On the UN Security Council and Syria
(dedicated to the revolutionary Socialist Abu al Daraa, leader of the Syrian revolution, recently fallen in Aleppo)
Before looking at the role of the UN Security Council on Syria, it is important to look at the historical role of the UN and its origin.
The origin of the UN Security Council
The League of Nations was dominated by some of the imperialist forces, before the Second World imperialist war. It did not include the US imperialists. After the second world imperialist war the United Nations, UN, security council was set up. The first meeting of the UN Security Council was on 17th Jan 1946. This council comprises the governments of the USA, UK, France, Soviet Union (now Russian Federation) and Chinese Republic (now the People’s Republic of China). These were the main powers that won the war. Japanese, Belgian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German imperialism were excluded from veto status. The main 5 powers have the right to veto any action resolution of the UN. In fact the UN cannot decide anything without the approval of the Security Council.
The UN Security Council has nothing to do with advancing ‘democratic relations’ nor ‘peace’ but about ensuring the dominance of US, UK and French imperialism
The right of veto gives the power for any of the 5 UN Security Council members to conduct any military aggression or invasion or coup around the world at any time. Any attempt to censure any of them could just be shot down at the Security Council. Thus, through the UN Security Council, the absolute dominance of US imperialism is ensured as it is the biggest military power by far. The US military expenditure is more than that of all other states combined.
The UN Security Council does not mean that conflict between the various imperialist powers is diminished. The right of veto ensures that any of the 5 veto members of the UN Security Council can act with impunity.
This is demonstrated by the continuing coups or coup attempts since 1945. Except for 2001 there have been coups or coup attempts every single year between 1945 and 2009. In none of these cases has the UN Security council been able to defend the masses from the military coups. Invariably the military coups have been promoted by US or French imperialism in the main. The trend has been for US imperialism to gradually displace French and other minor imperialists from their positions of dominance.
The UN Security Council has protected capitalist relations and suppressed workers’ revolts
The position of Russia and China have always been subordinate to the main imperialist powers, the US, French and UK. The second imperialist war marked the rise of the dominance of US imperialism. After the second world imperialist war the Communist parties oversaw the disarming of the masses so that in France, Britain, Spain and elsewhere the soldiers handed in their weapons while the capitalist state was weak and fractured. The seizure of power by the working class was on the agenda but the Communist parties turned away from that task and helped reinstate capitalist relations. In Germany, the Berlin wall was raised with the support of the UN. This involved the disarming of the masses as well as the permanent division of the German masses. In Eastern Europe the workers were ready to take power but the invasion by the stalinist army suppressed workers power and established bureaucratic control; the Soviet Union bureaucracy opposed nationalisation of the companies but eventually, under pressure of the masses, conceded to this step, although the state maintained bureaucratic control.
The UN rubber-stamped the permanent partition of historic Palestine. After the May 1948 Nakba, the first country to recognise Israel was the Soviet Union. So strong was the support of the Soviet Union (under Stalin and his epigones) for Israel, that they instructed their Palestine Communist party to split into 2, forming the Israeli Communist Party and the Palestine CP. The hundreds of villages that were destroyed and the over 700 000 Palestinians expelled was not an issue for Russia.
The essence of the UN Security Council is that any of the 5 council members with veto rights can commit any atrocity as they can just veto any action against it. Thus the UN Security Council is tied to whoever is militarily the strongest. The US military has more funding that all the other countries in the world, combined. The use of so called DU (Depleted Uranium) by the US military has all gone unchallenged. The US military is the only force in history that has used radioactive bombs. Almost since inception of Israel, the US government has given annual grants of $2bn every year to Israel. . The US imperialists have backed armed groups in Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, Mozambique, Angola, Nicaragua and many other places in the world. 6 million people died in the DRC as millions were cleared off their land to make way for the imperialist mining operations. All this has been unchallenged by the UN.
