Since last week when Russia began bombing targets inside Syria, Western media has been overflowing with articles about the crimes of Russian imperialism in Syria. But the idea put forward that “moderate” rebels are being bombed by ruthless Russians raises more questions than it answers.

On Monday, for the first time in ten years, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the UN general assembly, after which he had a closed door meeting with US president Barack Obama. Only one month ago such a meeting would have seemed highly unlikely. Since the Ukrainian crisis relations between western governments and Russia have rapidly deteriorated as severe sanctions have been put on the country and Putin has become the most vilified man in Western media.

In the Presidential elections held at the beginning of June, Assad was declared the winner with 88.7% of the vote. That is not surprising considering the nature of the regime. However, in spite of the fact that these were in no way “free” elections, and that many people could not vote as they were in refugee camps beyond the borders of the country, what emerged was that a significant section of the population is backing Assad. Why is this?

The spontaneous uprising of the Syrian masses, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, has degenerated into a sectarian bloodbath. Deprived of a revolutionary leadership, the hopeful beginnings have been transformed into a tragedy. On the other hand, US imperialism's hypocritical and bellicose zig-zags are a complete and utter farce, and graphically illustrate the limits of US power.

The war drums in Washington are beating their macabre tune out loud, announcing an imminent US attack on Syria. In the UK, the faithful squire, Cameron, is willingly echoing the call. Parliament is expected to back the military option in an emergency meeting convened for Thursday, August 29th. Direct imperialist intervention marks a fundamental change in the situation in Syria after the spiralling sectarian civil war had wiped away the revolutionary potential of the anti-regime protests sparked in January 2011 by the events of the Arab spring.

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