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Sectarianism: US tool Written by Herman Tiu Laurel

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sectarianism: US tool


Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda College Graduate School of Law, writes in his column in the Manila Times (As Syria Bleeds): “The world powers have assumed the irresponsible posture of refusing to decide about the illegitimacy of the Assad family’s ferocious grip on power, even when its only claim to legitimacy is that it has held the reins of government for decades on end! Like affected ignorance, the decision to remain uncertain is ethically wrong, and the price is paid in the terrible currency of children blown to bits ... The UN’s pathetically inadequate response … points quite clearly to the need to revisit the veto system … What legal or moral justification is there for a veto? And if the veto power is wielded with such thoughtlessness and disregard for the suffering of the oppressed, should we continue allowing some states such power?”

I sent this report by the LA Times to Aquino: “BEIRUT — Much of the Christian population of the besieged Syrian city of Qusair has abandoned the town after an ‘ultimatum’ from the rebel military chief there, reports Agenzia Fides, the official Vatican news agency … Some mosques in the city have relaunched the message, announcing from the minarets: ‘Christians must leave Qusair.’”

As the Vatican agency “has sought to document the parlous plight of Syria’s ancient Christian community … A Jesuit priest, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, had recently remained in Qusair for a week, ‘praying and fasting for peace in the midst of the conflict.’”

From the Jerusalem Post (“US-backed rebels said committing Christian genocide in Syria” by Joseph Decaro): “DAMASCUS — Syrian Christians are being targeted by Muslim rebels, according to the Vatican and other sources among besieged Syrian Christian communities … The US-backed Syrian rebels are sacking churches and issuing threats that all Christians will be cleansed from rebel-held territory.  ‘The picture for us is utter desolation,’ said Bishop Philip Tournyol Clos, a Greek-Catholic Melkite Archimandrite.  ‘The church of Mar Elian is half destroyed and that of Our Lady of Peace is still occupied by the rebels.  Christian homes are severely damaged … completely emptied of their inhabitants, who fled without taking anything.’ Asked whether it was the Free Syrian Army that was telling Christians to get out, Agnes Miriam, Mother Superior of the Monastery of St. James at Qara in the Diocese of Homs, said, ‘Yes … it was the commander on the ground, Abdel Salam Harba, who decided that there was to be no more negotiations with Christians.’”

From Crispin Black of UK news magazine, The Week (“If Assad falls, is Britain ready to rescue Syria’s Christians?”): “The tolerance shown towards Christians in Syria is unlikely to survive Assad’s overthrow by Sunnis … But generally, as was true in Cromwell’s New Model Army, the hard men throughout history tend to be driven by belief and ideology.  And the driving ideology behind the Syrian rebellion is Sunni Islam in both its austere mainstream and violent Salafist forms.”

From the Washington Post (“Syrian Christians live in uneasy alliance with Bashar Assad” by S. Akminas): “DAMASCUS, Syria — Hani Sarhan is a Christian who says none of his relatives works with Bashar Assad’s regime or has anything to do with it.”  But, “what (they) heard from (the protesters) at the beginning of this revolution saying, ’Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin,’” made them think about “the real aim of this revolution … ‘So from this point of view, fearing for my life, I declared my support for President Assad.’”

From Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu of Arutz Sheva, an Israeli newspaper that obviously has no love for Assad (“US Helps Gulf States Arm Syrian Rebels”): “The Obama administration is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming Syrian rebels. Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood also is channeling aid to the opposition … The Gulf States have shipped weapons, including anti-tank weaponry…”

Finally, from the US Anti-War.com’s John Glazer: “According to one US intelligence estimate, as many as a quarter of the 300 rebel groups in Syria may be fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda (alleged 9-11 mastermind), says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House intelligence committee. Strangely, the fact that Washington, in cooperation with its allies, is now sending communication gear, military intelligence, and weapons to militias in Syria with considerable — and growing  —ties to al-Qaeda has not made the Obama administration blink.”

Aquino protests “the international rule (non-intervention) that bars states from intervening in the domestic affairs of another state” whenever, according to him, a state kills its own people.  But who is killing whom?
That same argument opened the gates to intervention by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) in Libya; yet, to date, the Nato intervention has caused 50,000 deaths — a figure nowhere near what Muammar Gaddafi was ever accused of.

Gaddafi seized power without bloodshed over 40 years ago but his ouster cost Libyan lives dearly.  The same goes for Saddam Hussein, accused of killing 5,000 in the alleged Halabja gas attack — except that in the US-backed Iraq war against Iran, where the latter suffered 1 million deaths, the US occupation of Iraq has caused more deaths (up to one million in the almost 10 years that have passed) than anything the Iraqi dictator could have ever inflicted.

Intervention for “humanitarian” purposes has caused utter misery with the breakdown of law and order. Non-intervention is a lesson of civilization from the Hundred Years and Thirty Years War in Europe that ended in the Treaty of Westphalia.

The US-Nato alliance with its slavish Gulf State autocrats is using Sunni sectarianism to destroy a budding secular state (where Assad just concluded new elections and appointed three Sunnis to replace his defense brass who were killed in a terror attack), in the same way the US uses Muslim rebels in Mindanao to separate the oil rich Sulu Sea from the Philippines.

I invited Aquino to my TV show or for him to invite me to San Beda to discuss our differing views; but he refused. Maybe he’s just too busy coping with the frat violence that has killed two students the past year.
(Watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., this week on “Mindanao: Doomed to Partition?” — with replays at 11:15 p.m. and on Sunday; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com)

(May pahintulot ng muling paglimbag mula kay Ka Mentong)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/index.php/commentary/item/2372-sectarianism-us-tool

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