Former French ambassador particularly in the Arab world, in Africa and Latin America. Former Director of the French Office of Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA)
The world today faces a great danger of war, more than ever before. It is going through a global crisis.
One hears much talk about a new cold war that would lead us back to the old confrontation between the “Free World,” the ancestor of the “Axis of Good,” and a “totalitarian bloc,” dubbed the “Axis of Evil” by George Bush, a confrontation which ended with the victory of the United States over communism.
The disappearance of the U.S.S.R. in 1991, which Vladimir Putin called the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” provoked the rise of the famous “unipolar American moment” of sinister memory—a much shorter moment than expected by the Atlantic Empire, which thought it would be eternal, but much too long for the rest of the planet, especially for the poorest among us. “The most powerful empire the world has ever seen,” “more powerful than Rome” is what the indispensable and unique hyperpower was for 20 years (1991 to 2011), as it assumed the vocation of dominating the world, in the name of a messianism inspired both by the Old and the New Testaments. This alleged “divine will,” that is, the whims of the new masters of the world, took the place of International Law. It is upon the rubble of that legality that the American imperial order was built, around a “civilized center” erecting itself as the “international community,” attempting to rule the planet, including a number of peripheral rogue states.
The Elizabeth Arden Club (Washington, London, and Paris) has claimed for a quarter of a century that it embodies the “international community.” It is a political directorate inspired by that war party, whose followers make up the “Deep State” of Western and other countries. Some speak of “the military-industrial complex”; others call it the “neo-conservative” current. That bellicose, imperial party, interventionist and bigoted, carries out, in the name of God, a systematic policy of aggression, interventionism, destruction,— a criminal policy. Their aim is supposedly to impose peace, democracy and human rights throughout the world, in particular in the Arab-Muslim world, including and especially through force, since it is the divine will of the Empire to do Good and repress Evil (by the way, that is the name of the religious police of the Wahhabite Saudi regime). NATO is the armed branch of that war party, of the Atlantic Empire.
The Atlanticist leaders move in the shadows, hiding behind the false flags of democracy, justice, morality, and law. They demonize any country that opposes their ambitions by calling them to the Gehenna of “worrying states” to be carved up into “democratic” entities: In short, they are “rogue states.” That concept has played an essential role in U.S. strategy for several decades, and it is by evoking this bogeyman, that they have systematically violated and destroyed International Law.
That Law is based on the United Nations Charter which, in Article 51, attributes solely to the Security Council, the right to take the adequate measures it deems necessary to maintain peace and international security. But the neocons in Washington couldn’t care less about UN legality.
The only thing that counts is threats to American interests, which make “direct military interventions” necessary. For them, the law is not founded on the UN Charter, but on the U.S. constitution. According to Noam Chomsky, “that contempt of the primacy of law is profoundly imbedded in American culture and practices.”
The neoconservative doctrine, the “zero degree of political thought,” has a simple basis: The Cold war is finished, but the United States still has the responsibility to protect the world from “rogue states.” In the 1970s, Nixon thought that the United States should give the impression that it was ruled by “madmen with unpredictable behavior, armed with a huge potential of destruction, in order to create or reinforce the fears of its adversaries (madman theory).” Annals of United States strategy show that those evaluations are not pure fantasy.
In August 1990, Washington and London decreed that Iraq was a rogue state, and it became the first of a long list: Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Palestine, Yugoslavia, Iran, and Ukraine, followed by others, including Syria (2011). In June 2000, Robert McNamara, the former American Defense Secretary (1961-1968), told the International Herald Tribune that the United States had become a rogue state. Noam Chomsky said the same in the beginning of the “Arab springs,” noting that his country put itself above international law.
