A document produced last December by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, headed: “UK Non-Humanitarian Aid in Response to The Syria Conflict”, makes interesting reading. The British government, it states, has spent “over £100 million” since 2012, “working closely with a range of actors” to “find a political solution to the conflict and prepare to rebuild the country in the post Assad era.” (Emphasis added.)
“Our efforts … include providing more than £67 million of support to the Syrian opposition.”
One of the “actors” to benefit from hefty chunks of British taxpayers moneys is the Syrian National Coalition whose website states under “Mission Statement and Goals”: “The coalition will do everything in its power to reach the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime …” and to “Establish a transitional government …” (Emphasis added.) Thus the UK government is overtly supporting the illegal overthrow of yet another sovereign government.
This all reads like a re-run of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraq National Congress and Iyad Allawi’s Iraq National Accord, backed by the British and US governments to equally criminally overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Iraq’s football pitches, gardens and back yards turned graveyards, probably three million deaths between the embargo, the 1991 thirty two country assault, the 2003 blitzkrieg and invasion – ongoing – the ruins of the “Cradle of Civilisation” of which Syria is equally custodian, are silent witness to that gargantuan crime against humanity – and history. Will Washington and Whitehall never learn – or is destruction of civil societies, Nazi-like aggression, illegal overthrows and rivers of blood their raison d’être?
Incidentally, Foreign Office accounting farcically includes: “more than £29 Million to reduce the impact of the conflict on the region.” Stopping the dropping of British bombs would surely be the most practical way to do that – and persuading their US “coalition partners” to do the same. Yet more nauseating, murderous, hypocrisy.
Talking of reducing “the impact of conflict on the region” – here is what the UK is contributing to destroying it – courtesy again the (un-consulted) British taxpayer:
Each of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 jets costs £9.4 million, and each flight costs around £35,000 per hour.
Two Tornados are typically used for each flight, and each flight lasts anywhere between four and eight hours. Even at the lowest estimate, each flight costs £140,000.
Their cargo is four Paveway bombs and two Brimstone missiles, costing £22,000 and £105,000 per unit respectively.
That’s £298,000 plus the cost of the flight which is £438,000, and that’s an optimistic estimate. If the jets carry Storm Shadow missiles – which cost a cool £800,000 a pop – and conduct an eight-hour mission, the total cost is a hell of a lot higher, and none of this takes into account the cost of fuel.
The British government document informs that: “To date, there are over 2,700 volunteers in 110 civil defence stations across northern Syria, trained and equipped with help from UK funding … The ‘White Helmets’ as they are more commonly known …” The “White Helmets”, of course, only work in the areas held by the “moderate” organ eating, child decapitating, human incinerating, crucifying “opposition.”
In Foreign Office parlance, under the heading: “Moderate armed opposition: £4.4 million”, it is explained that this has been devoted to “life saving equipment”, presumably for the head choppers since the “life savers” appear to be their guests. Indeed the “White Helmets” website states that: “They are the largest civil society organisation operating in areas outside of government control …” (Emphasis added.)
Also, near farcically, the Foreign Office informs: “We have also funded Law of Armed Conflict training to help commanders train their fighters to understand their responsibilities and obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.” Given their track record of near unique, medieval barbarity, the “training” is clearly falling on deaf ears.
The UK, of course, is in no position to lecture on the law of armed conflict since the newly unelected Prime Minister, Theresa May, has vowed to halt all cases against British service men and women brought by Iraqis who allege torture, murder of relatives, and varying unimaginable abuses. So much for “responsibilities and obligations under human rights and humanitarian law.”
British generosity is seemingly boundless in murderous meddling in other nations. “Media activists” have been given £5.3 million: “UK funded projects are helping establish a network of independent media outlets across Syria, whose work has included sending out messages about personal safety after the regime’s chemical weapons attack in Ghouta and, more recently, active reporting produced by civil society groups and the likes of the ‘White Helmets’ across Twitter and Facebook accounts.”
