Nearly a year has passed since the first killings in what has become a bloody civil war in Syria. Numerous actors, from Human Rights Watch to the International Committee for the Red Cross have documented incidents of torture, sexual violence, and extrajudicial murders. Based on the latest UN figures the death toll is recorded to have exceeded 5,000 people. The overwhelming majority of these incidents have been attributed to the government of Bashar Assad. While anyone can condemn these kinds of atrocities, the more important task is to find out how we may be contributing to and, ultimately, how we can stop these killings. Last week Russia and China faced near universal condemnation for their decision to veto a UN Security Council Resolution calling for, among other things, “an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.” The resolution also demanded that the Syrian government “protect its population,” and “fully comply with its obligations under applicable international law .”
US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, denounced the actions of China and Russia as “disgusting” and “outrageous” and claimed that the duo now had “blood on their hands.” The mainstream media, with characteristic cowardice, went along with Rice. Daniel Kaufmann of the Brookings Institutewrote that the vetoes were a sign of Russia’s “callousness” while Stewart Patrick of the Council of Foreign Relations argued that the veto gave Assad “the green light to escalate his crackdown” and “virtually [ensured] that the conflict will deepen into civil war.” This “callousness” of the Russians and Chinese was to be contrasted with Washington’s tasteful endorsement of Israeli crimes, an endorsement that was refreshed last February when ambassador Rice decided to unilaterally veto a Security Council Resolution drafted to bring an end to the expansion of illegal settlements in Palestine. It should be noted that this is just a fraction of the moral vacuity that has come to define the US political and “intellectual” community.
Take for example the fact that the US has exercised its veto power at the Security Council 83 times since 1970. By contrast, Russia has used its veto power a mere 13 times since 1970 with China trailing behind at 8. And the history gets more graphic when the substance of these vetoes are investigated. In particular, the US has consistently blocked the implementation of a series of UN Resolutions mandating the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli troops occupying southwestern Syria. It really speaks volumes about the depth of doctrinal education in America that even the most educated “journalists” lacked the competence to notice the fact that Washington was making “humanistic” statements in “support” of Syrian citizens in Homs at the exact same moment they were grinding their boots on the faces of Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights. Furthermore, it is seldom mentioned that a considerable portion of the Syrian population–over one million people–consists of Iraqi refugees who fled their native country after the Bush administration decided to launch a terrorist war against a population still in the process of recovering from economic sanctions that UN Food Program administrator, Dennis Halliday, deemed “genocidal”. Susan Rice lamented that the Russians would have “blood on their” hands for exercising the veto at the UN. Even if we accept this statement it would be morally irresponsible if we did not take a second to notice that the US and its allies are in blood up to their necks.
These historical facts along with many others are necessary to get an accurate picture of what’s unfolding in Syria and the proper course of action. For instance, it should be asked why UN Resolutions are being drafted to punish Bashar Assad but an equivalent resolution has not been applied to punish Prince Khalifa of Bahrain or Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. The scale of Saleh’s crimes are worth added attention as he received an imperial welcome at a five star hotel in New York last week over the objections of the Center for Constitutional Rightswho made clear that “the Obama administration has sent an unmistakable message: while people across the Arab world struggle for democracy and justice, the United States has sided with repressive rulers, undermined efforts at accountability, and undercut legitimate aspirations for justice.” Unlike Hilary Clinton’s colonial pity for innocent Syrians being crushed by Russian arms, this partnership was not a “travesty”.
A cursory examination of the crisis in Syria reveals, in quite explicit terms, that the framework in which this conflict is being reported is one servicable to power; primarily, US power and its allies in a lesser sense. For example, few, if any, media outlets care to look deeper into Wikileaks revelations published in the Washington Post last April detailing how the CIA created and funded a propaganda network in Syria by the name of Barada TV with the sole intent of delegitimizing the Syrian regime. These reports are accompanied by others which claim that the Syrian opposition is receiving logistical support from US and British intelligence agencies and arms from NATO via Turkish military bases.
In the background of these varying alliances there should be an attempt to understand the nature of the Syrian government’s relationship with Iran. Iran, a nation that earned the absolute contempt of Washington for the crime of exercising their rights within the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty as opposed to the US Central Command, is the 4th largest oil producer in the world. According to CIA World Fact Book they produce 4.25 million barrels of oil per day. Moreover, Iran is 5th in the world in terms of natural gas production. These figures make Tehran ideal for investment and, consequently, sanctions, invasions, and all the bloodshed that follows. This can be verified by the fact that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, has been carrying out a covert war in Iran, employing tactics that range from the bombing of amunition factories to the murder of nuclear scientists. It should go without saying that all of these crimes are supported by the US. The character of this support can be sensed in an article published in Haaretz that made known that US Senator Dianne Feinstein held secret talks with former Mossad Chief, Tamir Pardo, in Washington DC last month. War crime apologists like Christopher Hitchens often engaged in the propagandistic activity of portraying the so-called war on terror as a cosmic battle between the values of the enlightenment–secularism, science, empiricism, rationality–and those of, as Ayn Rand so bluntly put it, Arab “savages”. If Hitchens were still living, it would be instructive to hear what he would say upon witnessing this great exemplar of secularism and “rationality” adopt policies toward scientists that make the trial of Galileo look like a humanitarian triumph.
Both of these covert projects, the CIA campaign in Syria and the Israeli terror in Tehran, have direct implications on the future of not only the people in Homs but, if a “preemptive strike” were to be carried out against Iran, the entire world. No one should take seriously the self-righteous “outrage” of people like Susan Rice, Hilary Clinton, or Barack Obama. Perhaps, they could schedule a personal meeting with each family they have devastated in their wars of aggression, which would not be a particularly onerous task as the commander in chief assures us that the number of corpses we create is “not huge”. Rice, Clinton, and Obama could take a flight to North Waziristan and express to the mother of a Pakistani girl murdered by a predator drone how “outraged” and “disgusted” they are with the barbarism of the Russians and Chinese. I predict the girl’s mother would find these exercises in hypocrisy quite laughable, that is until she realizes that she shares the horrific fate of the Syrian people, at which point she would be too disgusted to laugh.