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High-Level Opposition to Escalating Syria's Conflict

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013 at 2:47 AM
lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

Syria

High-Level Opposition to Escalating Syria's Conflict

by Stephen Lendman

Dozens of responsible world leaders oppose Washington's war on Syria. They do so for good reason. They want peaceful conflict resolution. They're against greater escalation. Few say so publicly.

On May 15, the UN General Assembly adopted an anti-Assad resolution. It's non-binding. It was Arab League-led. Washington co-sponsored it. It followed four others since 2011.

It passed 107 - 12. Over 70 nations refused support. They endorse peace, not war. They oppose greater foreign intervention. Russia called the measure "counterproductive and irresponsible."

Assad expressed views many other leaders share. Few air them publicly. He warned about longterm regional destabilization, saying:

"If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control….the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond."

Most Americans oppose greater intervention. Most polls consistently say so. Pew Research shows overwhelming Arab street unease. At issue is Syrian violence spreading cross-borders.

High-level Pentagon officials express concerns. Greater Syrian intervention's much more daunting than Libya. Last March, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said "We can do anything" if asked.

At the same time, he repeatedly opposed greater US involvement. He's against escalated conflict. Endgame consequences worry him most. Before acting, "we have to be prepared for what comes next," he warns.

Attacking Syria won't be easy, he added. Russian-supplied air defenses are formidable. They're located close to major population centers.

Syrian opposition is splintered. Many insurgents are known terrorists. Hezbollah supports Syria. So does Iran. Russia may intervene supportively.

"Whether the military effect would produce the kind of outcome I think that not only members of Congress but all of us would desire - which is an end to the violence, some kind of political reconciliation among the parties, and a stable Syria - that's the reason I've been cautious about the application of the military instrument of power.... It's not clear to me that it would produce that outcome," he said.

On June 17, Al Manar headlined "Russia: We Won't Allow Imposing a no-Fly Zone in Syria," saying:

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Ocahevch said:

"We will not permit such scenarios, and these maneuvers on a fly-zone and humanitarian passages in Syria are caused by the lack of respect for the International Law."

"We have seen how they imposed no-fly zones in Libya, so we will not allow repeating the same scenarios in Syria."

"The Syrian crisis cannot be settled by double stances - refusing the military track on one hand and arming the militants on the other."

A same day Al Manar article headlined "Putin: Russia Arming Legitimate Gov't in Syria, West Arming Organ-Eaters," saying:

"You will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras."

"Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years."

He unequivocal on Russian policy. He wants conflict ended. He wants it diplomatically resolved. He wants Syrians alone to decide who'll govern them. Let them defeat foreign "extremists," he stresses.

On June 17, Lebanon's Daily Star quoted Assad saying:

"If the Europeans deliver weapons, the backyard of Europe will become terrorist and Europe will pay the price for it."

At issue is exporting "terrorism" to Europe. "Terrorists will gain experience in combat and return with extremist ideologies," he warned.

On June 16, London's Telegraph headlined "Boris Johnson: Don't arm the Syria maniacs," saying:

London's mayor warned David Cameron. Don't use Syria for "political point-scoring or muscle-flexing." Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg echoed similar sentiments.

So did former army head Lord Dannatt and Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Johnson urged "total ceasefire….This is the moment (to) end….the madness."

Cameron faces growing internal opposition. Associates warn he faces a no-confidence defeat.

Clegg insists Britain won't arm insurgents. "We

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