Arrested NATO officers in Aleppo were in country illegally and are not therefore covered by the Geneva Convention

Syrian special forces arrested NATO officers yesterday in east Aleppo

Le Conseil de sécurité se réunit à huis clos après l’arrestation d’officiers de l’Otan à Alep

The Security Council meets behind closed doors after the arrest of NATO officers in Aleppo
The Security Council sits in camera, this Friday, December 16, 2016 at 5: 00 universal time, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in Aleppo-East.
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Why Is the U.S. Refusing an Independent Investigation If Its Hospital Airstrike Was an “Accident”?

The Intercept

In Geneva this morning, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) demanded a formal, independent investigation into the U.S. airstrike on its hospital in Kunduz. The group’s international president, Dr. Joanne Liu , specified that the inquiry should be convened pursuant to war crime-investigating procedures established by the Geneva Conventions and conducted by The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. “Even war has rules,” Liu said. “This was just not an attack on our hospital. It was an attack on the Geneva Conventions. This cannot be tolerated.”

Liu emphasized that the need for an “independent, impartial investigation is now particularly compelling given what she called “the inconsistency in the U.S. and Afghan accounts of what happened over the recent days.” On Monday, we documented the multiple conflicting accounts offered in the first three days by the U.S. military and its media allies, but the story continued to change even further after that. As The Guardian’s headline yesterday noted, the U.S. admission that its own personnel called in the airstrike — not Afghan forces as it claimed the day before — meant that “U.S. alters story for fourth time in four days.” All of this led Liu to state the obvious today: “We cannot rely on internal military investigations by the U.S., NATO and Afghan forces.”

An independent, impartial investigation into what happened here should be something everyone can immediately agree is necessary. But at its daily press briefing on Monday, the U.S. State Department, through its spokesperson Mark Toner, insisted that no such independent investigation was needed on the ground that the U.S. government is already investigating itself and everyone knows how trustworthy and reliable this process is:

QUESTION: The — so MSF is calling for an independent investigation of this incident by a neutral international body. Is that something the administration would support?

MR TONER: Well, we’ve got three investigations underway. Certainly, we’ve got our own DOD-led investigation. We obviously strongly believe that can be a very transparent and accountable investigation. Let’s let these three investigations run their course and see what the results are.

I would say — and I know the White House spoke about this earlier — we have reached out to some of the leadership in Médecins Sans Frontières to express our condolences over this tragic incident. But as to whether there needs to be an independent fourth investigation, we’re satisfied, I think, at this point that enough investigations are underway that we’ll get to the truth.

QUESTION: You don’t think that with the U.S., which is — which has an interest in how this investigation proceeds and what the outcome is, and being involved in all three investigations somehow affects the legitimacy of it?

MR TONER: I mean, frankly, I think we’ve proven over time that we can investigate incidents like these — like this, and as I said, hold anyone accountable who needs to be held accountable, and do it in such a way that’s transparent and, I think, credible.

QUESTION: Just along those lines —

MR TONER: Please.

QUESTION: — MSF has said that this is a clear presumption of a war crime that’s been committed here. Some have suggested that the ICC take it up. Is it a safe bet that the U.S. would vote against/veto any attempt in the Security Council to bring this incident for — up for an ICC investigation?

MR TONER: I don’t want to answer a hypothetical. On the war crime question itself, we’re just not there yet, and I don’t want to prejudge any outcome of any investigation.

Please, sir.

QUESTION: What do you mean, “We’re just not there yet”?

MR TONER: I mean we’re conducting investigations, we’re looking at this very closely, and we’re going to, as multiple folks have said including the president over the weekend — that we’re going to hold those accountable and it’s going to be a credible investigation.

QUESTION: Does that mean —

QUESTION: So it’s conceivable to you that this could have been a war crime?

MR TONER: I said we’re not — we’re letting the investigations run their course.

QUESTION: Well, regardless of whether or not you —

MR TONER: I’m not going to — I’m not even — yeah, please, Matt.

QUESTION: No, but I want to —

MR TONER: Sure, go ahead. Sorry.

