THE HANDSTAND

WINTER 2012


syria


Syria swings between hell and dialogue Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:21PM By Ismail Salami Share | Email | Print

Indeed, Syria is by slow gradation descending into hell whose flames are devouring the innocent and the guilty alike and even on a more appalling scale as Mr. Brahimi has predicted, tens of thousands of people will die soon and as long as there is resistance to any peace-inspiring proposal in the country, Syria will inch towards an eventual Balkanization."

Admittedly, it is not hard to imagine how someone can predict a vision of hell in a country like Syria which has become a hornet’s nest of terrorism and that which is tumbling into further chaos and bloodshed.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who represents the United Nations and the Arab League, has predicted as 100,000 people could be killed
“in the next year as Syria moves toward Somalization and rule by warlords.”

Apart from his foreboding tone, his remarks are testimony to a broader gamut of interference at the hands of those who have infiltrated into the country from abroad. In point of fact, what is corroding Syria is not an internal unrest but a ‘foreign-made’ crisis.

The Syrian opposition group insists that the start of dialogue would be made possible only with the departure of President Assad and says that it would not be ready to engage in any dialogue with Russia without any clear agenda.

“If Russia has a proposal to stop the bleeding in Syria, it should submit it and we will respond,” Mouaz al-Khatib, head of the main bloc of Syrian opposition groups, has told Al Jazeera. “We can’t meet with the Russians without a clear agenda.”

Russia and Iran are playing pivotal roles in preventing a human catastrophe in the country and seeking to resolve the crisis through diplomacy.

After talks in Moscow on Saturday with Lakhdar Brahimi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia could not press Assad to give up power. Besides, he has once again clarified his country’s stance on Syria and said Russia “isn’t in the business of regime change. He has repeatedly said, both publicly and privately, including during his meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi not long ago, that he has no plans to go anywhere, that he will stay in his post until the end, that he will, as he says, protect the Syrian people, Syrian sovereignty and so forth. There is no possibility of changing this position.”

The implication is very simple. Russia does not want a regime change in Syria as there is supposedly no point in seeking such a solution. This policy is also strongly shared and seconded by Iran which has already set forth a six-point peace plan for Syria. Hossein Sheikholeslam, an advisor to Iran’s Majlis speaker for international affairs has said that Tehran’s six-point peace plan would be the only solution to the unrest in Syria and that no country should intervene in the internal affairs of the Arab country.

“The six-point plan presented by Iran is a very appropriate solution to the crisis in Syria because it has been prepared based on international principles.”

The proposal was originally announced on October 14, when Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi submitted it to Lakhdar Brahimi during a meeting in Tehran.

According to Iran’s six-point peace plan, the Syrian nation has the legitimate right to decide their fate and future through an internationally-recognized democratic process.

In brief, the plan urges:
- an immediate end to any armed actions;
- ushering in a UN-monitored democratic process;
- Damascus and the opposition to cooperate with UN and its special committee to stop armed operations especially in the residential areas to restore peace and stability;
- an immediate, serious and just distribution of humanitarian aids to Syrian people;
- the lifting of economic sanctions on the Syrian people in order to prepare the ground for the return of all Syrian refugees to their homeland;
- the resumption of comprehensive national dialogues by different opposing social and political parties and Damascus to rapidly form a national reconciliation committee in order to unanimously form a transitional government;
- a free and competitive election for the formation of a new parliament and senate and the composition of a constitution;
- the immediate release of all political prisoners from all parties by the government and opposition groups, and establishment of a competent court of justice to investigate cases of those who committed crimes in that country.

The plan also urges that media stop spreading wrong information about Syria.

Though a comprehensive plan which can technically and practically put an end to the ongoing crisis in Syria, it was looked upon with an eye of pessimism and cynicism by the opposition group in Syria.

In a statement, the Syrian National Coalition slammed Iran’s initiative as a “last-ditch bid to save the regime of President Bashar al-Assad”.

"As the free forces of the Syrian people accomplish one decisive political and military victory after another, the regime and its allies keep on launching lackluster and overdue political initiatives," said the National Coalition.

"The Iranian initiative represents one example of these desperate attempts to throw a lifeline to the inevitably sinking ship of the Assad regime," it said in a statement.

