In its weekend supplement devoted to geopolitics French daily Le Mondepublished 8 March, 2013 a report entitled “Syrie : à Atmé, entre révolution et désenchantement” – “Syria: Atme, between revolution and disenchantment”- Christophe Ayad, a regular embedded journalist with NATO’s mercenary forces in Syria, reports on the mixture of despair and chaos that reigns in rebel controlled territory.
One of the rebels tells the French reporter that “three former soldiers of the Irish military elite” provided training to Syrian rebels. It is claimed the Irish soldiers were acting as “independent mercenaries”. These “former soldiers of the Irish military elite” are acting in violation of international law.
The 1981 UN Declaration on the Inadmissibility and Intervention in the Internal Affairs of States stresses the “imperative need for any threat of aggression, any recruitment, any use of armed bands, in particular mercenaries, against sovereign States to be completely ended, so as to enable the peoples of all States to determine their own political, economic and social systems without external interference or control.”
According to the Constitution of Ireland (Bunreacht na hÉireann), the Irish republic maintains a policy of military neutrality. This policy has been a foundation stone of the Irish state for many years. What relation do these former Irish military have to the Irish defense forces who are soon to be deployed as ‘peace-keepers’ in the Golan under a UN mandate?
All Irish retired military have state pensions and often maintain close links with military personnel in active service. If the deployment of Irish troops is approved by Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament), what guarantees are there that Irish troops will uphold international law, given the report above which shows that military personnel are already violating international law by training so-called ‘rebels’?
The Irish media have been trying to drum up public support for the deployment of Irish troops to the region by bumptiously claiming that the Irish presence will once again show that Ireland is ‘punching above its weight’. The Irish Herald, for example, claims that an Irish presence in Syria “will do our country proud”, referring to our “long peacekeeping tradition”. But what guarantee is there that Irish troops will behave in a neutral manner when former military elites are training some of the death squads overrunning the country and committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, while blaming those crimes on the Syrian government?
The ultra-reactionary Fine Gael party is pushing for Irish deployment in the Golan Heights but their labour partners are showing signs of possible hesitation over fears that the deployment would violate Ireland’s neutrality. The question of Irish military training one side in the conflict, confirmed by the Le Monde report, should be raised when discussing this issue.
The Moral Code of Imperialism
After the Second World War, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill scolded the Irish government for its neutral position during the war, stating that Britain had shown restraint in not invading the Irish Republic. Taoiseach Eamon De Valera responded that this would imply that:
Britain’s necessity would become a moral code and that when this necessity became sufficiently great, other people’s rights were not to count….this same code is precisely why we have the disastrous succession of wars… shall it be world war number three?
During the Cold War, America’s necessity became a “moral code” as Taoiseach Sean Lemass ordered the checking of all planes flying from the Warsaw Pact countries to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962-63. The Irish government did not show the same concern for the CIA’s rendition flights over Shannon Airport after the US invasion of Afghanistan, as US military planes were allowed to pass through Shannon without being checked by Irish authorities. In “world war number three”, Ireland’s neutrality is firmly slanted towards the aggressors.
Irish governments have a history of total hypocrisy in the observance of neutrality. The current coalition ruling party Fine Gael trace their roots back to the fascist Blueshirt organization of the 1930s, who fought on the side of General Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
Now, Fine Gael has plans to wreck the last vestiges of the principle of neutrality by seeking a mandate to send troops to the Golan Heights, while ‘former military elites’ train Zionism’s death squads in their war on the Syrian people. Fine Gael would appear to have not lost their affinity with far right militias and counter-revolutionaries.
Death Squads in Irish History
The fact the Irish government is going along with NATO’s war on Syria and military officials are training death squads on the ground inside that country is particularly sickening when viewed in the light of Irish history. During the Irish War of Independence, the British Empire sent death squads into Ireland to terrorize the Irish people into submission. The terrorist gangs were known as Black and Tans.
Syria’s fight for its independence from the US Empire is no different to the Irish fight in the 1920s, yet the reactionary Fine Gael/Labour government in Dublin is supporting the “Black and Tans” murdering and torturing the people of Syria, while blaming their crimes on the Syrian Arab Army, who are, mutatis mutandis, the equivalent to the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence.
Like Irish governments during the first decades of Irish independence, the Syrian Baath led government instituted vast agrarian reform throughout the 1960s that redistributed farms from landlords to poor peasants, greatly improving the standard of living of the working people. Now, the Irish government is supporting armed bandits who are fighting on behalf of expropriated landlords and foreign multinational corporations.
As for Sinn Féin, they have behaved like cowards and traitors since the NATO war on Libya in 2011. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi had always been a supporter of Sinn Féin, supplying the IRA (Irish Republican Army) with arms during the 1980s, yet the Irish ‘nationalist’ party turned its back on him and the Libyan people as NATO’s “black and tans” slaughtered all before them, reducing Africa’s richest and most promising country to ruins.
