Mar 11, 2016, American Herald Tribune
Canadian Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May, puts forth such a distorted understanding of Syria that she has either fallen prey to the corporate media’s false rendition of Syria, or she is towing the line for political gain. In either case, the rhetoric she has employed over the past five years has gone from dismaying to appalling, considering that we are not in the early “confusing” months of the war on Syria, we are five years in, and the anti-Syria lexicon she repeats has long been discredited.
In June 2011, May’s Green Party described the situation in Syria as a “pro-democracy uprising,” and called for “more robust sanctions to include an international trade and energy embargo and not just sanctions against specific individuals and Syrian security organizations.”
Apparently the Iraq lesson—wherein 1.7 million Iraqis died as a “direct result of the genocidal sanctions” (source)—is not relevant to May. She would do well to read the Lancet’s report, “Syria: end sanctions and find a political solution to peace,” as of May 2015:
“The cost of basic food items has risen six-fold since 2010, although it varies regionally. With the exception of drugs for cancer and diabetes, Syria was 95 percent self-sufficient in terms of drug production before the war. This has virtually collapsed as have many hospitals and primary health-care centres.
Economic sanctions have not removed the President: …only civilians are in the line of fire, attested to by the dire state of household and macro-economies. Sanctions are among the biggest causes of suffering for the people of Syria.”
Perhaps May doesn’t care about the effects of sanctions on the Syrian people, but instead supports the US plan to destabilize Syria through various means, including sanctions, as noted even in 2005:
“As an alternative to direct military intervention to topple the Syrian government, the United States chose to pressure Damascus through sanctions and support for the internal Syrian opposition.”
As for the “pro-democracy uprising,” it has thoroughly been revealed to have been an armed insurrection from the very earliest protests, with sectarian chants and killings occurring by the so-called “democracy-loving” “unarmed” protesters from the very first months. The CIA has a long history of supporting such violence in Syria. For more on this, and the mythology on Syria in general, see my extensively-linked earlier article, “Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria.”
Vilifying Assad and Russia; Silence on Turkey, Sauds
In October 2015, after Russia had been invited by the Syrian government to fight terrorists in Syria, May issued a statement condemning Russian airstrikes, stating bizarrely: “The bombing by Russian forces within Syria of rebel groups trained by the CIA under cover of a claim their target is ISIS brings into sharp relief the perils of air strikes against one rebel group in a civil war.”
She is upset that Russian strikes also target al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria, who she admits were CIA-trained? She continues with the “civil war” refrain?
Fellow Canadian and journalist Mark Taliano, in a January 2016 article noted:
“There are no “moderate” terrorists. The mercenaries are all being paid and enabled by the West and its allies, including Turkey (a NATO member),Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan.”
Later in the article, Taliano pointed out:
“Assad – …is defending his country from foreign terrorists, not “killing his own people” – the Western invaders are killing Assad’s people.”
In a February 23, 2016 post, May again referred to Russia’s role in Syria, stating it is “legitimized by US and its allies own bombing campaigns”. Apparently May, a lawyer, misunderstood the legalities of both parties roles in Syria. The US-led coalition’s violations of Syrian airspace are in contradiction to international law. Russia’s presence, on the other hand, is not in violation of international law: Russia was invited by the Syrian government.
In the post, May on the one hand acknowledged that Western intervention in Iraq and Libya have been the cause of the subsequent chaos that continues to this day in those countries, while on the other hand still voiced lexicon and arguments which endorse intervention in Syria.
This is May’s (2016) nutshell interpretation of the war on Syria:
“Syria is a giant mess of competing nasty forces. The government (if one can still call it that) is run by a brutal dictator Bashar Al-Assad. Assad is supported by Iran and Hezbollah, while Al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS want to over-turn Assad. Saudi Arabia is reported to be supporting ISIS. Russia supports Assad and is using its access to bombing, legitimized by US and its allies own bombing campaigns, to hit hard at Assad’s enemies – whether they are ISIS or not.”
