As the US Tomahawk missiles were raining on Syria, the entire Middle East was shaken to its core. Here, even the name itself – Syria – triggers extremely complex and often contradictory sets of emotions. To some, Syria is synonymous with pride and a determined struggle against Western imperialism, while others see it as an uncomfortable reminder of how low their own rulers and societies have managed to sink, serving foreign interests and various neo-colonialist designs.
Many people are hiding their heads in the sand, obediently repeating the official Western narrative, while others are gradually resorting to the alternative sources of information that are coming from outlets such as RT Arabic, Al-Mayadeen and Press TV.
Here in the Middle East and in fact all over the entire Arab world, feelings towards the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad are always ‘strong’; no one appears to be ‘neutral’. But even the divisions are often ‘pre-defined’, carved along pan-Arab versus pro-Western, or Sunni versus Shi’a lines. It is rarely being mentioned that the Syrian state is constructed mainly on secular and socialist principles.
The recent opportunistic statements by certain badly informed and biased Western ‘progressive’ intellectuals, calling the Syrian system “disgraceful”has confused things even further.
Overall, in the countries encircling Syria, there is very little support among the general population as well as among the intellectuals, for the Western assaults on the country, conducted directly, and indirectly by proxies. Pro-Western regimes and governments are currently governing Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and all of them are officially supporting the Western military actions. So is, naturally, Israel. The leaders of both Turkey and Israel would actually like to see more military actions, and more attacks against one of the last Arab countries, which is still upholds its independence.
But ask the thinkers from all over the region, and the reaction is near unanimously against the assaults that are being conducted by the West.
An Iraqi educationalist, prominent journalist and researcher, Ms Zeinab Al-Saffar explained:
“I believe that the attacks against Syria that we are now witnessing, are a pre-orchestrated flagrant imperialist violation of a sovereign state, a flexing of muscles which is supposed to prove that the US is still the global power. Why on earth would the Syrian government perform a chemical attack knowing that the fingers would be immediately pointed at it, consequently thwarting an ongoing political process? Only fools could buy such narratives that are reminiscent of the 2003 US-led aggression to destroy the WMDs in Iraq, which only resulted in the devastation of Iraq, in the ruining of its people, and wiping out of its culture.”
After the US missile assault on Syria, the Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations, Sacha Llorenti, lashed out at Trump’s decision, which he defined as,
“an extremely serious violation of international law.”
Llorenti reminded the Council of February 5th, 2003, when the then US secretary of State Colin Powell,
“came to this room to present to us, according to his own words, convincing proof that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”
Such views are not held in Iraq only; I encountered fairly similar logic and recollection of the events even in Turkey, from where a well-known columnist Feryal Çeviköz wrote to me:
“The real question is: “who orchestrated that chemical attack?” It seems that only the US could benefit from this chemical assault. The US had finally found the ‘reason’, the pretext for its direct attack against Syria. There were already many similar incidents in the region and in other parts of the world, and the screenplay is always the same. It seems that only the players, the actors keep changing.”
In Latin America, Russia, China, much of Africa and of course in the neighboring Iran, people are beginning to see clearly both the pattern and predictability of the Western foreign policy.
Incirlik NATO Airbase
A young prominent Iranian researcher, columnist and filmmaker, Hamed Ghashghavi, gave me his opinion on the recent developments:
“It seems to me that the US behaves like an injured wolf that is close to its death, but before vanishing is trying to hurt others. The more aggressively the US behaves, the closer, it appears to be at its end. The recent attack against Syria, whatever the reasons and consequences, has symbolically proven how and why the so-called US Empire is declining. What the US did is also sending a strong signal to Iran and its project of the military base near the Syrian town of Khmeimim, but it is also a message to an anti-Trump wing of neocons who have been accusing him of being too much ‘pro-Putin’ and ‘pro-Assad’.”
What is now clearly detectable in the region is not just a condemnation of the US and Western actions, it is also a deep fatigue of having to endure the same type aggression which brings absolutely nothing except misery to the people of the Middle East and the world.
In Syria, the sentiments are clear. My friend, a Syrian educator Ms. Fida Bashour summarized it all, I believe:
“I feel sad and worried. I want this war to finally stop, no blood any more, I want peace and to have my safe existence. I don’t want others to interfere in our life. Why doesn’t Trump let us live as we want to; why is he doing this to us?”
