Guardian clashes with much of the Islamic world over U.S. military action in Syria

The likelihood that the Guardian would eventually publish an editorial opposing U.S. led military action in Syria in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons to murder of hundreds of civilians, and that the op-ed would evoke the 2003 Iraq War, was something approaching an empirical certainty.

Sure enough, yesterday, Guardian editors launched their pre-emptive polemical attack against even limited Western military action: 


Here are the highlights from their editorial:

The West’s ‘war against Arabs and Muslims’

“After eight western interventions in Arab or Muslim countries in 15 years, sceptical generals and a hostile western public at large are entitled to answers.”

It’s about Iraq, stupid!

“Specifically in Syria, the most toxic and enduring element of the civil war – the sectarian battle between Sunnis and Shias – though a historic one, is a product of the way US forces used Shia militia when they first came under sustained attack from Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Syria is so intractable not just because of where it is, and who its neighbours are, but because the damage caused by such interventions is cumulative.”

Iran and Russia, the peacemakers:

“The return to Geneva [for peace talks] has to involve Russia and Iran, both of whom have acknowledged that chemical weapons have been used in Syria but blame their use on jihadi groups fighting on the rebel side

If the process of trying to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria was kept within the framework of the UN, or if, as the price of avoiding an airstrike, Iran could back the idea of a permanent UN presence in Syria monitoring Mr Assad’s stocks of chemical weapons, then a way back to the negotiating table could be found.”

Anyone familiar with Guardian editorials on the Middle East would surely recognize the narrative – a template for opposing military action in the Middle East which is employed seemingly regardless of the particular circumstances. 

Interestingly, however, especially in the context of the paper’s political sympathies towards the Arab and Muslim world, if you were to visit the homepage of The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – which defines their group as representing “the collective voice of the Muslim world” – you’d see the following:


Here are highlights from their statement on Syria:

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reiterated its condemnation of the dreadful attack on the suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus with internationally banned chemical weapons, inflicting a heavy loss of lives among civilians. 

The General Secretariat also stressed the need to hold the Syrian Government legally and morally accountable for this heinous crime and to bring its perpetrators to justice. It called on the Security Council to discharge its duty of preserving international security and stability, take a unified position against this monstrous crime and its perpetrators, and put an end to such violations, while reaffirming OIC’s consistent position on the preservation of Syria’s unity and stability. 

The General Secretariat indicated that this attack is a blatant affront to all religious and moral values and a deliberate disregard of international laws and norms, which requires a decisive action. 

The stance echoes an even more definitive resolution by the organization of Arab Gulf states (GCC), which earlier condemned the attack and called on the UN Security Council to authorize decisive action. 

Remarkably, such the positions suggest that much of the Arab and Muslim world doesn’t see a limited attack against Syrian military assets as representing an ‘attack against Muslims’, that they don’t give a damn what the Russians or Iranians think, and are not haunted by the fact that 10 years ago NATO forces launched a major war in Iraq and put an end to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Whilst the motivations of Muslim and Arab states supporting Western intervention in Syria vary, they certainly aren’t paralyzed by the obtuse historical understanding and crippling ideology which informs a Guardian Left groupthink that surrenders to pacifism, if not cold indifference, in the face of even the most barbaric Muslim on Muslim violence in the MIddle East.

24 replies »

  1. Given the recent atrocities in Egypt, does CiFWatch support military intervention there against the military government?

    The headline here – “The Guardian clashes with the Islamic world” – is rather silly, btw.
    Clearly, opinion on Syria is much divided in the “Islamic world” (whatever that is supposed to mean anyway).

    • We have no official position on the intervention, but I personally find it incredible that the Guardian’s opposition to US or Western intervention in the Muslim and Arab world is so zealous that they’re not willing to consider adopting a different position regardless of how many Muslims are dying, and, per my post, regardless of how many other Muslims support such intervention.

    • Pretz:

      “Given the recent atrocities in Egypt, does CiFWatch support military intervention there against the military government?”

      Hardly the same thing as what is happening in Syria.

