Syria: BRICS collectively rejected any further militarization


The BRICS just became impossible to ignore.  At the close of the Fifth annual BRICS Summit in Durban, South Africa last week, there was little question that this group of five fast-growing economies was underwriting an overhaul of the global economic and political order.

The eThekwini Declaration issued at summit’s end was couched in non-confrontational language, but it was manifestly clear that western hegemony and unipolarity were being targeted at this meeting.

The BRICS hit some major western sore spots by announcing the formation of a $50 billion jointly-funded development bank to rival the IMF and World Bank. Deals were signed to increase inter-BRICS trade in their own currencies, further eroding the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

A series of unmistakable challenges were dealt to old world leaders: reform your institutions and economies – or we’ll do it ourselves.

Intent on filling a leadership void in global economic and financial affairs, the BRICS also began to draw some firm political lines in the sand.

For starters, the summit was focused on development in Africa – a resource-rich continent where competing economic interests have drawn increasingly polarized geopolitical battle lines in the past few years. The BRICS were invited to the African table via their newest member state, South Africa, and have used this opportunity to fully back the African Union (AU).

The AU has been Africa’s attempt to integrate and unify the continent economically – via the establishment of a single currency and development fund that could bypass the very punishing IMF – and militarily – via the establishment of security/defense organizations and joint military forces, among other things.

AU success would necessarily mean less old-style western imperialism in the region, reducing exploitative foreign economic activities and excluding foreign forces like the US military’s African Command (AFRICOM) from engaging in the African military theater.

At the heart of the Summit’s agenda lies the BRICS’ determination to anchor any emerging global order in “multilateralism” – whether by demanding permanent seats within the UN Security Council, forging alternative economic constructs that will shift the balance of power their way, or proactively influencing outcomes in global conflict zones.

Syria and Iran 

The Durban summit therefore was not going to ignore the two most prominent issues on UN Security Council’s docket – Syria and Iran.

Last week, the BRICS collectively rejected any further militarization of these problems, advocated political solutions negotiated through diplomatic initiatives, expressed concern over unilateral sanctions and warned against infringement on the “territorial integrity and sovereignty” of these nations.

The eThekwini Declaration says about Iran:

“We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue.”

And on Syria, the BRICS fully backed the Geneva principles as the framework for resolving the two-year conflict:

“We believe that the Joint Communiqué of the Geneva Action Group provides a basis for resolution of the Syrian crisis and reaffirm our opposition to any further militarization of the conflict. A Syrian-led political process leading to a transition can be achieved only through broad national dialogue that meets the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respect for Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty as expressed by the Geneva Joint Communiqué and appropriate UNSC resolutions.”

The BRICS positions on Iran and Syria cannot, however, be viewed solely within the parameters of the summit’s declaration. For starters, the statement is nothing new – the BRICS have been advocating these points in some form or another since they issued their first foreign policy communiqué in November 2011.

To understand the depth and breadth of commitment behind these Mideast stances, one needs to look beyond the sanitized, diplomat-speak of the summit environment. India, Brazil and South Africa, for instance, don’t offer up much commentary on Syria and Iran – they leave that to their UNSC permanent-member colleagues in Russia and China, who are the BRICS’ front-men on these issues.

Earlier in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow on his first foreign trip as head of state, and told audiences there: “We must respect the right of each country in the world to independently choose its path of development and oppose interference in the internal affairs of other countries.”

A clear warning against aggressive western interventionism, Xi’s visit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of their “strategic partnership” in geopolitical affairs.

On Syria, in particular, Russia has taken the BRICS lead with the blessing of its fellow members – including China – so Moscow’s view of the situation is a critical one to analyze.

The Russians have recently released a concept paper on the importance of their participation in the BRICS – a view that is likely to reflect similar priorities at the highest levels of fellow member states.