The UN Security Council and Syria
From the history of the UN Security Council, we see that their role is to maintain control by imperialism capitalism. Thus any resolution, whether vetoed or carried, is about control by imperialism. The several resolutions on Syria, which Russia vetoed, are an indication of who has been asked to act as the direct supporter of of the slaughter of the masses, while others use the exercise to save face in the eyes of the masses back home. In essence, all the capitalist powers work together against the masses, while they oppose one another, trying to gain further foothold for their power. When an imperialist power drafts a resolution, it does not mean that they support the masses in any way; it means that this is how they see themselves maintaining the control of their existing support while still carrying on the support for their proxy forces, directly and indirectly.
The background to developments in Syria must be seen from the wave of revolts that had broken out against capitalist dictators. From Tunisia, Libya, Egypt. Once Syria started, the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain (and elsewhere) stood on the verge of being toppled. The Saudi regime massively increased wages of their soldiers and public sector in order to buy loyalty. There was heavy repression in Bahrain which crushed the revolt. In Yemen the masses toppled the President but imperialism is fighting to regain control.
In the first years since 2011 the main resistance was through grassroots committees that rose spontaneously; these committees used peaceful methods of protest. Just as in Libya, the regime started shooting down protestors with live ammunition. Just as happened in Libya, the army split and large numbers of soldiers went over to the side of the masses.
The first 2 UN Envoys to Syria (Annan and Brahimi) tried to mediate with one side putting as a pre-condition that Assad step down. The bourgeois thinktank, the International Peace Institute, in their March 2016 assessment of the Syrian mediation process, lists this pre-condition as one of the stumbling blocks to a settlement (https://www.ipinst.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/IPI-Rpt-Syrian-Crisis2.pdf ). In other words, the mandate for the 3rd UN Envoy has shifted to accepting Assad will stay. The army of Assad has been shattered; the only thing keeping it going is the mercenary forces of Iran and of Hezbollah, on the one hand, and the FSA leaders, Isis and Al Nusrah on the other, who are within the resistance but turn the masses away from a final push to overthrow the Assad regime.
Staffan di Mustura, the third UN Envoy on Syria indicated that they had learnt from Libya, namely that it was a mistake to allow the army to be disbanded and it was important that the Syrian army be kept intact. In other words imperialism had learnt that the same repressive apparatus that has destroyed half the country, had turned more than half the population into refugees, was to be kept in place by world imperialism, possibly even keeping Assad at the head of it. De Mistura know full well that the Assad army is in tatters; thus his real signal is that Assad will be kept in place by imperialism, at all costs. This must be seen in global terms of imperialism tending towards fascist dictators or more right wing leaders (see eg Egypt, India, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and more recently the USA itself). In other words, in the stage where all the traditional leaders are discredited, regimes are required by imperialism, that increasingly rule through brute force. These regimes will necessarily be unstable as no regime can rule by brute force alone.
On the 18th Dec 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a road map to ‘peace’ in Syria (http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc12171.doc.htm) . This agreement made provision for an interim govt and bourgeois elections, as well as an offensive against ‘terrorists’ who had control over large parts of the country. We remember that in many liberation struggles, that the resistance to the capitalist regimes were often labelled as ‘terrorist’. The imperialist sponsored Isis and Al Nusrah are lumped with whoever they deem ‘terrorists’. Thus all the armed groups that are allied to the grassroots movement against the regime are also deemed ‘terrorist’. Indeed this independent resistance as well as the base of the army that has broken with Assad, are the real targets of this resolution. This resolution sets the scene for the reintegration of the soldiers who broke from Assad and for them to come under the control of the capitalist regime once more. The masses rejected the resolution as it meant a return of Assad.
On the 26th Feb 2016 there was another UN Security Council resolution passed, calling for a ceasefire and moves towards political negotiations (http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_res_2268.pdf ). Several groups were disarmed and much of the resistance in the south of Syria was weakened or wiped out by the regime forces.