QUESTION: Is it not — I mean, it’s always been assumed, I think — and I just want to know if this assumption is still safe — that the U.S. would oppose an attempt to refer an incident involving U.S. troops to the International Criminal Court.

MR TONER: That’s —

QUESTION: I mean, as it’s — as it was being formed, you guys ran around signing these Article 98 —

MR TONER: That’s a perfectly sound assumption.

Can anyone justify that? So predictably, American journalists have announced without even waiting for any investigation that this was all a terrible accident, nothing intentional about it. Those U.S.-defending journalists should be the angriest about their government’s refusal to allow an independent, impartial investigation since that would be the most effective path for exonerating them and proving their innocent, noble intentions.

Many Americans, and especially a large percentage of the nation’s journalists, need no investigation to know that this was nothing more than a terrible, tragic mistake. They believe that Americans, and especially their military, are so inherently good and noble and well-intentioned that none would ever knowingly damage a hospital. John McCain expressed this common American view and the primary excuse now accompanying it — stuff happens — on NPR this morning:

They’re certain of this despite how consistent MSF has been that this was a “war crime.” They’re certain of it despite how many times, and how recently, MSF notified the U.S. military of the exact GPS coordinates of this hospital. They’re certain of it even though bombing continued for 30 minutes after MSF pleaded with them to stop. They’re certain of it despite the substantial evidence that their Afghan allies long viewed this exact hospital with hostility because — true to its name and purpose — the group treated all wounded human beings, including Taliban. They’re certain of it even though Afghan officials have explicitly defended the airstrike against the hospital on the ground that Taliban were inside. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has radically changed its story about what happened as facts emerged that proved its latest claims false. They’re certain of it despite how many times the U.S. has attacked and destroyed civilian targets under extremely suspicious circumstances.

But they are not apparently so certain that they desire an independent, impartial investigation into what actually happened here. The facially ludicrous announcement by the State Department that the Pentagon will investigate itself produced almost no domestic outrage. A religious-like belief in American exceptionalism and tribal superiority is potent indeed, and easily overrides evidence or facts. It blissfully renders the need for investigations obsolete. In their minds, knowing that it was Americans who did this suffices to know what happened, at least on the level of motive: It could not possibly be the case that there was any intentionality here at all. As McCain said, it’s only the Bad People — not Americans — who do such things deliberately.

But those who already know that this was all a terrible mistake, that no U.S. personnel would ever purposely call for a strike on a hospital even if they thought there were Taliban inside, should be the ones most eager for the most credible investigation possible: namely, the one under the Geneva Conventions, which MSF this morning demanded, by the tribunal created exactly for such atrocities.

A New Push for Peace in Syria?

Iraq-Syria-US
Global Research, November 14, 2014

Why are there no serious peace talks to end the war in Syria? After robbing over 130,000 people of their lives, and evicting over 9 million refugees from their homes, the Syrian war has infected nearly every region of the Middle East. Yet among the U.S. and its regional allies there are no public discussions about a viable peace plan, only war talk. 

It’s hard to talk peace when the United States is still maneuvering for war, having recently given $500 million to arm and train Syrian rebels, while also brokering a deal with Saudi Arabia to open a new Syrian rebel training camp, in addition to the one already functioning in Jordan. Instead of using Obama’s vast Middle East influence for peace he has used it to push war.

The brilliant failure of the U.S.-led Geneva peace talks on Syria was done without the seriousness demanded by the wholesale destruction of a nation. Obama used the talks to pursue “U.S. interests,” having purposely excluded Iran from the talks while trying to leverage disproportionate power for Obama’s “Free Syrian Army” rebels, who enjoy minuscule power on the ground as they used peace talks to make unrealistic demands.

Obama played a passive role in the peace talks, allowing them to flounder instead of publicly putting forth serious proposals that reflected the situation on the ground. There have been no talks since January and Geneva III is yet unscheduled, as Obama seems committed only to giving the rebels more bargaining power via more war, the logic being that if the rebels are armed and trained appropriately, they’ll eventually be able to win back enough land to force the Assad government to bargain on equal terms.

