CHRONICLES

SYRIA:

It is laudable the recent efforts yesterday by the international community of nations to open diplomatic talks in charting a way forward for the most important priority: ending the civil war in Syria and secondly determining the people of Syria vote for a democratic elected government vis-à-vis which individual will be the President of Syria.

It is difficult to argue whether those elections would be free and or fair, but one can be certain that if 2011 is anything to go by, the people of Syria had already decided President Assad’s legitimacy as the titular head. No small wonder how in 2015, Syria finds itself in this terrible situation since Assad refused to acknowledge the voice of the people and started his violent crack-down on his own: 250,000 dead, 13 million displaced out of a population of almost over 20 million; the rise of IS/ISIL; the ‘rebels’ opposing Assad and the government; the international coalition led by the USA air-raids against the terrorist and Russia and Iran joining in the fray to support their ally Mr. Assad.

So, the question has to be asked how did Syria get here? If the answer is truthful as the bombing of the Syrian people by their President, then how can one say President Assad has the legitimacy to continue in office as the people’s President in a new Syrian government? It will be and continue to be a difficult obstacle to overcome, but even the biggest ‘mountains’ have been moved to make way for ‘smooth’ highways.

It has to be stated, indeed the focus should be on the suffering and anguish of the Syrian people but the world’s eyes cannot be taken off Assad, the one man who brought almost total destruction to the fabric of the Syrian society.

It is incumbent therefore, that the invited guest to the meeting attended, but the Landlord and Tenant must also be present to determine the building of peace between them, so that any future talks conceive a plan for the birth of a wholly new Syrian government.

House of Saud

It is written “a man’s enemies are from within his own household”; but it is also written “a house divided against itself will not stand”. Let there be reconciliation and appeasement to settle the differences in the House of Saud.

For if ever there was a time, the world demands a unified and unanimous ruler out of the House of Saud is now. The Yemen crisis, the instability of the Middle-East, the global oil economy requires a steady hand, not a nervous one to unbalance the global economy.

The responsibility in the Yemen war by Saudi Arabia is to ensure that the war with the Houthis come to an end and restore peace in that nation. A re-doubling of efforts has to be attempted to find middle ground in seeking peace with the rebels for the good of the Yemeni people.

It has been said before; war without end is a massacre.

USA

The global economic outlook and chief business cycles’ indicators indicate a strong possibility, and compelling arguments in favor, of the Federal Reserve pursuing a policy of raising interest rates in December.

 

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Asylum Seekers:Seeking Shelter in Europe

The point is this: The slamming shut of the EU borders in the face of helpless asylum seekers will not close the desire,ambition, drive, tenacity, aggressiveness and sheer will power of the migrants in their unbridled quest towards their promise land of freedom in Europe. The exodus of the refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will not be reduced, but intensify.

The reality is this: the continued failure to reach a consensus among EU leaders will translate to further structural institutional operational deficiencies in delivering the requisite humanitarian relief to the migrants already through the gate in Europe.The winter will be punishing and pose severe obstacles on a number of fronts if further in- action persist; namely death from hypothermia,frost bite, pneumonia, flu as a result of inadequate clothing and shelter.

The policy and strategy has now to be re-thought given the change in weather- the refugees may have to be housed in ‘ large mega tents’ or movable make-shift housing away from the elements.

The systematic refusal of those countries to accept on compassionate grounds refugees-regardless of the red-herring excuse of mandatory quotas- is wholly unreasonable and undemocratic to other member states.

The undignified manner in which some migrants are kept and treated in deplorable conditions or the lack thereof of any shelters at certain border crossing should be a good enough reason to compel other countries to lend their assistance. The denial that other EU countries should bear no responsibility whatsoever runs counter to the central tenets of the European project, justice and basic human rights of the Asylum seeker under EU law.

How can one keep young children, pregnant women,the sick, old and young- under the watchful supervision of the authorities- in the cold and torrential downpour of rain? How can migrants be ‘lawfully’ and compulsorily deprive of their money after being detained and in some cases without proper legal representation for days weeks and months? One has to remember not to “mistreat an alien or oppress him”.

Border gates are now emotionally charged atmospheres where dreams are expected to be materialized and not be broken. It is about life and no option of returning to death. The closing of borders and the erecting of fences is a temporary solution for individual states but a peg of division between European nations and not among the migrants.

Particular attention therefore has to be paid to : firstly on those who are being mobilized to start their trek, secondly those en-route and thirdly those who arrive at the European gate. Two and three cannot be dealt with as one.

Since it becomes extremely problematic when the asylum seeker is at the high gate of liberty only to hear that “the inn is full”. To greet a victim of war with a policy of barring entry is ignoring the brave struggles they endured in order to evade death, internal conflict, great personal endeavors over sea, land and journey.

This flat-out denial leads only to undermine the  migrant’s confidence to reach his or her destination of faith for a new beginning in life.Such rejection again from closed border-crossings solidifies the cycle of hopelessness and frustration if there is no plan on the re-opening and or opening of the European doors.

