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Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies. Relations between us have passed through different stages. We stood against each other during the Cold War. But we were also allies once, and defeated the Nazis together. The universal international organisation - the United Nations - was then established to prevent such devastation from ever happening again.

The United Nations' founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America's consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades.

No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorisation. The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the Pope, will result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders.

Heavenly Armies ‘Can the Muslim armies not intervene?’ A rhetorical but burning question on Hizb ut-Tahrir website. Hizb – the party of liberation – is a transnational Islamist organisation. Banned in some Muslim countries but not in ‘infidel’ Britain, it agitates for a resurrected caliphate: a unified Islamic state spread over several Muslim nations, perhaps like the defunct, unmissed Ottoman Empire.

What do the Hizbies mean by Muslim armies? Armies composed of Muslims or armies fighting for Islam, i.e. jihad? Two things not at all identical. More cogently, which armies do they invoke? Turkey’s and Egypt’s, it turns out. Bizarre. Because, a) the Egyptian army has carried out a coup/purge against an Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood, and jailed its leaders. It sends out no signals that it wishes to invade Syria - quite the opposite.

Axis of Evil

Iran, Iraq and North Korea formed an ‘axis of evil’, declared President Bush in 2002. A piece of crude, droll propaganda, churned out in prelude to the infamous invasion and destruction of Iraq. As Western war on Syria looms, the priest wonders: what if the true axis of evil was elsewhere? What if America, France and Britain were it? Three malignant, diabolical and basically stupid powers, whose leaders are hell-bent on causing worldwide mischief and harm? Just possible? Or probable? Maybe even true?

Objection: the illustrious British Parliament has just voted against the bombing of Syria and PM Cameron has taken notice. Imperfect axis, surely? A bit (dare I say it?) like Italy dropping out of the axis with Germany and Japan in 1943, after Mussolini was voted out of power by the Grand Council of Fascism.

Editor's Comment - I don’t subscribe to the usual leftwing cliché of oil being the primary factor for US foreign policy in the region. If the oil-based regimes are already US-puppets and they need to sell their oil for revenue then why the need to launch wars. Of course, there is increasing demand from China and India with greater demands for energy but these nations are unlikely to pose a challenge to the Anglo- US-Israeli hegemony in the region. I do agree with the article on the following points:
a) The attack on Syria has a short-term objective to contain and attack Iran and cut off Hezbollah
b) The US long-term plan, based on the report of General Wesley Clerk narrates the plan to attack seven countries in the region including Syria
c) Accordingly, the US will be aiding the Salafi-Jihadist elements and stoking sectarian conflict, certainly the media coverage and the recent events supports this.
d) The point about the Russian influenced pipeline of Iran-Ira-Syria, as opposed to the Qatar based pipeline explains why the Russians have been so vocal this time. Add to this to the media reports of the Saudis threatening to unleash the Chechens in the Russian Olympics.

On 21 August, hundreds - perhaps over a thousand - people were killed in a chemical weapon attack in Ghouta, Damascus, prompting the US, UK, Israel and France to raise the spectre of military strikes against Bashir al Assad's forces. The latest episode is merely one more horrific event in a conflict that has increasingly taken on genocidal characteristics. The case for action at first glance is indisputable. The UN now confirms a death toll over 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom have been killed by Assad's troops. An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. International observers have overwhelmingly confirmed Assad's complicity in the preponderance of war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people. The illegitimacy of his regime, and the legitimacy of the uprising, is clear.