The “regime’s chemical weapons attack on Ghouta” has, of course, been roundly disproved despite the best efforts of Western propaganda. As Eric Draitser has written:
What makes that incident significant, both politically and historically, is the fact that, despite the evidence of Syrian government involvement being non-existent, the Obama administration nearly began a war with Syria using Ghouta as the pretext.
As the months have passed, however, scientific studies amassing an impressive body of evidence have shown that, not only were Washington’s claims of ‘certainty’ that Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons in their war with extremist fighters utterly baseless, but, in fact, the reality was quite the opposite – the rebels were the most likely culprits of the attack.
The cynic might ponder that funding “media activists” and the “The White Helmets” to possibly “actively (mis )report” is blatant propaganda. As the propaganda master, Joseph Goebbels, knew: Propaganda is the art of persuasion – persuading others that your ‘side of the story’ is correct – with mega money and resources thrown at the “persuasion.”
The UK’s arguable illegal munificence also extends to: “… working with other international donors to establish and build up the Free Syrian Police (FSP) a moderate police force in opposition-controlled areas …”
Breathtaking! Another re-run of Iraq: disband the police, army, all structures of State – and Iraq is the soul searing, haunting, admonishing ghost, mourning the vibrant, cohesive, civil society (for all its complexities, as most societies) it was prior to the embargo and Iraq Liberation Act (1998) which stated that: “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq…” and signed into law on 31st October 1998, by President Bill Clinton.
As mentioned previously, there is now, of course, the Syria Accountability and Liberation Act of 2010 (H.R. 1206.) Spot the parallels.
“The White Helmets” have also benefitted from $23 million from the US, according to State Department spokesman, Mark Toner (27th April 2016) and €4 million from the government of the Netherlands. Last week Germany announced increasing this year’s donation to €7 million. Japan has also chipped in.
A great deal of money, it would seem, is being thrown at insurgents and illegal immigrants in a sovereign country, awarding themselves the title of Syrian Civil Defence. Yet they do not even have an emergency telephone number. As Vanessa Beeley has pointed out in extensive writings on the subject, the real Syria Civil Defence was established in 1953, is a Member of the International Civil Defence Organisation whose partners include the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs – and as all national emergency services, they have a telephone number: 113.
Among the myriad tasks the “White Helmets” claim to undertake is: “The provision of medical services – including first aid – at the point of injury.” Why then were they trained not by expert first responders, paramedics, civil emergency operatives, but by a mercenary, sorry, “private contractor”?
According to Wikipedia:
Founder of Syria’s White Helmets, James Le Mesurier is a British ‘security’ specialist and ‘ex’ British military intelligence officer with an impressive track record in some of the most dubious NATO intervention theatres including Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Le Mesurier has also been placed in a series of high-profile posts at the United Nations, European Union, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Equally interesting is Le Mesurier’s own site:
James has spent 20 years working in fragile states as a United Nations staff member, a consultant for private companies and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as a British Army Officer. Much of his experience has involved delivering stabilisation activities through security sector and democratisation programmes. Since 2012, James has been working on the Syria crisis where he started the Syrian White Helmets programme in March 2013. In 2014, he founded Mayday Rescue, and is dedicated to strengthening local communities in countries that are entering, enduring or emerging from conflict. (Emphasis again added.)
“Democratisation programmes” eh? George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-four” had a “Re-education Committee”, but let’s not get too carried away.
On Tuesday 11 October 2016, the UK’s arguably combative Andrew Mitchell MP, ex-Royal Tank Regiment, who allegedly called Downing Street Police after an altercation [with] “f ***** g plebs”, was granted an emergency three-hour debate in the House of Commons on Syria after allegations by the ‘White Helmets’ that Russian military jets and Syrian helicopters were bombing civilians in eastern Aleppo.
Mitchell stormed the debate all guns blazing, calling the alleged situation “akin to the attack on Guernica during the Spanish civil war” and suggesting the RAF should be empowered to shoot down Russian and Syrian aircraft. He also pushed for a “no fly zone.” As is known from Libya, that is a Western-only fly zone obliterating all in its sights. Guernica indeed!
