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Updated: September 4, 2013 00:05 IST

Two-faced in West Asia

Kanwal Sibal
Comment (44)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
THE HINDU

President Barack Obama’s case for intervening in Syria is legally weak, internationally divisive and morally hollow

President Obama’s plan to take military action against Syria can be legitimately questioned on legal, political and moral grounds. Syria has not, strictly speaking, violated international law in using chemical weapons against its own population. It has not signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which Egypt too has not signed and Israel has not yet ratified. Syria adhered to the 1925 Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons in 1968, but that instrument applies to armed conflict between states, not to use within a country’s borders.

Syria has not used or threatened to use chemical weapons against the United States or other western powers. The U.N. Security Council has not passed a resolution authorising the use of force against Syria. The right of self-defence or collective self-defence cannot therefore be invoked to attack Syria militarily. The legal case being weak, the U.S. is accusing Syria of violating the “norms” against the use of chemical weapons. Violation of “norms” can invite condemnation or even non-military sanctions by individual countries, but not a unilateral military response by a third country against an errant one. The U.S. or the United Kingdom, it can be argued, have not been designated by the international community to enforce “norms” militarily or otherwise on their behalf against recalcitrant states.

Contradictions

President Obama has announced his readiness to act without U.N. Security Council approval, recalling post-Cold War U.S. unilateralism, an era assumed to be over, not the least because such unilateralism imposed forbidding military, political and financial costs on the U.S. The argument that Russia and China are responsible for blocking decisions in the Security Council, compelling the U.S., the U.K. and others to therefore act alone, implies that non-western P 5 members have an obligation to always concur with invariably principled, lawful and constructive U.S. and British positions as against their own self-serving, morally skewed obstructionism. Burnt by their experience with the Libyan resolution which the West exploited to attack Libya, Russia and China may understandably be exceptionally wary on Syria, given the West’s constant vituperations against President Assad.

If the legal case for western intervention is weak, the political and moral case is full of contradictions. This is not the first instance of chemical weapons use in West Asia. They were used in the Iraq-Iran war and by Iraq and Syria internally in the past. In all these cases, no external retribution followed. In fact, western powers conveniently ignored these transgressions, and, in the case of Iraq, Saddam Hussein remained an acceptable interlocutor till the change of political calculations made him an enemy. The U.S.’s use of chemical agents in the Vietnam war also complicates discussions on the moral dimension of the western position.

Comparing Egypt and Syria

The contrast between the West’s approach to the latest developments in Egypt and the turmoil in Syria is politically telling. The Syrian government cannot be forgiven because it forcibly suppressed peaceful demonstrations in favour of democracy, rejected the dynamics of the so-called Arab Spring and created conditions for civil strife. In western eyes this makes their intervention and that of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey against the Syrian government politically and morally defensible. Key western leaders have declared time and again that President Assad must and will go, as if they must decide the political fortunes of a foreign head of state in his own country. To oust him, they have bolstered the rebels politically and militarily. However, concerns about al-Qaeda linked extremist religious organisations gaining ground in Syria is conflicting with the goal of breaking Iran’s nexus with Syria and the Hezbollah in the interest of Israel’s security, and this is causing some confusion and shakiness in western strategy.

In Egypt’s case, when peaceful demonstrations demanding the reinstatement of a democratically elected leader have been brutally suppressed by the Egyptian military, causing more casualties than the number of gas attack victims in Damascus, the U.S. condones it as an action to safeguard democracy. The U.S. countenanced the overthrow of President Mubarak; it supported the Arab Spring street activists as harbingers of democracy; it backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power through democratic elections, seeing in this emergence of political Islam a solution to the conundrum of marrying Islam with western-style democracy; it has now supported the overthrow of Morsi through a military coup. This extraordinary political flexibility in dealing with developments in Egypt, guided less by principles than by compulsions of self-interest, is notably absent in the case of Syria. What adds to the irony is that though the Arab Spring is dead, President Assad is still being punished for rejecting that phenomenon in a country where the Muslim Brotherhood has been traditionally highly radical and the danger of sectarian strife in its religiously diverse society, large sections of which are attached to secularism, is most acute.

Evidence

U.S. leaders are convinced that the Assad government is guilty of the gas attack based on evidence they claim to possess. They are satisfied with that evidence and do not think that leaders of other major countries need to be satisfied too, even when the latter have serious concerns about armed action in an already highly combustible region, with a potentially grave fallout elsewhere. The U.S. leaders want others to accept what they say at face value, despite their credibility in such matters being especially low after the lies purveyed about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent chemical weapons to justify the war against Iraq. It is discomforting to hear Secretary Kerry speak with such certitude and vehemence about Assad’s guilt even before the U.N. inspectors have completed their groundwork and delivered their report to the U.N. Secretary-General.

