Editor's Notes 21 June 2013

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© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective.
True North Perspective
Vol. 8, No. 12 (340)
Friday 21 June 2013
Editor's Notes

Harper gets spanked in Ireland

Prime Minister Steven Harper speaks on "G7+1", without realizing he has made Canada the "1"

Prior to the G-8, Prime Minster Stephen Harper landed in Ireland clearly misinformed about the thinking of his peers on the question of Syria.

He made crude reference to the G-8 as the G-7 plus 1, scornfully excluding Russia from the fold. He spoke as Me-Too Harper, the typical attack dog for Washington, a role he so loyally and eagerly played for George W. Bush.

However, once he barked out, he discovered that there was not the unity among his "Seven" that he thought there was. It was not simply a question of all of us against Russia.

Harper ran into the fact that British Prime Minister David Cameron, despite public rhetoric to the contrary, was faced with serious opposition to arming the so-called Syrian rebels not only by the British population but within parliament and even within his own caucus. Harper found that this mood prevailed among several other members of the G-8.

Harper was left foolishly holding the bag. There was no G-7 plus one.

After the conference was over, a very sheepish Harper appeared before the media to explain that he had been wrong about G-7 plus one. That in fact the Russians were very much a part of G-8.

He compounded his embarrassment with the lie that Russia had shifted its position enough so that the G-8 could make a joint statement.

Any serious observer of the process knows that Russia did no such thing. Russia's position on Syria and against international interference remained determined to allow the Syrians to settle their own affairs. It was the same before, during, and after the G-8 conference.

In all G-8 countries there is a growing sentiment that the West should take action to stop the slaughter of Syrians by putting an end to arming the regime's opponents.

Evidence reveals that the Syrian population is solidifying behind Syrian President Bashar Assad as they become more and more aware of the sectarian foes the country faces from within and without the country.

Smothered in the deluge of anti-Assad propaganda is the fact that the regime's forces did not willfully and brutally engage in deadly fire against unarmed civilians in a peaceful march in 2011. The fact is that armed thugs had infiltrated the demonstrators and opened fire on government troops. Quite naturally the troops fired back.

The G-8 declaration on Syria said the country needs a new coalition government with "a top leadership that inspires public confidence," a definition that to British, French or American eyes would rule out Assad. It made no reference to sending US, British or French weapons to rebels, an option being kept open by only three G-8 members.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Cameron that the weapons sent to Syria might end up being used to kill people in Europe.

"There are many such criminals in the ranks of the (Syrian) opposition, such as those who committed the brutal murder in London. Do the Europeans want to provide such people with weapons? ... We are calling on all our partners to thoroughly think it over again before taking this very dangerous step," Putin said.

Reflecting growing unease at the behavior of Muslim extremists in the ranks of Syria's splintered opposition forces, the G-8 declaration said participants in any peace talks must agree to expel al-Qaida-linked fighters from the country.

The declaration condemned human rights abuses committed by government forces and rebels alike, and called on both sides to permit access by UN-led chemical weapons experts trying to investigate the contentious claims of chemical weapons use.

In its only concrete commitment, the plan pledges a further $1.5 billion in aid for Syrians driven from their homes by the conflict: 4.2 million within Syria and 1.6 million more taking refuge in neighboring countries. The G-8 noted that the new funds would cover only part of the United Nations' 2013 appeal for $5.2 billion in Syria-directed aid.

Rebels, who have suffered tactical reversals in recent weeks versus Assad's Russian-supplied army, expressed disappointment with the G-8 verdict. Their hopes of another Libya are crumbling

Russia refused to back any declaration that made Assad's ouster an explicit goal, arguing that it would be impossible to start peace talks with a predetermined outcome.

It would be of great relief if we were learn that our politicians have stopped lying to us.

Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it

Looking forward

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective
True North Humanist Perspective