Condemning the US-Led Aggression on Syria: In Support of the Syrian People, International Law and True Peacemaking
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 16 Apr 2018
Statement by Associates of The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research-TFF
14 Apr 2018 – The US-British-French attack is a clear and indisputable case of aggression according to international law, and to the UN Charter in particular. And it lacks, like many unilateral wars before it, a UN Security Council mandate.
It comes as a consequence of interventionist impulses and militarism and lacks every element of a comprehensive conflict analysis, or diagnosis.
Even if one assumes that the government and president of Syria are the main/only culprits and the worst violators of human rights on earth, the way that the Syrian conflict has been handled by Western governments over the past seven years has been outrageously wrong and counterproductive. It’s been deliberate conflict-mismanagement combined with peace-prevention.
Conspicuously, this aggression on Syria takes place before there is a shred of evidence of what chemical weapons were used or who the perpetrator was. In a lawful society, punishment should never precede fact-based conviction.
The perpetrators of this aggression on Syria have taken a huge risk – without any acceptance by the international community in whatever form or shape – that the violence will escalate and drag in other countries militarily – be it Saudi-Arabia, Israel, the Gulf States, Iran and even Russia and NATO member Turkey
The year-long build up to this situation has very much to do with homogenised fake news and omitted aspects and a mainly manufactured black-and-white media narrative as to what Syria is about. Willingly or not, mainstream media have contributed much more to violence/war than to conflict/peace understanding.
TFF strongly condemns any military action and the rush to war before any independent investigation has been carried out.
A long-term solution requires some fundamentally new approaches based upon an understanding of the underlying conflicts and a reduction by all sides of the belief in military means as a road to peace.
This attack must be used constructively: The world must say stop to this type of irresponsible politics before it is too late! It must now come together and redouble its efforts at finding peaceful solutions to this conflict as well as other conflicts – in accordance with the UN Charter’s Article 1 which states that peace shall be established by peaceful means.
- The US-British-French attack on Syria on April 14, 2018 is a clear and indisputable case of aggression according to international law, and to the UN Charter in particular. And it lacks, like many unilateral wars before it, a UN Security Council mandate.
- The presence in Syria of non-Syrian armed forces and facilities, of whatever kind, with the exception of Iranian and Russian forces and facilities which are there at the invitation of the Syrian government, is a case of aggression according to international law, including the UN Charter. Article 51 of that Charter states that every member of the UN has a right to self-defence when faced with aggression.
- The war in and on Syria has never been predominantly a civil war but, rather, an international war, instigated by tens of thousands of Jihadi militants and terrorists who were supported, armed, trained and supplied by Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf sheikhdoms and by the West.
Furthermore, it is a consequence of a series of underlying, decade-long conflicts in and around Syria and the larger region that have been exploited, misunderstood and misused by foreign powers, NATO members in particular. A solid conflict diagnosis upon which a prognosis and a treatment could be based was of no interest to those who run and profit from the MIMACs, Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complexes.
- Even if one assumes that the government and president of Syria are the main/only culprits and the worst violators of human rights on earth, the way that the Syrian conflict has been handled by Western governments over the past seven years has been outrageously wrong and counterproductive.
In this vicious conflict, around 400 000 people have been killed, half of the innocent civilians turned into internally displaced persons, and millions of refugees have fled to the West and neighbouring countries, and a large part of a country with a 7000-year history and culture has been destroyed and turned to rubble.
- One example of these peace-preventive, violence-promoting policies is the decision by ”Friends of Syria” in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 12, 2012 to oust Syria’s legitimate government by decree and set up a Syrian National Council of 300 people as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people of 24 million without asking them.
- Another example is the provision – in particular by Turkey, a NATO member, and other allies of the West such as the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia – in terms of money, weapons, ammunition, intelligence, secret forces on the ground to the benefit of anybody who belonged to what could be called RIOTs – Rebels, Insurgency, Opposition and Terrorist, the latter in particular. In this case the West has supported terrorism much more than fought it, with the possible exception of ISIS which has been largely defeated in Syria also thanks to the Russian military presence.
- In this concrete case the given reason – or pretext – is an alleged chemical attack in Douma which was the last RIOT-held area in Ghouta. It happened after it had been liberated by government and assisting forces. Immediately after the alleged chemical attack, a Twitter message was posted, written (or perhaps not) by US President Trump himself, in which he points to the Syrian government – ”Animal Assad” – Russia and Iran as most likely responsible.
Conspicuously, this aggression on Syria takes place before there is a shred of evidence of what chemical weapons were used or who the perpetrator was. The OPCW – the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – team already dispatched has just begun its investigative work on the ground in Syria. In a lawful society, punishment should never precede fact-based conviction.
