Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘weapons of mass destruction

Two minds on Syria from “Arabic” speaking authors. Part 2

 posted on AUGUST 29, 2013  (with slight editing and my comments in parenthesis)

Syrian novelist Khaled al-Khalifa posted this statement on his Facebook page. Translated by Lina Sinjab:
“Dictators bring invaders; this is an indisputable fact. (Not true for dictators in powerful nations)Invaders never brought freedom to people, and this is another fact that we shouldn’t forget.What we should say at this very crucial moment of our lives and the life of our revolution is that the dictators are not the only ones who brought invaders, but that a group of politicians and revolution-traders who sold our blood —  did contribute; once to Qatar and once to Saudi and once to organizations
that I don’t know their nature — without the slightest sense of shame.khaled-khalifa 
Imagine Samir Nashar and Zuheir Salem representing this great revolution — how strange! (Who are these two people/)“Do you want to know my position?

“I am against the US military intervention and I have my reasons. I , the son of this revolution, whether you like it or not refuse any military strikes on Syrians.

“In a situation like ours, blood-traders and the Coalition should all admit that they are partners with the dictators, and they are just a copy of them and not a copy nor representative of the honesty of our revolution.

“I will say no more,

“You have to stand before the mirror, you who got paid for our blood, before you say facts we know about the fascist dictator and sectarian regime.

But you should be neither fascist, dictator, nor sectarian if you want to be part of our revolution.

“Listen carefully:

“Tell me when did the invaders bring freedom?

“At the end, I will never be in favour of any American intervention in our area, because I know them very well. They could have defended the values from day one of our revolution and could have helped us, but they waited till the country was destroyed.

“The fall of the regime will satisfy me, but I don’t want our revolution to be incomplete after all this bloodshed. This is not a letter for history, but a farewell letter to all my friends if I die.

If I die amidst this shelling or for any other reason, I want my friends to bury me in an unknown grave that only my friends and my beloved will know its address.”

From Syrian-British novelist Robin Yassin-Kassab, on “Intervention?”

“If the US-led West wished to invade and occupy Syria, or to engineer regime change from afar, it would have taken advantage of the two-and-a-half-year chaos in Syria to intervene long before now.”

When the US-led West invaded Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussain was contained. He’d committed his genocides in the past, when he was an ally of the West against Iran, and in 1991, under Western military noses (as he slaughtered Shia rebels and their families en masse, the allied forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq gave him permission to use helicopter gunships, and watched).

But in 2003, Saddam was contained and reasonably quiet. There was no popular revolution against him. The West invaded anyway, on the pretext of inexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The Syrian regime’s ultra-violent repression of a peaceful protest movement spawned an armed resistance. The regime met the armed resistance with genocide and ethnic cleansing.

A week ago, the regime struck multiple targets in the Damascus suburbs with chemical weapons.

The conflict has been well and truly internationalised for a long while now:

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have provided limited and intermittent military supplies to various parts of the opposition (the US has prevented them from delivering heavy weapons).

The international brigades of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham – an enemy both of the regime and the democratic opposition to the regime – has been empowered in pockets of northern Syria.

The regime has received much more serious financial and military help from Russia and Iran, and has brought in Hizbullah and Iraqi sectarian militias to help it fight its battles.

Hizbullah’s switch from defence against Zionism to repression of a revolutionary Arab people has propelled Lebanon back to the verge of civil war. (Very debatable opinion)

Meanwhile, between a quarter and a third of Syrians are displaced, destabilising Turkey and Jordan as well as Lebanon.

A year to the day before the massive poison gas attacks, Obama set a supposed ‘red line’ on the regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Whenever the regime has introduced a new weapon, it has done so quietly and steadily, until its use is normalised and forgotten internationally.

So it was with artillery, helicopter gunships, aerial bombardment, scud missiles – first these were used rarely, then more frequently, then on a daily basis. And so it is with the gas.

Obama’s chemical red line had already been repeatedly broken in a small way before last week’s atrocities. American inaction made Assad believe he could get away with a bigger show.

By this mass attack, Assad was not only trying to clear areas close to the capital in which rebels were deeply entrenched and advancing; he was also telling the military and popular opposition, “Look, I can do what I want. I can increase the pace of the ethnic cleansing and genocide, and still noone will intervene or allow you to become properly armed.”

So now Obama feels he must act, symbolically at least, to show the larger world as well as Assad that America’s word still means something, that it still makes claims to ensuring international order. (Who understand symbolic languages?)

It goes without saying that all states – if we must compare them with people – are hypocrites, and America, as the world’s most powerful state, much more than most.

The white phosphorus and 40% depleted uranium munitions it used in Iraq, for instance, can certainly be considered as weapons of mass destruction, though even their use cannot be compared to Assad’s sarin savagery.

And late 20th Century America actively aided Saddam’s chemical programme. But simplistic ‘anti-imperialists’ (the sort who haven’t noticed Russia’s blatant imperialism in Syria) should reflect on the complexity of the situation.