It is noteworthy that after the first chemical attack in Syria purportedly from rebel positions, the Syrian government asked the U.N. Security Council in March to send an investigation team, a move apparently blocked by the U.S. for five months as it sought the extension of the team’s mandate to the whole of Syria. The U.N. team that has just concluded its work was in Syria in response to Syria’s initial request. That the second attack on August 21 coincided with the arrival of this team speaks for itself. No wonder President Putin has called the accusations against the Syrian government “utter nonsense” and has asked the U.S. share the evidence at its disposal.

Politically convenient

U.S. leaders argue that the U.N. team’s mandate is only to verify whether chemical weapons have been used, not who used them, and that, in any case, Syrian bombardments of the site where they were used will destroy any remaining evidence. They are apparently pre-empting the U.N. report and making it irrelevant to their decision to take military action. Such a posture strengthens suspicions that having drawn a redline which seems to have been breached — even though it is unclear by whom — President Obama is under pressure to act to assert America’s global leadership. Holding the Syrian government responsible is politically convenient as it supports the strategy of ousting Assad, whereas holding the al-Qaeda linked rebel group Al Nusra responsible — which, incidentally, was caught in Turkey in May with two kilos of sarin gas — will upturn the entire western strategy in Syria.

Why the U.S. President is prepared to strike at Syria alone even as his principal acolyte has been tripped by a parliamentary vote in his own country is baffling. Its experience in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in Libya should have counselled extreme caution in getting embroiled in another conflict in the Islamic world. The human cost of western interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been enormous but are being overlooked in the political calculus underlying an attack on Syria. The absurdity of causing humanitarian mayhem in the name of humanitarian action should not escape politicians who are Nobel peace laureates.

(Kanwal Sibal is a former Foreign Secretary.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

Contemplating something by a nation does not make her justifiable for attacking Syria.
Unless the alleaged use of chemical weapons by Syria is confirmed by the UN

from:  D Kumar
Posted on: Sep 6, 2013 at 19:31 IST

When I saw the title I thought the article was about the Indian position in west Asia
- take the oil, and have a three monkeys (see, hear and speak no evil) attitude
towards what goes on there while wanting super power status from the rest of the
world.

So what should be done when a tinpot dictator uses chemical weapons on his own
people, Mr. Sibal? Should we stand by and applaud?
At least there is one country that is contemplating something.

from:  Ajit Chaudhuri
Posted on: Sep 5, 2013 at 10:04 IST

Lets see the reality that united states does not act anywhere in the world without its "own interest". This rush to pound syria proves yet again, america and its allies are bullies who resort to muscle flexing and this is the way they have survived and remained on top. Its so called arab allies are justifying such a measure of the US and asking for war. These are the same arab countries who fund the terrorist organisations all over. There is no doubt that saudi has its interests in it. They want to remain the number 1 in oil producing country, the oil is their power. They want to control that. A simple logic through which they waged iraq war. Iraq wanted to increase its oil supply which would lead to a rise in supply, hence a fall in prices. Arab wanted to stop that. America is a conspirator.

from:  Rakesh Chowdhury
Posted on: Sep 5, 2013 at 02:23 IST

USA and allied nation falsely used, the use of chemical weapons by
Iraq on its population, as basis to attack Iraq which was later found
untrue.It appears that West countries are using same tactics to invade
Syria.Iraq is facing more crisis after the war than before.Hardly any
month had passed without loss of life through bomb attack,however,West
countries rarely show any concern or take responsibility for such
chaos in Iraq.Now, Syria may also face same chaos after and during
war.So there should not be any war, some alternate way to dethrone
monarchy should be used,...

from:  anoop kumar bhardwaj
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 23:07 IST

A nice article and thought provoking analysis. The US authoritarian nature and enforcing its hegemony could prove fatal sometime. The early intervention on Syria for chemical weapon is unjustifiable by US. But it’s undeniable that Syria is passing through tough time and its need of the hour to oust Mr. Assad. United nation and other international communities should come together and work for ending Syria unrest.

from:  Abhimanyu
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 20:49 IST

Thought provoking article. The Nobel peace Committee must be crying
in their sleep for awarding a Nobel Peace Price to Obama, even before
he started on his vengeful acts of mass murders across the globe.