Despite all this, Syria says it will respond to any initiative meant to solve Syria’s 22-month-old crisis through talks

While impertinently attributing the crisis in Syria to “the brutality and ruthlessness of ruler Bashar al-Assad and the family clique around him, and their supporters in Iran and Russia”, an editorial on Washington Post which, evidently reflects Washington’s policies, lashes out at the West for its “massive failure”, and “particularly American leadership” and implicitly encourages the West’s prompt action against the government of Assad.

After all, the materialization of a meaningful peace in Syria cannot and should not be pursued through irrational anger and abortive resort to any brute means such as hiring and infiltrating mercenaries into Syria, psyching public mind about the possibility that the government of Assad may use chemical weapons against its own people.

Instead of ignoring Iran’s constructive and effective initiative to put an end to the bloodbath in Syria, the opposition group could have seized the chance, looked at Iran as a regional well-wisher and resolved the crisis in the country.

What is vitally important at this juncture in time is that a tragedy of immeasurably inhumane proportions is taking place in Syria and a rapid solution should be carved out before it’s too late.

Indeed, Syria is by slow gradation descending into hell whose flames are devouring the innocent and the guilty alike and even on a more appalling scale as Mr. Brahimi has predicted, tens of thousands of people will die soon and as long as there is resistance to any peace-inspiring proposal in the country, Syria will inch towards an eventual Balkanization.

IS/JR Dr. Ismail Salami is an internationally published author of several books and hundreds of articles. In his articles, Salami examines the historical developments that impact national relations today, and the way western people view Iran. He holds a PhD in Shakespeare Studies and is the author of Iran, Cradle of Civilization. His writings have been translated into dozens of languages.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Press TV.

Syrian Volunteers Exhibit Their Humanity, Despite International Politicizing of Emergency Aid…

Resisting Hell’s Maelstrom

Over the past twenty months, as the Syrian crisis continued beyond most early predictions, this observer learned something about the Syrian people that I had known for decades about Palestinians. And that is their great concern for their countrymen wherever they are found and whatever their current condition.  When I am in Syria I am frequently asked “how are our people doing in Lebanon as refugees from this crisis?”  In Lebanon, I am often asked “how are our (internal) refugees in Syria and what of our people in Jordan, Iraq or Turkey, how are they being treated and are they getting the basic necessities they need to live?”

And many Syrian refugees there are these bitter days. As of early November, 2012, close to 700,000 have fled their country with the UN now expecting close to one million by early next year if the fighting does not stop. Soon, it is likely that there will be close to 2 million displaced persons inside Syria according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There are currently, according to the 10/12 UNHCR Syrian Refugee Report, 205,000 in Jordan, approximately 60,000 in I raq (the first known refugees who have sought refuge in Iraq during the past quarter century) 110,649 in Turkey and 110,095 in Lebanon. The true figures are higher by an estimated 13% if one were to include the many Syrian refugees who are unable or do not want to register with local authorities or NGO’s for various reasons.

“Many more Syrians have recently been displaced within our borders and we are bracing for a long conflict.” Dr. Abdul Rahman Attar, Director of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent told this observer during a meeting in his Damascus office. Dr. Attar explained that “internally displaced persons” now exceed 1.5 million and close to 8.5% of the entire population have fled their homes during the last 19 months of conflict. Nearly 400,000 in Damascus alone.   Panos Moumtzis, UNHCR’s regional co-coordinator for Syrian refugee’ s advised that more than 3,000 refugees flee to neighboring countries every day, or approximately 90,000 per month.  Both agree that due to the collapse of public services, and given that perhaps 1.2 million people need humanitarian aid inside the country, it brings the total number of Syrians requiring some form of relief to 2.7 million – or roughly 12 per cent of the total population.

Politicizing Humanitarian Aid

Whereas in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, official refugee camps are providing shelter at no cost to more than a quarter million Syrian refugees, the government in Lebanon has not yet permitted the construction of similar sites due to confessional fears that perhaps a political or other advantage might somehow accrue to a rival sect-once more exposing how deeply its cu rrent anarchist confessionalist arrangement paralyzes Lebanon. Unfortunately it is the same mentality and prejudices that so far has prevented Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from being granted the same elementary civil rights to work and to own a home that Syria and every other country granted the victims of the Zionist colonial enterprise usurpation of Palestine, six decades ago.

