others, a number of revealing quotes from a draft of an internal US Marine Corps’ (USMC) Intelligence Department forecasting paper written in August 2011.
While U.S. imperialism was not sympathetic to Assad, viewing him as a Russian proxy, it never seriously intended to send troops to Syria in order to overthrow the regime. “We do not anticipate the USMC militarily intervening in either Syria or Lebanon with a mission to stabilize the situation. (...) The sectarian dynamics are far too complex for the United States to afford becoming embroiled in. Instead, this will be a regional crisis for Turkey to manage. Since Turkey is still early in its regional rise, it will need considerable backing and support from its allies, but even then, is unlikely to be able to effectively deal with such a crisis within the next three years.”
Already from the beginning did the U.S. strategists view the popular uprising as unlikely to succeed in overthrowing the Assad regime (the USMC document from which we quote was written in August 2011, i.e. five months after the beginning of the Syrian Revolution):
“The Syrian Alawite-Baathist regime led by President Bashar al Assad will weaken significantly over the next three years, but its break point is unlikely to be imminent.”
“Fractured opposition forces in Syria are unlikely to overcome the logistical constraints preventing them from cohering into a meaningful threat against the regime within this time frame.”
“... the opposition in Syria does not yet have the numbers, organization or capabilities overall to overwhelm the regime forces. Syria’s opposition is extremely fractured and is operating under enormous constraints inside the country.”
The USMC intelligence officers also warned that Syria would experience “a violent, protracted civil conflict, one that will enflame sectarian unrest (...) The potential for the regime to collapse cannot be ruled out, but the road to regime change will be a long and bloody one.”
The reports put more hopes to an internal coup against the Assad clan: “The more probable threat the regime will be facing will come from within” — in the form of “an attempt by high-ranking military and business elite of the regime to mount a coup”.
The document states also the fact that none of the powers in the Middle East would have an interest in the success of the Syrian Revolution. They might not like Assad but they certainly hate a successful popular revolution with all the “destabilising effects in the region.”
Conceding that ‘external support for a Syrian alternative to the al-Assad regime will grow with time,’ the document observes that “none of the major stakeholders in the region, including Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United States, appear interested in dealing with the destabilising effects of regime change in Syria in the region.”
The leaked documents, which the Le Monde diplomatique report, are not isolated cases. Their views coincide with other documents of the U.S. military intelligence establishment.
An example for this is a book published by Roby C. Barrett in 2016 titled “The Collapse of Iraq and Syria: The End of the Colonial Construct in the Greater Levant”. (3) Barrett is a Senior Fellow with the Air Force Special Operations School and the Joint Special Operations University (a US Special Operations Command’s designated agency to educate and advise Special Operations officers). (4) He instructs US military officers in applied intelligence and advises the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence community.
Barrett outlines the approach and the inner contradictions of the policy of U.S. imperialism concerning the civil war in Syria.
