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Intervention in Syria wouldn't start World War III Open in fullscreen

Sam Hamad

Intervention in Syria wouldn't start World War III

The Obama administration has a distinct lack of political will to act against Assad [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 October, 2016

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Comment: Jill Stein's anti-war policy on Syria and the attitude of the Stop the War Coalition propagate pro-Assad and pro-Russia narratives, amounting to 'barrel bomb pacifism', writes Sam Hamad

In an interview with the far-right conspiracy theory website Infowars, the "left-wing" Green US presidential candidate Jill Stein claimed that if Hillary Clinton gets elected "we're… going to war with Russia folks". Days before that interview, Stein tweeted that "Hillary Clinton's foreign policy is much scarier than Trump's, who doesn’t want to go to war with Russia."

The reason that Stein is seemingly convinced that a Clinton presidency is likely to lead to World War III in the shape of war with Russia is due to Clinton's support for no-fly zones in Syria; that is, areas of Syria where civilians are safe from the brutal assaults by Assad and Russia's airforces. Clinton has called for this both on humanitarian grounds and on the grounds that it would hasten the removal of the genocidal Assad regime. 

In the mind of Jill Stein, Syrians having respite from tonnes of explosives being dropped by Russia and Assad on their houses, schools and hospitals, would lead to WWIII. Any action to aid Syrians against their primary enemies, namely Assad, Iran and Russia would lead to the potential apocalypse, according to Stein and others.

George Orwell once wrote in an essay on the phenomenon of pacifism during WWII, that he was "interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence, end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated with the horror and power of Nazism". 

This is precisely what ought to fascinate those who look at Stein's dire warnings of a Clinton presidency leading to WWIII.  One need not make generalisations about pacifism to see that Stein's own fear of WWIII is heavily conditioned by her support for Russia and the Assad regime.

Aside from the fact that Stein has visited and praised Putin, this so-called "anti-imperialist" also had a statement on her website saying that the US should be "working with Syria [meaning the Assad regime], Russia and Iran to restore all of Syria to control by the government rather than Jihadi rebels".

Any action to aid Syrians against their primary enemies, namely Assad, Iran and Russia would lead to the potential apocalypse, according to Stein and others

In the same essay, Orwell remarks how the Nazis, knowing that pacifism within enemy nations was massively beneficial to their war interests, "do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories".  Orwell continues that the Nazis "even run a spurious 'freedom station' which serves out pacifist propaganda". 

Regarding its fascistic and imperialist genocidal counterrevolution in Syria, the Assad axis has its very own equivalents of the Nazi "freedom stations", such as the ridiculously titled "US Peace Council (USPC)".

This left-wing entity exists as a mouthpiece for Russian and Baathist propaganda regarding the Syrian revolution, and continues to warn of a potential WWIII should the US intervene against the forces carrying out genocide. 

As with Stein's open support for Assad and Russia, the UPC has frequently visited the Assad regime and repeated almost verbatim its monstrous war propaganda. 

The "peace" that these people support is not just one that involves active and blatant support for fascistic counterrevolutionaries, but for actually occurring mass murder, ethnic cleansing and genocide.  In a monstrous twist of truth and morality, every Syrian child murdered by a bunker buster, every rebel-held area cleansed by Iran's jihadist militias and every hospital hit by the Russian airforce is advertised as "peace" by these forces.

In the past I've called this exploitation of anti-war sentiment by those who support Russia and Assad "barrel bomb pacifism", given that they cover for Assad's war effort

In the UK, the equivalent of the USPC is the Stop War Coalition (SWC), an entity that has provided platforms for Assad supporters and been the primary propagator of pro-Assad and pro-Russian narratives regarding Syria.  

In reaction to confrontations over its complete silence regarding Russia's unprecedented and vicious bombardment of Aleppo, a SWC spokesman said that any protests against Russia would be to cave to "the jingoism and hysteria that is being whipped up against Russia", and that such hysteria is "being organised by the politicians and media against Russia".

Labour Party leader and former SWC National Chairman Jeremy Corbyn echoed the pro-Russian line of his comrades, calling protests against Russia's vicious assault on Syria a "deflection". 

In the past I've called this exploitation of anti-war sentiment by those who support Russia and Assad "barrel bomb pacifism", given that they cover for Assad's war effort by supporting a "peace process" that is entirely determined by Russia and Assad's military supremacy over the rebels. 

The warnings of World War III are different only in that they are mobilised by both fools and knaves to ensure that nothing is done to aid the rebels and counter the interests of Russia, Iran and Assad. 

In real terms, this means supporting the genocidal war being unleashed by these forces, an actual apocalypse as Syria's people bleed like never before and its landscape is destroyed beyond recognition, while warning of the always potential apocalypse of WWIII.

Far from it being no-bombing zones enforced on behalf of Syrians that would lead to WWIII, it's precisely the contrary - the fact that it wouldn't lead to WWIII - that Russia and its supporters fear it. 

In 2013, when it looked fairly likely that the US and UK might hit Assad regime targets in response to Assad gassing to death over 1,000 Syrians at Ghouta, Russia didn't scramble jets and threaten to nuke New York.

While WWIII is a near impossibility within the context of Syria, the logic of appeasement has never been good

Instead, it scrambled diplomats and went on a diplomatic offensive that culminated in the criminal Kerry-Lavrov deal that barrel bomb pacifists celebrated as "averting war", while in truth it amounted to an international greenlight for Assad's genocidal war using conventional weapons. 

If tomorrow the US, with the largest airforce in the world, backed by NATO and powerful regional allies, announced that it was going to enforce no-bombing zones for civilians and, even, that it would begin hitting Assad regime targets on behalf of rebel forces, the Assad regime would crumble.

In previous negotiations, the Assad regime has always had the comfort of knowing its enemies, the Syrian rebels, have no serious backing relative to its massive backing from Iran and Russia - direct and unwavering US support for rebel forces would see that comfort evaporate. 

In humanitarian terms, it would limit the genocide and, in political terms, it would be the beginning of the end of the forces carrying out the genocide. 

The real reason the Obama administration has not intervened in Syria is due to its lack of political will to act against Assad - the cold Realpolitik of imperialism, not due to some fear of WWIII.

While WWIII is a near impossibility within the context of Syria, the logic of appeasement has never been good. 

How many Syrian lives, do those who live in bubbles of luxury, far from the blood and guts, think are expendable to preserve their alleged peace? 

With a majority of the public in the US and UK supporting military action to save civilian life in Syria, the pro-Russia lobby will immediately label this as the result of "jingoism" and part of a "war drive", but it is they who are covering for the imperialist jingoism of Russia and its genocidal war on behalf of Assad. 

Russia's brutal policy is built on the spectre of WWIII, but it is just a spectre. It will take a shattering of this illusion to end the actually existing apocalypse in Syria.


Sam Hamad is an independent Scottish-Egyptian activist and writer.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff. 


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