The number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon who fled the violence in their homeland have increased sectarian tensions with one result being Syrian workers and refugees being targeted by elements of the Lebanese government. This despite the enormous aid Syria gave Lebanese refugees during the 2006 war when hundreds of thousands of Lebanese sought safety next door in Syria.  Nadim Houry, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa for Human Rights Watch, has documented growing political harassment of Syrian workers i n Lebanon. He reports: “We’ve seen the army and the police detaining and roughing up a number of Syrian workers. Most recently, the Lebanese army beat up 72 workers; most of them were Syrian,” Houry reported. “The Lebanese army rounded up the migrant men in the neighborhood and decided to ‘teach them a lesson’ instead of doing police work.”

Against this dismal backdrop one can find across the border in Syria hope and even inspiration.  It is coming from the Syrian people themselves and their mainly Arab friends.  Between 10,000 and 11,000 volunteers, including Iraqi and Palestinian refugees, are manning across Syria more than 80 Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARC) aid “sub-stations.” These include more than a dozen mobile clinics and pharmacies as well as 10 “on the spot readiness centers.”  Depending on the level of localized conflict on any given day, SARC volunteers operate 24/7 anywhere from 6 and 30 ambulances, as they liaise with the Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteers, among others. Since mid-summer, SARC volunteers have been opening centers for psychological support services for children as well as adults. Recently a phone “hotline” has been set-up to help citizens find emergency help. International volunteers are most welcomed at any of SARC’s centers.

SARC’s volunteers have recently been praised by the UN World Food Program and many others for their work delivering humanitarian aid to internal refugees here in Syria. They distribute necessities of life during the chaos and killing to their fellow countrymen without regard to religion or political views. Foreign donor countries giving the most support currently include Germany, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy and Brita in. Others help as well, including money and foodstuffs from Iran and cash from the American Red Cross, the latter channeled through the ICRC so as not to raise Congressional outcries about possible violations of heavy US sanctions being imposed on the Syrian people.

Founded in 1942, as the French colonizers withdrew from this 7000 year old civilization which they occupied in 1917, as part of the English-French Sykes-Picot arrangement, the Syria Arab Red Crescent society became linked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1946. SARC receives no government funding. This observer had the opportunity to meet SARC staff and volunteers of such singular commitment to helping their countrymen that more than a dozen have given their lives while trying to bring assistance to those stranded in Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, Deraa and elsewhere. One SARC team leader to me: “When one of our people is& nbsp; killed we bury the martyr  and by the next morning we have 20 or more new volunteers who want to take their place and bring aid to those trapped in the most dangerous areas. I must tell you that this hell we are living through-we are confronting directly—it has made me very proud of my people and to be Syrian. Enshallah, we will overcome this chaos and killing and we will be stronger than before as a people.”

At the United Nations on 11/5/12, a top relief official said the UN aid effort in Syria, which means mainly SARC’s volunteers, “is very dangerous and very difficult.” The official, John Ging, director of operations of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that the aid efforts in Syria (mainly being done by SARC volunteers) was supplying 1.5 million people in with food and that nearly half was being delivered into areas of conf lict, but “there are areas beyond our reach, particularly areas under opposition control for quite a long time.”

Despite UNCHR’s role in studying the refugee problem and coordinating yet more studies and some registration of aid applicants during the current crisis, some familiar with its activities in Syria, including a few other NGO’s and some Syrian officials, have been critical of its performance to date. One highly respected governmental official told this observer recently, “I said to UNCHR’s local administration, “We have noticed the many fine vehicles that you flew into Syria, and we have met some of the well paid staff that you have brought to help us, but please can you show us that you have to date delivered even one loaf of bread to our desperate people?"

In fairness to UNCHR, aft er an admittedly slow start in Syria, it has recently picked up steam and its international staff is learning much from the local Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers.

Nor is SARC is without its critics.

