Tag Archives: Damascus

[Blog] War on War: The House of Common’s Historic Vote and Question of the US impending war on Syria by Jose Mario De Vega

War on War: The House of Common’s Historic Vote and Question of the US impending war on Syria

Mario De Vega

I commend the British House of Commons for defeating the Government’s Motion to support the US planned military intervention in Syria. The said motion is defeated by 285 to 272 votes.

As aptly reported by the Press TV:

“During a heated parliamentary debate on Thursday, Respect Bradford West MP George Galloway delivered a fiery speech against a motion by Prime Minister David Cameron to authorize a military action against Syria.

“The British lawmaker cited a Daily Telegraph report indicating that a definite majority of people in the UK are opposed to the country’s involvement in a potential war on the Arab country.

“Galloway further argued that there is “no compelling” evidence that the Syrian government has launched a chemical attack in the fight against the foreign-backed Takfiri groups.”

The Respect Bradford West MP said passionately that:

“To launch a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on the very day that a Unite Nations chemical weapons inspection team arrives in Damascus must be a new definition of madness”.

He further stated that everyone knows the Assad regime is bad enough to use chemical weapons, but the question is: “Are they mad enough to do it?”

The rebel MP’s crucial question is undeniably in point:

“Did they really launch a chemical weapons attack on the day UN inspectors were arriving in Damascus.”

Clearly, according to him, the “narrative” has changed, now England is keen on regime change on Syria with the connivance of the US and they are for two years now trying to topple the government in Damascus — without any success!

Thereupon, he also hit at his country’s hypocrisy:

“If Assad was that bad, why did Britain invite him to stay at Buckingham Palace? Why did one prime minister propose him for a knighthood? And why was he praised as a moderniser?

“Because governments have looked at the opposition. The rebels include people who eat human flesh, and saw the heads off their opponents.”

Another admirable aspect of the said rebel MP’s stirring speech is the fact that he inserted in his condemnation of the impending war on Syria to that of the silence, bias and hypocrisy and of his nation with regard to the barbarism, injustices and mass murder being committed by Israel to the Palestinians!

As he sharply stated:

“No one in the Commons has criticised Israel for its illegal settlements.”

What does the historical vote of the House of Commons means for England?

I concur substantially to some of Andrew Sparrow’s “MPs vote down military intervention in Syria: Politics live blog, The Guardian”, August 30th, that:
1. Britain will not be attacking Syria.

Comment:

I just hope that after this humiliating defeat for the British neo-cons and imperialists, they will no longer force the issue and just accept the will of their citizens and their people.

2. The “special relationship” has just become less special.

Comment:

I doubt if Obama and his gang of mass murderers ever expected this outcome, yet even on the face of this historic vote which clearly isolates US from UK, Obama says that they will act unilaterally against Syria.
Though, England is no longer a member of the so-called “Coalition of the Willing”, nonetheless America still has France. Yet, let us clarify our terms, when we speak of France with regard to this issue, I am referring to the French government and not to the French people! This Obama is not only a hypocrite, but also the number one mass murderer. I completely agree with an independent Irish MP, Clare Daly especially when she categorically stated that:

“Of course, the biggest irony of all, the protestations of Obama himself in his speech to children in Northern Ireland about peace, when he said, ‘those who choose the path of peace, I promise you, that the United States of America will support you every step of the way. We will always be the wind at your back.’

“Now, I ask you, is this person going for the hypocrite of the century award?”

“Because we have to call things by their right names, and the reality is that by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal. He has just announced his decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition, including the jihadists, fueling the destabilization of that region and continuing to undermine secularism and knock back conditions for women.”

3. Britain is becoming less imperialist and more European. This is probably the most important lesson to be learnt from tonight’s vote.

Comment:

I agree that indeed, this is the most important lesson! England in a way is now renouncing its imperialism and now subscribing to the true international law! It seems also to me that they are now recognizing the existence of other nations in the world.

Again, as the Respect MP categorically asked: if you cannot persuade the United Nation Security Council with regard to your view — who are you on the other side to determine what is “international law”, what the desire of the “international community” and to declare what should be the “international community” must do?

Since when did Russia and China cease to be a member of the international community?

“Russia and China say no to war in Syria, so do I, so do most people in this country.”

4. Parliament matters more. Technically prime ministers do not need the support of the Commons to go to war. Sending troops into action is a prerogative power (meaning it can happen just on the prime minister’s say so).

Comment:

Be that as if may, after the Iraq fiasco, I doubt if there is any Prime Minister who has the galls to by-pass Parliament and completely ignore it!

As Neil Clark in “Britain’s parliament finally turns against the neo-cons and serial warmongers”, RT (Question More), August 30th, said:

“These serial warmongers told us that ‘something must be done’ in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria, producing no evidence to back up their claims that the Syrian government was responsible. But this time- unlike in the cases of Kosovo, Iraq and Libya- they’ve not been listened to. And the neo-cons and ‘liberal interventionists’, who trumpet so loudly their commitment to spreading ‘democracy’ around the globe, are not very happy at this wonderful and long overdue sign of a democratic resurgence in Britain. A newspaper poll showed that just 8% of Britons wanted immediate weapons strikes on Syria, but despite that the ‘Democracy by Bombs’ brigade are condemning yesterday’s vote as a black day for democracy. Oh, the irony!”

