(October 7, 2013)
[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]
Chemical Disarmament in Syria
To the Editor:
There are many questions about US, Russian, Iranian, Israeli, Arab League, European, and world (UN General Assembly) competitive interests in Syria, and preferences regarding the outcome of the Syrian Civil War. I kept my focus narrow (chemical disarmament) in my article, "Chemical Defanging Of The Syrian Civil War Begins" (September 23, 2013), because I am not able to give a "complete theory" about all the international complications related to the Syrian Civil War (the "greater" game, if you will).
I do believe the fear about chemical weapons spreading is real and widespread, which is why "antagonists" like the U.S. and Russia can so readily agree (3 days!) on a process to quickly remove them from Syria (at least the government stockpile, at first).
Though limited in scope, the mere fact of such new cooperation -- instead of a U.S.-led air war in Syria -- is clearly a positive development. This positive development gives a little bit of encouragement to the hopeful fantasy that maybe the U.S., Russia, and Iran (the new Iranian government and Obama have exchanged letters, Obama disclosed on TV), and others, might move beyond just cooperating on Syrian chemical disarmament, to negotiating rather than shooting out their differences on Syria, and the region.
My purpose in writing about the Syrian Civil War is to help make this last suggestion explicit (chemical disarmament as the nucleus of wider political settlements). I realize my opinion does not go very far, but even so I have the opportunity, and the effort seems worthwhile. Since it is very rare for people (especially "important" ones) to acknowledge the sources of "their" ideas, we really can never know if some of our suggestions in our little corner of the blogosphere have had useful impact or not. But, unless they are available publicly, there is no chance. So we send them off, like messages in bottles cast out to sea. Who knows? Even if we never see it, maybe somebody will get rescued as a result.
Manuel García, Jr.
Oakland, California, USA - September 24, 2013
Syria and Cynicism: Gilles d'Aymery's Asma and Bashar al-Assad
To the Editor:
Government shutdown, debt ceiling, a little political blackmail here and there, and all of a sudden Syria is off the front pages of the nation's newspapers. The newscycle has moved on and by now everybody has taken sides with either the rebels or the odious regime. Mr. d'Aymery, a natural contrarian, chose to avoid taking a position for one side or the other, which is anathema for most people. That's not the best way to raise funds, but it has the merit of bringing objective analysis, a rare quality nowadays.
To watch keyboard revolutionaries join the R2P troops led by an almost tearful Obama to condemn our latest tyrant and support our convenient freedom fighters brings back to mind the similitudes among the red and brown shirts. Imperialists and revolutionaries, same combat! This is not to defend the al-Assad regime. It is certainly authoritarian. But is there one that is not in the neighborhood? Ask the Palestinians what they think of our Israeli friends who are free to use chemical weapons with the full support of Uncle Sam. And, of course, no one tells us which countries sold chemical components to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. Cynicism has become a virtue.
You would think that all these bleeding humanitarians would pay attention to the repeated dramas occurring in the Mediterranean Sea, especially near the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. On these US shores no one knows the name Lampedusa, though Swans readers can thank Guido Monte for raising our consciousness time and again. There is no oil, no gas, no natural resources there, only migrants losing their lives trying to make it to the EU, to the total indifference of the rest of the world.
Tempe, Arizona, USA - October 3, 2013
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