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Palmyra by Gyula Thürmer

The army of Syrian President Assad has recaptured Palmyra from the terrorists of ISIS. This was the biggest news story over Easter. It wasn't easy to find out about it, however, as the liberal global press hates everything related to the successes of the current Syrian system. But this remains a fact nonetheless: Palmyra has been liberated.

I have been to Syria several times over the last few decades, at the invitation of the governing Ba’ath Party or the Syrian Communists. My hosts have always asked, “Have you been to Palmyra?” “No, not yet,” I would reply. “No problem, next time,” they said. “You must go to Palmyra! It is the cradle of humanity. There has been a city there since two thousand years before Christ!”

I might still be able to visit Palmyra, the place, but not that ancient city. The terrorists of ISIS have destroyed as much of it as they could, in spite of the fact that every one of its stones is a part of the world’s heritage in Syria. One can't help but remember: who gave birth to the Islamic State? The answer is obvious: American imperialism.

Syria is a key area in the Middle East. From here you can get an overview of the region, in a political as well as a strategic sense. A strong Syria blocks the expansion of Israel. A strong Syria gives support to the Palestinians. A strong Syria is an ally to Iran and Russia. Even half of these reasons would be enough to cause the United States to hate the Syrian system and its leader, President Bashar al-Assad.

The Assad family has never been Communist. Syria is not a socialist state. Syria has always been a state of the Arab bourgeoisie. On the other hand, the Syrian ruling class – as a result of its unique historical experiences – is well aware of the fact that the major geopolitical powers are interested in Syria because of its strategic location. Likewise, many people still speak French in Damascus because Syria was a French colony. The Arab bourgeoisie has understood that it must find its own path toward preventing it from becoming a colony yet again. The Assad family, both the late Hafez al-Assad and his son, the current President, are the symbols of a Syria which cherishes its independence and freedom.

The Syrian people have understood that there is much that could be done differently, but nevertheless, this system has brought them peace and security. The West preaches to them about dictatorship. But is this really a dictatorship – a country where the Communists are in the parliament and even in the government, where free enterprise is flourishing, where there are many different organizations, and where there more than just the state press? The question is rhetorical because the US doesn't care about the answer. Even if he were trying to copy the American system, they would still want to topple President Assad – unless, of course, he was willing to become their slave.

I have met President Bashar al-Assad three times. It wasn’t necessary for him to meet with the leader of a Hungarian opposition party, but he did, several times. He fully understood that our fight here in Budapest helps to support their own fight in the Middle East. We share a common enemy in American imperialism, which suppresses the independence struggles of the Arab nations just as it does the workers' movement.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands this in the Communist and workers' movement. During the days of the Soviet Union, President Assad’s father was viewed as a much-cherished ally by the socialist countries, as a leader who was fighting a just war against the Israeli aggressors and their American supporters.

Today, Russia is no longer a socialist country. It supports President Assad not for ideological reasons, but merely for its own geopolitical power interests. Some of the socialist parties believe that the Syrian conflict is simply one capitalist regime fighting another, and that it is therefore not our duty to support the Syrian President. I am sure that in his time, Lenin had a different approach. In any case, Bashar al-Assad’s war is a just war. Instead of pouting, we should support him.

Of course Russia follows its own interest. It wants to stop the United States’ designs in the Middle East since the southern border of Russia is nearby. Putin has understood that Assad is the legitimate leader of Syria. No other Syrian can create order. The Russian Air Force has cleared a path for the Syrian Army. The intelligence and weaponry the Russians are providing are in good hands: the Syrians know how to use them. This state of affairs forced the United States to begin negotiations.

The Syrian President is a young man. He just turned 50 last year. When I first met him, he was in his thirties. We began speaking through an interpreter, but he soon switched to English. “We will understand each other better this way,” he said.

Viktor Orbán's government has closed the Syrian embassy in Budapest. He did this for ideological reasons, in order to placate America’s demands. As there is no embassy, I have no choice but to post my message here: Mr. President, congratulations for the liberation of Palmyra! Don't give up!