by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka
The Americans are playing a deadly and cynical game at the Geneva II conference on Syria, sabotaging the talks in order to set the stage for more warfare and terror. In this sick equation, diplomatic failure is victory: “the U.S. moves closer to their real strategic objective – regime change or the dismemberment of the Syrian state.”
Planning for War and Deception: How the Obama Administration celebrates the King Holiday
by BAR editor and columnist Ajamu Baraka
“The Obama administration demonstrated that it is not serious about seeking a diplomatic solution.”
There is a perverse irony that last week on the day that the U.S. government designated as the official holiday in honor of the birthday of Dr. King, a militant anti-war and anti-imperialist, the administration of the nations’ first black president would be involved in frantic efforts to ensure that the Syrian peace conference would be unable to deliver peace.
The crisis created by the administration on the eve of the Geneva II conference to exclude Iranian participation only confirmed the duplicitous nature of the conference. While Iranian participation would not have guaranteed that a peaceful, durable resolution to the war in Syrian was achievable, the Obama administration demonstrated that it is not serious about seeking a diplomatic solution by excluding the only other force beside the Syrian government that actually has real influence on the ground in Syria.
Last Sunday, according to the Wall Street Journal, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, extended the invitation to Iran to attend the conference. The invitation surprised American officials, according to the Journal. However, in that same article they quote Martin Nesirsky, a spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, saying that “This could not have been a surprise to U.S. authorities…they were fully aware of the timing of the announcement.”
“The conference was programmed for failure”
Nevertheless, in what some saw as a last minute attempt to sabotage the conference by provoking the Syrian delegation to withdraw, the U.S. pretended to be surprised by the invitation and put pressure on the United Nations to rescind the invitation. This elaborate film-flam created a win-win situation from the point of view of the administration. After pressuring the phony Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to attend the talks to demonstrate the SNC’s “commitment to a peaceful solution,” the administration was in a position to torpedo the peace talks by insisting that Iran is excluded or commits to regime change. Talks or no talks, either way the U.S. wins and moves closer to their real strategic objective – regime change or the dismemberment of the Syrian state.
On Monday, however, the Washington Post reported that “Under intense American pressure, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon rescinded the invitation to Iran, issued only 24 hours earlier…citing Iran’s failure to endorse the terms under which the conference was being held.”
The efforts on that day to exclude the Iranian government’s participation in the conference and the insistence that the conferences objective remain on removing Bashar al-Assad meant that the conference was programmed for failure and that the killing would continue before any delegate showed up in Monteux, Switzerland.
“U.S. elites have decided on a strategy to maintain U.S. global hegemony through the creative use of violence, including direct and indirect war.”
But in terms of domestic politics, the ultimate “failure” of the conference to produce a plan for a transitional government would not be a bad outcome. The administration would have an even stronger mandate to intervene more directly and openly then before with military, logistical and political support to the motley collection of Islamists and disconnected Western opportunists projected as the “opposition.”
Already there are reports circulating that the U.S. and U.K government agreed to increase military support to “moderate” forces in Syria, even as the peace conference continues.
The shameful conduct of the administration on that day was a graphic reminder of why it was absolutely necessary for the U.S. state to colonize the memory and meaning of Dr. King. For U.S. elites that have decided on a strategy to maintain U.S. global hegemony through the creative use of violence, including direct and indirect war, it is not in their interests for the people in the U.S. to focus on the Dr. King of April 1967 when he opposed the war in Vietnam and declared that the U.S. was “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Instead, it is the “dreamer” of 1963 that state propagandists and their ideological lackey’s project as the government-approved King.
The imperial agenda of domination and control requires that the U.S. public does not make the connection between King’s declaration in 1967 and the permanent war strategy that the U.S. has pursued with vigor throughout the post-cold-war period.
But tragically, from Vietnam to the carnage in Syria, millions of people around the world don’t have the luxury of false memories and comforting myths. For those millions around the world at the receiving end of U.S. state violence and the millions in the U.S. who are locked away in U.S. prisons, murdered every 28 hours by an agent of the police apparatus, confined to reservations and militarized economically depressed ghettos, bear witness to the terrible reality that the words of Dr. King are as true today as they were in 1967.
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and writer. He is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Baraka’s latest publications include contributions to two recently published books “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and “Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral.”