The giant void in the market for peace has opened up opportunities for Russia and Egypt, who reportedly are attempting to insert themselves as leaders in Middle East diplomacy, in part to expand their influence, in part to protect themselves from the conflagration of Islamic extremism the conflict is producing.

Mint Press reports on the still-developing story:

“Moscow and Cairo are preparing for a conference between the Syrian regime and the opposition in the hope of bringing them together in a transitional government that ‘fights terrorism’…the agenda of the conference to be held between the two sides includes establishing a transitional Syrian government with extensive powers while maintaining Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s authority over the army and security institutions.”

If such a proposal comes to fruition its merits must be seriously debated on the world stage, where Obama would very likely do his best to sabotage the peace. This is because Obama’s rebels on the ground in Syria — loosely organized under the “Free Syrian Army” banner — are powerless, and a Russia-led peace process would reveal this fact and apply it to a peace treaty, leaving little influence for the Obama administration in the new government. This is a peace deal Obama would rather kill.

Obama’s rebels are weak while the Syrian Government has made substantial military gains. Most notably a recent peace deal was won in Syria’s largest city Aleppo, modeled after the peace deal in Homs that allowed rebels to leave unarmed while giving de-facto control of the city to the government.

Interestingly, veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk recently questioned not only the relevance of Obama’s Free Syrian Army, but it’s very existence. Fisk explains:

“The Free Syrian Army I think drinks a lot of coffee in Istanbul. I have never come across it – except in the first months of the fighting, I’ve never come across even prisoners from the Free Syrian Army…You know, the FSA, in the eyes of the Syrians, doesn’t really exist. They’ve got al-Qaeda, Nusrah, various other Islamist groups, and now of course ISIS…But I don’t think they care very much about the Free Syrian Army. One officer told me that some have been accepted back into the Syrian Army, so they could go home. Others had been allowed to go home and they were not permitted to serve in the Syrian Army anymore. I think that the Free Syrian Army is a complete myth and I don’t believe it really exists and nor do the Syrians…”

Fisk’s analysis of the FSA punctuates the perspective of many who have long questioned whether the FSA had been totally absorbed by the Islamic extremist militias. At most the FSA exists in tiny irrelevant pockets, though Fisk thinks the FSA might be an Obama administration fantasy used to justify the ongoing Syrian war.

Aside from Obama’s weakness on the ground, there are broader geo-political reasons Obama would reject a Russia/Egypt-led peace. For one, the Obama Administration only recently made a long term investment in war, by giving the $500 billion to the Syrian rebels and training thousands more in Saudi Arabia, actions that effectively dismissed any meaningful reconciliation with Iran.

Obama chose instead to reinforce the close alliances with pariah states Saudi Arabia and Israel, and both are demanding that Syria be destroyed. By re-committing himself to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel, Obama has essentially abandoned peace with Syria and Iran, since Obama’s allies want Syria and Iran destroyed.

If Obama followed the lead of Russia and Egypt in the peace process, his allies would abandon him, since they’ve invested huge sums of money, arms, and their political livelihoods on making sure their governments and domestic companies profit off of the demise of the Syrian government.

This is the basis for the complete geo-political stalemate in the Middle East. Of course the giant U.S. corporations that benefit from Middle East dominance are applying maximum pressure to continue war. The stalemate has become so obvious and destructive in Syria that Russia and Egypt have inserted themselves as power brokers, which would act to bolster their political-economic leverage while pushing the U.S. out.

Regional power scrambling aside, if a rational peace deal were put forth —whether it’s brokered by Russia, Egypt, or whomever — the world must demand that peace be pursued, lest the Syrian catastrophe continue.

