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Posts Tagged ‘Trump

Here We Go Again: Syrian Deja Vu

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The recent escalation in Syria, with the US attacking for the first time directly the Syrian territory, has taken many by surprise and confusion. To some commentators, is the sign of the unpredictability of Donald Trump, for others the continuous with a policy always directed to the change of regimes, for others more is the sign of end of Assad regime.

What is more striking, however, is the parallelism with the Iraqi War and its build up, as well as the confirmation of the “emotional diplomacy”, which affects mainly the West and its allies. There are no easy responses, or solutions, although an objective analysis requires to try to see the events with all eyes and minds in Washington, Moscow, Damascus, London, Bruxelles, Tehran, Beijing and Pyongyang.

All started with an attack, still not proven or completely investigated, on which a likely chemical substance (or more than one) has been used against the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in north-western Syria. On one side, the US and its allies accused the Damascus regime, on the other, Moscow and its allies talked about “involuntary chemical use” or accuses rebel fighting groups.

The bottom line in this terrible story, where more than 80 people have been killed, is that no one has a shred of proof or started a formal investigation to establish the exact causes. On this it is like  going back to the initial stages on the Syrian war, when the western countries were taking every single excuse to put  foot on Syrian ground. At the same time it is a deja vu of the Iraqi WMD fiasco, when not only proof was nonexistent but even fabricated.

Nevertheless, we cannot deny that Syria is home to a huge chemical arsenal, that under the US-Russia agreement should have been secured and stocked for dismantling. This amount, not known, added to the security on the ground difficult to establish, surely jeopardized any attempt to clear the area: Damascus has still chemical weapons? Yes. Have the rebels access to weapons following occupation of some areas? Yes. Has ISIL access to chemical weapons? Yes.

Under these conditions, it could be true that Damascus used prohibited substances, as well as it is likely that rebels bombarded the wrong area or ISIL used them against civilians. International Law and diplomacy have for decades worked on the same assumption of civil and penal justice: innocence until proven in court. A golden rule, followed most of the time, to avoid bloodshed and major conflicts, a necessity to give peace and mediation a chance. However, history teaches us that “incidents” have been used to justify military actions, incidents that could be see and proven: Tonkin incident, the Afghan “communist” conversion to open soviet invasion, etc.

The problem is that in recent years too many “incidents” have been unproven action by belligerents, and used to justify quick military solutions that proved disastrous in their consequences. One of the main pillars has been the “emotional diplomacy”, where after a deplorable action by warring parts, another country acts moved by sentiments, by “humanitarian” scopes. Like a child with a tantrum, bombs dropped as apples from a tree shaken by a storm, causing more death, destruction, and especially no solution. Or at least not a lasting solution, but a piloted result to benefit the Samaritan intervening.

This is the calculation made in Washington, Moscow, Tehran, Damascus, Ankara when they continuously switch their policies and alliances, not in the interest of Syrian people, nor for global peace, but for geopolitical equilibrium (Moscow) and change of regime policy (US) to destabilize Russia, China, Iran.

Therefore, can we even try to make some sense in all this? The US accuses Assad of war crimes, probably true but still unproven, for a simple reason: change the regime. This was the pillar of American policy with Bush and with Obama found in the so-called Arab Spring the lever to tilt regimes in Middle East that were unfriendly, historically. They instigated revolution in Egypt for then backtracking and supporting General Al Sisi in the repressions and coup that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Democracy has its strange ways of work. In Libya they accomplished the ousting of Gaddafi (thanks to a Russian/Chinese diplomatic suicide at the UN), while in Iran failed from the start. Syria was to be their final step, but the Russian strong opposition and support denied the change. It is not surprising that any attack made by Syrian forces receives wider coverage on Western medias than the thousands of people killed by terrorist groups and rebels armed with American weapons in Syria and Iraq. Nor is news the silent and censored war in Yemen, where not only chemical weapons have been used and thousands have been killed by Saudi’s aerial bombardment on civilians. Skepticism is the least, then grows when you read that 59 tomahawk missiles have been fired against a military base and that just 2 days later was again ready to use! Either all those missile failed the objectives or they bomb the wrong place.

Russia is defending Assad and his regime, under a status quo paradigm: losing Syria, will wipe out Russian presence from eastern Mediterranean, closing the Black Sea Fleet in a prison with the key held by the erratic Turkish President Erdogan. Russia support Syria to strengthen border control against terrorism, as many foreign fighters are from the Caucasus, and Russia already experienced first hand the change of regime policy with the “coloured revolutions” that engulfed Eastern Europe. However, Russia is not the sparring partner anymore, Yeltsin’s years have been forgotten like a day after being drunk. Russia, regretted the Libyan error, and since then responded tit for tat: Ukraine and Crimea are just a warning. Russia accuses the US of fabricating news and arming rebel and terrorist groups (whether directly or not, it is still not proven), and closing an eye or two when they make their massacres. Russia accused the US of interfering in the peace process that Moscow was silently building with Turkey and Iran.

