The law of unintended consequences in the Middle East, is a law that always come to hunt us. We armed Osama Bin Laden because he was our enemy’s enemy and discovered he was our most potent enemy; in the end using our arms on us. We invaded Iraq to solve the problem of Sadam Hussein. All we have done is to move the boarder of Iran 400 miles to the West. …When intervention is likely to cause a consequence that makes matters worse, even if your heart is bleeding, you still shouldn’t do it”.
Paddy Ashdown, British Politician & Diplomat
World politics has become ‘the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy’ (Ernest Benn). Human history is now more of nothing “but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race (Thomas Sowell).
On the first inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American president I had a dream that troubled me greatly. In the dream I was let into the master bedroom of the White House. Michelle Obama was sitting on the bed while Obama was having a shower. I observed something that has remained in my mind’s eyes till today. Trapped in the fibres of the floor carpet were microscopically invisible hair particles of President George and Mrs Laura Bush. I drew the attention of Michelle to my observation and advised her to persuade her husband, once off the shower, to have the carpet replaced irrespective of any budget constraints the country’s economic situation may dictate. A book to be published in 2014 will elaborate on this divine revelation in greater detail. What the dream means is that President Obama’s term in office may be no different in accomplishments from those of President George Bush. Obama may even end up with an approval rating worst than George Bush’s and become the most hated of all American presidents in both America and across the world. History may end up remembering him for nothing more than the fortune of being the first Black American president and for his gift in crafting and delivering rallying speeches. Already his approval rating in America stands below George Bush’s now and the lukewarm Berlin reception on the 20 June, 2013 (195,500 fewer people than in his 2008 Berlin speech) are reminders that the mighty may be falling or fading.
That’s not good enough for a president who arrived the scene with the highest worldwide approval rating of any president in human history. That’s not good enough for a president on whom the pride and hope of the Black communities across the world rest firmly on his shoulders. That’s not good enough for a man who is expected to leave a legacy that should pave way for the first American woman president and future Black American presidents. The ongoing Syrian conflict promises to deliver Obama’s equivalent of George Bush’s costly and fruitless expedition in Iraq. Both conflicts have two common and influential ingredients that point to impending humiliating outcomes for America – (a) support from Senator John McCain and (b) accusation of the presence or use of weapon of mass destruction which the UN refuses to endorse. Senator John McCain has become an early warning system for impending defeat, disaster and or humiliation for America. There is no military project openly involving or supported by the senator that never ended in American humiliation, paying a costly price or both – from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan to Libya. His recent visit to the Syrian rebels and open support for military intervention rather than peace is an indication that American defeat or humiliation is already written and certain. What the rebels, Syria and the Middle East need is a peace conference that guarantees power sharing, unity, equity and freedom for all Syrians.I am not Syrian nor a supporter of Syria but a humanitarian and concerned citizen of the world and an African who had high hopes of President Obama.
Obama has been setup by a number of European world leaders as they did in the case of Libya. He is being held hostage to a statement he made for the purpose of deterring the use of chemical weapon in the Syrian conflict – the so-called “crossing of the red line”. President Obama, please be guided by doing what is right rather than honoring your word. Remind yourself and those pushing you into the hellish state of affairs in Syria that you are only human and not in competition with God who promised in words and writing that his word shall never fail to pass. European leaders understand that any conflict involving a mix of rebellion, fight for tribal/religious dominance, Jihadist movements, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iranian and Russian interests is a recipe for a nuclear level explosion and uncontrollable regional wild fire. Consequently, while many European leaders express outrage over the carnage taking place in Syria, they openly qualify their concerns with reservations. Many shield themselves and their country from responsibility by reserving their actions for only in the event of UN decisions. Others like the British Prime Minister plans to involve parliamentary debate on any future UK involvement in the Syrian conflict knowing too well support is unlikely from the British parliament. The European Union is calling for independent verification of the allegation of the use of chemical weapon in Syria before any involvement. The French, who a couple of weeks ago called for the lifting of arms embargo, military support for the rebels and no fly zone, are now back peddling. Suddenly UN mandate has become a condition for their participation, knowing too well that the Russians and Chinese will veto any such resolution. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who was almost rearing to go to war with Syria few months ago has gone cold and hardly mention Syria these days. Anyone who loves Obama and can influence his decisions should quickly advise him to talk American and presidential but play the games of the European leaders to preserve his legacy, save the world from a looming catastrophe, and avoid the wrath of the American people. He should be reminded that he is human and not God. He is therefore allowed to make a U-turn in the interest of America without any apologies to the likes of John McCain or Europe. In other words, Obama should talk American, walk European and let God be God.
