Tag: Syria

On The Move

Filed in Articles by on 19th July 2017 5 Comments
On The Move

Since the end of the Second World War, we have become accustomed to seeing the influence of the United States and Britain in the Middle East. In 1943 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had already declared that « the defence of Saudi Arabia was vital to the defence of the United States. » (1) On his way home from the Yalta Conference in February 1945 after meeting with Stalin and Churchill, Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia on board the USS Quincy. Their agreement, the Quincy Pact, was not revealed for several years. It offered Saudi Arabia US protection from external enemies in exchange for secure access to future supplies of oil. Although there is some question as to whether they actually signed such an accord, the fact remains that the US has provided protection to the Saudi Kingdom, and received billions of barrels of oil since that time, echoing Roosevelt’s sentiments of 1943. Continue Reading »

Seeds of Division

Filed in Perspectives by on 1st September 2015 5 Comments
Seeds of Division

Conflict, dictatorships, instability and religious extremism in the Middle East, in the Horn of Africa, and in Central Africa plus the siren call of a better life has resulted in Europe’s worst immigration crisis since the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people continue to crowd onto unseaworthy boats in hopes of crossing the Mediterranean, while thousands of Syrian refugees stream along railway tracks in the Balkans in hopes of finding asylum in Europe.

The number of dead continues to climb as overcrowded vessels flounder and sink, taking hundreds to a watery grave. More than 2500 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year. As in each of the ten years prior to 2015, the number of people who lose their lives in 2016 while looking for a better place to live will most likely surpass that. On the last week-end in August 2015, “the Italian coastguard plucked 4,400 people from the Mediterranean coast off Libya in 22 different operations…. Meanwhile the Greek coast guard picked up 877 people in 30 search and rescue operations.” (1)

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The Fog of War

Filed in Articles by on 5th September 2013
The Fog of War

The fog of war wafts around us as preparations continue for a US-French military action against Syria. President Barack Obama is failing to gain much support for such a move. According to Obama, a coordinated military response is needed to teach Syria not to use chemical weapons against men, women and children in violation of an international ban against their use. It is not yet clear who is responsible for using them, the regime of Bashar al-Assad or the rebels fighting to bring down his dictatorship. President Vladimir Putin of Russia maintains Syria would not use such weapons especially since an inspection team from the United Nations was on the ground in Damascus at the time.

As the majority of leaders at the G20 Summit in Saint Petersburg balked at the prospect of a cruise missile campaign against Syria, the drums of war beat on. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, says the Arab League offered to bankroll a military action. That amounts to paying someone else to do the dirty work of getting rid of hard-line Islamists, while making mercenaries of the US military. Iran and its allies, the Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, promise to attack Israel if Washington goes ahead with its plan. Continue Reading »

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