Thursday, 19 April 2018

بومبيو وكيم جونغ أون… ماذا بعد؟



أبريل 19, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– يستقبل الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب وزير خارجية كوريا الجنوبية والموضوع هو التحضير للقمة التي ستجمعه مع زعيم كوريا الشمالية كيم جونغ أون. وفي اليوم نفسه يكشف عن زيارة سرية تمّت قبل أيام لمدير مخابراته الذي صار وزيراً لخارجيته مايك بومبيو إلى بيونغ يانغ لبدء التفاوض مع الزعيم الكوري الشمالي، ولا يتردّد في القول إن المباحثات كانت إيجابية تحت عنوان نزع السلاح النووي في العالم. ومعلوم أن الزعيم الكوري الشمالي الأسبق الراحل كيم إيل سونغ جد الزعيم الحالي كيم جونغ أون، كان صاحب مبادرة لنزع السلاح النووي في العالم تبدأ بتجميع هذا السلاح لدى الدول الدائمة العضوية في مجلس الأمن، بنقل مخزون الدول النووية خارج مجلس الأمن لدى مَن يختارونه من الأعضاء الدائمين مقابل تقديم الضمانات اللازمة لهم بعدم تعرّضهم للعدوان، ومنحهم الحوافز الاقتصادية للمشاريع التنموية بدلاً من سباق السلاح.

– الحفيد كيم جونغ أون يضع هذه المبادرة على الطاولة، ويقول إنه مستعدّ لتخزين سلاح كوريا الشمالية النووي لدى كل من الصين وروسيا مقابل الضمانات لأمنها وسلاحها واقتصادها وتشريع وضعها الدبلوماسي عالمياً من جهة، وتخلّي واشنطن عن استخدام كوريا الجنوبية كقاعدة عسكرية لتهديد الجيران. وهذه المبادرة هي التي فتحت باب التفاوض. وهذا يعني شراكة صينية روسية حتمية لنجاح المفاوضات التي يرغب ترامب جعلها تتصدر جدول أعماله للسنة المقبلة على الأقل، هذا عدا كون بلوغ التفاوض هذه المرحلة كان مستحيلاً من دون توقع مساهمة صينية روسية واضحة على أكثر من صعيد لمنح كوريا الشمالية الاطمئنان بأنها لن تكون في موقع تفاوضي ضعيف.

– بومبيو الذي كثرت التحليلات عن سبب مجيئه لوزارة الخارجية، يتولّى التفاوض أو ربما يتولى مواصلة التفاوض الذي بدأه قبل مغادرته مقرّ وكالة المخابرات الأميركية، والذي تمّ عبر قنوات مع أجهزة موازية في روسيا والصين والكوريتين الشمالية والجنوبية. والسؤال الطبيعي في ملف يبدو إنجازه بنجاح ورقة الرئيس الأميركي الرابحة في نيل فرص الولاية الثانية في البيت الأبيض، أن يجري توظيف سائر الملفات في خدمة إنجاحه. وهذا يعني استحالة قراءة المواقف الأميركية تجاه مستقبل سورية في دائرة فتح الباب لمواجهة مع روسيا، وهذا يقدّم تفسيراً وافياً لما رافق ما قيل إنه ضربة تحت السقف الروسي، لا تزعج ولا تؤذي، ويسهل التعامل معها، لكنها تمنح ترامب رصيداً داخلياً من جمهور لن يدقق في النتائج بقدر ما سيتلقى عبر الإعلام الأميركي الأنباء والصور عن الصواريخ الأميركية تنطلق نحو سورية.

