Dr Ghulam Ashraf's Blog


The West should be accountable when it commits atrocities too

When not portentously posing in Air Force One on the way to see a college basketball game, Prime Minister, David Cameron, took time out with US President, Barak Obama, to discuss world problems. Cameron pledged that Britain stood united with the US on Afghanistan. While acknowledging complications posed by the latest massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier, the two leaders insisted on sticking to the timetable for winding down the war by the end of 2014. Also on the agenda was Syria and most importantly Iran, which Israel and the US have threatened to bomb and claims that the UK would support this military action. Bombing nuclear facilities in Iran would kill thousands of civilians as the bombing would lead to the leak of nuclear material. We would see once again destruction of yet another Muslim country and loss of considerable number of civilians.

Yet, the US and its Nato allies are scrabbling to maintain a narrative of an ‘end game’ in the Afghanistan war after more than 10 years, which has only wreaked destruction and loss of thousands of innocent lives.

The latest murders by a (or several) US soldier of civilians, including nine children from a close range, further undermine relations with not only the people of Afghanistan but the rest of the Muslim world.

It has been blamed on Staff Sgt Robert Bales, who unbelievably is claimed to have acted alone. Preliminary investigation by Afghan MPs has concluded that more than one US soldier was involved in the massacre.

The latest massacre adds to a long list of US war crimes in Afghanistan. It followed last month’s burning of copies of the Qur’an which only shows that the US never learns anything and has no respect for Islam and Muslim sensitivities as this is not the first time that this has happened. Last year was a record for civilian deaths in the Afghan war: 3,021 were killed according to UN report. Many civilians are killed in night raids or air attacks.

Like Iraq, the Afghanistan war has been punctuated by occupation atrocities. Across the border in Pakistan, CIA “targeted” drone attacks have killed 2,300, including hundreds of civilians and 175 children. Many are carried out in collusion with Britain’s GCHQ electronic spying centre with little sense of regret.

Both Cameron and Obama are in denial about the realities. “Our troops and citizens have long shown what can be achieved when British and Americans work together, heart and hand, and why this remains an essential relationship – to our nations and the world. So like generations before us, we’re going to keep it up. Because with confidence in our cause and faith in each other, we still believe that there is hardly anything we cannot do,” they wrote in a joint article for the Washington Post.

No attention is paid to the latest Index poll conducted by ComRes that 73 percent of Britons, up from 60 percent last June; believe that the Afghan war is unwinnable. More than half (55 percent) think British troops should be withdrawn immediately compared to 48 percent previously. About 46 percent have no idea why we’re in Afghanistan and did not understand why British soldiers were fighting. Nearly half (48 percent) of those asked admit that they do not have a good understanding of the purpose of Britain’s mission there, while only 18 percent think that having forces in Afghanistan makes Britain a safer place with three in five who disagree. Some (55 percent) believe that the threat of terrorism on British soil is increased by British forces remaining in Afghanistan, the opposite of what is claimed.

The failed policy of enforced regime change is now being switched to Iran, which has already been subjected to targeted assassinations of its nuclear scientists. The suspect is Israel, which has carried out such a policy against the Palestinians for decades with impunity. It is also ironic that Israel, the main perpetrator of breaching the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with over 200 nuclear weapons, is the leading cheer-leader for launching military attacks against Iran.

There is no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. During the debate in the House of Commons on Iran on February 20, Foreign Secretary, William Hague, failed to produce any evidence that Iran was developing nuclear weapons when he was challenged by the mover of the debate on ruling out use of force against Iran, Conservative MP, John Baron.

Recent IAEA report on Iran has been discredited. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientist who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were parallels between the West’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment of Iran now, according to the Guardian.

“Amano is falling into the Cheney trap. What we learned back in 2002 and 2003, when we were in the run-up to the war, was that peer review was very important, and that the analysis should not be left to a small group of people,” Kelley said.

“So what have we learned since then? Absolutely nothing. Just like [former US vice-president] Dick Cheney, Amano is relying on a very small group of people and those opinions are not being checked.”

Iran has not threatened or invaded a single country and has no history of doing so, unlike Israel which has invaded Lebanon and occupied it for almost 20 years, it is still occupying illegally Palestinian land since 1967 and the Syrian Golan Heights.

There is no accountability of the killing of thousands of innocent civilians by the West since the 1990s. No one has been punished. The only people who have been taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) are from Africa. The ICC has been ratified by 144 countries but not the US and the UK. The West does not waste time in taking Africans to the ICC but not anyone from the West.

The UN Security Council has no teeth nor does the ICC. No one and no country should get away with committing atrocities, killing civilians, committing torture, breaking international laws and other human rights abuses. There should not be one law for the powerful and another for the weak. All must be treated fairly. The credibility of the West taking a high moral ground on human rights has no .

Source: Muslim News


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