Sunday, 19 February 2012

'US not acting in good faith with Syria'

Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:34AM GMT
The US is violating international law by flying unmanned spy aircraft over Syria in an effort to help anti-government forces topple the Syrian regime.

Washington has also been trying to obstruct negotiations between Syrian parties and thus escalate the crisis that has gripped the Middle Eastern country since last March.

Press TV has interviewed Eugene Dabbous, professor at Notre Dame University in Beirut about the US waving their human rights flag with regard to Syria stating they are acting to protect civilian lives against government repression, but being suspected of more sinister motives. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Washington is saying that it is using drones to monitor the violence that the government in Syria is inflicting upon its people and trying to get footage of that in order to basically get the international community on board to stop the violence inside of the country. What is your take on that if this is what Washington is saying?

Dabbous: You have to distinguish between the legitimate state security rights of every sovereign country, Syria obviously being a member of the UN. On the other hand, the principle of human security has been propagated and made major advances over the last few decades we’ve seen this recently in Darfur in respect to Sudan and more recently with Libya.

There are legitimate international principles protecting populations against their own governments and this is the case that the West is making. Now, that does not justify or trump the state security issues and the sovereignty issues, but we do have to see that there’s a balance here and that it’s not just the governments right to have control over its own internal affairs, it’s also the international community’s responsibility.

Having said that, is the US preparing for war? Is the US actually interested in negotiations with the current government? I would say no the US is not acting in good faith. The US has never actually been interested in dialogue between the different parties.

On the other hand, I don’t think the Assad government is either. I don’t think that they will go down in history as a country that tried everything to negotiate with their people who are disgruntled.

So I would say that the blame is on both sides and I would call on the Assad government now to seriously start negotiating with the opposition and thus take the wind out of the sails of the West.

Press TV: What is the difference here? We see that from what the Americans are saying, it doesn’t seem to play out. If we look at the criteria that they’re saying that innocent lives are being lost and they are concerned about what’s going on so they’re flying over with drones - Why don’t we see them flying over other countries as our other guest said like Saudi Arabia, like Bahrain if the goal is actually to protect human lives?

Dabbous: I think the US has been very consistent and it’s been consistently hypocritical, but we all know that. We know the US is only concerned about human rights in countries that it doesn’t agree with. But once you realize this, I don’t think the Syrian government is acting wisely.

If they want to counter this they have to call the American’s bluff, which means that they have to enter serious negotiations with a third party - a third part which has not taken sides.

I would propose the Rhodesian Zimbabwe model where there was an impasse, but foreign negotiators who were not on either side helped the warring parties find a peaceful solution. The decade after the civil war in Zimbabwe was a very positive period as opposed to now.

I would think that the Syrian government should point out the hypocrisy of the US, but the US has always been hypocritical - hypocritical calling for human rights protection in Eastern Europe during the cold war and didn’t care about violations in Latin America under the fascist dictatorships etc etc. This is not new so the argument is not really that interesting.

What is interesting is to see what the Syrian government can now do to counter the American strategy, which is very clear.


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