The cruel farce of ‘humanitarian intervention’

April 8, 2017

Simon Jenkins: “It is a war crime to disable, maim or poison a victim by chemical or biological means, yet it is permissible to blow them to bits. Dropping chlorine evokes howls of horror. Dropping bunker busters does not. Cluster munitions, the most horrible of delayed action weapons, remain in the arsenals of NATO armies.

Many of us are now applauding this ‘aid to Syria’

Jenkins reflects that not a week passes without some new horror emanating from the vortex of the Middle East: “So called ‘wars among the peoples’ are, like all civil wars, distinctively terrible. Cities deaden the impact of an infantry advance. Reckless bombing takes over and accidents happen. Saudi Arabia bombs a funeral party in Sanaa. Russia bombs an aid convoy and a hospital in Aleppo. Western planes bomb friendly troops outside Mosul. There is no appetite for British troops on the ground. All talk is of bombing, intervention lite”.

Britain has already contributed too much to Syria’s hell:

  • It helped America create a power vacuum in neighbouring Iraq where Isis could form and flourish.
  • It then encouraged and gave material support to the rebels against Assad in 2012, ensuring that he would need support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
  • American and RAF aircraft killed 80 Syrian soldiers protecting the town of Deir Ezzor from Isis.
  • British ‘intelligence’ has given America information, enabling them to kill many civilians alongside their stated targets.

Syria and the cruel farce of ‘humanitarian intervention: “Affecting to save people by bombing them from a great height is not just ineffective but immoral”

 Walking through Aleppo now

Jenkins gave many examples of this immorality and ineffectiveness – just four follow: ”Some 12,000 coalition bombing sorties have been directed at Isis in northern Iraq in the past two years. Tens of thousands of civilians have died in the ‘collateral’ carnage. In Syria, the human rights network estimates that Russian bombs have killed more Syrian civilians than Isis. Last year the Americans bombed an MSF hospital in Afghanistan. Bombs are unreliable. Stuff happens”.

He explains the appeal of airborne weapons to politicians down the ages

“For rich aggressors against poorly armed foes, they have glamour and immunity to counterattack, and have found new life in so called precision targeting and unmanned drones. In reality they have proved almost useless against fanatical soldiers with mortars and AK 47s. But they look good on television back home. They are ‘something being done’ “.

Jenkins describes the disintegration of the Middle East as a tragedy for Islam, but not the West’s business. Here we disagree, seeing it as a result of Anglo-Saxon West intervention, using soft and hard power.

The Scotsman reports that Alex Salmond, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman, joined Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who is calling for greater effort to achieve a negotiated end to the conflict: “The British government should urge restraint on the Trump administration and throw its weight behind peace negotiations and a comprehensive political settlement.”

Corbyn: “Reconvene the Geneva peace talks and exert unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement”

The Labour leader said: “Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account. But unilateral military action without legal authorisation or independent verification risks intensifying a multi-sided conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.

“What is needed instead is to urgently reconvene the Geneva peace talks and exert unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.”

Jenkins: Nations and peoples do have a humanitarian obligation to aid those afflicted by war, to relieve suffering, not add to it, to aid those trying to comfort war’s victims and offer sanctuary to its refugees, not to take sides, guns blazing, in other people’s civil wars:

“British politicians would do better to spend their time organising relief than shouting adjectives, banging drums and dropping bombs”.

 

 

 


Tel Aviv rally: is the wind of change in Israel-Palestine gathering pace?

October 25, 2015

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Masses of those who look for peace and more evenly distributed prosperity, now able to share their news and their views online, are responding politically to the messages of Tsipras, Corbyn, Trudeau and Sanders.

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Hours ago, it was reported from Tel Aviv that thousands of Israelis rallied on Saturday for fresh Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Activist group Peace Now — which organised the rally along with the left-wing Meretz party and others — estimated there were some 6,000 people attending. Daniel Dojon told AFP he came “because the situation is crazy. I am not talking about safety but the lack of (political) progress, the lack of hope. Israeli politicians are becoming more and more extreme.”

israel rabinOn the eve of the 20th anniversary of the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, demonstrators chanted “Jews and Arabs don’t want to hate each other” and “Israel, Palestine, two states for two peoples”. They gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where the Nobel peace laureate was shot on November 4, 1995 by a right-wing Israeli radical, Yigal Amir, who was opposed to the peace process and is now serving a life sentence. According to the Hebrew calendar the anniversary falls now, rather than in November.

Today, President Reuven Rivlin will host a candle-lighting tribute in Rabin’s memory and on Monday there will be a state memorial ceremony alongside his grave in the national cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl.

“The path that was stopped in 1995 is very much the path that needs to be taken today,” Peace Now spokeswoman Anat Ben Nun told AFP

She said that Saturday night’s protest was aimed at the policies of the incumbent right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On the same day, in Amman, John Kerry met Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman. He announced round-the-clock video monitoring and Israel’s agreement to reaffirm Jordan’s historic role as custodian of the religious complex, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and as the Noble Sanctuary – Haram al-Sharif – to Muslims. “. . . we’ve agreed that this is a first step to creating some space in order to allow us to resume those steps and that dialogue,” he said.

israel kerry jordanJordanian King Abdullah II, right, met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 24 2015.

Though decorated for service in Vietnam, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization and appeared in the Fulbright Hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs where he stated United States war policy in Vietnam to be the cause of war crimes. In 1971, when the veterans gathered in Washington Mall for a week-long demonstration, he joined others in throwing ribbons and medals over a fence erected to prevent them from getting close to the front of the US Capitol.

A person standing near him recalled that he said, “There is no violent reason for this; I’m doing this for peace and justice and to try to help this country wake up once and for all.”

Amen!