No country is Mother Teresa here - all have a political and to a large
degree, economic stake in the gas reserves of the entire region. Read
the Independent from the UK on how the UK Government sanctioned the
sale of chemicals to Syria just after the conflict broke within Syria.

By no stretch of imagination, Assad is a gem - he is a power hungry
monster and the muslims have time and again proven that they kill each
faction at will. America has been very supportive of the most
democratic country on this planet - Saudi Arabia, where a wife cannot
hold the hands of her own husband!!

According to Albert Einstein, the fourth world war will be fought with
sticks and bows - the third is just round the corner; would perhaps
stabilize the population of a species in need of check!!

from:  Ram A
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 20:22 IST

In 2002, Obama called Iraq " a dumb war ". Is this one any smarter ?

from:  Rajan Mahadevan
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 19:39 IST

Awesome Article.
The writer is spot on. Highlighted important points in a very good manner.

from:  Dhiraj Ambure
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 17:39 IST

The 1993 chemical weapons convention may not have been signed by Syria, but being part of customary international law it is nevertheless binding on Syria. It cannot seriously be disputed that the 1993 convention does not codify principles of customary international law. So the premise of your article is hollow.

from:  Rohit Sharma
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 17:29 IST

An excellent, well researched article. But, the author seems to have ignored some aspects:
1. The threat to the United States is not direct. But as per the White house news reports, they have reasons to believe there maybe one.
2. This attack is not for self defence. This is more of a deterrent for Syria and other countries, some of which could believe the international community will ignore chemical attacks going forward - if nothing is done now.
3. Though not appointed by the International community, it was the President of the United States that drew the red line and he would want to assert that it was not just name sake. It could, however, be argued that he did not have a clear plan for consequences of breaching the red line at the time of drawing it.
4. Though it may not be the first instance of chemical weapon use, this use comes *after* the fact that the US had drawn a red line for Syria, which was not the case in previous occasions.

from:  Srinivasan Gopalan, Boston, USA
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 17:25 IST

The U.S. is only looking to enforce its hegemony and show off its clout in the international affairs by attacking Syria. Obama has his eyes set on becoming a "hero" by "saving" the people of Syria. If the U.S. does indeed attack Syria it is obly going to result in anothe Iraq or Afghanistan like situation and no amount of good is going to come out of it.

from:  Gaurav
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 16:22 IST

I heard someone said someone called Obama as president of some war-monger, oil-hungry country got Nobel Peace Prize, was it a mistake or charity, or nepotism, or purchase or pressure ????

from:  Prabhakar Mishra
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 14:57 IST

What is politics, if not a two-faced charade!

from:  Trisha
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 14:22 IST

When the US zionist lobbies decide, they wreck havoc like this. This is just to serve their own weapon use in return for tax dollars. This also serves to steal all the dollars back (for energy) that other races have earned by their hardwork. This serves the interest of their brain child zionist Israel to create greater Israel (from palestine all the way to afghanistan) for messiah's return. What a self serving religious bigotry. Finally, this isolates Iran and makes "Islamic Zionists" (Saudis) happy.

from:  Indya
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 14:16 IST

Nice analytical article, which is exposing the intended action of USA . In the case of Syria no one is caring for people who are facing hardship , Syria has become theater of power rivalry. Best way to solve this problem is dialogue and all concern party should immediate call for Geneva -2.

from:  Anonymous
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 14:01 IST

A brilliant analysis.
And let us be quite clear, the reasons for the US threat to intervene in Syria has nothing to do with the so called use of chemical weapons by the Syrian armed forces. Syria has asked the UN to investigate previous uses of (crude) chemical weapons which the US has stalled. This is about destroying the Resistance (Hizbollah, Syria, and Iran) to the fraud on the world Israel which is a proxy for US interests in the Middle East. The terrorists infiltrated into Syria and armed by imperialism and their beduin arab and other puppets are in defeat at the hands of the Syrian army.
Should Syria fall , Iran will be next and very likely Israel will push out the Palestinians from all of usurped Palestine and complete the fraud! Also the Caucasus - the underbelly of Russia - will be vulnerable to terrorist infiltration and a similar scenario as Syria could be a threat to Russia.
Victory to the Resistance.

from:  Sohail Zahid
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 13:29 IST

Nice article. But the point stating Syria has not violated any international law is absurd. The syrian regime should be held responsioble if it has commited the crime.

