HANDS OFF SYRIA
Jun 27, 2012
The Turkish regime, in cahoots with the NATO powers, has carried out a provocation against the Syrian people that threatens a new war of imperialist conquest in Western Asia.
That’s the message out of Brussels on June 26, where a cynical meeting of NATO labeled Syria the “aggressor.” Why? Because Syria’s air defenses shot down a Turkish plane flying low and fast into its airspace as it was about to reach its territory. The Turkish government even admitted that its RF4E Phantom jet had flown into Syria’s airspace on June 22 — “erroneously.”
Ramsey Clark, above, and Sara Flounders of the International Action Center analyze and denounce U.S. militarist foreign policy, including the murderous use of drones and the growing threats against Syria and Iran, at a dinner-forum of the Pakistan USA Freedom Forum June 23.
Western governments and corporate media immediately heaped the blame on Syria — making it obvious that a planned provocation is in progress.
Important sections of the anti-war and progressive movement in the United States have reacted to this new war threat, calling actions during the week of June 23 to July 1 to protest NATO war moves. They have also called for “day after” actions following any new U.S., NATO or Turkish aggression against Syria.
Under the conditions of near civil war in Syria, it is understandable that Syria’s air defenses would react quickly to a perceived threat. This is all the more true because arms are being supplied to the pro-imperialist opposition through Turkey. (See factsheet on page 9.) Instead of handling the shoot-down as an accident, as the Syrian government declared, the Turkish regime is playing the role of cat’s-paw for NATO intervention in the region.
Immediately after the furor began in the corporate media over the downing of the plane, articles appeared in many progressive media asking the question: “Is another Gulf of Tonkin incident taking place?”
The Gulf of Tonkin incident, which took place in August 1964, was an alleged attack by small North Vietnamese patrol boats against huge U.S. destroyers right off the coast of Vietnam. The Lyndon Johnson administration used this phony provocation as a pretext to begin massive bombing of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and the port city of Haiphong, and then to get the U.S. Senate to approve a massive escalation of U.S. military intervention.
While the Gulf of Tonkin incident is a classic example of the imperialists creating a provocation in order to whip up a war fever, similar incidents have been used many times to start a war, starting with the explosion on the USS Maine in Havana harbor in 1898 and the sinking of the Lusitania in 1916 — and including variations like the supposed finding of Iraq’s imaginary “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan, backed up by NATO generals and officials from all the imperialist powers in Brussels, is now threatening Turkish intervention against Syrian land forces near the border. This is a direct threat to intervene on the side of the reactionary uprising in Syria.
UNAC reacts, calls ‘day after’ actions
The United National Antiwar Coalition in the U.S. was already mobilizing for a week of anti-war actions. Its demands are:
“Hands off Syria and Iran!”
“End the drone wars!”
“We need jobs, education and healthcare, not endless war!”
Following the new threat from Turkey and NATO, UNAC put out the following call:
“If NATO military action is unleashed against Syria, UNAC is urging activists to be on alert and start making plans now across the country to immediately call united ‘Day After’ demonstrations within 24 hours at federal buildings across the U.S.”
UNAC reports that actions during the week of June 23 to July 1 are already being held in the following cities:
Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City; Northampton, Mass.; Hartford, Conn.; Albany, Brooklyn, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y.; Jersey City and Newark, N.J.; Columbus, Ohio; Tallahassee, Fla.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Durham, N.C.; Oakland and Fresno, Calif.; and Vancouver in Canada.
For more information on the actions, see UNACpeace.org.