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This article appears in the April 9, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Michel Raimbaud

Rather a War Without End Than an End of the War

Ambassador Michel Raimbaud is a French diplomat who has served as ambassador to nations in Asia, Africa and Ibero-America, and as director of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons. He spoke on the third panel, “Southwest Asia: Pivot for War, or Peaceful Development with the New Silk Road,” of the Schiller Institute’s March 20-21 international conference, “The World at a Crossroad—Two Months into the New Administration.”

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Schiller Institute
Michel Raimbaud

It was last December. After four years of chaos, Donald Trump had retreated to his White House to terminate a term of office that one wondered if it ever would end … He made no secret of his two objectives: First, to ruin the life of his over-Democratic opponent, the old Joe Biden; and second, to continue to “bleed to death” the countries that still dare to resist America, with Syria and its allies being the object of particular relentlessness.

In the two-party system imposed by the “Deep State,” of which the “madman theory” of Nixon/Kissinger and the “creative chaos” of Leo Strauss/Norman Podhoretz are the two apostles, it is Zionism that cements the marginal rift between Republican and Democratic “thoughts.” It was therefore not to be expected that the “America first,” now replaced by Biden with “America leading again,” would bring about a notable change in America’s relationship with the world, especially the Arab-Muslim world, with which it has a difficult relationship, as a result of its insane love for Israel. This remains to be checked.

At the end of his mandate, Trump had inspired his Republican supporters to have Congress vote on a bill presented by 150 Representatives and Senators, prohibiting any future American government from negotiating with Syria as long as Bashar al-Assad is president, even prohibiting the latter from running in any presidential election. An unprecedented madness.

This law having apparently been passed, the main European countries, the United Kingdom, but also France, Germany and Italy, have adopted it, with their little finger on the seam of their pants, as usual. What was supposed to happen has happened: Guided by the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris duo, and with the full support of its servile European vassals, the “guide of the world” continues to bleed the countries that still dare to resist the will of the United States of America.

In February 25, 2000, in an article published by The American Enterprise Institute under the title “Let’s Beat Syria, Don’t Leave It Alone,” David Wurmser, a well-known neo-conservative thinker and advisor to George W. Bush, called for “a conflict in which Syria is slowly bled to death.” Coming on the heels of the assault on Iraq and nine years of sanctions and embargo, the warning was worth taking seriously. Syria was now in Washington’s sights, with the aim of getting rid of the two Baathist regimes, symbols of the Arab nationalist movement and so-called relics of the Cold War.

In September 2001, ten days after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, Iraq and Syria were at the top of the American list of seven Arab or Muslim countries to be invaded and destroyed within five years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.

This list was unveiled in 2007 by the former Commander-in-Chief of NATO forces in Yugoslavia, General Wesley Clarke. The offensive against Syria was to be launched in May 2003, when Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had just distinguished himself by his famous lie to the UN Security Council, would come to Damascus to deliver to Bashar al-Assad a message in the form of an ultimatum, enjoining him to cut off his relations with Hezbollah, to break his alliance with Iran, and to withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon.

Arab Spring and War of Aggression

The Syrian president’s blunt refusal was received as a declaration of war, and the American counter-attack came in December 2003 with the “Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act” marking the opening of hostilities, a green light to launch “plans” against Syria and Lebanon. The dossier was “revealed” to President Jacques Chirac as a price to pay for France’s attitude towards the second Iraq war. Syrian troops were indeed withdrawn from Lebanon, but the presidential succession in Beirut would not meet American demands, French hopes, or Israeli expectations. Then came the assassination of [two-time Prime Minister of Lebanon] Rafiq Hariri, immediately blamed on Damascus. Syria and Lebanon would then remain in Washington’s sights. Launched in the heart of winter 2010, the events, hastily baptized as the “Arab Spring,” would allow the operation against Syria to be camouflaged as “a popular, spontaneous, democratic and peaceful revolution”—um hmmn.

