In his defiant speech in Damascus at the start of the week Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed his determination to see off the internal and external attacks on his regime.
Assad's speech was dismissed by Western politicians and media as yet another example of his unwillingness to engage in talks.
This was despite offers of a ceasefire, a new constitution and political reform if outside forces stopped arming and funding the rebel groups and opposition forces committed themselves to a peaceful and Syrian-based dialogue.
Now that US President Barack Obama has officially recognised the rebranded National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and Tory PM David Cameron has given the green light for British military preparations the Syrian conflict is likely to escalate further.
But this flies in the face of the military failure of the various rebel militias. Even with arms shipments from wealthy Gulf regimes, training support from various foreign states and thousands of foreign jihadi fighters the insurgents have not managed to break the government.
Substantially increased foreign firepower will be needed to do that.
Despite the sectarian intentions of many of the rebel militias and their documented participation in ethnic atrocities, the Nato-Gulf alliance remains intent on toppling Assad at all costs.
On December 11 last year the Guardian reported that "Britain's military chiefs have drawn up contingency plans to provide Syrian rebels with maritime, and possibly air, power."
Opposition to Assad remains profoundly divided.
The "national coalition" was cobbled together in November in Doha, capital of the emirate of Qatar - one of the main funders bankrolling the armed opposition's diplomatic and military efforts.
The coalition is essentially a rebranded Syrian National Council (SNC), the previous incarnation of the Western and Gulf-backed group. Britain has recognised the SNC as the "sole legitimate representative" of the Syrian people, a recognition previously extended by such democratic paragons as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
Not only does this renamed coalition not represent the Syrian people as a whole - clearly the population is bitterly divided - but it has also been denounced by some opposition figures within Syria who see it as little more than a foreign puppet fixated on a military solution to the country's crisis.
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which controls much of Syrian Kurdistan, described it as a pawn of Turkey and Qatar.
The exile-centred opposition is also distant from secular forces within the country, such as the National Co-ordination Committee for Democratic Change, which are opposed to the current regime but which press for dialogue with the Assad government instead of bloodshed.
And it's opposed by at least some of the Islamist groups operating within the country.
Western nervousness about the role of al-Qaida influenced groups in the armed opposition is well founded but comes a little too late.
While the US has designated one faction, the al-Nusra Front for the People of the Levant, as an al-Qaida-inspired terrorist group this has been rejected by the armed opposition itself.
Yet Washington's designation is one that Damascus made some time ago, only for it to be dismissed as government propaganda.
Now, however, these groups handily provide another dubious pretext for imperialist intervention - what if al-Qaida got its hands on Assad's chemical weapons?
Late last year an orchestrated media campaign on the chemical weapons issue neatly coincided with Nato's decision to station Patriot missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Marking the 25th anniversary of Saddam Hussein's chemical attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in early December, the BBC's venerable world affairs editor John Simpson piously warned that chemical weapons remained in the region, specifically mentioning the Syrian regime.
Simpson's broadcast was right on cue.
Using the chemical weapons issue to prepare support for further intervention, such as by imposing no-fly zones or even attacking air defences as in Libya, was the latest cynical ploy from Washington and one faithfully taken up by mainstream media.
Simpson pontificated in a subsequent article: "So, has anything positive come from the terrible suffering of Halabja?
"Strangely, yes. The revelation of what had happened stirred the conscience of the outside world, and three years later led directly to the imposition by Britain and the US of a no-fly zone over northern Iraq."
Did Simpson forget that the no-fly zone was the direct result not of Halabja but of the Gulf war of 1991, a war fought in defence of Kuwaiti oil, not Kurdish blood?
Not all of the British media has shown such lockstep discipline in harmonising coverage with the Establishment.
After a recent visit to Syria the Independent's Patrick Cockburn, son of Claud Cockburn (the Daily Worker's Frank Pitcairn), noted the "repeated forecasts of imminent victory for the rebels and defeat for Assad. Ignored in this speculation is the important point that Assad's forces still hold, wholly or in large part, all the main cities and towns of Syria…
"Understandably, the rebel version of events is heavily biased towards their own side and demonises the Syrian government."
But unfortunately some sections of the anti-imperialist left have been wrongfooted by the complexity of the Syrian events, trying desperately to maintain support for an imaginary revolution.
For example, in defiance of all the evidence to the contrary, Socialist Worker's Simon Assaf recently claimed that "despite their efforts Western powers and their Arab allies have not yet been able to hijack the revolution. The new Syrian National Coalition represents a broad alliance of exiles, defectors, local revolutionary committees and the rebel brigades."
Put frankly, the SNC is a creature of the West and its Gulf allies pure and simple. A little humanitarian liberalism here for the Western audience, a little Sunni fundamentalism there to placate the Saudis and Qataris.
Just as in Afghanistan, when anti-Soviet hostility led sections of the British left to overlook the blatantly reactionary agenda of the mojahedin, antipathy toward the Syrian government has clouded the vision of what is now a struggle to preserve the country's very existence as an independent and united state.
Syrian Communist Party (Unified) general secretary Hanin Nimir recently put the issue bluntly: "Syria is facing a political, military, economic and social battle."
Yet the party's hostility to foreign intervention and internal armed opposition cannot be equated with uncritical defence of the past order, especially its authoritarian political structure, nor with a dismissal of the genuine grievances that sparked legitimate and widespread popular discontent.
Its newspaper An Nour (The Light) called on December 25 for "a comprehensive national dialogue to reach a political solution, including first and foremost ending the violence in all its forms, returning displaced persons to their homes, and then moving toward a transitional phase to establish a democratic civil state."
Nor has it just been the Ba'athist political path that has given rise to criticism from the mainstream legal left.
Syria's economic trajectory has moved ever closer into the imperialist orbit with grave social consequences, fuelling popular dissatisfaction.
At a December 2012 central committee meeting Syria's other legally recognised Communist Party, led by Ammar Bagdash, declared that "a large part of this situation is due to the siege imposed on Syria and to acts of sabotage. But along with these the government did not make the nationally needed rupture with economic neoliberalism, which basically contributed to creating the crisis experienced by Syria now."
Nonetheless, despite these severe political and economic failings Syria is not under attack because of them.
It is its refusal to bend the knee to global and regional powers who want to uproot its sovereignty, its secularism and its potential to resist the new world order that motivates the West.
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