The situation in Syria has brought the world once again to the brink of war. The United States, the self-appointed world policeman, says it has “credible evidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people in what — whoever did it — was a despicable act and indeed a crime against humanity. [...]


Dealing with the world’s dictator


The situation in Syria has brought the world once again to the brink of war. The United States, the self-appointed world policeman, says it has “credible evidence” that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people in what — whoever did it — was a despicable act and indeed a crime against humanity.

Two factors, however, throw a big question mark over the claim by the US; one is historical i.e. the same country hoodwinked the whole world into believing that Iraq under Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and used that as an excuse for a military invasion of that country and to engineer a regime change. Secondly, much of this “irrefutable evidence” that the US says it has seems to have come from the Israelis, who are sworn enemies of Syria.

No doubt, President Barrack Obama is mindful of the baloney intelligence that his predecessor was given on Iraq — or his predecessor wanted an excuse anyway to invade Iraq — and has therefore set the bar much higher for “credible evidence”, but members of his administration have gone on record saying they will strike Syria militarily “with or without UN approval”.

Such is the respect some of the hawks in the Obama administration have for the United Nations when they want to flex their muscle. The Syrian Government is saying “show the proof you have” and denying the allegations that it was guilty of using these chemical weapons. One would think that the US, committed as it says it is to eradicating crimes against humanity, notwithstanding its continuing drone attacks over Pakistan, would have produced that evidence and shared it with the rest of the world to prove its case.

That is why the British Parliament pulled back its Prime Minister who tried to emulate his predecessor and join the US in going to war. The British seem to have learnt the bitter lesson of blindly following the US and going to war in Iraq. Exercising caution over military strikes sans UN approval, pro-Western Alliance countries like Italy have expressed unwillingness to join any ‘coalition of the willing’ the US is keen on cobbling together for a strike against Syria.

Any unilateral move by the US is going to upset the big-power apple cart with Russia clearly opposed to any strikes against Syria without the UN inspectors report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s prolonged insurgency. It was Russia which persuaded the Syrian regime to allow the inspectors in and they have been bitten more than once by the US bulldozing its way through, first in Iraq and then by getting the UN to pass a resolution to protect civilians in Libya. That matured into a regime change and the murder of Libyan Leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

The virtual unilateral action contemplated by the US betrays the way it operates in world affairs and its respect for International Law. When the UN Secretary General says “give peace a chance” in Syria, the US refers to the failure of diplomacy in the face of purported crimes against humanity. It is impatient with the UN system, but will use its mechanism only when it suits it as in the case of the resolution it moved against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva – on the basis of which, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was in this country this whole week on a fact-finding mission.

The other fact is the US willingness to steam-roll over the other big-powers, notably Russia and China when it wants to. This might serve as a lesson to the Sri Lankan political leadership that the US will do exactly what it wants to. The US is not just the world’s policeman, but the world’s dictator.

The Navi Pillay Show

The events in Sri Lanka in the last days of the military onslaught against the LTTE, a declared terrorist organisation – a matter now under scrutiny by the UN Human Rights Council — must surely pale into insignificance when compared with the horrific accounts of the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population, by whomsoever.

The UN High Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, however, in a response to an email question by the Sunday Times on Syria, refused to be drawn in merely saying, “For the time being, we leave that issue with the UN Secretary General.” One has no doubt, to wait with bated breath as it were, for her oral submissions on Sri Lanka at the September sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and then her final report next March.

Her lengthy statement read out at the news conference in Colombo yesterday gives but a hint of her ‘first impressions’ as it were. Those who met the lady seem to feel that she had read her brief as a good lawyer should and was possessed of the facts. But her statement showed she was only human and susceptible to taunting, which was unbecoming no doubt, but seems to have rattled her.

Hopefully, that will not affect her judgement. She seemed concerned about religious intolerance in the country, but surprisingly asked the President why the Buddhist flag flies at Independence Square. Surely, she wouldn’t dare ask the Queen of England why she is the Defender of the Faith and the head of the Church of England or from President Obama why their dollar bill has the words ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’.

Her parting shot might give a hint of what is to come from her in Geneva. She said she was “deeply concerned that Sri Lanka, despite the opportunity provided by the end of the war to construct a vibrant, all-embracing state, is showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction”. She was equally critical of the Diaspora that supports the “ruthless” LTTE. One hasn’t heard the last of her for sure.

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.