Hands Off Syria
Step Up the Fight for an Anti-War Government
On September 14, after three days of intense negotiations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that Russia and the United States had reached agreement on a plan to solve the Syria crisis. News agency accounts report that Lavrov said their decision was based upon “consensus and compromise.”
Such a deal necessarily elaborates the process involved for a country to declare its chemical weapons and submit to international protocols contained in the Geneva Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention). Despite this, to cause confusion, Kerry immediately started giving his spin on the deal. Syria has been given one week to declare its stock of chemical weapons, he said, and the country must immediately allow in international inspectors. Arms inspectors should be on the ground in Syria by November with the goal of eliminating the country’s chemical weapons by mid-2014, Kerry said.
“Providing this framework is fully implemented it can end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but also to their neighbors,” Kerry told reporters. “The world will now expect [President Bashar] al-Assad’s regime to live up to its commitments... There can be no room for games. Or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime,” he added.
Obama also reiterated that the U.S. is still prepared to take military action. He said, “If diplomacy fails, the United Sates remains prepared to act.” Earlier, in a September 10 speech he said that though he asked Congress to postpone a vote "authorizing" the crime of use of force, “I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails.” Obama has repeatedly indicated that he will decide if “diplomacy fails,” and whether and when to give the order to strike. He continues to say this will be done with or without Congressional authorization or a UN Security Council (UNSC) mandate. Kerry has continued to emphasize that the UNSC must pass a binding resolution — setting up the possibility that failure to do so would be considered a “failure of diplomacy,” and justification for military action.
The American people, standing with all those worldwide, have continued to firmly oppose war, with weekly actions taking place the month of September in cities across the country. Everywhere the demand is Hands Off Syria. There is growing anger that Obama is refusing to submit to this majority and continues to threaten Syria with military action while Congress continues to fund war and fails to act against the crime of aggression.
As the anti-war movement steps up its efforts, the need for an anti-war government is coming to the fore. The problems presenting are not just one war, but a war economy and a war president. It is a government of presidential dictate, where Might Makes Right is the guide to action, abroad and at home. The war economy and militarization are infecting all aspects of life, the schools, workplaces, culture. Violence and use of force by the president is finding its expression in mass murders and growing violence at home. The call for military action further infects society with Might Makes Right and solves none of these problems.
It is an anti-war government that can end use of force, punish those responsible for U.S. crimes and Bring All U.S. Troops Home Now! It is an anti-war government that can fight for the rights of all abroad and at home and in so doing provide for a bright future. Voice of Revolution urges all to join in work for an anti-war government as an important means to strengthen the anti-war movement and advance the cause of all the peoples for peace and security.
On September 10, the day before the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on the U.S., President Barack Obama addressed the people of the U.S. in a bid to justify a targeted military strike against Syria. The goal of such a strike according to Obama would be to send a message to the Syrian government and the world concerning the use of chemical weapons. The cruel irony of the declaration the day prior to the anniversary when terrorists carried out a targeted attack against the U.S., killing more than 3,000 people, is that that attack was also allegedly carried out to send a message to the “West.” How the U.S. president believes that sending such “messages” enforces international agreements and covenants and that following such military actions, a political solution can be found, defies the imagination of mere mortals who, admittedly, have not given themselves the powers of “Commander-in-Chief” of the most aggressive armed forces in the world.
Exhibiting all the traits of an aggressive narcissist, Obama’s address was intended to overcome the widespread opposition of the American people to war after the crimes of U.S. imperialism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere around the world. At a time it is clear to the entire world that no problems internationally have been solved by the U.S. use of force, targeted assassinations, drone warfare and “boots on the ground,” and the same goes for the use of force by its allies and the aggressive U.S. commanded military alliance NATO, Obama is arguing for more of the same. But this time he ups the ante with the thinly veiled threat of an even more deadly strike this time around.
“Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force — we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad, or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons.”
