The Looming Kerry-Lavrov Agreement – A Great Power Conspiracy against the Syrian Revolution
By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 06.10.2016, www.thecommunists.net
From the its beginning in 2011 until today, the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has always supported the heroic Syrian Revolution as part of the Arab Revolution. (1)
We have always recognized the democratic character of the Syrian Revolution as an uprising of workers and poor peasants outraged by the bloody and sectarian dictatorship of the Assad clan. This democratic revolution has been distorted and hampered by the petty-bourgeois secular nationalist and Islamist leadership. But contrary to the numerous pseudo-left doomsayers, until now the Syrian Revolution has neither been defeated nor has it lost its democratic and progressive character. The Revolution continues to live though the Local Coordination Committees, through the numerous popular organizations, through the tens of thousands of rebel fighters and their militias and the millions of Syrian workers, peasants and refugees who are supporting the ongoing liberation struggle.
The RCIT reaffirms that the most significant failure of the Syrian Revolution has been both a product and a manifestation of the absence of a revolutionary party and independent mass working class organizations. Therefore, the strategic task of authentic Syrian revolutionaries is to fight against the non-revolutionary leaderships and for the creation of independent proletarian organizations by participating inside the camp of the Syrian Revolution.
Numerous Dangers for the Syrian Revolution
However, the ongoing heroic Syrian Revolution which started in March 2011 is in a state of crisis and faces numerous obstacles and dangers. The most imminent danger is the barbarous war which Assad and his Russian backers are waging against the Syrian people and, in particular, against the besieged people of eastern Aleppo, a brutal siege which threatens to annihilate this enclave of resistance in the country’s biggest city.
Furthermore the Syrian Revolution is under attack by Daesh (the so-called “Islamic State” or – as most Muslims would say – “Un-Islamic State”). This reactionary, counter-revolutionary force is focusing its struggle not on attacking the Assad regime but rather on attempting to destroy the Syrian and Kurdish rebels.
In addition, the Kurdish PYD/YPG leadership – while standing at the head of a legitimate struggle for national self-determination for the Kurdish people – is betraying both the Syrian Revolution as well as the Kurdish liberation struggle by voluntarily offering itself as a willful servant both to US as well as Russian imperialism.
Another danger is the Erdoğan regime which sent the Turkish army – with the help of some corrupt Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders – into northern Syria to occupy a 960 square kilometer buffer zone and to weaken the Kurdish liberation struggle.
Last but not least, the Syrian Revolution is threatened by the betrayal and backward goals of its fragmented leadership. A sector – like those in the Syrian National Council – has always looked for help from US imperialism and is ready to offer itself as servants to Washington’s plans.
Another sector of the leadership – among them a number of FSA leaders – has proven to be self-serving, corrupt and incompetent.
The petty-bourgeois Islamist forces like Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and Ahrar al-Sham certainly have many dedicated fighters in their ranks and are also far more competent militarily than various FSA units. Without a doubt, these petty-bourgeois forces are currently the most significant defenders of the areas liberated from Assad’s hordes and the latter’s foreign mercenaries which are militarily much more numerous and significant than the official army. (2) However, the leaderships of various Islamist groups have created unholy alliances with the ruling class of various Gulf States and are consequently combining the progressive struggle against the bloody Assad dictatorship with the perspective of a reactionary social order. Furthermore, these Islamist groups take a chauvinist position denying the Kurds’ national rights.
Finally, many leaders of Local Coordination Committees as well of various armed rebel units are honestly serving the revolution, but unfortunately lack a working class perspective for the road to liberation.
Nevertheless the Syrian Revolution is far from dead – irrespective of the fact that some of the literary friends of the Syrian Revolution have already written its obituary. (3) The heroic struggle of millions of Syrian workers, peasants and youth is living testimony to the ongoing revolutionary process.
However, while Assad and Putin’s bombs might be the most immediate threat to the Syrian Revolution, strategically the biggest danger is the looming agreement between the two main imperialist powers – the US and Russia – which would divide Syria and open a counter-revolutionary settlement.
