NATO’s wars in the Middle East hit home in France by Jooneed Khan

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« We are at war, » declared French President François Hollande after the bloody terrorist attacks in Paris. « And we’ll be merciless. » French politicians and media joined in the chorus, singing « La Marseillaise, » the French national anthem.
No, in reality, the war has hit home, big time.
Up until November 13, that war, led by NATO and allies, has been raging in Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Bahrain, Mali, Syria, Yemen… And France has been very much one of the main fomenters of the war — in Syria and Mali mainly, where Paris has a proprietary interest as the former colonial master.
And the war has been hitting home for months, with the ongoing waves of desperate refugees fleeing death and devastation in their scorched homelands, in search of havens in NATO’s Western Europe.
As the terrorists sprayed lethal bullets at Parisians in seven different venues, the French state was already battling some 5,000 refugees blocked in Calais camps called « The Jungle » while trying to get to the U.K.
The Daesh parade into Iraq.
When the heavily armed and freshly supplied legions of Daesh rolled into Iraq from Syria in early 2014 in their brand-new, yellow Toyotas, and quickly overran Mosul and Ramadi as the Iraqi army fled, did we really believe they sprouted freely in the desert, and were fully home-grown and autonomous?
That’s what our NATO government leaders led us to believe, with much help from our media — which don’t « speak truth to power » but instead « speak the truth of power. »
Our media never says « Palestinian state, » but it quickly identified Daesh as « Islamic State, » and kept repeating the moniker, conniving to give legitimacy to this band of barbarous, robotic Salafis.
Until November 14 that is, the day after the Paris carnage, when, speaking after the Vienna meeting on Syria, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry mentioned only « Daesh » and « Al Nusra. » Sergueï Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, stuck to « terrorists. »
The IS/ISIS/ISIL and « Islamic State » alphabet soup has just been poured down the drain.
Daesh hits back at NATO and allies’ betrayal Herein lies one core motive behind the Paris killings: nurtured over a decade by NATO powers, including Canada, and allies (oil emirates, Israel) to facilitate « regime change » from Libya to Syria, the Salafis of Daesh feel betrayed by their masters ever since Russia and China blocked the Western bulldozer with their double veto at the UN Security Council.
After the first double veto in October 2011, Russian UNSC Ambassador Vitaly Churkin thanked the BRICS States for their support, and explained:
« Of vital importance is the fact that at the heart of the Russian/Chinese draft was the logic of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the principle of non-intervention, including military, in its affairs; the principle of the unity of the Syrian people; refraining from confrontation; and inviting all to an even-handed and comprehensive dialogue aimed at achieving civil peace and national agreement by reforming the socioeconomic and political life of the country.
« Today’s rejected draft was based on a very different philosophy — the philosophy of confrontation. We cannot agree with this unilateral, accusatory bent against Damascus. We deem unacceptable the threat of an ultimatum and sanctions against the Syrian authorities. Such an approach contravenes the principle of a peaceful settlement of the crisis on the basis of a full Syrian national dialogue. Our proposals for wording on the non-acceptability of foreign military intervention were not taken into account, and, based on the well-known events in North Africa (Libya), that can only put us on our guard. »
Russia’s two-track, legal approach
Double vetoes kept coming from both states, while Russia, consulting with regional powers and the BRICS, invited the opposition to peace talks with Damascus — which the opposition kept refusing.
NATO powers and their Mid-East allies kept saying « Assad must go » — but, lacking NATO air cover while Damascus controlled the Syrian skies, the Daesh juggernaut came to a halt, even as its ranks swelled to tens of thousands with waves of foreign recruits, including men and women from the West, and even as it spilled over into Iraq in 2014.
Caught on the back foot as Russia insisted on law and legitimacy, and on the need to crush Daesh, NATO and allies dodged and hedged.
Then without seeking any request from Damascus (Article 51 of Chapter VII of the UN Charter which Harper invoked in the case of Iraq), they said they would hit Daesh — but they hit Syrian infrastructure instead and they continued to supply Daesh, « by mistake »!
Invited by Syria, Russia moved in with an aero-naval task force out of Lattakia, and began real air raids on Daesh targets last September 30. It was welcomed by most Middle Eastern peoples, and by Iraq and Iran. The NATO emperor appeared as having no clothes.
Russia bombs Daesh, a global turning point
A quarter century after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR, Russia took a principled stand and put an end to unilateral NATO bombings under the control of the U.S. superpower, apparent « winner » of the Cold War equipped with its « Project for a New American Century. »
Since then, as Russia also keeps alive the diplomatic track on the basis of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, NATO and allies have been backtracking laboriously — and Paris, Washington, London don’t say « Assad has to go » anymore, at least not immediately.
But the war machine unleashed by NATO and allies just lurches on. Extremist neo-con factions within NATO and allies want to continue the war for Western supremacy over a unipolar world, moderate circles want a return to law and legitimacy, and ultra-Daesh factions also want to continue their reign of terror, if only out of their own relative political agency.
Hence the savage blowback, carried out by Daesh elements but probably not without a little help from their godfathers in NATO, the Gulf Arabs and Israel.
In rapid succession, a Russian airliner is blown out of the sky over the Sinai with the loss of 224 lives, a double suicide-bombing kills 43 people and wounds 239 in the Hezbollah stronghold of South Beirut, and the toll for the Paris attacks stands at 129 dead and 350 injured, 100 seriously.
NATO stands, loosely, with Russia in Vienna
If these horrible crimes were meant to derail the Vienna Conference on Syria November 14, they failed.
Kerry and Lavrov, their « chemistry » in sync, replied to Daesh and the rabid warmongers with a three-point plan: immediate search for a ceasefire in Syria, six months to form a unity government excluding all terrorists, Daesh and Al Nusra, and 18 months to frame a new constitution leading to free elections.
« The future of Syria will be decided by the Syrian people only, » they both said. « Assad must go » is not a U.S. precondition anymore; instead, it’s « No Daesh, no Al Nusra. »
The Daesh blowback against France, most gung-ho of the U.S. allies in bombing Daesh as Russia moved in, is reminiscent of the often mentioned anti-Castro connection in the assassination of John Kennedy for abandoning them in their 1962 Bay of Pigs invasion.
As yet the blowback has spared the U.K. and Canada, and also Jordan and the Gulf Arabs, who have either pulled out of the air raids against Daesh altogether or sharply toned down their participation. Maybe they saw the backlash coming, or they even knew something.
Jooneed J. Khan is a journalist and human rights activist based in Montreal
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