Thousands demonstrated in Syria on March 15, 2012 in support of the government of Bashar al-Assad. The gathering was designed to mark the first anniversary of the western-backed rebellion inside the country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Are U.S.-NATO setting up pretext for attack on Syria?
Workers World statement - workers.org
Spokespeople from the NATO countries and their loyal media outlets have seized upon a massacre at Houla, Syria, to mobilize for open imperialist military intervention against the Syrian government and -- and no one should doubt this -- against the people of Syria. NATO governments have already begun expelling Syrian diplomats.
There seems to be no doubt at this time -- May 29 -- that a massacre took place. There is, however, much confusion about who exactly carried out the massacre. The corporate media is blaming the killings on the Syrian government and calling for foreign intervention. The Syrians, however, deny that their armed forces or police have taken part, blame the killings on the armed opposition and have themselves condemned the killings and are organizing an investigation.
While we have no special knowledge about what did or didn't happen, we do have a treasury of knowledge of how the imperialists have manipulated such events in order to justify a war or intervention on a "humanitarian" basis. It is this type of manipulation that anti-war and anti-imperialist forces should be most on the alert for.
The most recent such manipulation was in Libya last year, when the imperialist powers claimed there would be a "massacre" of civilians in the city of Benghazi, a center of monarchist opposition to Moammar Gadhafi, if there were no NATO intervention. This supposed threat became the pretext to win U.N. backing for a "no-fly zone" in Libya. France and Britain, with enormous U.S. logistical support, turned this "no-fly zone" into a military assault on the pro-Gadhafi regime and overthrew it, leaving Libya prey to the Western oil and energy monopolies.
In January 1999, the imperialists used the "Racak massacre." A group of reactionary commandos were killed in a gunfight with Serb military and police forces in the town of Racak, in the Kosovo province of Serbia. The reactionaries dressed the dead fighters up as civilians and claimed they were executed at close range. A few news media -- Le Figaro (Jan. 20, 1999) and a year later the Berliner Zeitung (March 24, 2000) -- exposed the more obvious inconsistencies in the “massacre” myth. A Finnish team led by Helena Ranta also discovered that all 23 dead were killed by gunfire at a distance. (See “Hidden Agenda: The U.S./NATO takeover of Yugoslavia,” International Action Center, 2002)
Nevertheless, NATO spokespeople and the corporate media spread the lie that there had been a massacre of civilians. U.S. and NATO forces used this pretext to justify 78 days of bombing of Serbia and the dismemberment of what remained of Yugoslavia.
There is no possible justification for imperialist intervention in Syria, whatever happened in Houla. NATO’s own bombing campaign in Afghanistan regularly kills civilians (See Miami Herald, May 29), but no one dare raises these crimes before the United Nations. NATO’s hypocrisy is all too familiar. The media campaign around Houla should put the anti-war movement on alert that the imperialists are preparing right now for another intervention.
We reprint here the Syrian government's side of the Houla story, slightly edited from a statement released by Damascus:
Makdessi: Syria will establish Investigative Committee on Houla Massacre
“Syria will establish an investigative committee on the Houla massacre, to issue results within three days,” said Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad Makdissi in a press conference on May 27.
Makdissi has categorically denied responsibility of the Syrian forces for the massacre that took place in al-Houla area in Homs Province.
Makdissi also condemned in strongest terms this terrorist massacre against the Syrian civilians as he condemned the accusation that Syrian forces had done that.
"The Syrian state is responsible for protecting civilians according to the constitution and Syria preserves its right to defend its citizens," he said.
Makdissi stressed that no tanks or artillery entered al-Houla town and the law enforcement members never left their positions, rather they were in a state of self-defense.
"A military judicial committee was formed to conduct an investigation and the results will be announced in three days," Makdissi added.
The suspicious coincidence between the attacks in parallel with the visit of U.N. Special Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, is a slap in the face of the political process, said Makdissi, adding that the brutal killing is alien to the ethics of the Syrian army.
He said that those who committed the killing are not the army but the armed terrorist groups.
The spokesperson added that what happened doesn't serve the interests of the Syrian state, stressing that "We don't trade with the Syrian blood." Makdissi stressed that there is no justification for carrying weapons against the dignity of the state whatever the political excuse, indicating that the terrorism and crimes increased since Syria's approval of Annan's plan because they don't want to make the plan a success.
The spokesperson for the Syrian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ministry said that the armed terrorist groups committed more than 3,500 violations of Annan's plan, adding that "non-stability is a good environment for terrorists. … There are al-Qaeda and Takfiris [sectarian extremists] but we won't allow them to make use of this environment no matter how long the confrontation takes." Makdissi stressed that the solution to the crisis in Syria lies in lending a helping hand to the Syrian government.
Makdissi indicated that Syria wants a truce and his government is committed to Annan’s plan.
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