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US backs Israel’s ‘sovereignty’ over Golan Heights, proving sovereignty is not something it respects

Danielle Ryan
Danielle Ryan
is an Irish freelance writer based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in Salon, The Nation, Rethinking Russia, teleSUR, RBTH, The Calvert Journal and others. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleRyanJ
US backs Israel’s ‘sovereignty’ over Golan Heights, proving sovereignty is not something it respects
The US’s “recognition” of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory is brazen – but it’s no surprise. Washington itself violates the sovereignty of other countries with such regularity that it barely even raises eyebrows anymore.

US President Donald Trump signed a declaration on Monday recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the disputed, strategically important and (surprise!) resource-rich region. In a joint press conference with Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the declaration “historic justice.”

Back in reality, the Golan Heights is recognized as Syrian territory in international law, having been seized by Israel in a land grab during the Six-Day War in 1967 and later officially annexed in a 1981 Israeli law.

The New York Times editorial board called Trump’s move a pointless provocation and said it had “more to do with Israeli politics than American interests.” It also just so happens that there are some great big oil reserves in the area and, well, you can do the math. The NYT is 100 percent correct, but the newspaper hardly deserves high praise for taking such a stance, having been a cheerleader for illegal US military interventions all over the world during the last two decades.

But American journalists don’t seem to do irony, having just spent the better part of three years accusing Russia of “meddling” in a US election, while diligently ignoring the blatant fact that the US has been the world’s meddler extraordinaire for decades. Only, the Washington meddlers don’t do it with Facebook memes and Twitter trolls, they engineer violent coups, overthrow democratically elected governments and install military dictatorships, all while preaching ad nauseam about democracy and human rights.

Also on rt.com Trump signs declaration recognizing Israel's sovereignty over disputed Golan Heights

Violating international law is as American as apple pie. While there is always the outright invasion (Iraq and Afghanistan) or the “humanitarian intervention” (Libya), Washington uses various creative methods to violate the national sovereignty of other nations on a regular basis.

Take Ukraine, where, in 2013, the Obama administration manipulated and exploited societal and political divisions and helped to engineer a violent coup, which led to civil war in the country's eastern regions and propelled the rapid growth and influence of Ukrainian neo-Nazi groups – all, essentially, because Washington, 5,000 miles away, was worried that Moscow had too much influence over its next-door neighbor.

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In Iran, the Trump administration restored the US sanctions that were finally lifted by the Obama administration under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. This in itself is a violation of Iran’s sovereignty, by preventing it from engaging in normal business relations with other countries and attempting to cripple its economy from the outside. Economic sanctions are regularly used by the US as a bat to beat their adversaries into submission, yet pundits talk about these measures as though they are some kind of gentle, arm-twisting method of achieving US goals without full-on military force. How generous.

Back in Syria, it’s hardly just Trump’s declaration of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory that deserves a mention. The US has de-facto occupied parts of Syria itself, too. Not only have US troops violated Syrian territory (not to mention Trump’s illegal bombing of Syrian government forces), they have also trained and funded anti-government rebel forces who are deeply intertwined with Al Qaeda terrorists, prolonging a devastating war in an effort to further its own geostrategic aims in the region. So much for human rights.

Venezuela is one of the latest examples of Washington’s blatant breaches of another country’s national sovereignty. The Trump administration brazenly declared an unelected (and, at the time, almost unknown) opposition politician to be the rightful president of Venezuela, while calling for the immediate overthrow of the country’s current president, Nicolas Maduro. But again, there should be no surprise here. Latin America has been Washington’s regime-change playground for decades. The US engineered coups in Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964, Chile in 1973 and Argentina in 1976, to name just a few.

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On the other side of the world, Bill Clinton launched a NATO bombing campaign in the former Yugoslavia in 1999, without UN approval (what’s new?), purportedly to end human rights abuses against ethnic Albanians, ultimately later recognizing Kosovo as independent from Serbia. The operation left hundreds dead, many more injured and civilian infrastructure in ruins. NATO forces even bombed the headquarters of Radio Television of Serbia, killing 16 employees – and not by mistake, either. Tony Blair later declared that the TV station was a “propaganda machine” and therefore a “legitimate target.”

With a record like this, it is truly laughable for the US to sermonize about democracy or to pontificate about a “rules-based international order” as it legitimizes Israel’s theft of the Golan Heights.

The superpower continues to flout international law at every hand’s turn and is consistently given a pass by the valiant “watchdogs” of US media – who, just like the warmongers in Washington, are nearly always up for a good old regime-change war or humanitarian intervention – and woe betide those who dare question them.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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