“At the same time, the degeneration of the Assad regime in Syria, coupled with the instability bleeding from the collapse of Iraq into eastern Syria and then the Arab Spring, brought on a full-scale revolt there. At almost any cost, the Obama administration wanted to avoid involvement in Syria. Support for the ouster of Assad went no further than verbiage and, even when redlines on the use of chemical weapons on civilians were breached, the administration refused to act and instead deferred to Congress and a Russian mediation effort. This policy was widely supported by the American public, but it led directly to the sudden expansion of the Islamic State and the influence of other jihadist groups. More acceptable groups were starved of support and the jihadists made gains. By 2011, governmental control in the Sunni areas of the Greater Levant had disappeared, and the vacuum awaited the arrival of groups willing to impose their own brand of order on the region.” (p. 92)
“Western policy was a paradox; Washington demanded the opposition fight by acceptable Western rules of warfare that put them at the mercy of all comers in a vicious civil war, and then refused meaningful support. U.S. policy was aimed at bolstering acceptable resistance groups but not enough that they could actually topple the Assad regime.” (p. 94)
All these new revelations about the real intentions of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East demonstrate, once again, the idiocy of the Assad/Putin apologists who claimed, year after year and contrary to the reality, that U.S. imperialism was about to overthrow the regime in Damascus. This slander is nothing but Islamophobic chauvinism in the service of Russian imperialism. (5)
In contrast to the servile “left-wing” lackeys of Assad and Putin, the RCIT and other revolutionaries have always warned against the plans of Western imperialism. We have always stated that U.S. and European imperialism had no interest in a successful Syrian Revolution. They rather hoped for a coup d'etat from within the Assadist state apparatus in order to replace the pro-Russian lackey with a pro-Western lackey. They were temporarily willing to lend some modest material support to small sectors of the Syrian rebels. But this was always very limited and lasted not for long. (6)
Authentic revolutionaries are not surprised by the latest revelations about the plans of U.S. imperialism. Such the RCIT stated already five years ago:
“[O]ne must keep in mind the imperialists’ interests – both Western and Eastern – to roll back the Arab Revolution as well as the inner-imperialist rivalry. The US, Britain and France want to re-stabilize this strategically important region and offset their loss of influence. The US, British and French imperialists want to contain and if possible to end the Syrian civil war to avoid a new spread of the Arab Revolution. The Western Great Powers as well as the small imperialist power Israel fear that the civil war could result in a situation where popular forces hostile against imperialism and Zionism could gain massive influence and threaten their interests in the region. The highly instable situation in Libya since the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, where thousands of workers and peasants remain armed and organized in popular militias, is a cautionary tale for the imperialists. (As is well known, Libya has been the country where the US consulate and the French embassy have been attacked and US ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in September 2012.) These are the reasons why US imperialism supported the counter-revolutionary military coup on 3rd July in Egypt; this is why they didn’t intervene in Syria on the side of the rebel movement; this is why they have started to blacklist sectors of the rebels (Al-Nusra and others) as “terrorists”.
At the same time the Western Great Powers want to oust Russian and Chinese imperialisms’ hegemony in Syria and bring it under their control. For this purpose they are bribing and creating lackeys amongst sections of the leaderships of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the Free Syrian Army. For this purpose they give political and diplomatic backing as well as some material support to them. They also have most likely send some army commands to Syria to strengthen their influence amongst these rebel leaderships.
What the Western imperialists would like to see is an “orderly transition” towards a regime which consists of an alliance of some pro-imperialist factions amongst the leaderships of the Syrian rebels and a sector of the old Assad regime. This would ensure a continuation of the order of Assad’s bourgeois state apparatus where Assad is replaced by some more pro-Western and anti-Russian politicians. In short, they want to bring a regime to power in Damascus which is not dependent on Moscow and Beijing but on Washington, Berlin, Paris and London.” (7)
Our analyses of the interests of Western imperialism and our warnings against false hopes have been fully confirmed by the real developments on the ground.
No Trust in Any Capitalist Power!
Revolutionaries and socialists all over the world must learn from the profound events in Syria – particularly now when the liberation forces are threatened from all sides. (8)
One crucial lesson must be that imperialist powers – as well as regional capitalist powers (like Iran or Turkey) – are never and can never be a friend of the oppressed masses. These powers will always fight against popular revolution. In the “best case” they will try to temporarily exploit them for their own interests but liquidate them as soon as they can not control it any longer or if they have no interest any longer in keeping them going.
Those Syrian rebel leaders who based their political agenda on the illusionary hope for support by Western imperialism effectively betrayed the revolutionary uprising. Those who are repeating now the same sell-out by offering their service to the Turkish government are no better. The liberation struggle can only be victorious if it is not subordinated to the interests of any ruling class of capitalist powers. It can only succeed if it serves solely the interests of the oppressed people!
Beware of the “Left-Wing” Mohammed bin Salmans!
Another important lesson is that “left-wing” groups must not be judged by their platonic vows on “socialism”, “internationalism” or “anti-imperialism”. Such empty talk has no meaning at all if it is combined with actual support for Russian imperialism (or Chinese or U.S.) and its local dictatorships like the one of Assad!