Imperialist Interventions in the Syrian Civil War
The imperialist intervention in Syria has been catastrophic for some years now. Russia and its Iranian ally (plus Hezbollah) have provided tons of modern weapons and ammunition, troops, etc. to the Assad regime which quickly ran out of Syrian soldiers. In fact, the regime’s war against the revolution is hardly being fought by the official Syrian army itself which is instead focusing its efforts on extracting tribute from the local population. Rather, the fighting is being waged by private militias and foreign troops as Mikhail Khodarenok – a Russian military expert and retired officer working for the General Staff – noted in a recently published article:
“The actual fighting against opposition groups is mostly done by Syrian militias, the Lebanese Hezbollah Shia units, Iranian and Iraqi volunteers and Private Military Companies. The main military actions Assad’s army engages in is extorting a tribute from the locals.” (4)
In short, without Russia’s and Iran’s massive support the Assad regime would have collapsed years ago.
For a long time US imperialism hoped to replace Assad – who collaborated with the CIA torture program after 2001, but who has primarily been a long-time ally of Russian imperialism – with a more compliant lackey. However, Washington was always clear that it didn’t desire to achieve this goal via a popular revolution which would destroy the state apparatus. Since 2011, the Libyan Revolution – which the pro-Russian social-imperialists still absurdly claim was a US conspiracy – has been a daunting example for Washington, with its ambassador, Chris Stevens, being killed in Benghazi in 2012 and all ambassadors of the Great Powers being expelled from the country. (5) In other words, from the beginning US imperialism intended to keep the Assadist state apparatus without Assad.
However, Washington came to realize that this goal was impossible to achieve. US imperialism is simply too weak to impose its goals. (6) Washington has hardly any loyal troops on the ground. The few Syrian rebels who are fighting with US advisors as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces hardly count. The only relevant force on the ground which is closely collaborating with the US and Western imperialists are the Kurdish PYD/YPG who refused to support the Syrian Revolution from the beginning. However, as they are a Kurdish nationalist force with only a limited number of soldiers, they cannot be used to pacify the whole of Syria, as the Kurds constitute only 9–10% of Syria’s population. Furthermore their use is also hampered by the fierce opposition of Turkey – a key player in the region.
Contrary to the repeated claims by the pro-Russian social-imperialist friends of Assad, Washington didn’t provide any meaningful support for the Syrian rebels. They hardly sent any modern anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels that would enable them to defend themselves against the murderous artillery and aircraft attacks by the Assad regime and the Russians. (7)
Quite the contrary, US imperialism is, under the pretext of its war against Daesh, actively targeting a sector of the Syrian rebels – in particular those of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham – and has already killed numerous militants as well as civilians. In the past weeks, US forces killed three leading members of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – Abu Hajer al Homsi, Abo al-Farej al-Masri, and Abo Omar Saraqeb. (8) According to reports, the US-led coalition has carried out more than 5,300 airstrikes in Syria since September 2014, likely killing at least 850 civilians and potentially over 1,200. (9)
The South African Think Tank Afro-Middle East Centre correctly observes:
“The US views the fight against IS and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formally Jabhat al-Nusra), still believed by the Obama administration to have links with al-Qa'ida, as more pertinent, and believes that a political solution, however skewed in the regime’s favour, would help attempts to combat these groups. (…) Conversely, the Russians possess strategic interests in Syria, are fearful of a power vacuum were the regime to fall, and perceive most Islamist rebel groups as terrorists that pose a threat to the country. Since September 2015 Russia has acted directly, militarily, to protect these interests. Convergences over IS, and US reticence to confront Russia, meant that the USA endorsed or ignored Russia’s actions.” (10)
In order to achieve its goals, US imperialism actively opposes any meaningful actions against the Assad regime. The Washington Post reported recently that the Obama administration put huge efforts to prevent the US Congress from putting any sanctions on Assad:
“The White House worked behind the scenes last week to prevent a bipartisan bill to sanction the Assad regime for war crimes and atrocities against civilians from getting a vote in the House of Representatives. The Democratic leadership bowed to White House pressure and withdrew its support for voting on the bill for now.” (11)
In short, the goals of US imperialism are to weaken and finally destroy the Syrian Revolution and to achieve a political settlement for Syria which keeps the old state apparatus in place and which gives Washington as much influence as possible.
