Internal State Dept. Memo Urges Acts of War Against Syria

Editor’s Note:

“A socialist anti-war campaign must also be an anti-imperialist campaign. While organizing to cut the military budget and end war, we must also commit to organizing against US hegemony in the world and build connections to international anti-war organizations.”

SPUSA 2015 – 2017 Plan of Action and Priorities


The danger of a drastic escalation of US intervention in Syria, via military strikes on the Syrian government, was raised by the release of an internal State Department memo signed by dozens of mid-level officials. Its semi-official status, as a warning by Washington, was made clear by its release to the New York Times “by a State Department official.” Until now, the official focus of US military intervention has been the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The NY Times reported June 17 that the proposed acts of war “would represent a radical shift in the administration’s approach to the civil war in Syria.”

This memo may be a signal from the administration to Russia and other allies of Syria, and may lead Washington on a slope toward open war with the Damascus government, with huge consequences. The hope may be to bring compliance with ceasefire efforts by military threats.

The memo also points to the Syrian air force’s use of barrel bombs against civilian neighborhoods in places like Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, as the “root cause” of problems in Syria. Thus the memo may indicate an intention to tilt more toward the Gulf-states-funded military drive against the Bashar Assad government.

Widespread reports of the Assad government’s targeting of civilians, leading to the displacement of millions of Syrians and the massive flow of refugees out of Syria, may make it hard to build a massive antiwar response in the US. But the alternative is to stand by while Washington drifts toward repeating the disastrous and continuing invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.


David Keil

is a member of the Editorial Board of "The Socialist" and of the Boston Area local of the Socialist Party.

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