Tawfik Chamaa, spokesman for the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM) speaking from his comfortable Geneva office issued an ad holmium broadside on 11/6/12 against the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society and its nearly 11,000 volunteers. He charged that cash or materials sent to SARC was being “confiscated by the regime. It will not reach the civilians who are bombed every day or besieged,” telling reporters in Geneva, “Ninety, even 95 percent of everything that is sent to Syrian Red Crescent headquarters in Damascus goes to support the Syrian regime, especially the soldiers.”

However, according to AFP, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN World Food Program (WFP), which both work closely with the Syrian Red Crescent Society, strongly denied their aid was being seized by the government or anyone else. This observer, during the late night of 11/7/12 contacted “Wassim”, a friend and a volunteer at the Damascus SARC HQ who last week arranged visits for me of SARC aid distribution centers and Wassim also flatly denied the UOSSM report.  Wassim informed this observer on the evening of 11/7/12 that SARC will immediately prepare a response to the USOOM allegations.

UOSSM itself  has been criticized,  as have a few other  NGO’s working in Syria, for becoming  politicized, polarized and for being inordinately top heavy administratively with bloated salaries and ? 1; humanitarian team leaders” sitting in  offices in Paris or Geneva and elsewhere far from Syria.  Mr. Chamaa, himself, is a high salaried founding member of the Western group of 14 aid organizations from countries including France, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. According to SARC volunteers working in field aid distribution centers in Syria, Mr Chamaa could learn more were he to visit Syria and actually observe what’s happening on the ground before making unsupported claims. The UOSSM was set up at the beginning of the year mainly by Syrian doctors living in NATO countries.  Some speculate that UOSSM hopes to be part of a possible future NATO affiliated “transition team”  while others claim its political charges against SARC volunteers, without proof, are irresponsible and hurt those suffering most in Syria. The reason is because such alarmist press releases tend to damp down much needed donations of medical aid and necessities. This affects directly the 1.5 million people inside Syria who are in need of emergency humanitarian aid.

In response to Charmaa’s sensationalistic headline grabbing charges, UN World Food Program spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told the media on 11/7/12: ”I believe there is absolutely no confiscation. WFP food monitors are able to visit most areas to check that food is reaching the people who need it most. Even in some dangerous areas, they use WFP armored vehicles.” She insisted that the Red Crescent, “as the designated coordinator of humanitarian assistance in Syria, operates through branches in an independent manner”.

The ICRC said it was aware of Chamaa’s allegations. Its HQ stated on 11/7/12: “Whenever such facts are clearly established, which does not appear to be the case in Syria, we treat them v ery seriously and would address directly the management of (the Syrian Red Crescent) and Syrian authorities” ICRC spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk stressed that the ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent “strive to assist all populations in need without any discrimination, which is a challenging task given the deteriorating humanitarian situation and security conditions.” The ICRC and SARC volunteers  recently  managed to deliver medical and food aid to 1,200 people in the Old City of Homs, and since the beginning of the year they have provided food, water and other assistance to more than one million people across Syria, according to ICRC spokeswoman Anastasia Isyuk, and as reported by AFP.

On 11/8/12 exhibiting exasperation, a sense of foreboding and just a whiff of defeatism, ICRC president Peter Maurer to a conference in Geneva that “We are in a situation where the humanitarian situation due to the conflict is getting worse. And we can’t cope with the worsening of the situation. We have a lot of blank spots, we know that no aid has been there and I can’t tell you what the situation is or what we can do.”

In a late breaking development Friday morning, 11/9/12, the UN human rights chief expressed concern after the ICRC said it was struggling to deliver aid in war-ravaged Syria. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told AFP during an interview at the Bali Democracy Forum in Indonesia: “The fact that they’ve now said they are unable to perform their core functions makes the humanitarian crisis in Syria extremely critical. Nearly hopeless.”

Don’t tell that to Zeinab Tamari, a  thirties something Palestinian volunteer from the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Damascus who is traveling across Syria bringing aid and relief to her fellow Arabs

And don’t tell either it to Syrian student Mahar Saad whose home was destroyed during fighting in Homs and who daily risks his life remaining in his neighborhood helping his neighbors despite losing family members in the fighting.   Both are SARC volunteers appeared without being asked at one of the aid organizations outlets across Syria to help.  They inspire hope for Syria and for all humanity, regardless of the outcome of the current crisis.