Obama and his regional allies have proven totally incapable of producing any realistic peace proposal — they’ve been too consumed with war.   Obama has yet another chance to recognize the results of this failed proxy war and accept a peace that is a 100,000 lives overdue, or it can forge ahead to expand the killing. Stopping the war is as easy as acknowledging the reality, and to forge a treaty that reflects it.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

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Assad to UN Envoy: There Won’t Be Geneva III, Talks with Opp. Only in Damascus

Local Editor

Assad-Staffan de Mistura Well-informed Western sources reported that the Syrian President Bashar al-assad told UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura that there will be no  Geneva III, asserting that Damascus will be the only place to host any talks with the opposition forces if they decide to hold negotiations.

The sources added that Staffan de Mistura did not launch any initiative during his visit to Damascus in the shade of the US insistence on holding Geneva III and the Russian rejection for the “wasting-time” conferences.

Source: Al-Manar Website

20-09-2014 – 18:13 Last updated 20-09-2014 – 8:13

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The Syrian People Have Spoken

Posted on June 6, 2014 by Alexandra Valiente
 
The Syrian presidential election surprised both Syrians and their allies and enemies. The poll, which everyone agrees was legitimate, mobilized 73.42% of the electorate, despite the inability of some people to get to the polls because of the occupation of part of the country by foreign mercenaries. Bashar al-Assad won 88.7% of the vote and his mandate has been extended for 7 more years.

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For the past several months, the 11 remaining member states of the London Group (formerly known as the “Friends of Syria” at the time when there were 114) denounced the Syrian presidential election on June 3 as a “farce”. According to them, on the one hand it would be ludicrous to hold an election in a country plagued by a “civil war”, on the other hand, the outgoing President Bashar al-Assad is a tyrant, using massive torture and bombing his own people, and therefore illegitimate. According to these 11 states, the only way out of a war that has already left “at least 160,000 dead Syrians” would be by giving way to a “transitional body” designated not by the Syrians, but by themselves, the London Group.
The major media from members of NATO and the GCC States were therefore intending to ignore this “non-election”, in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry. However, early voting for Syrians living abroad having led to mass demonstrations in Lebanon and Jordan, it was obvious that almost all Syrians living inside Syria who could vote would. Henceforth, these mainstream media dispatched teams in extremis to cover the event.
Until that time, it was generally accepted, except by the Voltaire Network, that Syrians in exile opposed the Republic, and had fled the country to escape “political repression.” The episodes at polls in Beirut and Amman showed that in reality, the vast majority of them had fled the exactions of foreign mercenaries who attack their country. Just as surprised as the Syrian ambassador to Lebanon, the Lebanese Interior Minister denounced the presence on his territory of alleged Syrian refugees who support their government, refusing to take into account the attack on their country and the destruction of their homes by more than 250,000 mercenaries in 3 years.
The Syrian Republic strove to meticulously follow Western standards of democracy. Parliament adopted a new electoral code which established the rights granted to candidates both for public advertising and television appearances and newspapers, as well as providing an escort ensuring their safety in this time of war.
The country, which abandoned the one-party system in favour of a multiparty system, having adopted the constitution of February 26, 2012, had two years to develop numerous parties and learn public policy debate.
The Syrian Republic, which has accepted the presence of Western journalists since November 2011, had two and a half years to learn how to meet their professional requirements. It gradually established good contacts with many of them, especially since the Geneva 2 Conference. More than 360 international media were accredited as well, with complete freedom of movement throughout the country, despite the war.

Political arguments

Kerry has seen raw data that suggests Syria used chlorine in gas attacks
For the London Group, it would be impossible to hold an election in a state at war. They forget that recently, these same States welcomed the presidential elections in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
In Afghanistan, on April 5, the first round of the presidential election unfolded under the supervision of NATO troops. One voter in three fled the country, but could vote from abroad. According to the member states of the London group, it would have required 50% of votes cast to be elected in the first round (there would be a second round on June 14). In this case, given the abstention rate of 67% the president was elected by 16.5% of the electorate).
In Ukraine, the Kiev coup announced a turnout of 60% on May 25. In doing so, they did not count the voters of Crimea, although they say that this area is still part of their country. President-elect Poroshenko reaped 54% of votes cast. However, if the score included all voters across the territory it claims, it has the support of 27% of them.
One should not be surprised by the low standards of the London Group: in the last European Parliament elections (May 25), the participation rate was exceptionally low (only 13% in the Czech Republic). This election without the people was nevertheless considered “democratic” (sic).

