Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Peace news

So what is action that promotes peace really like? Here are two examples. On the one hand we have the continuing round of negotiations opened by the Russian proposal on Syrian chemical weapons. This has had the press salivating at the prospect of their favourite panacea, a negotiated peace agreement by all sides. The reality is perfectly encapsulated by Douglas Feith:
Clever dictators will realize that they can barter their chemical-weapons arsenals to buy time to crush an insurrection and then rebuild the arsenal after the population has been pacified. 
This is what comes of focusing on what Mr. Obama legalistically calls the "international norms" barring chemical weapons use. By choosing not to tackle the difficult strategic and humanitarian challenges posed by the Syrian civil war, the president is now rewarding the very offenses that he said he wanted to punish. In the name of arms control, he is incentivizing the proliferation of chemical weapons. In the name of international law, he is undermining respect for treaties. In the name of U.S. interests, he is emboldening America's enemies.
Then there is this. Grass roots humanitarian assistance for, and solidarity with, the victims of grotesque state violence:
Reuters reports Syrians are growing increasingly aware of extensive Israeli efforts to treat victims of the two and a half year conflict raging inside the Arab country. 
Israel set up a field hospital early in the conflict. Within a few months Syrians were being transported to regular Israeli hospitals – to the point where one northern hospital became a key hub for treatment – and stories were filtering out about care being provided to everyone from Syrian fighters to wounded children.
Who knows what the long term effects of such help will be in shaping attitudes towards a resolution of the wider Middle East conflict?

So there we have it. The machinations of statesmen against the dedication of medical professionals. And what is the greatest threat to those who inflict barbarous cruelties on human beings to preserve their power? I think that Assad gives the game away. He has welcomed the Russian proposals, but as for Israeli medical treatment:
For all the advantages it brings of excellent medical care, it is a journey fraught with risk for those who fear the wrath of President Bashar al-Assad’s government. “There was one man, where I am from, who was treated in Israel. The regime forces killed his three brothers,” the teenage girl’s mother said. “They will kill my sons and my husband if they ever find out we were here.”


Anton Deque said...

Good post Peter. Thanks.

George S said...

That Israel stuff will never stop. Nor does the world ever get to know of anything good that Israel does. So it goes around.