Subject: 'UN resolution on Syria not solution' Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:57:05 -0600 Message-ID: <376546015E56D640AB10F112B8127DDF031C6B84@PEPSI.uwec.edu> From: "Wahome, Kimamo" <WAHOMEK@uwec.edu>
Editorial from Wednesday's edition of The Daily Nation, a Kenyan daily:
UN resolution on Syria not a solution
Story by SALIM LONE
Publication Date: 11/9/2005
The beginning of the drive to justify the use of force against Syria for
its possible involvement in Lebanon's Rafiq Hariri's killing is
reminiscent of the run-up to the 2003 US-led war against Iraq.
As then, it is the United Nations Security Council which was the
instrument for escalating the tensions, with last week's unanimous
passage of its resolution demanding that Syria co-operate in UN
investigator Detlev Mehlis's investigation on Hariri's death by
arresting those he suspects of complicity, and that interrogations be
conducted outside Syria.
If the Iraq experience is a guide, the demands will multiply, regardless
of the level of co-operation Syria offers, with the US still free to
resort to war if it chooses. With or without war, the resolution will
intensify charges of UN double standards and further polarise
The arguments being advanced for intervention this time are infinitely
more spurious than the claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass
The highly speculative Mehlis report does not even assert that Syria was
involved in the Hariri killing; it contends only that such involvement
The resolution's passage offers yet more proof that the Security Council
is an instrument of Western power invoked principally for punishing
Muslims and Arabs.
It is not lost on the region that when Israel killed over 100 Lebanese
in Qan'a in 1996, and when there were hundreds of Palestinians killed in
Nablus and Jenin in 2003, no UN Security Council action against Israel
To put maximum pressure on both Syria and the Security Council ahead of
the vote, US president George Bush dramatically heightened the stakes by
asserting that the American use of force against Syria was an option if
it did not co-operate with the Mehlis inquiry.
The notion that the US could attack Syria even if its officials were
involved in the Hariri assassination defies all international covenants
relating to the legal use of force.
Be that as it may, the Bush threat against Syria, and a similar one
against Iran if it refuses to stop enriching uranium, has seen tensions
soar among Arabs and Muslims amid fears that new Western aggression
might be in the offing.
On the surface, the fear that the US might initiate new hostilities in
the Middle East seems preposterous when the US is so hopelessly bogged
down in the Iraqi occupation.
But there are numerous American strategists who believe that Iraq can
only be secured if the anti-US regimes in Syria and Iran are deposed,
and that in any event, regime change in the two countries is a
prerequisite for the achievement of other strategic US goals in the
region, which include direct control of Arab oil in an energy-thirsty
As was revealed once again in New Delhi last weekend, international
terrorism carried out by Muslim extremists continues to be a growing and
vibrant threat. It can only be curbed if the US supports the forces of
Muslim moderation and undertakes concrete policy changes which resonate
with the vast majority of the world's Muslims, who yearn for an end to
the deepening fissure with the West.
But the decision by France, a staunch foe of the drive to attack Iraq,
to mend fences with the super-power by co-operating with it for
short-term gains over Syria, and the election of a new pro-Bush German
Chancellor, are major setbacks to this hope.
In addition, since the July terror attacks in Britain, Prime Minister
Tony Blair is no longer seen as merely a weak Bush follower but an angry
and independent challenger of the Muslim world.
There is now no major European ally counselling US moderation in
projecting its power in the Middle East. The inevitable result is yet
more polarisation in the Muslim world and a continuing marginalisation
of its reformers.
Mr Lone writes regularly on relations between Muslims and the West.
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