Again, of course, all but Russian and Syrian aircraft are there illegally, but Andrew Mitchell is being advised among others by former CIA Director General David Petraeus, who was also former Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and of Multinational Forces in Iraq. Not really a mini think tank, some might speculate, where the rule of law is going to have highest priority.
Mitchell also called for extra funding for – you guessed it – “The White Helmets.”
Incidentally, there are rigid protocols for first responders, paramount among which is to protect the injured, the traumatized, from publicity and identification, in their vulnerability.
“The White Helmets” are seemingly never without camera crews handy recording a small body, face facing the camera, dust covered, blood spattered, clothes awry, in the arms of the “rescuer.”
“Lights, camera, action”? Heaven forbid!
Palestine Advocacy Project, an NGO based in the Boston area, has launched a series of ads portraying prominent Israeli officials, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and their disregard for the safety and well-being of Palestinians. These ads feature violent and bigoted direct quotations which highlight the contempt Israel’s US-backed leaders display for basic Palestinian human rights.
“If you do your own research, you’ll quickly find many more hateful quotes,” said Palestine Advocacy Project member Maggie Liu. “As a college student living on a politically-active campus, I know firsthand how little young people know about the reality of the situation. I hope these ads will bring some much-needed dialogue to campuses across the country.”
According to the PNN, nine universities across the United States, including Harvard, Boston University, Cornell, and University of California-Berkeley are publishing these ads in their newspapers. The ads quote a number of Israeli officials, such as Israeli deputy defense minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, who asserted that Palestinians “are beasts, they are not human.” The ads all include a link to a webpage, with additional quotes from Israeli leaders.
“It is beyond disturbing that someone in a position of power can say these things and not even flinch,” noted Farida El Hefni, a University of Rochester student. “How are these politicians that are so quick to accuse people of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic the same ones using racist language to describe an entire group of people?”
Palestine Advocacy Project created these ads in order to spark conversation among young Americans on university campuses across the United States. The ads present a side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is seldom featured in the American mainstream media. The indisputable, direct quotes from prominent Israeli officials are provocative, and in many cases, explicitly racist.
Palestine Advocacy Project has spent the past two years exposing the hypocrisy surrounding the U.S.’s relationship with Israel, and challenging negative stereotypes of Palestinians. The “One Word” campaign, which was released in 2014, showcased the many forms of violence Palestinians are subjected to on a daily basis. More recently, PalAd brought the works of Palestinian Poet Laureate Mahmoud Darwish to public spaces. This latest campaign, which focuses on the violent rhetoric of the upper echelons of Israeli political leadership, will give the American public new information on why the oppression of Palestinians continues.
“The sooner people realize that this isn’t just about conflict over land and that there are people literally calling for the erasure of Palestinians,” continues El Hefni, “the sooner we can get somewhere.”
A draft decision by UNESCO, which criticises Israel’s activities at holy places in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, has been denounced by Israeli officials. “It ignores thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and aids Islamist terror,” claimed Education Minister Naftali Bennett very dramatically.
Never one to miss an opportunity to conflate Judaism and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that UNESCO had become a “theatre of the absurd”, to which he added: “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids.”
The World Jewish Congress, meanwhile, called UNESCO’s announcement an “inflammatory, one-sided decision” as Israel took the predictable step of freezing co-operation with the UN cultural body which seeks to “contribute to peace and security” by safeguarding world heritage and cultural sites.
The UNESCO decision, however, does none of the things that the Israelis and their supporters claim. The draft decision “affirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions” while also affirming that “nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem”.
Israel’s problem with the UNESCO decision emanates from the simple fact that it has no way of reconciling its colonialist policies in the West Bank and Gaza with international law. Israeli officials were just as quick to denounce the International Court of Justice’s decision on its construction of the “separation” wall or the dozens of UN Security Council resolutions condemning the construction of illegal settlements. Like its condemnation of the UNESCO decision, Israel extorts political gain by claiming security concerns and its fight against “Islamist terrorism”.