The US secretary of state made this unambiguously clear to some leaders of the Syrian opposition as recently leaked audio files have shown.
“Mr. Kerry told the Syrians that their best hope was a political solution to bring the opposition into a transitional government. Then, he said, “you can have an election and let the people of Syria decide: Who do they want?” (…) At one point, Mr. Kerry astonished the Syrians at the table when he suggested that they should participate in elections that include President Bashar al-Assad, five years after President Obama demanded that he step down.” (12)
Finally, the ongoing imperialist aggression of both Russia and the US has lent legitimacy to Daesh which (wrongly) presents itself as the only consistent opposition against the Great Powers. This is particularly the case given the fact that both the US and Russia are targeting Daesh but not the Assad regime despite the fact that the latter have killed one hundred times more people than Daesh has. Many people in Syria and around the world rightly recognize this as further prove of the reactionary and hypocritical character of the imperialist powers.
The Biggest Danger: The Reactionary Kerry-Lavrov Agreement
As we noted above the biggest strategic danger for the Syrian Revolution is the looming Kerry-Lavrov Agreement. Such an agreement would be a local repetition of the reactionary Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain of May 1916 which divided the Middle East between these imperialist powers. Likewise, a Kerry-Lavrov Agreement could lead to the division and occupation of Syria. It would be an agreement in order to liquidate the Syrian Revolution and to establish a counter-revolutionary order in the country.
There already have been ongoing negotiations between the Russian and the US foreign ministers for several years (as expressed, for example, in the Geneva I Conference in 2012 and the Geneva II Conference in 2014). As the RCIT has pointed since long ago, both Great Powers have a joint interest in liquidating the Syrian Revolution and in pacifying the country. Not surprisingly, they have been arch-enemies of the Arab Revolution from the beginning in 2011. This, by the way, has also been the reason why they both supported the military coup of General al-Sisi in Egypt in July 2013. (13)
No one should have any illusions: Such an agreement would not mean peace. Rather it would pacify the civil war on some fronts (i.e., between the regime, the pro-Western sectors of the rebels and the Kurds) and unify the military firepower of Assad, of the Kurdish YPG, of some pro-Western rebels as well as of Russia, the US, Iran and Hezbollah against Daesh, as well as against intransigent petty-bourgeois rebel forces.
To quote again the Afro-Middle East Centre:
“The USA, believing that IS poses a greater threat than the Syrian regime, and having misgivings about the main Islamist forces that are currently the strongest and most well-organised rebel components, and which would benefit most from Asad’s fall, will go along with a Russian initiative. The balance of power on the ground heavily favours Russia, and dissuades active interference by other foreign powers for fear of confrontation with Russia. Further, the Turkish incursion into Syria is also likely to lead to a weakening of support for opposition groups, especially in light of the recent Turkish-Russian and Turkish-Iranian rapprochements and the belief that Turkey is reassessing its position on Asad. Already, thousands of Turkey-backed fighters have withdrawn from east Aleppo to focus on consolidating Turkey’s control of its 900-square kilometre incursion, and to prepare for a push towards the IS-held town of Al-Bab.” (14)
A reactionary Kerry-Lavrov Agreement would unite and increase the counter-revolutionary pressure, forcing sectors of the rebels to cease their struggle against the regime and accept a truce with the Assad regime. It would lead, most likely, to the killing or disarming and capitulation of huge numbers of rebels.
