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LET’S GET SERIOUS ABOUT SYRIA

Some heretical thoughts and an imaginary dialog between NATO & History
by Vasilis Margaris

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the Riga Conference 2013. The first day of the Conference ended with an official dinner. The Dinner Speaker was Mr. Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Excellent speaker.
Among others, Mr. Hammond dedicated a part of his speech to Syria’s conflict. The conclusion was that “..we have to punish the Syrian Government, because they used illegal weapons against the rebels..”.
Strongly interested in geopolitics, as a factor that influences the global economy, I like very much to and usually do participate in similar conferences, although I am neither a politician, nor a diplomat. I am just a common economist, trying to survive on my small consulting company, especially in the turmoil of the last years.
Sometimes, I feel a bit unsettled with the terminology, or the way that politicians and diplomats are thinking.
Let’s see the terminology. “..Illegal Weapons..” . First of all, the term by itself is an insult to God. To Any God..
Secondly, to a simple mind like mine, it means that we have the right to kill each other with “legal weapons”, but we do not have the right to use “illegal weapons”. So, a child killed by a bullet or a bomb, does not have equal value with the child, which was killed by chemical gas..
The same night, coming back to my hotel room, using my – typical Greek – wide imagination, I came up with an imaginary dialog between NATO (although the whole issue is not under its supervision, at least officially) and History. For the virtualization of the dialog, let’s suppose that NATO is an active middle-aged man and History an old lady..

The time of the dialog is somewhere in the future..
N : Do you remember, back in 2013 the Syrian crisis?
H : Yes, I do remember very well..
N : We had decided to punish the Syrian government, because the used illegal weapons against the rebels.
H : As I remember, mines were illegal weapons too. Why you didn’t punish the rebels for using them, trapping cars and buildings?
N : Mines are not so illegal, like chemical weapons.
H : I also remember that rebels destroyed Christian Orthodox Churches and they destroyed Christian villages, killed the unarmed citizens, using the excuse that they were supporters of Assad’s regime. Such atrocities were not illegal too?
N : Perhaps, but not so illegal like the chemical weapons..
H : So, there were a rating of illegality, concerning the actions and the means for a war?
N : Something like this. But not very well known. For God’s sake, we are a military alliance, not Standards and Poors..
H : A military alliance trying to ensure the piece?
N : Of course..
H: And why you didn’t design actions in order to stop that war?
N : Mmmm…stopping such war is very complicated issue..

At that point, my wife called me, so my imaginary dialog interrupted. After a “goodnight chat” with my three children, I came back to my room’s silence. Wondering..
Do we really prefer to punish a participant in a civil war, instead of trying to stop it?

Are we looking for peace or for combat fields, in order for some new weapons to become “combat proven”? Taking into consideration that the French “combat proven” – through the Libyan crisis – warplane Rafale, as being “combat proven”, won the Indian contest for 126 pieces, gaining a significant advantage against the “not combat proven” Eurofighter.
Actually, how many Eurofighters do we plan to use in the Syrian crisis, against the well-made Russian anti-aircraft umbrella of the Syrian Army?
Russia states that the rebels used the chemical weapons as a provocative action. Similar to the case of the Markale market on 5 February 1994 which was bombed, and although the Bosnian-Serbs were widely blamed for the massacre, many international officials have alleged that the Bosnian army shelled its own people to garner Western sympathy and draw NATO into a war against the Serbs.
So, if Russia can prove its statements, does NATO have the right to punish the rebels? During the last decade, there were many allegations that the Turkish Army used chemical weapons against PPK rebels. Why didn’t we discuss actions in order to punish them too?

Tried to sleep…I didn’t finish my imaginary dialog between NATO and History...
All I know, for sure, is that sometimes History looks at you, sometimes smiles to you, and sometimes spits in your face...

 

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