From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November
Russia and China have exercised their veto in the Security Council to a proposed resolution condemning Syria for ‘oppressing anti-government forces’.
Russia enjoys military and commercial deals with Syria worth billions of dollars annually, and would certainly not wish to lose these to US and European predators. Nor would it want to lose its naval base at Tartus, and is sensibly therefore not supporting western imperialism’s attempts to bring about regime change in Syria – a regime change that would not be deemed successful unless the successor was a western puppet.
The New York Times of 5 October quite rightly says: “There is a sense in both capitals that the West in general, and the United States in particular, is feeding the protest movements in the Arab world to further its own interests, experts said. Both the Chinese and the Russians are determined to reassert their long opposition to anything that smacks of domestic meddling by outside powers.
“In that effort they have been joined by emerging powers like Brazil, India and South Africa, which have formed their own alliance and as current members of the Security Council all abstained from the Syria vote … Lebanon, where Syria holds sway, also abstained.
“The resolution itself was toothless, demanding that the violence in Syria stop. The draft underwent repeated dilutions, which dropped all but the most vague reference to sanctions as a future possibility. But even that drew objections, in part because the cloud of Libya cast a long shadow over the Syria deliberations. The Russians and the Chinese said they felt bamboozled after a resolution they thought was meant to protect Libyan civilians became what they condemned as a license to wage war on the government of Col Muammar el-Qaddafi. They are determined to avoid that in the Middle East and anywhere else.”
In actual fact, the resolution would not have been toothless even in its most attenuated form as it was being passed under Chapter 7, which authorises resort to “all necessary measures” (ie, war) to suppress whatever is classed by any belligerent as “a threat to international peace and security”. This was the basis for Nato’s attack on Libya, even though under no stretch of the imagination did the Benghazi rebellion or the Libyan government’s response pose any threat to international peace and security.
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November
The bellicose rhetoric of US imperialism and its allies against Iran, which became somewhat muted during the Arab spring has now been taken up again at an even more hysterical level.
In October, the US claimed to have uncovered a failed plot on the part of Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US on US soil. This alleged plot is strenuously denied by Tehran, and even most bourgeois press reports are skeptical about its likelihood.
Having mounted this absurd aunt sally, the US regime has gone on to demand that UN nuclear inspectors release classified intelligence information showing Iran is designing and experimenting with nuclear weapons technology, obviously hoping to set up another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ hue and cry (which is rich coming from a country that has been supplying the thermobaric bombs deployed in Afghanistan and Libya).
What the US expects to get from this is greater enforcement of sanctions against Iran on the part of countries desperate for trade with Iran (or anywhere else). By strict enforcement of banking transactions US imperialism hopes to bring Iran’s oil exports to a complete halt, which could cause such hardship to the people that regime change might come about through popular discontent. Failing that, tighter sanctions can be expected to weaken Iran considerably, as happened to Iraq, preparing the ground for imperialist military intervention of one kind or another.
In Britain, Ofcom has contributed to the aggression by closing down Press TV. The latest news is that “Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme …
“The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.” (Guardian, 3 November 2011)
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 1 October
With effect from 3 September, the EU, which buys most of Syria’s oil, has brought in a ban on importing that oil with a view to crippling Syria’s economy and bringing about the downfall of the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.
Syria produces only about 400,000 barrels of oil a day, less than 1 percent of global production, and exports about 150,000 barrels a day, 95 percent of it to Europe. The exports provide about 25 percent of Syria’s income, which is already under pressure from the IMF. By denying the government this income, the imperialists are hoping to frustrate the attempts of the Syrian government to meet the demands of the Syrian people with such popular measures as fuel subsidies.
The US government is openly planning for the future of Syria after what they hope will be the certain downfall of Assad. While other imperialist countries have withdrawn their embassies from Damascus, the US in all its arrogance has left its ambassador, Robert Ford, in place, with a view to his liaising with opponents of the Syrian government.
According to one report, “In coordination with Turkey, the United States has been exploring how to deal with the possibility of a civil war among Syria’s alawite, druse, christian and sunni sects.” (‘US is quietly getting ready for Syria without Assad’ by Helen Cooper, New York Times, 19 September 2011)
Imperialism is desperate to overthrow the Syrian regime because of its alignment with Iran and Hizbollah, as well as its influence in Lebanon among those who battle for national independence and safeguarding their national sovereignty from imperialist interference.
While claiming, as in the case of Libya, to be intervening to prevent the regime from ‘killing its own people’, it is perfectly clear that US imperialism knows perfectly well that the overthrow of the Assad government poses a serious risk of unleashing a sectarian civil war in which tens of thousands will die and further tens, if not hundreds, of thousands will be forced into exile. Certainly the christian minority in Syria – about 10 percent of the population – is extremely fearful of the consequences of Assad’s possible overthrow.
Via Postcards from the Revolution
By Eva Golinger
In 1983, the strategy of overthrowing inconvenient governments and calling it ‘democracy promotion’ was born.
Through the creation of a series of quasi-private ‘foundations’, such as Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), Freedom House and later the International Center for Non-Violent Conflict (ICNC), Washington began to filter funding and strategic aid to political parties and groups abroad that promoted US agenda in nations with insubordinate governments.
