“Syria and Bahrain – what’s the difference?” – Peter Hitchens, www.dailymail.co.uk

Author: Peter Hitchens for Daily Mail, UK. Published: 24 August 2012, 2:18 PM

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is very fond of taking a high tone with the Syrian government, as is the BBC. For them it’s a ‘regime’, though they have only quite recently discovered its regimeness, if that is what this quality is called. For decades, when Western liberal opinion had no interest in the Middle East, except in attacking Israel for its many wickednesses, Syria was ignored.

Even after the appalling Nezar Hindawi episode, in which a grisly attempt was made to use a pregnant woman to (unwittingly) take a bomb aboard an Israeli passenger jet, which would probably have blown up over London if the ploy had been successful, Syria was never really regarded as specially wicked.  We broke off relations for a bit, but eventually restored them. Syria was even welcome to US-sponsored attempts to broker a peace deal with Israel over the Golan heights, a more or less hopeless diplomatic waste of time.

Syria stayed out of the West’s bad books even after it was pretty clear that Syrian-sponsored terrorists had been involved in the Lockerbie mass murder. That line of inquiry was dropped because Syria was ‘helpful’ to the West during the first war against Saddam Hussein. It is this but of politics that is the origin of the bizarre and evidence-free subsequent claim that Gadaffi’s Libya was behind that bomb.

Amazing what people will believe and continue to believe, when it suits them.

Now, as far as I can make out, Britain and the USA, driven on by Hillary Clinton in a strange emotional spasm which is very hard to square with her militant feminism and youthful leftism, have decided to take the side of Saudi Arabia in the developing division of the Muslim world. That seems to explain why we regard Syria’s repression of anti-government rebels with rage and scorn, and why we regard Bahrain’s repression of its anti-government rebels with complacency and sympathy – Mr Slippery had the King of Bahrain in Downing Street for talks on Thursday, though there was very little fuss or publicity,  six days after Bahrain police beat an unarmed teenager to death . The Bahrain interior Ministry said the dead youth was a ‘terrorist’.

Bahrain is much smaller than Syria, but at least 50 people are believed to have been killed there in street clashes in the last 18 months or so. Some of you may remember, in the early days of the supposed ‘Arab Spring; quite a lot of coverage being given to the demonstrations at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama. Since then there have been credible allegations of torture by the government, hundreds of arrests and what looked to some people rather like an invasion by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, whose forces arrived in British-built vehicles.  A  particularly unpleasant aspect of the repression has been the punishment of doctors for simply treating those wounded in street clashes.

I make no particular judgement on this myself. I don’t hold out much hope for any of these societies becoming law governed or free any time soon.

What strikes me is the inconsistency of our own government, and the American government. Note also that the new Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egyptian government recently embarked on some pretty bloody repressions in the Sinai, yet were not accused of ‘killing their own people’ . This odd charge (would it be worse or better if they killed other people’s people?) is usually made against governments which have been selected by the ‘west’ for destabilisation.

The USA’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is very old and very interesting, dating back to a bizarre summit between Franklin Roosevelt and the Saudi King, Ibn Saud,.  aboard an American warship, USS Quincy, in the Great Bitter lake, while Roosevelt was on his way home from the Yalta conference in February 1945. Arab carpets were laid on the Quincy’s steel decks, to make the King feel more at home.

But quite why it should now apparently lead to Britain and the USA supporting the overthrow of governments unsympathetic to Saudi Arabia (while ignoring the defects of Arab governments which are more to Saudi taste) I am not sure.  It may have something to do with our obsessive concern with Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons, many, many years from operational capability. Or it may run deeper. Either way, we need to drain the propaganda and the emotion from this debate, and to have parliamentarians and journalists asking ministers exactly what it is we think we are doing, and why it benefits our national interests.