from:  Giridaran
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 13:12 IST

All I can say is if there breaks another world war then these US prez's will be solely responsible for that.

from:  vikas
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 12:31 IST

excellent piece of work..its a eye opener to look into whole issue in depth.american malhandling of iraq afganistan not to forget vietnam,well known.how can be a country with such a pathetic past to deal extraterritorial affairs,asume itself to leader,gurdian of whole world that too in a selective,partisan manner.

from:  Anonymous
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 12:31 IST

This article clearly depicts the uni-polarity in world politics where the hunger of power and dominance over the countries leads to unjustified mayhem and chaos in the world. No one is concerned about the problems and circumstances which innocent people have to face after the catastrophic effects caused due to the attacks. As it is said that POWER CORRUPTS AND ABSLOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY, it is the folly of powerful people who are only concerned about gaining dominance and miss the bigger pictute that all the world's organisatons and treaties are made to maintain peace,not to used as the tools of disaster.

from:  Prarabdha
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 12:18 IST

An exceptional piece. That said, the issue of legality of a strike against Syria cannot be judged on the basis of a flaccid chemical weapons treaty. Not signing it does not give carte blanche for weapons use. Also, the issue of deep personal costs that the US pays (dead soldiers, torn families, psychological damages) which no one else wants to bear (but expect benefits from) is alluded to but not acknowledged as a possible proof that it can also be about humanitarian causes. Finally, what are the concrete options besides "wait and see" or why aren't the pusillanimous, disunited Arab potentates called out for an utter lack of leadership while shamelessly expecting the USA to help? One gives the USA a lot of credit
when saying that its unbridled fiat is unquestioned in the Middle East. It is also an insult to the Arabs. Why constantly pound on the USA when others don't want to lift a finger in the defense of innocents while quick to show the finger when some one else makes an effort?

from:  Srl Raghavan
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 11:58 IST

The author has been spot-on the paradoxical foundations on which the US government's decision to
attack Syria rests. Which government will be foolish enough to perpetrate a chemical attack on the
day of arrival of members of the UN council? India should throw its garb of neutrality and be
outspoken on issues like this, notwithstanding pressure from the West.

from:  Sparsh
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 11:12 IST

Opponents of intervention in Syria have often invoked the sobering experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are of course correct that international community should exercise extreme caution when considering whether military intervention should be used.
One shall consider Syria is a failed state with chemical weapons in the heart of the world´s least stable region, and it has become a deployment hub for jihadists from all over the world according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a quality German newspaper.
A regional proxy war, with its religious and political components, would have consequences for from Syria´s borders – and would likely have consequences for the future of all its neighbours, for the Iranian nuclear conflict and for the revolutions in the Middle East. More than 100,000 people have died, more than one million children have fled, and now weapons of mass destruction are being used.
Russia and China have thus far blocked all efforts in the UN Security Council to hold the Syrian government responsible for atrocities committed in the war. German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the two countries “very harsh stance” on Syria, and said her government would “do everything possible to find a common answer in the international community.”
According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Angela Merkel also said there was “no doubt” that the apparent chemical weapons attack outside Damascus on August. 21 was a “blatant violation of human rights.” However she avoided directly blaming the Syrian government for the attack, something which the United States, France, Britain and Turkey have all done. And among other allies of the United States, only France and Turkey are willing to go along with the US. Britain, Canada have decided to sit out any military action. Nato has also ruled out the possibility of participating, and the Arab League is unwilling to publicly endorse any military moves. The international reluctance to follow the US´ lead is not unfounded, given the intelligence Washington used to justify its invasion of Iraq. And given the importance of the Middle East to the global energy supply, the rest of the world has good reasons to ask what if Syria plunges even deeper into a civil war after military intervention?

from:  kurt waschnig
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 10:44 IST

While the move by U.S. to confront Syria may not be justified at this
moment, the fact that countries like Syria, Egypt etc. have not signed
the Chemical Weapons Convention can't be a permanent excuse for their
usage by these nations. This will further alienate the relationship
between the Western and Eastern Worlds putting world peace in a
permanent doldrum. India played safe, as usual, by waiting for a
majority to emerge among the UN nations and a UN resolution whose
probability is 'near-zero' thus avoiding the burden of taking a stand.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 10:28 IST

Very good article, ....... It is the result of Uni-polar world. All for political results. ........ must arm Syria by Russia and China. ..... at least they have the capacity. .....

