Theresa May claims that her missile strikes against Syria, were “in our national interests”, a “humanitarian” response and “the right thing to do”.
Never mind that the chemical attack in Douma against which she, Trump and Macron claimed to be reacting against was unproven. Apparently they had evidence, but it’s “classified”! We are supposed to take their word for it.
One cannot help being reminded of Iraq, 2003. “We have no Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMDs), said Iraq’s Information Minister. Just as the Information Minister of Syria said, “We have no chemical weapons”. Both of them were dismissed as liars.
But in 2003, it turned out there were indeed no WMDs and the liars were Blair and Bush. And this war against Iraq led directly to today’s Syrian conflict: its devastation and sectarian aftermath, imposed by the rich powers, gave birth to the fundamentalist militia known as Daesh, or ISIS.
The real reason for their missile strikes
How then, to get behind the lies which are used to justify the lethal imperialist policy in the Middle East? And was the “chemical attack” in Douma the real reason for May and Co., to drop their missiles on Syria? Or was it just a pretext?
After all, for almost 7 years, the US, Britain and its allies were happy to allow their various rebel proxies on the ground, no matter their links to Al Qaeda or worse, to wreak carnage, in order to try to dislodge Assad. At the same time they expected Assad to defeat Daesh for them, while wreaking his own carnage. And all this, at huge cost to the population.
But 400,000 deaths and over 4m refugees later, and with the country almost reduced to dust, their own objectives in the region could no longer be guaranteed by their rebel proxies, nor their own regional backers, like Saudi Arabia or Turkey. So they allowed Russia and Iran to intervene, to help Assad beat back Daesh - but de facto, he also beat back the rebel groups - lately, towards Idlib. And they are fighting each other, to add to the lethal mess.
So now the rich powers are aiming at creating a situation where Assad, having defeated Daesh, will have no choice but to accept their terms. Because it is not the brutal dictatorship of Assad that they dislike so much, but the fact that Assad was never pliable and accommodating enough towards their imperialist interests.
May, Trump and Macron, have thus used their firepower to remind Assad that he is going to have to bow to their wishes in the final political settlement. Yes, one which will be signed amid the bloody rubble that used to be the country of Syria. There are, after all, lucrative contracts to be had out of Syria’s reconstruction.
The Cold War bogeyman
There are additional reasons for this missile attack. Trump promised he’d bring US troops home, in line with his war-weary electorate’s wishes, but contrary to the US establishment’s aims. So he needed a plausible reason to keep the US military in place. A “chemical attack” provided it. And then of course, Trump’s “war” on “bad” Assad, has value as a diversion from his own scandals, sexual and otherwise.
As for the weak Theresa May and the weak Emmanuel Macron - they have their own difficult domestic political situations to face, with Brexit and now the Windrush scandal in Britain and the rail strikes in France. So the alleged use by Assad of chemical weapons, (and, as May implies, with Russian consent!) is a windfall for them both.
May, like the US, had already summoned up the ghosts of the Cold War to put the Russian state in its place - after relying upon it in Syria to help Assad against Daesh. She postured as a “strong leader” after the supposed “chemical weapons attack” in Salisbury “by Russia” despite absence of motive and proof. She could then claim to have united all of Europe behind her, against Putin. Because rationality is not needed, when it comes to blaming “the Russians” (who are now apparently also about to launch a cyber-attack!).
Legal niceties won’t stop them
So what of the opposition? Corbyn’s response that May’s attack was undemocratic - she should have asked parliament - and that it was “legally questionable” just dodged the issue. A parliamentary vote would most likely have supported May in adding the puny weight of the RAF to this air strike.
It should be recalled that even when parliament voted on war against Iraq, the majority of MPs chose to believe Bush and Blair’s obviously dodgy dossier, and supported the war!
Today the world imperialist leaders and their lackeys in government have the blood of millions more poor people on their hands. No mere parliament is going to prevent them from imposing their latest “order” in the Middle East. The collective political and economic might of the working class is the only force which, ultimately, could stop them. In the mean time, the working class can have no truck with any new escalation in the region. Hands off Syria!