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Revolution from below, not bombs from above, can bring change to Syria and Iran

December 23, 2011

Canada and other Western powers are trying to stifle the Arab spring—escalating the threat of military intervention against Syria and Iran, while quietly supporting repression in Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The Harper government announced sanctions on Iran, declaring “the question is not if, but rather the degree to which, we will act.” Meanwhile Canada’s navy will continue to patrol the Mediterranean despite the end of the war on Libya, raising questions about a similar intervention in Syria. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced new sanctions onSyria, declaring “we will not sit idly by, while Assad and his thugs continue to violate the rights of the Syrian people.”

But the West will sit idly by while the thugs it supports continue to violate the rights of people in Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

One scenario for war with Iran would have Israel attack. Clearly the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, which for six decades has maintained a brutal occupation in Palestine, will not help the people of Iran—who showed through mass protests in 2009 that they have the power to challenge their own regime.

In solidarity with Palestine the people of Egypt overthrew their Western-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak, and continue to challenge his military regime. Harper supported Mubarak to the end and has been silent on the recent brutal beatings of Egyptians; while US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton expressed “shock”, the US continues to supply the Egyptian dictatorship with a billion dollars of weapons each year.

Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt inspired the region, including people in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But the West continues to arm those dictatorships and sit idly by while they brutally repress democracy movements.

Where the West has intervened, it has been to hijack popular movements while bombing civilians. In Libya NATO was forced to admit it had killed dozens of civilians during its bombing campaign—which hit civilian houses, a food warehouse and an ambulance. Meanwhile the new regime inLibyais ruled by former members of the Gaddafi regime, who have maintained his contracts with Western oil companies.

On December 11 the people of Syria organized a general strike, one of the key factors to revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. As in Libya, a western bombing campaign could derail revolutionary change from below in order to install a puppet regime that supports neoliberalism.

The Arab spring has shown that liberation only comes through self-determination, which means challenging Western imperialism. The real way of showing support is by stopping Western arms sales and military intervention, so the people of the region can liberate themselves.

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