The staff and volunteers who perform the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society’s humanitarian work undertaken in the main by Syrians for Syrians, with Syrians are a credit to their country and warrant the blessings and support all people of good will as they risk their lives to bring aid to their countrymen.

Franklin Lamb just returned to Beirut from Damascus and is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com

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“I do not think the West is going [to intervene], but if they do so, nobody can tell what is next. I think the price of this [foreign] invasion if it happened is going to be more than the whole world can afford,” said Assad in a Thursday interview with Russia Today TV network.

Assad praised Syria as the “last stronghold” of “stability” and “coexistence” in the region, warning that the domino effect of any military strike against the country “will affect the world from the Atlantic to the Pacific and you know the implication on the rest of the world.”



“I am not a puppet. I was not made by the West to go to the West or to any other country. I am Syrian, I was made in Syria, I have to live in Syria and die in Syria,” he pointed out.

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We have to start looking at the psychological patterns that are accumulating. Does the hidden reaction of a brain reveal childish games in Hilary Clinton's mind - “We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition..." That expression "They can be...." - yes our children speak in games like that as they arrange their dolls, their gangs, their play-mates.J.Braddell Editor

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has led the deadly trio of "humanitarian" intervention-obsessed women in Obama's administration, announced that the new Syrian Chalabis would be chosen the old fashioned way -- like the original Ahmed Chalabi! If what is claimed by the US administration and is amplified in the subservient Western press is true -- that the vast majority of the Syrian people are fighting with or supporting those seeking to overthrow the Syrian government -- why on earth would it be necessary for the United States Department of State to gather its allies together in Qatar to create a Syrian opposition? Is this not by definition evidence that the US version of the Syrian uprising is a deadly lie?Interventionism is clearly an infantile disorder. Daniel McAdams

Washington seeks new Syrian puppets in war for regime-change

By Bill Van Auken 

November 02, 2012 "
Information Clearing House" -   Speaking in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Washington is reorganizing the front representing the so-called “rebels” in Syria. The shakeup, which includes the withdrawal of US support from the Syrian National Council, is evidently part of the preparations for a more direct US intervention once next Tuesday’s presidential election is over.

Responding to a question about US policy in Syria, Clinton dismissed efforts by United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, declaring that the US “cannot and will not wait” for the UN to broker a political solution to the war in Syria. Instead, Washington will unilaterally seek to escalate that war with the aim of effecting regime-change and installing a puppet government aligned with US interests in the Middle East.

Clinton went on to describe US efforts to “groom” a new leadership to serve as a front for Washington’s neocolonial project. She allowed that the American government had “facilitated the smuggling-out of a few representatives of the Syrian internal opposition” so that they could appear before representatives of the so-called Friends of Syria, comprised of the US and its allies.

The US Secretary of State treated the Syrian National Council, which only last December she had hailed as the “leading and legitimate representative of Syrians seeking a peaceful democratic transition,” with unconcealed contempt. Syria’s opposition, she proclaimed, could not consist of people who have “not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years.” Instead, it would have to consist of “those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom.”

This public jettisoning of the front group that Clinton had so recently promoted as the salvation of the Syrian people for an as yet unidentified assemblage of new “revolutionaries”—hand-picked by the US State Department—constitutes an admission of the failure of US policy thus far in Syria.Clearly, Washington had anticipated that its policy of covertly arming and funding armed militia groups in Syria, with the collaboration of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, would have toppled the government of President Bashar al-Assad by now. What has become evident is that large sections of the Syrian population, while hostile to the Assad regime, are even more opposed to and fearful of the so-called rebels.

Clinton’s statements were made in preparation for a conference to be convened in Doha, Qatar next week, where the new opposition council is to be formally constituted under the tutelage of Washington and the former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford. He has been directly involved in identifying and selecting “revolutionaries” who appear likely to toe the US line.

“We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure,” Clinton told the news conference in Zagreb. “We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”

It is difficult to overstate the cynicism and brazenness of the US Secretary of State’s approach. Having previously anointed the SNC as the “legitimate” representative of the Syrian people, she now decrees that they are no longer serviceable as the “visible leader” of the opposition. In other words, a new public Syrian face for US imperialist intervention is needed, and Washington has handpicked the individuals who will make it up.