Meanwhile, several reports from newspapers hitherto sympathetic to the Syrian ‘activists’ have this week recounted how many ordinary and uncommitted Syrians loathe and fear these ‘activists’, who by provoking government retaliation on peaceful neighbourhoods, ruin contented and reasonably happy lives. What for?

Why do we think this tragic price is worth paying?

Peter Jonathan Hitchens (born 28 October 1951) is an award-winning British columnist and author, noted for his traditionalist conservative stance.

He has published five books, including The Abolition of BritainA Brief History of CrimeThe Broken Compass and most recently The Rage Against God. Hitchens writes for Britain’s The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

A former resident correspondent in Moscow and Washington, Hitchens continues to work as an occasional foreign reporter, and appears frequently in the British broadcast media. He is the younger brother of the late US-based writer Christopher Hitchens.

In 2010 Hitchens was described by Edward Lucas in The Economist as “a forceful, tenacious, eloquent and brave journalist. Readers with long memories may remember his extraordinary coverage of the revolution in Romania in 1989, or more recently his intrepid travels to places such as North Korea.

He lambasts woolly thinking and crooked behaviour at home and abroad.” – Source, Wikipedia

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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Love for Syria

Tonight, it is absolutely clear. When the stats on my blog spikes unusually high, it has nothing to do with me or what I say or think.

Each time this happens, based on the articles viewed and keywords that led them here, I can see that they have Iraq / Libya / Syria on their mind.

Lately, the name Anhar Kochneva or анхар кочнева has been appearing a lot under the search engine terms. I am finally seeing why.

So sad to know she’s been kidnapped and is still missing.

…Syria is in a real bad shape people. And it’s not even what we think it is. Especially the bulk of what is reported on mainstream media…

Regardless of who or what you believe, as a human being witnessing the destruction of another fellow human being, it is never easy.

Let the anger burn, as surely as sadness is cold. The point is that you care. Don’t ever forget that and never allow hate to drive out love.
May the next 5 minutes of Syria (watch video below) fill your heart with wonder at its beauty, and Love for its people. And if you find it in your heart to do so, Pray For Syria.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

The West’s Greatest Fear

Author, Dan Glazebrook – The West’s greatest fear 

Western attempts to destroy Syria have not been going to plan, revealing that what the West fears most is a peaceful resolution to the crisis, writes Dan Glazebrook 

The strategy was simple, clear, tried and tested. It had been used successfully not only against Libya, but also Kosovo (in 1999), and was rapidly underway in Syria. It was to run as follows: train proxies to launch armed provocations; label the state’s response to these provocations as genocide; intimidate the UN Security Council into agreeing that “something must be done”; incinerate the army and any other resistance with fragmentation bombs and Hellfire missiles; and finally install a weak, compliant government to sign off new contracts and alliances drawn up in London, Paris and Washington, whilst the country tore itself apart.

Result: the heart torn out of the “axis of resistance” between Iran, Syria and Hizbullah, leaving Iran isolated and the West with a free hand to attack Iran without fear of regional repercussions.

This was to be Syria’s fate, drawn up years ago in the high- level planning committees of US, British and French defence departments and intelligence services. But this time, unlike in Libya, it has not all gone according to plan.

First, there was Russia and China’s veto of the “regime change” resolution at the UN Security Council in October 2011, followed by a second veto in February of this year. This meant that any NATO attack on Syria would be denied the figleaf of UN approval, and seen instead as a unilateral act of aggression not just against Syria, but potentially also against China and Russia as well.

Vicious and reckless as they are, even Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama do not necessarily have the stomach for that kind of a fight. That left the burden of destroying the Syrian state to NATO’s proxy forces on the ground, the “Free Syrian Army” — a collection of domestic and (increasingly) foreign militias, mostly ultra-sectarian Salafi extremists, along with a smattering of defectors and Western special forces.

However, this army was not created actually to defeat the Syrian state; that was always supposed to be NATO’s job. As in Libya, the role of the militias was simply to provoke reprisals from the state in order to justify a NATO blitzkrieg. Left to their own devices, they have no chance of gaining power militarily, as many in the opposition realise.

