U.S. Threats and Pressure Against Syria

April 20, 2003

U.S. aggression is not stopping in Iraq. Already the Bush administration is threatening and pressurizing countries throughout the Middle East.

Spokespersons for the Bush administration talk openly about the "demonstration effect" of the U.S. war against Iraq and its military occupation of the country. On April 14, for example, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said: "it is time to sign on to a different kind of Middle East. Another "senior administration official" was quoted as saying the Iraq war "opens all sorts of new opportunities for us."

Syria has already come fire.

On April 14, the White House declared Syria to be a "rogue state" and accused it of building weapons of mass destruction, supporting terrorism and "harboring the remnants of the Iraqi regime." On the same day, Secretary of State Powell threatened Syria with "measures of a diplomatic, economic or other nature" and would not rule out the possibility of war. On April 13, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz said: "There's got to be a change in Syria," and aides to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told the press that "contingency plans" for an invasion of Syria were being drawn up. Later in the week, the U.S. shut down an oil pipeline used to transport oil from Iraq to Syria.

In addition, 150 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are cosponsoring a bill calling for far-reaching economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria until Bush certifies that it has stopped all support to the Hezbollah and other groups labelled as "terrorist" by the U.S. A companion bill, cosponsored by Democratic Senator Boxer and Republican Senator Santorum is being introduced in the Senate.

Advisers to the Bush administration and other unofficial spokespersons are even more blunt in their warmongering. For example, Michael Ledeen, an adviser to leading members of the Bush Defense Department, wrote in the New York Sun on March 19:

"Once upon a time, it might have been possible to deal with Iraq alone, without having to face the murderous forces of the other terror masters in Teheran, Damascus and Riyadh, but that time has passed. ... ... It would be a terrible humiliation for America and Britain to fall prey to needless bloodshed because we blinded ourselves to the larger war in which we are now engaged. Iraq is a battle, not a war. We have to win the war, and the only way to do that is to bring down the terror masters, and spread freedom throughout the region. Rarely has it been possible to see one of history's potential turning points so clearly and so dramatically as it is today. Rarely has a country been given such a glorious opportunity as we have in our hands. But history is full of missed opportunities and embarrassing defeats. We'll know soon which destiny we will achieve."

In short, U.S. imperialism aims at the conquest and colonization of the Middle East. It has already launched an aggressive war against Iraq and is setting up a military occupation of the country. Bush is boasting about U.S. military power and openly threatening to set the entire Middle East on fire. The fact is that U.S. imperialism will remain on the warpath until it is defeated by the struggles of the peoples.