It is incumbent the EU as one assert a more influential role in the bringing an end to the conflict in Syria so as to reduce the migrants under manageable numbers.

 

 

 

Oh No; UNESCO

The United Nations is the umbrella body which has many parts: one of those important organs of this body is UNESCO. An organization which has always been, at the forefront, in setting gold standards for excellence as it relates to cultural heritage sites throughout the world.

The brazen attempt, therefore, to change the status quo, by this draft resolution, at such a time as this – by defining the Western Wall in Israel to be part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is perplexing. This organization is well known for priding itself in spending years of deliberation, pouring over thousands upon thousands of hours of research data before making major decisions which would lead to their much sought after UNESCO designations.

The decision to hastily conclude a vote upon such a major decision without prior and proper consultations with the very people it would affect is an affront to the principles of a not only of fair hearings but those of natural justice.

In addition, primarily, one must consider the highly volatile tinder-box situation between Israel and Palestine right now in geo-political affairs, which would render such a decision to vote on this draft resolution: irresponsible, since it would lead to further escalation and loss of human life.

UN agencies’, as far as one is aware, obligations must facilitate the attributes of peace-making and not decisions which would lead to further aggression within nations. There can be no doubt, this UNESCO vote must be delayed, postponed and or abandoned sine die, or until currently there is no longer feuding between the parties.

 

Shoot First , then ask Questions Later- Is not Diplomacy

” The measure of a man is what he does with power”  Pittacus

Syria

Military power alone exhibited by any leader does not make the leader a candidate for being a strong leader; but the lack of wisdom in the exercise of military power definitely disqualifies him as a strong leader.

Equally, there is a difference between strong leaders who use their power as the maximum leader to help the people and a maximum leader who uses his powerful strength to inflict oppression on the people. Being powerful and strong carries two different connotations.

The world has seen its fair share of maximum leaders from Stalin, Mussolini to Hitler who were responsible for great atrocities against unsuspecting populations because at one stage, they were left unchecked in the early days of their “heroic” campaigns against the so-called establishment.

Indeed, we would want to tell ourselves and believe the world is a different place and deceive our thinking such extreme ideology does not exist and would never produce such horrific results again. It this was true; then what is going on in Syria right now is a lie.

That the military intervention by Russia, Iran , Hezbollah aide the people of Syria and not the maximum leader President Assad. That the bombing of both ISIS and ‘rebel’ regions against Assad is a coincidence. That President Putin is genuinely seeking a political solution with anti-Assad loyalist and not a military one for the Assad regime.

One thing remains constant; perceived in-action by the global community in Syria at this juncture must not be translated as unconditional condoning of President Putin’s actions or those by Iran and Hezbollah.

There can be no place at the table for maximum leaders of old. Global peace and Middle-East security is paramount and will always have the attention of world leaders to avoid the ‘mistakes’ of the past.

Thus, the reverse military psychology used by President Putin to state the US military policy towards Syria is”weak” and their refusal of military talks to find a solution is counter-productive.  It begs the question therefore, that if Russia is implicitly and expressly “strong” why not use its powerful influence it has, obviously, over Mr. Assad to find the political solution to end the 5 year war?

It is clear as said by President Obama that Russia cannot “bomb” its way to “peace”. Quite frankly, the use and display of power by  President Putin in Syria would of been better suited diplomatically had this power been turned into solving the Syria war and ending not exacerbating the Syrian refugee crisis.

Asylum seekers

This effort of ending the Syrian crisis would go a long way in curtailing the flight of refugees into Europe. The push by Chancellor Merkel and the EU leaders to assist Turkey in reducing the number of asylum seekers is the right step.

But, the problem is that the cracks in the dam has to be fixed to halt the tide of refugees entering into Europe; the problem must be dealt with at the source; if not; unfortunately it will be ” one step forward and two steps backward”.

Israel and Palestine

The people of Israel must remain patient for the security measures to have a positive effect in assisting in reducing the number of day-to-day incidents among the population.

The culture of mis-information being promoted concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque about changing the status -quo cannot be ignored any longer- it has to be countered by the dissemination of the truth to the relevant segments of the populace.

There are mere children-teenagers and people dying because they are being fed a plate of daily propaganda prepared by those whose interest are self-serving.

The restraint shown by the Israelis in the fire destruction of one of the cities Holy sites should be mirrored by the Palestinians  in order to restore discipline and order to the society. The double standards are clearly for all to witness and that this intended ‘uprising’ is an illusion of facts, based on the wrong perception the government of Israel has changed the situation at the Mosque.

The airing of legitimate grievances and peaceful negotiations between the stakeholders must be articulated by the ‘protest’ leaders in a proper forum and not in ‘days of rage’.

The Benghazi Committee

Without prejudice to the Presidential nominees in the USA, the presumption the Republican dominated committee investigating the events which led to the death of American lives has been tainted with the accusation the Committee’s actions were politically motivated towards Mrs. Hilary Clinton has to be rebutted.

