Syria & the growing disunity of the antiwar movement

I am more than aware that my views on the war in Syria are in the minority. One current opposes Assad & Russian intervention & promotes US intervention against them. Another current believes Assad & Russia are fighting “US-backed jihadists” in a regime change scenario & call only for the end of US intervention.

My position is that Assad is a dictator who turned the 2011 popular uprising against his rule into a civil war. The opposition to him is not all “jihadist” extremists but predominantly forces of the popular movement. The jihadist accusation is nothing but shameful cooptation by antiwar forces of US Pentagon anti-Muslim rhetoric justifying wars.

In my view, the only principled antiwar position is to demand the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all foreign military forces in Syria, overt & covert, air & land. I do not believe the international antiwar movement should take a position demanding the removal of Assad. That is for Syrians to resolve. But I do believe the movement should demand the immediate cessation of Syrian bombing of civilians.

Many activists I have worked with going back 50 years are among those holding the regime change scenario. Many prominent activists in a fractured antiwar movement also promote that view. They call their position the “Hands off Syria” campaign.

My deepest political regret is the disunity of the antiwar movement for the past many years which has left the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, & elsewhere isolated against US-NATO aggression. So I will be damned if I will be cowed by being in a minority. I intend to fight like hell for a principled antiwar campaign calling for the end of all military intervention in Syria.