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Obama's emotional arguments vs the security and legal arguments against military strikes on Syria

By Paul T. Shipale
Obama seems to look for a way out of his hasty and not wellthought-out decision to authorize a military strike on Syria after more than 50% of the American population asked in a recent opinion poll of 5th - 8th September 2013 are said to be against the use of any military option against Syria.

The reason some members of the Congress from both the Democratic and Republican Parties are evoking, is that, even in 2001 when the Bush Administration attacked Iraq based on the false argument that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, at least he managed to come up with a coalition of 49 countries supporting the invasion of Iraq and gave convincing legal and security arguments even if they later proved to be false and not based on concrete evidences.

Obama is now trying to justify his argument appealing on emotions and based on America's "exceptionalism" and "a threat against America's ideals and principles" while at the same time he seems to safe face by opting out of the military option saying that "given the latest developments on the diplomatic front", especially because of the American threat to strike against Syria and the Russian and French diplomatic efforts to talk to the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons as well as based upon Syria's own admission that they had chemical weapons, Obama says he asked the Congress to postpone the vote on a strike against Syria while they are further exploring the diplomatic option.

The truth of the matter is that Obama is not telling the American people and the world opinion that the international community is against the use of military strikes against Syria because they are tired of the unending war all over the world as seen in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the strikes against Kosovo in the nineties. In addition, the 97's International Convention on chemical weapons does not authorize the USA to be the legal enforcer of this convention nor there is any valid legal argument and security threat on the USA by Syria.

For this reason, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov, dismissed the French's argument to use the UN Security Council's clause or chapter 7, which seeks to authorize the use of military force, as unacceptable while the Russian President Puttin called for diplomatic push for Syria to put its chemical weapons beyond use and hopes that Syria will join the international treaty on chemical weapons.

Obama agreed that America cannot be the world police yet argued for "targeted strikes to achieve a clear objective" and that "America does not do 'pinpricks'" as even limited actions will send a message to the Assad's regime because, according to Obama, not taking action 'could embolden Iran'.

In an article by Chris Mathlako on Syria titled "Say No to Regime Change", the author says that for nearly two years a war has raged in Syria in which many thousands have lost their lives, many more have been injured and maimed, the economy has suffered great losses and the infrastructure of a well-developed country has been devastated. Hunger, poverty and a lack of basic health and educational services now stalk the beautiful land of Syria.

Mathlako assert that what started as a legitimate struggle for democracy and constitutional changes has turned into a civil war led by antidemocratic sectarian groups inspired by a form of militantism, fully supported by those "paragons" of democracy, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. There is a crying need for a speedy negotiated resolution of the deadly conflict. However, the direct involvement of the major Western powers, supported by their allies in the region, in fanning the flames of war to bring about the downfall of President Assad and thus achieve an illegal regime change is a recipe for national and regional disaster and instability.

The demand that the Syrian government should voluntarily renounce power and cease all anti-rebel military actions is absurd. Therefore any meaningful negotiations must include President Assad concluded Mathlako who further elaborates that in an act of further intimidation and aggression, NATO, led by the US administration, embarked on a plan to deploy Patriot missiles accompanied by 400 US army personnel along the Turkish- Syrian border. It was reported that they were going to be augmented by the deployment of additional missiles operated by German and Dutch troops. NATO and its regional allies have long supported a motley collection of disparate opposition groups under the umbrella of the Syrian National Council (SNC). Dissatisfied by the failure of the SNC to impose its hegemony and unify the rebel forces, NATO has cobbled together the so-called National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.

Already the major Western powers and their allies are according full recognition to the National Coalition. Included in this coalition of war and aggression are heavily armed Al- Qaeda groupings such as the Al Nusra Front. Even though this latter grouping is characterised as terrorist by the US administration it is accorded a leading role in the National Coalition, Mathlako concluded.

The author than asserted that as Joseph Kishore pointed out in an article posted on the World Socialist Website on December 15, 2012 that "The utter cynicism of the US operation is hard to convey. For more than a decade, the central ideological framework of US policy - used to justify war abroad and the assault on democratic rights at home - has been the 'war on terror.' Yet the American military and CIA are now in a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda in Syria, as they were in Libya in 2011."

"The conflict that the US has stoked threatens to devolve into brutal sectarian killings, accompanied by NATO bombs. The tens of thousands dead already will rise quickly into the hundreds of thousands. "The criminality of American imperialism goes beyond anything seen since the operations of Nazi Germany in the run-up to World War II. One country after the next is targeted for overthrow on the basis of the most brazen lies: Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya."

This is only the beginning. Due in particular to its alliance with Iran, Syria is seen as a 'linchpin' in a broader drive to redraw the borders of the Middle East and strengthen the position of the US in relation to its main geopolitical competitors. It is noteworthy that Obama's coalition is refusing to take an equally bullish stand against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and to call for and implement boycotts and sanctions against Israel. The growing international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of the Palestinians struggle for self determination and an independent state would become irresistible if those countries were to support the campaign.

It is clear that President Obama has run out of convincing legal and security arguments on his desire to use military strikes against Syria and is now seeking to safe face by appealing to emotions while at the same time arguing that thanks to the American threat, Syria has now agreed to the diplomatic option proposed by Russia allowing for an inspection of its weapons.

This seems to be simply looking for the way out after realizing that the world's opinion, including the Vatican and most European countries and the American population are against the use of any military force. Let us now wait for round two.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer and this newspaper but solely reflect my personal views as a citizen.


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