September 7, 2013


Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike using
phosphorus shells at a UN school in 2009. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP

Harper's line:

"I think what we have been seeing over the past several months is the Syrian government, which finds itself in a stalemate, believes that it can win... the civil war in Syria through the use of chemical weapons. And they have been step-by-step ratcheting up that usage to see if anyone is going to challenge it."

"I fear that if no one does challenge it, they will use chemical weapons on a scale way beyond anything we have seen to date to win that war. And if that ever happens, I believe, as I told the leaders that last night, that is a precedent that humanity will regret for generations to come."

"... And so obviously we are very supportive of those of our allies who want to take action to try and prevent this development from going further, trying to dissuade the Syrian regime from this course of action."

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper speaking at the G20 Summit

Reality check:

Imperialism’s “disgust” at the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria is utterly hypocritical, given that it has been the main violator of international covenants banning the use of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

In addition to the use of nuclear weapons against civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during the Second World War, there is credible evidence of its use of biological weapons during the Korean War, its widespread use of napalm and other chemical agents during the Vietnam War, and its use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium weapons in Iraq.

US imperialism also ‘looked the other way’ when Iraq used chemical weapons in 1988 during the Iraq-Iran conflict because it was anxious to weaken and defeat the Iranian regime for its own imperialist interests.

The use of chemical or other WMDs is a heinous war crime.  Back in May, UN Human Rights investigator Carla del Ponte concluded that "According to the testimonies we have gathered, the rebels have used chemical weapons, making use of sarin gas."

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