The “Yemeni” and the “Bosnian” Solution
Theoretically, two basic scenarios for such a counter-revolutionary settlement resulting from a Kerry-Lavrov Agreement are possible, with a number of conceivable combinations of the two. One scenario would keep Syria relatively united (probably on a federal basis) with a joint government and state apparatus. Such a government would keep the Assadist state apparatus while integrating sectors of the opposition into it, perhaps with Assad himself moving to a backstage position after some time. The process in Yemen in 2011, in which Saleh retreated and his vice-president took power and various oppositional parties joined or supported the government, could be a model for this scenario.
The alternative would be a solution similar to that imposed on Bosnia in 1995 where the Great Powers divided the country into three regions. In this case, the formal unity of Syria might be preserved, albeit only in name, but in reality the country would be divided into different regions – probably an Alawi-dominated region ruled by the Assad clan supported by Russia and Iran, a Sunni-Arab region ruled by some pro-Western opposition forces with US and EU backing, and a third, Kurdish, region.
If this second scenario were to transpire, it is unclear which Great Power would dominate the Kurdish region, as the PYD leadership has been making advances both to the US and to Russia. Obviously this question will be also influenced by the foreign policy maneuvers of Turkey’s Erdogan and which Great Power would give more assurances to the PYD leadership.
It seems to us that the “Bosnian” solution is the more likely of the two for the following reasons:
a) The deep hatred of the regime by the popular masses would make it very difficult for the opposition leaderships to sell the people such a betrayal, while a Sunni-Arab mini-state could be sold as the only realistic option, however unfortunate this may be.
b) The increasing rivalry between the US and Russia which would be a destabilizing factor in the case of a united Syria with a joint government.
Regardless, it is clear that both of these scenarios would constitute a tremendous counter-revolutionary defeat for the Syrian workers and peasants. It would mean either the disarming and suppression of the popular masses by an essentially Assadist government (with some oppositional Quislings among their ranks) or a division of the country with the a very likely massive population exchange (i.e. ethnic cleansing) as took place in Bosnia in the 1990s.
A recent example of such a reactionary “peace” solution based on ethnic cleaning took place in Daraya, the historic birthplace of the Syrian revolution, during the past five years. The UK-based Syria Solidarity Campaign reports:
“The regime’s surrender terms included the forced displacement (“evacuation” according to the Assad regime and UN) of more than 7,000 Syrian civilian residents and families. In the aftermath of Daraya’s fall it has also emerged that the regime is resettling Iraqi Shia militiamen and families in their place — comprising a clear attempt at engineering a forced demographic change and continuing a policy of sectarian/ethnic cleansing pursued in other recaptured territories of Syria.” (15)
However, there are various obstacles to such an agreement based on dividing Syria. First, there are tens of thousands of rebel fighters supported by millions of Syrian workers and peasants who deeply despise the Assad regime and who are determined to continue the revolution. True, after years of fighting there may be signs of exhaustion. But at the moment such signs are difficult to see. These rebel fighters and popular masses despise and distrust not only Russian imperialism but US imperialism as well. This is hardly surprising, since Washington considers several Islamist resistance organizations like Jabhat Fateh al-Sham as “terrorist” organizations and kills their leaders.
The popular rejection of the US-Russia conspiracy against the Syrian Revolution has been reflected in numerous statements released not only by the Islamist organizations targeted by the US, but also by many others.
For example, a group of 150 Syrian intellectuals, composed mostly of writers, artists, academics, and journalists, all identifying themselves as secular democratic opponents of the Syrian regime, have issued the statement to express their condemnation of the role being played in their country by both Washington and Moscow. The signatories include globally known figures such as Paris Sorbonne Professor Burhan Ghalioun, who was the first chairperson of the Syrian National Council in 2011–12; award-winning novelist Samar Yazbek, whose works are published in many languages; the famous Syrian intellectual Sadik Jalal Al-Azm; Farouk Mardam-Bey, a writer who edits the most important journal dedicated to the Arab world in France; playwright Mohammad Al-Attar; and Yassin al-Haj Saleh, a prominent independent voice of the Syrian opposition. (16)
Yet another example is a statement by 21 brigades of the Free Syrian Army, condemning the recently negotiated (and failed) truce agreement struck between the US and Russia. (17)
Second, the Assad regime – as well as the Russian and the Iranian rulers – still hopes to defeat the rebels and to regain control over at least significant parts of the country. However, these efforts are completely dependent on the will of the Russians and Iranians to support such an effort. From the moment Putin and Khamenei reach a deal with the US, Assad will be forced to stop his war. However, currently Assad and his backers are encouraged by the fact that US imperialism – in contrast to that of the Russians – is hardly in a position to seriously engage in the Syrian civil war against Assad (see the quotes by Kerry which we cited above). The US lacks a serious proxy force on the ground in Syria and is completely unwilling and unable to commit ground troops to the war there (particularly in light of the opposition of Russia and China).
