By Peter Korzun
April 16, 2018
Is the US sincere in its fury about the alleged chemical attack in Syria? If this were more than theatrics, it would repent of its role in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. More than 30 years ago the Iraqi regime was regularly delivering devastating chemical barrages against Iran. The US knew all along that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader at the time, had been using mustard gas and sarin since 1983. Roughly 20,000 Iranian troops were killed by chemical weapons (CW) in that war.
No emergency UN Security Council meetings were convened, no warships capable of striking land targets with cruise missiles rushed toward Iraqi shores, no belligerent statements were issued, and no sustained military operations were announced. Quite the opposite, the US provided the regime with intelligence. This is an example of how satellite imagery was used to violate human rights. The US assistance was not limited to providing just military data. Arms were funneled in via Middle East allies.
Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy to the Middle East, visited Baghdad in 1983 to shake hands with Saddam Hussein. It was the US and only the US that protected Iraq in the UN against Iran’s charges of CW use. The 1925 Geneva Protocol states that the signatories are to induce other states not to use CW.
In 1988, the Iraqi regime killed 5,000 of its own citizens in Halabja, Iraqi Kurdistan. The US sought to obscure Baghdad’s responsibility by falsely accusing Tehran, despite the fact that Iran did not possess CW.
Washington turned a blind eye toward the use of CW by jihadists in Syria. It did not react when members of the UN independent commission of inquiry warned of its “strong suspicions” that it was the rebels, not the government, who had used CW in that war-torn country.
The US used deadly substances in Syria and Iraq, such as , breaching International Humanitarian Law. The use of white phosphorus munitions in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in 2004 has been acknowledged by US officials. That is an incendiary weapon prohibited by the 1980
The use of US cluster bombs against civilians in Yemen is a violation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). Unlike Russia, the US has failed to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It has also refused to join the 1997 Ottawa Convention, which bans antipersonnel land mines (the Mine Ban Treaty).
The US never stopped working on its biological programs. It operates 25 bio-labs around the world in violation of the UN Biological Weapons Convention. Russia is concerned about the fact that the US has bioweapons programs in place near its borders in Ukraine and Georgia. A leak could lead to mass epidemics that would spread to Russia. No borders exist for killer insects.
The State Department described the alleged CW attack in Douma as “horrifying”. It said so even before the OPCW experts arrived there on April 13. Its statement claims that Russia’s support of the Syrian government is a betrayal of the CWC. No statement coming out of Foggy Bottom has ever declared that the US government is sorry for its multiple violations of international agreements, universally accepted norms of conduct, or for the people who have died or suffered as a result of its misdeeds. Perhaps American diplomats see nothing “horrifying” here.
The State Department fails to explain why a multinational invasion of Syria could be justified by something that might prove a hoax. Besides, no one has proved that anything like a CW attack took place in Douma at all. Should multinational forces invade the US because of its violations of international law? Could anyone in his right mind believe the US is really worried about the Syrian civilians who allegedly suffered as a result of the attack it says has taken place?
Last year, it took the US military about 48 hours to kill 100 civilians in Raqqa. One thousand eight hundred civilians overall lost their lives over the course of the US-led offensive to oust Islamic State fighters during that operation. There was no State Department comment on what happened. Were those civilians different from the ones in Douma?
State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert believes Russia bears responsibility for the CW attack because it “shields” Syria. By doing so, it “has breached its commitments to the United Nations.” She has a lot of nerve saying that, given all the numerous violations and illegal activities her country conducts practically in broad daylight. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.