– المسار الذي سترسمه المفاوضات الأميركية مع كوريا سيمنع الذهاب للمزيد من التصعيد الأميركي مع روسيا، وخصوصاً في سورية، الملف الأهم للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين. وهذا يعني أن تكون إيران مرتاحة و»إسرائيل» قلقة. فإخلاء واشنطن لسورية عملياً لحساب روسيا، يعني أن «إسرائيل» باتت وحيدة في مواجهة إيران عملياً، وأن إيران لن تكون تحت ضغوط مواجهة خطر تصادم مباشر مع الأميركيين. وهذا سيرسم معادلات من نوع جديد، لحلفاء أميركا في التعامل مع إيران، وفي طليعتهم السعودية التي لا تزال تقود خطاباً إعلامياً تصعيدياً بوجه طهران، لكن هذا التبدّل الجديد ربما يفسر سبب ما يُحكى عن تقدّم في التوجه نحو التسوية في الملف اليمني، وما يُحكى ضمن هذا السياق عن تقدم في مفاوضات سعودية إيرانية غير مباشرة تقودها سلطنة عمان بينهما.

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Syrian Army hands over two intact US cruise missiles that failed to detonate to Russian military – reports

Photo credit: AP
The cruise missiles in question had been used to attack Syria during a US-led strike operation against Syrian military targets on April 14, however, failed to detonate for unknown reasons.
 The captured missiles were reportedly delivered to Russian military forces in Syria on April 17 and have since been transferred to Russia via plane as of April 18. TASS says that the Russian Ministry of Defence has not commented as of this time.
The failure of the missiles to detonate can likely be put down to one of two things; first, general operational failure or, second, failure due to jamming by electronic warfare systems.
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حلب وعيد الجلاء



أبريل 18, 2018

ناصر قنديل
– كان اختيار الرئيس السوري لحفل عيد الجلاء الذي يحييه السوريون كلّ سنة، هذه السنة في قلعة حلب، فيما يتزامن هذا العيد الذي يرمز لانتصار المقاومة السورية المتمسكة بالهويتين الوطنية والعربية بوجه الاستعمار الفرنسي ومشروع تقسيم سورية لدويلات طائفية، وسلب دورها العربي وقرارها الحر، مع المواجهة التي خاضتها سورية بوجه العدوان الذي تشاركت فيه فرنسا ذاتها بأحلامها الاستعمارية، مع بريطانيا وأميركا وبدعم مخابراتي إسرائيلي وبدعم مالي سعودي إماراتي، واستخدام تسهيلات القواعد الأميركية في قطر والقواعد البريطانية في قبرص. وكما في يوم الجلاء احتفل السوريون بنصرهم الجديد على العدوان وخرجوا إلى الساحات يهتفون لجيشهم ولدولتهم ولعروبتهم ولرئيسهم الذي يجسّد هذه المعاني، بمثل ما يختزن معاني صمود وانتصار سورية.

– حلب التي كان لها دور مميّز في صناعة الانتصار على المستعمر الفرنسي بإصرارها على قيام دولة سورية موحّدة ورفض مشروع انفصالها عن الوطن، وهو ما عبّر عنه الزعيم الحلبي إبراهيم هنانو بتضامنه مع زعيم المقاومة في الساحل السوري صالح العلي وزعيم المقاومة في جنوب سورية سلطان باشا الأطرش، وصاغوا بموجبه رسائلهم الرافضة لمشروع الدويلات للمحتل، وتمسّكهم بالاستقلال الناجز هي حلب ذاتها التي رفضت المشروع ذاته مجدداً يوم حمله الأتراك في بدايات الحرب التي استهدفت سورية قبل سبعة أعوام وهي حلب التي دفعت غالياً من شبابها وعمرانها واقتصادها، ثمن هذا التمسك بالوطنية السورية والعروبة وهي حلب التي انطلق من تحريرها مشروع تحرير كامل سورية، الذي عبر منها إلى تدمر ودير الزور والبوكمال، واستقرّ في الإنجاز الكبير بتحرير الغوطة، وسيعود إلى حلب ليتواصل الإنجاز باتجاه الشرق والغرب نحو إدلب والرقة. وقلعة حلب هي التي ترمز لتجذّر هذه المدينة العريقة في التاريخ كان لها فصل من فصول المواجهة في تحرير حلب، حيث كانت البداية من القلعة نحو حلب، كما كانت من حلب نحو سائر مناطق سورية.

