[News] Syria - “Human Rights” Warriors for Empire

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 15 16:42:59 EST 2012

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 14:50 ­ Glen Ford

“Human Rights” Warriors for Empire

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

“NATO wants desperately to identify some sliver 
of Syrian soil on which to plant the ‘humanitarian’ flag of intervention.”

The largest imperial offensive since the Iraq 
invasion of March, 2003, is in full swing, under 
the banner of “humanitarian” intervention – 
Barack Obama’s fiendishly clever upgrade of 
George Bush’s “dumb” wars. Having failed to 
obtain a Libyan-style United Nations Security 
Council fig leaf for a “humanitarian” military 
strike against Syria, the United States shifts 
effortlessly to a global campaign 
the U.N. system” to expand its NATO/Persian Gulf 
royalty/Jihadi coalition. Next stop: Tunisia, 
where Washington’s allies will assemble on 
February 24 to sharpen their knives as “Friends 
of Syria.” The U.S. State Department has 
mobilized to shape the “Friends” membership and 
their “mandate” – which is warlord-speak for 
refining an ad hoc alliance for the piratical assault on Syria’s sovereignty.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are 
swigging the ale with their fellow buccaneers. 
These “human rights” warriors, headquartered in 
the bellies of empires past and present, their 
chests shiny with medals of propagandistic 
service to superpower aggression in Libya, 
contribute “left” legitimacy to the imperial 
project. London-based Amnesty International held 
a global “day of action” to rail against Syria 
for “crimes against humanity” and to accuse 
Russia and China of using their Security Council 
vetoes to “betray” the Syrian people – echoing 
the war hysteria out of Washington, Paris, London 
and the royal pigsties of Riyadh and Doha. New 
York-based Human Rights Watch denounced Moscow 
and Beijing’s actions as 
– as if it were not the empire and its allies who 
were setting the Middle East and Africa on fire, 
arming and financing jihadis – including hundreds 
of veteran 
Salafists now operating in Syria.

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch 
contribute ‘left’ legitimacy to the imperial project.”

Under Obama’s “intelligent” (as opposed to 
“dumb”) imperial tutelage, colonial genocidaires 
like France now propose creation of 
corridors” inside Syria “to allow NGOs to reach 
the zones where there are scandalous massacres.” 
NATO flatly rejected such a corridor in Libya 
when sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans were 
being massacred by militias armed and financed by 
the same “Friends” that now besiege Syria.

Turkey claims it has rejected, for now, the idea 
of setting up humanitarian 
zones” along its border with Syria – inside 
Syrian territory – while giving arms, training 
and sanctuary to Syrian military deserters. In 
reality, it is Syrian Army troop and armor 
concentrations on the border that have thwarted 
the establishment of such a “buffer” – a bald 
euphemism for creating a “liberated zone” that 
must be “protected” by NATO or some agglomeration of U.S.-backed forces.

NATO, which bombed Libya non-stop for six months, 
inflicting tens of thousands of casualties while 
refusing to count a single body, wants 
desperately to identify some sliver of Syrian 
soil on which to plant the “humanitarian” flag of 
intervention. They are transparently searching 
for a Benghazi, to justify a replay of the Libyan 
operation – the transparent fact that prompted the Russian and Chinese vetoes.

Faced with the certainty of superpower-backed 
attack under the guise of “protecting” civilians 
in “liberated” territory, Syria cannot afford to 
cede even one neighborhood of a single city – not 
one block! – or of any rural or border enclave, 
to armed rebels and foreign jihadis. That road 
leads directly to loss of sovereignty and 
possible dissection of Syria – which western 
pundits are already calling a “hodge-podge” 
nation that could be a “failed state.” Certainly, 
the French and British are experts at carving up 
other people’s territories, having drawn the 
national boundaries of the region after World War 
One. It is an understatement to say that Israel would be pleased.

“It is the Libya formula, and might as well have 
come straight from Barack Obama’s mouth.”

With the Syrian military’s apparent successes in 
securing most of Homs and other centers of 
rebellion, the armed opposition has stepped up 
its terror tactics – a campaign noted with great 
alarm by the Arab League’s own Observer Mission 
to Syria, leading Saudi Arabia and Qatar to 
suppress the Mission’s report. Instead, the Gulf 
States are pressing the Arab League to openly 
“provide all kinds of political and material 
support” to the opposition, meaning arms and, 
undoubtedly, more Salafist fighters. Aleppo, 
Syria’s main commercial and industrial city, 
which had seen virtually no unrest, was struck by 
two deadly car bombs last week – signature work 
of the al-Qaida affiliate in neighboring Iraq.

The various “Friends of Syria,” all nestled in 
the U.S./NATO/Saudi/Qatar cocoon, now openly 
speak of all-out civil war in Syria – by which 
they mean stepped up armed conflict financed and 
directed by themselves – as the preferred 
alternative to the protracted struggle that the 
regime appears to be winning. There is one 
caveat: no “Western boots on the ground in any 
form,” as phrased by British Foreign Secretary 
William Hague. It is the Libya formula, and might 
as well have come straight from Barack Obama’s mouth.

Syria is fighting for its national existence 
against an umbrella of forces mobilized by the 
United States and NATO. Of the 6,000 or so people 
that have died in the past 11 months, about a 
third have been Syrian soldiers and police – 
statistical proof positive that this is an armed 
assault on the state. There is no question of 
massive foreign involvement, or that the aim of 
U.S. policy is regime change, as stated 
repeatedly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 
must go,” she told reporters in Bulgaria).

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have 
chosen sides in the Washington-backed 
belligerency – the side of Empire. As groups most 
often associated with (what passes for) the Left 
in their headquarters countries, they are 
invaluable allies of the current imperial 
offensive. They have many fellow travelers in 
(again, what passes for) anti-war circles in the 
colonizing and neo-colonizing nations. The French 
“Left” lifted hardly a finger while a million 
Algerians died in the struggle for independence, 
and have not proved effective allies of formerly 
colonized people in the 50 years, since. Among 
the European imperial powers, only Portugal’s 
Revolution of 1974, a coup by young officers, 
resulted in substantial relief for the subjects 
of empire: the withdrawal of troops from Portugal’s African colonies.

“Of the 6,000 or so people that have died in the 
past 11 months, about a third have been Syrian 
soldiers and police – statistical proof positive 
that this is an armed assault on the state.”

The U.S. anti-war movement lost its mass 
character as soon as the threat of a draft was 
removed, in the early Seventies, while the United 
States continued to bomb Vietnam (and test new 
and exotic weapons on its people) until the fall 
of Saigon, in 1975. All that many U.S. lefties 
seemed to want was to get the Republicans off 
their backs, in 2008, and to Hell with the rest 
of the world. Democrat Barack Obama has cranked 
the imperial war machine back into high gear, 
with scarcely a peep from the “Left.”

There was great ambivalence – the most polite 
word I can muster – among purported leftists in 
the United States and Europe to NATO’s 
bombardment and subjugation of Libya. Here we are 
again, in the face of existential imperial 
threats to Syria and Iran, as leftists temporize 
about human rights while the “greatest purveyor 
of violence in the world today” blazes new warpaths.

There is no such thing as an anti-war activist 
who is not an anti-imperialist. And the only job 
of an anti-imperialist in the belly of the beast 
is to disarm the beast. Absent that, s/he is useless to humanity.

As we used to say: You are part of the solution – 
or you are part of the problem. Amnesty 
International and Human Rights Watch are part of the problem.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted 
at <mailto:Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com>Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com.

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