Idea of limited pin-point strike on Syria is ‘blatantly absurd’

Afshin Rattansi
Afshin Rattansi is a journalist, author of “The Dream of the Decade – the London Novels” and an RT Contributor. Afshin Rattansi began his journalism career on The (London) Guardian in the late 1980s as one of the newspaper’s youngest ever columnists. He went on to work for Britain’s Channel 4, BBC, Al Jazeera Arabic, CNN International and Bloomberg Television and many other media. In the run-up to the Lehman Brothers crash of 2008, he published a collection of four of his novels as “The Dream of the Decade – The London Novels.” As US pressure increased on Iran, Afshin moved to Tehran to anchor the news on the new satellite TV channel, Press TV which was later banned in Britain. He set up Alternate Reality Productions in London in 2010 making Double Standards, a comedy satire show as well as other TV news commissions. His writing has also appeared in the New Statesman; Counterpunch; The Oldie; Plays and Players; Mitchell Beazley’s Encyclopaedia of 21st Century; The Journal of the British Astronomical Association; Association of Lloyd's Members Journal; Critical Quarterly; Makers of Modern Culture (Routledge, 2007); “Brought To Book” (Penguin, 1994); Flaunt; Attitude. He is a founder member of the Frontline Club in London and he won the Sony Award for outstanding contribution to international media in 2002.
It is up to China and Russia to influence the West to engage Syria in diplomacy and outline the serious consequences for Washington and London if they act outside the standards of international law, believes RT contributor Afshin Rattansi.

Rattansi also highlighted US hypocrisy surrounding the use of chemical weapons, saying that US troops have used prohibited warfare tactics as recently as the Iraq War with the use of white phosphorous.

RT:Looks like the US, the UK are ready to act, looks like France and Turkey will go along with it, it’s all but done and dusted, it’s going to happen do you think intervention here?

Afshin Rattansi:
As the previous report was saying, the American networks were saying, it could happen within the next 48 hours. The cruise missile strikes, the very calibrated western media, more or less explaining, desperately trying to explain to the population that don’t want any such attack, that it is necessary and the redline was crossed and therefore it must happen.

RT:But of course there’s been no UN mandate to do this yet, at the same time UK parliament has been recalled for Thursday, NATO is planning an emergency meeting tomorrow, is the UN going to give that mandate any time soon?

AR: Of course, the UN will never give that mandate, the National Security Council of Britain is meeting because David Cameron the Prime Minister foreshortened his holiday, it’s interesting that the National Security Council was set up in 2010, to talk about the National Security of this country Britain and most of that was about al-Qaeda, that nebulous concept and Britain and the United States are now supporting al-Qaeda linked groups. If anything one would see a normal scenario that countries should come to the aid of the Assad government. Against those al-Qaeda linked brigades that certainly Carla Del Ponte the UN weapons inspector a few months ago said were responsible for chemical attacks.

AFP Photo / Youtube / Moadamiyet Al-Sham Media Centre


RT:The UN inspectors are still working to establish what did or did not happened there, but they have not come forward with any clear, concise information yet. Is it going to make any difference anyway, even if they did?

AR: No difference at all. They are staying in a very nice hotel- the Four Seasons in Damascus. As for the rest of Syria, the Russians have delivered humanitarian aid and they have started evacuating people. The UN weapons inspectors, we hear it from memoirs like Blix, ElBaradei the pressure they are put under. We, of course know now from Edward Snowden that the UN headquarters is bugged so those inspectors presumably have surveillance devises on them. The honorable thing one might argue is for all of them to resign all in mass because they are supposed to be creating peace. Whatever report they come out with will be construed in a way to justify the kind of US attacks that people are envisaging.

But we all know, it is the Americans that used chemical weapons whether in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia.  I think they are celebrating a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., someone who was opposed to US chemical attacks and we now know about the CIA and Saddam’s support for the use of them against Iran. And of course the Americans used them in Fallujah, white phosphorous. So the idea that NATO countries can talk about the use of chemical weapons, when it’s them that have been using it. Those UN inspectors, let alone Ban Ki Moon, have a lot to answer for.

RT:Britain and the U.S. seem convinced that any military operation will last for just a couple of days – do you agree?

AR: The institute of war studies in the US, Chris Harmer who devised the Tomahawk Strategy, supposedly says- yes, pinpoint accuracy, this would work- he is now distancing himself from those remarks saying, it isn’t a way forward. Israel has started supplying gas masks to its population. According to Chinese news agencies, Israel does not have enough gas masks. The other people are saying the USS Gravely, the USS Mahan, the USS Barry and the USS Ramage - there are four destroyers in the Mediterranean - the relatives of those thousand troops on those ships better start asking questions, because Syria has Iskander guided missiles that can penetrate those ships. So if Syria does react, certainly the idea of this being a short conflict is blatantly absurd.

RT:Syria's Foreign Minister says the alleged chemical attack was launched by rebels and foreign mercenaries. Is there any possibility they had access to chemical weapons?

AR: The important question here is that Britain the United States and France, let alone Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been supplying the Al Nusra Front, whether avowedly, by mistake or whatever.  The whole horrific idea of those chemical being used is of no relevance to what we are now talking about, a possibility of a scenario that would kill way more children, create way more refugees. The UN is talking about 1 million children refugees at the moment. The people now in the dark are the NATO countries themselves and if anything, it is up to world powers on the UN Security Council, Russia and China to get together and explain to Washington and London that there would be serious consequences for both of them if they act outside any standards of post WWII international law

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