– اختيار الرئيس الأسد لحلب وقلعتها كان معبّراً عن المكانة التي تحتلّها حلب وقلعتها في رمزية المعركة الراهنة للاستقلال السوري، الذي تُعاد كتابته هذه المرّة، بوجه حلف استعماري أقوى وأخطر مما عرفته سورية مع الاستعمار الفرنسي، حيث حشدت الجيوش والمخابرات والفضائيات والأموال واستجلب عشرات آلاف الإرهابيين، وشكّلت الفتن واللعب على العصبيات الطائفية والمذهبية سلاحاً لا يقلّ خطورة عن القتل والخراب والتدمير. وكما في المرة السابقة نجح السوريون في حماية أهمّ منجز تاريخي حققوه خلال القرن الماضي وهو دولتهم الوطنية الموحّدة والمستقلة، فصانوا مؤسساتها وعلى رأسها الرئاسة والجيش، ونجحوا بوقوفهم وراء رئيسهم وجيشهم كرمزين جامعين لمفهوم الدولة الوطنية الموحّدة والمستقلة بالانتصار على أعتى مشروع استعماري حديث أراد من كسر إرادة سورية تقديم مثال يُعيد عبره إنتاج مشروع الهيمنة على المنطقة والعالم، وقرأته المنطقة وقرأه العالم على هذا الأساس، فكان لسورية حلفاء نهضوا ينصرون دولتها الوطنية الموحّدة والمستقلة قناعة بأن كسر المشروع الاستعماري الجديد في سورية سيتكفل تجنيبهم مخاطر مواجهة نسخ أشدّ شراسة ووحشية مما عرفته سورية.

– تحتفل سورية بصدّ العدوان وهي تحيي عيد الجلاء، لكن حلب تحتفل بعودتها عاصمة للمقاومة السورية التي تحرّرت من الطائفية ومشاريع الانفصال، فكان لها الإسهام الأكبر في تحرير واستعادة وحدة سورية، وسيكون لها دور مثيل في تقديم نموذج إعمار سورية خارج مشاريع الغرب الجاهزة وفيها كلّ ألغام التبعية وفِخاخ التخريب الاقتصادي.

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JOURNALISTS FOUND BOY FILMED IN WHITE HELMETS’ DOUMA CHEMIAL ATTACK VIDEO. HE DID IT FOR FOOD

18.04.2018
Journalists Found Boy Filmed In White Helmets' Douma Chemial Attack Video. He Did It For Food
Hassan Diab shown in Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the alleged chemical attack. Click to see the full-size image
A group of Russian correspondents led by Evgeny Poddubny has found a boy filmed by the White Helmets in their video showing people “affected” by the alleged chemical attack in Douma on April 7.
According to Poddubny:
  • 11-year-old Hassan Diab is fine;
  • He suffered no injures from the “chemical attack” because there was no attack (at least then and there);
  • The boy participated in the video for food (rice, dates and cookies).
Poddubny also contacted Hassan’s father – he also said that there was no chemical attack in the town.
Journalists Found Boy Filmed In White Helmets' Douma Chemial Attack Video. He Did It For Food
Hassan Diab during the “chemical attack” and after. Click to see the full-size image
Hassan’s story is quite similar to the case observed during the battle for Aleppo city in 2016. A photo of Omran Daqneesh became popular in the mainstream media and was widely used for propaganda purposes against Syrian forces fighting militants in the city.
Journalists Found Boy Filmed In White Helmets' Douma Chemial Attack Video. He Did It For Food
Omran Daqneesh
“We were very harmed because of the gunmen and how they used things to their benefit with my child,” Omran’s father told Ruptly after the city was liberated. “Thank god, he was only slightly wounded. Thank god after the army advanced and retook these areas; we are now back in our homes. The situation now is very good, thank god.”
Daqneesh’s father also accused militants of using his son for propaganda purposes.
Not only Russians say that there was the Douma chemical attack was staged.
Earlier Pearson Sharp, a reporter of One America News Network also visited Douma and found that all the locals say that the so-called April 7 Douma chemical attack had been fabricated by militants.

