The Capitalist Caused Humanitarian Crisis in Syria


The global elite and their underlings in the White House have been clamoring for a yet another “humanitarian” war by appealing to the emotions of the public. This time around, the target is not North Korea or Iran, but the Middle Eastern country of Syria—another nation in the developing world struggling for its dignity, independence, and opportunity to carve out its destiny in the 21st century.

Why Syria, and more importantly, why the current threat of war? A complete understanding of this would require a discussion of Lenin’s theory of imperialism. To make a long painful story as short as possible, this is the idea that wealth created by labor in both developed and developing countries, is increasingly falling into the hands of multinational corporations and bankers in advanced capitalist countries. This system is imperialism or what Lenin famously called the “final stage of capitalism”. In this stage when big banks lord over the world’s wealth, not only will developed countries clamor over resources (think of WWI and WWII, which cost well over 50 million lives), but any developing country daring to take control over its land and resources will be at risk for demonization, strangling sanctions, and invasion.

The nation of Syria is no exception to jungle-like rule of global capitalism. Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, leaders of nations who have dared to chart an independent course for their country  have first been demonized, hypocritically accused of “human rights violations”, had covert war and economic sabotage forced on them, and have often faced the full might of the US military. The list of such countries is too long to recount in this limited space.

Syria, like Iraq, was a European colony until the middle of the 20th century. In the post WWII years when the impoverished and overexploited nation achieved independence, it faced years of political turmoil before achieving a degree of stability after the progressive nationalistic Baath party took power in the 1960s. Far from being a narrow minded dictatorship, the Baath party carried out numerous progressive policies and social reforms such as granting equal rights to women, freedom to religious minorities including Christians, land reform, and investment in health care and other social services.

The Syrian Baath party correctly supported the Palestinian cause for freedom and independence, although involvement in the 1967 and 1973 wars turned out to be economically burdensome. This caused economic development to stagnate for a number of years.

Despite these setbacks caused by armed conflict, significant gains were still witnessed in key areas of economic development, quality of life indicators, and public health in the years and decades to come. An editorial appearing in the Avicenna Journal of Medicine in 2012 pointed out that several health indicators improved by considerable margins [1]. Life expectancy rose from 56 years to nearly 74 years from 1970 to 2009, while infant mortality dropped from 132/1000 live births to 17.9/1000, and maternal mortality fell from 482 out of 100,000 live births to 52. Several other health indicators showed improvement, including the significant reduction of communicable diseases.

According to this same article, these significant gains in health and human services have all but been eliminated in the past couple of years. This is obviously as a direct result of the humanitarian crisis sparked by the imperialist-Zionist-jihadist funded war.

The amount of death and carnage is simply staggering and beyond comprehension. According to another article published in the respected British medical journal The Lancet in 2013, over 3 million children are now living in poverty because of this brutal war, while another million children have been made refugees and forced to flee to neighboring countries. The article goes on to describe how “the disruption to routine health services for children, women, and those who rely on stable supplies of medicines and health services—e.g., patients receiving insulin, undergoing regular dialysis, or receiving treatment for cancer—will inevitably cause substantial increases in preventable mortality. The cruelty of the destruction of the health system is one of the deepest tragedies for Syria today.” [2]

I would personally add that the destruction of Syria’s health system is just one of the many, many crimes of capitalism today—including the millions of deaths caused by preventable and curable disease, and malnutrition in the developing world.

In its relentless and pathologically voracious drive for super profits, the global capitalist system clearly knows no limits. Within a decade, the public institutions of the nations of Iraq, Syria, Libya, have been, or are currently in the process of being dismembered and privatized by international conglomerates. Translation: the top few billionaires on Wall Street, the EU, the oil companies, etc. and their strong arm in the Pentagon and CIA do not have enough money. Because of this, millions of children, elderly people and everyday citizens are suffering and paying the ultimate price.

The hypocrisy behind Obama’s push for war simply borders on pathological and hysterical. First, the White House supports and fund a conflict involving the worst of al ’Qaeda thugs, mercenaries, and criminals against one of the more progressive and level headed governments in the region. Then, the US has the gall to call for war for humanitarian reasons which will lead to only more death and destruction! Washington is truly using every ounce of rhetoric, form of deception, and trick to flex its military muscle again. This even includes attempting to thwart, discredit, and lie about the joint peace agreement proposed by Syria and Russia. In the meantime, Obama continues pushing his plan for military action before the peace proposal (to place Syrian arms under international control) receives a fair hearing before the international community.

A surprisingly passionate plea to the American people and their leaders appearing in the New York Times on September 12th by Russian President Putin has also urged restraint, and rightly so. Putin not only makes a case for observing international law, but states how evidence shows the so-called “rebels” were the ones that used chemical weapons. This accusation makes perfect sense, since the Syrian government had gained the upper hand over the last couple of months—giving the opposition motivation for deploying chemical weapons and drawing the US into the conflict. This article was met with scorn by the illustrious and “democratic” leaders of the US, who simply remarked that the article made them “want to vomit”.

Obviously, imperialists do not care about justice, freedom, not to mention innocent life—much less which side actually used chemical weapons if they were in fact used at all (Of course, we never hear about Israel’s massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, much less a peep about their use of white phosphorous incendiary weapons against Palestinian civilians just a few years ago). The humanitarian cries raised by the US elite are a charade, and a pathetic one at that.

History has shown that imperial powers are desperate to maximize profits though procuring foreign capital and cheap labor at home and abroad much more so than humanitarian ventures. This conflict in Syria is the rule rather than the exception. It is just another example of a crisis created by capitalism and the endless drive to control foreign markets, labor, and capital that have been (or are in the danger of being) placed in the hands of governments and their constituents of developing nations.

Nicholas Albert is a cognitive scientist, teacher, and language researcher. He currently lives in Idaho, USA and can be reached at altieriosu@hotmail.com.


[1] Kherallah M, Alahfez T, Sahloul Z, Eddin KD, Jamil G. (2012). Health care in Syria before and during the crisis. Avicenna J Med, 2, 51-53.

[2] The Lancet (2013). Syria: the neglected health crises deepens. 382(9894) doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61814-0

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