Behind all these ‘foundations’ and ‘institutes’ is the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the financial branch of the Department of State. Today, USAID has become a critical part of the security, intelligence and defence axis in Washington. In 2009, the Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative became official doctrine in the US. Now, USAID is the principal entity that promotes the economic and strategic interests of the US across the globe as part of counterinsurgency operations.
Its departments dedicated to transition initiatives, reconstruction, conflict management, economic development, governance and democracy are the main venues through which millions of dollars are filtered from Washington to political parties, NGOs, student organisations and movements that promote US agenda worldwide. Wherever a coup d’etat, a coloured revolution or a regime change favorable to US interests occurs, USAID and its flow of dollars is there.
How does a coloured revolution work?
The recipe is always the same. Student and youth movements lead the way with a fresh face, attracting others to join in as though it were the fashion, the cool thing to do. There’s always a logo, a colour, a marketing strategy.
In Serbia, the group OTPOR, which led the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, hit the streets with t-shirts, posters and flags boasting a fist in black and white, their symbol of resistance. In Ukraine, the logo remained the same, but the colour changed to orange. In Georgia, it was a rose-colored fist, and in Venezuela, instead of the closed fist, the hands are open, in black and white, to add a little variety.
Coloured revolutions always occur in a nation with strategic, natural resources: gas, oil, military bases and geopolitical interests. And they also always take place in countries with socialist-leaning, anti-imperialist governments. The movements promoted by US agencies in those countries are generally anti-communist, anti-socialist, pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist.
Protests and destabilisation actions are always planned around an electoral campaign and process, to raise tensions and questions of potential fraud, and to discredit the elections in the case of a loss for the opposition, which is generally the case. The same agencies are always present, funding, training and advising: USAID, NED, IRI, NDI, Freedom House, AEI and ICNC. The latter two pride themselves on the expert training and capacitation of youth movements to encourage ‘non-violent’ change.
The strategy seeks to debilitate and disorganise the pillars of state power, neutralising security forces and creating a sensation of chaos and instability. Colonel Robert Helvey, one of the founders of this strategy and a director at AEI, explained that the objective is not to destroy the armed forces and police, but rather “convert them” - convince them to leave the present government and “make them understand that there is a place for them in the government of tomorrow”.
Youth are used to try and debilitate security forces and make it more difficult for them to engage in repression during public protests. Srdja Popovic, founder of OTPOR, revealed that Helvey taught them “how to select people in the system, such as police officers, and send them the message that we are all victims, them and us, because it’s not the job of a police officer to arrest a 13-year-old protestor, for example …”
It’s a well-planned strategy directed towards the security forces, public officials and the public in general, with a psychological warfare component and a street presence that give the impression of a nation on the verge of popular insurrection.
In 2003, AEI touched ground in Venezuela. Colonel Helvey himself gave a nine-day intensive course to the Venezuelan opposition on how to “restore democracy” in the country. According to AEI’s annual report, opposition political parties, NGOs, activists and labor unions participated in the workshop, learning the techniques of how to “overthrow a dictator”. This was a year after the failed coup d’etat - led by those same groups - against President Chavez.
What came right after the AEI intervention was a year of street violence, constant destabilization attempts and a recall referendum against Chavez. The opposition lost 60-40, but cried fraud. Their claims were pointless. Hundreds of international observers, including the Carter Center and the OAS, certified the process as transparent, legitimate and fraud-free.
In March 2005, the Venezuelan opposition and AEI joined forces again, but this time the old political parties and leaders were replaced by a select group of students and young Venezuelans. Two former leaders of OTPOR came from Belgrade, Slobodan Dinovic and Ivan Marovic, to train the Venezuelan students on how to build a movement to overthrow their president. Simultaneously, USAID and NED funding to groups in Venezuela skyrocketed to around $9m.
Freedom House set up shop in Venezuela for the first time ever, working hand in hand with USAID and NED to help consolidate the opposition and prepare it for the 2006 presidential elections. ICNC, led by former Freedom House president Peter Ackerman, also began to train the youth opposition movement, providing intensive courses and seminars in regime change techniques.
That year, the newly-trained students launched their movement. The goal was to impede the electoral process and create a scenario of fraud, but they failed. Chavez won the elections with 64 percent of the vote, a landslide victory. In 2007, the movement was relaunched in reaction to the government’s decision to not renew the broadcasting license of a private television station, RCTV, a voice of the opposition. The students took to the streets with their logo in hand and along with the aid of mainstream media, garnered international attention.
Several were selected by US agencies and sent to train again in Belgrade in October 2007. Student leader Yon Goicochea was awarded $500,000 from the right-wing Washington think tank, Cato Institute, to set up a training center for opposition youth inside Venezuela.
Today, those same students are the faces of the opposition political parties, evidencing not only their clear connection with the politics of the past, but also the deceit of their own movement. The coloured revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine are fading. Citizens of those nations have become disenchanted with those that took power through an apparent ‘autonomous’ movement and have begun to see they were fooled.
The coloured revolutions are nothing more than the red, white and blue of US agencies, finding new and innovative ways to try and impose Empire’s agenda.