About kruitvat

I am working for the Belgian human rights association 'Werkgroep Morkhoven' which revealed the Zandvoort childporn case (88.539 victims). The case was covered up by the authorities. During the past years I have been really shocked by the way the rich countries of the western empire want to rule the world. One of my blogs: «Latest News Syria» (WordPress)/ Je travaille pour le 'Werkgroep Morkhoven', un groupe d'action qui a révélé le réseau pornographique d'enfants 'Zandvoort' (88.539 victims). Cette affaire a été couverte par les autorités. Au cours des dernières années, j'ai été vraiment choqué par la façon dont l'Occident et les pays riches veulent gouverner le monde. Un de mes blogs: «Latest News Syria» (WordPress)/ Ik werk voor de Werkgroep Morkhoven die destijds de kinderpornozaak Zandvoort onthulde (88.539 slachtoffers). Deze zaak werd door de overheid op een misdadige manier toegedekt. Gedurende de voorbije jaren was ik werkelijke geschokt door de manier waarop het rijke westen de wereld wil overheersen. Bezoek onze blog «Latest News Syria» (WordPress) ------- Photo: victims of the NATO-bombings on the Chinese embassy in Yougoslavia
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4 Responses to Syria: BRICS collectively rejected any further militarization

  1. kruitvat says:

    Warmaker Verhofstadt, leader of the european liberals:

    ‘EU must back France and the UK on sending anti-aircraft weapons to the FSA’
    ‘No wonder more and more Syrians start to believe Europe is not supporting them’
    ‘By doing nothing at all, we only make the problem we fear, i.e. Jihadists, stronger.’
    ‘The European Commission knows exactly what needs to be done. It’s time to abandon the comfortable bureaucratic approach, currently being deployed and urgently try more “unorthodox ways”
    ‘How long will the EU continue to hide behind excuses for inaction ?’

  2. kruitvat says:

    Liberal Militarism and the British State

    The ending of the Cold War and Operation ‘Desert Storm’ may reflect
    a turning point. While the nuclear element remains, the key new
    instrument of military strategy could become the inter-hemispheric
    rapid deployment force equipped with the products of the quantum
    electronic revolution—itself largely created by the military. Such strike
    forces would be deployed to police a ‘new world order’. Major forces
    would be on permanent standby for worldwide deployment, like the
    Royal Navy of the Pax Britannica, and like H.G. Wells’s ‘Airmen’ in
    The Shape of Things to Come (1933), who held out the false promise of a
    high-tech war to end all war. While the new Pax Technologica artic-
    ulates the material interests of sections of the military-industrial
    complex, it is also invariably accompanied by its own species of
    universalist idealism. In this phase British policy is subordinate to the
    USA. The contribution of British technology may also be minor, but
    the liberal-militaristic idea of the Pax Technologica is very British.

    The Sources of Liberal Militarism

    Why did Britain pursue a policy of liberal militarism? Two answers
    may be given, which both reflect a certain world-view on the part of the
    British elite. This was the view that Britain was essentially an economic,
    industrial and commercial power. The maintenance of this power
    required armed force, but excessive defence expenditure would under-
    mine the real basis of its power. Related was the appreciation that Brit-
    ain was small in absolute terms: it could not hope to field an army to
    match the German Army in size; nor could it produce, say, steel on the
    scale the Germans or Americans could. In other words, the British
    state has preferred to keep British workers in factories, rather than put
    them into mass armies. Having workers creating weapons to destroy
    enemy workers and factories, it was thought, avoided the need to put
    British workers into the field against German or Soviet workers.

    The Industrial Base of Liberal Militarism

    It may be objected that the story told above is all very well, but that
    Britain simply did not have the industrial capacity and expertise to
    provide the state with the modern weapons it required. If one relied
    on most of what has been written on British industry this century, one
    would probably be forced to agree. We have to be ready to discount
    the lurid stories of industrial incompetence and inevitable decline,
    and to be wary of arguments drawn indiscriminately across industrial
    sectors. A comparative study of the performance of British civil
    and military industry across the twentieth century has yet to be under-
    taken, and therefore I will make no claims about relative perform-
    ance. I will merely show that the British arms industry has been a very
    important part of British manufacturing industry, certainly more so
    than is implied in much of the literature. In this section and the next
    I will confine my material to the period up to 1945.

    In the Edwardian years naval shipbuilders and armament firms,
    including the publicly owned Royal Ordnance Factories and Royal
    Dockyards, dominate the top ten manufacturing employers in Brit-
    ain. Indeed, as an American historian has put it, the Admiralty
    created ‘the modern military-industrial complex [which] suddenly
    came of age and began, in the very citadel of European liberalism, to
    exhibit a wayward will of its own’. What is less well known is that
    even in the mid 1930s, employment in the Royal Ordnance Factories,
    Royal Dockyards, and in the merged Vickers and Armstrong Whit-
    worth company, was comparable to what it had been in 1907. Cer-
    tainly in the interwar years, arms firms were not so well represented
    among the top ten manufacturing firms as they had been; but if we
    look at the top one hundred manufacturing firms in 1935, we find a
    number of substantial arms firms: Vickers (44,162), Royal Dockyards
    (31,680), Royal Ordnance (14,231), Hawker Siddeley [producing Haw-
    ker, Armstrong Whitworth, Avro, and Gloster aircraft and Armstrong
    Siddeley aero-engines] (13,800), Beardmore (8,000), Rolls-Royce
    (6,900), Bristol Aeroplane (4,200).