The peoples of the world are left to worry about what precisely the U.S. president has in mind. No strike should be unleashed against Syria, let alone a nuclear strike should that be what Obama is entertaining. In his aggressive narcissism he declares that a single strike will solve the problem of Syria once and for all, just as Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney swore their shock-and-awe tactics would get all the people of Iraq to welcome them as victors after ten years of crippling sanctions and days of bombardment. The U.S. ruling circles also continue hell-bent on using the American youth as cannon fodder and all the vast resources of the society for war and destruction and the President thinks they can be persuaded to support him and, if they refuse, then he warns them that he is Commander-in-Chief and has the power to order the strikes against Syria even without their approval.
“That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress.”
Obama’s Push for War
In his remarks Obama brazenly argued that Might Makes Right. He sought to make it clear that the U.S. is not abandoning the use of force, and in fact that it is the use of force in international affairs by the U.S. which is the basis of resolving conflicts. Despite the experience of humanity with U.S. imperialist aggression following WWII, which includes the widescale use of chemical and biological weapons against defenseless populations, Obama claims the U.S. is the exception as it uses force for peace and the good of humanity.
“America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”
He argued that the U.S. has a duty to intervene in a country’s civil war by financing and arming rebel groups. This Obama calls support for the “moderate opposition” in Syria and a political solution.
“Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement.”
All this criminal logic is based on the assertion that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people. Since there is no evidence, Obama places his bets on social media videos which are the easiest to manufacture and the U.S. has been caught fabricating them many times. He argues that because Syria has done it, proven by the social media videos, the Syrian people need to be attacked in order to protect U.S. troops from facing chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction on the battle field in the future, used by other “dictators.”
“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.”
In the twisted mind of the president, the attack is not about Syria; it is not about creating conditions to provide problems with political solutions. It is about the ability of U.S. imperialism to send its troops around the world without resistance. Obama cited Iran specifically. He confounds Iran’s right to self-determination and to protect itself in case of attack by suggesting it is a rogue state with nuclear weapons with which it intends to damage world peace. All those who condone an attack against Syria under the criminal pretext that such an action defends the Syrian people and humanity from worse, which lies ahead if they do not attack, should be clear that Iran is next on the hit list. If Iran also refuses to submit to foreign interference and takeover, if it refuses to submit to U.S. dictate, it will be attacked. Since Iran will refuse, then we are to believe that the U.S. should be free to attack whoever it wishes. It must not pass!
Obama asks everyone to agree with him that the use of military force is a legitimate tool of diplomacy and to believe that it is the victims of aggression who threaten the peace and that therefore the U.S. is duty-bound to safeguard it no matter what the cost. Obama claimed that the U.S. is not the world’s policeman, but that where it does have the ability to impose its dictate, it should. Syria he claimed is one of these cases.
According to Obama’s narcissistic account of his actions, he has spent the last four years trying to get the U.S. out of wars as in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan. He failed to mention Libya which was bombed to bits, or Pakistan where his administration uses drones to assassinate its enemies, as is now the case anywhere in the world at any time.
Obama addressed the Russian proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to the international community to be destroyed. He claimed that if Syria complied, it would avoid the need for military strikes. He reiterated that the reason the Syrians were going this route was because of the credible threat of the use of force by the U.S. Above all he made it clear that the U.S. will not abandon the use of force, which he says is the only way to have peace.
“[O]ver the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.”
For those who worry about retaliation, Obama said that Syria offers no real threat to U.S. security.
For those who worry that U.S. intervention would lead to ground gained for Al Qaeda, Obama said not to worry because after an attack the U.S. would push for “political solutions.”
One can only conclude that it does not matter what the world is saying and reality is showing, Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama wants war. There is no greater cowardice than to invoke the plight of Syrian children suffering from a conflict fuelled by the U.S., France, Britain, other NATO powers and their proxies in the region, to justify using force against Syria. It is up to the peoples of the world, Americans first and foremost, to stay the hand of U.S. imperialism by going all out to demand it renounce the use of force in international affairs. (TML Daily, cpcml.ca)
1. Aggressive narcissism includes the following traits:
• glibness/superficial charm [TOP]
Posted below is the text of an interview given by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Russia’s TV channel Rossiya 24, published by the Syrian Arab News Agency, September 13, 2013.