The Bellicose Role of the Atlanticist Media 2011-2012

The war against Syria began in 2011 as a 4th generation war. That is to say that NATO intended to overthrow the government by discouraging people from defending themselves rather than through a conventional war.
Major international media (Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera, BBC, CNN, France24, Sky), coordinated by the Alliance were to delude the Syrians and the world into believing that their country was in the grips of a “revolution” and their government would inevitably be overthrown. The war would have peaked in early 2012 by the false substitution of Syrian channels to announce the flight of President al-Assad and the establishment of a “transitional government.” However the operation was foiled and failed. In June of 2012, Russia and the United States concluded outlines of an agreement which provided both peace in Syria and sharing the region between them.
However, France, Israel and the democratic opposition in the Obama administration (Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, James Stavridis) relaunched the war in another form. This time the method was to attack the country with non-state forces, on the model of the condottieri of the Renaissance and, more recently, the Contras in Nicaragua. During this second period, the Atlanticist and Gulf media continued their momentum to describe an imaginary revolution against a cruel dictatorship, while public opinion in Syria wound up rallying with the government. So that when the Syrian presidential campaign began, the media gave a completely different narration of the situation depending on whether they were based in NATO countries or GCC or not.
How then would the Atlantic Media deal with this election?

The Atlanticist Media Strategy of Assad Bashing in 2014

During days preceding the election, they used several arguments to discredit the electoral process.
• “The result is known in advance,” they pounded. Indeed, there was no doubt that the outgoing president, Bashar al-Assad, would be elected for a third term of 7 years. This statement left the public to assume that the election would not be fair.
However, if Europeans are willing to compare what is comparable, the situation in Syria is reminiscent of Europe at the end of the Second World War.
On August 26, 1944, the President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (GPRF), which was established in Algiers a few days before the invasion of Normandy, General Charles De Gaulle, went up the Champs-Elysees escorted by an innumerable crowd. There was no election then. De Gaulle’s legitimacy was indisputable because he was the first politician to refuse Collaboration in 1940 and immediately enter the Resistance.

Charles de Gaulle leading the parade down the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to celebrate the liberation of the city, France, Paris.26 August 1944.

 
 The French greeted him as a man who knew how to oppose fatalism and lead them to victory. Similarly, the Syrians see Assad in the man who was able to oppose the colonization of the country and lead them to victory.
• “The other two candidates are mere stooges” continue Atlanticist media, implying that the country was still at the single party level and that this election was staged.
However, the characteristic of a multi-party system is to be able to vote for a candidate of one’s choice. In many elections, voters do not identify with any candidate. They can then either refrain if they consider that the system is flawed; or vote blanc if they want to support the institutions, but no candidate; or vote for a fringe candidate to relativize the score of the principal candidate (the so-called “protest vote”).
Therefore, even before considering the score of the candidates, what is most important is the level of participation. In the Syria war, where part of the territory is currently occupied by at least 90,000 foreign mercenaries, despite the call of the Syrian National Coalition for boycott, 73.42% of the electorate voted. By comparison, this is better than in France for all elections to the European Parliament (since 1979), better than all the elections (since 1986), but less so than the presidential election (80.34%). The difference of course, is that France is at peace.
• “The country is largely destroyed and the bombardment continues,” assures the Atlanticist media. The election would therefore be an epiphenomenon, the daily reality is the pervasiveness of war. To add, AFP affirms that the government only controlled 40% of the country sheltering 60% of the population.
Participation having been greater than 60%, it should first be noted that the AFP figures are imaginary. Control by the Syrian Arab Army is much broader since it regained the coast. Mercenaries are still present at the Turkish border and in some pockets here and there. Thus, the district of Damascus is 18 000 km2, of which only 75 km2 are held by the Contras, but the AFP considers that the entire district is in the hands of the “revolutionaries”. In addition, in some areas, the Syrian Arab Army is absent, but state officials are ever-present. This is the case of the Kurdish areas who themselves ensure their own safety while recognizing the Republic. Finally, most of the territory is uninhabitable desert that everyone is entitled to control. However, where the Contras try to traverse, they are shot down by the Syrian Air Force.

