Thursday 19th April 2018

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Vaticanista Marco Tosatti… Offers His Views On U.S. Policy In Syria

April 10, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MAIKE HICKSON

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Maike Hickson conducted this interview with the Italian journalist Marco Tosatti, who has worked as a journalist since the 1970s. Tosatti wrote for the Italian newspaper La Stampa for many years and now writes for the Italian Catholic website La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana and his own blog, Stilum Curiae.)

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Q. Almost exactly one year ago, we had conducted an interview about the then-happening U.S. missile attack on Syria with the claim that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Idlib. At the time, you said the following with regard to the Idlib incident:
“We have been led to destroy a country like Iraq by what happened to be a colossal lie — the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein was accused of possessing. In 2013 they tried to say that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons, and a UN investigation proved it was not true, and journalistic reports stated that it was probably some kind of provocation organized by the Turkish allies on the ground. WikiLeaks revealed that Hillary Clinton approved the sending of chemical material to the so-called rebels. I do not believe in what seems to be another great lie to try and find an excuse to prolong a war that seemed on the point of being solved.”
Let us update this discussion from last year in light of new developments and revelations.
First, what is your own assessment now of this 2017 event? Is there new evidence that supports President Trump’s claim that the Syrian government was responsible for that gas attack in Idlib?
A. I think not. It is not the first time — and unfortunately probably not the last — that there are claims made by the USA and other Western powers of this. But time has always shown that there was very little credibility in these cases. So just like for the weapons of mass destruction of Saddam Hussein, I think we are once more in the presence of a pretext to attack Syria.
Q. In light of the February 2 historical admission of Secretary of Defense Mattis that the U.S. government could not find evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria by the Syrian government, what would you say now about the April 7, 2017 U.S. missile attack on Syria?
A. It was an aggression, not justified and morally wrong. It was an act of international violence. It should be condemned by the United Nations, if they still had an independent and real role.
Q. Do we know anything about who is using chemical weapons in Syria? I remember in our last interview, you said that Hilary Clinton had approved of chemical weapons being given to some of the rebels in Syria.
A. I read some days ago that in some parts of the Ghouta region liberated by the Syrian Army they found laboratories for the production of chemical weapons. And I have read that some sources talked about the probability of a False Flag operation, an attack with chemical materials which then would be blamed on the Syrian government. But the Syrian Army is slowly regaining all the zones occupied by the Islamic terrorists. Why should they use chemical weapons? They do not need them.
Q. In the recent time, the Syrian government seems to have been successfully pushing the rebels back. Just when it seems they were winning, there came a new offensive on the side of the rebels, in Eastern Ghouta. Now there is criticism from the international media that President Assad is unjustly killing civilians in that area. How would you describe the current situation?
A. We are just seeing that the civilians wanted to flee the terrorist occupied zones, that the government opened some corridors, and that the terrorists opened fire on the people who wanted to go away. The international media are playing a very partisan role in the Syrian war. As a Canadian commentator put it some years ago, the coverage of the Syrian war was a very low point for the Western media, the Anglo-Saxon particularly. But not only.
Q. How would you describe the role of the U.S. in the Syrian conflict? Whom is the U.S. currently supporting? Do they even have a legal right to be present militarily in the country?
A. Of course the USA has no legal right to be there. They supported — they still are supporting — the terrorists, they put up a mock fight with the Islamic State, they sent weapons to the inexistent “moderate rebels,” weapons quickly passed on to the terrorists. They are supporting the Islamic fighters. I think that the USA, and specially the Obama administration, will be held responsible in the face of history for all the deaths and destruction waged on that nation.
Q. You yourself just recently posted a letter from a nun in Syria. Could you tell our English-speaking readers about what she had to report about the situation in her country and the reporting of international media?
A. She, very rightly, denounced the misinformation, the very partisan way the Western media covered the war. She said that the people wanted peace, and that they supported the government. Of course they knew it was not the ideal government, but the other side was incredibly worse, as we have all seen.
She said that the Western mass media only talked about the government-led attacks on the rebel-held Ghouta, and simply ignored the fact that from Ghouta daily the terrorists were bombing the civilian in Damascus, choosing the hour of the end of the lessons in the schools to kill more people, and more children.
Look at what happened yesterday: A rocket from Ghouta aimed at a market, and killed dozens of innocent civilians. The images are appalling. Do you find any kind of reaction in the Western media? They are not credible. They are in most cases the loudspeaker of the Powers.
Q. Since President Donald Trump’s election, the U.S. has changed its attitude in the Middle East and has become more partisan and supportive of Israel in the conflict with Palestine. Trump even decided to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel which puts Palestinian claims into the background. How do you see is Trump influencing the situation in Israel and its relations with Palestine?
A. I see that Israel, and its ally, Saudi Arabia, are involved in a regional fight with Iran, and that’s why they support the terrorists in Syria. The USA is following their policy there. And I do not think that the Palestinians will have something to gain from it.
Q. What is Israel’s current involvement in the Syrian conflict?
A. Israel has attacked several times, without being provoked, the Syrian territory, on the base that they did not want Iran to expand its role there. Of course it was absolutely illegal; and in a direct and indirect way, Israel has been helping the Islamic fighters against the legal government of the country. So, the country in the world which is most attentive to terrorism helps terrorists against a neighboring country. There is an old saying in Middle East: If you keep a scorpion in your pocket, sooner or later you’ll get stung. . . .
Q. In light of the fact that Russia is supportive of the Syrian government, do you see the danger and risk that Russia and the U.S. are soon going to enter into a direct military conflict with one another over the fight in Syria?
A. I hope not. And I think that the victory of Putin in the elections will strengthen his determination; and I think that the USA, and Israel, will understand that they can go only to a certain point, and no more. . . . At least, I hope so. A Russian general said a couple of days ago that if the USA bombed Damascus, it would be the last thing they would be able to do. I hope that the Doctor Strange-
loves in the White House and the Pentagon will not want to run the risk a nuclear war for a regional conflict.
Q. Would you agree that, since the U.S. started to intervene militarily in the Middle East — starting with the attack on Afghanistan in 2001 — the region has been much more destabilized than before and that one of the direct consequences of these destabilizing factors (such as the removal of long-term rulers and governments) has led to a strong increase of the persecution of Christians in the region?
A. Yes I do. Really, I think that the role of the USA in the region has been disastrous. The result of their intervention was a complete chaos, a general destabilization. Of course it was not casual; they had certainly their agenda and interests to pursue. But for the people of the region it was doom, and for the Christians in particular. And not only in the Middle East. Just think of what they did to the Qadhafi regime in Libya. It was unprovoked, and totally illegal.
Q. Could we thus say that the U.S. has, instead of helping the Christians, effectively helped to strengthen Muslim insurgencies in these countries?
A. They helped the Islamic fighters against the USSR in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and they continued to help all kinds of Islamic countries and parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. This was especially true with President Obama and Hilary Clinton. They have a very heavy moral responsibility. I wonder how they can sleep at night. They certainly have a lot of innocent blood on their hands.
As far as Christians are concerned, their responsibility (and the one of some previous administrations, George Bush’s for example) is really enormous. The USA interventions in the Middle East have as a consequence really opened the gate to the destruction of the Christian communities there, in Iraq and in Syria.

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