The War Party
The world in 2016 is no longer that of the Cold War, but it is also different from what it was in 2011. Like all the adages on matters of war and peace, the Latin expression, “Si vis pacem, para bellum” (If you wish for peace, prepare for war), is ambiguous, because it raises the concept of armed peace. Yet this is the motto of the War College in France, and of the British navy. It could very well be the motto of NATO. The Romans, claiming they were harassed by the barbarians, decided to declare war on them in order to distract their attention, and to be able to enjoy the famous Pax Romana in their own empire. Some cynical minds believe that the message is indeed: “If you want peace at home, make war against others.” This is the meaning given to the expression by the leaders and thinkers of the war party.
Today, a peace camp is opposed to the war party. The Peace camp refers to principles of International Law, to crisis settlement through negotiations and to the perspective of a multipolar world, as opposed to the War party which prospers on the rubble of the UN legality, imposing chaos, the law of the jungle, and seeking every occasion to impose its views by force.
Whether it is the wars in the Middle East, the threats of nuclear conflict, the coming implosion of the financial system, the refugee crisis, or other dramas that afflict the planet, you never have to look too far to find the hawks ready to do everything to preserve the hegemony of the Atlantic camp, if need be by war, and to stop the world from changing. To reconcile beautiful principles and noble values on the one hand, with wars of aggression and criminal behavior on the other, the chaos theory manual has an answer.
Yet the Nuremberg Tribunal, which knew what it was talking about, ordained that “to launch a war of aggression . . . is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The debate about ethics in international relations is loaded. It is a real debate for some, a smoke screen for others; the reference to legality does not have the same value for both camps. Diplomats cannot work miracles if they have only indefensible policies to defend, on the wrong side of history. They cannot be constructive if they act in the service of destructive leaders, determined to continue the war and to weaken diplomacy.
Master of the Empire, the United States carries the main responsibility for those crimes, destructions, and atrocities we have just mentioned. Obama boasts that he avoided the worst in August 2013, by deciding not to launch punitive strikes against Syria in the wake of the chemical weapons affair. In fact, the decision to break the rules of the game seems to have been more motivated by his desire to affirm his own power against the Chiefs of Staff, the secret services, and the think tanks, that are all under the influence of, and financed by Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, and most of which work for the Arab or pro-Israeli financiers.
Nothing would prompt the peoples of the Greater Middle East to disagree with Paul Craig Roberts, the former U.S. Assistant Treasury Secretary, when he wrote with his vitriolic pen (Le Blog de la Résistance, January 12, 2016): “Unique among the countries on Earth, . . . the U.S. government is the most complete criminal organization in human history.”
Despite his smiles and lovely speeches, Obama has lit and kept going more conflicts than George W. Bush, and he is heading a state responsible for the death of millions of children and adults, the destruction of states and of whole societies, tens of millions of lives broken, without even having to go all the way back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Having continued to wreak havoc in the Greater Middle East, he has contributed more than anyone to nuclear proliferation, especially in Europe, and to relaunching a war of aggression against Russia and China. Words full of peace, but acts of war galore.
An Uncompromising Future
Supported by the Zionist lobby, the Saudis and the Gulf countries, by the weapons dealers, the financial groups and the favorite candidate of the neo-conservative camp, Hillary Clinton, Obama’s former Secretary of State, has a long record as a war-monger and extremist. She has played an active role in fanning the flames of all conflicts and wars for a quarter of a century now: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Libya, and Syria, not to mention Ukraine and Honduras in between. An enthusiastic proponent of “regime change,” she is wildly anti-Syrian, anti-Iranian, anti-Hezbollah, anti-Russian, and antiChinese. And wildly pro-Israeli as well.
Paradoxically, there are many wise people on the other side of the Atlantic who hope that Donald Trump will be elected, since his isolationism might steer Washington off the course of war-like interventionism.
