Wednesday, October 01, 2014

"...regime change in Syria is the real American objective behind the whole anti-IS ruse..."

Obama’s Astounding Distortion Of History

By Finian Cunningham 


October 02, 2014 "ICH" - "SCF" 

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week, Obama sounded less statesman and more salesman, with the usual pitch that American leadership is all benevolent and virtuous. America is pursuing, America is committed, America is prepared… and so on and on went the tiresome egocentric rhetoric.

But like a dodgy salesman, the “goods” that Obama is hawking are downright fake. Caveat Emptor: buy it at your peril. Not only that, but the entire presentation to the potential buyers is littered with sly mendacity and ridiculous falsification of world events.

The US president used his address to the 69th UN session not to genuinely explore a collective solution to pressing world problems but rather as an opportunity to indulge in “American exceptionalism” – the deluded notion that America is magnificent and superior to all other nations. 

Obama’s speech was a breathtaking falsification of the real causes underlying many of the security threats facing the world, and an opportunity for him to shift the blame on to others.

As Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out, Obama disgracefully labelled Russia as a global threat along with the Ebola epidemic in Africa and Islamic State terrorism in the Middle East.

Obama told UN delegates: “As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa, and threatens to move rapidly across borders. Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

He then went on to corral the rest of the world under American leadership. “We call upon others to join us on the right side of history – for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.”

It was an astounding distortion of history in which the culpable role of the US in multiple conflicts is glibly airbrushed out of the picture, replaced by Russia in the case of Ukraine, instead of acknowledging the destabilising role that Washington played by orchestrating a coup in that country.

Obama skimmed over conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Ukraine casting them as unconnected or the fault of someone else, yet in all these conflicts the hand of the US is indelibly present.

As for the “brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq”, Obama obfuscated by telling us to “look into the heart of darkness” – whatever that platitude means – instead of looking into the CIA payrolls and arms inventories to see how Washington has directed these “jihadist” mercenaries in its regime-change operation in Syria.

The upshot is not only a distortion of the actual cause-and-effect of world problems, and not only a slanderous misattribution of blame, the insidious outcome is that the real culprit is rehabilitated as a saviour to the world. 

“Join us on the right side of history,” Obama entreated the assembled nations, as if the murder of 1.5 million Iraqis from America’s 2003 illegal war never happened.

Since Obama made his address at the UN on Wednesday, US-led air strikes have continued unabated on Syria and Iraq. 

It is significant that the bombing campaign in Syria within a matter of days is already on a much greater scale than in Iraq, where US warplanes began conducting air strikes against IS militants a month ago. 

This is because regime change in Syria is the real American objective behind the whole anti-IS ruse.

Washington is avidly highlighting the fact that its so-called anti-IS coalition bombing Syria includes five Arab states: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The British are now sending fighter jets to join air strikes in Iraq, along with the US and French. The American-approved Baghdad government (formed after Washington insisted Nouri al Maliki had to go) has given its consent to the US-led aerial campaign. But this is not the case in Syria.

That lack of consent, plus the absence of the UN Security Council mandate, makes the US-led intervention in Syria illegal, as Moscow rightly points out. 

It does not afford any legality or legitimacy to the American-led air strikes no matter how many states have joined the so-called coalition, and no matter that these states are Arab.

Under international law, a country or group of countries does not have the right to launch military strikes on another unless there is a case of self-defence. That is not the scenario in Syria and the US-led coalition operating there. That is why Obama is talking up the threat of terrorists and press ganging a coalition of nations to join the US in its bombing campaign. 

This is just a fig leaf of Washington appearing to have some legal mandate, and to disguise the bare fact that the US is committing an act of aggression on a sovereign state for its geopolitical agenda of regime change.

This all stems from the fact that the US, as Sergei Lavrov points out, “has enshrined in its national security doctrine the right to use force at its discretion, regardless of UN Security Council decisions or international law”.