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The #Skripal event and the #Douma “gas attack” – two acts in the same drama?

OffGuardian | April 14, 2018
The illegal air strikes on Syria by the coalition of the guilty (US, France, UK) have happened, to no one’s great surprise. As such things go all current indications are that they were more token than anything else. The Russians are saying around 100 missiles were fired at an unclear number of targets, of which around 70% were intercepted. Syrian General Staff are reporting 3 injuries and no deaths. Mattis was at pains to say this was a one-off, though adding the reckless caveat that any further evidence of chemical weapons usage by Assad might change that (thus giving every lunatic or CIA/neocon-controlled cell in Syria a pure gold motive for a false fag).
Compared to how bad this might have been, this is a fairly harmless result for the present.
We’ve resisted the temptation to do any kind of analysis of things so far, preferring to let them play out and to document developments and opinions. But maybe this is a good time to offer a tentative overview of what seems to have been going on in the past weeks.

1) The Douma “gas attack” was likely faked

The only evidence we have for any “gas attack” in Douma on April 7 is the videoreleased on April 7-8, showing piles of corpses, mostly children, some with foam around their mouths. When, where or how the video was made is not verifiable. Who killed the children shown or how they died is not verifiable. Additionally we have images of an alleged “gas canister”, again without any sourcing or verification, and which have been widely suggested to be implausible. And there is Bellingcat (Eliot Higgins), contributinghis usual brand of “comparisons” of images and Google maps, adding nothing that could be described even loosely as verification of the salient claims.
In opposition to this the Russians are claiming the event was staged. They allege their armed forces entered Douma shortly after the alleged attack and claim to have found no evidence of chemical weapons usage, no witnesses and no victims.
They have also released video statements by two young men claiming to be doctors at the hospital. They describe people running in to the hospital screaming that there had been a chemical attack, inciting panic among the people there, and “unqualified” people administering to children, giving them “asthma inhalers.” However, he says, there were no victims of such a chemical treated there, only victims of smoke inhalation from recent shelling and subsequent fires.
There is also the notable reluctance by US Defense Secretary, James Mattis to fully endorse the reality of this narrative. Even on April 12, just hours before the air strikes were to be implemented, he was still publicly saying he had seen no evidence to show the gas attacks happened or who may have been responsible. Given his senior position on the Trump administration, and his previously gungho attitude to military adventurism, this is significant.
Of greatest potential significance is the claim by the Russian foreign ministry that they have evidence the UK government was directly involved in staging the fake attack or encouraging a false flag. So far they haven’t released this data, so we can’t comment further at this time.

2) Primarily UK initiative?

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a) about the verifiability of the attacks, and b) about the dangers of a military response, suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure. Trump’s attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.
Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma “initiative” is a continuation of their long term policy. It’s also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.
A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.
You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.
The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking SyriaCommentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.
The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of any UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.
Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma “attack” and a tentative story-line emerges.

The Skripal consideration

Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn’t this way. Since some time in mid to late March it’s been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.
The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences where cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.
The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.
1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it
2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.
3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the “toxic substance” found in the Skripals’ blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government’s public claims of “novichok” is association by inference and proximity. Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, “novichok” may indeed not have been found in those samples at all and the active substance was a compound called “BZ”, a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America. (more about that later).
None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.
The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn’t want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all. She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has “specially trained officers… helping to take care of” her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it’s hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.
Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can’t completely control.
Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess?

Is this what happened?

