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This article appears in the February 17, 2023 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.


Will the Turkish and Syrian Presidents Now Meet?

[Print version of this article]

Feb. 12—Chandra Muzaffar, the founder and president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), released a call on Feb. 12 “urging the American, British, Australian, Canadian, Swiss, and some European Union and Arab League governments to lift the unjust, immoral sanctions against Syria in order to lessen the immense sufferings of the people caused by the massive earthquake of February 6, 2023.”

Muzaffar, in his statement, highlighted the horrendous and murderous impact of the U.S. efforts to overthrow the Syrian government in 2011.

EIR has documented the U.S.-NATO hand behind the Arab Spring events of that year. Lyndon LaRouche forcefully spoke out following the Oct. 21, 2011 killing of Muammar Qadaffi, that the underlying motive was to escalate the destruction of Iraq and Syria, and ultimately to go to a nuclear confrontation with Russia.

LaRouche said in addition that “since the mass murder in Libya, which was perpetrated by the President of the United States in defiance of the Constitution—and it’s criminal murder; this is not killing, this is criminal murder, politically motivated murder of a head of state, in a war which was conducted in violation of the U.S. Constitution. … intended is a confrontation with Russia, the principal nuclear power on this planet. …The only other nation which is relevant for major warfare, using nuclear or thermonuclear power, is the United States.”

In November 2011, Syria was expelled from the Arab League. In 2011, it was also hit, Muzaffar notes, with a “whole range of new sanctions from travel bans and asset freezes to prohibitions on exports and restrictions upon the oil sector. The EU also joined the U.S. in embargoing the oil sector. Twenty percent of Syria’s GDP came from oil. It has been estimated that the country has lost 107 billion U.S. dollars from its oil and gas earnings since 2011. … Some Arab League states also froze Syrian government assets as did Türkiye in 2011. But none of these actions had as severe an impact upon the Syrian economy and State as the capture of territories containing oil and producing wheat and cotton by rebel groups linked to governments, ethnic movements or terrorist outfits in the region.” Beyond blocking Syrian oil, the United States has now occupied much of the oil fields, taking the oil and keeping the income.

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“One hopes that this mammoth [earthquake] catastrophe will ... herald the end of conflicts and killings along the border and in other parts of Syria. If that happens, the deaths of thousands will not have been in vain.” —Chandra Muzaffar. Shown: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (l.) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (r.).

Looking to the future, reflecting the epochal shift to a moral order coming from the Global South, Muzaffar writes:

“One hopes that this mammoth catastrophe will persuade some of the principal actors in these conflicts to reflect deeply on what has happened—the unfathomable suffering of millions of human beings on both sides of the Türkiye-Syria border. If their suffering is to have any meaning at all, let it herald the end of conflicts and killings along the border and in other parts of Syria. In this regard, it is encouraging that the United Nations has appealed to all warring parties to observe a ceasefire with immediate effect to enable humanitarian assistance to be channeled to the victims of the earthquake.

“There is another glimmer of hope. Even before the earthquake, on the 5th of January 2023, the president of Türkiye, Recep Erdoğan indicated that he wants to meet up with the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, to discuss and resolve their differences. Let us hope and pray that both men will work towards such a meeting—a meeting which will result in a mutually acceptable solution to their problems. If the two leaders who enjoyed a close friendship some time ago make peace with one another, there is a strong possibility that Türkiye and Syria will be able to come together on a firm footing and most of the other protagonists will also be able to bury the hatchet.

“If that happens, the deaths of thousands—especially little children—in one of the greatest tragedies in recent times would not have been in vain.”

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