Friday, November 07, 2008

The US and Syria: Belligerence and National Security

Amidst the celebration of Obama's election as President of the United States the world seems to have forgotten the recent helicopter incursion by US forces into Syria to allegedly terminate some individual that apparently constituted a danger to US national security.

Last month a raid was carried out a few kilometres inside the Syrian border with Iraq.

I have not seen much reaction in the US media about it nor much outcry in international places maybe because the Americans are a bit embarrassed and do not know what to think about this 'incident' and maybe because the Europeans are totally flabbergasted as it does not fit in with the direction the current Syrian -EU-US relations was going into?

You can check what happened on you can read in these BBC articles. I also recommending reading Joshua Landis has compilation of reports and commentaries.

Additionally, Syrian blogger Ayman raises some disturbing questions , namely who was really the targeted "Jihadist smuggler" allegedlly living in Syria in that specific village?
He concludes " Badran Turki Hishan or Khalid Suleiman? Damascus, Zabadani, Boukamal or Mosul? Killed in 2005 or 2008 or still alive? I am not expecting the people who shamelessly lied about Iraqi WMDs to provide answers or evidence. I am hoping the media would bother to investigate the truth before simply labeling the men murdered in Boukamal as bodyguards of a mysterious terrorist.".

Very mysterious stuff indeed, we don't really know if this wanted guy was taken down but as usual with American firepower there is "collateral damage" of innocents including women and children.

Like Ayman I don't think the US government cares about anyone or anything. This behaviour has been clear throughout the decades- don't get me wrong, I am not talking here about the general American populace which in my opinion are quite naive and busy with other things. Coincidentally watching the movie "body of lies" that day and it struck me how everything is a lie in the politics and foreign policy of the United States.

The plot of the movie/book is nicely laid out here, but it basically centers on a "plan to lure a terrorist leader named Al-Saleem out of hiding by making it appear that a rival yet fake organization has become as scary, deadly and effectual as Al-Saleem's own group.".
To do this everything is allowed from framing an innocent Arab man to sacrificing a CIA operative or even allies of the US in Iraq and other countries once they are milked out of information or they become useless and ask for assylum to America when their life becomes in danger. This demonstrates the usual US stances that will "stop at nothing to protect the highest goal, national security".

I have nothing to say to that but it does to me put in context the recent raid in Syria. If the US deems there is danger it won't stop at anything including violations of international laws.

The US says it is waging 'war on terrorism' and that this is a just war. The US considers that 9/11, an embassy attack, a hostage situation, the taking down of a plane, the presence of an unauthorised military power in its country or an attack on its properties for example as declaration of war and worthy of a retaliatory attack.

Could not the recent border raid be considered as a belligerent attitude and a casus belli for Syria? is that not a declaration of war by the United States. Does it not demonstrate total disregard for borders and others besides its own navel?

I am wondering what would the US government have done if Syria (or Venezuela :P) had flown helicopters into the US to take out someone that Syrians or Venezuelans think is a threat to them. Or what if Syria carried out a similar act over the Israeli border?

I am confident that in both cases America would have carpet bombed Syria/Venezuela and stated loudly that the Syrian or Venezuelan action was a clear declaration of war even before starting to claim that international treaties and conventions and laws etc were violated. Israel would have also declared war on Syria and cried wolf at the UNSC.

Bloggers and pundits would be having a field day beating the drums of war against Syria or Venezuela if we take my example. But if America aggresses another country I think it is the rare American who would attempt to justify this taking it as granted that Americas action are always justified and beyond reproach.

Questions come to my mind about what was the Bush administration thinking last week when they authorised this incursion into the Syrian border and what evil lies behind it? Although Syria's retaliation would have been justified in the name of national interest and in self defense, I think that its coolness of head and taking the matter to the UN is better is wiser. Firstly because Syria does not have the military/economic power to fight the US Goliath and secondly because this frustrates whatever evil plans the US has to drag one more Arab country into its net of destruction.

There is always time to seek revenge.

The outstanding point now is to seek compensations for innocent victims of this raid along the same line as the Lockerbie and Berlin Disco cases.