Russia 24: Why did Syria agree to the Russian initiative, which proposes handing over its chemical weapons to the international community? Why so rapidly?
President al-Assad: Over 10 years ago, Syria presented the UN with a proposal for a WMD-Free Middle East; this was because the region is turbulent and has been immersed in wars for decades. Thus removing unconventional weapons would be rational in order to enhance stability. At that particular time the U.S hindered the proposal.
Firstly, in principle we strive for peace and stability therefore we do not perceive the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)’s in the Middle East to have any positive effect. Secondly, in relation to current developments, Syria as a state genuinely seeks to avert another war of lunacy on itself and countries in the region, contrary to the efforts of warmongers in the U.S. who seek to inflame a regional war. We continue to pay the price of U.S. wars, be it in geographically distant Afghanistan or neighboring Iraq. We believe that a war on Syria shall be destructive to the region and embroil it in a quagmire of instability for decades or generations to come. Thirdly, and most remarkably, what was most encouraging was the Russian initiative itself, without which we would not have been able to pursue this path.
Our relations with Russia are founded on trust, which grew during the crisis throughout the last two and a half years. The fact that Russia has proven itself to have an insight into events in the region with high credibility as a reliable major power encouraged Syria to work towards signing the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Russia 24: For example, the American President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Syria’s acceptance of the Russian initiative to place the chemical weapons under international observation only derived from threat of missile strikes. Is this true?
President al-Assad: This is American propaganda; Kerry, Obama and the American administration seek to appear victorious, as if their threats yielded success. This is insignificant to us; what matters is for the decision to be based on Syria’s convictions and a significant Russian role. Only weeks ago, the American threats of a military strike were not for disarming Syria of WMDs, but based on American allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons. The Americans began to mention this not before, but after the G20 summit. Furthermore the main catalyst in this move was the Russian initiative alongside our discussions with Russian officials. Without the Russian initiative, the matter would not have been deliberated with any other country.
Russia 24: Yesterday, statements circulated that Russia presented the U.S. with a plan for fulfilling the initiative on international control of Syrian chemical weapons. Would Your Excellency please explain what was discussed in terms of proposed steps?
President al-Assad: Over the forthcoming days, Syria shall send letters to the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with the technical records necessary to sign the convention. Subsequently, work shall commence to sign the anti-chemical weapons convention, which prohibits its production, storage or usage. I believe the agreement will come into effect a month after signing it and Syria will start submitting data regarding its chemical weapons stockpile to international organizations.
These are standard procedures, which we shall adhere to, however it does not mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfill the obligations and that’s it. It is a bilateral process aimed principally at making the U.S. cease pursuing its policy of aggression against Syria and proceed in compliance with the Russian initiative. When we see the U.S. genuinely working towards stability in the region and stop threatening, striving to attack, and delivering arms to terrorists then we will believe that the necessary processes can be finalized. From a Syrian perspective, we perceive that this is achievable and can be implemented; however this is not a single-track process. The only country capable of undertaking this role is Russia, due to the absence of trust and contact between us and the Americans.
Russia 24: Were the initiative to be implemented, which international body would the Syrian Arab Republic favor as the Organization to control the chemical weapons? The situation in Syria is hardly ordinary.
President al-Assad: We believe that the logical and appropriate body is the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is the only organization that has the capability and experts that oversee the implementation of this convention in all countries.
Russia 24: We all comprehend that Israel signed but has never ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention. Will Syria demand that Israel fulfill this requirement?
President al-Assad: When we proposed a project on the elimination of WMDs in the region, the U.S. opposed it; one of the reasons was to allow Israel to possess such weapons. If we desire stability in the Middle East, all countries in the region should adhere to these agreements, and Israel is the first that should do so, since Israel has nuclear, chemical, biological and other types of weapons of mass destruction. No country should possess weapons of mass destruction. That would protect the region and the world from devastating and expensive wars in the future.
Russia 24: Syria will hand over its chemical weapons to international control; however we know that Russian experts confirmed the use of poisonous chemical substances in Aleppo suburbs by an extremist terrorist group. What is your take on this? What do you suggest to protect Syrians and neighboring countries from these groups that may launch chemical attacks?