Overlooking the childish terminology she employed, in the entire post, the only mention of the nefarious Saudi role in Syria is this one passing reference, of the Wahhabi kingdom being “reported to be supporting ISIS”. Why is May wilfully overlooking the deeply-entrenched role of the Saudis in funding, training, and brainwashing Wahhabi mercenaries to kill in Syria?
Regarding her, “Assad’s enemies—whether they are ISIS or not”— May seems to be attempting to convey that long-dead myth that there are “moderate” terrorist-rebels. The reality is that Russia and Syria are fighting Da’esh (ISIS), al-Nusra, FSA and any other terrorist factions warring against the Syrian state and people.
Further on in the post May disingenuously suggested, “We could do more to stop the flow of weapons and money to ISIS through its black market activities,” but again failed to mention Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, ‘Israel’ or the CIA ties to, and support of, ISIS and like terrorists.
By continuing (five years on) to claim the war on Syria is a “civil war” and its president a “brutal dictator”, May is feeding the line-of-logic that the only way to bring peace to Syria is the removal of its elected president and the supporting of Wahhabi-backed “opposition”—who themselves could not even come to an agreement to attend the last (Feb 2016) Geneva talks, which Syrian government representatives did, in contrast.
Following the collapse of those talks, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, clearly explained that fault lay with the Saudis and their “opposition” puppets, and with the UN itself.
In a February 16 briefing, he explained that de Mistura had told the Ambassador he had “decided to suspend the talks because he knew earlier that the Riyadh group decided to withdraw from Geneva before even engaging in the indirect talks.”
In contrast, according to al-Ja’afari, “the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic was the only delegation to engage twice with the special envoy. …We didn’t know how many delegations there should be there. We didn’t know the names. In the last couple hours before we left Geneva, the deputy of Mr. de Mistura came to me at the hotel and gave me a partial list of names, not the full list of names….” Yet the media blamed Syria, unsurprisingly, and not the wahhabi “opposition”.
Secular Syria; Women-Strong
Bizarrely, May’s February 2016 post acknowledged that that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was secular, its “cabinet included women and had no Islamist doctrine,” but failed to recognize that of secular Syria, whose leadership includes:
-Numerous women (including, but not all of): Vice President, Dr. Najah al-Attar, also Minister of Culture, a Sunni with a Western education and a PhD. Political and Media Advisor to the Syrian President, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, also Sunni and holding a PhD, Western-educated; former Minister of Tourism, Lamia Assi (also former Minister of Economy and Trade); Minister of Social Affairs, Rima al-Qadiri;former Minister of Social Affairs, Dr. Kinda al-Shammat.
-Sunnis (including, but not all of): Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi; Foreign Minister, Walid Muallem; Minister of Defense Fahd Jassem al-Freij, Parliament Member Mohammad Jihad al-Laham.
Further, as Professor Tim Anderson noted:
“President Bashar al Assad himself is married to a Sunni woman. The Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheikh Ahmad Hassoun, is a strong Sunni supporter of the secular state. Sheikh Mohamad Al Bouti, murdered along with 42 others by an FSA suicide bomber in March 2013, was a senior Sunni Koranic scholar who backed the secular state.
Syria’s secular tradition is nowhere stronger than in the Syrian Arab Army. Making up about 80% of Syria’s armed forces and with half a million members, half regulars and half conscripts, the army is drawn from all the country’s communities (Sunni, Alawi, Shiia, Christian, Druze, Kurd, Armenian, etc). However they identify as ‘Syrian’ and ‘Arab’ and confront a sectarian enemy that brands itself ‘real Sunnis’.”
