Tense waiting game over war on Syria
SIX DAYS ago today, in dealing with the grave consequences to flow from a United States-led military strike against Syria, the Daily Nation editorialized on why a then prevailing “public silence” by our Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and others was “no option for peacemakers”.
A day later, CARICOM Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in a brief media statement released during their regular meeting in Grenada, urged those involved in discussions of a military strike against Syria “to make a valiant effort to reach a negotiated settlement”.
By then, Pope Francis, in a letter addressed to the leaders of the powerful G-20 Group meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, had thought it essential to go public with his “heartful plea” to them “to abandon the futile pursuit of a military solution in Syria” over claims that President Bashar Assad’s government had flouted international law by using chemical weapons against his people.
For his part, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had stressed, in the face of criticism from members of the United States Homeland Security Committee, that the prevailing crisis over the use of chemical weapons by Syria “requires a diplomatic solution since there is no military solution”.
Of immediate relevance also, while President Barack Obama awaits the outcome of his request to the United States Congress for a military response to the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons, some representatives of America’s Homeland Security Committee on Sunday pointed to the absence of a very essential factor: (at the time of writing) the Obama administration had not established that a case exists for going to war against Syria because of any security threat posed to the United States by the Assad government.
Nor, for that matter, has the United Nations Security Council held even a single meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis as both Russia and China – each with a veto – maintain their opposition to military action against the government in Damascus.
It is also relevant to note that while CARICOM eventually broke its silence on the beating of war drums against Syria, with the plea for a “valiant effort to help find a negotiated settlement”, there remains the very significant factor that Britain’s House of Commons voted against participating in a United States-led military intervention in Syria.
After the gross misrepresentations made by previous administrations in Washington and London for a military invasion of Iraq, the pertinent question for Obama is whether the United States Congress may also follow the precedent set by Britain’s House of Commons.