  2. I am opposed to the U.K. taking part in military action in, or over, Syria.

    Not because I am a pacifist, because I am NOT a pacifist.
    Not because I object to taking part in military action in principle, because when it is justified I will support it.

    Because, I do not know what interests of the U.K. are served by military intervention.
    Yes, I mean interests. Please save me from all the Bullshit about ‘moral justification’ or ‘legal grounds’ Show and convince me that the interests of the U.K. are best served by intervening in Syria, or anywhere else, and I’ll support it. But cut all the crap about ‘morality’ or ‘legality’ it will be war, even if limited, and people will die.

    Before military intervention I would also want to know;
    What is/are the objective/s of the action?
    What if the objective/s are NOT achieved?
    What if the objective/s ARE achieved?
    What interests of the U.K. are served by intervention?

    And, please, no more sob stories about what is happening in Syria. As one of my favourite ‘politicians’ wrote millennia ago ” A tear dries quickly when it is shed for troubles of others.”

    • Gerald, I couldn’t agree more. It saddens me that so many immediately take a position either 100% supportive of, or 100% against military intervention per se, then seek justifications for that position. Rationally, it is clear that military action is justified (and more to the point, has a constructive purpose) in some cases (e.g. Kosovo) and not in others (e.g. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait).

      In the case of Syria, I believe that the West is under terribly conflicting pressures. It wants to further its interests in the region clearly, but it doesn’t like either side in this conflict. It wants to be seen as firmly against those that use chemical weapons, but is desperate to avoid another long, costly military commitment or the reputational damage of civilian casualties etc.

      Personally, I would not support military intervention until Gerald’s questions are clearly answered – although I would suggest that even if David Cameron is satisfied that they are, the chances of us mere mortals being told are very slim indeed.

    • I’m opposed to any Western military action in Syria.
      There many reasons:
      All military/political intervention in the last years, meddling by in Muslim affairs by the West has been a fiasco. Even leaving Afghanistan and Iraq alone, the amazingly amateurish and clueless US president successfully supported politically the destruction of the disgusting but the least dangerous, relatively West-friendly, relatively moderate and stable regime of Mubarak, supported its replacement with an openly Islamist and antidemocratic government and a year later when the military with the support of the huge majority of Egyptians put an end to their efforts to turn Egypt back to the middle ages they started to crying about a military coup what two days later suddenly became not a coup but who knows what. They helped militarily to destroy the also disgusting but stable and already pacified Gadhafi regime replacing it with chaos and the rule of different shades of Islamist militias. They threatened with strong reaction the crossing of the red lines with using poison gas in Syria – without defining the wavelength of red in the color spectrum. The strong reaction meant expressing “grave concern”. When they realized that they became the laughing stock of Assad and Iran then suddenly decided to send a message executing a military action declaring in advance that they won’t really hurt Assad and co. All what they achieved were threats against Israel by Iran, Syria and Russia. (BTW I somehow didn’t find in the news the UN condemning their blatantly illegal threats against another UN member – not involved in the hostilities – with retaliation.) Now with the UK leaving and Obama hesitating they successfully sent a message to Syria, Iran and Russia that their threats work, they can believe their own rhetoric, they don’t need to take the Western paper tiger seriously and they are free to do what they want with threats and WMDs.
      Without being blessed with any prophetic skills the probable scenario of a Western bombing raid would be something like this:
      -The US, UK coalition bombs some militarily irrelevant sites, kills some civilians (if not then Pallywood would deliver the necessary photos anyway to the Guardian/BBC/PressTV complex)
      -If we are lucky the matter is closed no harm has been done especially not for Syria or Iran
      -If we are less lucky then Syria/Iran either themselves or using their proxies Hezbollah/Hamas would attack Israel wit launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli population centers. If they really used (as per their threats) strategic weapons – means chemical/biological warheads then obviously the ME would go up in a nuclear mushroom cloud – the problem solved. If they are happy with using traditional weapons only then Israel retaliates.
      -The following day the UN would demand restraint from both sides, the EU and the UNHRC would condemn Israel because its use of disproportionate force, Erdogan would demand from Obama to stop the Zionist war criminals, Obama would demand restraint from Israel, in Europe there would be a renewed violent anti-semite campaign (what the EU can’t justify only understand) and Israel would mourn its dead.

  3. Meanwhile in the “Islamic world” …

    Israeli soldiers dancing with Palestinians in Hebron!

    • Do we know what really happened in Kosovo any more than we know what is happening in Syria?

      NATO Fraud

      There Was No Genocide In Kosovo

      UN Court And Western Military Witnesses Confirm NATO Claims Of Genocide By Serbs In Kosovo Were False

      How NATO’s Hugely Successful Anti-Serb Propaganda Efforts In The 1990s
      Became A Model For The Bogus ‘Public Relations’ Campaign For The 2003 Invasion Of Iraq

      “A United Nations court has ruled that Serbian troops did not carry out genocide against ethnic Albanians during Slobodan Milosevic’s campaign of aggression in Kosovo from 1998 to 1999… The court, which is comprised of two international judges and one Albanian, was ruling on the case of a Serb, Miroslav Vuckovic, convicted of genocide by a district court in Mitrovica”.
      Kosovo assault ‘was not genocide’
      BBC Online, 7 September 2001

      What we did made things very much worse Lord Carrington

      (And more on the page)

      “…. it was impossible for Milosevic to accept the Rambouillet [peace] agreement because what it asked him to do was allow Nato to use Serbia as a part of the Nato organisation. Sovereignty would have been lost over it. He couldn’t accept that. I think what Nato did by bombing Serbia actually precipitated the exodus of the Kosovo Albanians into Macedonia and Montenegro. I think the bombing did cause the ethnic cleansing. I’m not sticking up for the Serbs because I think they behaved badly and extremely stupidly by removing the autonomy of Kosovo, given them by Tito, in the first place. But I think what we did made things very much worse and what we are now faced with is a sort of ethnic cleansing in reverse. The Serbs are now being cleared out [of Kosovo by the Albanians]. I think it’s a great mistake to intervene in a civil war. I don’t think [Milosevic] is any more a war criminal than President Tudjman of Croatia who ethnically cleansed 200,000 Serbs out of Kyrenia [with the secret help of the CIA]. Nobody kicked up a fuss about that. I think we are a little bit selective about our condemnation of ethnic cleansing, in Africa as well as in Europe.”
      Lord Peter Carrington – British Defence Secretary (1970/74), British Foreign Secretary (1979/1982), Secretary General Of NATO (1984/1988)

      I don’t see a mention of the Muslim hired PR that got NATO into the Balkans in the first place.

      • And your point is … ?

        I don’t see a mention of the Muslim hired PR that got NATO into the Balkans in the first place.

        Is that it?

  4. ” in response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons to murder of hundreds of civilians ”

    It seems obvious that you support US led strikes but nothing is certain. If you do then as with Iraq my question would be “how many civilians are you planning to kill”? Because that is what they are doing.

    Some guy will be on a computer now working out exactly how many will die and factoring public response to more dead Muslims .There will be an equation to work out what is acceptable and what isn’t. Hidden factors such as long term damage to sewage and water pipes will be ignored. US blacks can sit at the front of the bus but foreign Muslims get squashed under both sets of wheels.

    And still the half million pound missiles will rain down paid for by tax payers whose government cannot even put out their own fires.

  5. I can’t understand why the West is obliged to save a country – a member of the Arab League whose unified military capability is more than enough to intervene putting an end to this religious/sectarian conflict and preventing the continuation of the slaughtering of the Syrian people by the husband of the Vogue’s favorite rose plus their heart-chewing Islamist opponents. The only reasonable action by the West would be a massive humanitarian aid campaign for the non-combatant civil population as Israel already does treating the wounded Syrian refugees in Israeli hospitals.

    • I agree I think Turkey and Saudia should do it. But they are samrt enought to just say Assad should be stop but prefer the west to do the job for them.

      • Hoe exactly would Saudia do it?
        Fly over Iraq with its Shiite PM? Fly over Jordan dragging her into it or flying over Israel?

        Saudia knows full well that if it gets involved beyond the chear leading role it takes Iran will start targeting it.
        Turkey is nothing more than a regime ran by a terrorist apologist.