Especially, given the credibility and character of those individuals who have confessed about the the true intent and purpose of the Committee. The same principles and rules in which the Committee was established to investigate Hilary Clinton must now be the exact same reasons why the members of this particular committee should be investigated and whether there were any possible ethics violations being committed.

The accusations put forward by the persons cannot be dismissed as “sour-grapes”. Political life is fair game; but when the game is skewed by the use of Federal agencies to further narrow political interest it sets a dangerous precedent in mature democracies in such countries as the USA. In sports, this is call- match-fixing.

No Presidential nominee, whether Democrat or Republican should be the target of such overt political strategy because they have the majority. On the contrary, every attempt must be made to avoid the perception of an abuse of power.

The oral evidence that this Committee is part of such  a power play cannot be arbitrarily dismissed or buried because “the party has been called out”. The Congress has a duty in the same way it has a duty to investigate Ms. Clinton for omissions and or commissions against the allegations of the Benghazi Committee-even if it leads to nothing in order to clarify any mis-conceptions.

Even more so, reasonable doubt in law has always acquitted an accused, by extension reasonable doubt on the integrity, transparency and accountability of such a high -ranking Committee makes it look dubious. Nothing short of an investigation should be carried out by an independent panel for more than one reason; but namely to preserve and ensure the integrity and independence of the US Legislature.

Perhaps, the energies of Congress can be spent also in the enactment of legislation which benefit the people of the USA such as Voting Rights, modified gun legislation and criminal Justice reform amongst others.

Diplomatic Immunity

The use of diplomatic immunity has its limits in international law. Mr. Assange, the Wikileaks founder has tested the bounds within the walls of the Ecuador embassy in the UK. However, the moment he steps out of the embassy and walks on UK soil; he can be arrested; whether he is seeking medical treatment or otherwise.

Mr. Assange cannot claim immunity inside the Embassy and outside the Embassy when he wants to leave- since he has no diplomatic immunity from any country. If that was this case, there would of been no reason why he placed himself in self-imposed exile for 33 months.

His advisers could of use that time in trying to defend and prove his innocence rather than appearing guilty by claiming “immunity” for his free-will choices that caused him to seek refuge in the Embassy in the first place.

Mr. Assange should take a leaf from Mr. Edward Snowden’s book, who is prepared to answer for the consequences of his actions, by returning from Moscow to the USA to face his charges. In the end, as it is written”obedience is better than sacrifice”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open Secrets: The Road in Damascus

by David Bryan

It has begun. It is an open secret. President Putin strikes back; one for Ukraine; one for sanctions and one for President Assad. The temperature within the Middle-East was raised with Russia carrying out its first military airstrike in Syria against anti-Assad forces yesterday. Sadly there is no distinction between the rebel forces and or the ISIS for the Russian military.

This development has to be carefully monitored by first and foremost the Arab League, who have to question ; who is benefiting from Russian airstrikes and why now? What is the strategic importance of Russian military build-up in Syria? Is Syria or any other Arab nation the next Crimea? Can Mr. Putin be taken at face-value for his reasoning in his military intervention in Russia?

Answers usually lead to right action- there needs to be genuine concern not fear for what is taking place within the regional space.

Equally, the State of Israel must observe closely the recent developments  in Syria; especially the “new alliance” between Russia. Iran and Syria- Israel has to remain alert for any eventuality more so because of the proximity and “expect the unexpected”.

The escalating tensions on the Temple Mount between Palestinians and Israelis security forces together with rocket fire from Gaza point to the same destabilizing forces bent on inciting violence against the Jewish nation.

Israel must stay the course;preserve the status quo as adumbrated by Prime Minister Netanyahu; and give no quarter to the divisive elements  who are determined to invoke a reason to start an unnecessary confrontation.

The illegal actions of a few; will not be to the detriment of the many:fire-bombs and rocket throwing; the disruption of the peaceful civilian life has to be dealt within the four corners of the law.

Consequently, it is with great disappointment that President Abbas has repeatedly refrained from actively seeking to find a peaceful solution to the conflicts on the Temple Mount. Rather. he has used his position as leader to call for continued conflict between Palestinians and Israelis; instead of ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in Jerusalem.

His remarks at the UN has not gone unnoticed; to negligently admit that he would refuse to recognize the OSLO Agreements and turn the keys over to Israel is really an indictment on his tenure as President of the Palestine Authority. Mr. Abbas has really acknowledge his failings as President of the PA and in effect signal his departure from that position.

More over, again address the primary concern of this article-the movement and build-up of Russian military assets to Syria via the Mediterranean region must be of  interest to President Obama and the 62 international coalition partners in the Middle-East given the intent of the Russian President’s ulterior motives.

It is always difficult for the media to avoid sensationalism; suffice to say this has little to do with Putin “outmaneuvering” President Obama and the mentioned 62 coalition partners and everything about Assad losing if Russia fails in its unique task of prolonging Assad in power in a united post Syria.

It must be remembered in this war in Syria when ever there are “maneuvers” it is people who lose their lives and people who run for their lives to countries within Europe.