Here’s what the USA supports in Syria… a new Taliban, no?
The visit to Lebanon of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, comes at an especially difficult time for the region’s Christians. The so-called Arab Spring, praised in the USA and the EU, proved to be a disaster for Christians in Egypt, who became victims of several terrorist acts during the last year. It looks more and more like a disaster for Christians in Syria too, where Western-supported rebel forces are increasingly showing anti-Christian inclinations, acting according to their infamous unofficial slogan “Christians to Lebanon, Alawis to graves”. However, the Pope was remarkably reserved in his support for his co-religionists in Syria and Lebanon, being obviously afraid to go against the pro-rebel Western mainstream.
After his arrival in Lebanon today, the Pope limited himself to calling for a stop of arms sales to Syria, without being specific whether he meant just the Syrian government or the rebel forces too, saying, “Without arms imports, the war can’t continue”. The problem is that the Western governments also call for cessation of arms sales to Syria, but under the word “Syria”, they mean the state, not the country. The CIA and other American agencies make no secret out of their military aid to the rebel forces, and the Turkish government doesn’t shy away from openly supplying the rebels with deadly portable anti-aircraft missile-launchers. Once these arms find their way to the hands of al-Qaeda’s fighters (and the Western press recently finally lifted the taboo on reporting these fighters’ presence in the rebel ranks), they can be used against civilian and military planes of al-Qaeda’s enemies… i.e. all the countries of the civilised world.
Unlike Patriarch Kirill, who was unequivocal in his support for Syrian Christians during his visit in November 2011 to Damascus, the Pope remained very vague in his statements. In Lebanon also, he tried to cater to both the pro-Assad and pro-rebel audiences, which divide this small country almost evenly by half, saying upon his arrival, “All the people of the Arab countries and elsewhere have the right to demand reforms, and we are with them. Christians and Muslims should unite themselves to bring about a foundation for a real Arab Spring”. Despite the fact that talk about “reforms” is a little out of place in Lebanon, where dozens of people have already been killed in conflicts connected to the crisis in neighbouring Syria, and that such talk would be out of place 100 percent in Syria, a country unaware of anything else because of terrorist violence, this phrase indicates the Pope’s tacit opposition to the mainstream Western thinking on the Middle East.
Obviously, if the Pope dreams about some “real” Arab Spring, the current epic mess, so much praised in the Western media, isn’t the “real” Arab Spring. And from here, one needs to make just one step to the ultimate “sin” in the eyes of the existing Western “liberal gendarmerie” (an expression from the Russian 19th century magazine lexicon denoting intolerant supporters of “progress at all costs”)… namely, calling for a stop to outside intervention in Syria. This is exactly what a journalist from the French daily Le Figaro was getting at when he grilled with questions the Pope’s “second in command” in the Roman Catholic Church, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, one day before the Pope’s visit.
The journalist asked, “The attitude of the Catholic church towards the régime in Damascus has often been viewed as too irresolute. What does the Holy See think about the Syrian conflict now?” Bertone responded, toeing the Western line, “From the beginning of the crisis, the Pope made every effort to condemn the violence and the loss of life. With the same vigour, Benedict XVI supported the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people”. However, then, he made an important addition which looks much closer to the Russian position than to the “pro-revolutionary” position of the USA and the EU, “The Pope several times called on both sides to reject violence and to engage each other in a dialogue, resolving through reconciliation the difficult questions for the good of the country and of the whole region”.
One can point up here that the Russian side called for a “dialogue” and “reconciliation” from the very beginning of the conflict, so these are words from the Russian vocabulary. The Western powers preferred expressions like “immediate resignation of Assad”, “exerting pressure”, and “decisive blow”, discussing not ways towards reconciliation, but towards more effective arming and financing the Syrian rebels. There’s no wonder that, in this situation, the Christian communities of Syria and Lebanon don’t believe their “brethren” in the EU and the USA. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the only Christian president of an Arab country, said recently that the West was “out of its mind” to “destroy one of the few remaining secular regimes in the Arab world”… Syria.
The tragic plight of Christians in Western-“liberated” Iraq speaks for itself… even according to the US State Department report on religious freedom around the world, out of 1.4 million Christians who lived in Iraq before the American invasion in 2003, only about 500,000 remain. The Christian communities in Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt are also shrinking… not without some “help” from American foreign policy. In this situation, it is time for the Pope to take sides… not between communities, but between good and evil.
14 September 2012
Voice of Russia World Service