A packed meeting organised by Socialist Resistance in London on Tuesday 18 October heard Gilbert Achcar analyse the situation in Syria and Mohamed Najjar, of Syria Peace and Justice, talk about the plight of Syrians and the prospects for peace. The wide ranging discussion covered questions we grapple with: Who is fighting for democracy in Syria? Can there a peace with Assad in power? Is calling for an end to foreign interventions enough? What would a peace settlement be like? What can we do in Britain in solidarity with the people of Syria fighting the twin barbarisms of ISIS and Assad.
Syria under Assad, father and son, has been one of the most brutal regime in the Middle East. The struggle for democracy over the last five years has been long and very hard. Massacres by the regime, and now Russian air power with Iranian troops and Hezbollah militias are turning the tide against the democratic opposition. But the West – and in particular Obama – as well as Turkey, bear responsibility for the plight of the people of Syria for seeking to maintain the regime, albeit without Assad himself, and then leaving the opposition without defensive weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles. The result is to be seen today in Aleppo, which is reminiscent of Guernica and Grozny.
Everyone in the meeting agreed with the need to condemn and demonstrate against both imperialisms, that of the West and that of Russia. The plight of the refugees from Syria is urgent and the borders of Britain should be opened to meet a basic humanitarian plight. Those attending the meeting on Tuesday committed themselves to protest in solidarity with the people of Syria, to support the refugees, and to join the protests on Saturday 22 October at the Russian Embassy called by Syrians in London and at 12noon outside Downing Street called by Amnesty and others.
A response by Gilbert Achcar to the discussion can be viewed here.
Gilbert Achcar’s latest book, Morbid Symptoms – Relapse in the Arab Uprising, is available from Socialist Resistance (firstname.lastname@example.org), and has been reviewed by Farooq Sulehria for Socialist Resistance.
Further analysis by Syrian revolutionaries is at Syria Freedom Forever.