By: Jafe Arnold and Paul Antonopoulos – CSS Project Director; MENA and Latin America Research Fellow.
CSS Research Fellow Paul Antonopoulos speaks at “Threats to Security in the 21st Century: Finding a Global Way Forward” in Lahore, Pakistan
he international conference, “Threats to Security in the 21st Century: Finding A Global Way Forward”, was held on May 5-6 and hosted by the School of Integrated Social Sciences at the University of Lahore, Pakistan. The Center of Syncretic Studies was represented at the conference, the first of its kind in Pakistan, by Research Fellow Paul Antonopoulos.
he most confusing aspect of the Syrian conflict has been the response from most of the Western Left and anti-imperialist organisations. Whereas most post-colonial states and their respective Leftist Parties, as well as former Soviet states, have supported the Syrian government from the onset of the war, the majority of Western Leftist groups, with the exception of a small number of non-Trotskyite communist organisations, have supported reactionary militant groups in Syria.
The Western Left look at the war in Syria as an internal revolution by progressive forces to overthrow a brutal dictatorship, while the majority of the Left in post-Colonial states recognise the external factors and imperial ambitions occurring in Syria. Whereas the Western Left masquerades as anti-imperialist, they refuse to acknowledge imperialistic designs on Syria from the United States, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. For this reason, it is only ample that they are referred to as the “Imperial Left”.
As most of the Imperial Left in the West do not have historical memories of being colonised by imperial powers, they generally view the world through the paradigm of only a class struggle between Capitalists and Workers. Therefore, with the eruption of the Syrian War, they failed to acknowledge the external factors at play and believed it to be a Workers’ struggle against a dictatorship that tolerated a bourgeois class. This simplistic view of not acknowledging external factors also meant the Imperial Left’s support for the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. It is through this simplistic mechanism that the Imperial Left apply their White Saviour Complex and view the post-colonial world as consisting of two types of people – dictators and victims. Continue reading →
he war by proxy waged by the United States (US) against Syria cannot be understood in isolation and must be analysed in the greater geostrategic context of US imperialism’s quest for dominating the Middle East, for resource control and dollar security. Since the end of the Cold War, after the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, US imperialism has resorted to military force through its ‘humanitarian intervention’ in the destruction of Yugoslavia and Somalia, the military occupation of Haiti, its bombing of the Sudan and Afghanistan, and the bombing attacks on Iraq. The downing of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001 saw the US launch its ‘War on Terror’ as a justification for further military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
From 2002, the doctrine of ‘preventive warfare’ has been argued to justify US attacks on countries seen as supposed threats to US national security. This was emphasised when an ‘Axis of Evil’, comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, was announced during a State of Union Address on January 29, 2002 by the then President George W. Bush (Bush 2002). The denunciation of these states by President Bush was further expanded into ‘Beyond the Axis of Evil’ when, on 6 May 2002, the then-Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton added Cuba, Libya and Syria to this supposed ‘Axis of Evil’ (Bolton 2002). In fact this ‘Axis of Evil’ consists of independent states which are not subservient to Washington.
That doctrine effectively meant that the scope of US operations became both regional and global. New US-driven wars began and old conflicts never ended. Most recently, the US invoked a threat to the human rights of Libyan citizens as a justification to destroy Libya, the same pretext used to organise a proxy war against Syria. Such claims have become a consistent theme of US intervention across the Middle East.
This article will explore the repercussions the war against Syria will have on that country and the wider region. These repercussions go beyond the interests of removing an anti-Washington government from power in Syria, of isolating Iran or of consolidating Israel’s security; they incorporate a drive to dominate the resources of Central Asia. But how consistent or successful has been Washington’s strategy on Syria?Continue reading →
By: Paul Antonopoulos – CSS Project Director; MENA and Latin America Research Fellow
Changing Turkish-Russian Relations
Turkey appears unable to grasp Russia’s resolve and long-term planning
ovember 24 2015 will forever mark the turning in Turkish and Russian relations. The Russian Sukhoi Su-24M tactical bomber jet was shot down by two Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcon jets. The Russian bomber was conducting sorties upon the request from Damascus. Despite Putin immediately calling for Turkey’s military attaché in Moscow, Ankara had refused to apologise for the downing of the jet. The attack resulted in a pilot being shot down by Turkmen Islamists who was parachuting to land, and a Russian commando also killed in the rescue operation for the second pilot. Putin in speaking with the Hashemite King Abdullah II of Jordan, described the attack as a ‘stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists.’