[Marxism] US v Russia v Anti-Imperialists: Who is best advocate of killing Syrian truck drivers?

mkaradjis . mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Dec 11 07:42:52 MST 2015

In recent weeks, US and Russian warplanes bombing Syria have been
targeting trucks allegedly transporting “ISIS oil.” Indeed, Russian
leaders have accused Turkey of being a major market for this “ISIS
oil”, a claim that indicates spectacular hypocrisy given the very
well-known, long-term oil trade between ISIS and Russia’s ally, the
Syrian genocide regime.

Of course, as is well known, ISIS sells oil to hundreds of small
private traders who then transport it to whoever wants to buy it,
which can include Kurdish authorities, Syrian rebels, Turkey or the
Assad regime.

While Russia has focused almost entirely on bombing the Free Syrian
Army (FSA), indeed in provinces and regions with zero ISIS presence,
even to the point of directly facilitating ISIS advances against the
rebels (as in northern Aleppo over the last fortnight), it has also
taken some potshots against ISIS, above all slaughtering civilians in
Raqqa and destroying civilian infrastructure.

One form of “fighting ISIS” has been bombing these impoverished
drivers who make their living by transporting oil or other goods from
whoever wants to sell them to whoever wants to buy them.

Soon after Russia invaded Syria, the US also began bombing these
civilian trucks and killing their drivers. The US had already been
bombing civilian oil infrastructure under ISIS control for a year or

One of the talking points of the pro-Russian imperialist
“anti-imperialists” then became that “the US only began bombing the
oil trucks after Our Mother Russia first bombed them goddamned

For some it seems, “anti-imperialism” today, oddly, means supporting
whichever superpower can better slaughter civilian truck-drivers doing
their job in a poor country far from home. That is quite a sensational

An article which, quite correctly and uncontroversially, points out
that Assad buys more “ISIS oil” than anyone else, also gives a good
description of how small-scale, insecure and desperate these middle
people are:

“The trucks don’t have to go far to sell ISIS oil. In fact, it’s
cheaper and easier for them to sell oil to locals who run basic
refineries in the countryside, not far from the main oil fields in
eastern Syria ... With few exceptions, these backyard refineries are
just stills in which small batches of oil are heated and the resulting
vapor is condensed into low-grade fuel. The owners, usually desperate
Arab families who don’t belong to ISIS, run several at a time. The
work is dirty and dangerous; the scene is apocalyptic. Toxic plumes of
black smoke, scorched earth, soot, and explosions make Mad Max look
tame. Hundreds if not thousands of these stills are now active across
Syria. Combined, they provide tens of thousands of barrels in daily
refining capacity. Fuel from these refineries is sold at roadside
pumping stations or in bulk to middlemen who deliver it to population
centers where demand is greater”

These are the people that some “anti-imperialists” think are criminals
who the superpowers should blow to bits from the sky if they are
serious about “fighting ISIS.”

Moreover, just because Russian media showed pictures of trucks
allegedly crossing the Turkish border, hardly proves they are all
necessarily transporting oil. According to the truck drivers in this
video, many of them are transporting food or other goods to supply
some of the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and they constantly
get bombed by the Russian airforce:

While it may be difficult to vouch for the validity of what these
truck-drivers are saying, that is hardly different from a great deal
of “information” floating around the region, above all from the
Russian and Iranian versions of Fox News which are mere propaganda
organs for the Assad regime.

Between a belligerent invading state’s media showing pictures of
trucks and calling them “ISIS,” and bombing and killing working people
trying desperately to make a living, and truck drivers in a video
claiming to be delivering food, I’ll take my bets on the latter.

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