Events in Syria, the associated human sufferings, the daily death toll on both the rebel and government sides and the systematic destruction of Syria break my heart. If the Americans and the Europeans had learned their lessons from experiences in Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and Afghanistan, the two warring factions should have been brought together through behind closed door negotiations and diplomacy right from the start. The road to peace is fraught with challenges and disappointments. However, with honest brokers, increased effort and determination, peace often reigns at last. Instead and increasingly, world politics has become ‘the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy’ (Ernest Benn). Human history is now more of nothing “but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race (Thomas Sowell). The desire to topple leaders who differ from the views of the West is gradually and steadily driving the world closer and closer to the start of the 3rd World War; a development that is unlikely to leave the world intact by the time it comes to an end. Perhaps, those prophesying the near ending of the world (end time) may be right this time.
It is public knowledge that the Obama administration has sanctioned open and secret negotiations with America’s arch enemy – The Taliban, after sinking billions of dollars, bankrupting the US treasury and sacrificing the lives of thousands of American solders in a fruitless war. If President Obama, despite and after such costly expedition in Afghanistan, can reach out for political solution having concluded that peace cannot be bought with military might; why can’t he spare Syria, the Syrian people, the Syrian Rebels and the Syrian government from further loss of lives through initiating political dialogue,with the support of the Russians, rather than encouraging the same costly mistakes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya? Involvement of the United States militarily will further embolden Iran and Russia to intensify their support to the Syrian government. The danger is that gradually, not only is the entire Middle East going up in flames, the cold war era and its ugly ramifications are being rekindled also.
If the supply of arms is the answer to the Syrian crisis, am certain most people, including myself, will support it for reason and hope of quick ending to the war and human sufferings. However, modern history and lessons from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and the Balkans have proven that weapons do not deliver peace and security particularly in Syria’s case where complex forces are vying for control. In a Sky TV interview recently, Paddy Ashdown, a British politician and diplomat, explained the complex nature of the Syrian crisis. He said; “we think Syria is the issue. It is not. It is a front-line in a much more wider struggle. And that struggle by the way funded by the same Saudi businessman that funded Osama Bin Laden when we armed him to oppose the Russians, is to let the Wahhabis and the Salafists take over the Sunni community as a preparation to a wider war against the Shia – a regional war. The issue now is not tackling the great Satan of the west. It’s preparing a war against the great heretic in Tehran. And the difficulty with this is that we are now inadvertently, and stupidly in my view, instrumentalized into supporting the Sunnis”. The recent declaration by Egyptian cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi in Qatar that Sunnis the world over should mobilise for jihad in Syria coupled with Hezbollah’s now open involvement in aiding the Syrian army have also led analysts to conclude that the war is a sectarian battle between Shias and Sunnis.
Paddy Ashdown’s advice to Obama and Cameron is simple. “If we want to take action, diplomatic action is what we should be taking. The Americans should stop the Saudis and the Qataris from arming what “are basically extremist movements in Syria and begin to see if we can close down this wider conflict affecting the Russian Muslim republics; which is affecting Lebanon; which is affecting Egypt; which is affecting Libya; Which is affecting Tunisia and is the same conflict in Mali. That’s the big danger now, not Syria”.
He warns: “The law of unintended consequences in the Middle East, is a law that always come to hunt us. We armed Osama Bin Laden because he was our enemy’s enemy and discovered he was our most potent enemy; in the end using our arms on us. We invaded Iraq to solve the problem of Saddam Hussein. All we have done is to move the boarder of Iran 400 miles to the West. …When intervention is likely to cause a consequence that makes matters worse, even if your heart is bleeding, you still shouldn’t do it”.
There are additional reasons for President Obama to pause, reflect and be on the side of caution in the Syrian conflict. All is not well at home. Our African elders always caution that – “a man who bends down for a full and unhindered view of the hairy anus of another man, should remember that while bending delivers better view of the object, it is a compromising position that exposes his own anus to the air”. It is not the right of one state, no matter how rich and powerful, to dictate the leadership of another. There are spiritual laws that govern human existence, like for example the law of sowing and reaping. Within Obama’s national security apparatus are moles working to bring him down. In the history of American presidency, never have the national security details and decisions of The United States of America been leaked to friends and foes to the extent of the Obama era. Months ago it was Mr Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Today it is Edward Snowden and tomorrow who knows? A man who lives in a glasshouse does not throw stones carelessly. These leaks, and threats of more to come, have pitched Obama’s administration and its credibility against many powerful world capitals and citizens. Therefore involving America in another Middle East war that has no clear exits and boundaries, is tantamount to a suicide, particularly as European nations will not jump with President Obama on this one. Unless of course a curse has been placed on America, its leaders and allies, that henceforth their economic powers shall be spent from one war to the next until brought to their knees militarily and economically. I hope that’s not the case. A word to a wise is enough.
Obama should be reminded that five years into his presidency, Africa has remained the same – corruption has intensified; the national treasury of Africa continues to be looted by multinationals and African politicians to safe heavens in America, Europe and Middle East; environmental pollution has intensified; wars and terrorism are on the rise in Africa thanks to weapons and training provided to rebels during the Libyan conflict. Africans still remember the generosity and obvious commitments from former American presidents like George Bush Jnr and Bill Clinton. President Bush, under the terms of his proposed Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) pledged $15 billion towards fighting HIV/AIDS. President Bill Clinton often referred to as the “first Black President”, created the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), a landmark piece of legislation that opened up American markets to African countries.
Where is the footprint of President Obama on Africa? What will four more years of Barack Obama contribute to the future of Africa? Dr. Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, Director of the Lagos-based Centre for Public Policy Analysis, argues that Obama is in a “conflicted position” — compelled to exercise caution in his engagement with Africa “for fear that such a position will become ammunition in the hands of the lunatic right, Tea Party types and those who insist he is not an American and is really a Muslim.”(Tolu Ogunlesi, CNN). President Obama cannot hide under the cover of such arguments forever. Rather than commit America to a looming bottomless Middle East regional war, Obama should work for peace, employ the cost savings in improving the quality of lives of poor Americans and invest in liberating Africa from the hands of corrupt politicians. Africa’s problem is not dictatorship but the inability to retain its wealth on its shores. A gift to Africa from President Obama in the form of for example, getting American and European lawmakers to deny visa to corrupt African politicians and their families for at least 10 years, will go a long way instilling sanity in African politicians. President Obama should also consider hunting down and repatriating stolen African wealth, particularly those in America. Africa doesn’t need hand to mouth aids from Europe and America. The continent’s wealth stacked in European and American banks and others tied in landed properties are enough to rebuild its ailing infrastructure and shape a future for generations to come. CIA, FBI and NSA are in full view of the locations of stolen African wealth. Please Mr President, rather than another costly war, command your troops to hunt down and capture looted African wealth. Doing so will not only cement your legacy and reward in gold on earth but also in heaven. Amen!
GIVE LIFE AND A FUTURE TO SYRIA – NOT DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.