Third, while both the US and Russia have a mutual interest in liquidating the Syrian Revolution, they are also imperialist rivals competing against one other for spheres of influence. This is why Russia has been keeping Assad in power and why the US has been trying to get some influence among the official Syrian opposition. This is also why the two Great Powers stood on opposing sides in the civil war in the Ukraine.
As an aside, we note that the recent events in Syria have once more convincingly proved that Russia is an authentic imperialist Great Power and not some semi-colonial lackey of the US – contrary to the foolish claims of various centrist groups. (18)
Finally, a reactionary settlement in Syria is hardly possible without occupation troops to enforce it. But who could provide the necessary numbers of soldiers? The US and Russia both very unlikely prepared to send any meaningful number of ground troops to Syria. The popular hatred of Syrians against both these Great Powers, their respective US and Russian public opinions opposing such involvement, and the US’s recent debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq (while Putin is already finding it difficult to justify having sent soldiers to the Ukraine) practically exclude this option. Neither are EU troops, in any meaningful numbers, likely to be deployed.
The only conceivable alternative is to create a force of ground troops from states in the region to enforce a settlement reached by the Great Powers. However, troops from Saudi Arabia (or other Gulf States) in are also not very likely to be sent in larger numbers, in light of their military limitations already attested to during their invasion of Yemen. Turkey, with its large and experienced army, is a realistic candidate – also given the fact that it is less discredited among the majority of the Syrian people. However, here the problem – from the Great Powers’ point of view – is that the Erdoğan regime is not very reliable, as has been recently demonstrated by the attempted coup d’état attempt and the president’s foreign policy zigzagging. Iranian troops – in territories dominated by the Alawi minority – are another possibility.
Regardless of whichever country sends a larger contingent of troops to Syria as a “peace-keeping force” (i.e., an army of occupation), in advance it is quite clear that such a country will become the target of popular hatred and armed resistance. It could face a fate similar to that of the US in Lebanon in 1983 or of India in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. In both cases, the occupying forces faced massive armed resistance and ultimately had to end their occupations with a bloody nose. Furthermore, such a highly risky operation abroad is very likely to provoke substantial opposition among the domestic population of the country or countries involved, and make these countries even enhance their identity as targets of terrorist operations (as we have already seen in France and Belgium). In short, while a reactionary pacification of the Syrian civil war could lead to some stability in the short term, it is likely to provoke even more political instability in the long run.
The Strategic Lessons of the Crisis of the Syrian Revolution
The crisis of the Syrian Revolution makes it urgent for the revolutionary vanguard in Syria and internationally to learn the strategic lessons of the past failures. As we have outlined in our Theses on the Arab Revolution, as well as in other documents, there are several key lessons which, in our opinion, must be assimilated in order to revitalize the Syrian Revolution along with the revolutionary struggles in other countries. (19)
First, the most important failure is the lack of independent mass organizations of the working class. While hundreds of thousands, even millions of workers and poor peasants support the revolution, their leaderships have been hijacked by petty-bourgeois nationalists and Islamists. The Local Coordination Councils are a distorted expression of a democratic organization of the popular masses. However, they limit themselves mostly to organizing daily survival (which naturally is extremely important) but do not desire to play any political or military role. As a result, the political leadership is either in the hands of aspiring bourgeois politicians who are ready to sell out the interests of the people at the negotiating table in exchange for some posts, or it is in the hands of various strands of Islamists who oppose any authentic social and democratic revolution, and who often follow a more or less sectarian policy. Furthermore, while there are numerous militias which obviously do have connections with the popular masses, they do not represent workers and peasant militias, as they are not elected and controlled by the people.