from:  Joe
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 09:56 IST

Kanwal Sibal's op-ed will be endorsed completely by every right-thinking person. The reckless policies of the US in West Asia and India's neighbouthood as also elsewhere in Europe and South America have caused immense damage to the world at large. Sometimes it supports bigoted religious extremists at the direct cost of secularists, at other times it supports dictators at the cost of democracy of which it never stops to sermonize etc to the utter confusion and puzzle of everyone. Such confusion will go away if we look at the US policies through the convex lens of 'Realpolitik' which keeps the country's selfish-interest and that interest alone at the focus. While not condoning such an approach, India must learn to practice the same too. We have been far too 'righteous' for far too long costing us enormously in the bargain. This hypocritical and self-centred behaviour must be kept in mind in our dealings with that country. There is no place in statecraft for gentlemanly behaviour.

from:  Subramanyam Sridharan
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 09:39 IST

Exceptionally well written and thought provoking. If only people have any sense prevailing, world would be a better place. Not taking out the fact that Syria has killed a 1000 people whether or not using Sarin, it's not the role of Obama to intervene in everything that he deemed his responsibility.

from:  Adi
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 09:01 IST

Totally agree with the views shared. The direct and indirect losses of life because of a military intervention and larger economic shocks to the vulnerable economies is unimaginable. Much larger than the loss of life currently within Syria.

This is an internal matter to the Syrian nation. Given time, they will sort it out. Aren't there any lessons learnt from Iraq and Egypt?

I am surprised how a Nobel Peace prize winner and a candidate who won presidential elections on the platform of 'no more wars' can take such unilateral decisions.

from:  Shyam
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 08:41 IST

I remember my professor saying ``CONCENTRATION OF POWER IN ONE ENTITY
ALWAYS LEAD TO A DEBACLE" this a typical example of hypocrisy the way
usa is heading it requires universal condemnation....there is no strong
proof that syria used chemical weapons and there should also be cross
investigation whether any rebels (backed by usa)are playing this sport
to attack syria what ever may the pictures getting published from syria
are very horrifying .if any war is imminent then it's going to be first
step toowards 3rd WW.........

from:  praful
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 08:37 IST

In a world where a almost nobody worries about "legality", it is laughable to state that US plans are somehow illegal. Since when has any country obeyed "laws" if it was not in their self interest. It is a naive comment. Now, as far as military action against syria is concerned, there is little appetite for war among the US public. So it is unlikely that the Congress with authorise war. We shall see in 48 hours time.

from:  Sankar
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 08:29 IST

Perhaps this Syria case is precisely why the UN Security Council
Membership needs to be increased with at least India and Brazil to
become Permanent Members and with enforcement actions to require a
super majority vote, with the Veto reduced to only when an enforcement
action is proposed to take place in a Permanent Member country. There
is no perfect solution to world peace; but it’s time to try to improve
the deal that was made between Stalin and Roosevelt at Yalta in
February 1945, as then the only way it seemed to achieve even an
inadequate UN Charter after WWII.

from:  H. Nardi
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 06:55 IST

The American decisions are patently based on self interest and opportunism, although they purport it to be moralistic and legalistic in its design, and they are not. They are not convincing anyone but the ignorant and the biased in their action and political posturing. If democracy was to be the principle, they would not be sleeping with the greatest autocrats on the planet with the most human rights violations. If they truly believe in democracy, they would not be lining up with forces that removed Morsi who was legally elected in Egypt. In one of the seven sins of Gandhiji the 'politics without principle' is a prominent one and it is clearly the case here!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 05:55 IST

Very well said! The West's (and especially USA's) hypocrisy is unequaled by anything else in the whole world.

from:  Pacifist
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 05:53 IST

The Nobel selection Committee must be regretting the award of the peace prize to Obama. Kanwal Sibal has rightly challenged any basis on which Obama qualifies for this award. Selective use of US power, all meant to tilt the balance, has been the entire US foreign policy in the Middle East. The Saudi/Sunni team is in favour because the Iran/Shai team are the villains. This split serves Israel very well and therefore this must be good for the region. Hence, conveniently Chemical weapons are used,found and Asad blamed. Putin rightly says "prove it' and there is pin drop silence. The sheer hypocrisy of the US policy in the Middle east is pathetic. If you beleieved that Bush was evil and Obama would be a savior, think again. Reorientation of Middle east politics has been a great opportunity by securing a regime change to weaken the Shias and the US will stop at nothing short of it! India must weigh its options in its own interests

from:  sridhar
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 05:38 IST

What Mr. Sibal does not mention are the compulsions of American politics. On the one hand, there is the Israel factor. When President Obama refused to give Mr. Netanyahu his war against Iran, he had to give something else, and now that 'something' is clear: Hezbollah, whose fate is tied to that of the Syrian regime. On the other hand, there is the matter of being trapped by your own self-imposed 'red lines.' The importance of 'saving face' is not for Asians alone.