If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that’s been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.
So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?
Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?
Did this cancellation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?
This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma “attack” seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.
If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and “responded “ to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law.
This is very bad.
But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.
This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it’s unlikely that will happen. So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.
Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more “reprisals”? Or will this signal some other change in direction?
We’ll all know soon enough.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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Israeli media alarmed over Russia’s potential sale of the S-300 system to Syria

The statement, made by the Russian Defense Ministry, that Moscow might reconsider a sale of the S-300 systems to Damascus following the US and allied airstrike, has raised concern among Israeli analysts and journalists, who are concerned over possible threats it may pose to Israel.
The Jerusalem Post has warned that “Israel’s air superiority is at risk of being challenged in one of the most difficult” areas if Russia decides to sell Syria more advanced air defense systems. The newspaper has voiced fears that the Israeli pilots might get killed if Damascus had its hands on more effective missiles. The unit in question is the S-300, a Russian long range surface-to-air missile system, developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. The system is one the most advanced weapons in its class.
 Analyst from I24 news broadcaster Ron Ben-Yishai backs these concerns, saying that the Jewish state would have to take “cautionary and preventive measures not yet taken so far.”
Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said that Russia might consider selling the S-300 systems to Damascus shortly after US-led strikes on April 14.
Moscow had already decided against selling them to Damascus, Syria some time ago due to “the pressing request of some of our Western partners.” But as the General stated, taking the latest events into the account, Russia can consider the question not only for Syria, but for other states.
According to the media, the more up-to-date S-300 systems could be a needed upgrade for Syrian air defense, which now consists of Soviet-era weapons. According to the JP, the most advanced Russian system Damascus possesses is a short range set Pantsir S-1, able to shoot down drones and missiles in Syrian airspace.
Israeli Attacks on Syria
Since 2013, Israel has confirmed hitting about 100 targets in Syria, while many more strikes have also been reported to have been launched by the Jewish state forces, who later denied it. Some targets were in the Syrian-Israeli border area in the Golan Heights. Two-thirds of the region, internationally recognized as Syrian territory, was annexed by Israel in the 80s and remains disputed. The eastern Golan Heights, which are in Syrian hands, has become the target of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, as well as Daesh* militants and other Syrian opposition forces.
However, Israel has targeted locations and alleged Hezbollah weapons convoys in the capital province and other regions. In 2017 Israel bombed a military airport near Damacus. A Syrian official then told Sputnik that it was done “to encourage and support terrorists”. On February 10, 2018, in retaliation for an alleged Iranian drone incursion over Israeli territory, the IDF launched an airstrike against its positions on Syria’s territory, costing them one of their jets. The loss of an aircraft over Syrian territory prompted another attack against the country, claiming lives of between 6 and 10 soldiers, according to various sources, and damaging 12 sites.
Russian Missiles for Another Israeli Rival
In 2016, Russia delivered a S-300 to another Israeli rival power in the Middle East and an ally to the Syrian government, Iran. The $800-million Moscow-Tehran deal to deliver Russian-made S-300 air defense systems to Iran was initially signed in 2007; however, it had been suspended due to the adoption of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran in mid-2010. In April 2015, Russia resumed the talks on the S-300 deliveries following an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.
In 2016, the Russian special presidential envoy to Afghanistan said Tehran also showed interest in deliveries of Russian S-400 air defense systems, but the two countries were not currently holding any negotiations on the topic. The S-400 is Russia’s next-generation air defense system. It carries three different types of missiles capable of destroying aerial targets at a short-to-extremely-long range.
Source: Sputnik
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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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How on earth would killing MORE people rescue Syria?