Fighting for the creation of authentic workers’ and poor peasants councils in liberated areas and of popular militias is the foremost task for authentic revolutionaries in Syria today!
Second, the workers and fallahin, in order to be victorious, must pursue the revolution to its end, and not stop in the middle. This means essentially that, first of all, the democratic, to say nothing of the socialist, revolution must smash the old state apparatus which is so dramatically overblown both in Syria as well as throughout the entire region. This means the revolution must destroy the huge “bureaucratic-military machine” (Karl Marx) including the army, the secret services, the judiciary, etc. which constitutes the direct foundation for the Assad regime (just like for other regimes in the region).
Third, the workers and peasants must erode the social basis of the Assad regime. Thus, they must expropriate the rich business men and the foreign corporations and put them under control of the toilers.
Fourth, the democratic revolution in Syria can only succeed if the workers and poor peasants take power and create a workers’ and peasants’ republic. The popular masses will always be betrayed if they leave the power in the hands of the old elite or transfer it to a new aspiring elite, instead of taking it into their own hands.
Fifth, it is urgent to fight against all forms of intervention by the imperialist forces – both by Russia as well as by the US. Furthermore, it is dangerous to build a strategy on relying on the supposedly “well-meaning” intervention of any Great Power (or regional power like Turkey, Saudi-Arabia or Iran). The ruling classes of these countries will always put their own strategic political and economic interests first and subordinate to them the interests of the Syrian people. The US is an excellent example of this realpolitik: while it opposed Assad in words, it has never supported the rebels fighting against Assad in any meaningful way with weapons, and today it wants to force the opposition to accept a transitional government which will be based on the Assadist state apparatus (and maybe even Assad himself). The entire strategy of the Syrian National Council, which hoped for a victory against Assad with the help of the “international community,” i.e., the Great Powers in particular the US and the EU, has proven to be a castle of sand.
In other words revolutionaries must never seek to align the rebellious masses with the US or the EU or with Russia and China, nor with the regional powers!
Such a socialist perspective can only be implemented if revolutionaries combine fighting for such goals with actual participation in the ongoing mass struggles against the Assad regime – in the country itself as well as in the international arena where many migrants and solidarity activists have been organizing protests for years. It is alien for revolutionaries to excuse themselves from participating in such struggles on the basis of the united front tactic, and by deferring to the petty-bourgeois nationalist and Islamist leaderships of such struggles.
Revolutionaries must fight against the various Islamist and secular petty-bourgeois leaderships which so often possess significant influence among the popular masses, as well as against various reformist and centrist forces which often join the camp of the open counterrevolutions, or instead take a neutral stand on the sidelines in struggles of life and death.
Finally, the most important task in order to revitalize the Syrian revolution and to successfully complete its tasks, i.e., to foment a permanent revolution, is the creation of a revolutionary leadership of the workers and poor peasants; in other words, the formation of a revolutionary party in the tradition of Lenin and Trotsky, as part of a new World Party of Socialist Revolution. However, until now such a party has been sorely missing in all countries, and this absence has been the most important factor in the defeats which the Syrian (and all Arab) proletariat has faced in the past few years. From this it follows that the most important task for revolutionaries today is to create an international Bolshevik organization – as a precursor to such a world party – with sections throughout the world, including in the countries of the Arab world.
Building a revolutionary party – national and international – is the most important factor to achieve political independence of the working class and to lead it successfully towards the socialist revolution!