In mid-March 2011, this war was launched and is now entering its eleventh year. Let us be clear that this is not a war for democracy or human rights; nor is it a civil war, despite the efforts made to embed this idea: The movement of populations has always been one-way when both options were open, with displaced people systematically seeking refuge in state-controlled areas, fleeing areas held by the “jihadists” and their allies.

Syria was and is the victim of international aggression, nothing else. This assertion is crucial for the narrative of the war and for the future, when the time has come for reckoning and (hopefully) justice. In any case, it will be necessary to remind the hundred governments that participated and are still participating in this aggression of the seriousness of their criminal enterprise. And we will denounce first and foremost the three “Great” powers of the West, the permanent members of the Security Council, who claim to speak of International Law and to be its guardians, when in fact they are the first violators.

The concept of “crime of aggression” is identical to that of “crime against peace,” used by the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals at the end of the Second World War, this crime being based on the free and conscious, deliberate will to threaten or break peace. As was said at Nuremberg:

Launching a war of aggression is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, the only difference with other war crimes being that it contains within itself all the accumulated evil of all the others. It is “the crime par excellence.”

In 1946, the international military tribunals and the General Assembly of the United Nations (in its Resolution 95) undertook to codify “crimes against the peace and security of mankind,” beginning with the crime of aggression. The concept was incorporated into the Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (July 1998). The “crime of aggression” or “crime against peace” is one of the four core violations of international law, along with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

If the fundamental principles of International Law or the UN Charter were strictly respected by the so-called International Community, no government would dare to implement such criminal policies. But it must be said that Western-style International Law is to International Law what military music is to music, or what military “cuisine” is to French cuisine.

In mid-March 2021, Syria has been at war for ten years, which is longer than the two world conflicts combined. There is no need to dwell on its disastrous record: At the end of a decade of collective aggression bringing together Westerners and Islamist forces (sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabis), large parts of Syrian territory are completely devastated, the economy is completely ruined by destruction, looting, theft, attacks, fires, and sanctions of all kinds.

The toll of victims and human losses is overwhelming: 400,000 to 500,000 dead, 2 million wounded, one million disabled, 12 million refugees or displaced, all of which goes hand in hand with a dramatic brain drain. The societal impact is profound, and women have paid a heavy price: Victims of the violence, they bear more than ever, in a society lacking men, the burden of the difficult daily life, the care of children.

But the Syrian state has not been defeated. With the help of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, the national army and institutions have resisted. The Syrian people as a whole faced the war with exceptional courage. Syria was the first Arab country to weather the “revolutionary” storm.

Bashar al-Assad has played a major role in this resilience: if he had not been the head of state, there would no longer be a Syria, which was the goal of the aggression.

The War Situation Now Changed

Since its outbreak, the war has undergone unforeseen developments. Its nature has changed dramatically as Syria had military victory in sight, in 2018, with Trump already cracking down.

The USA and its allies (France, UK, other Europeans, Israel), the sponsors of Islamist forces (like Turkey, Arabia, Emirates, Qatar ...) would not accept the “unthinkable victory of Bashar al-Assad” let alone their “unthinkable defeat.”

As long as it does not have in its hands strong cards allowing it to impose a “suitable” solution (to its liking), America is ready to wage against Syria a war without end, whatever the cost, even if it were to serve the interests of ISIS for some time. This was an obvious reference to the “leading from behind” strategy that Obama used for his proxy wars, proxy wars that allow to start an invisible war without declaring a war.

This is what we are witnessing as a result of the illegal sanctions and other coercive measures imposed on Syria since 2011 at an ever-accelerating pace, increasingly harsh under the Trump administration. In addition to the looting, arson and destruction, not to mention the impact of the pandemic, a total blockade and the notorious “Caesar’s Law” have been added to this illegal and genocidal scheme to suffocate the country and starve the Syrian population, subjecting them to what amounts to inhuman collective punishment.

UN experts, Secret Service investigations, and official statements affirm that the sanctions and the imposed blockade are not only war crimes, but crimes against humanity, of a genocidal nature, a “crime of aggression.”

