'UN resolution on Syria not solution'

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Wahome, Kimamo (WAHOMEK@uwec.edu)
Wed, 9 Nov 2005 11:57:05 -0600

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 Muslim-Western relations. The arguments being advanced for intervention this time are infinitely more spurious than the claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The highly speculative Mehlis report does not even assert that Syria was involved in the Hariri killing; it contends only that such involvement is probable. 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 was taken. 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 world. 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.
                 Write to the author <makerequest.asp?mailtype=To the Author&aemail=salimlone@msn.com>

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