The pro-Assad antiwar movement held rallies yesterday in several US cities. They’ve been scheduled for months to protest the March 30th, 2003 occupation of Iraq & fell coincidentally on the day the US, UK, & France bombed three chemical weapons facilities in Syria. The antiwar movement is now run by sectarian pro-Assad political forces so I considered whether the focus on Iraq would make it possible to attend without also appearing to endorse Assad along with Syrian & Russian bombing in Syria. My conclusion was that they would have pro-Assad speakers & placards & after the military triumvirate bombed Syria, those speakers would take political prominence, whipped into a fury against US regime change in Syria. The problem is not their opposition to US coalition intervention but their support for Assad & for Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians.

Anti-Assad political forces are making a spectacle of themselves in trying to respond to the pro-Assad rallies by minimizing the destruction of the triumvirate bombing. The worst war mongers among them are calling the bombing insufficient & want a sustained bombing campaign of the kind Syria & Russia are carrying out, only against Assad. They don’t think Russia & Iran have a right to intervene in Syria but think the US does. This negates over 150 years of antiwar opposition to US & European colonial intervention in other countries.

It’s hard to define the politics of those who oppose Assad but consider the US Pentagon an agency amenable to social revolution in Syria. In the end, those marching for Assad & those marching against Assad all end up together in the dead-end camp of militarism. There is another option: standing opposed to all military intervention. Principled activists demand the cessation of Syrian, Russian, & US coalition bombing in Syria & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Syria.