VIEW : Syria crisis: lessons of morality — Abdul Khaliq Junejo
The US is so ‘concerned’ about the ‘people of Syria’ that it can not wait for the UN report and has decided to act on its own to ‘teach Syrian regime a lesson’ even without the assent of the
UN Security Council
The Arab spring was a spontaneous and instantaneous phenomenon given the background of the Middle East region, which has seen very little of democracy and people’s power and has been ruled either by despotic monarchs or the military dictators. It literally grew from the muddy streets and reached the huge and awesome palaces of the rulers within no time.
Staring from Tunis and up to Egypt the spring was an internal affair of the Arab countries. When it reached the sands of Libya it acquired external dimensions. The US and its European Allies, having economic and geo-strategic interest in the region, were shocked at, and frightened by, the ‘sudden’ rise of people’s power that swept away two of their most trusted cronies (Zainal Abideen Ali and Hosni Mubarak). Apart from feeling the need to save their other ‘friends’ in the region from the same fate, the western powers also found it an opportunity to remove from power the ‘hostile’ leaders.
After getting rid of Moammar Qaddafi through military intervention they turned towards Bashar-al-Assad of Syria. Being affected by and taking inspiration from the events of Tunis and Egypt people in Syria also came out on the streets to demand removal of four-decade old Assad family dictatorship. Initially the movement was peaceful but after America-Europe-Turkey interference it because violent and has eaten about 1,00,000 human lives in more then two years.
Having failed to bring regime change through a hurriedly cobbled opposition, the America-led alliance started looking for reasons/pretexts for direct military intervention. At last, they have found that elusive pretext in the event of August 21 when chemical weapons are said to have been used in a battle in the suburbs of Damascus.
Possible use of chemical weapons brought world-wide condemnation and the Untied Nations immediately sent its team of inspectors to investigate and report whether chemical weapons were used and if yes then who was responsible: Assad regime or its opponents.
As the UN inspectors started their work, the US government came with its own verdict claiming that “there is undeniable evidence that chemical weapons have been used and Assad regime is the culprit.” The US Secretary of State John Kerry described the act as “moral obscenity” for which “Syrian regime must be punished.”
Now the American claim about the use of weapons and its authority to intervene militarily need to be analysed on moral grounds as well as on the basis of supposed evidence and the international law concerned.
The US was the first country to develop a nuclear bomb, which is much more destructive and devastating than chemical weapons (a chemical weapon was called an ‘atom bomb of the poor’). And the US is the first and the only country actually using atom bombs killing about 1,40,000 people in and around the two cities of Japan. It was the same America that used napalm bombs (which ignited fire and burnt everything in their reach) against civilian population during the Vietnam War. The effects of nuclear bombs (in Japan) and chemical weapons (in Vietnam) are still felt in many areas where children are born with deformity and the trees produce infected fruits.
When Saddam Hussain was audaciously using chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Kurdish civilians the US was knowingly and happily supporting the Iraqi dictator. And it was the height of morality that the US, when its interests demanded, used its military might against the same Hussain on the basis of flimsy, rather concocted, evidence of weapons of mass destruction, which was later proved false. All this the US does “for the sake of lives and freedoms of the People” of the concerned countries. But when the Arab spring reached Bahrain and the people, oppressed and suppressed, for centuries, came out to change the autocratic and despotic rule of the monarch and win their inherent right of freedom, the peaceful movement was crushed brutally and mercilessly in a way that even the exact number of dead, wounded and missing men, women and children is not known. So much so that the doctors who treated the injured were not spared and were sentenced after summary trials. And all this was done with the help of Saudi soldiers and the ‘moral’ support of the United States of America.
The US keeps repeating the mantra of “will of the international community.” The proper forum to determine the will of the international community is the United Nations. The UN-appointed inspectors are working hard, even at the risk of their lives, to ascertain the facts about the use of chemical weapons and have said that they will complete their investigation within four days. But the US is so ‘concerned’ about the ‘people of Syria’ that it can not wait for the UN report and has decided to act on its own to ‘teach Syrian regime a lesson’ even without the assent of the UN Security Council while the international law says that military action can only be taken with the approval of the council.
Not lagging behind is America’s predecessor, and now follower, as the super (read imperial) power, the Great Britain. British foreign Secretary William Hague has come thundering that “if there is no approval by the UN Security Council even then we have the responsibility to act” since it is a “crime against humanity.” This has come from the representative of a kingdom that is responsible for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity over the largest part of earth in human history whose hard proof and undeniable evidence is scattered from India to Kenya, from Ghana to China, from Palestine to Sindh and from America to Australia. The case of France is not much different either.
When it comes to the evidence to justify their own verdict (holding al-Assad responsible for chemicals use) and the consequent military action bypassing the UN they say, “US intelligence agencies had conducted their own investigation and concluded that there is very little doubt that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian government forces against civilians.”
It is still fresh in world memory that these very US intelligence agencies had “conducted their own investigation” and had “concluded that Hussain regime possessed WMD, which they were about to use.” On the basis of this report America (along with Britain and other allies) rushed to invade Iraq. The invading armies ransacked the country killing scores of thousands and devastated the land of first human civilisation allowing the remains of this civilisation to be destroyed and artifacts to be looted as the soldiers stood guard at oil wells and oil ministry for which purpose they had indeed come. The wave of terrorism unleashed by the invasion has contained unabated for more than 10 years until the day America announced to attack Iraq’s neighbour Syria.
And after all this death and destruction the world came to know that there were no WMD in Iraq and the ‘undeniable evidence’ collected by the much trumpeted intelligence agencies was false. Yet no hint of remorse or word of regret came from the faces of the self-claimed custodians of morality and human values. On the contrary, the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair when confronted with this scenario claimed with hard face that “though the supposed weapons of mass destruction were not found world has become safer with the removal of Saddam Hussian.” How much safer the world has become is there for everyone to see.
As said earlier the only institution to portray the will of the international community is the UN whose purpose of existence is to try and prevent war and help solve Syria-like crisis that threaten world peace. Its Secretary General is literally pleading to “give peace a chance and give diplomacy a chance.” But the US and Britain say, “War is the solution” as they said (and did) in the case of Iraq.
With such tainted reputation, stained (with blood) history and utter disregard for the UN and international law these allied powers are teaching others lessons about morality, civilisation and respect for international community. If Syria (or any country for the matter) commits the heinous crime of using chemical/nuclear weapons, it must face justice. But the justice must be even, not selective, and the judge should be a neutral international entity not a party that possesses more dangers weapons.
The writer is the chairman of Jeay Sindh Mahaz and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org