ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman at justforeignpolicy.org, @naiman
Policy director of Just Foreign Policy, Naiman recently wrote the article “President Obama: Don’t Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval.” A petition Naiman initiated has over 13,000 signers in the last 24 hours.
JAMES PAUL, james.paul.nyc at gmail.com
Author of Syria Unmasked, until recently Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN. He said today: “A U.S. military strike would opt for more violence and destruction in war-torn Syria and promote victory of the fundamentalist Islamic rebels. Such an intervention is clearly contrary to international law, in the absence of Security Council authorization. It is a reminder of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and so many others, when justifications were concocted and propaganda pumped out at high volume. Coming just after the U.S.-backed coup in Egypt, a Syria attack would further destabilize the Middle East region, while reflecting decades of interventionist U.S. strategy in the oil-rich Middle East.
Reuters reports: “Russia said on Tuesday it regretted a decision by Washington to postpone talks on an international peace conference for Syria, underlining growing diplomatic tensions over the civil war.” Added Paul: “Syria needs a peace conference, not aerial bombardment and self-righteous lectures from those who support al-Qaeda over Syria’s secular democrats.” See: “Syria: Why Is the Nonviolent Opposition Being Ignored?”
MAIREAD MAGUIRE, mairead.home at btinternet.com
Nobel Peace Laureate Maguire, who has done peace work based in Northern Ireland, recently lead a delegation in Syria. She recently released a statement: “Contrary to some foreign governments’ current policies of arming the rebels and pushing for military intervention, the people of Syria are calling out for peace and reconciliation and a political solution to the crisis, which continues to be inflamed by outside forces with thousands of foreign fighters funded and supported by outside countries for their own political ends.
“Having visited Syria in May 2013 leading a 16-member delegation, I returned convinced that the civil community, with groups such as Mussalaha, which are working on the ground building peace and reconciliation, can solve their own problems if their plea for outsiders to remain out of the conflict is honored by the international community. …
“Currently there is an International Commission of Inquiry on Chemical Weapons in Damascus staying at [the] Four Seasons Hotel, which is less than ten minutes from the areas where the chemical weapons were allegedly used. The western media … are accusing President Assad of using chemical weapons on his own people but have no proof of this accusation; rather, some factors point to rebels as the ones who used such weapons.
“The question must be asked, ‘What would it benefit Assad to use sarin gas in the vicinity of visiting international UN inspectors?’”