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Russia: US Supporting Terror in Syria, West Spurring Bloodshed

Al-Manar | July 25, 2012

Russia accused the US on Wednesday of justifying terror in Syria, as it said that the West was spurring further bloodshed in the crisis-hit country.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that Washington’s failure to condemn the July 18 blast that killed top security officials meant it was justifying terror.

“This is quite an awful position, I cannot even find the words to make clear how we feel,” Lavrov said, adding: “This is directly justifying terrorism. How can this be understood?

Lavrov expressed bewilderment at calls on Russia to clarify its position on Syria, saying Moscow’s policy was crystal-clear and it was the West whose actions were contradictory.

He criticized the US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, saying she had argued that the attacks in Damascus meant the UN Security Council had to agree to a sanctions resolution against Syria last week that Russia later vetoed.

“In other words, to say it in plain Russian, this means ‘we (the United States) will continue to support such terrorist acts for as long as the UN Security Council has not done what we want’,” Lavrov said.

WEST SURRING BLOODSHED IN SYRIA

For his part, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said statements made by some Western leaders urging to end the conflict in Syria outside the UN Security Council framework were wrong and “a step aside from our common positions.”

During an interview with Itar-Tass news agency, Gatilov said: “We agreed that all foreign players will act in one direction – in the work with the government and with the opposition. We believe that viable decisions backing political settlement can be taken only in the UN Security Council.”

The international community would exert “proper influence” on both sides of the Syrian conflict only if it spoke with one voice and acted in coordination, Gatilov said, adding some Western partners’ intention to circumvent the UN would make no progress in the current difficult situation.

Meanwhile, Gatilov slammed those Western countries trying to spur “further bloodshed” from the opposition. “This upset us greatly, we take this as a step aside from the consensus obtained by the Geneva agreements,” the diplomat said.

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

War ‘Option’: You Will Comply or Else

By Ron Forthofer | Palestine Chronicle | February 18, 2012

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and former Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, once asked General Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Albright’s statement nicely captures the U.S. approach to dealing with troublesome leaders. By troublesome, I mean those who have the temerity to oppose U.S. positions and who, at the same time, are far too weak to pose a real military threat to the U.S. Examples of nations that had such troublesome leaders include Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The leaders of Syria and Iran are also currently in the crosshairs.

Note the contrast between Albright’s words and those of President Eisenhower in his “Cross of Iron” speech in 1953. Eisenhower addressed the idea of regime change when he said: “Any nation’s right to a form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.” He added: “Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.” Unfortunately the U.S., even under Eisenhower, did not base its actions on these words.

A pattern also emerges from examining the above one-sided conflicts that led to regime changes. The U.S. clearly feels no need for real diplomacy in these cases. For example, the U.S. often even refuses to talk with the other side. Instead, what passes for U.S. negotiation is the making of demands that the other side cannot accept. When the other side fails to accept all the U.S. demands, it faces U.S. action.

In general, the actions begin with a campaign by a compliant media here to frighten the U.S. population into supporting steps against the crazy leader who is a threat to his own people or to the U.S., covert acts including assassinations, creating and/or building up opposition leaders, threats of an attack against the enemy, the use of economic sanctions, and a military attack if the other steps haven’t worked. Sometimes the U.S. attacks without going through most of the other steps. In the case of Iraq, even acceptance of U.S. demands was not enough to prevent the illegal and unwarranted U.S.-led attack.

The U.S. sometimes seeks to enlist the UN to provide a legal cover for its actions. For example, the U.S. often seeks the UN’s support for the sanctions. However, if the UN doesn’t accept the U.S. position, the U.S. and/or some of its allies apply the sanctions anyway. The U.S. also often attempts to gain the UN Security Council’s support for a military attack. However, if the UN doesn’t go along with an attack, the U.S. then turns to NATO or forms an ad hoc coalition of nations willing to join in military action.

Unsurprisingly, the compliant corporate-dominated U.S. media seldom, if ever, address the morality or legality of this approach that usually leads to a U.S. military attack on a far weaker nation. For example, the threat or use of force, except in self-defense against an armed attack or, unless taken by the UN Security Council, is prohibited under the UN Charter.

Sanctions have been in vogue for the last twenty years or so. However, more and more people today realize that harsh economic sanctions are, in effect, collective punishment of innocent populations. The devastation sanctions cause, particularly those wreaked on Haitians and Iraqis, has led to more frequent discussions about their appropriateness and legality.

The legality and morality of the U.S. approach should be discussed, especially given the U.S. campaigns regarding Syria and Iran. However, in the U.S. today, it seems to be outside the realm of polite discussion to point out that the threats to attack Iran by the U.S. and Israel are violations of the UN Charter. Few in the corporate-dominated U.S. media also challenge the idea of preemptive self-defense.

President Eisenhower also had some strong opinions on preventive war. He said: “I don’t believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn’t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing. … It seems to me that when, by definition, a term is just ridiculous in itself, there is no use in going any further.”

When the US says that no options are off the table, it raises the awful possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. The threat of the use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapon state that has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty clearly is an extreme violation of the UN Charter.

Instead of the U.S. approach that relies heavily on the threat of the use of its military, real negotiations without preconditions are the key to resolving conflicts, including those with Syria and Iran.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment