The Aggression is Ongoing: Their Maps and our Destinies
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
Our peoples in the region have become target for war mongers who spread pain, destruction, blockade and bloodshed. We have become the west’s guinea pigs for torture and assassination. In the beginning we are accused of “possessing mass-destruction weapons”, “hosting terrorists” and “endangering world peace and security” before they wage their international wars on our cities. Then, inquiries are set up, just for public consumption, in order to find out the truth, but without the possibility of restoring to our nation its lost security and future. The war on Iraq is a model for claims and distortions which have been marketed politically and in the media as if it were an urgent problem that required “fast remedy” and without which Iraq would pose “a threat to world peace and security”, particularly to the “security of the United States”.
The story of mass-destruction weapons was fabricated; and here are the facts today which show that terrorism did not exist in Iraq before the war. It was the invaders who opened the doors wide open for terrorism. The ex-MI5 chief Eliza Manningham-Buller confirmed to the Chilcot inquiry that “Our involvement in Iraq radicalised a few among a generation of young people who saw [it] as an attack upon Islam.” She adds: “There was no evidence of any link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida – not even the CIA believed that”. Former deputy prime minister, Lord Prescott, said in his testimony to the same inquiry: “When I kept reading them, I kept thinking, ‘Is this intelligence?’ “It’s basically what you have heard somewhere and what somebody else has told somebody… so I got the feeling it wasn’t very substantial”.
The Chilcot inquiry proved beyond doubt the absurdity of the decision to wage war on Iraq, and that the U.K was pushed somehow to get involved (The Independent, 31 July, 2010). Chief UN inspector Hans Blix spent years refuting the mass-destruction-weapons lie. He has stated again and again that the war was illegal and unnecessary.
One reason why wars continue to be waged on us is the lack of courage in taking tough measures against the aggressors, not forcing them to apologize for their crimes and pay the price for their aggression and deterring them from taking haphazard war decisions which bring disasters on millions of people without feeling the least responsibility. If anyone cares to ask for a positive model in this regard, it would be the Turkish position concerning the Israeli attack on the Marmara ship. This is a position which shows that peoples can get their rights if they insist on getting them. Intransigent Israel has yielded and returned the three ships to Turkey and accepted to take part in an international investigating commission. Turkey will ask for an apology and for compensation for the martyrs’ families.
While we follow such news, we see the destruction in Iraq since 2003, and devastation in Lebanon as a result of the 2006 Israeli aggression and the ongoing killing and destruction in Gaza and find that rebuilding in Lebanon is taking place without asking Israel, which caused the destruction, to be responsible for rebuilding and compensating all those who suffered because of its wars. This is actually the only way to force those drumming up war to think twice before they wage war on peaceful nations under fake pretexts.
If such wars are waged under the slogans of ‘democracy,’ ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights,’ let someone examine the quality of life of people living under such wars. If the quality of life is the objective, no one can claim that wars achieve freedom, dignity, security or stability. On the contrary, they undermine the very foundations of a better human life.
The results of inquiries into the war on Iraq seem to be completely detached from the ongoing war in Afghanistan, from drumming up war against Iran, from repeated aggressions against Lebanon’s security and sovereignty and the ongoing war on Gaza.
Women in Iraq have been the first victims of the American war, despite the rhetoric used by the neo-conservatives about women’s rights and freedom. The conditions of Afghani women show they were the prime victim of the war. If these wars also consume the children of those who wage them, in whose interest is the drumming up of war despite all the losses and all the destruction they cause?
It is Israel which promotes wars against our people, because it is an entity based on extremism, killing, settlement, occupation, terrorism and assassination. The only way to deter it is to force it to pay for all the destruction it is causing in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq, in the same way Turkey has done. Only then, will it stop drumming up war against this or that Arab or Muslim country. The task of inquiries and investigation commissions is not only to find out the ‘mistakes’ which caused wars, but to know the objectives for which these mistakes have been made and to make those who promoted them pay the price. Aggressors should bring their war criminals to account, compensate their victims and rebuild the areas destroyed by their wars.
When will an inquiry be set up to investigate the crime of throwing a million cluster bombs in south Lebanon before Israel was forced to stop its 2006 war? These are the same people who promoted the war on Iraq and who continue to flame up a lost war in Afghanistan. When will international justice catch up with them and make the road to freedom and security the road of peace and stability not that made by guns and missiles waging wars on people dreaming of a free, dignified and peaceful life? When will war promoters and planners realize that the maps on which they draw their attacks are actually full of lives, families and communities and not a waste land to be bombarded with their hatred? When will they realize that the signs they put on their maps to wage wars destroy the lives and futures of millions of people?
In the most recent Israeli aggression against Lebanon, Washington and the United Nations once gain adopted Israeli lies, despite the fact that Israel is always the aggressor against Lebanon. The real danger lies in the source of information according to which war is waged; and Israeli lies always constitute the main contributor to such sources.
Professor Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates.
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