by our Arab Affairs correspondent
SYRIAN troops have driven reactionary Muslim Brotherhood rebels out of Idlib, a key town near the Turkish border that has been an important conduit for covert Nato arms supplies to the rebels fighting to overthrow the Baathist government in Damascus.
Syrian forces are now in complete control of Idlib, one of the last rebel bastions in the country and the remnants of the “Free Syria Army” turfed out of the town have fled to Turkey following fierce fighting this week. In mopping up operations in the border province Syrian troops seized gun-runners and a cache of weapons from Turkey and arrested a number of gunmen who have confessed on television to being members of Al Qaida.
Though the end of the revolt may now be in sight the diplomatic war at the United Nations continues with the imperialists striving, yet again, to force a resolution through the United Nations Security Council that would sanction Nato intervention against the Syrian government.
But at UN Headquarters Russia and People’s China are continuing to block the outrageous demands of US-led imperialism.
This week American foreign secretary Hillary Clinton repeated the US call for a Syrian army withdrawal from all the cities and towns in the country during talks with her Russian counter-part Sergey Lavrov in New York — a demand that the Russian dismissed as “absolutely unrealistic”.
Lavrov said: “The Syrian authorities will not do this, whether we want it or not, and everybody understands this perfectly well”. He added that a simultaneous ceasefire effort could be aided by an independent “monitoring mechanism” — one of five Russian proposals agreed with Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday.
The Russian foreign minister told the media: “The task is for both sides to understand that there is an independent monitor of how they will carry out demands for an immediate ceasefire.” Lavrov said that the idea was now being discussed as part of international efforts, including by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, to end the violence.
But the wider threat of war remains. The imperialists targeted Syria as a way of hitting Iran, Syria’s firm ally in the Middle East. The Islamic Republic’s peaceful atomic research has enraged the Nato powers.
And according to Russian sources Hillary Clinton told Lavrov to tell the Iranians that if they don’t agree to the West’s demand to abandon their nuclear project they will be attacked before the end of the year. Back in Damascus President Bashar al-Assad has announced that new parliamentary elections based on the reformed constitution overwhelmingly endorsed by the February referendum will be held on 7th May.
Opposition parties can stand and compete against each other under the new rules, now that exclusive role of the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) as the “leader of the state and society” has ended and the future presidential terms will be limited to two seven-year periods of office.Meanwhile the Syrian Central Bank is preparing to replace the existing currency with new banknotes in order to “burn” the stocks of Syrian lira that the Saudis and Qataris have amassed to speculate against it in the international money market.
The value of the Syria lira dropped by half over the past year largely due to hostile speculation by the oil princes who are using their immense wealth to wage an economic war against Syria in tandem with the arms and cash they’ve been pumping into the country to fire the rebellion.