No doubt, this is dictated in part by the identification of the leadership of the SNC with the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and US concerns that within Syria this only strengthens the hostility of those who see the bid to overthrow the Assad government as a sectarian-based war backed by Washington.

While the SNC leaders would still get a piece of the action—perhaps a third of the leadership—under Washington’s new arrangement, they would have to cede formal control to the new front, including those with “a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.” What Syrian voices are “legitimate” is to be determined by the US State Department, which, no doubt, will want to see a collection of Alawite, Shia, Kurdish and Christian “assets” brought on board.

The SNC itself, however, has rejected the US plan, calling its own conference in Doha in the immediate run-up to the US-sponsored meeting and indicating that it is prepared to fight to preserve its franchise as the “legitimate” opposition backed by the imperialist powers and the Sunni Muslim regimes in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Where these regimes, which have their own interests in the Syrian civil war, will line up is not altogether clear, and it has been reported that Turkey and Qatar still support the SNC.

There is every possibility that the gathering being organized in Doha will turn into an internecine free-for-all, much like a similar conference convened in Cairo last June, where delegates ended up throwing fists and furniture at each other.

“We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution,” Clinton told Wednesday’s news conference. Again, the question is what kind of opposition “we,” meaning Washington and its imperialist allies, need, not what the Syrian people want.

In any case, such a formal disassociation from “extremism” and cosmetic change in the exile leaders posing as a government-in-waiting will hardly shift the sectarian lineup of the ongoing civil war. The CIA, which is orchestrating the funneling of weapons supplied by the Saudi, Turkish and Qatari regimes, has acknowledged that the lion’s share of these armaments are going to the Islamist militias.

Washington’s aim is to cobble together a group that can provide the basis for a puppet regime in Damascus, much as it did with various Iraqi exiles in advance of the 2003 US war on Iraq. As one unnamed senior administration official told Foreign Policy, “We call it a proto-parliament. One could also think of it as a continental congress.”

That such a body is being prepared strongly suggests that the Obama administration is preparing a sharp escalation of the US intervention in Syria in the wake of the November 6 election, perhaps including the use of military force to carve out a “safe haven.” Such an intervention would be part of a wider campaign in preparation for war with Iran, posing the threat of a regional and even global military conflagration.

The entire sordid maneuver in Doha has underscored the real character of the so-called Syrian “revolution,” whose leadership is being directly selected and installed by the US State Department. It further exposes the role of pseudo-left forces, such as the International Socialist Organization in the US, the Socialist Workers Party in Britain, and the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, which have sought to promote the US-backed war for regime-change as a revolution and legitimize the “human rights” pretext for imperialist intervention.

This article was originally posted at WSWS

Copyright 1998-2012 World Socialist Web Site - All rights reserved

EDITOR'S COMMENT:I underline these quotes and inferences because there is no element of mature diplomacy to be imparted anywhere along the line. Many, so many, of us regard America's responses since 2001 in general as immature. Thus it becomes more and more bizarre that nowhere among the world's leaders is anyone challenging and collecting others to express a legal corrective, or dismiss what is called above "the brazen" methods of the American President's ministers and advisers.The world's leaders presume only to have meetings and talk among themselves. None have spoken to their nation's people about the crimes, death and tortures in the Middle East. They seem utterly incapable of exercising strength and determination to engage diplomatically and openly with either the UK or the USA. Meantime we are expected to accept the utter destruction of the original Arab Spring, non-violent, even exuberant meetings by the overwhelming numbers of young people; we are expected to accept the death of thousands of them and to permit the continuous escalation of brute force and acquisition by Western politicians.


  • Syrian refugees, most from Abu-Kamal, Syria, take shelter in one of 17 schools located in al-Qaim. The Iraqi government has been confining them there since late July. The schools, and one tent camp in al-Qaim where they are being transfered, are guarded by the Iraqi police and military. 2012 Human Rights Watch

For many years, Syria kept its borders open to Palestinians, Lebanese, and Iraqis fleeing conflict in their countries and allowed them free movement. Today, as Syrians flee horrific violence, neighboring countries should extend them the same hospitality. Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director