Syria: After the defeat in Qusayr and ahead of the Battle for Aleppo

For revolutionary working class leadership to lead the Syrian Revolution to Victory!
By Yossi Schwartz
Revolutionary Communist International Tendency

Imperialist propaganda seeks to present a picture of hopelessness in Syria and to present the only alternatives available to the Syrian masses as being support for one of the following:

* Either Assad as he continues to slaughter his own people;

* the Syrian pro- imperialists who are demanding a massive military intervention by the West;

* or the forces controlled by Islamist reactionaries.

The revolutionary position is unequivocal: no political support for either pro-imperialists or Islamists. Instead we call for the masses of the Syrian people to stand united in a military front against the Assad regime together with all those who are currently struggling against him.

Defeats for the Syrian Revolution

As these lines are being written, the Syrian army has launched a new offensive named “Northern Storm” which aims to take back complete control of the city of Aleppo and its environs. According to reports, Hezbollah forces are fighting alongside the Syrian regime, after having helped Assad to regain control of the strategic city Qusayr.

Currently, most of Aleppo is held by the rebels, while only a few areas remain under the control of the Syrian army. After taking control of Aleppo, the rebels have been trying to establish a buffer zone up to the Turkish border to help them move their forces and equipment. If the Syrian army manages to retake Aleppo, this would be a serious setback for the rebels who, in any case, suffer from a lack of weapons and material due to the repeated, still unfulfilled, proposals being considered in the West, particularly in the UK. Until now, no Western imperialist power has sent weapons to the rebels. Those reactionary Arab regimes, like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who have and continue to send arms to rebel forces, are supplying them to Islamists, whose sectarian politics greatly impede a successful struggle against the Syrian army.
At the same time, the Assad regime receives massive military support particularly from imperialist Russia but also from imperialist China and the reactionary Islamist regime in Iran.

The only solution to the difficult problems in Syria is a Socialist Revolution: Unless the working class assumes leadership of the Syrian masses in revolt, the revolution cannot be won. The current petty bourgeois rebel leaderships, with no program, strategy or tactics, are obviously unable to mobilize the whole working class and peasants irrespective of their ethnic and religious affiliation against the Assad dictatorship. But without such a broad mobilization and organization in popular councils and militias, it is impossible to defeat the Assad regime and replace it with a truly popular, workers’ and peasants government. To achieve this, the working class needs a revolutionary leadership, i.e. a revolutionary party.

The difference between political and military support

Here it is important to clarify and emphasize the difference between political support for and military support for the rebels fighting against the Assad regime: Political support means taking the position that the establishment of a pro-imperialist or Islamic government would be a progressive, advantageous first step in the revolutionary struggle. By contrast, military support means attempting to achieve only military coordination between all forces fighting against the Syrian army, without ceasing a political struggle against the various rebel leaderships, the goal being the taking of power by the working class, and not the bourgeoisie or petty bourgeoisie.

We want to bring down Assad, but do not want a pro-imperialist or Islamist regime in his place. Anyone who knows history knows that this was the line taken by the Bolsheviks in 1917, when they formed a joint military front with the Kerensky government against the revolt led by Kornilov, without giving any political support to the Kerensky government. Immediately after revolutionary forces defeated Kornilov, the Bolsheviks toppled the regime of Kerensky and his pro-imperialist partners in the October Revolution.

Western or Israeli imperialist attack

If the Western imperialists, including Israel, attack Assad’s Syria, we will call for the rebels to fight on two fronts: one against Assad and the other against imperialism. How many forces should be dedicated to each front will depend on who is the more dangerous of the two enemies at any given moment. However, if Assad will fight the imperialist invasion and cease hostilities against the rebels, the latter can consider forming a military front with the Syrian regime against Imperialism. It is not a question of Assad’s being the “bad guy” and the rebel leaderships being the “good guys” or vice versa. Rather, what is vital at any given moment is to analyze the actual power relations and to act consistent with the derived conclusions.

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