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By Peter Hitchens
Why do so many people in politics and the media want to start wars? Since I toured a sordid hospital full of wounded people in Bucharest at Christmas 1989, and even more after I saw for the first time (in Vilnius in 1991) what a human head looks like after a bullet has passed through it, I have seen it as an absolute duty to warn against armed conflict. It is a filthy thing.
No doubt there are times when we must fight. But there are plenty more when we should not.
Any fool can kill a man in a second and ruin a city in a week. But it takes long years of nurture to raise a child to adulthood, and centuries to build a civilisation.
Yet I look around me and see the mouths of intelligent people opened wide, yelling for an attack on Syria, when the only certain outcome of that will be blood and screams and ruins, and the deaths of innocents in ‘collateral damage’. What good will this do? 
What is wrong with them? They are not cruel and stupid, yet they call for actions which are both.
Haven’t we got enough misery in Syria already? The place is a mass of ruins, graveyards and refugee camps. To what end? The only mercy for Syria will come when the war ends, yet we seek to widen and extend it.
Don’t we have more than enough of such disaster in Iraq and Libya, where state-sponsored panic and emotional claims of atrocities excused the launching of wars so stupid and dangerous that I wonder if these places can ever recover?
Perhaps worse, by creating an unending river of migrants through the Middle East and the Mediterranean, I suspect they have ruined Europe for good.
Why are we even taking sides in Syria? As Julian Lewis MP, chairman of the Defence Select Committee, rightly pointed out last week, President Assad is a monster. But his opponents are maniacs.
The Syrian jihadi gangsters which our Government crazily helps and backs – the Al-Nusra Front and Jaish al-Islam – are the sort of fanatics we would arrest on sight if we found them in Birmingham.
Anyway, Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office is firmly pro-monster in all parts of the world where it suits it to be so.
British Royals and Ministers literally bow down as they accept medals from the head-chopping fanatics of Saudi Arabia, now engaged in a bloody, aggressive war in Yemen.
Britain maintains a naval base in Bahrain, whose rulers in 2011 crushed protests with severe violence followed by torture.
As Amnesty International puts it, ‘using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out’.
Britain daren’t even admit that our ‘friend’ Egypt is ruled by a military junta that seized power illegally in defiance of elections which we had supposedly supported but which produced the wrong result.
Field Marshal Sisi’s August 2013 Cairo massacre, in which almost 600 peaceful protesters were killed and thousands more wounded, is politely forgotten.
So is the Chinese communist regime’s mass murder (1,000 are estimated to have died) in Peking in June 1989.
The men whose power rests on that ruthless massacre are welcome to dine at Buckingham Palace. But surely we can’t allow Assad to use chemical weapons?
We would never tolerate that. Would we? Well, when Saddam Hussein was our ally against Iran back in 1988, he undoubtedly used poison gas against Kurds in Halabja.
And in September 1988 the Foreign Office declined to get outraged, saying: ‘We believe it better to maintain a dialogue with others if we want to influence their actions.
Punitive measures such as unilateral sanctions would not be effective in changing Iraq’s behaviour over chemical weapons, and would damage British interests to no avail.’
Which brings me to the final point. Do we even know that Assad used chemical weapons?
I have actually read the reports of the last such alleged attack in Khan Sheikhoun a year ago, and they prove nothing. In fact, they are quite fishy.
At the time of writing, I have yet to see a British or US media report on this alleged attack from closer than Beirut, 70 miles from the scene.
Many seemingly confident and graphic accounts come from Istanbul, 900 miles away, or from London or Washington.
Where are they getting their information from? Here’s a clue. The Saudi-backed faction in control of Douma at the time of the alleged attack, Jaish al- Islam (the Army of Islam), were themselves accused of using poison gas against Kurds in Aleppo in April 2016.
They are not especially nice. Their other main claim to fame is that they displayed captured Syrian Army officers in cages and used them as human shields.
They have spent several years indiscriminately shelling Damascus from Douma, having taken the local inhabitants hostage, and then squawking about war crimes if the Syrian government hit back at them, which it did much as the Iraqi government (our friends) did to Islamic State in Mosul and Fallujah.
I would not look for any heroes in this cauldron. And if you want to watch war games on a TV screen, can I suggest that you buy your own virtual reality equipment?
The real thing may look pretty and neat, but real people die as it happens and, if you supported it, their deaths will be on your conscience.
This article was originally published by “Mail on Sunday ” –

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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