- The perpetrators of this aggression on Syria have taken a huge risk – without any acceptance by the international community in whatever form or shape – that the violence will escalate and drag in other countries militarily – be it Saudi-Arabia, Israel, the Gulf States, Iran and even Russia and NATO member Turkey. Should Russia find that ”enough is enough” at this point, the risk is very high that the world will witness a conflagration in a region and a country that has already suffered far too much because of helter-skelter, colonialist, interventionist Western policies over the past century.
- One must indeed wonder why this completely unacceptable and non-proportional attack is possible today without worldwide popular protests. It has to do with, among other factors, a mainly manufactured black-and-white media narrative as to what Syria is about. France has financed most of the RIOT media coverage from inside Syria for years.
The US and other NATO countries a series of public relation efforts as well as the documented fake “humanitarian” organisation, the White Helmets, who operates only in RIOT-controlled areas. They are connected mainly with the terrorist Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. These rather Grey Helmets have provided Hollywood-style imagery and “facts” that aims to provoke foreign intervention (such as advocacy of a No-Fly Zone). White Helmets footage from Douma, too, that has been extensively used (but often blinded) by Western media to provide ”evidence” that serve as a pretext for this aggression – and it’s not for the first time.
- Altogether, the uniformity in perspectives, the lack of source verification and independent research, the omitted and fake news since 2011, the systematic apportioning of guilt, as well as the simplifications of Syria and the Middle East as a conflict zone, easily represents the lowest level of professional mainstream media news coverage in recent times. It has been overwhelmingly war-promoting and excluded alternative – such as international law, conflict-resolution and peacemaking – perspectives more than any of the earlier major wars.
- Finally, and most importantly, the West seems to lack any long-term strategy to deal with the Syrian crisis or with the Middle East as a whole. Instead, it lurches from one extreme to another. At one time, it supports the terrorists, and at other times it vows to destroy them. One day it declares President Assad to be the best safeguard against the terrorists, the next it works for his downfall. One day, it provides proof about the meddling of its Middle Eastern allies in terrorist operations in Syria and beyond, and the next day it cosies up with the same dictators who have been the biggest supporters of terrorism.
Above all, it has no plans about what would replace the current Syrian government if it is toppled. Would the divergent and warring RIOTerrorists be able to bring about any peace and stability to that war-torn country or would they just exacerbate the problem and result in greater terrorism?
What would the extension of that conflict to the rest of the Middle East achieve, and how would the world, and most particularly Europe, cope with the consequences of even greater instability in the region and millions of refugees that will pour out of the affected countries?
These and many other essentially important strategic questions have gone fundamentally unanswered in the rush to more war and bloodshed.
In conclusion, we do not know who exactly did what in Douma at this point. Only the perpetrators themselves do.
But irrespective of any judgment as to who committed the criminal attack in Douma, we Associates of The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research, TFF, condemn in the strongest possible terms the dastardly attack in Douma as we do any other use of chemical attacks anywhere else, and we call for the punishment of the perpetrators when they are clearly identified.
Irresponsibly and non-rationally, this US-British-French attack increases markedly the risk of major war that is not based on any legality – not to mention legitimacy and moral considerations.
At the same time, TFF strongly condemns any military action and the rush to war before any independent investigation has been carried out. It believes that any military action reveals a tragic reduction in intellectual, moral and diplomatic strength.
We call for a speedy meeting of the leaders of the countries involved in the Syrian conflict, including all regional countries, to find a peaceful and lasting solution to this terrible tragedy that would ensure an immediate end to hostilities, the pacification of the country perhaps by a large U.N. peacekeeping mission followed by a U.N.-supervised election and the reconstruction of the country and the return of the refugees to their homes.
Modalities can be discussed, of course, but it is clear that a long-term solution requires
some fundamentally new approaches based upon an understanding of the underlying conflicts and a reduction by all sides of the belief in military means as a road to peace.
It must be clear to all now, that after seven years of terrible bloodshed, the road to real peace in Syria has neither military means nor ends. That road will have to be built, instead, on self-reflection, conflict-resolution knowledge, dialogue and honesty as well as political good will.
This attack speaks volumes about a tragic, exceptionalist defiance of international law, an ethical and rhetorical decay and complete intellectual disarmament upon which its raw violence thrives.
The world must say stop to this type of irresponsible politics before it is too late!
Therefore, any military action – such as this – should cease. It will only make everything worse for all sides, the Syrian people in particular. The innocent citizens are the only ones we at TFF stand by – here as in all other conflicts we’ve engaged in over the last three decades.
This attack must be used constructively to learn the civilisational lesson of just how counterproductive and plain wrong it is to place militarism over and above policy-making based on analysis, moral considerations and comprehensive analysis.
The world must, therefore, now come together and redouble its efforts at finding a peaceful solutions to this conflict as well as other conflicts – in accordance with the UN Charter’s Article 1 which states that peace shall be established by peaceful means.
TFF Board member
TFF Board member
John Scales Avery
TFF director and founder
TFF Director Prof. Jan Oberg is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
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