Aleppo, Syria was finally liberated. After bombing the eastern part of the historic city for several months, the Syrian army finally took complete control of Aleppo. A large number of civilians, including women, elderly, and children have been reportedly killed, and reports indicate that many captured men might have either been executed, drafted into the Syrian army, or have simply disappeared. The culprits for the crimes against the civilians must of course be put on trial by the International Criminal Court and punished.
But, who is qualified to call for such punishment? Not the United States, France, and Britain, as well as their allies in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey. And, certainly not Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and an enthusiastic proponent of so-called "humanitarian intervention" that brought misery, destruction, and bloodshed to Libya, Iraq, and elsewhere.
In an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on December 12, Power blasted Russia, Iran, and the government of President Bashar Al-Assad, telling them,
To the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran – three Member States behind the conquest of and carnage in Aleppo – you bear responsibility for these atrocities. By rejecting UN-ICRC evacuation efforts, you are signaling to those militia who are massacring innocents to keep doing what they are doing. Denying or obfuscating the facts, as you will do today – saying up is down, black is white – will not absolve you. When one day there is a full accounting of the horrors committed in this assault of Aleppo – and that day will come, sooner or later – you will not be able to say you did not know what was happening. You will not be able to say you were not involved. We all know what is happening. And we all know you are involved.
Aleppo will join the ranks of those events in world history that define modern evil, that stain our conscience decades later. Halabja, Rwanda, Srebrenica, and, now, Aleppo.
To the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran, your forces and proxies are carrying out these crimes. Your barrel bombs and mortars and airstrikes have allowed the militia in Aleppo to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in your ever-tightening noose. It is your noose. Three Member States of the UN contributing to a noose around civilians.
Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin?
There is not a single word in these rants about all the foreign terrorists in Syria, those that behead civilians, journalists, etc.
We can agree on one thing: the intervention of every foreign power in Syria must be condemned – Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, the United States, France, and Britain, as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah. But, unless all them are equally and without any bias are condemned, condemnation of the "victors" in Aleppo will be hollow.
And, who transformed the Arab Spring in Syria for democratizing the country, and the confrontation that began between the government and part of the population to an international crisis? Here is what Vice President Joe Biden said at Harvard University in October of 2014 [emphasis mine]:
Our biggest problem was our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends and I have great relationship with [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, which I just spent a great amount of time with. The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down [Bashar al-] Assad in essentially a proxy Sunni-Shiite war. What do they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollar and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except that the people who were being, who were being supplied were [Jabhat] al-Nusra], al-Qaeda, and extremist elements of jihadists coming from the parts of the world. If you think I am exaggerating, take a look. Where did all of this go? So, now, what is happening? All of a sudden everybody is awaken because this outfit called ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and Levant], which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, which they were thrown out of Iraq, found space and territory in western, excuse me, eastern Syria, worked with al-Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on, and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So, what happened? Now, all of a sudden, I do not mean to be fictitious, they have seen the Lord. Now, we have, the President has been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America cannot once again go in to a Muslim nation and be the aggressor. It has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So, what do we have for the first time? Saudi Arabia stopped the funding going in. Saudi Arabia is allowing training on its soil of American forces, Article 10, open training. The Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of the terrorist organizations, and the Turks, President Erdogan told me, he is an old friend, said, "You were right. We let too many people [terrorists] through." Now, they are trying to seal the border [with Syria].
Yes, our allies first intervened in Syria, not the evildoers Russia and Iran.
And, who first opened fire in Syria after the demonstrations there had begun? It is generally believed that 25 April 2011 was the first day that the Syrian Army opened fire on the demonstrators for the first time. Given this, consider the following that has received no coverage by the mainstream Western media:
Dr. Tim Anderson, Professor of political science at University of Sydney, Australia, reported that it was the demonstrators in Daraa, a town near the border with Jordan, who first attacked police and the Army and killed a number of them. They were most likely provoked by some agitators that had infiltrated Syria from Jordan.
Indian journalist Prem Shankar Jha described murder of 24 soldiers of the Syrian Army on 23 March 2011, a month before the Syrian Army began attacking demonstrators. The soldiers’ throats had been slit.
Former Al-Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem [he now writes for Al-Monitor] reported that as early as April 2011 armed men were crossing into Syria from Lebanon fighting the Syrian Army. He had taped their movement, but Al-Jazeera refused to broadcast them, which eventually led to Hashem’s resignation. In an interview Hashem said, "It was clear the protests started peacefully [this is generally agreed on], but it seems that quickly it went into militarizing. Some external factors or factions wanted the resolution to be militarized and they wanted to face al-Assad’s crackdown with weapons" (emphasis mine).
