The Syria Situation
by Sarah Martin, Women Against Military Madness
Speech delivered in Minneapolis on International Human Rights Day December 8, 2012
Make no mistake about it.
The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) powers, along with their proxies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are deeply responsible for the human rights disaster in Syria in which 40,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands have become refugees. Just this past week in a city where there had not been fighting, a mortar fired by the rebels slammed into a school and killed nine children.
U.S. plans for regime change in Syria go back at least until 2003 when Congress passed the Syria Accountability Act. This phase began using the cover of the Arab Spring.
To sell this inhumane and despicable aggression to the American public, a relentless propaganda campaign demonizing the Assad regime has been carried out, aided as usual, by a compliant corporate media. International law recognizes the sovereignty of a country and its borders. But this is ignored. The focus, instead, becomes regime change.
It’s a familiar story. The ruler of the country is labeled a “dictator” and focused on as though he were the only one involved in the government of the country. It’s said the rebels want to get rid of him simply in order to enjoy Western-style democracy. So the people must all be on the side of the rebels against their own government. Therefore, when the armed forces proceed to repress the armed rebellion, what is happening is that “the dictator is killing his own people.” And finally, it is “the Responsibility to Protect” of the international community—i.e., NATO— to help the rebels in order to destroy the country’s armed forces and get rid of (or kill) the dictator.
Either unreported or minimized is how the U.S./NATO have fueled and fomented the violence from both outside and inside Syria. U.S./NATO and their proxies Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have armed, funded, trained and given means of communication for the armed insurgents in Syria to carry out assassinations, car bombings, sniper shootings, kidnappings, etc.
Barely reported in the media is the fact that months before, in March 2011, the U.S. sent Robert Ford as an ambassador to Syria. Under Ambassador Negroponte, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon’s “Iraq Salvador Option” which supported Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modeled on the experience of Central America. His appointment, at the very least, added fuel to the fire, if not igniting it.
Not widely known is that in November 2011 The Arab League, European Union and U.S. began imposing economic sanctions, a form of warfare, against Syria on the pretext of stopping state-sanctioned violence against protesters. Stepped-up sanctions and freezing of Syrian assets caused the value of the Syrian pound to drop by 50 percent against the dollar, with the cost of necessities often tripling. In this way those bent of regime change hoped the Syrian people would blame their government and turn against it. The sanctions also had the effect of weakening the country before attacking it just like they did with Iraq.
When the United Nation’s (UN) representative offered a “peace plan;” it was the Syrian rebels and their Western and Arab League backers who rejected it. Syria accepted it.
As for humanitarian intervention—the centrist Brookings institution makes no secret that the humanitarian “responsibility to protect” is a pretext for long-planned regime change. Is military intervention ever humanitarian? NO.
The objective of the U.S./NATO alliance is to ultimately displace and destroy the independent secular Syrian State with a complaint regime. Syria has fiercely supported self determination for Palestine. It is a strong ally of Hezbollah and Iran. The U.S./NATO want Israel (aka the 51st state and a foothold in the Middle East) to be the strongest in the region. Thrusting Syria into helpless chaos is part of the preparation of an eventual war against Iran, but it is also implicitly part of a drive to reduce the influence of Russia and, eventually, China.
Because China and Russia will not go along with the U.S. and NATO, and because the U.S. elections are over, the threats against Syria are escalating and ominous. President Obama is now considering several options for deeper intervention, including the possibility of openly and directly arming certain rebel factions.
The administration is repeating the same tired, desperate—and if you think about it for even a minute—ridiculous WMD accusations that the Syrian army is preparing to use chemical weapons, threatening that the consequences will be dire if they are used.
NATO has just approved of stationing U.S.-made Patriot missiles along the Turkish border for what it claims is “defense.” Keep in mind, that over the past two years Syria has been fighting terrorists armed, funded, and equipped by NATO, of which Turkey is a member. Turkey has admitted its role in harboring and providing logistics for foreign fighters flooding across the border into Syria. Despite this collusion, Syria has gone through extraordinary lengths to avoid a confrontation with Turkey. And now it is supposed to be that Turkey needs protection?
In the past couple of days we hear of proposed negotiations between Russia, the U.S. and the UN envoy to decide what to with Syria—another grand colonial move to decide on the fate of yet another country. So much for national sovereignty and self determination.
What will happen in Syria is unclear, but what is clear is the role of the peace movement. It is our job to oppose our government’s brutal aggressive actions toward Syria. We insist on Self-Determination for Syria! We demand Hands off Syria! We must continue to speak out, to march, to rally and to call for an End to U.S./NATO Intervention!
The Human Rights Day march was organized by the Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee.
Sarah Martin is a member of Women Against Military Madness.