“We don’t believe the Free Syrian Army is a project that can help the Syrian revolution,” said leader of the internal Syrian resistance movement Haitham Al-Manna, recently. “We don’t have an example of where an armed struggle against a dictatorial regime has won.” Of course, one could cite Cuba, South Vietnam, and many others, but what is certainly true is that internal armed struggle alone has never succeeded when the government is the only party in the struggle with any significant mass support, as is the case in Syria.

This reality was brutally driven home in early March in the decisive battle for the Baba Amr district of Homs. This was supposedly one of the Free Syrian Army’s strongholds, yet they were roundly defeated, leaving them facing the prospect of similar defeats in their last few remaining territories as well. The opposition groups are becoming increasingly aware that their best chance of meaningful change is not through a military fight that they will almost certainly lose, and which will get them killed in the process, along with their losing their support and credibility, but through negotiations and participation in the reform process and the dialogue that the government has offered.

This prospect — of an end to the civil war and a negotiated peace that brings about a reform process without destabilising the country — has led to desperation amongst the imperialist powers. Despite their claims to the contrary, a stable Syrian-led process is the last thing they want, as it leaves open the possibility of Syria remaining a strong, independent, anti-imperialist state — exactly the possibility they had sought to eliminate.

Hence, within days of Kofi Anan’s peace plan gaining a positive response from both sides in late March, the imperialist powers openly pledged, for the first time, millions of dollars for the Free Syrian Army: for military equipment, to provide salaries to its soldiers, and to bribe government forces to defect. In other words, terrified that the civil war in Syria is starting to die down, they are setting about institutionalising it. If violent regime change is starting to look unlikely, the hope instead is to keep the country weak and on its knees by sucking its energy into an ongoing civil war.

At the risk of making the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) appear even more out of touch with ordinary Syrians than it does already, its Western backers have increased the pressure on it to fall into line with this strategy, leading to open calls from the SNC leadership for both the full-scale arming of the rebellion and for aerial bombardment from the West.

This has caused huge rifts in the organisation, with three leading members defecting last month, because they did not want to be “accomplices in the massacre of the Syrian people through delaying, cheating, lies, one-upmanship and monopolisation of decision-making.” The SNC, according to one of the three, Kamal Al-Labwani, is “linked to foreign agendas that aim to prolong the battle while waiting… for the country to be dragged into a civil war.”

This month, one of the few SNC leaders actually based in Syria, Riad Turk, called on the opposition to accept the Anan peace plan, “stop the bloodshed” and enter into dialogue with the government — a call not echoed by his fellow SNC colleagues abroad. Likewise, the main peaceful opposition grouping within Syria — the National Coordinating Committee — has fallen out with the SNC over the latter’s increasingly belligerent role as a mouthpiece of foreign powers.

NCC leader Al-Manna spoke out against the Free Syrian Army recently, saying “the militarisation of the Syrian revolution signifies the death of the internal revolution…We know that the Turkish government is playing an important role in the political decisions of the Free Syrian Army. We don’t believe that an armed group can be on Turkish territory and remain independent of Turkish decisions.”

So, there is a growing perception, even amongst the Syrian opposition movement itself, that both the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council are working in the interests of foreign powers to prolong a pointless civil war.

Western policy-makers are playing a dangerous game. Short of a NATO attack, their best option for the destabilisation and emasculation of Syria is to ensure that the ceasefire fails and the fighting continues. To this end, they are encouraging their proxy militias to step up their provocations: the purpose of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé’s statements about “other measures” still being on the table is to keep the idea of a NATO attack alive in the heads of the rebels so that they continue to fight.

Indeed, many more foreign fighters have been shipped into the country in recent weeks, according to The Washington Post, and these have been launching devastating bomb attacks in Damascus and Aleppo. US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organised Contra death squads to destabilise Nicaragua in the 1980s; he will almost certainly have been organising similar groups in Syria during his time there last year and for similar purposes.