(1) We refer readers to the numerous documents and articles which the RCIT has published on the Syrian Revolution since its beginning in 2011; in particular: Joint Statement: Solidarity with Aleppo! Hands off Syria! 4 October 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-aleppo/; Syria: For an Independent Revolutionary Road! Down with the Bombing and Siege against Aleppo! Stop the Turkish Invasion and Occupation! No to the Imperialist Conspiracy against the Syrian Masses! Joint Statement of the RCIT and Sınıf Savaşı (Turkey), 25.09.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-aleppo/; Yossi Schwartz: The Revolution in Syria won a Tactical Victory! Down with Assad the Butcher! 21 August 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/aleppo-victory/; RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/; RCIT: The Arab Revolution is a central touchstone for socialists! Open Letter to All Revolutionary Organizations and Activists, 4.10.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/open-letter-on-arab-revolution/. For many more RCIT documents on the Arab Revolution see on our website: http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
(2) See e.g., Martin Chulov and Kareem Shaheen: Sectarian fighters mass for battle to capture east Aleppo. Hundreds of Syrian troops and an estimated 5,000 foreign Shia fighters plan imminent advance into besieged area of city, 29 September 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/29/aleppo-attack-foreign-syrian-fighters-plan-shia-islamic
(3) See e.g., the “League for the 5. International” which recently wrote: “Meanwhile, the Islamist forces, even those defending the besieged populations, are, at the same time, trying to smother the most progressive aspects of the Syrian revolution. In short, the Syrian revolution is on the point of expiring.” (L5I: Statement on the Assault on Eastern Aleppo, 30/09/2016, http://www.fifthinternational.org/content/statement-assault-eastern-aleppo)
(4) Mikhail Khodarenok: Here’s why Assad’s army can’t win the war in Syria, 09.09.2016, Gazeta.ru, https://citeam.org/here-s-why-assad-s-army-can-t-win-the-war-in-syria/
(5) On the Libyan Revolution see the following RCIT documents: RCIT: Stop the US Bombing of Libya! Mobilize against the Expansion of the Imperialist War! Defeat the Imperialist Aggressors and Their Lackeys in Libya! 23.2.2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-bombing-libya/; RCIT: General Sisi, Hollande, Obama: Hands Off Libya! Defeat General Haftars’ Imperialist Lackeys! Down with the Daash-Gang of Killers! For a Workers’ and Popular Government! 26.2.2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/hands-off-libya/; Michael Pröbsting: Liberation Struggles and Imperialist Interference. The failure of sectarian “anti-imperialism” in the West: Some general considerations from the Marxist point of view and the example of the democratic revolution in Libya in 2011, Autumn 2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/liberation-struggle-and-imperialism/; RKOB: After the collapse of the Gaddafi regime: Where now for the Libyan Revolution? 24.8.2011, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/libya-collapse-of-gaddafi-regime/; Michael Pröbsting: The intervention of the imperialist powers in Libya, the struggle of the masses against Gaddafi’s dictatorship and the tactics of revolutionary communists”; in: Revolutionary Communism No. 1, September 2011, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa/libya-revolutionary-tactics
(6) On the US decline and the emergence of the new Great Powers China and Russia see e.g., RCIT: World Perspectives 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2016/; RCIT World Perspectives 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-january-2015/; RCIT World Perspectives 2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-april-2014/; RCIT World Perspectives 2013, (http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-situation-march-2013/; Michael Pröbsting: China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4 (2012), http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, 2013, http://www.great-robbery-of-the-south.net/; Michael Pröbsting: China’s Emergence as an Imperialist Power, in: New Politics, Vol: XV(1), 2014, http://newpol.org/content/china%E2%80%99s-emergence-%E2%80%A8imperialist-power; Michael Pröbsting: The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 32 (2014), pp. 27-37, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/reply-to-csr-pco-on-china/
