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Obama’s response to the refugee crisis

   One drowned toddler has shifted global politics. The picture demanded action in response to the largest migration crisis since World War II, itself caused by the longest series of wars since WWII. These wars have dragged on and new ones started – Libya and Syria – under the Nobel Prize winning US President.

Obama could end the refugee crisis by brokering peace in Syria, but instead he’s pushing hard and fast for war. Few US media outlets are reporting about the critical war resolution that the Obama administration is trying to push through Congress.

The BBC reports: “President Barack Obama has called on Congress to authorise US military action in Syria. The move has provoked sharp, multifaceted debate in the US Capitol as a resolution moves through the legislative process.”

What’s in the Senate resolution demanded by Obama?

The Guardian reports: “…Barack Obama for the first time portrayed his plans for US military action [in Syria] as part of a broader strategy to topple [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, as the White House’s campaign to win over skeptics in Congress gained momentum.”

The resolution would allow a ‘a 90 day window’ for US military attack in Syria, where both Isis and the Syrian government would be targeted; with regime change in Syria being the ultimate objective.

The US public has virtually no knowledge of these new developments. A field of candidates campaigning for President haven’t mentioned the subject. The US media’s silence on the issue is deafening.

War produces war refugees. The once-modern societies of Iraq, Libya and Syria were obliterated while the western world watched, seemingly emotionless. But the drowned toddler, named Aylan, unearthed these buried emotions.

The public demanded that ‘something must be done’ about the refugee crisis. And now this feeling is being exploited by the Obama Administration, funnelling the energy back into the war canal that birthed the problem.

The war march is happening fast, and in silence. US ally Australia already announced it would begin bombing in Syria, while the UK media has also re-started the debate to join in.

While not mentioning Obama’s new Syrian war resolution, the US media is re-playing the 2013 Syria war debates, when public pressure overcame Obama’s commitment to bomb the Syrian government. History is now dangerously repeating itself. We’re back on the war track, with bombing targets imagined with each new press release.

For example, Roger Cohen of the New York Times is just one of several pundits making the absurd argument that Obama’s “lack of action” in Syria has helped lead to the catastrophe. Cohen’s argument has been uttered in various forms in countless US media outlets, pushing the public to accept an expanded US war in Syria:

“American interventionism can have terrible consequences, as the Iraq war has demonstrated. But American non-interventionism can be equally devastating, as Syria illustrates. Not doing something is no less of a decision than doing it.”

Cohen doesn’t mention Obama’s war resolution. But his well-timed war propaganda hides behind the old arguments of ‘humanitarian intervention’, a term meant to put a smiley face on the carnage of war. Obama used ‘humanitarian intervention’ arguments to justify the destruction of Libya, whose war refugees continue to drown en masse in the Mediterranean.

The many hack journalists of Cohen’s ilk are repeating – in unison – the big lie that Obama’s “inaction” in Syria produced the war and refugee catastrophe. The exact opposite is the case.

Cohen’s own paper, the New York Times, reported in March 2013 that the Obama Administration was overseeing a weapons ‘pipeline’ to Syria, funneling tons of weapons via US allies to help attack the Syrian government where Obama desired – and still desires – regime change.

This story should have laid the foundation for our understanding of the Syrian conflict, since it changed the course of the war and pushed jihadist groups into positions of power, while leaving others powerless. But this narrative was ignored.

Who received Obama’s trafficked guns? The New York Times reported in October 2012 – before Obama’s role in the weapons pipeline was discovered – that the regional ‘flow’ of weapons was going to jihadist groups in Syria.

And a recent US Department of Defense report shows that the Obama Administration was fully aware that weapons were being shipped to Syrian groups such as Al-Qaeda linked rebels and those that later joined Isis.

As a result, these groups are the only real players among the rebels attacking the Syrian government today. And these are the groups that will take power if the Syrian government falls, as Obama intends to achieve.

We also know that Obama’s weapon ‘pipeline’ was assisted by a flow of billions of dollars and foreign fighters from the US allies that surround Syria, most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. This ‘perfect storm’ of Syrian destruction just didn’t happen by coincidence, as the puzzled media would have you believe.

In 2013 the Telegraph reported the existence of a US ‘rebel’ training camp in Jordan to arm and train fighters attacking the Syrian government. This story was all but ignored in the US media. These training camps have since been expanded to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, while the US media buried the story.

The bloody fingerprints of the US government are all over this conflict, while the US media has the audacity to claim that ‘inaction’ was Obama’s cardinal sin. These same journalists never asked hard questions about Obama’s weapons pipeline, or his rebel training camps, or the actions of his close allies directly fuelling the bloodshed.

Baby Aylan’s death was an opportunity for peace, but Obama is intent to stay on his war track. We are at a critical moment. Russia has once again proposed renewed peace talks in Syria.

Similar deals have been offered by Russia and Syria for several years. But Obama’s peace-killing response has remained ‘Assad must go’. Meanwhile, Russia has made moves to bolster the Syrian government against Isis and Al-Qaeda linked rebels. In response, the Obama Administration issued a serious “warning’ to Russia” and pressured neighbouring governments, like Bulgaria, to block Russia’s transportation of weapons to aid the Syrian government.

By attempting to block Russians weapons to the Syrian government Obama is empowering the groups attacking the government – Al-Qaeda and Isis. If Obama follows through with his new war resolution and topples the Syrian president, these groups are the ones who will fill the power vacuum.

Thus, millions more refugees will sweep into neighbouring countries and Europe, if they survive the onslaught. To this day Obama has pushed zero peace initiatives in Syria. Diplomacy has been off the table. Regime change remains the official position of the Obama Administration, which his new resolution finally makes official. The war on Isis was always a distraction to pursue regime change in Syria, and most media pundits took the bait.

The world demands peace in Syria. Obama must accept Russia’s peace offering, and sit down with Iran, Hezbollah, and the Syrian government to hammer out a peace initiative, while demanding that US allies in the region ‘stand down’ and pursue a policy of strangling the flow of guns, money, and fighters that bolster Isis. The US must also open its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees that are the direct victims of US foreign policy. Immediately agreeing to take 500,000 refugees would be a good start.

Drastic action is needed immediately to address the destruction of Syria, it’s true. But not the action demanded by the war-hungry US President. Real humanitarian intervention cannot include missiles and tanks. The world demands peace.

This article originally appeared as: ‘Obama’s response to the refugee crisis: regime change in Syria’.

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

Shamus Cooke, "Obama’s response to the refugee crisis," The News. 2015-09-16.
Keywords: Political science , Social issues , Refugee crisis , International politics , Hezbollah , Al-Qaeda , Aylan , Barack Obama , Bashar al-Assad , Syria , Iran , Libya , New York , US , BBC