A key to understand the Syrian puzzle is Turkey, and the actions of the two powers is a reflection of Ankara unpredictable policies. Erdogan at first was a fierce critic of Assad, threatening invasion to support Turkmen (covertly to wipe out Kurds and PKK), and conducting a strong anti-Russian campaign. Unfortunately for the US, Turkey made a big mistake by shooting down a Russian fighter jet, plunging its economy into disaster and becoming soon a central stage for terror attacks: ISIS ones following the western sponsored policy of open frontiers, and PKK ones taking advantage of Turkish foolishness in lowering their security. Timely and precise came the attempted coup against Erdogan, again with multifaceted interpretations: a US sponsored coup (Gulen supporters) to block a Russian rapprochement or a backfired coup that was used by Erdogan to increase his control, cut the ties with the US and change the foreign policy into a Russian backed solution of the Syrian crisis? Now this chemical incident once again saw Turkey siding with the US, but on the other they still seat at the table with Russian and Iranians to try in solving the conflict.

Many say Trump could be too impetuous on decisions, or even dangerous for world peace, but looking closely he has just reconditioned a well used machine that in the last two decades has made of the Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matteo Figus

10/04/2017 at 20:49

Trump vs The Media: Fake News for Fake Politics

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The election of Donald Trump as US president sparked controversy and debate around the world about his suitability to lead the world most powerful country. Trump, with his unconventional and out of protocol actions, has been under intense scrutiny, and judgment, as no other politician has ever been around the world.

Actions and presidential decrees, united to statements outside the official channels, only contributed to highlight even further the division in America and the unwelcome feeling around the world.

Aside from the recent controversy following his immigration decrees, the security challenges, and the accusations of Russian meddling into US elections, one of the Trump’s key horses has been the campaign against on what he calls the fake news.

His crusade, and refusal to talk or release interviews to major US and international networks, accused to distort reality and of depicting him in a bad light all the time, opened a debate on whether he is trying to censor the media or raising an actual warning.

The message from Trump is not new and while is wrong in the form is right in the substance, although the hypocrisy of the media and of the major political courts in Europe deny this. Trump’s crusade against the media is clearly a personal attack to defend himself from the constant denigration and undermining of his position, it is a personal objective that has nothing to do with his politics and programme. The form of the attacks, highlight a situation similar to that lived by Italians when Silvio Berlusconi was PM. Constant attacks on his figure, business empire, the collusion with criminality and control over the media he owned, only strengthened his power even more. His counteraction against newspapers and TV networks outside his control where made just to stop inquests over his interests.

Nevertheless, what makes different the Trump position is that in the substance what he is saying is not wrong. Fake news is not an invention of Trump, for decades we are under the constant bombardment of supposed “breaking news” and to the brainwashing campaigns used to legitimate the processes advanced by the politicians in command. We all remember the Iraqi lessons on WMD, the supposed intelligence reports on chemical weapon ready to be used, and the missiles to destroy the West. Let’s not forget how the Arab spring of 2011 has been hijacked by western media to support US change of regime policy in Libya and Syria, while had backfire in Egypt and Iraq leading to the growing of IS.

More recently, the Ukraine, Burma and Philippines cases, were all portrayed in different manner correspondent to the interest of what the major powers need. Has the Ukraine issue been covered in a fair and objective manner, including the diplomatic and historic issues behind? The answer is no. No one of the major media advanced the same bad overage of Russia intervention, to the constant NATO harassing and military buildup in the East, a clear message of destabilization. What it would happen if Russia was to build up his military presence for example in Cuba or Venezuela?

The fake news are around us, all official media and state’s TV are brainwashing people on the political objectives of the established power. Even Trump’s actions are modified to benefit the moment, like the cancellation of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Many citizens, even before Trump, were opposed to it, especially the EU as it would have relegated their market to a second position. When Trump actually put to end to any possibility of a US participation into the TPP, the news was just relegated to the dark, concentrating instead on other more questionable political choices of Trump. What about the infamous wall on the border with Mexico? Everyone is shouting at the humanitarian disasters, but where are all the media condemning the Israeli wall against Palestinian people in the West Bank?

Trump is going to be an over the line president, an unconventional politician, an easy target to constant propaganda to undermine his status, but the media that constantly follow him on any move are just reflection on how political standards just sank to a level of indecency. It us, surrounded by technology and access to information at no price, that we should open our eyes and ears and question whether this battle is just another way to distract the conscience from the actual problems.

Written by Matteo Figus

14/03/2017 at 12:46

Posted in Analysis, North & Central America

Tagged with , , , ,

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