Having weakened the resistance in the South, imperialism then directed their attention to the north of Syria. On the 9th Sept 2016, the US and Russia extended their open military exchange of information and coordination, which was set up in February 2016:
‘In the period between Day D and the establishment of the JIC, the Sides will each develop actionable Nusrah and Daesh (ISIL) targets so as to be in a position to share them in a way that allows strikes to commence on the day the JIC is established. Simultaneous with U.S. or Russian strikes on targets agreed to within the JIC, all Syrian military air activities - fixed and rotary wing - will be halted in the agreed designated areas pursuant to the agreed ToR.’ (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vtu0mlLalTYDxwpYHTQ18t2NEF-waztWiPY6kF6Sri8/edit?usp=sharing ).
This agreement was to allow for armed groups to leave and for the Russia-US alliance to retake Aleppo. In other words, the joint plan of imperialism and Russia was to disarm the resistance and allow Assad to retake Aleppo. The masses were correct to reject this disarming as imperialism was intent on wiping out any resistance to the Assad regime, which was the basis for its re-establishment. Imperialism knew that they would have to commit genocide to crush the resistance in Aleppo, so they created an excuse to move aside and they subcontracted the massacre of the masses there to the willing forces of Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. That way, imperialism gets their objective of crushing the masses while keeping its hands clean.
To date, as of 11th Nov 2016, at great cost, having been isolated by the world’s left, the heroic masses in Aleppo are still resisting.
On the 8th Oct 2016, the slaughter of the masses in Aleppo had become such an exposure of barbarism that imperialism was forced to prepare and submit a draft resolution, to cover their bloody trail, as if the slaughter was only the doing of Russia. They knew Russia would veto it but imperialism appeared with clean hands. Behind the scenes they must have congratulated Russia and egged them on to finish off the job. (http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2016_846.pdf ). The Russian delegation presented a so called counter-resolution, which was nothing but the same agreement between them and the US regime. This agreement was made outside of the UN Security Council and because both are veto members, did not require any endorsement for implementation as it was already being implemented by both Russia and the US regime. (http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/s_2016_847.pdf ). Indeed the attack on Mosul in Iraq shows that there is a division of labour between the 2. Russia is to handle Aleppo while US imperialism directly takes on Mosul. The aim is the same, to crush any independent resistance to imperialist control of the region. Has imperialism decided that Isis has played its role and will now openly crush it? Or is the attack on Mosul to divert from the genocide and slaughter in Aleppo?
Tellingly, after 5 years of the most brutal slaughter of the Syrian masses, there are no comprehensive sanctions against the Syrian regime. This nothing but aiding and abetting another Hitler regime. This is the depth that modern capitalism has sunk to.
In conclusion, the masses cannot depend on the UN to assist or protect us. On the contrary, the UN is an instrument of imperialism for suppression and subjugation of the world working class, to the dictates of control by monopoly capitalism. The UN is actively aiding the suppression of the Syrian revolutionary masses. We can only depend on the support of the world working class.
The only solution is to direct the progressive forces to break the siege of Aleppo and to begin to push forward to Damascus to scatter the Assad regime to the winds. But to do this, we need to find broad support from the masses.
Internationally, the WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions) and the 2 stalinist Communist parties in Syria are the ones who keep the masses off the streets. They are the main defenders of Assad; they show their total subservience to world imperialism.
Our only hope is not the imperialist UN nor any of its structures but the mass of workers around the world. Let us take the struggle of Syria to the workers, every street, every mine, every factory, every working class area. This is how we will break the siege of Aleppo and break the isolation of the Syrian revolutionary masses.
We also need to counter the ideological offensive of imperialism that produces fake research and fake videos and labels all revolutionaries as ‘terrorist’. [websites like The Duran, Global Research, etc, need to be exposed and countered).
We remember well when the masses were fighting the apartheid regime, the activists were labelled as ‘terrorist’ too.
This article is dedicated the Abu al Daraa and all the revolutionary Socialists in Syria and around the world.