In a flourish of fearmongering and deception, the Harper Conservatives on March 24 announced their intention to extend Canada’s military mission in Iraq and expand it to Syria as part of the U.S.-led coalition which is waging a dubious, unjust and unlawful military aggression against those countries.
According to the Harper government, “Jihadi terrorism” poses a great threat not only to the people in the region but to Canada and the rest of the world. Harper and his ministers say that the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) has declared war on Canada, and to protect Canadian citizens the government will extend and expand the bombing into Syria without consulting the Syrian government.
This is a reversal of what the Harper government said six months ago: that Canada would not conduct raids into Syria without the “clear permission” of the Syrian government. Minister of Defence Jason Kenney stated that Canada’s entry into Syria has come at the request of the U.S. itself.
A motion was introduced in the House of Commons to support the government’s decision, which the NDP, Liberals and the Green Party all opposed. The final vote on March 30 was 142 in favour and 129 against.
The Department of National Defence announced April 8 that Canadian CF-18 jets had conducted their first air strikes in Syria. (In what is being called “Operation Impact” – TS)
Liberals and NDP oppose Tory deception with more of the same disinformation about Syria
The opposition of parties in the Parliament to extending and expanding the mission was not based on principled opposition to the use of force to sort out conflicts within and between nations, or the need to uphold the sovereignty of all nations. In the House of Commons debate they instead raised as issues the fact that Harper has misled Canadians about the length and nature of the mission and lied about the combat role of the Canadian military personnel. Another criticism was that the Harper government is extending a mission that lacks a clear aim or an “exit strategy.”
A far more questionable point featured in all the opposition parties’ positions was that fighting against ISIS in Syria would help the Bashar al-Assad government, which, they say, is “evil” and is responsible for “killing its own people.” Both Liberal and NDP leaders have repeatedly referred to an incident in August 2013, when imperialist governments and media raised an hysterical cry that an attack using sarin gas had been carried out by the Syrian government and army. This blame for the attack was attributed without evidence and the claims were ultimately disproven.
These false claims were made in the context of Obama declaring an arbitrary “red line,” the crossing of which would trigger the U.S. to undertake a war for regime change in Syria. The planned attack in 2013 was called off by the U.S. after its coalition for aggression in Syria fell apart, with the UK government losing its war vote in the parliament.
The debate in the Canadian Parliament on the government’s war motion clearly showed that for Harper Conservatives words mean nothing. The opposition parties and their leaders do Canadians a disservice by opposing the government’s distortion and deception with more of the same.
Like past pretexts used by the U.S. imperialists to justify war and aggression in Iraq (Hill and Knowlton’s incubator babies), Afghanistan (fighting Al Qaeda), Iraq (Weapons of Mass Destruction), and Libya (responsibility to protect), the factual basis of the Syrian ploy was quickly undermined.
Disinformation presented as widely accepted facts
An impartial international investigation into the incident concluded that the sarin gas used against the Syrian people was supplied by Saudi Arabia and used by so-called rebel forces against innocent civilians. At the time of the attacks, the UN announced that the Syrian government had agreed within 24 hours to its request for UN investigators to have access to the areas where the gas attacks took place and they were able to take samples for their report.
It is difficult to take seriously the arguments of the leaders of the opposition parties about the “evil” nature of the Assad regime when these arguments are based on disinformation presented as widely accepted facts. This includes disinformation shared by the Harper government about the nature of the U.S.-led coalition and its aims. Not a word was said about how the U.S.-led coalition is continuing its selfsame project dating back to the 1980s and earlier to dominate the Middle East and block the aspirations of its people and their cooperation in charting an independent course. At this time, far from working to defeat ISIS and bring peace and stability to the region, the U.S. imperialists are more desperate than ever to prevent Syria and Iraq from achieving any recovery on their own terms, as reflected in their morbid preoccupation with defeat and obsession with “Iranian influence” and “Russian involvement.”
The Harper government’s hysteria about the need to defend Canadians and the world from “Jihadi terrorism” covers up that the extension and expansion of the mission is a continuation of the U.S.-led coalition’s unjust aggression in Iraq since 2003, which was broadly opposed by Canadians at the time. This war on Iraq and the sponsorship by the U.S. and its allies of all manner of terrorist groups in Syria are the main factors behind the rise of ISIS in the first place. It is also clear that the main target is not ISIS but Syria itself, as part of the drive to weaken and isolate Iran.
It is also clear that the main target is not ISIS but Syria itself, as part of the drive to weaken and isolate Iran.
This key aspect of the new U.S. aggression is likewise a point of confusion for the parliamentary opposition in Canada, who have even suggested that the Harper government is aligning with Iran in Syria. It is not credible to think that the opposition has forgotten about the Harper Conservatives’ warmongering obsession with Iran.
