Hypocrisy at best: US policy towards Syria and Sri Lanka

US media reported on Wednesday that the CIA has begun shipping of arms to Syrian rebels to counter Bashar al-Assad’s forces. This move comes in spite of strong opposition from UNSC member Russia and warnings by a UN expert that increase in flow of weapons into Syria would only escalate the conflict. Likewise, American diplomat Susan Rice termed UNSC’s inaction on Syria a “stain” on the body. The hypocrisy of assisting Sri Lanka in its genocidal war on the Tamil nation while crying foul over al-Assad’s operations apart, the US through its actions on Syria makes it clear once again that the UNHRC, UNSC are of least concern should the US decide to intervene in a conflict. Given this nature of US foreign policy, till how long then will the Tamil Geneva pundits continue to believe in the impotent resolutions on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, questions a political analyst in Colombo.

On Wednesday, British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights alleged that over a 100000 people had been killed since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

Prior to this on Tuesday, addressing a press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Saud al-Faisal accused that Syria’s offensives against the rebels constituted “genocide”, blaming Iran, Russia and the Lebanese Hezbollah for their support to Syrian President al-Assad.

Saudi Arabia, a key ally of the US in the middle-east, also called for military support to the Syrian rebels. This is in the wake of the Syrian regime securing several strategic victories over the rebels despite opinions in the beginning of the conflict that al-Assad could not hold on to power for long.

Citing US diplomats and officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that “The Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month, expanding U.S. support of moderate forces battling President Bashar al-Assad”. The weapons are believed to include both light ones like small arms and heavy types like anti-aircraft missiles.

However, other media organizations and activist networks claim that US aid to rebels will ultimately strengthen the hands of Islamist forces in Syria, which would only create great social and political instability in the country even if al-Assad regime is toppled.

The al-Assad regime receives military support from the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran, and political support from Russia. Recent US-Russian talks on creating a peace agreement between the Syrian government and the rebels in Geneva failed. The US is going ahead with its decision to give legitimacy to the Syrian rebels despite opposition from Russia, a UNSC member, and other countries.

Ms Susan Rice, American diplomat who is leaving her post as the US ambassador to the UNSC, said in her departing remarks that she regrets that the UNSC failed to act decisively on Syria “as more than 90,000 Syrians have been killed and millions more displaced,” the BBC reported on Wednesday.

"The council’s inaction on Syria is a moral and strategic disgrace that history will judge harshly," Ms Rice, soon to be national security advisor to American President Barack Obama, further said, opining that UNSC’s inaction on Syria was a “stain” on it.

Recently, the US had also condemned Syria for allegedly using chemical weapons against the rebels.

That Sri Lanka used chemical weapons during its war against the Eezham Tamils has been established.

That the US gave Sri Lanka the advice to use cluster bombs on the Tamil people has been noted by British author Paul Moorcraft in his book “Total Destruction of the Tamil Tigers”.

The usage of such brutal measures, which for the US is a crime worthy of intervening in the case of Syria, is a COIN operation to be studied in the case of Sri Lanka.

The US also doesn’t seem to apply the argument of ‘war crimes of both sides’ extensively used to discredit the LTTE, in the case of Syria.

A greater number of Tamil civilians were killed between January and May 2009 than the people allegedly killed since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. Indiscriminate bombing, shelling of hospitals and civilian ‘safe zones’, systematic torture and rape were all used by the Sri Lankan military as weapons against the Tamils.

Structural violence against the Tamils continues unabated against the Tamils in their occupied homeland as a protracted genocide even after the so-called ‘post-conflict’ situation. While the US State Department only counts trees of ‘human rights violations’ missing the context of genocide, the military minds in Pentagon have still not offered one serious negative criticism of the ‘Sri Lankan model’.

And while the US, its politicians and its diplomats are screaming bloody murder at al-Assad now, the United States Pacific Command together with Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence co-hosted a five-day workshop of the 17th Multi National Force Standing Operating Procedures in Colombo from 17th to 21st of June.

So while the US gives arms to the Syrian rebels to overthrow the “oppressive” al-Assad regime, to the Tamils living under genocidal oppression in Sri Lanka, it gives reconciliation.

Some pro-US elements in the Tamil society believe that the US will work against Sri Lanka as in the case of the various ‘Arab Springs’ that have happened in the recent past.

While the obvious fact of these ‘springs’ being little for than shoddy regime changes is missed, the other detail that is overlooked is that American interventions in these areas was not a result of resolutions in Geneva. It was a grand strategic manoeuvre designed by Pentagon to strengthen its sphere of influence in that region.

Given this nature of US foreign policy, till how long then will the Tamil Geneva pundits continue to believe in the impotent resolutions on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, questions the political analyst in Colombo, considering that these have no bearing on America’s will to intervene in the favour of the Tamils in the island, if it wills it in the first place that is.

Given that the Pentagon has not given any indication whatsoever of any such strategic plans in the region that will benefit the Eezham Tamil nation, it is hard not to think of the US foreign policy as being against the interests of a permanent and just resolution of the Tamil national question.

In his article ‘The Folly of Eelam Punditry’ written in 2003 in the context of the peace-process, late TamilNet senior editor and analyst ‘Taraki’ Sivaram commented on the US bloc’s role that “The obfuscators, both professional and casual, in the media, academia and the diplomatic corps are active again with greater vigour and sophistication, aided in no small measure by the continuing folly and intellectual shallowness of the Eelam punditry, inducing widespread political dullness and apathy among the Tamil masses.”

This danger has amplified many times over after the internationally-abetted war on the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam. The biggest folly among the ‘Eelam punditry’ of the present being the blind approval of any report or resolution churned out by the West just because it is critical of the Rajapaksa regime – even if it denies the sovereignty of the Eezham Tamil nation or covers up the genocide.

The Eelam Punditry thronging the corridors of Geneva can pat themselves on the back if, and only if, they manage to convince the Pentagon to review its military-strategic approach towards Sri Lanka and if they get the US to haul Sri Lanka at the UNSC.

Anything short of that is deception of the worst kind, namely self-deception.

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