If the Sinn Féin leadership had had any courage or intelligence, they would have supported the proposals of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez for a ceasefire, a commission of inquiry into the allegations of war crimes by the Libyan government and the initiation of a peace process. Instead, Sinn Féin cowered in silence and went along with NATO’s neo-colonial war, a despicable position they have upheld since NATO’s war came to Syria.
Irish Child Soldiers and the failure of our schools
This is not the first report of Irishmen fighting alongside, and indeed training, NATO death squads in Syria. German daily Die Welt claimed there were Irish jihadists among the fighters in Syria.
The Irish Timesthat there were up to 20 Irish jihadis fighting in Syria. It also claimed that ‘senior figures in Ireland’s Muslim community’ were trying to discourage the young men, some of whom are children, from going to fight in Syria. Yet, no prominent imams are mentioned.
The Irish Times article makes no mention of the influential European Council for Islamic Fatwa And Research, based in Dublin, whose president is Yusef Al Qaradawi, a fanatical and sectarian Sunni imam who has been openly calling on all Muslims to fight in Syria.
“Every Muslim trained to fight and capable of doing that (must) make himself available”, said the president of Dublin’s European Council for Islamic Fatwa and Research. So, who are the ‘Senior figures in Ireland’s Muslim community’ who are against the injunctions of the bigot Qaradawi?
Algerian deputy and former wife of Qaradawi Asma ben Kada revealed in 2012 that Qaradawi was working for the Israeli Mossad (secret service).
Have Irish authorities investigated the activities of this man and his council for Islamic research and fatwa?
Mehdi Al Herati, a Dublin-born jihadist, was a key player in NATO’s Blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011. In 2012 a sixteen year old child Shamseddin Gaidan from Navan, Co Meath, Ireland was shot dead in Syria.
Shamseddin Gaidan was only 16. How did a child from Ireland end up fighting alongside NATO mercenaries in Syria? The principal of St Patrick’s Classical School in Navan, Colm O’Rourke, told the Irish Times ‘“He was a good student who got on with everyone,” Mr O’Rourke said. “He was keen to go fight with the rebels. In 2011 he talked about wanting to join the Libyan revolution.”
Mr. O Rourke seems to be aware that one of his pupils expressed a desire to join in the “Libyan revolution” as he puts it. Shamseddin moved to Ireland from Libya in 2001 and is said to have gone to Syria after spending his holidays in Libya in 2012. This is rather odd. Given the absolute chaos and violence currently reigning in Libya, it is odd that Shamseddin’s parents would allow their child to spend his summer holidays there, just months after a massive war!
Regardless of whose side they were on in the Libyan war, it is bordering on irresponsible to allow your child to spend his summer holidays in a war zone! Yet, none of this seems to bother the reporters of the Irish Times, who make no effort to find out why the child’s parents let their son travel to Libya. Another question that should be asked here is: how did Mr. O Rourke know that Shamseddin wanted to fight in the Libyan “revolution”? This suggests that the child spoke about his dream in school and the idea probably came from the non-stop war propaganda of the mass media. Here, one should also point out the responsibility of teachers to educate themselves about the complex world we live in.
Young children are being manipulated by a violent war propaganda media machine into committing acts of terrorism. What role can teachers play to ensure that other pupils are not brainwashed by the mass media into losing their lives for the sake of an international criminal gun and drug cartel called NATO? This is a question for the staff at St. Patrick’s Classical school. We are not attempting to lay the blame on the St. Patrick’s Classical School but rather to point out that when criminal agendas are normalized and accepted in our society through mass media disinformation and propaganda, innocent lives are needlessly lost. In modern multicultural societies, children need to be taught how to question established media narratives. Had young Shamseddin and his parents been educated about the outrageous lies used to justify NATO’s neo-colonial war on Libya, he would probably be alive today.
Lies that kill our children
Shamseddin isto have contacted his father by telephone from Syria and refused to come home. “He refused saying how could he leave when the Syrian regime was killing its own people, including children.”
The accusation that the Syrian government is “killing its own people” has been propagated almost every day since the outbreak of conflict in the country when unknown snipers opened fire on protestors and police in the town of Deraa on 17 March, 2011, killing police and protestors, an operation used by NATO and the CIA in many past destabilization campaigns.
The idea that the conflict started after a “brutal crackdown” by the Syrian government on “peaceful protestors” is one of the biggest lies in the bloody Syrian war propaganda narrative used repeatedly by the corporate press.
