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Israel An Obstacle to Peace in Syria: Jean Bricmont

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Iran Review Exclusive Interview with Jean Bricmont
By: Kourosh Ziabari

The Russia-U.S. proposal that demands Syria to annihilate its arsenal of chemical weapons and join the Chemical Weapons Convention unexpectedly threw a spanner in the works of the U.S. neo-cons and the Congress that were persistently calling for a military strike against Syria over the unsubstantiated allegations that the government of President Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels.

The civil war, however, continues to wreak havoc on the embattled Arab country and its defenseless citizens. The foreign-backed mercenaries, Al-Qaeda fighters and rebels are hell bent on overthrowing the government and usher in an era of instability and insecurity. The situation is utterly complicated and indecipherable and it remains unknown that what solution can put an end to some 3 years of armed confrontation between the government forces and the rebels.

In order to discuss the situation in Syria, Iran Review conducted an interview with Dr. Jean Bricmont, a renowned Belgian progressive author and philosopher who teaches at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium’s largest French-speaking university.

Bricmont’s writings have appeared on several online and print publications. In 2006, he published the book “Impérialisme humanitaire. Droits de l’homme, droit d’ingérence, droit du plus fort?” on the subject he has referred to “humanitarian imperialism.”

What follows is the text of Iran Review’s interview with Dr. Jean Bricmont.

Q: The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said in a testimony before the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee that the forces fighting the Syrian government in Damascus and other cities are not all Al-Qaeda mercenaries and extremist insurgents, but “moderate rebels” which the U.S. government funds and supports. Can we really talk of moderation in such a bloody war that has cost the lives of thousands of innocent civilians?

A: I am not an expert on the internal affairs of Syria, but there are numerous reports, even in the Western media, showing a considerable level of violence on the part of the rebels. Of course, their supporters answer that this is natural, given the greater violence of the government, but what is strange is that they attack individuals who have no direct link to the army or the government, people from other religious sects for example. This is quite different, as far as I know, from what many other guerillas have done.

The more interesting fact is that the U.S. Secretary of State seems to deny those obvious facts; the only explanation I can see is that they are so desperate to overthrow the Syrian government at all costs, that do not seem to care or worry about what will happen afterwards. A similar attitude characterized their policy in Libya of course.

Q: How is it possible to justify the Western hypocrisy of supporting, arming and financing Al-Qaeda in Syria at the same time as staging drone attacks on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with the purported aim of destroying the Al-Qaeda bases?

A: The answer is in the question, but all states have foreign policies that are hypocritical, because they are led by their interests or their passions, while claiming to follow great moral principles.

That is a banality, but what is interesting is the recent revolt of the American people who seem to be fed up with constant wars and their associated lies. This is one the most interesting political event in the West over many years. It remains to be seen whether this revolt will lead to a genuine antiwar movement in the United States, or whether the majority will be taken over by its usual passivity, but I am somewhat optimistic because of these recent developments. In any case, one can see that the warmongering people are pretty upset, which is a good sign.

Q: The Israeli leaders are the main proponents of a military strike against Syria, because a peaceful political solution to the crisis in the Arab country will empower the government and weaken his foes and rivals who have openly admitted that they’re trying to topple his government. Is there any way to help Syria get out of the current dilemma and experience peace and stability after almost 3 years of turmoil and chaos?

A: There is very little one can do, in the West at least, to directly influence events in Syria. It is to be hoped that a Geneva conference opens soon, with negotiations between the government and the rebels, leading eventually to some sort of peace.

But there is a lot one can do to try to stop the constant interference of the U.S. and its European “allies” – lackeys would be  a better word – in the internal affairs of other states, including Syria, but also Iran. It is urgent to force our governments to return to the founding principles of the United Nations, namely the equal sovereignty of all states.

A main obstacle that we face in that endeavor is indeed the pressure coming from supporters of Israel, either directly or under the guise of arguments for humanitarian wars. Moreover, it is very difficult to have a serene discussion of that topic, because of the accusation of anti-Semitism, which hangs as a Damocles’ sword above the head of all politicians, intellectuals or journalists here. However, there are signs of a popular revolt against that also. The issues of freedom of speech and of peace are profoundly intertwined, but there is some progress on both fronts.

Key Words: Russia-U.S. Proposal, Israel, Syria, Al-Qaeda Fighters, Bricmont

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