The Khalidiya district of Homs 

Also, showing pictures of Homs devastation does not mean that the government is “bombing its own people.” Again, if we take the example of World War II, these images are comparable to Stalingrad as the methods of the Contras are the same as those of the Nazis: that of “mouse holes”. In order not be eliminated in the streets, foreign snipers dig passages from one house to another in the side walls.

Bombing of France during World War II. From Wikipedia

Finally, to bombard enemy positions, the Syrian Arab Army may be required to bomb civilians in the way the Allies bombed Lisieux, Vire, Le Havre, Tilly, Villers-Bocage, Saint-Lô, Caen etc. during the Normandy landings. However, when the methods of the Allies are discussed, noone thinks of accusing them of having deliberately killed 20,000 French civilians.

The Consequences of the Vote

To everyone’s surprise, the turnout was massive wherever it was possible to vote, including in the Kurdish areas, while the Atlanticist media relayed Kurdish calls for a boycott.
We must therefore conclude:
• The charges of dictatorship and torture are imaginary.
In no state in the world, have we seen the people vote for a dictator who oppressed them. The German Nazi party never got more than 43.9% of the vote (March 1933) and immediately ended multiparty elections.
The Syrians residing inside their country certainly know better what is happening at home than the Syrians of the National Coalition, most of whom have lived abroad for at least twenty years. They no longer believe the US narrative of the early events (children that police allegedly tortured in Daraa) and they never believed the current narrative (the 10,000 people tortured and starved to death in “regime” prisons).
• The Syrian National Coalition does not represent the Syrian people.
The Coalition, a body created by the French services and now controlled by Saudi Arabia after having being controlled by Qatar, was recognized as the “sole representative of the Syrian people” by the London Group. Despite the boycott, abstention is only 26.58% of registered voters, which seems to correspond primarily to those prevented from participating because of the occupation of part of the territory by the Contras.
It is also still unclear how an entity flying the green-white-black three-star flag —that is to say, the flag of French colonization of the inter-war period— could be supported by the Syrian people.
• The Collaborators of the colonial powers are discredited.
During televised debates, members of the Coalition explained the absence of a leader capable of competing with Bashar al-Assad by a long period of dictatorship stifling the country. Now, as we have seen, there is no dictatorship in Syria today.
If we make the comparison with the Second World War, the absence of a rival to Charles De Gaulle in 1944 did not mean that he had imposed a dictatorship, but that French politicians were discredited by working with Nazis. That is why none of the people who participated in the National Coalition can hope to play a political role in the future in the country.
 Translation
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Presidential election a positive step

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May 29, 2014, Ken Stone, the Spec

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed as “farce” the upcoming Syrian presidential election of June 3, but it may prove to be a step toward a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

This election is an exercise in real democracy.

On Feb. 26, 2012, in response to demands for constitutional change from the Syrian people, the Syrian constitution was reformed and ratified by a general referendum to allow for multiparty elections. In fact, this will be the first free election in Syrian history in which more than one candidate has stood for election for president. If Western governments are really interested in bringing freedom and democracy to Syria, why would they oppose it?

The new Syrian constitution requires a presidential election by July. If there weren’t an election, President Bashar Assad would no longer have a mandate to rule, which, of course, is the principal reason Kerry doesn’t want the election to take place.

The U.S. has been the main architect of the covert, illegal war against Syria organized through the so-called “Friends of Syria Group,” including Western countries such as Canada, as well as Arab monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who have organized mainly non-Syrian mercenaries — many openly allied to al Qaeda — to attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.