    It is a commonplace among historians that the British aircraft indus-
    try barely existed in the 1920s and early 1930s. However, this picture
    is derived from looking forwards from 1918 and backwards from the
    Second World War. If we look at the industry at the time, we find that
    it was, broadly speaking, being expanded; and was at least as big as
    any aircraft industry in the world. Furthermore, there is evidence to
    suggest that the British aircraft industry was the largest exporter in
    the world.56 There is also a tendency to give too much weight to the
    civil aircraft industry, which everywhere in the world was tiny com-
    pared with the military industry.

    As Britain goes to war again, on a scale perhaps surpassing Suez, the
    failure to understand that through the twentieth century the British
    state has been both militant and industrial has clear political conse-
    quences. The first is that the Labour Party has once again succumbed
    to the ‘remember Munich’ syndrome: the belief that Britain is inher-
    ently a pacifist nation that keeps its limited forces on short rations
    until it is too late. The second is that it fails to see that the militant-
    industrial British state may be creating a new role for itself in the
    post-Cold War years. For it is not beyond the bounds of possibility
    that one of the many causes of the present disastrous war was the
    desire of the American and British warfare states, and their individual
    armed services, to secure themselves a future. Operation ‘Desert
    Shield’ has been aptly called Operation ‘Budget Shield’. This present
    war reveals the British state as the most militaristic in Europe; it is
    not unreasonable to conclude that the British have become the high-
    tech Gurkhas of the Western world—a sad fate for a peace-loving,
    anti-scientific, and imperial race.

  3. kruitvat says:

    MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2012

    How Europe courted Israel’s arms industry on eve of Gaza attack
    Haneen was 10-months-old; Omar 11 months; Ibrahim one year. For the offense of being reared in Gaza, these infants were killed with the aid of Israel’s “precision-guided” missiles.

    A few days before their deaths, the European Commission sponsored the “second international homeland security conference” in Tel Aviv. More of a bazaar than a talking shop, the event featured exhibits by Israel’s top weapons companies. Shimon Peres, the state’s president, gave the closing address, using this august occasion to boast of how, as a youthful arms dealer, he was “part of founding Israel’s defense industries.” Peres said he was “delighted to see the innovative technological developments which are leading the world in homeland security” and expressed pride in heading “a nation with creativity and wisdom, courage and chutzpah.”

    As far as I can see, the EU’s involvement in this exhibition went unnoticed by the media. That is deeply disturbing. It suggests that the Commission can endorse firms which profit from dropping bombs on Palestinian babies without anyone batting an eyelid.

    EU institutions are regularly represented in fairs where Israeli weapons manufacturers can show off their latest “innovative technological developments”, to quote Peres. In September, for example, the European Defence Agency lent its support to the ILA — an air show near Berlin — at which the aforementioned Rafael had a stall. In June, numerous Israeli firms took part in Eurosatory, an arms fair in Paris; so did delegations from the EU and NATO.

    Rubbing shoulders with war profiteers is not in itself reprehensible. But awarding subsidies to the same profiteers amounts to acquiescence in the human rights abuses on which their bottom line depends. At present, Israel is taking part in some 800 EU-sponsored scientific research projects, with a total value of €4.3 billion ($5.6 billion). Israel is eyeing an even bigger share of Horizon 2020, the Union’s next pot of research money.

  4. kruitvat says:

    ‘The Liberal Party looks forward to a world in which all peoples live together in peace under an effective and democratically constituted World Authority.’

    ‘Liberals believe that Britain should make a sincere attempt to prevent the export of arms and other military equipment where they will be used to fuel conflicts or oppress innocent civilians. We would therefore ban the import and export of arms to or from any country, and restrict defence expenditure to the average of our European partners, prioritising the defence of our legitimate interests and the shouldering of our fair share of United Nations policing, etc.’

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