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Sunday, April 23, 2017

US allies quickly fall in line echoing US line blaming Assad for alleged Syrian chemical attack

U.S. allies fall in line giving support for Trump's missile attack on a Syrian air base to punish Assad even though there was no independent investigation as to who was to blame, nor any UN motion of support, nor U.S. Congress approval either.

Trump acted solely on his own. He did not bother with the UN. He did not try to involve NATO, as often happens when the UN does not do what the U.S. wants. He did not create a coalition of allies to spread the responsibility. He did not consult his own Congress even though he claimed that president Obama had to do so when he was contemplating a strike. He also advised Obama not to bomb Syria. However, Trump now agrees with Hillary Clinton that bombing a Syrian air base is a good idea. All those supporting the U.S. simply assume Assad is guilty even though this has not been concluded through any objective investigation. I have argued in a recent Digital Journal article that Trump's action was against international law. There is evidence that does not fit with the U.S. evidence against Assad such as that of retired U.S. former intelligence officer Colonel Patrick Lang but it is studiously ignored by the mainstream press. The assumption of Assad's guilt in leaders' statements is just reported "objectively". They can also report objectively that Russia and Iran claim the strikes are against international law. No need to ascertain whether it is true or false since most people will reject the statements as simply propaganda that is not true. Amazingly, Trump, the mentally ill, moron, and inveterate liar suddenly has newspapers who had consistently condemned him singing his praises with the top five papers running 18 favorable opinion pieces on Trump's strikes and none against.
I already wrote an article about the response of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. After an earlier statement in which he suggested there needed to be an investigation and a number of questions needed to be answered after the strikes and a phone call from Trump he immediately came out in support of the attacks. It is almost as if he were acting under instruction. Trudeau said:Canada fully supports the United States’ limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children. President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity."Note not the slightest suggestion that there might be any doubt about who is guilty. No talk of an investigation nor of lack of a UN motion nor the status of the attacks under international law.
Of course, Israel's Netanyahu who is able to carry out attacks on Syria almost below the radar of the press does not mention international law either. The Israeli PM said:“President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”
Israel has both chemical and nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia joined in with Israel saying that it fully supported the missile strike and that Trump made a courageous decision in response to Assad's use of chemical weapons against citizens.
Some countries, such as China and Sweden did not approve or disapprove but Sweden at least raised questions about Trump's actions. Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallstrom said that the attack "raises questions about how the attack could be compatible with international law". However, for those who favor the strikes that question is a non-starter as is the question of Assad's guilt. China's response by Hua Chunyung of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said: “We hope all sides will stay calm and exercise restraint to prevent the escalation of tension.” A courageous response.
Iran, not surprisingly is opposed to the strikes and does bring up the question of Assad's guilt. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qasemi said "We strongly condemn any unilateral military action and the missile attack on the Al Shayrat air base in Syria by the U.S. Navy and believe that such actions, which use the excuse of a suspicious chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib, whose timing and perpetrators are shrouded in a cloud of doubt, only strengthens terrorists who were already weak and adds to the complexity in Syria and the region."
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, put the Russian position succinctly as "an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law, and under a trumped-up pretext at that." So far the Russians have responded only by shutting down any cooperation with U.S. military forces, a move that makes accidents more probable
Indonesia, with the world's largest Muslim population, condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but Foreign Ministry spokesperson said: "At the same time, Indonesia is concerned with unilateral actions by any parties, including the use of Tomahawk missiles, in responding to the chemical weapon attack tragedy in Syria. Military actions, undertaken without prior authorization of the U.N. Security Council, are not in line with international legal principles in the peaceful settlement of disputes, as stipulated in the U.N. Charter." Why is it Indonesia can see this while Canada and other supporters of the US are blind to what are obvious facts and choose to ignore them?
The Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Sacha Llorenti pointed out that the US had previously attacked and invaded Iraq on the basis of Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. He summed up the situation quite well: "Now the U.S. believe that they are investigators, they are attorneys, judges and they are the executioners." This is not that surprising but what is quite surprising, shameful, and dangerous for world peace is that US allies uncritically accept this situation. This can only encourage the U.S., especially under Donald Trump, to continue with its same policy without worrying about the response of its allies. The next move might be against North Korea.


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