On June 26 the Canadian Peace Alliance issued a statement on Syria. The statement gets off to a bad start from its very first words. The statement is titled No Western Intervention in Syria. But the second sentence says, “The Canadian Peace Alliance stands against any intervention from outside powers…” Well, which is it? Wouldn’t “outside powers” refer to Russia as well? There have been some reports of the presence of Iranian forces in Syria. If these reports turn out to be true, would Iran be one of the “outside powers?”
What is happening in Syria? Here’s what the CPA has to say:
“Moreover, Western governments are the loudest complainers when the Syrian government responds to armed aggression with force, as any other government would do in its place.” A reasonable person might conclude the CPA believes that Assad has been falsely accused of attacking his own people. Of course, if this is what they believe, they have the right to say so. I would go farther and say that they have the obligation to say so, clearly and explicitly.
Perhaps they are uncertain. While they are researching the question, may I suggest that they read the article by Phyllis Bennis that they themselves provide the link for, “Syria: Only diplomacy can stop the war.”
Here are a few quotes from her article:
“Despite his government’s history of brutal repression, Bashar al-Assad still enjoys support…”
“Certainly the regime has committed brutal atrocities against civilians, potentially including war crimes…”
“The regime is clearly responsible for more attacks with heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery…”
Reading what they have to say about the United Nations you might not guess they we in the anti-war movement have sometimes had reason to criticize the UN.
The CPA calls for “…a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis” This is not what the Syrian people are calling for. At the risk of their lives they are going into the streets to demand the end of the Assad regime. The CPA does not express any solidarity with Syrians or even acknowledge the existence of their movement.
In the midst of their statement they say something that we can all agree to. “Western governments have always had their own interests at heart while engaging in these types of interventions.” This would be a good starting point for a useful statement on Syria. But, to be effective, any statement on Syria must not have even a whiff of support for the Assad regime.
Not only is it possible to link our opposition to Canadian intervention to support for the Syrian people. It is necessary to do that.