MIRIAM PEMBERTON, miriam at ips-dc.org
A research fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Pemberton just co-wrote the piece “Beating Swords Into Solar Panels: Re-Purposing America’s War Machine.”
DAVID SWANSON, davidcnswanson at gmail.com, @davidcnswanson
Swanson is with RootsAction.org, which recently launched a petition, now at over 22,000 signatories: “We helped prevent U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Public pressure made Congress turn against an attack, opening the door to diplomacy. Now let’s stop the flow of ‘lethal aid’ to Syria. ‘The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,’ the Washington Post reported. Those shipments have combined with ‘separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.’” See: StopWeaponsToSyria.org.
A recent CNN/ORC poll found what when asked “In the conflict in Syria, do you think that the United States should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side?” a full 85 percent of Americans responded “neither side.” Swanson is author of the new book War No More: The Case for Abolition.
STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes
Last night, in an interview aired on Fox News Channel, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad referred to a Syrian proposal in 2003 to make the Mideast a weapons of mass destruction-free zone. See report on CNN from 2003: “Syria Proposes Mideast Free of WMD.”
Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, Zunes recently wrote “The U.S. Has No Credibility Dealing With Chemical Weapons,” which states: “UN Security Council Resolution 687, the resolution passed at the end of the 1991 Gulf War demanding the destruction of Iraq’s chemical weapons arsenal, also called on member states ‘to work towards the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of such weapons.’ Syria has joined virtually all other Arab states in calling for such a ‘weapons of mass destruction-free zone’ for the entire Middle East. In December 2003, Syria introduced a UN Security Council resolution reiterating this clause from 12 years earlier, but the resolution was tabled as a result of a threatened U.S. veto.”
Victor Gilinsky, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Henry D. Sokolski, a former deputy for nonproliferation policy in the defense department just wrote the New York Times op-ed “Let’s Be Honest About Israel’s Nukes” which states: “This witches’ brew [WMDs in the Mideast] was supposed to become the subject of an international conference, mandated in 2010 by the unanimous vote of the members of the nonproliferation treaty, including the United States. But that conference hasn’t happened, in part because of White House ambivalence about how it might affect Israel.
“In April, the American assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, Thomas M. Countryman, expressed hope that the conference would be held by this fall. And earlier this month, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, urged all parties to set a conference date ‘as quickly as possible.’ He also argued that it should include Israel and Iran. Russia attempted to include the conference in last week’s agreement, but Secretary of State John Kerry resisted. It is not going to go away.
“If Washington wants negotiations over weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East to work — or even just to avoid making America appear ridiculous — Mr. Obama should begin by being candid. He cannot expect the countries participating in a conference to take America seriously if the White House continues to pretend that we don’t know whether Israel has nuclear weapons, or for that matter whether Egypt and Israel have chemical or biological ones.”