Sunday 5 February 2012

Has our own hypocrisy at the UN prevented proper censure of Syrian atrocities?

By Dark Politricks

As most people will know waking up today to the morning newspapers and TV shows yesterday saw both a massacre in the Syrian city of Homs and a vote at the UN which was vetoed by both Russia and China which condemned the Assad regime.

The attack on the city of Homs was blamed by many mainstream and pro western news outlets as being an attack by government forces which the Assad regime denies claiming that many of the dead displayed in TV pictures were:
“dead ... civilians, including images of satellite broadcast television networks, were people who kidnapped and killed by gunmen,”
and that the aim behind the propaganda was to influence the upcoming vote at the UN through a "hysterical campaign of incitement" by armed gangs - Sana News Agency.

Was it just a co-incidence that the massacre in Homs occurred just before an important Security Council UN vote on the worsening situation in Syria or did the Syrian government know that the Russians and Chinese would veto any vote no matter how villanous it acted in the preceeding days?

Did it really want the worlds condemnation and a billion fingers pointed it's way at the very same time the whole world was looking at the UN's vote on it's behaviour?

Maybe a cynic would claim that the massacre was a way to "persuade" the Russians and Chinese who have been negotiating the wording of the bill for most of the week to vote with the rest of the security council.

If they vetoed the bill it would make them look like the bad guys they are currently being painted as by the western media and if they abstained then the resolution would pass. Maybe the attack in Homs was a helpful reminder to urge them to "do the right thing" so to speak.

The USA and UK who have been pushing for a hard stance to be taken against Syria in the UN certainly didn't waste any time in attacking the Russian and Chinese decision to veto their resolution with the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice claiming that Washington was "disgusted" with the vetoes and the British ambassador to the U.N. Mark Lyall Grant saying that Russia and China have turned their backs on the Arab world to support tyranny.

Russia said the resolution was biased and would promote "regime change" and the wording of the resolution undoubtedly bears this out as it urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up power. The Russians have declared all week in pre-vote talks that they want to see an end to the conflict but in a way that does place blame on either the Assad regime or the Saudi/Western backed rebels/terrorists fighting it.

Whatever the truth behind the Homs attack it is clear that the UN is nothing more than a worthless institution that is used by all sides to push forward their own foreign policy objectives.

Not only has the UN been used by Western nations to allow wars such as those in Iraq and Lybia to go ahead with some sense of legitimacy it has long been used by certain powers such as the USA with Israel and seemingly Russia with Syria, to allow countries they are allied with to carry on unimpeded with internal acts that many across the world would like to see stopped.

It cannot be stated enough that we in the West have lost much of any moral superiority we might have liked to believe we carried through our own hypocrisy. This has seen us point the finger at undoubtedly nasty regimes and the acts carried out by them, but at the same time either carrying out those same acts ourselves or allowing allies to do the very same things we condemn in others.

The last ten years have seen our war on terror diminish much of our moral standing in the world by:
  • Allowing the 9.11 attacks, which were cooked up in Germany and the US and carried out by mainly Saudi Arabians to be used a pretext for a decade of war on other, poorer countries.
  • Using the same attacks as justification for extraordinary rendition of suspects, literally kidnapped off the streets of many cities including those in Europe and bundled off to black site jails to be tortured or killed.
  • Buying prisoners off warlords and groups many countries would not hesitate in labeling as "terrorist" in nature, many of which who had no links to al-Qaeda or the Taliban and treating them the same as enemy soldiers caught in combat. Some of these purchases still remain in Gitmo prison today helping fuel any recruitment drive by those that already hate us.
  • Attacking countries such as Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria for suppressing protesters and critics of  the regime whilst allowing allies such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to carry out the same brutal crack downs whilst all the time selling arms to them.
  • Lecturing countries such as China and Iran for their police state nature whilst at the same implementing a similar regime step by step at home. From Internet Censorship to the police forcefully crushing all forms of dissent and free speech we have seen the USA slowly morph from the home of the free to one in which your door can be knocked down at any time and you could join fellow orange jump-suited prisoners at Gitmo.
  • Through acts like the NDAA and the very un-patriotic PATRIOT ACT. Forever a misnomer of Orwellian proportions if ever one existed, the cogs of oppression have slowly turned the screws on the American citizenry rendering their Bill of Rights and Constitution almost worthless.
And many more misdeeds could be listed as well which have tainted the declining sole super-powers image as leader of the "free" world in the eyes of many.

However when it comes to the UN, the USA's insistence on using it's veto power to protect it's ally, friend and often political paymaster Israel from facing any censure or punishment for the many acts it has carried out on the Palestinian people has undermined any, if not all of the sentiment carried in Susan's Rice disgust at the recent Russians veto on Syria.

From Operation Cast Lead to the war in Lebanon and it's policy of targeted assassination which at times included US citizens as well as Hamas and Hezbollah members to the recent attempt by Palestine to gain statehood - there have been many UN resolutions tabled and voted on which had the aim of reigning in Israeli excesses and human rights abuses.

Those "excesses" included the Goldstone Report into the Gaza war that left over a 1,400 people dead, many of which were women and children. Operation Cast Lead also saw the illegal use of banned weapons including white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas as well as summary executions and the international crime of targeting a civilian population who had no-where to hide.

Even though much of the international community were outraged at these attacks the political ties that bind Israel and the USA together insured that no action was taken, and even saw the US Congress almost unite in attacking the report as biased and anti-Israeli slander.

So for the USA to attack to Russia is hypocrisy in the very least and no matter how much we may despise the Assad regime it is clear that Russia is trying to prevent another UN excuse for a "no fly zone" such as the one they were cajouled into supporting in Libya last year.

They already feel let down by their support for that resolution which was supposed to ensure Gaddafi couldn't use it's air force to attack his citizens but instead turned into an excuse for regime change and the chaos which we are now seeing. This organised chaos includes extra judicial executions, rape and torture by the rebels and terrorists we have helped to install in power after using NATO air-power to other-throw the previous Gaddafi regime.

There is no doubt Russia has close ties with Syria and with its naval base on the Mediterranean at Tartus it would not like to see a post Assad regime installed that may be less stable than the current one as in post dictatorship Iraq or  Libya. They also don't want to lose an important ally and arms purchaser.

There is also no question that China and Russia both like to stay out of other countries internal affairs and have always shy'ed away from supporting UN resolutions that have supported wars or regime change and often Western foreign policy objectives at the same time.

However the key point to remember is that we in the west have to realise that we are no longer in any position to take the moral high ground when it comes to lecturing others on their global positions and any UN votes backing those positions.

If we are to lecture others on their failings and their lack of support in respect to human rights or their authoritarian regimes we must be whiter than white ourselves and hold and keep the same respect for human rights we demand so often in others.

Most of all we must not be hypocritical when it comes to UN votes by using the veto so often ourselves to protect allies like Israel as in doing so we have lost all moral legitimacy to attack other nations when they do the same for their own allies.

I hope the people of Syria manage to find a solution to their internal problems that doesn't remain so bloody and violent in nature but I also wish other nations would stop meddling in the affairs of others. We would do well to take our own advice sometimes.

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