Should a tyrant be left unchecked to gas his people?

If Israel were doing it to the Palestinians, would outside intervention (of course there would be none) to deter Israel be absolutely wrong?

Was it right to leave the Bosnian Muslims to be slaughtered? (Many statist leftists would of course unhesitatingly answer yes to this question).

Even with our hypocritical and frequently criminal ‘international community’, is there no validity in attempting to preserve the semi-taboo on the mass use of WMD?

I cannot say what will happen, or if it will happen, or what the ramifications will be. I expect, however, that any American-led attack will not dramatically change the balance on the ground.

Obama wants to be seen to be acting, and to deter. He will be scared that Assad, Hizbullah or Iran will respond in such a way that he is pressured to expand the operation to end the regime. And he doesn’t want to do this.

General Martin Dempsey has recently explained why – America can’t find any branch of the opposition ready to assume power and serve American interests.

One reason that the West doesn’t want to end the regime is that, in the north and east, the al-Qa’ida type militias (indirectly created by Assad’s traumatisation of the country, as well as by the political failures of loyalist traditionalist clerics) are growing in strength. Their strength flows from the fact that the West and the Arabs failed to arm the Free Army.

The ineffective Syrian National Coalition must also bear some of the blame for not working harder to organise a national army from the start, before the jihadists had time to establish themselves.

Western, Syrian and Arab timidity and Islamophobia have brought on the worst.

I expect the upcoming attack to be, in effect if not in image, tepid. It may not do any good at all. It may allow Assad to reap the ‘resistance’ propaganda victory without changing the calculus on the ground.

If there is any change to calculus on the ground, it will be because the Sauds are increasing military aid after the mass gas attacks. Apparently 40 tons-worth came in through Turkey this week. But will that be sustained? Never before now.

And again, the Sauds, like the Americans, like all states, are acting according to their interests. They back Sisi’s junta in Egypt as it rolls back the victories of the revolution there.

In Syria, the Sauds are interested in weakening Iran and Hizbullah, obviously not in facilitating victory for either democrats or radical Islamists who reject Saudi kingship.

Syrian fighters facing exile or genocide will take weapons from where they can, but they understand that in the medium and long term, they are on their own, as they have been for the last two and a half years.

(More.)

Also, the Louisiana Channel, of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, just uploaded this video “Silence is Disgraceful, Too”: 

Note 1: The French author Camus said “Facing the terrifying prospects… that are open to humanity… the only combat that is worth to be waged … is to definitely choose… between hell and reason”

Note 2: For the time being, the US is not ready for a unilateral military strike, even very limited since no one will benefit from it.

At this junction, the threat seemed real, a game that can be considered a preliminary testing of international community political readiness for a strike.  The strike will ultimately be conducted after a repeat chemical attack, and the Takfiri Nusra Front will launch another chemical attack in order to provide the US with another false alibi that the UN will feel hard pressed not to give a little green light for a strike.

France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel are the ones most to profit from a destabilization of the regime in Syria, on economical grounds.

Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair

 wrote in The Observer on Sept.2, 2012: “I couldn’t sit with someone who justified the invasion of Iraq with a lie…”

The immorality of the United States and Great Britain’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

    • Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu: pulled out of a seminar which Tony Blair was scheduled to attend. Photograph: Str/REUTERS

Instead of recognising that the world we lived in, with increasingly sophisticated communications, transportations and weapons systems necessitated sophisticated leadership that would bring the global family together, the then-leaders of the US and UK fabricated the grounds to behave like playground bullies and drive us further apart.

They have driven us to the edge of a precipice where we now stand, and with the spectre of Syria and Iran before us.

If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth?

Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world.

Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the President would not postpone any longer.

On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers’ circuit, bBn Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush’s chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself.

Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.

But even greater costs have been exacted beyond the killing fields, in the hardened hearts and minds of members of the human family across the world.

Has the potential for terrorist attacks decreased? To what extent have we succeeded in bringing the so-called Muslim and Judeo-Christian worlds closer together, in sowing the seeds of understanding and hope?

Leadership and morality are indivisible. Good leaders are the custodians of morality. The question is not whether Saddam Hussein was good or bad or how many of his people he massacred. The point is that Mr Bush and Mr Blair should not have allowed themselves to stoop to his immoral level.

If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?

My appeal to Mr Blair is not to talk about leadership, but to demonstrate it. You are a member of our family, God’s family. You are made for goodness, for honesty, for morality, for love; so are our brothers and sisters in Iraq, in the US, in Syria, in Israel and Iran.

I did not deem it appropriate to have this discussion at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg last week. As the date drew nearer, I felt an increasingly profound sense of discomfort about attending a summit on “leadership” with Mr Blair.

I extend my humblest and sincerest apologies to Discovery, the summit organisers, the speakers and delegates for the lateness of my decision not to attend.


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