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Articles from the Peace News log: Syria

Articles from the Peace News log.
For articles in this category from the whole site, look here

Ian Sinclair looks beyond the "babbling brook of [mainstream media] bullshit" about the Iraq crisis.

ImageJust over ten years since it failed the public so completely over the 2003 Iraq War, the mainstream media’s coverage of the current Iraq crisis has been predictably awful.

“Stop droning on Mr Cameron… SEND IN THE DRONES” was The Sun’s considered front page on 4 September 2014. At the opposite end of the British press spectrum The Independent’s front page read “Your move, Mr President”. Egging the US and UK on, The Independent noted “The leader of the free world has begun to look alarmingly impotent.” The other liberal outpost of the British media, The Guardian, supports the US air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS or Islamic State).

As always, the BBC has been working hard to amplify the British elite’s concerns. On 4 September 2014 the BBC Today Programme invited on Jack Straw, the former Foreign Secretary who played a central role in the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, to speak in the prime interview slot about why he supports the bombing of ISIS. Interviewing former Chief of the Defence Staff David Richards the next morning, Today Programme presenter John Humphrys made the following biased statement: “We have this bunch of mad men rampaging across the Middle East and they have to be stopped. They have to be not only contained but – I don’t know whether you’ll agree with this – but destroyed.”

Then there was the 30 August 2014 BBC Newsnight special on the fallout from the August 2013 parliamentary vote against UK military action in Syria. The diverse range of studio guests invited to discuss the topic were former Defence Secretary Liam Fox MP, Paddy Ashdown, former First Sea Lord Lord West, former Head of the British Army Lord Dannatt, Neo-Conservative Francis Fukuyama and Professor Mary Kaldor (Kaldor was able to squeeze in a couple of sentences pushing for a more measured response to ISIS before she was cut off).

Reading, watching and listening to this “babbling brook of bullshit”, like many people I’m sure, I’ve become increasingly angry at the narrowness of the debate and just how closely the media’s framing of the issue follows that of the US and UK governments. Therefore, I’ve decided to pull together some of the pertinent facts and arguments that the media refuses to mention and discuss.

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A call from a Center for Citizen Initiatives delegation as it visited Russia

On June 16, the New York Times reported :

'More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been "overwhelmed" by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for "a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process".'

We are a group of concerned U.S. citizens currently (20 June) visiting Russia with the goal of increasing understanding and reducing international tension and conflict. We are appalled by this call for direct U.S. aggression against Syria, and believe it points to the urgent need for open public debate on U.S. foreign policy.

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Pictures from 3 demos against UK airstrikes on Syria and further information and actions you can take.

2 December Syria Vote: die-in outside Parliament

All images © indyrikki

For here more images and a full report

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A die-in

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Covert US and British support for Syrian rebels has continued, despite overwhelming public opposition.

When the Coalition Government was defeated in parliament over military intervention in Syria last summer many activists probably thought that was the end of the matter. After all Prime Minister David Cameron had conceded ‘the British parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action. I get that and the Government will act accordingly.’

What many people don’t realise is the UK was interfering in the Syria war before the vote – arming and training the Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow the Assad Government. And although a US-UK military strike has been averted, the UK is continuing to support the rebels.

'Rat lines'

According to Seymour Hersh’s latest expose in the London Review of Books, from early 2012 MI6 was helping the CIA transfer weapons from Libya to the Syrian rebels. Funding for this ‘rat line’ came from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After the September 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi (likely targeted because of its role in these arms transfers), Hersh notes that the US – and presumably Britain – ended its involvement, although the rat line continued without them.

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