The vassals of the Empire, whether Europeans, Middle Eastern, or others, are accomplices and co-responsible for all the suffering perpetrated. It is common knowledge that France and its NATO allies, with their privileged relationships to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel, have played a key role in the “supreme international crime” which is wars of aggression; it was the case in Syria as in Libya before. That support is multiple and accepted: closing down of embassies, sanctions, active support to the armed opposition, including terrorists, activism at the UN Security Council, deployment of special forces in flagrant violation of international law (June 2016), tolerance toward jihadists leaving for Syria.
The Current State of Affairs
In 2011, it was Syria’s turn. It had long been targeted by the Empire, both by the Israeli-American plans to break it up, and by the measures and statements adopted since 2001. We will not go into the details here.
The Syrian state has not collapsed, as its “friends” expected. It pays wages and pensions to its civil servants without default, its institutions are in place, and its constitutional calendar has been respected, all things taken into account. Its national army, supported by the Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese (Hezbollah) allies, has resisted an aggression of the great western powers in alliance with the fundamentalists of the Middle East and tens of thousands of mercenaries of a hundred nationalities.
Two-thirds of Syria has been destroyed, after five years of savage violence during which it served as a testing ground for all forms of “creative chaos.” A country formerly prosperous, self-sufficient, and debtfree, with functioning public services and free education and healthcare, lies today in ruins. Its infrastructure (schools, hospitals, social centers, roads) is destroyed. To achieve that result, the aggressors, claiming to be “friends of Syria,” had to help the terrorists of the armed opposition break a good part of the country.
The multi-form sanctions had an impact on the Syrian national fabric, united by an exemplary “secular tolerance,” but were not able to destroy it. The aim of this politicide was, and is still, to demoralize the populations, while creating the illusion that the West is there to “save them from the tyrant who is massacring them,” and to welcome the refugees and turncoats.
Just in the year July 2011-July 2012, the EU and the United States, Canada, and Australia, launched 17 different sets of sanctions . . . The diplomatic sanctions were adopted starting Autumn 2011, after Russia and China vetoed the UN Security Council draft resolution inspired by the Libyan precedent.
The human costs are extremely heavy. With 300 to 400,000 dead (of which at least 130,000 were soldiers of the regular army), more than one million handicapped, 14 million refugees or displaced people (more than one out of two Syrians), the nation’s fabric is torn, weakened by the proliferation of armed groups and by the invasion of mercenaries joining the jihad, and by certain ethnic demands.
Immense Material Damages
For Syria alone, recent estimates put at $300 billion the cost of destruction and looting. Bernard Cornut, a Middle East expert, wrote on March 11 2016, “Given that it is increasingly known and proven that several countries—France, the U.S.A., Great Britain, and of course Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey—supported and financed the armed rebel groups with the stated and shared aim of changing the regime, and notably to oust the elected president, those countries, and others that Syria knows, are all co-responsible to different degrees for the damages incurred, estimated recently at $1 trillion.” And he concluded, “they will have to deal with actions taken by Syria in international courts to obtain legitimate war claims.” He proposes to create a tax on oil and gas, which would be used for a “fund to compensate victims and reconstruct Syria,” to be managed by the UN.
The horrendous count in Iraq—one and a half million dead, of whom 500,000 were children—is there to remind us that sanctions are a weapon of mass destruction, used with total cynicism by the “masters of the world.” For Madeleine Albright, “it was worth it.”
The upheavals of the past years (according to Canadian expert Ahmed Ben Saada), in terms of “Arab Springs” led to 1.5 million dead and wounded, and more than 15 million refugees and displaced persons.
For all the Arab countries, they caused losses on the order of $833 billion ($300 billion just for Syria) of which more than one half were damage to infrastructure and archeological or historical sites. Let us add to those pharaonic devastations, financed by the oil-producing states to the tune of tens of billions, the hundreds of billions of dollars “frozen” (in other terms, “stolen”) by the sanctions (plus $700 billion for Libya).