Nevertheless, the destabilisation agenda is not going according to plan.

The internal opposition in Syria is becoming increasingly frustrated with the way things are progressing, and a clear split is emerging between those based outside the country, happy to see Syria consigned to oblivion in order to please their paymasters and further their careers, and those who actually have to live with the consequences.

The reckless attacks carried out by the armed militias are increasingly alienating even those who once had some sympathy for them, especially as their foreign membership and direction is being exposed ever more clearly. Having been proven unable to win and hold territory, these militias are turning to hit- and-run guerrilla tactics. But the guerrilla, as Mao put it, is like a fish that can only survive in a sea of popular support. And that sea is rapidly drying up.

* The writer ( Dan Glazebrook)  is a political analyst. Source: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2012/1096/op8.htm

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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Love Is A Country Called Syria

“Everywhere in the world people are in search of love, for everyone is convinced that love alone can save the world, love alone can make life meaningful and worth living.

But how very few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart.

It is frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service. But these things in themselves are not love.

Love springs from awareness…

Think of the terror that comes to a rich man when he sets out to really see the pitiful condition of the poor, to a power-hungry dictator when he really looks at the plight of the people he oppresses, to a fanatic, a bigot, when he really sees the falsehood of his convictions when they do not fit the facts. 

The terror that comes to the romantic lover when he decides to really see that what he loves is not his beloved but his image of her.

That is why the most painful act the human being can perform, the act that he dreads the most is the act of seeing.

It is in that act of seeing that love is born, or rather more accurately, that act of seeing is Love. 

Once you begin to see, your sensitivity will drive you to the awareness, not just of the things you choose to see but of everything else as well…

…If you ever allow yourself to see it will be the death of you. And that is why love is so terrifying, for to love is to see and to see is to die. But it is also the most delightful exhilarating experience in the whole world. For in the death of the ego is freedom, peace, serenity, joy.

If it is love that you truly desire then set out at once on the task of seeing, take it seriously and look at someone you dislike and really see your prejudice…

…and look long and lovingly at human faces and human behaviours.

Take some time out to gaze in wonder at Nature, the flight of a bird, a flower in bloom, the dry leaf crumbling to dust, the flow of a river, the rising of the moon, a silhouette of a mountain against the sky.

And as you do this the hard, protective shell around your heart will soften and melt and your heart will come alive in sensitivity and responsiveness.

The darkness in your eyes will be dispelled and your vision will become clear and penetrating and you will know at last what love is.” – Anthony De Mello, ‘The Way To Love’ 

I must admit that for some time now, I’ve refused to SEE what is going on in Syria.

I refused to let my heart break over this country like it did over Libya.

I refused to be rocked with anger by the War that is invading Syria.

And I refused to cry over the injustice and cruelty and death that is plaguing the country.

I refused to feel the sorrow I felt for Libya when its people turned on its own people and its ousted leaders were treated as less than humans–even in their death.

I refused to be a part of this Pain that is crying out for Love, for as long as I could. But today, my heart refuses to stay in the protective shell I have carefully kept it in for the past few months.

Love has broken through and led my eyes to See. 

And now that I’m Seeing Syria for the first time today…

I’ve deliberately avoided ALL war coverage on Syria for now… It is not that I wish to avoid Reality. Its precisely because of Reality that I wish not to see the country through the eyes of Sympathy, Sorrow or Anger…

…but through the eyes of Love.

I wish to see the country, its people and its culture, for what it is, as they are, minus the tainted imagery of violence, anger and hate… spreading like poison in the hearts of children–forever robbed of their innocence.

If you could spare just 5 minutes… may the next 5 minutes of Syria fill your heart with wonder at its beauty, and Love for its people: 

And for those of you who find it in your heart to do so, Pray for Syria.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture