As the humanitarian crisis unfolds in the Syrian conflict, with suffering refugees suffering reaching the two-million mark, RT’s contributor Afshin Rattansi says Obama actually destroyed the peace deal when it was on the table.
RT: First, let us just talk about where the countries are standing at the moment. France, for example, is saying “We won’t go ahead and strike unless US Congress sanctions military action”. And so, does that actually mean that this has got nothing to do with the UN Security Council; it all depends on what the US says?
The UN Refugee Agency has announced the number of Syrians, who have fled the country since civil war began in March 2011, has exceeded 2 million.
Afshin Rattansi: That’s right. President Obama, that first
African-American president in history, is presiding over what he
presumably realizes is direct conflict with the UN, though it
does have Ban-Ki Moon, a sanguine figure who doesn’t seem to care
that much about the fact that it looks like it may suffer the
same fate as the League of Nations. And President Francois
Hollande cutting a suitably Napoleonic figure, saying “We feel
very strongly about it, but we won’t do it, if President Obama
doesn’t get his Congressional support”… I don’t know it’s not
clear at the moment whether President Obama needs that
Congressional support. But he has it anyway, if he gives away on
Obama care maybe.
RT: It seems that he has got that support, because today the leaders have said they will support military intervention, and of course, this big vote is next week. But do you think there will be a definite vote in Congress for Obama to go ahead? The indications are there.
AR: I suppose when we first heard the Russian Defense
Ministry talking about ballistic items being shot out of ships,
it should drive home the point to people around the world that
Obama can strike at any moment.
He has, after all, conducted joint strikes in the past 72 hours
in Yemen and in Afghanistan. So, I don’t think he’ll wait for
that approval; he is quite convinced he’ll get this approval
definitely and there will be a few deals on things President
Obama didn’t particularly want anyway, and was only doing to
please his base. But no, I don’t think he needs Congressional
approval, the exact vote, he was very clear to say he needed no
timeline and there’s the fact that President Assad is threatening
US national security, in which case there’s a plenty of precedent
for the United States President to act alone. The Congressional
thing is a bit of window-dressing.
RT: Two million refugees now, a humanitarian crisis unfolding… What sort of repercussions does this have on neighboring countries?
AR: When one looks at those numbers of American
destroyers, the number of missiles, and the cost of all of that…
Historians in the future will be saying, “Why”, when there was a
peace deal on the table to be discussed in Geneva, did Obama
destroy and torpedo the peace deal and leave the plight of the
refugees to get worse and worse?
One should add of course that while there are brilliant people working for NGO refugee agencies, they act as an arm of the American government. It might be incumbent on some of those refugee agency volunteers, and more so the people who are paid to work for them, to look at where their salaries are coming from – from the same people that are creating the refugee crisis. But, as you say, two million… When I was last in Syria, I was writing for Counter Punch and I was talking about the massive amount of care and concern President Assad’s government had for the results of the NATO invasion of Iraq, taking in the equivalent, proportionately, of twenty million refugees, if it was the United States.
RT: Just briefly, you’re there in London, Syria seems to be a long, long way away, but the refugee crisis, could it have some sort of impact on Europe?
AR: It was very recently that both parties here
–Conservative and Labor - were ratcheting up pressure, saying “We
don’t want asylum seekers”. The Labor party here often
says, “We are swamped with asylum seekers”. I think they live on
7 dollars a day. Of course, the refugee crisis will lead to
Syrians looking for succor. And I’m sure Britain and America will
welcome all these refugees. Again, as you say, hundreds of
thousands in that region, and there will be refugees on the
streets of London, if Obama carries out his plans for war.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.