Politically, the future of Syria is not yet sealed, as realpolitik keeps knocking on the door of the over-optimistic analysts. The armed jihadi opponents had a hard time disguising themselves as negotiators; their record would more easily lead them to the International Criminal Court than towards diplomatic tasks. But their Western mentors think they have some virtues: their protégés refuse to negotiate from a weak position. From time to time, they need a ceasefire to reconstitute themselves. If they violate the truce it doesn’t matter, the one to blame is the Bashar al Assad “regime.” This vicious circle is self-feeding, as politicians, journalists, and Western intellectuals all take part, with a few exceptions, in the conspiracy of lies.
The military situation weighs heavily in the diplomatic balance. At this end of June 2016, it is manifest that NATO, in all illegality, is setting up a deployment in the north of Syria the purpose of which—the fight against Daesh—is either a bad joke or a new war.
Rebuild Peace with Respect for Law
To rebuild peace with respect for law, we must reconstruct legality and rediscover the UN principles (sovereignty of states, non-interventionism, obligation to negotiate to solve conflicts) by introducing a new paradigm: the BRICS can be that new paradigm, which tends to usher in a new type of relations respectful of sovereignties and mutually profitable.
Reconstruction cannot be conceived along the lines of a classical scheme: a pool of financiers, emanating from the West, and a Syria at the mercy of the “benefactor” which destroyed it. The United States and NATO are hardly suited to solving crises, since they were the instigators.
This is why the project launched by China, called “the New Silk Roads: a Belt and a Road,” responds to the expectations of numerous countries, close to 70 today. We will not go into the presentation of our Chinese colleague.
That project, which integrates a good part of the Greater Middle East, notably Syria and its neighbors (Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq), as well as its allies (Russia, China) in a vast ensemble of win-win economic cooperation, could shake up the regional balances, reorient trade, and break the logic of a dominant North versus a dominated South. In the end, that means some 900 projects, and financial contributions close to $900 billion, as Helga Zepp-LaRouche recalled it.
That project could rebuild a destroyed Syria on a new basis, respecting its freedom of choice and free of any threats. It aims at ensuring a more stable environment, knowing that South West Asia is structured around two corridors (with major roles for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey), whether the railway corridor (axis launched in 2011) or the road corridor (from Urumqi in Xinjiang to the Near East) or the maritime corridor leading to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.
The Schiller Institute, for its part, proposes a project in line with the same perspective: “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge,” which also bases itself on a change of rules of the world economy while reserving a specific role for the reconstruction of Southwest Asia, ravaged by war and conflicts for a quarter of a century now, but holding an enormous potential of development and immense natural and human resources, which explain for geopoliticians the lust of the Eurasian countries and the Empires of the Sea.
That project echoes the strategy of “five seas” announced by President Bashar al Assad in 2004, for the creation of a network of infrastructure between the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, aimed at making of this strategic hinge zone, an area of exchanges among the three continents of the ancient world.
There Will Be a Reconstruction
Obviously, there will be a reconstruction.
1. However, the terrorist groups supported by the West and their allies will have to stop their destructions. It would suffice for that, that the existing resolutions of the Security Council be applied.
2. There will be no reconstruction without rapidly lifting the sanctions whose object is the destruction of a people and their country.
3. The solution is not to receive in Europe the refugees which have been created in one way or the other by fanning the flames of a war of aggression and jihad in Syria.
4. On the other hand, the struggle against Daesh, while certainly a priority, is not an end in itself, because it will not solve all Syria’s problems, especially in its future as a resisting nation state.
It is up to the Syrian people and only up to them to decide Syria’s destiny, without foreign intervention. It is that principle of sovereignty that Chinese President Xi Jinping brings forth when he claims the end of the Unipolar area and that the world is now multipolar. Vladimir Putin has also placed himself within the framework of an international legality and supports the Syrian state and “the armed forces of President Al Assad which are the only ones really fighting the Islamic state.” The Russian president’s decisions to intervene provoke anger among the Westerners, furious at his continual references to an international law that they violate.