The 58 member of the UNESCO board voted this week on a draft document that raises concerns about Israel’s violation of international law. Israel, predictably, hopes to deflect these concerns by conflating Jewish history with Israeli policy. The draft text, which was passed by 24 votes in favour to six against, with 26 abstentions, noted the following:
- The failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City and reiterates the request to Israel to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;
- Called on Israel, the Occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo;
- Strongly condemned the escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the Awqaf [Religious Endowments] Department and its personnel, and against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site;
- Deplored the continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Israeli extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqsa Mosque;
- Deeply decries the continuous Israeli aggressions against civilians including Islamic religious figures and priests, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to end these aggressions and abuses which inflame the tension on the ground and between faiths;
- Disapproves of the Israeli restriction of access to Al-Aqsa Mosque and called on Israel to stop all violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque;
- Criticised Israel’s refusal to grant visas to UNESCO experts in charge of the UNESCO project at the Centre of Islamic Manuscripts in Al-Aqsa Mosque;
Raised concern regarding the illegal demolitions of Umayyad, Ottoman and Mamluk remains as well as other intrusive works and excavations in and around the Mughrabi Gate Pathway, and also requests Israel, to halt such demolitions, excavations and works and to abide by its obligations under the provisions of the UNESCO conventions.
The draft resolution, which also goes on to deplore the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and reaffirms the integral link between Palestine and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, is a full scale condemnation of Israel’s total lack of disregard for Al-Aqsa Mosque, and its refusal to act in accordance with UNESCOs recommendation in maintaining the sanctity of the religious sites that are holy to all three Abrahamic faiths. Despite the best efforts of Israeli officials to paint this decision as yet another anti-Jewish declaration it is actually nothing of the sort.
A UN body such as UNESCO has a duty to highlight Israel’s ongoing annexation and colonisation of Palestine. It has an even bigger obligation to raise awareness of the systematic efforts by hostile parties — no matter who they are — to seize control of world heritage sites. Only in the eyes of Israel — the Occupying Power, remember — could that be seen as “inflammatory”.
The West is feverishly seeking someone to blame for the catastrophic situation in the Middle East. Following on from John Kerry, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has announced his intention to request that the International Criminal Court investigate Russian «war crimes» in Syria. Hillary Clinton, a contender for the post of US president, is also known for her attempts to put Russia in the dock. During the second presidential TV debate with Donald Trump on 9 October, she stated she supported efforts to probe «war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable».
So do we need to clarify, once again, who is to blame? Let’s try.
America’s ‘Greater Middle East’ strategy, which involves violently redrawing the political map of a vast region, has destroyed the states of Syria, Libya, Iraq and Yemen, and has led to an unprecedented surge in terrorism, a tremendous loss of human life, and a large influx of refugees to Europe.
But America does not want to take the blame for what it has done.
Ahead of the change of administration in America, US legislators have been trying to make Saudi Arabia primarily responsible for the spread of terrorism. On 28 September, the US Senate and the House of Representatives passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which entitles the relatives of US citizens killed in the 9/11 attacks to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and receive compensation.
Five days later, on 3 October, an article appeared in the Arab language newspaper Rai Al-Youm (published in London), written by its editor-in-chief Abdel Bari Atwan, that sheds light on which way the Arab world is leaning on the issue of who’s to blame.
A few words about the article’s author. Abdel Bari Atwan is the most prominent of today’s Arab journalists. The son of a refugee from Gaza, he was involved in the struggles of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for a long time and was close to Yasser Arafat until they parted ways in 1993, when he disagreed with the hasty conclusion of peace with Israel. In the 1990s, he opposed UN sanctions against Iraq; not in defence of Saddam Hussein, however, but in defence of the rights and interests of the Iraqi people. In recent years, Atwan has written a great deal on the importance of establishing friendly relations between Sunni Arab states and Shi’ite Iran.
In his article, entitled «US law firms sharpening their knives for Saudi Arabia», Abdel Bari Atwan suggests how the Saudi authorities can oppose American blackmail. Here are his recommendations to Riyadh.
– Stop the senseless and bloody war in Yemen.
– Wind down its support of jihadist organisations in Syria.
– Take steps to normalise relations with Iran and Iraq.
