Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Syria - more arms, more killing

The European Union's decision to drop the arms embargo on Syrian opposition forces signals a depressing new turn in that country's already tortured civil war.

And how familiar to see Britain and William Hague leading the case for gifting EU arms to the 'rebels'.

As Channel 4 News correspondent Alex Thomson tweeted:
"How I'd love to take W Hague to Syria next time and have him explain how his arms will only get to the "right" gunmen. Assinine. [sic]"
"don't make a bloody situation bloodier".
Alongside strong warnings from Oxfam, the point is reinforced by politics lecturer Andrew Mumford, outlining the high risks of proxy interventions:
"The understanding that proxy interventions actually prematurely end an existing conflict belies evidence that on the whole they actually prolong such conflicts largely because a weak warring faction is boosted to the point of creating stalemate. A flood of weapons or surrogate forces into an existing warzone gives one or other of the parties involved further motivation and support to fight on, not collapse or seek negotiation. With Britain and France now boldly declaring their desire to ship arms to the insurgents, Syria seems destined to endure a bloody extension of its civil war."
Mumford also notes the considerable risk of 'blowback' across Europe in response to such provocation, something Hague and his French associate Laurent Fabius seem to have wilfully ignored. 

But why, 'inexplicably', did twenty five other 'resistant' EU member states apparently cave-in to the British-French lobby?

A reasonable clue might be John Kerry's offering of a 'helping hand' in the matter, 'encouraging' the EU to go along with the UK-French call.

In response, Russia has stepped-up its armed support of the Syrian government. As reported:
"The move by Moscow was criticised by the White House, which said arming the Syrian government did "not bring the country closer to the desired political transition" that it deserved."
Rich words, indeed, from America - even if Russia is also to be condemned for piling on the weaponry - yet all all too typical of Obama's slick wordplay.

There's also, of course, Israel's weapons-wielding hypocrisy, bombing provocations and now counter-threats to Russia, all making for a deepening war scenario.

With US endorsement, Hague is talking-up a 'level playing field' for Syria, evading the awkward certainty of arms reaching the al Qaeda-linked forces now leading the Syrian opposition.

Significantly, it's this aspect that's being posed by the BBC and other media as 'the key question', the liberal 'dilemma', rather than the actual increase of arms and inevitability of more killing.      

As Shamus Cooke notes on both Western and Saudi manoeuvring over Syria and the region, few of the serious questions of source, association, delivery and intention are being asked:
One question the U.S. media never thinks of asking is: Where did all these Islamic extremists come from and why? The Sunni Islamic opposition inside Syria has long been religiously moderate, implying that many of the extremists are foreigners.

The ideological source of this extremism came from Saudi Arabian religious figures and their allies, who use Islam as a political tool to target nations “unfriendly” to Saudi Arabia and the United States. The most glaring example of this in regard to Syria was the Fatwa (official interpretation/statement) issued by 107 Islamic scholars that denounced the Syrian government and encouraged Muslims to fight against it. The statement essentially encouraged jihad, though the word wasn’t mentioned explicitly.

The statement includes:
“It is a duty for all Muslims to support the revolutionaries in Syria [against the government] … so that they can successfully complete their revolution and attain their rights and their freedom.”
The hypocrisy of such a statement is almost too glaring: the many Saudi figures who signed the document that want “freedom” in Syria are not demanding freedom in Saudi Arabia, by far the country with the least amount of freedoms in the world.

With Saudi Arabia and Qatar providing guns to the Syrian rebels — with help from the CIA — the Saudi religious figures attached to the Saudi regime give religious/political support by misleading devout Muslims to flock to Syria to attack a country of Muslims, thus creating the giant sectarian divisions we now see throughout the Islamic world.
And so, as in the spiralling Sunni-Shia carnage across Iraq and Libya, Syria is also feeling the double and interconnected spectre of Western 'assistance' and sectarian killing.

While, post-Woolwich, Cameron urges a renewed battle against Islamic extremism, the dark paradox is that the West is helping to wipe-out another secular entity in the region.  

As Cooke concludes:
Obama has taken the saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” to irrational heights, and in so doing is helping to produce a new generation of Islamic extremists that will help fuel the U.S.-led never-ending “war on terror.” The real intention of the War on Terror is not to stop terrorists, but to target nation states that are opposed to U.S. foreign policy: Iraq and Libya — like Syria — were both secular countries at the time of their being invaded; Afghanistan was invaded even though the vast majority of those involved in the 9-11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia. There was no terrorist problem in Iraq before the U.S. invaded, just like there was no terrorist problem in Syria before the U.S.-backed rebels came onto the scene.
Thus, we see another Western-promoted calamity, causing ever greater destabilisation and misery in the region.

Meanwhile (invoking a useful Media Lens term), "here's one we liberated earlier".


Rose said...

Thanks for your good and timely post; I shall point people to it as an antidote to the fare we are dished up via the usual outlets.

I began watching the first episode about Iraq on BBC 2 until Jack Straw confessed to how star-struck he was to be sitting next to Dustin Hoffman at some bean-feast or other; at that point I switched off. His words and the way he spoke just encapsulated the appalling vacuity of those we elect to office; the simpering, whimpering, hubristic awfulness of the species. Truly sickening.

Keep going John; yours is a sane voice amid all the hateful warmongering that threatens to overwhelm us.

John Hilley said...

Thank you kindly, Rose.

I do, indeed, understand your sane decision to switch off this deeply appalling propaganda.

For my perverse sins, I persevered; I think out of sheer incredulity that even they could put out anything so blatant - including, of course, the standard fabrication of only 100,000 fatalities.

As I noted elsewhere:

From Cheney to Blair, Campbell to Wolfowitz, Straw to every intelligence chief they could find, a master class in allowing 'history' to be narrated by the culprits.

No questioning, no challenge, not the slightest suggestion of their mass criminality.

No wonder they all seemed so relaxed and thrilled to be participating.

Like the inexcusable attack on Iraq itself, an audacious piece of spin, deception and whitewash.

Anyway, Rose, thanks again for your caring words. Be well.


John Hilley said...

The UK's costs for invading and occupying Afghanistan is £37 billion, says a new report.

Great business, indeed.

With the murderous loss of life, it gives a new meaning to the term 'criminal enterprise'.

No wonder Hague is lining up Syria for the next wave of 'inward investment'.

No austerity when it comes to the economy of death.


Michael Stephenson said...

The absolute hypocrisy of the west in Russia's response of delivering a capable SAM system is absolutely laughable.

Accusing Russia of supporting terrorists when it gives a SAM system who is fighting a rebellion wiht no airforce, a SAM system that is completely harmless to the Syrian civilian population and is purely intended for defence, compared to arming the rebels with arms that can be used directly against the Syrian people.

Russia has taken a very measured step which won't further the bloodshed, merely prevent any further Western aggression.

But as usual the bullshit is strong here.

Clearly the west want's to install another petty dictator that is beholden to the West for power and will exploit Syria for Western benefit, business as usual.