On the issue of women in Syria, Anderson explained:
“The Syrian Arab Republic was the first country in the Middle East and North African region (MENA) to give women the vote (1949, 1953) and the second after Lebanon to allow women to stand for election (1953). Syria was the first to have a woman elected to parliament (1973). Syria has by far the highest level of paid maternity leave in the MENA region – a minimum of 17 weeks paid leave, 100% paid by employers. Although one of the poorer MENA countries, the Syrian Arab Republic has a maternal mortality rate (per 1000,000 live births) of 46 in 2008, well below the MENA average (91); that is linked to skilled assistance at birth much higher than average (93% Syria / 79% MENA). In Syria, …‘women’s health adjusted life expectancy’ is the best in the MENA region (Sources: UNDP 2014; UN Women 2011).”
Journalist Julie Lévesque wrote on the US history of meddling and destroying women’s rights in Afghanistan, and their attempts to do so now in Syria. She cited a (2013) US State Department conference in Qatar (of all places) promoting “women’s rights,” hosted by the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN), which Lévesque points out “is an initiative of the International Republican Institute, well-known for supporting dissidents in various countries defying US imperialism.”
On the US meddling in Syria, she wrote:
“…the US along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia is supporting Islamist extremist groups fighting against the secular Syrian government. Some so-called “liberated areas” in Syria are now run by religious extremists.
…Were a US proxy regime to be installed in Damascus, the rights and liberties of Syrian women might well be following the same “freedom-threatening path” as that of Afghan women under the US-backed Taliban regime and continuing under the US-NATO occupation.”
Doh, Canada! Supporting Terrorism in Syria
In March 2016, May at least issued a statement against Canada’s “military contributions against Daesh (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.” She also said, “We need to work with our international partners to cut off Daesh’s funding.”
Yet no mention was made of the gigantic elephants in the room: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, ‘Israel’ and the CIA, among other US departments. Further, Da’esh are but one of numerous foreign terrorist factions warring on Syria.
Nor was any mention made of the fact that since the beginning of the war on Syria, Canada has been funding and abetting terrorists in Syria.
Ken Stone’s detailed November 2015 article explains the manifold ways Canada has aided terrorists in Syria, as well as the attempt at “regime change”, including:
- “organizing the covert mercenary war against Syria through the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“Friends of Syria Group”);
- establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’s International Working Group on Sanctions;
- funding and supporting the so-called “rebel” side;
- planning for an overt western military action against Syria;
- working with Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government;
- contributing to the demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the de-legitimation and isolation of his government.”
With regard to Canada-Saudi relations (which May never seems to address), journalist Stephen Gowans wrote:
“To claim that Canada’s intervention against the violent Sunni Muslim fundamentalists is motivated by opposition to the organization’s barbarity is a demagogic sham. ISIS is virtually indistinguishable in the cruelty of its methods and harshness of its ideology from Saudi Arabia, which Canada strongly supports. If Ottawa truly abhorred ISIS’s vicious anti-Shia sectarianism, cruel misogyny, benighted religious practices, and penchant for beheadings, CF-18s would be bombing Riyadh, in addition to ISIS positions. Instead, Saudi Arabia, a theocratic absolutist monarchy, one of the last on earth, continues to receive Canada’s undiminished support.”
Stop The NATO-Speak, Stop The War Propaganda
Although Elizabeth May purports an anti-war stance, her puerile NATO-esque rhetoric serves the war agenda. This rhetoric includes:
-Endorsing criminal sanctions which only hurt the Syrian people;
-Her refusal to acknowledge the will of the Syrian people—which is overwhelmingly that they want President al-Assad to remain, they want the NATO alliance to stop sending terrorists into Syria, they want their sovereignty and an end to the foreign war on Syria which May to this day insists on wrongly calling a ‘civil war’.
In employing the lexicon of the NATO axis’ propagandists, May is potentially more dangerous to Canadians than easily detestable politicians like Harper, Trudeau or Kinney, who are overtly supportive of the war on Syria. She is slyly misleading those Canadians less-versed on Syria into believing the same stereotypes and myths that confused many in the early months of 2011 but which have now been laid to rest. It’s time May lays her rhetoric to rest, and grows a political spine.