– Seriously address the creation of an Arab lobby in the US (a pressing issue, since the Israel lobby in America is multilayered, works closely with the media and funds major research centres, while the Saudi lobbying effort is limited to banal bribery).
– Withdraw most of Saudi Arabia’s assets and investments from the US as soon as possible.
– Suspend all negotiations with Washington on an oil price agreement.
– Adopt measures allowing oil from the Persian gulf to be quoted in currencies other than US dollars (i.e. euro, yuan and roubles).
– File countersuits against the US through Muslim human rights organisations for war crimes committed in the Middle East between 2003 and the present day.
Abdel Bari Atwan says it is unlikely that the Saudi authorities will listen to him, but it seems as if the initiative has already struck a chord in other Arab countries. A group of Iraqi parliamentarians headed by Najeh al-Mizan has put forward a bill allowing Iraqi citizens to demand compensation from the US government for war crimes committed during the years of occupation (2003-2011) not just by the regular American army, but also contract soldiers from private military companies and ‘death squads’ set up using CIA money.
The outcome of America’s ‘presence’ in Iraq (or rather ‘the American genocide’) is truly horrifying. Even according to official (underestimated) data from the John Hopkins Institute, Americans and their accomplices killed 250,000 people (civilians) in Iraq during the occupation. According to Professor Juan Cole from the University of Michigan, this figure (direct losses) is as much as 450,000 people. Added to the victims of US sanctions in the 1990s, the number of deaths is close to one million. Most of these were children. Nobody can accuse US academic Juan Cole of incompetence or lobbying – he is a world-renowned expert on the modern Middle East and South Asia, a specialist in the history of Iran and Arab countries, and the author of 14 academic monographs.
But that is only the direct losses. There is also the destruction of Iraq’s state institutions and its law enforcement, health and education systems as a result of the American occupation, and the disintegration of relations between ethnicities and faiths.
The repercussions of the ‘Iraqi holocaust’ carried out by the Americans will be felt for many years to come. Here are some figures from the Australian scientist Dr. Gideon Polya. During the years of the crisis, there were 7.7 million refugees in Iraq. Of these, 5 million were internally displaced persons and 2.7 million fled the country. These included the cream of Iraqi society: doctors, teachers, engineers, university professors and businessmen. During the first few years of the occupation, 2,200 doctors and nursers were killed in Iraq. As a consequence of America’s use of bombs with low-enriched uranium, the number of cancer patients in the country increased from 40 per 100,000 people (1990) to 1,500 per 100,000 people (2005). And as a result of the actions of the occupation forces and sectarian fighting, there are currently three million widows and five million orphans in the country. 1.5 million Iraqi children are undernourished.
The world has not forgotten about the war crimes committed by America in the Middle East. Sooner or later, the US will have to answer for these crimes, no matter what Hillary Clinton says.
As Western outrage erupts over the relentless destruction of Aleppo and its people, why is there no similar clamour for a halt to the more prolonged pulverising of Gaza and the continuing slaughter of civilians there?
The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said the other day:
“Russia’s actions in recent weeks have exposed just how hollow Russia’s commitment to the political process is. Today we have seen that commitment for what it really is; a sham….
“I echo the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who described the destruction of Aleppo as the absolute contempt for the human spirit, for the dignity of the human being…. There can be no military justification for aerial attacks that indiscriminately hit civilians, and their homes and their hospitals.”
Aleppo or Gaza: what’s the difference?
A few days later we were treated to the spectacle of our recently-appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling for anti-war protesters to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy in London. Russia, he said, risks becoming a pariah nation and should be investigated for war crimes in Aleppo. He predicted those responsible for war crimes in Syria would eventually face charges before the international criminal court.
Johnson was speaking in a Commons debate in which he apparently rejected the idea of a no-fly zone, warning that we might have to confront and perhaps shoot down Russian and Syrian planes or helicopters that violate the zone. In other words: go to war. “We need to think very carefully about the consequences.” Too right, Boris. All the same, he’s looking at “kintetic” options such as military action as well as intensifying sanctions against the Assad regime and Russia. Perhaps he has forgotten how the last proposal for air strikes in Syria, in 2013, was thrown out by the Westminster Parliament.