In his address to the UN General Assembly the previous year, Obama declared: “The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region.”

This gives real meaning to the concept of “American exceptionalism”. American leaders consider their government to be above the law and to have the prerogative to use violence unilaterally. 

All other nations must abide by the UN Charter and international law forbidding aggression, but not the US.

So when Obama this year exhorted: “Fellow delegates, we come together as United Nations with a choice to make. We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability” – the fundamental problem challenging world peace is that it is the US that is unequivocally not prepared to “renew the international system”.

A telling contradiction in Obama’s address was when he said: “The United States will never shy away from defending our interests, but nor will we shrink from the promise of this institution and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

So, the US is committed to defending its interests with unilateral violence, but is also allegedly committed to the universal rights of all nations. The two propositions are mutually exclusive, and we know that unilateral violence is the one that the US always adheres to.

Notice that Obama did not say the UN Charter, but rather the more vague Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because the Charter’s express legal prohibition on unilateral violence would make Obama’s words explicitly self-indicting.

In typical ahistorical American thinking, Obama blamed the root of conflict on some mythical notion of terrorism. “It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source: the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.”

More fundamental is the fact that conflict arises when certain states see themselves above the law in pursuit of their geopolitical interests with unilateral violence. The US stands out in this regard as the biggest culprit of lawlessness. 

Since the Second World War, the US has attacked, invaded or subverted upwards of 100 nations in pursuit of its core interests.

And yet the American president closed his address to the UN with this nonsensical schmalz. “And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done. We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.”

By contrast, Russia’s Lavrov commented on how Russian diplomacy works in practice, not in some rarified mythical way, as Obama arrogantly asserts. 

“On the contrary, we are interested in putting out the flames of conflicts around the world through a fair dialogue based on equality of rights and mutual respect rather than through unilateral accusations and shifting the responsibility on someone else,” said Lavrov.

Moscow can rightly refer to its efforts at brokering a ceasefire in Ukraine and a negotiated settlement between the Kiev regime and the ethnic Russian separatists in the east of the country. 

Russian president Vladimir Putin has personally worked with Didier Burkhalter, head of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, since May to create a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The latest result being the ceasefire brokered on September 5 in Minsk.

Meanwhile, Washington has only fuelled the conflict by first of all subverting Ukrainian sovereignty with the February coup against an elected government, then funnelling military aid to the CIA-backed regime, and encouraging this reactionary regime to adopt a heavy-handed policy toward dissenting populations.

History shows us that when states ride roughshod over international law, as during the 1930s when the League of Nations was made a mockery by rogue powers, the danger of war is greatly magnified. 

The lawless conduct of America and its mockery of the UN Charter is today the greatest threat to world peace.

Salesman Obama might try selling the world a vehicle of American leadership for peace. But scratch the surface and blow off the rhetorical webs, and it’s obvious that this American vehicle is a hollowed-out dangerous wreck. Caveat Emptor.