from:  S. Sen
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 05:33 IST

All the scaremongering and vilification against the Syrian government
is just an another example of political manipulation by the western
power to overthrow the incumbent government.These so called flag
bearer of democracy have time and again justified their
aggressiveness and unwanted meddling in internal affairs of other
nations as a move to uphold the principles of democracy and
morality.Again they are hiding their real intention in the pretext of
use of chemical weapons against the civilian ,which reminds us the
same lame excuse used for attacking Iraq on the prescient that there
may be a nuclear bomb in any corner of Iraq .The use of chemical
weapons against the innocent civilian cannot be acceptable to any
civil society but there are political negotiations and diplomacy
which will help in solving this humanitarian crisis without
jeopardizing the peace and stability of the fragile middle east.

from:  rajshree
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 05:07 IST

This article though eloquent misses out on some crucial questions: what
determines right and wrong? Only the type of weapons used? Or the number
and size of the "collateral damage"? Or who perpetrates the killings ?
Or who is the bigger thug? Or who polices the self appointed police? This
whole thing is disgusting. When will man learn to live in peace?

from:  V. Ramaswami
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 04:26 IST

"Syria has not, strictly speaking, violated international law in using chemical weapons
against its own population" ... Thank you for splitting that hair.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 04:12 IST

I think the attack will be more targeted and for a short period of time unlike in Iraq or Afghanistan. Personally after reading opinion pieces in magazines like Economist, I feel that US should strike Assad hard. Its good to read a different point of view here in Hindu, but I still believe Syria needs to be taught a lesson. He killed humans like insects.

from:  albert paulose
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 03:57 IST

With all the fiscal problems facing his administration and the economic problems facing the country, President Obama's ranting against Syria, with Secretary Kerry playing second fiddle, is just laughable. Who is he going to bomb and who does he want to punish? One suspects his intention is not so much to punish Assad as to get the US into a war so that he could use patriotism as a rallying cry for his other domestic aims. But this will not work with the Republicans who will support him in the war but will refuse to pay for it.

from:  M. Parthasarathi
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 03:08 IST

There is no legal war or illegal war. War is justifiable by every nation. If any dictator or nation goes overboard internally or externally, it is an invitation for war. Individual countries take law into their hands, just like citizens detain criminals in the absence of legally authorized police or military. Putting all the eggs in one basket such as the UN Security Council is dangerous for the world peace because of bickering, inaction and delays to take action adding to more wars rather than reduce wars. The pacifist individuals or nations encourage criminals, dictatorships, terrorism, use of weapons of mass destruction and crimes against humanity with the intention of favorable trade and military relations. The pacifist individuals or nations are crooks hiding under the slogan of peace to take advantage of the muddy waters. There are several nations who do not uphold the ideals of the UN including India, always looking for trade benefits.

from:  Davis K. Thanjan
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 02:59 IST

War is business in Washington DC. America spends upwards of $800
billion dollars a year on Defense. This is not something new but
warned about presciently by President Dwight Eisenhower in his
farewell speech to Americans when he left office. His exact words
were, “..In the councils of government, we must guard against the
acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by
the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous
rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…” It appears that
his warning has come true. The military industrial complex now
includes major multinational corporations like GE and Honeywell who
earn billions in profit from selling sophisticated and hi-tech
weaponry to the services in America. It is the military industrial
complex that determines what is in the national security interest of
America and it often predictably is war and more war under any and
every excuse.

from:  Anand Richard
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 01:41 IST

Nobel Laurette for Peace. Nobel committee had become a laughing stock for giving Peace prize to Obama for his speeches on Mideast peace.

Obama is a war monger.
This one of the Best Article bringing out the relative facts. American Public and it's reprresentatives should be enlightined with such factual analysis rather than by the views so called think tanks who are behoden to their war mongering sponsors and donors.They are already beating the drums of war despite the British parliamentary vote.

from:  Mona
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 00:51 IST

Excellent article. Clear and lucid flow of words and sequence of rendition. Truth blatantly put

from:  Sathish Sampath
Posted on: Sep 4, 2013 at 00:23 IST
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