Since the beginning of these Syrian wars, in March 2011, and with the full support of its “rogue” friends from Europe or the East, the Obama Administration had undertaken to “defeat Syria” in order to achieve several overall objectives:

1. A regime change, including the “removal” of Bashar al-Assad

2. Politicide (political genocide): destruction of the Syrian state, its institutions and structures, and if possible, the dismantling of the country

3. Ethnocide, the attempt to destroy the Syrian people, their society, their history, their memory, their rich heritage, their vast intellectual potential, through mass emigration and refugees.

Although the regime change and the “removal of Bashar” failed, this criminal plan was continued by Trump, with America “leading from behind” the second wave of the aggression, this invisible, silent and endless war, in order to achieve politicide and ethnocide.

Given the new geopolitical balance between the Atlantic camp and its allies, and the Eurasian bloc led by China and Russia, supporters of the Syrian state, this second wave is probably doomed to failure. But the nuisance capacity of the declining American Empire should not be underestimated.

In this mid-March 2021, the calendar offers a golden opportunity to all impostors to raise in Western countries—France is far from being behind—an avalanche of comments, analyses, articles, statements, speeches, radio and TV programs, having in common to hammer the disinformation, the “false flags,” the lies that public opinions have been force-fed for ten years on an unprecedented scale. The official propaganda does not leave the slightest space for contradiction, the doxa (glory) and the omertá (law of silence) being two sides of the same coin. But this omertá is almost encouraging, confirming that the censored writings or words reflect the truth.

How can the intellectuals, politicians, and media of the self-appointed “great democracies” pretend to believe, after ten years, that the “Arab Springs” were “peaceful, spontaneous, and popular” movements?

Intoxication, manipulation, shameless lying? Obviously. However, the countries that dared to pose as “friends of the Syrian people” have come to pursue a potentially endless war, their strategy being to ignore the Syrian state or to make it an invisible and voiceless state: They carefully avoid any mention, any figure concerning Syria, crossing it out of the maps where it sometimes no longer appears, or omitting it from official documents (including in COVID statistics), etc. The news that the media broadcast about Syria is about sanctions, arrests, chemical attacks, terrorism, human rights violations, despite the reports of UN experts, intelligence services investigations. So goes the politicide.

There Is No Military Solution

Sooner or later, peace will return to the Greater Middle East.

Given the new balances, when they realize that they must end their endless war, the United States will decide to make peace, if only for the sake of Israel’s security and interests—the first priority, omnipresent in the Western landscape, including in French and European concerns. Seeing that there is no other solution, they will give their regional allies the green light and “recommend” their European lackeys to negotiate.

In Trump’s time, these loyal “followers” would have said “let’s wait and see.” They have no choice with Joe Biden and will have to rely on the saying that “there is no war in the Middle East without Egypt,” but “there is no peace without Syria.”

This is what the past ten years have made clear.

Thus, if there is no military solution, there must be a comprehensive political settlement. It is up to diplomats to take over from the war-makers. But after such a catastrophe, so many victims, so much devastation, so many crimes, it would be imprudent and shameful to stop a war in Syria that has never been declared, without rebuilding a new international law accepted by all, and without settling the damages by paying compensation. Concessions will be necessary; but what was said earlier about Nuremberg and the “crimes of aggression” will be inescapable in order to rebuild international relations.

The United States, but also its European and Eastern accomplices, are heavily responsible for these crimes. Their leaders love to fill their speeches with democratization, international law, peace and security. Behaving like gangsters, they take pride in condemning the “rogue state,” the “regime,” the “massacring dictator” in Syria. They are proud of their most heinous acts, of their devastation, and boast of supporting terrorist groups that “do a good job.” These self-satisfied characters should be aware of the precariousness of their position.

They should never forget that they are and will always be responsible for an “international crime par excellence” under international law. They will be held accountable. Without a thorough settlement of all outstanding issues, how can we imagine a normalization, “as if nothing had happened”?

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