Only a few weeks ago Prime Minister Harper and then-Foreign Minister John Baird repeated ad nauseam that the greatest danger facing the world today is Iran. They supported the extremist position of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that there should be no negotiations with Iran, only more sanctions, and if Iran does not submit then it should be destroyed.
The extension of Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led military aggression in Iraq and Syria is of great significance for all Canadians because basing foreign policy on such deceptions only opens the door for more crimes to be committed in our name.
The aims being covered up by the Harper government are well-known and U.S. government and military spokesmen have spoken openly about their goals in the region. A recent interview in the Washington Post with Gen. David H. Petraeus, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq, clearly shows that he does not think that ISIS is the reason the U.S. is in Iraq. In the interview, General Petraeus stated that while significant successes are being had against ISIS, “the foremost threat” is “Shiite militias” of which he claimed many are “backed by and some guided by Iran.” The Canadian and U.S. governments have admitted that despite the indications that the strength of ISIS is overstated and advances are being made, U.S. and Canadian military will maintain their presence for many years to come.
TML Weekly highlighted on March 21 ongoing reports from Iraqi forces confirming that U.S. and coalition planes have been dropping weapons and ammunition that are reached by ISIS forces in different locations. Iraqi MPs emphasized that the U.S. and coalition are not seriously working to destroy ISIS but to extend the war and ensure a long-term U.S. military presence including reoccupying its former bases. TML has also highlighted links between Canada’s spy agency CSIS and ISIS recruitment, operating out of the Canadian embassy in Jordan. Since the initial flurry of reports in March, the Canadian monopoly media has refused to investigate the matter further.
While the U.S. and Canada are working to “degrade” ISIS through bombings, the main benefactors have been its competitors, not the Syrian government or people. With ISIS distracted by attacks from the air, groups they once fought – such as the Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front – have been given more rein to seize territory and inflict further devastation on the country. Al-Nusra captured the Syrian city of Idlib on March 28 amid other successes. Rather than considering territory held by Al Qaeda to pose a threat of terror attacks as the government characterizes ISIS, the monopoly media instead referred to them as Syrian opposition. That this phenomenon is playing out all over Syria puts the lie to the suggestion that by intervening against ISIS the U.S. imperialists have abandoned their campaign to destroy Syria’s independence and effect regime change.
The reality that the U.S. refuses to let go of its brooding obsession with undermining the peoples of Syria, Iraq, Iran and now Yemen shows the necessity to oppose aggression and war on a principled basis. When those who refuse to do so find themselves caught in a gamble and the government’s aims come back out in the open, the peoples of the whole world will pay the price as the U.S. drags them further toward world war.
Uphold the Sovereignty of All Nations!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
1. “Syria Chemical Weapons: Who Was Behind the East Ghouta Attacks?” Yuram Abdullah Weiler, Global Research, December 26, 2013.
“Yet to date, no convincing evidence has been released in support of these allegations. On the contrary, one senior UN official, citing rebels in Ghouta, stated on condition of anonymity, ‘Saudi intelligence was behind the attacks,’ and not the Syrian Arab Republic.’ Strange as it seems, the UN mission’s final report showed absolutely NO evidence of sarin (GB) in the 13 samples taken from the Moadamiyah district of Ghouta and only one confirmed instance of byproducts. So, if the U.S. possesses credible evidence, I should think leaders would feel a responsibility to disclose it publicly in order to dispel any doubts.
“On the other hand, evidence that it was the so-called opposition forces in Syria that carried out these attacks is abundant, and includes the following:
“- A U.S. National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) report confirmed that al-Qaeda in a Sunni-controlled region of Iraq manufactured the sarin gas and then shipped it to Turkey for use by Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria;
“- A group of veteran intelligence professionals maintain that the most reliable intel showed that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also knew of this;
“- The sarin used in the attack was classified by the UK Defence Science Technology Laboratory as ‘kitchen’ grade, not the military grade that had been in Syria’s former chemical arsenal;
“- The projectiles tested by the UN inspectors, which have very distinct ribbed-ring fins similar to those used by rebels in Aleppo, Damascus and elsewhere, are not standard weapons of the Syrian Army;
“- Liwaa al-Islam insurgent forces deployed near Damascus included the so-called ‘Chemical Weapons Front,’ the suspected perpetrator of the chemical attack, led by Wahhabist and former Saudi intelligence operative Zahran Alloush;”
2 “Fight Against Terrorism” – Cover to Support U.S. Aggression Against Syria and Iraq,” Louis Lang, TML Weekly, March 21, 2015 – No. 12.
Source: TML Weekly