It’s important to note that the mercenaries, controlling 30 per cent of Syrian territory, not only oppose, like Kerry, the June 3 election, but also refuse to hold elections in territory they control. The reasons are twofold: first, they would be voted out by the Syrians who live under their brutal foreign occupation. Secondly, their paymaster is the Saudi government, which is an absolute monarchy and tolerates no opposition.

Kerry also dismissed the upcoming election because tens of thousands of Syrians have been displaced by the fighting. It’s too bad Kerry isn’t familiar with U.S. history. Abraham Lincoln authorized a presidential election in 1864 in the midst of the bloody U.S. Civil War when the South was mostly under Confederate control.

The U.S., moreover, has a dismal track record in not respecting democratic elections and elected leaders. It has staged coups against dozens of elected governments around the world since 1945 and deposed scores of elected leaders, including most recently, Aristide of Haiti, Chavez of Venezuela, and Yanukovych of Ukraine. Its own elections are rife with voter suppression of minority populations, huge inequalities in campaign spending, fraudulent practices and extremely low turnouts. Kerry lives in a veritable glass house and shouldn’t throw stones.
Kerry is also personally responsible, whether he admits it or not, for the Syrian election being called at this time. At the Geneva 2 Conference last January, he sabotaged any chance of an internationally sanctioned, transitional government being formed in Syria by insisting Assad couldn’t be part of it. This insistence flew in the face of the Geneva 1 Communique (June 30, 2012), which stipulated there would be no preconditions to talks. Because the Geneva 2 Conference collapsed without reaching consensus, the Syrian government went ahead with the scheduled presidential election.

For that election, the Syrian government secured promises of election observers from the BRICs countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) to verify its fairness. However, Kerry went in the other direction. He and U.S. President Barack Obama personally welcomed leaders of a segment of the armed opposition to set up a bureau in Washington and promised them even more aid in their quest for regime change in Syria. It’s no wonder that Lakhdar Brahimi, the special UN mediator, threw up his hands and resigned a few days ago.

In areas controlled by the Syrian government, ordinary people are excited by the prospect of the election. Rallies and debates are taking place daily. Syrian expatriates are excited about voting in the three-way presidential contest as well. However, in North America, Syrian citizens will be denied a vote because the Harper and Obama administrations have shut down Syrian embassies.

It’s too bad the Harper and Obama governments are again standing in the way of democratic change in Syria.

The June 3 election might signify an important step toward national reconciliation between significant sectors of Syrian society and lead to a political, rather than military, solution to the conflict there.

Pro-elections rally in Aleppo. photo:

 

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Brahimi Desperate over Syria, Wants to Resign, No Successor Found

Local Editor

European sources reported that UN representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has really decided to resign as he was desperate to find a solution for the Syrian crisis.

The sources said that Brahimi told UN Chief Ban Ki-moon about his intention, noting that, unlike previous times, any state or side did not try to dissuade him from his decision.
Lakhdar Brahimi
The problem now lies in fining an alternative, for Brahimi, who can be accepted by the Arab League, the Security Council and the UN, the sources said.

Over the nationality of Brahimi’s successor, discussions in Geneva suggested that he should be from Arab Maghreb countries, sources revealed to al-Manar website.

Former Tunisian foreign minister, Kamal Marjan, was nominated for this post. However Tunis refused, according to the sources.

Morocco also refused that any of its diplomats would be nominated to succeed Brahimi. Therefore the Algerian troubleshooter’s successor should be Mauritanian or Libyan, and in the meantime there is no figure to hold this position.

Brahimi knows very well these difficulties that hinder finding a successor for him. For that he did not set a date for his resignation.

Meanwhile, the US-Russian dispute over Ukraine and Crimea indicates that the Syrian crisis is no more on the US agenda, the sources said, noting that Geneva III is not likely to take place in these circumstances.

The sources also pointed out that discussions over whether to hold Geneva III or not are likely to take place after the Syrian presidential elections, something that pushes the date of the international conference to the next fall because of the holy month of Ramadan and the summer vacation in West.

Read the Arabic text of Nidal Hamadeh article.

Source: Al-Manar Website
22-04-2014 – 15:59 Last updated 22-04-2014

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