(7) On the myth of the Assad regime as being anti-imperialist in any way we refer readers to the following RCIT articles: Yossi Schwartz: The Myth of Assad’s Syria as an Anti-Imperialist Regime, November 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/myth-of-assad-s-anti-imperialism/; Michael Pröbsting: US Administration: “Rebels fighting the Assad regime wouldn't support American interests if they were to seize power”, 22.8.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-opposes-syrian-rebels/
(8) Al Jazeera: US air raid kills Syrian rebel commander, rebels say, 2016-09-09, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/09/air-raid-kills-syrian-rebel-commander-rebels-160909040202201.html; Reuters: Nusra Front Says Drone Killed a Senior Leader in Syria, 3.10.2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/world/middleeast/syria-nusra-front-masri.html; US-led coalition kills second commander in Fatth al-Sham, 2016-10-03, http://orient-news.net/en/news_show/124448/0/US-led-coalition-kills-second-commander-in-Fatth-al-Sham
(9) Charles Davis: U.S.-led Airstrikes Have Allegedly Killed Over 850 Syrian Civilians. So Where Is the Outrage? September 27, 2016, http://inthesetimes.com/article/19501/the-u.s.-recently-apologized-for-killing-syrian-soldiers.-why-wont-it-do-th; see also Syria Solidarity Campaign on this US Friendly Fire incident, 18 September 2016, https://www.facebook.com/SyriaSolidarityCampaign/posts/343217749354749
(10) Afro-Middle East Centre: Unenforced Syrian ceasefire was bound to fail, Brief No. 15/2016, 29 September 2016
(11) Josh Rogin: White House worked secretly to delay Syria sanctions bill, Washington Post, 20 September 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2016/09/20/white-house-worked-secretly-to-delay-syria-sanctions-bill/
(12) Anne Barnard: Audio Reveals What John Kerry Told Syrians Behind Closed Doors, New York Times, 30.09.2016, http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/30/world/middleeast/john-kerry-syria-audio.html
(13) The RCIT has published numerous articles and documents on the Egypt Coup in 2013. See e.g. Yossi Schwartz: The Struggle against the Bloody Dictatorship in Egypt. The Failure of the Egyptian “Revolutionary Socialists” in Past and Present, 3 September 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-sisi-and-rs/; Michael Pröbsting: The Coup d'État in Egypt and the Bankruptcy of the Left’s “Army Socialism”. A Balance Sheet of the coup and another Reply to our Critics, 8.8.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/egypt-and-left-army-socialism/. For many more articles on this subject see http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
(14) Afro-Middle East Centre: Unenforced Syrian ceasefire was bound to fail, Brief No. 15/2016, 29 September 2016
(15) Syria Solidarity Campaign Statement: The fall of Daraya and its ethnic cleansing was ordained by the US, Britain and Jordan, 21 September, 2016, http://syriasolidarity.org.uk/2016/09/21/syria-solidarity-campaign-statement-the-fall-of-daraya-and-its-ethnic-cleansing-was-ordained-by-the-us-britain-and-jordan/
(16) Syrian Writers, Artists, and Journalists Speak Out Against US and Russian Policy. They say the two powers have been working to co-opt the Syrian liberation struggle under the rubric of the “war against terror.”, 2016-09-21, https://www.thenation.com/article/syrian-writers-artists-and-journalists-speak-out-against-us-and-russian-policy/
(17) Free Syrian Army: Statement regarding the proposed truce as part of the US-Russian agreement, 16.9.2016, https://eternispring.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/the-free-syrian-army-rejects-savages-the-terms-of-the-us-russian-deal/
(18) See on this various RCIT documents like Michael Pröbsting: Russia as a Great Imperialist Power. The formation of Russian Monopoly Capital and its Empire – A Reply to our Critics. In: Revolutionary Communism No. 21, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialist-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism and the Rise of Russia as a Great Power. On the Understanding and Misunderstanding of Today’s Inter-Imperialist Rivalry in the Light of Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism. Another Reply to Our Critics Who Deny Russia’s Imperialist Character. In: Revolutionary Communism No. 25, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-theory-and-russia/; Michael Pröbsting: The Uprising in East Ukraine and Russian Imperialism. An Analysis of Recent Developments in the Ukrainian Civil War and their Consequences for Revolutionary Tactics. In: Revolutionary Communism No. 28, pp. 3-30. http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/ukraine-and-russian-imperialism/
(19) RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/