I’m confused, can anyone help me? Part 5

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
Migrants stage a protest in front of a train at Bicske railway station, Hungary. © Leonhard Foeger
I’m confused about quite a lot of things going on in the world. The West is supposed to be fighting ISIS, yet seems keener on toppling a government which is fighting ISIS. A refugee crisis caused by Western interventions is being used as a pretext for more Western wars.

Elite media commentators keen to stress their humanitarianism, cry ‘something must be done’ about Syria, yet appear not to notice the on-going humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

There are violent anti-government protests again in Ukraine, but the reaction from the US is very different to when there were violent anti-government protests in Ukraine eighteen months ago. What on earth is going on? Perhaps you can help me sort out my confusion…

The first thing I’m confused about is the refugee crisis currently affecting Europe.

The vast majority of refugees are coming from countries e.g. Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, which were targeted by the West for ‘regime change’ and which experienced bombing/invasion or destabilization by NATO powers and their regional allies.

We’re told by the West’s political elite and much of the media that in order to stop the influx of refugees to Europe we need to do more bombing.

But if bombing solves the problem of refugees, why are people fleeing from countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya that the West has already bombed?

How can more bombs and intervention solve a problem caused by bombs and intervention? And how can the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria stop ISIS, which doesn’t have an air force?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

On the subject of Syria I’m confused about the West’s obsession with toppling President Assad and his government. The secular Syrian government does not and did not threaten the West, and its sworn enemies are the groups- such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which we are supposed to have been fighting ‘a war on terror’ against. If radical Islamist terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are such a danger, why are we still trying to topple a government which has been fighting them? Why does UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne say that the British Parliament’s refusal to support US-led air-strikes on the Syrian government in 2013 was “one of the worst decisions the House of Commons has ever made” when voting 'Yes' would have put the RAF on the same side as ISIS - a group which claimed responsibility for the killing of 30 British tourists on a beach in Tunisia earlier this summer? Surely if our leaders really wanted to defeat ISIS, they would be working with countries in the region that have a vested interest in defeating ISIS - like the government in Syria - and not working to overthrow them, which would only help ISIS.

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

It’s the proposed free trade deal between the free, open democracies of Europe, and that bastion of democracy the US, but the deal itself is shrouded in secrecy and can only be read by politicians in a secure reading room in Brussels.

If TTIP is so great- as its supporters claim, why can't we see its terms and provisions? Why in ‘democratic’ Europe, where our leaders all claim to support public participation in the political process, are we being kept in the dark over a deal which is likely to have a major impact on our daily lives? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused too about events in Yemen, and the lack of concern from Western ’humanitarian interventionists’ over what is happening in the country.

A Saudi-Arabian led alliance has been bombing Yemen since March - yet despite Amnesty International reporting that the bombing campaign has left a “bloody trail of civilian death and destruction paved with evidence of war crimes”- the West‘s “Something Must Be Done” brigade have been strangely silent.

“The civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict: a shocking four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced,” says Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

In Libya in 2011 we had a no-fly zone imposed to prevent massacres that might happen- in Yemen, we're seeing large scale casualties as a result of airstrikes but this time there’s no calls for NFZs from Western leaders or ‘liberal interventionists’ in the media.

Why was there a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians in Libya in 2011, but not a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians who are being killed in Yemen in 2015?

I'm confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about US policy towards anti-government protests in Ukraine which involve violence from ultra-nationalists.

In early 2014, there were violent protests against the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovich, protests in which ultra-nationalists played a prominent role. The US and its allies told the Ukrainian government that it was not allowed to use force against protestors, even though some of them smashed into government buildings and threw Molotov cocktails at police.

“We unequivocally condemn the use of force against civilians by security forces and urge that those forces be withdrawn immediately,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

But last week, when there were fresh anti-government protests involving ultra-nationalists in Kiev which also involved violence, the US’s line was rather different. “Law enforcement agencies need to exercise restraint, but there’s an obligation on the protestors to behave in a peaceful manner”- a State Department spokesman said. Why was there criticism of violent ultra-nationalist protestors in August 2015, but not criticism of violent ultra-nationalist protestors in February 2014? And why was the Ukrainian government given a fierce warning in 2014, but not one this time?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m also confused about the continuation of the sanctions war between the US and its allies and Russia. The OSCE report that things are calming down in eastern Ukraine.

Its Special Monitoring Mission report of 5th September said there were “few ceasefire violations in the Donetsk region and none in Lugansk.”

But despite this, the US and Britain are not talking about the easing of sanctions. On the contrary, there have been calls for sanctions to be extended. The economic damage of the sanctions war to EU economies has been put at $100 billion-with 2 million jobs at risk. Surely, seeing how things have calmed down in the Donbass region, and the damage that the sanctions war is doing to Europe, the sensible thing is for the sanctions to be eased or lifted altogether?

Or is there another agenda at work here, that has nothing to do with events in eastern Ukraine and which we’re not being told about?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about photographs of dead children and why some seem to affect the Western elites more than others. The photograph of poor little Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on the shore in Turkey, has been used to drum up support for bombing Syria.

Yet photographs of dead Palestinian children, killed in the Israeli offensive against Gaza last year, brought no such response. On the contrary, this week the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Britain and can expect to receive the red carpet treatment. Among the 539 killed by Israeli forces in Gaza were four children, aged between 9 and 11, who were killed while playing on the beach. Why did their deaths not lead to a political/media campaign for ‘action’ to be taken, as the death of Aylan Kurdi has?

The general public certainly cares: a petition calling for Netanyahu to be arrested for Israeli war crimes when he visits Britain received over 100,000 signatures, meaning that it has to be debated in Parliament. But government minister Eric Pickles dismissed the petition as ‘completely absurd’. Why is it ‘completely absurd’ to care about dead Palestinian children as well as dead Syrian ones?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

You can read I’m Confused Parts One, Two, Three and Four.

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