Site Navigation

Syria, Turkey and the Arab revolt

Why to oppose Turkish intervention but not to deem it imperialist

30. December 2011
by Wilhelm Langthaler

While the Syrian popular revolt is being massacred by Assad and for the time being seems to be not strong enough to topple his regime, a battle within the global anti-imperialist movement is raging over whether or not to support the democratic revolution. Some still believe that Assad is defending the banner of anti-imperialism against his people, even more as the Syrian National Council is appealing more and more for outside help.


While direct military imperialist intervention remains unlikely, mainly Turkey is projecting power onto Syria. Also military means can no longer be excluded within a medium term range. Turkish intervention is, however, limited by the political constraint to appear in line with the Arab spring, for which Ankara wants to serve as a model and take the lead.

The Arab revolt comes in the context and is an expression of the crisis of the US-centred imperialist system, which is both an economic and political crisis. The new and decisive factor is the popular mass movement, which scattered the imperialist ancien regime in the region. Thus the US needs to re-organise their order. They essentially try to do so by embracing sections of the movement and by co-opting these sections into the US system. But conditions for imperialism are substantially worse than before as the imperialists will not be able to meet the social demands of the masses.

This is valid also for Syria, whose regime was part of the old order, even though Damascus did not completely succumb to imperialism as the others did. Weighing the factors, the popular mass movement is by far outdoing the anti-imperialist remnants of the regime. The movement and its social revolutionary forces need to be supported. Its victory in Syria would give a decisive push to the continuation of the Arab popular democratic revolution.

Part I: Geo-politics versus revolution

Part II: State of the Arab democratic revolt
The Arab ancien regime
Here come the Arab popular masses
New role for Islamism?
American embrace
The Libyan case

Part III: Syria – who is anti-imperialist?
First stage: peaceful and anti-interventionist
Western hesitation
Turkey as a model and main player
The Assad regime
Second stage: descent into civil war
The opposition and the Syrian National Council (SNC)
Kurdish question

December 27, 2011