Father Fran van der Lugt was a Dutch Jesuit priest who had worked in city of Home in Syria for years, and was murdered by the terrorist there on 7 April 2014. After his death, he was praised greatly for his work on behalf of the poor people and his efforts for peace. But, what was not mentioned at all was that In a letter on 13 January 2012 from Homs Father van der Lugt wrote,
We owe it to the citizens of Syria to be nuanced. Otherwise, their struggle is lost.
There are many people here that sincerely believe that we can go further with this [i.e. the current Syrian] government, that it is capable of implementing reforms (see the president’s latest speech) and that it is perhaps more democratic than possible replacements.
Most of the citizens of Syria do not support the opposition. Even a country like Qatar has stated this following an opinion survey. Therefore, you also cannot say that this is a popular uprising. The majority of people are not part of the rebellion and certainly not part of the armed rebellion. What is occurring is, above all, a struggle between the army and armed Sunni groups that aim to overturn the Alawite regime and take power.
From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.
It is not sure that the government is playing off the two groups (Sunnis and Alawites) against one another. In Homs, it is precisely the opposite. The army is keeping the two groups from getting involved in a bloody conflict. If the army leaves, then we will have a civil war here in Homs.
Bashar al-Assad has never required the support of Christian leaders. Most support him because they are convinced that they would be worse off with another solution.
So, at the very least it is not even clear cut that it was the Syrian Army that first opened fire on the demonstrators.
But, Power’s height of hypocrisy was when she mentioned Halabja along with Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Aleppo. Halabja, a Kurdish town in Iraq, was where Saddam Hussein Army attached with chemical weapons on 16 March 1988, killing up to 5000 people and injuring up to 10,000, many of whom died later on. The United States and its allies were also well aware of Iraq using chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers as early as 1983. But, they never allowed the issue to be discussed in the UN Security Council. In fact, the US, though officially neutral, had tilted to Iraq during its war with Iran. A declassified CIA report in 1991 estimated that [p. 438] Iran suffered 50,000 casualties from Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. But, considering the long-term illnesses that the attacks caused, the actual number is close to 100,000. So, while Saddam Hussein army was killing Iraq’s citizens and Iranian soldiers and civilians with chemical weapons, the US was giving him a hand.
As Vitaly Churkin, Russian Ambassador to the UN, said in response to Power’s rants, it is "as if she [Power] is Mother Teresa herself," adding, "Please, remember the track record of your country." Yes, let us consider this track record:
Which country invaded Iraq illegally, and as many believe criminally [see also here, here, and here], that gave rise to Daesh [also known as the ISIS and ISIL], the "preeminent" terrorist group? The United States.
Which country’s "global war on terror" has caused the death of at least 1.3 million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan since 11 September 2001? The United States.
Which country, together with its allies, attacked Libya and destroyed the most-economically advanced and richest country in Africa, a war that revived Daesh? The United States.
Which country has supported the nonexistent "moderate forces" in Syria to prolong the suffering of the Syrian people? The United States.
And, these are just in the Middle East and over the past 15 years. But, we should keep in mind that US economic sanctions caused the death of at least 576,000 Iraqi children in the 1990s, and that the CIA overthrew Iran’s democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, which led first to the secular dictatorship of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and then the religious dictatorship and theocracy of the Islamic Republic. I do not even discuss Vietnam, all the fascist military dictatorships in South America that were supported by the United States, etc.
Given the US horrendous track record, we are supposed to believe Power’s crocodile tears for Halabja, or Aleppo? Watching her speech, I began nauseating. The woman has no shame. People of Syria deserve better than a warmonger shedding false tears for them.
Read more by Muhammad Sahimi
- Deconstructing Neoconservatives’ Manifesto for War With Iran – September 24th, 2017
- James Mattis Doesn’t Understand Iran or ‘Moderate Arab Regimes’ – July 17th, 2017
- ISIS Attacks in Tehran Expose US-Saudi Lies About Iran – June 7th, 2017
- As Iran Elects a Moderate, Trump Cozies up to its Terrorist Enemy Saudi Arabia – May 22nd, 2017
- In Iran’s Elections the ‘Deep State’s’ Taboos Are Broken and Redlines Are Crossed – May 18th, 2017