Now that the people’s will is clear and triumphed through their representative, I am hoping that the British Prime Minister will fulfill the promise that he stated at the House after he was humiliated and rebuffed, not only by the British people, but worst, even by his own partymates:

British parliament and the British people do not wish to see military action; I get that, and I will act accordingly.”

The power of the people

I overwhelmingly concur with Tim Wall’s “Little Britain: The mouse that (finally) roared”, RT (Question More), August 30th in their analysis that:

The parliamentary rebellion against Cameron and Obama came as a big surprise to just about everyone in mainstream UK politics, mainly because it was not organized by any of the main political parties. It came, rather, from the grassroots of society – ordinary people who lobbied their MPs before Thursday’s vote, and from the legacy of protests against the Iraq war.

Hence, it is the people themselves who decided against the war.

Now that the British public has decided to do the right thing, I am wondering how the American, the French and even the German people will decide the question of Syria! Will they also bombard with emails and letters their representatives? Will they also pressure and make it known to their congressmen and senators their vehement opposition to any military action?

The whole world is waiting and watching!!!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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[People] Homs, Syria: Looking for OFWs in a Shattered City by Walden Bello

Rep. Walden Bello. Politics for Breakfast

Homs, Syria: Looking for OFWs in a Shattered City.

By Walden Bello, INQUIRER.net
March 24, 2012

If any city has become emblematic of Syria’s version of the “Arab Spring,” it is Homs. This city, an opposition stronghold, was subjected to a 26-day siege by the Syrian Army in February. The estimates of how many people perished vary, with the city’s Chief of Police admitting to some 3,000 dead and the western press reporting twice or more that number.

Shattered City

Rep. Walden Bello. Politics for Breakfast

Rep. Walden Bello. Politics for Breakfast

The signs of war are fresh as we enter the city, which lies some 170 kilometers from Damascus. There is no one on the streets at high noon, and Baath University, where some of the most bitter fighting took place, is deserted. The streets are littered with trash, and block after block of apartment buildings we pass show no signs of life. The asphalted roads are rough, being imprinted with the tracks of tanks that were used deployed to subdue the resistance. We pass the burned-out hulk of an armed personnel carrier.

At a roundabout where a statue of the current president’s father, Hafez Assad, casts a benign look at us a la Kim Il Sung, we encounter our first checkpoint. Soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs examine our papers as our driver, a Syrian who speaks perfect English named “Teddy,” explains in Arabic that we are trying to reach the police station to follow up the case of a Filipino OFW who was killed in an ambush during the fighting.

We pass two more checkpoints manned by suspicious security men carrying the ubiquitous AK-47 before we reach the police station, the front of which sports a makeshift barricade of tires, wood, and stones.

Investigating a Death

We are met by the chief investigator, a man named Tobias and we tell him that we really need to know more about the death of Mer-an Montezor, a 23-year old Filipina who was shot through the chest and killed while traveling at 11 o’clock at night with her employer and his eight-year old son at the main highway on February 24, during the last phase of the siege of the city. We also want to locate her employer and collect her back wages so we could send them to her family in the Philippines.

Tobias tells us that he helped bring Mer-an to the hospital, but all he had was the cell phone number of the employer, and this was no longer functioning. There was no number for a landline and no address for the employer, and he tells us that, for all he knew, the man and his family might have already left the city. Tobias tries to project concern and friendliness but he is obviously eager to get rid of us.

Before we leave, however, I ask if he knew if there might be more Filipino domestic workers who might have been hurt or died during the siege. Back in Damascus, Ambassador Eric Endaya had told me that there was a possibility that some OFWs apart from Me-ran Montezar could have died in Homs. Having myself heard stories of being trapped close to the fighting from Filipinas who fled Homs for the safety of the Embassy in Damascus, I could not but agree. But Tobias tells us he hasn’t heard of any. Aside from him, we have no other contact Homs for now, underlining the difficulties of finding out the fate of compatriots caught in a war zone when one does not get cooperation from the host government.

“This is very poor police work, for a guy who says he took personal charge of the girl’s case,” comments Teddy on Tobias’ work on the Montezor case as we drive away from the police station.

Read full article @ http://opinion.inquirer.net/25527/homs-syria-looking-for-ofws-in-a-shattered-city

[In the news] Malacanang to Pinoys in Syria: Let us take you home- InterAksyon.com

Malacanang to Pinoys in Syria: Let us take you home
Philippine News Agency and Eric Apolonio, InterAksyon.com
January 2, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang has reiterated its appeal to over 4,000 Filipinos who are still in Syria to heed the government’s call for mandatory repatriation in the wake of escalating violence in the Arab country.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on Monday issued the appeal amid reports that many Filipinos are still refusing to leave Syria.

The Philippine Embassy in Damascus reported that the capital remains on high alert following the back-to-back car bombings there on December 23.

“We would like to ask the Filipinos in Syria – whether they are documented or undocumented – to heed the appeal of the Philippine government. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario is there right now and we would like to ask them to cooperate for their own safety. We want to make sure that all Filipinos be accounted for,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Secretary Del Rosario flew to Syria to lead DFA officials to convince the Filipinos to have themselves repatriated to Manila at government’s expense.

Read full article @ interaksyon.com