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are revolutionary novel “Aurora” and two bestselling works of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. View his other books here. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Al-Mayadeen. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo. After having lived in Latin America, Africa and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.
Breaking: George W. Bush on Trial? Saleh v. Bush in California Court on Charges of “Crimes of Aggression” Against Iraq
Ninth Circuit Confirms Judges Who Will Hear Argument on Legality of Iraq War
San Francisco, Calif. — Today the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit confirmed that Circuit Judges Susan Graber and Andrew Hurwitz, as well as District Court Judge Richard Boulware (sitting by designation) will hear oral argument on December 12, 2016, in Saleh v. Bush.
Saleh v. Bush involves claims by an Iraqi woman, Sundus Shaker Saleh, that former President George W. Bush and other high ranking Bush-era officials broke the law when they planned and waged the Iraq War.
Saleh alleges that former Bush Administration leaders committed the crime of aggression when they planned and executed the Iraq War, a war crime that was called the “supreme international crime” at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.
Saleh is appealing the immunity provided to the Defendants by the district court in December 2014.
“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit will hear argument. To my knowledge, this is the first time a court will entertain arguments that the Iraq War was illegal under domestic and international law,” Saleh’s attorney D. Inder Comar, legal director at Comar LLP, said. “This is also the first time since World War II that a court is being asked to scrutinize whether the war itself was an illegal act of aggression — a special war crime that was defined at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.” Comar is handling Saleh’s case pro bono.
Assuming the oral argument takes place, the argument will be live streamed and recorded on the Ninth Circuit’s YouTube channel, permitting members of the public to watch the argument. The Court’s calendar commences at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time on December 12th; the case will likely be heard later in the morning, as it is last on the Court’s calendar.
In addition to former President Bush, Saleh has named former Administration officials Richard Cheney, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz as defendants in the case.
In December 2014, the district court dismissed Saleh’s lawsuit, holding that the defendants were immune from further proceedings because of the federal Westfall Act of 1988 (28 U.S.C. § 2679). The Westfall Act immunizes former federal officials in civil lawsuits if a court determines that the official was acting pursuant to the legitimate scope of his or her employment.
Saleh disputes the immunity, arguing that the planning and waging of a war of aggression against Iraq fell outside the legitimate scope of employment of former President Bush and the other defendants.
Washington Tries to Hide Its “Failure” in Mosul
For the past months, Washington has faced the urgent need to distract the world’s attention from its devastating failure in Mosul in order to hide the huge number of casualties among the local population. Perhaps, this became one of the main reasons for carrying out a new full-scale campaign to topple and discredit Bashar Assad.
However, every effort that is made by the U.S. to hide its failures, in fact, is futile. The ‘counter-terrorist’ operation in the Iraqi Mosul has been going on for more than 6 months. According to the Pentagon, the number of losses among the coalition forces has already reached at least 9,000 military personnel and 1,600 units of military equipment. Of course, we must admit that the overwhelming majority of casualties are among the Iraqi military. But we should not forget that the Iraqi soldiers are led by generals of the international coalition. Thus, all the losses during the assault of Mosul are the result of U.S. direct command.
It’s not a secret that the U.S. indiscriminant air strikes lead to a daily increasing number of civilian casualties. Considering the fact that all this is happening under the patronage of the United States, the natural question arises – how effective is Washington in fighting terrorism, if it can’t minimize the losses among civilians?
An example of such a destructive activity of the coalition led by the United States is the air strike blown at Mosul western regions last week. This was stated by the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday. The human rights organization reported the deaths of dozens of civilians. Subsequently, it called the coalition on to “plan strikes more precisely to avoid civilian casualties.”
In addition, according to the Associated Press, the coordinator of the UN humanitarian mission Liz Grande said that the destruction in the western part of Mosul is two and a half times more than there is in the eastern part of the city. This indicates that the coalition forces do not take into consideration the fact that Mosul still has civilians and the coalition does not want to minimize losses and scale of destruction.
Obviously, Washington is ready to use any means to mislead the general public. This can be attributed to the recent completely fabricated incident in the Syrian village of Khan Sheikhun, and the subsequent Syrian government air base Shayrat attack by the US Air Force. Such actions allow the White House to get away from undesirable questions concerning their failures in Mosul.
Anna Jaunger is a freelance journalist from Inside Syria Media Center.