One is immediately prompted to ask why Boris Johnson busies himself accusing Russia of war crimes and drumming up demos outside its embassy while remaining stoically silent about the diabolical crimes of top pariah state Israel. Shouldn’t he be at least evenhanded in his criticism of regimes that repeatedly violate all decent norms of human behaviour?
Why won’t Boris go “kinetic” over Gaza?
Israel and its terrorist founders have been slaughtering and robbing the Palestinian people for nearly 70 years. The Tel Aviv regime continues to illegally occupy Palestinian territory and keep its defenceless citizens bottled up in the shredded left-overs of their homeland, and even commits murder and piracy on the high seas to prevent visitors reaching them. Yet we’ve seen no NATO ships or warplanes off the Gaza coast, no no-fly zones imposed over the still-occupied Holy Land, no boots on the ground, and no arms or military advisers for the Palestinian resistance. In fact, nothing that could be described by Boris as “kinetic”.
Israel, whose “absolute contempt for the human spirit” is extremely profitable, simply doesn’t attract the same high-level indignation. So the evil regime’s demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes for so-called administrative and planning reasons, its wholesale destruction of businesses and infrastructure, its excessive violence against non-combatants, its abductions, imprisonments and assassinations, and especially its programme of blitzkriegs on Gaza slaughtering thousands including many hundreds of children, and reducing the place to rubble… they all go unpunished. None of these crimes can be justified on grounds of defence or security. And in the Palestinians’ case they have nowhere to run. They cannot escape. To the best of my knowledge Boris Johnson has never called for those responsible to be brought before the ICC. He hasn’t even threatened sanctions.
Nor is he likely to. For he’s a “very outspoken friend of Israel” according to former ambassador to London Daniel Taub. Yessir, “he is a very enthusiastic supporter, and his relationship with Israel goes back a long way”. Taub also says Johnson’s enthusiasm is such that “he jumped on our idea of an Israeli cultural festival in London, and thanks to his backing it will be happening next year”. We all know how eagerly Britain’s Foreign Office supports the EU-Israel Association Agreement despite Israel’s blatant violation of its key conditions from the very start.
On his visit to Israel last November some Palestinian groups refused to meet Boris after he dismissed British supporters of BDS (that’s the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) as “lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and I think are unlikely to be influential… ” BDS is civil society’s non-violent response not just to the international community’s inaction but the major powers’ perverse habit of rewarding Israel for its crimes. Boris said he couldn’t think of “anything more foolish” than to boycott Israel, which he described as “the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society.”
So amusing. But if the boycotts are foolish and ineffectual, as Boris claims, why so many frantic efforts around the world to have BDS outlawed?
Let’s face it. Boris Johnson is a very senior member of the Conservative Party in which 80% of MPs, it is said, are signed-up Friends of Israel. As PM Theresa May recently proclaimed, “the Conservative Party would not be the Conservative Party without CFI [Conservative Friends of Israel].” They wax lyrical about the odious foreign power whose flag they wave in Parliament, as do their fellow stooges in Washington. The insane focus on regime-change in Syria is primarily for the benefit of Israeli expansionism, and the army of highly-placed useful idiots have their orders.
By being part of this grotesque admiration society, and one of Israel’s keenest rewarders, Boris has become the buffoon he always pretended to be. And nudging us towards a second cold war with Russia just to tick another box for Israel’s grisly ambition confirms him as dangerous as well as daft.
Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the UN has warned against continued sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia and Israel, which are in violation of other territories as well as humanitarian laws.
“We are deeply concerned about the destabilizing repercussions of the continual entry and export of such weaponry into the region, especially into Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime of Israel,” Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said.
He said both Saudi Arabia and Israel are “engaged in aggression and violation against other countries and in flouting their commitments to international humanitarian laws.”
Dehqani was speaking at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly’s Disarmament and International Security Committee at the world body’s headquarters in New York, IRNA reported on Saturday.