The simplistic war propaganda slogan of a dictator “killing his own people” used in the past against Slobodan Milosevic, Muammar Gaddafi, and now Bashar Al-Assad is designed to appeal to the emotions of the politically naïve. Given the success of NATO’s war propaganda since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict this strategy has proven to be effective. Such propaganda is particularly effective in manipulating the emotions of the youth. This has led hundreds, if not thousands, of ignorant Muslim youths to fight alongside NATO and Israel’s cannon fodder in Libya and Syria.
This is a generation that has grown up on video games and Pentagon-funded Hollywood action films; their understanding of international politics is zero. Stations such as Al Jazeera, BBC, RTE, France 2, CNN, ABC and the corporate media complex in general have provoked these youths into committing acts of terror on behalf of NATO imperialism.
Although the journalists, teachers and politicians in Ireland do not understand what is really happening in Syria, their ignorance makes them complicit in these crimes being committed against the Syrian people.
For over two-and-a-half years the people of Syria have undergone hell on earth as the country has been overrun with terrorists from Iraq, Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, Bangledesh, Philippines, Chechnya, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan and many European states. This is a dirty, genocidal war waged by NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council under the guise of the corporate funded “Arab Spring,” a cover regime change scenario planned by the US State Department as far back as 2004 according to Rand National Defense Research Institute reports.
The war seeks to replace the Syrian government with a puppet regime in accordance with NATO’s corporate and geopolitical interests; it is a drive by the Euro-Atlantic power elite for global hegemony or what the pentagon calls ‘full spectrum dominance’; they want to create a New Middle East, with all resistance to Israel rendered impossible, a Middle East similar to that envisaged by the Middle East Treaty Organisation formed in 1955; such a fiefdom could be relied upon by the empire to furnish further terrorists for the destabilization of the North Caucasus, Iran and Eastern China.
Freedom House, International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, Movements.Org, Canvas, Open Society Institute, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Americans for Reformed Democracy, Project for Middle East Democracy were just some of the US regime change NGOs that trained and funded the activists of the “Arab Spring”.
There are prominent ‘thinkers’ and ‘intellectuals’ on the left who have promoted the Arab Spring as some form of anti-imperialist uprising against ‘US-backed dictators’. Such an interpretation flies in the face of all the evidence which shows that the uprising was part of a far wider and long-term geopolitical strategy to reconfigure North Africa and the Middle East in accordance with NATO and Israeli interests.
In spite of all overwhelming evidence that none of these uprisings were led by a genuine, working class movement, these pseudo leftists supported the right-wing hooligans in Libya and have continued to support the clerico-fascist death squads in Syria; some have even had the temerity to describe what is happening there as the ‘end of the Sykes Picot’, neo-colonial Middle East; they have even indulged in the most ludicrous conspiracy theories, suggesting that the US and Israel are secretly backing Assad and don’t want the ‘rebels’ to win! It is extraordinary how the reputation for being a ‘serious intellectual’ can mask statements and analyses whose quackery and absurdity are clear to anyone with an understanding of US foreign policy and a grasp of elementary logic.
Ireland has a long history of fighting imperialism. For centuries the rights of Irish people were trampled upon by the world’s first ‘free trade’ empire. Now the successors of that free trade empire want the Irish Republic to participate in their foreign wars, so that other people can be beaten down and subjugated like the Irish.
Ernesto Guevara Lynch’s mother once remarked that her son’s Irish ancestry inspired him to fight against US imperialism. Anyone who has visited Syria will recall the popularity of Che Guevara Lynch among supporters of the Syrian Arab Army; Che’s mascot can be seen throughout Syria. Now, the Irish labour party, who falsely claim to trace their roots to the Irish revolutionary James Connolly, are considering sending Irish troops to Israeli-occupied Golan, as Irish military “elites” train clerico-fascists and counter-revolutionaries in Syria, extreme right wing thugs who behead, torture, slaughter civilians and abuse women; these hordes of a decadent empire in its death throes, sent in to smash the last bastion of peoples’ resistance against Zionism and Imperialism in the Middle East.
It is time for the Irish people to rise up against their own criminal dictators who have sold out our hard-won land and independence to foreign bondholders and imperialist interests. The attempt by the Irish press to drum up support for Irish involvement in this neo-colonial war of aggression against the Syrian people is nothing short of a national disgrace. The Syrian Arab Army is fighting for the freedom of their country, for Syria’s right to national self determination.
What James Connolly wrote just months before the 1916 Rising is sadly relevant today when he remarked:
Our Irish daily newspapers have done all that human agencies could do to confuse the public mind upon the question of what the essentials of a free nation are, what a free nation must be, and what a nation cannot submit to lose without losing its title to be free.
Author: Gearóid Ó Colmáin
Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a political analyst based in Paris. He is a frequent contributor to Russia Today, Radio Del Sur and Inn World Report. His blog can be reached at Metrogael. Read other articles by Gearóid.