By Atul BHARDWAJ (India)
American democracy appears to be in jeopardy. Irrespective of the political dispensation at the White House, the policy of promoting proxy wars and covert military operations across the globe continues to mutate.
Any nation that decides to exercise its sovereign right to protect its citizens from armed insurgents incurs Washington’s wrath. America wants to permanently amend the rules of the game by stating that a nation’s right to protect is subordinate to the international community’s responsibility to Protect (R2P). Syria is the latest in the long list of nations that is suffering to sustain American imperialism.
R2P is the new name for humanitarian intervention, a norm adopted by the UNO in 2005. According to Gareth Evans, R2P equips everyone in the international community to prevent the “catastrophic human rights violations taking place behind sovereign state walls,” with “coercive military action as a last resort, not a first.”
The problem with analysts like Gareth is that their vision permits them to peep through the walls of sovereignty but not through the iron curtain of the empire that adheres to the doctrine of Instigate to Intervene (I2I). It is through use of such dubious norms and instigations that America attacked Libya and is now in the process of destabilizing Syria. Russia, China and Iran are the three countries preventing the Western military juggernaut to roll over Syria completely.
In an open defiance of well established international practices, Washington is blatantly using Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE to lead an armed insurgency inside Syria. As a result the three-year-old dissent in Damascus is now an international problem. The Western media, with an agenda to flare up the situation in Syria began beaming in the misdemeanors of Bashar Al-Assad and his dynastic rule; projecting the opposition as victims of political atrocity.
Political struggle is a part and parcel of any state. The problem begins when political fissures are exploited by external actors. This is exactly what has happened in Syria where the government’s legitimate actions against the opposition-armed militancy are being dubbed as human rights violations.
The branding of Assad as a tyrant is a ruse to plunge the nation into a war of attrition. Since the beginning of January 2012, the C-130 transport aircraft loaded with weapons have been regularly taking off at the American military base in Qatar to land at Turkish airports. From the airports, the arms consignments travel by road to rebel-military camps on the Syria-Turkey border.
The NATO’s encouragement to Syrian rebels is not limited to moral and material support; the NATO countries are also in the forefront to mobilize manpower to augment the foot soldiers of the Free Syria Army (composed of Syrian military officers who have defected from their parent outfit, a bunch of mercenaries and Al-Qaeda terrorists). According to a study by King’s college London, “Hundreds of Europeans have travelled to Syria since the start of the civil war to fight against the country’s President, Bashar al-Assad…600 individuals from 14 countries including the UK, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Germany had taken part in the conflict since it began in 2011. European fighters made up to between 7% and 11% of the foreign contingent in Syria, which ranged between 2,000 and 5,500 people.”
America has anointed the main opposition party, Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to occupy the official Syrian seat at the Arab League. It is perhaps for this reason that Moaz al-Khatib the former leader of SNC, admitted, “We thank all the governments who supported us, but the role to be played by the United States is much bigger.” To democratize the instigation to intervene, and retain American control, the US has appointed Ghassan Hitto, an IT professional from Dallas, US, as the head of the planned interim government.
The imperial American obduracy flows from the ideological belief that the nation-states’ ‘monopoly over organized violence’ is not a right that can be exercised without the approval of the empire. Thereby meaning that the states are authorized to use violence within their own territory, only to protect those people certified as victims by the empire. Any violence against the American certified victims is branded as human rights violations and genocide.
The Western fetish for R2P and their so-called ‘good intentions’ have already caused mayhem in the lives of ordinary Iraqi or Libyan. The Russian President Putin says,
“The state is falling apart, Inter-ethnic, inter-clan and inter-tribal conflicts continue.”
However, the Americans will not abandon R2P because it is a tool to re-order the states in accordance with what Stephen Gill has identified as “new constitutionalism – imposition of new constitutional and quasi-constitutional political and legal frameworks – with respect to the state and the operation of strategic, macroeconomic, microeconomic and social policy.”
Atul Bhardwaj is a researcher at School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.