President al-Assad: The incident you cited was in March 2013 when the terrorists launched missiles carrying poisonous chemical materials on civilians in Khan al-Asal near Aleppo and tens were killed. Subsequently, we requested the UN to send a commission of experts to confirm and document what occurred in order to determine the identity of those responsible for the attack. As it was obvious that the terrorists were responsible, the U.S. hindered the deployment of the commission to Syria.
Therefore, alongside the Russian experts, we submitted all the details and indications to Russia. The evidence confirmed that the attack was perpetrated by the terrorists in Northern Syria. The delegation of experts on chemical weapons — who were in Syria a week ago — are yet to return to implement the agreement we signed with them during their last visit, which stipulates inspecting a number of areas of which was Khan al-Asal was amongst the top. This must be carefully investigated to determine the nature of the materials used, who used them and most importantly which countries provided these poisonous materials to the terrorists and subsequently to hold them accountable.
Russia 24: Mr. President, is it possible to confiscate these poisonous materials from the terrorists? Is this feasible?
President al-Assad: This ultimately depends on which countries are connected to the terrorists. All countries claim that they do not cooperate with terrorists, yet we know for certain that the West provides them with logistical support, claiming that it is a non-lethal military support or humanitarian aid.
However, the reality is that the West and particular countries in the region, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, maintain direct contact with the terrorists and supply them with all measure of arms. We believe that one of these countries has supplied the terrorists with chemical weapons. One would assume that these states can cease supplying the terrorists with such weapons; nevertheless there are terrorists who would never comply. When they have arms and the opportunity to inflict havoc, they would never submit, even to those who provided them with weapons and money.
Russia 24: Mr. President, certain American media outlets reported that officers in the Syrian Arab Army on several occasions asked for your permission to use chemical weapons in fighting the armed opposition, you did not approve, however they used these poisonous weapons independently. Is this credible?
President al-Assad: This is a part of American propaganda that spares no effort to justify aggression.
This reminds us of the actions of Colin Powell under George W. Bush’s administration ten years ago, when he presented what was claimed as evidence of Saddam Hussein’s possession of WMD’s which was later proven to be false. They are now repeating similar lies; what you quoted amounts to that. The reality is that, firstly, approving the use of chemical weapons was never discussed in Syria by any party. Secondly, the use of such weapons in different countries remains centralized and not at the disposal of the troops. No infantry or armored divisions would have such armaments. These armaments are used by specialized units. Therefore these lies are neither logical nor credible.
Russia 24: Mr. President, very recently, the Congress was presented with what was pronounced as credible and indisputable evidence. There was video to prove the American narrative that chemical weapons were used in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian Army. What is your opinion on this?
President al-Assad: They failed to produce any evidence, not to Congress or the media; hence they did not present any proof to their own people or even to Russia with whom they are currently holding talks or any other country for that matter. It is just mere talk and an extension of American propaganda. Logically it is not conceivable to use WMD’s only hundreds of meters away from your own troops. Those weapons cannot be deployed in residential areas since they would kill tens of thousands; nor when you are making major advances using conventional weapons. The rhetoric used was unconvincing which placed this American administration in a difficult position domestically. They were less skillful than Bush’s administration that could convince part of the world of their lies. This administration could not even persuade its own allies of its lies. Therefore these allegations bear no value; they are unrealistic and un-credible.
Russia 24: Mr. President, the last question which I cannot spare since it concerns wider general safety and security. There are Russian specialists and media outlets that reported that terrorists might prepare for chemical attacks against Israel from government controlled areas. As commander in chief do you confirm this information?
President al-Assad: Firstly, since it is certain that chemical materials are owned by terrorist groups and were used against our soldiers and civilians; this denotes that these materials are readily available. Secondly, we comprehend that these terrorist groups, or those who mobilize them, were seeking to provoke an American strike and, prior to that, they had attempted to involve Israel in the Syrian crisis. For the same reason, your proposition is not unlikely; a regional war would create more chaos, which would enable these terrorist groups to inflict more destruction and sabotage. This is a genuine challenge since the terrorists do possess these chemical materials and certain countries are supplying them.