Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Syria: US imperialism and diplomacy

Repost from Workers World:

Syria: U.S. imperialism and diplomacy

By on February 8, 2014

The much ballyhooed Geneva II peace talks, which were supposed to bring about peace in Syria, ended on Jan. 31 with no agreement for one very good reason: The U.S had no intention of seeking any real peace agreement, but was intent on using the forum as a background for propaganda and as a way to deceive and weaken the Syrian government.

No concessions were offered by the imperialists and their allies, while they continued to arm the “rebel” forces both directly and indirectly, through such countries as Saudi Arabia. Indeed, some analysts believe that the U.S. is trying to achieve through diplomacy what it is failing to do on the battlefield.

For example, Patrick Cockburn, writing in the Jan. 31 Independent (Britain), notes, “For negotiations to have any hope of success they must reflect the balance of power on the ground in Syria. … [Syrian] forces hold 13 out 14 Syrian provincial capitals and are slowly retaking districts in Damascus, Homs and Aleppo captured by rebels in 2012.”

A strong indication of the lack of seriousness for real peace can be ascertained by looking at a list of the attendees, which included more than 40 countries and organizations from around the world, many of them far removed from the Middle East. Included were all the NATO countries and other stalwart U.S. allies, such as Japan and Australia, and just about every enemy of the Syrian government that could be found.

Pointedly not included was one of Syria’s allies, Iran, though it was at first invited to the talks by the United Nations and then humiliatingly disinvited because of objections from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The Jan. 20 New York Times called this move a “fitting prelude” to the conference.

Another indication of the imperialists’ deception can be seen in the tactics used to get the Syrians, as well as China and the Russian Federation, to attend the conference in the first place. The U.S. and others stressed that there were no “preconditions” to the talks, including the role of President Bashar al-Assad in any future government of Syria.

Syria demands apology from Kerry

The talks had scarcely begun when Secretary of State John Kerry loudly and insultingly attacked Assad, stating in the Jan. 22 Huffington Post that “there is no way that Syrian President Bashar Assad can be part of a transitional government.”

This was part of a weeklong cacophony of propaganda from the Western media attacking the Syrian regime, complete with pictures of victims and statistics of the civil war, for which total responsibility was unjustly attributed to the Syrian government.

While the propaganda exploited the plight of people in the Old City of Homs, which was being besieged by the government, what was left unreported, according to the Independent, was the fact that the rebels are conducting their own siege of 45,000 people in the towns of Zahraa and Nubl, outside Aleppo. In fact, during the talks relief was sent to Homs, and all who wanted to were permitted to leave.

According to the Feb. 1 Alalam, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem lashed back, calling on the U.S to issue an apology for Kerry’s remarks. He also slammed the hypocrisy of the “unjust” international community that imposes sanctions on a war-torn country.

“It is an ‘international community’ that adopts double standards policy, and is mostly dominated by the U.S. … They dominate the U.N. Security Council and the U.N.”

Muallem questioned how the West could be involved in the Geneva talks and at the same time “impose sanctions on the Syrian people and children?”

Alalam on Feb. 2 reported that Muallem asked European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton to explain how the West can impose a ban on food products, yet at the same time discuss the issue of humanitarian aid shipments.

Meanwhile, more than 200 pro-Syrian demonstrators marched outside the building where the talks were held. Similar demonstrations have occurred around the world in opposition to the unjust U.S. intervention in Syria.

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