Where MECC Stands on Syria

The Middle East Crisis Committee has worked primarily on Palestine/Israel, but we have talked about Syria from time to time. In the 1980's we opposed threatened attacks on Syria by Israel. We raised the cases of political prisoners in the jails of the Assad government. We campaigned to end the starvation sieges Hafez Assad placed on Palestinian camps in Lebanon. We called for Syrian troops and secret police to leave Lebanon.

The current crisis has divided the Left. Some groups support the Assad government claiming it's a progessive force or the better of all the evils. We don't take that position. We don't support joining the geopolitical "game" that has led to so much war and misery. We stand for human rights and equality and protection of minorities.

We also note the special position of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in Syria who have been in Syria for many decades after being thrown out by Apartheid Israel. We joined in a (fruitless) campaign to appeal to Iran to call on Assad forces to end the siege of Yarmouk camp.

Back in 2013 after heated debates we formally passed this four point resolution: 1)the charges of chemical attack should be fully investigated by impartial bodies, and the evidence and findings should be made public; 2) We categorically oppose U.S. military action against Syria; 3) we oppose any nation sending weapons to any side in Syria while the internal conflict is going on; 4) We encourage Syrians to demand a ceasefire, negotiations, and the building of a democratic government.

Some say the Left should openly call for support of democratic/revolutionary forces and even encourage U.S., "Western" or Gulf kingdoms to send weapons or to call for the U.S. to enforce no-fly zones. After seeing the hundreds of thousands or millions dead from recent Western interventions we can't conceive of calling on their military forces to interfere anywhere. We think the best thing the Left could do to is to demand all outside state and non-state forces stop warring in Syria or sending weapons to Syria. That means Russia and Iran and Hezbollah and the Saudis and the Gulf kingdoms and the U.S. and the Iraqi militias, all of them.

We're very suspicious of a "diplomatic" solution where the great powers dictate some rotten plan that will blow up in a few months or years. Let the great powers get together and agree to get their troops and guns out of Syria and let Syrians do the rest. We believe if the outside powers stop aiding the war, the fighting will eventually die down and the struggle for the rights of Syrian people and the Kurds and the Palestinian refugees will be won through debate, organization and internal political struggle.

And check out our archive of articles about Syria by clicking here.
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