White House Orders Pentagon Airstrikes on Eastern Syria

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says the aerial attacks on a purported weapons storage facility follows previous actions on October 27 in response to the escalation of attacks on United States bases by resistance forces in solidarity with the people of Gaza

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By Abayomi Azikiwe

As the White House continues to suggest the United States government does not want to see the current war against the people of Palestine expand to a regional conflagration, for the second time in the last two weeks Pentagon fighter jets have struck areas which they claim are utilized by resistance forces in Syria.

More than ten thousand people have died at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) since the launching of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm by the Palestinians on October 7.

Resistance organizations and governments from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Yemen to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon have warned that they will respond to the ongoing genocidal siege of the Gaza Strip where 2.3 million people are experiencing daily bombardments. Although the administration of President Joe Biden now claims that it would like to see a “humanitarian pause” in the IDF bombing of Gaza, they have not relented from airlifting even more deadly weapons which are being used against the civilian population in Palestine.

Scenes emanating from Gaza and the West Bank where the Israeli security forces and settler militias are engaging in deadly attacks on Palestinians, have infuriated people throughout the region and the international community. Mass demonstrations to the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel as well as missile attacks on Israeli and U.S. bases have highlighted the increasing hostility towards the State of Israel and its backers in Washington. Despite the calls by millions throughout the world for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of much-needed humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza, the Biden administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have refused to agree to a cessation of the bombings and ground incursions.

A report published by the Associated Press on November 8 says of the current situation:

“The U.S. carried out an airstrike on a weapons warehouse in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militias, in retaliation for what has been a growing number of attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in the region for the past several weeks, the Pentagon said. In Wednesday’s strike, two U.S. F-15 fighter jets dropped multiple bombs on a weapons storage facility near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour that was known to be used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, U.S. officials said.”

By framing the response of people throughout the region to the siege on Gaza and increasingly the West Bank as being influenced by the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Washington and Tel Aviv are seeking to build a case among their constituencies for a direct military confrontation with Tehran. However, the Iranian government has repeatedly stated that the decision to launch Operation Al-Aqsa Storm was solely that of Hamas and other resistance movements in Gaza.

Statements of support have of course been forthcoming from Iran. Nonetheless, the U.S. and Israel, by falsely blaming Tehran for funding and coordinating the resistance efforts is a blatant attempt to deflect attention away from the roles of imperialism and Zionism in fomenting dissent among the people throughout the West Asia and North Africa region.

The U.S. utilizes the State of Israel as a bulwark against the liberation movements in Palestine and revolutionary forces in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and other states. For decades, Washington and Wall Street have funded and armed Tel Aviv, empowering the settler-colonial state to engage in the forced removal and repression of the Palestinian people while at the same time attempting to place a stranglehold on the development and sovereignty of states throughout the region.

Character of the Resistance Against Imperialism and Zionism

Since the advent of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Tehran has become a major regional force against the influence of the U.S. and the continued colonization of Palestine. Iran has built alliances with progressive forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

On a broader international level, the Iranian government has emerged as an important player in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other multilateral organizations based in the Global South. A recent visit to the country by the South African Foreign Minister Dr. Naledi Pandor illustrates the growing partnership between Tehran and the African Union member-states.

Iran maintains good relations with the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, the major strategic adversaries to the U.S. and its hegemonic disposition. Over the last few years, Tehran has re-established diplomatic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia depriving Washington of an avenue to destabilize West Asia through the pitting of various Muslim nations against each other.

In Yemen, a state ranked as the least developed in the region, the Ansur Allah movement has gained strength after emerging from years of a war against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which was instigated by the U.S. Yemen, beginning in 2015, was bombed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and its allies on a daily basis resulting at one point in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

An article published in Al Mayadeen on the outlook of Yemen said that:

“The spokesperson for the Ansar Allah movement, Mohammad Abdul Salam, stressed on Wednesday that the Yemeni armed forces will continue their operations to support Palestinians in Gaza until the Israeli aggression stops, confirming that a hostile U.S. spy plane was downed in the airspace of Yemeni territorial waters. Abdul Salam said on X that this operation reaffirms that the Yemeni Armed Forces are ready to confront any hostile actions violating the country’s national sovereignty. Moreover, the reports were confirmed by U.S. officials as cited by Fox News. ‘We can confirm that a U.S. military MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft was shot down while in international airspace over international waters off the coast of Yemen,’ a Fox News correspondent reported, citing a senior U.S. defense official.”

Lebanon, which shares an extensive border with Occupied Palestine, has witnessed the birth and growth of the Hezbollah resistance movement. Hezbollah fought two wars with Tel Aviv in 2000 and 2006 in which the IDF was halted from making further advances into their territory.

Hezbollah has an estimated military force of 50,000 fighters with the potential of recruiting another 100,000 more. The movement has built up an arsenal of medium range missiles and drones capable of striking deep inside the Israeli occupied territories.

The Al Mayadeen news agency wrote recently about the organization saying:

“The Lebanese Resistance, Hezbollah, has proved its means to deliver on Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s capabilities to confront U.S. warships and any grave risks that could lead to any regional war, sources familiar with the group’s arsenal supply said. Last week, Sayyed Nasrallah warned Washington that his party has the necessary preparations to confront the U.S. vessels deployed in the region since the beginning of the Israeli aggression on Gaza.  Sources familiar with the party’s arsenal clarified that he was referring to Hezbollah’s anti-ship missile capabilities. Washington has stated that its deployment of naval forces in the Mediterranean, including two aircraft carriers and their support ships, is aimed at deterring ‘Iran to prevent the spread of conflicts involving groups it supports, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’. But Hezbollah perceives the presence of U.S. warships as a direct threat. During his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah said that the U.S. warships in the Mediterranean ‘do not scare us, and will not scare us,’ adding ‘We have prepared for the fleets with which you threaten us.’”

With specific reference to the growth of the resistance forces in Gaza over the last decade, the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has developed its own cadre of fighters which employ anti-tank weapons and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) now being utilized to inflict damage on the IDF in its ground incursion. Other resistance groupings such as Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and its military wing, al-Quds Brigades, are also engaging the IDF in the liberation struggle to free their territory.

In another report from Al Mayadeen, the news agency emphasizes in relations to the ongoing resistance to the IDF:

“The spokesperson for Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Obeida, announced that the Resistance has completely or partially destroyed 136 Israeli military vehicles in Gaza since the start of the ground invasion. In a televised statement on Wednesday, Abu Obeida confirmed that the occupation forces have suffered significant casualties during confrontations with the Resistance fighters across Gaza axes…. Meanwhile, the Resistance is inflicting heavy losses on the Israeli army despite having ‘no tanks, no aircraft, no armored vehicles, not even a mountain, hill, or difficult terrain’ to fight within. Right after Abu Obeida’s speech, al-Qassam released footage documenting losses incurred by the Israeli army in Gaza in a number of operations carried out by the Resistance fighters.”

Therefore, the Pentagon and IOF airstrikes in Syria are a response to the growing defiance against imperialism and Zionism in West Asia.  These organizations and movements are committed to the liberation of Palestine through the consolidation of an Axis of Resistance. The build up of naval warships and the potential of redeploying U.S. military forces in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen and possibly Iran will only result in the mounting of casualties and the further deterioration of the image and status of imperialism on a global scale.

The antiwar and peace movements in the western states must recognize the significance of the emerging political trends extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf states. Solidarity with the Palestinian struggle will require a deeper analysis of the political trajectory of the U.S. and its allies in order to build an alternative to the imperatives of imperialism.

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