He said the Saudi regime was using “British and American bombs” against vital Yemeni infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia has been pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an unsuccessful attempt to reinstall a former ally as president. The war has killed more than 10,000, according to UN figures in August.
Dehqani also stressed the need for disarming Israel of its nuclear arsenal and for the regime’s accession to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), saying “the most dangerous weapons are in the hands of the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.”
“The Zionist regime has recurrently perpetrated violations, occupation, genocide, and terrorist activities; and nuclear weapons in the hands of such a regime constitutes the most dangerous threat to NPT signatories in the Middle East,” he said.
Israel, which has refused to sign the NPT or allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities, keeps an estimated stockpile of some 200-400 nuclear warheads.
Separately, Iran’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) urged the complete annihilation of chemical weapons stockpiles.
Alireza Jahangiri, addressing the body Executive Council in The Hague, also urged those countries in possession of such weapons to act on their commitments within the framework of the organization’s Chemical Weapons Convention and non-members to join the Convention.
Jahangiri also urged international cooperation to prevent the use of chemical weapons by terrorist groups, a scenario that he said posed a threat to international peace.
He called on member countries of the organization to refrain from providing support, financial and otherwise, to terrorist groups.
Before people had an easy way to see video footage of police murders, headlines crediting the police with just and noble actions couldn’t be effectively questioned.
We’re still back there in the dark ages when it comes to war murders, but we can overcome the lack of quickly shared videos if we choose to. When the headlines celebrate some sort of “victory” in Mosul or anywhere else, we can point out that the videos of people being blown up in their houses would be truly horrific if we had them. This is not, after all, a point on which there can actually be any question.
The police who murder innocents say they serve a grander purpose of maintaining law and order. Watching the videos of what they do eliminates all possibility of taking that seriously.
The war makers say they serve a grander purpose of . . . well, it depends; sometimes it’s also law and order, other times spreading democracy, other times weapons elimination, other times simply revenge. Imagining the videos we aren’t seeing should help us understand why these justifications do not hold up.
The U.S. has, in recent years, bombed Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. None of them is safer, less armed, more democratic, more peaceful, more prosperous, or less of a threat to others. Quite the contrary. “Defeating” ISIS by bombing people will fuel more suffering and violence, just as “defeating” the government of Saddam Hussein fueled ISIS.
Picture a woman in Mosul who lacks permission to go outside without a male guardian. Now picture that woman’s roof collapsing on her and her children with a thunderous crash and a cloud of dust. Is she better off? Do those who love her appreciate her “liberation”? Would the video be allowed on U.S. media outlets unless we shared it on social media as many times as we do a police video?
“One unfortunate incident.” “Collateral damage.” “A few bad apples.”
No. Police murder routinely and with immunity. Wars murder extensively, immorally, counterproductively, and illegally with immunity. There can be good policing. But there cannot be good war making. It’s all illegal under the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. The war on terrorism has been increasing terrorism for years. The U.S. government itself admits it has no idea who most of the people are that it murders with drones.
“So you’re on the side of the criminals.” “You must love ISIS.” “Putin LOVER!”
In fact, this childish retort is more common on the question of war and, tragically, is sometimes fueled by a grain of truth. Even so-called peace groups have fallen for the “pick a side” routine on Syria for years. I know people opposed to U.S. war-making in Syria but not to the U.S. providing weapons to others. I know people opposed to both of those things but not to Syrian government war-making with help from Russia and others. I know people opposed to Syrian and Russian war-making but not to anything directed at overthrowing the Syrian government. I know people in favor of war against ISIS but not against Syria. I know people in favor of any war making armed and funded by Saudi Arabia or Qatar or Turkey but not by the United States or Russia. I could list 18 more variations, all from people claiming — as does the Pentagon — to favor peace.
I oppose war in the way I oppose dueling or blood feuds, not by supporting one side. I oppose the U.S.-led arming of Western Asia the way I oppose pushing heroin in poor neighborhoods, not by wanting particular people to get it all. I oppose murder by police or soldiers in the way that I oppose capital punishment — that is: not because videos make my social media browsing unpleasant, but because people’s lives are being taken.
It’s time we put an end to war as if we could see it.