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might swear on the Koran but in his deeds he is the personification of the evil. He lives a most decadent life, collaborates with the U.S., Russia and Israel and sells the Muslim people to imperialism and Zionism. The pro-Assadist “left-wing” groups are the pseudo-socialist version of such “Mohammed bin Salmans”. They serve imperialism and capitalist dictators under the pretext of “socialism” and “anti-imperialism”. The vanguard of the workers movement and of liberation struggles must strongly guard against such pseudo-socialist lackeys of imperialism!
What is highly necessary for the victory of future liberation struggles of the workers and oppressed is the creation of a Revolutionary World Party. Such a party must dedicate its efforts exclusively to the liberation struggle of the working class and the oppressed people. It must fight on the basis of a program of international struggle against imperialist and capitalist monopolies via the socialist revolution. The RCIT is dedicating its forces to achieve this goal as soon as possible!
(1) The RCIT has supported the heroic Syrian Revolution from the very beginning and defended it against the Assad/Putin apologists. Our numerous pamphlets, articles and statements are collected in a special section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/.
(2) Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed : US military document reveals how the West opposed a democratic Syria, Le Monde diplomatique, September 2018, https://mondediplo.com/outside-in/syria-democracy-documents. All quotes, if not stated otherwise, are from this article.
(3) Roby C. Barrett: The Collapse of Iraq and Syria: The End of the Colonial Construct in the Greater Levant, Joint Special Operations University, JSOU Report 16-1, The JSOU Press, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, 2016
(5) We refer readers to extensive article by comrade Yossi Schwartz: The Myth of Assad’s Syria as an Anti-Imperialist Regime, November 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/myth-of-assad-s-anti-imperialism/; see also Yossi Schwartz: Victory to the Revolution in Syria! The second anniversary of the uprising in Syria, 15.3.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/victory-to-syrian-revolution/; Michael Pröbsting: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“. The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/
(6) The RCIT has published numerous documents which analyse in detail the character of the Syrian Revolution and its obstacles. In particular we refer to Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/; of Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings, February 2018, Chapter V, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/worldperspectives-2018/chapter-v/
(7) RCIT: Syria: Against Assad and Against Imperialism – Victory to the Revolution! For International Solidarity with the Popular Revolution against the murderous Assad Dictatorship! But Without and Against any Western Imperialist Military Intervention! 27.8.2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-against-assad-imperialism/
(8) For understanding of the most recent developments in Idlib and the grave dangers for the Syrian Revolution caused by the treacherous Sochi Deal we refer to several articles of Michael Pröbsting published in the past weeks: Syria/Idlib: Down with the Sochi Surrender Deal! Brothers and Sisters in Idlib: Reject the Deal between Putin and Erdoğan! Do not Hand over Weapons! Turkey’s Army is not your Ally! Continue the Struggle against the Regime and Russia! 18.09.2018 (6.30 UTC Time), https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/sochi-deal-on-idlib-is-surrender/; Syria/Idlib: News Confirm that the Sochi Deal Means Surrender! An additional Analysis: What are the Assadist and Russian Plans behind the Sochi Deal? What has been the Reaction until now of the Rebel Leaders to the Sochi Deal? 18.09.2018 (19.30 UTC Time), https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-idlib-news-confirm-that-the-sochi-deal-means-surrender/; Syria: Mass Rallies in Idlib against the Regime and Russia. Support the Undaunted Revolutionary People resisting against the Final Onslaught of Assad and imperialist Russia against the last Citadel of the Syrian Revolution! 15.09.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/mass-rallies-in-idlib-against-the-regime-and-russia/; Erdoğan Offers “My Dear Friend” Putin to Disarm the Syrian Revolution. Mass demonstrations demand continuation of the struggle against the Assad tyranny as the counterrevolutionary forces prepare for a frontal assault on Idlib, 08.09.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/erdogan-offers-putin-to-disarm-the-syrian-revolution/; Syria: Towards the Final Battle in Idlib. Assad, Russia, Iran and Turkey prepare for the final onslaught on the last Citadel of the Syrian Revolution, 04.08.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-towards-the-final-battle-in-idlib/