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Is Syrian ‘Peace’ Conference Laying the Foundation for War?

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Posted on Jan 31, 2014

Ali Photography (CC BY-ND 2.0)

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Truthout

(Page 2)

Reporter Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor points out some of the problems with the report. He writes it is “a single source report, from an unidentified man, who is related by marriage to a similarly unidentified member of the ‘Syrian National Movement.’” The Syrian National Movement is an opposition group funded by Qatar that has been trying to remove Assad since 2011. Further, the report was rushed to publication; the source was “interviewed on Jan. 12, 13 and 18 of this year. The report was provided to reporters yesterday, Jan. 20.” This resulted in no thorough examination of the photographs. Further, Murphy reports the document actually indicates 835 individual cases were examined, not all of them were shown to have been killed or tortured, and the 11,000 figure that made headlines was an extrapolation.

Yet, this has been trumpeted in the media as fact. A Washington Post editorial published on January 22 treated the 11,000 killed and tortured by Assad without any doubt. They quote Secretary Kerry saying the report shows Syria conducting “systematic torture and execution of thousands of prisoners.” The editorial revealed how the peace process could lead to war: “Mr. Obama probably could force the measures Mr. Brahimi is seeking [i.e. Assad resigning] by presenting Mr. Assad with the choice of accepting them or enduring U.S. airstrikes.”  It is notable that the Post is putting military strikes on the agenda now – even before the negotiations fail or a peace agreement is violated.

The US media had been pushing for war with Syria during the last run-up to war when Obama decided to send the decision to Congress.  Thanks to opposition across the political spectrum in Congress and among the American people, the war was prevented.  Russia’s intervention which put forward a compromise that ridded the Syrian government of chemical weapons provided a face-saving escape for the Obama administration.

Since then the claims that Sarin gas was used by the Syrian government from Syrian-held territory have been put into doubt. The New York Times, Human Rights Watch and others who favored a U.S. attack had claimed the rockets came from Syrian territory based on a vector analysis of the angle of the rockets.  But, this fell apart when experts concluded the rockets did not have the range to reach the targets.  The NY Times was forced to quietly distance itself from a front page story making these claims.

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We are already seeing a media drum beat for war gearing up.  The media is consistent in repeating several lies about the Syrian negotiations, and constantly blaming Assad for refusing to abide by non-existent requirements of the Geneva communiqué. We can expect the hawkish U.S. media to escalate the drumbeat and put forward war propaganda as the failure of the peace negotiations continues.

And Reuters reports that weapons aid to Syria has been “secretly” approved by Congress.  Weapons approved include anti-tank weapons and small arms.  Reuters writes “The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30. . .” How does the Congress have secret votes to approve war-making actions?  According to Reuters “Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said.”

So, on one hand the U.S. claims to be seeking peace and with the other it is fueling war with weapons. In public, the Congress opposed war with Syria, but in secret votes it provides funding for weapons for the Syrian war.

Americans who oppose war better get prepared now.  There has been a long-term agenda to remove the Assad family from power in Syria and the U.S. foreign policy establishment has not given up on that goal, nor have U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. This seems to be one more time when peace negotiations are a likely prelude to war unless the people of the United States see through these actions and prevent it.
This article was originally published in Truthout.
We discussed these matters in detail with Ajamu Baraka and Alli McCracken of CODEPINK on our radio show, Clearing The FOG, this week.  You can listen here.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.


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