Joyce Chediac

The Syrian government agreed to accept the joint U.N.-Arab League-Kofi Annan plan for a ceasefire on March 27, according to Annan’s spokesperson. The former U.N. general secretary then demanded that Damascus “put its commitments into immediate effect.” (

The terms of the agreement have not been released, nor is it clear if the agreement will hold. But one thing is certain: The Arab League and U.N., especially former U.N. head Annan, are not playing an impartial role in Syria. They are providing a cover for imperialist intervention meant to weaken the Assad government. Their goal is not to help the Syrian people, but to tighten the West’s grip on the strategic, oil-rich Middle East.

No matter what Washington shouts about human rights, the Assad government’s alleged excesses or mistakes are not really the issue. The Pentagon and Wall Street seek to break the anti-imperialist alliance among Syria, Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and return the area to direct imperialist slavery. The question is: Who will prevail in the Middle East, imperialist or anti-imperialist forces?

The day before this agreement the White House and Turkey announced plans to expand “nonlethal” assistance to the Syrian opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army. They are sending communications equipment and medical supplies. All this contributed to the pressure on Damascus.

U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya began with such nonlethal aid to the opposition. This quickly led to eight months of so-called humanitarian bombing, which destroyed Libya’s infrastructure and left untold numbers dead.

According to recent Wikileaks reports, NATO commandos are already on the ground in Syria.

Annan fronts for imperialist intervention

Russia and China, concerned about how naked imperialist aggression in the Middle East would affect their interests, vetoed two U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Syria. By doing this they denied the U.S. and NATO the diplomatic cover it needed for upping its aggression. So Washington, London, Paris and others turned to Annan to fill this need.

Annan’s rounds of shuttle diplomacy, one-sided calls for a Syrian government ceasefire and for outside “humanitarian” aid, are really calls for foreign intervention. They have so far provided justification for the open Western “nonlethal” support for the Syrian opposition.

This is not the first time Annan has played this role. In 2004, as U.N. secretary general, he bestowed a U.N. mandate on the U.S., French and Canadian intervention that deposed Haiti’s constitutionally elected Lavalas government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Annan’s stated reasons were the same then as now: an alleged impending “humanitarian catastrophe.”

Annan provided a similar U.N. cover for French imperialism to tighten its colonial grasp on the Ivory Coast in 2006.

The Arab League’s “peace proposals” are also designed to impose a pro-imperialist settlement on Syria. Leading the charge against Syria is Saudi Arabia, a notorious violator of human rights, especially those of women. The Saudi government provided troops and tanks in 2011 to help the Bahrain government repress demonstrations demanding political freedom and economic equity.

Abuses in Bahrain & Israel ignored

The Western powers, their clients in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, and Turkey have accused the Assad government of atrocities and claim they want to save and protect the Syrian people. Consider their hypocrisy and silence on the question of human rights in Bahrain and Israel.

Twenty Bahraini doctors and nurses are about to be tried for a second time on fabricated charges of “subversion” for treating demonstrators wounded by that government’s repeated brutal crackdown against protests.

These medical personnel were previously convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. World-renowned surgeon Ali Al Ekri was assaulted and arrested while performing surgery.

These crimes against humanity don’t get front-page play in the establishment media. Western officials are not lining up to denounce the government there for “killing its own people.” Bahrain’s government is a U.S. ally, and Bahrain is home to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

On March 26, the Israeli government cut all ties to the U.N. Human Rights Council and forbid its entrance into the country. Why? Because the council adopted a resolution this March condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza, and announced plans for a fact-finding mission to investigate. The White House is stone silent about this arrogant disregard for a U.N. agency. Why? Israel is the Pentagon’s most strategic ally in the Middle East.

Instead, all attacks are focused on Syria, a key country in the Middle East, which the U.S. and European imperialists seek to reconquer. The imperialists seek to misuse the mass uprising in that region so they can destroy all manifestations of democracy, human rights, independence and self-determination.

The imperialists must be stopped at all costs.