© Strategic Culture Foundation




Obama Reconsiders Attacking Assad
Shamus Cooke, September 29, 2014
Sometimes bad ideas die slowly. It was only one year ago that Obama announced he would bomb the Syrian government, only to change his mind at the last minute. Now the same fetid war talk is sprouting fresh roots in the ever-fertile U.S. military. Various media outlets reported that Obama might "enforce a no fly zone in Syria to protect civilians from the Syrian government."
This just weeks after the U.S. public was told that ISIS was the reason the U.S. military was now in Syria. The 2014 media sound bites mimic the 2013 scare tactics, copying the "humanitarian motives" behind the push towards war with the Syrian government. For example, in 2013 The New York Times blandly discussed the "no fly zone" option:
"To establish buffer zones to protect parts of Turkey or Jordan to provide safe havens for Syrian rebels and a base for delivering humanitarian assistance would require imposing a limited no-fly zone and deploying thousands of American ground forces."
Fast forward to September 27th 2014, where The New York Times published an article called, "U.S. Considers No Fly Zone to Protect Civilians," where we read:
"The Obama administration has not ruled out establishing a no-fly zone over northeastern Syria to protect civilians from airstrikes by the Syrian government…Creating a buffer, or no-fly zone, would require warplanes to disable the Syrian government’s air defense system through airstrikes."
A no-fly zone would also require that the U.S. prevent the Syrian air force from flying over Syrian airspace by destroying Syrian fighter jets, i.e., full scale war with the Syrian government and possibly its allies. This last part is always left out, so as to not anger the American public.
Under international law no country has any legal right to carve out a "buffer zone" within another country, even if the no-fly zone was actually well intended. For example, even Canada cannot legally create a buffer zone in Ferguson, Missouri to protect civilians from police violence.
The Syrian government is not bombing random civilians near the Turkish border; they are attacking ISIS and its ideological cousins. These are the same groups that Obama says that he’s waging a war on.
Do civilians die when Syria attacks with bombs? Yes, which is one reason that a lot of popular anger is channeled towards the government in these areas, the same way that anger is now mounting against the U.S. bombings that kill civilians in Syria.
If Obama truly wanted to target ISIS he would have included Syria, Iran, and Russia in his anti-ISIS "coalition." These nations were excluded because Obama’s coalition is the exact same one that only months before was a U.S.-led coalition against the Syrian government. The grouping maintains its original purpose but puts on a new shirt to fool a media that’s content with surface explanations.
But as soon as the newly dressed U.S. coalition started bombing ISIS, various "partners" announced, unsurprisingly, that Assad was "the real problem." Obama’s Gulf state monarchy partners never had the stomach to fight ISIS, because they and the U.S. are primarily responsible for its growth, as countries like Qatar dumped money and extremist fighters into the arms of ISIS. Qatar recently reiterated that the Syrian government was the "main problem," not ISIS.
When Obama announced his strategy to fight ISIS, he snuck in a plan to further invest in the Syrian rebels, whom politicians claimed would be used against ISIS. But these rebels are rebelling against the Syrian government, not ISIS.
Obama even discussed his intent at the UN to use the Syrian rebels against the government:
"…America is training and equipping the Syrian opposition to be a counterweight to the terrorists of ISIL and the brutality of the Assad regime."
The public talk of a no-fly zone is accompanied by no explanation as to the possible repercussions, including the real danger of an even larger regional war that would likely kill an additional hundreds of thousands and create millions more refugees.
Any U.S. attack on the Syrian government would likely happen sooner than later. The "coalition" of Arab monarchies has lost its patience. The members of this coalition blindly followed Obama into attacking Syria a year ago and were enraged that the president backed out. Saudi Arabia protested by refusing a seat at the UN Security Council.
Obama’s regional follower-allies have invested in an expensive war for three years and have taken on millions of Syrian refugees, creating a destabilizing effect across the region among nations already politically fragile. These shaky regimes cannot support – and would not survive – another three years of war as they wait for Obama to deliver the Syrian deathblow. They demand decisive action, and soon.
History is already condemning the U.S.-led destruction of multiple civilizations in the Middle East, reducing the once-functioning and modern nations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria to dysfunction and chaos, where millions of people flee violence and lose their dignity to the hopelessness of refugee camps. Funding rebels or imposing no fly zones in an already-demolished region will inevitably create more war and backlash.
Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action. He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

War with Russia - anyone?
Russia has a treaty to assist Syria militarily in case of an open foreign military intervention. If the US imposes a "no-fly zone" over Syria, or bombs Syrian infrastructure without the support of the Syrian government, this would be a clear act of aggression. Syria would have every right to ask Russia to come to its defence. Russia would also have a legitimate interest in protecting its vital interests there. Messing with Syria is like stoking the hornets' nest - with unknown consequences. The US is very bad at diplomacy. For the insane warmongers, it's just bomb, bomb, bomb. When you only have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.


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