CANADA SERVES ISRAEL ON ROAD TO RUIN DAMASCUS: Warmongering journalists pretend to debate Canada’s war on Libya at National Post while Herr Stephan von Harper apes Obushama, calls for Syria’s President to go

Stephen Harper Joins Global Calls For Bashar Assad’s Resignation

Assad Syria

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper has joined other world leaders in calling on Syria’s president to resign amid a violent crackdown.

The prime minister says Bashar Assad’s campaign of terror against the Syrian people must stop.

“The Assad regime has lost all legitimacy by killing its own people to stay in power,” Harper said in a statement.

“I join with President Obama and other members of the international community in calling on President Assad to vacate his position, relinquish power and step down immediately.”

Thousands have been killed or detained over the last five months as Syrians protest against the government.

Assad has told the United Nations chief that military operations in his country have ended, even as activists report more bloodshed and a high-level UN human rights team said Thursday the crackdown “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Harper’s call for Assad to leave came after U.S. President Obama issued a stinging written statement urging the leader to quit. Obama said Assad’s calls for reform ring hollow while he is “imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people.”

Obama’s move was co-ordinated with the United Nations and with U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East and followed an intense diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on Assad.

The European Union issued an identical call shortly after Obama’s statement, followed quickly by similar words from the leaders of France, Britain and Germany.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France — Syria’s one-time colonial ruler — joined British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in expressing “utter condemnation of this bloody repression of peaceful and courageous demonstrators and the massive violations of human rights which President Assad and his authorities have been committing for months.”

“They continue to cruelly and violently repress their people and flatly refuse to fulfil their legitimate aspirations,” the three leaders wrote.

“They have ignored the voices of the Syrian people and continuously misled them and the international community with empty promises.”

U.S. officials acknowledged the move is not likely to have any immediate impact on the Syrian regime’s behaviour. But they said it would send a powerful signal that Assad is no longer welcome in the international community. And they noted that the additional sanctions would further boost pressure on Assad and his inner circle.

Every diplomatic lever is being pulled to increase the pressure, said Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird.

“I think we’re seeing an unprecedented diplomatic effort, obviously the Syrian people been very clear they don’t want other action that we’re taking in Libya so we’re seeing a decisive call for him to leave by a significant number of countries,” he told a news conference in Ottawa Thursday.

Full Comment Forum: Are we in Libya for Libya’s sake, or our own?

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Is it time to pull the plug on the Libyan mission?

  •   Aug 19, 2011 – 11:17 AM ET | Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011 11:58 AM ET

Canada’s forces are due to leave Libya by the end of September unless Parliament agrees to another extension. Though rebels claim they are close to ousting Muammar Gaddafi, the conflict has already dragged on longer than anyone hoped, at considerable cost to Canada at a time the government is trying to contain expenditures. Critics question what Canada is doing there in the first place, given Libya’s limited strategic value. Is it time to pull out, whether or not Gaddafi is defeated?

Lorne Gunter in Edmonton: Sure it’s time to get out. Canada should never have gotten in – or the U.S., France, Italy, Germany or Britain. There was little to be gained (except for the Libyans) by the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. Even those European countries that rely on Libyan oil weren’t likely to see much disruption of supply if the rebels had managed to remove the Colonel from power on their own. What was behind this from the start was irrational Western optimism that with a little help, the rebels would overthrow Gaddafi and quickly establish a pluralistic Western democracy in North Africa. This is very little different from the exuberant thinking of the Bush administration that Iraq, if invaded, would quickly become a harmonious, multicultural state. It proves left-leaning administrations are just as capable of deluding themselves into foreign adventures are right-leaning ones.

All that said, though, I don’t see how we can leave until Gaddafi is gone. As Shakespeare has Macbeth say, “I am in blood stepped in so far … returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Were we to leave now, Gaddafi would remain in power and exact revenge on the rebels. The situation would be worse than when we arrived on scene. If the West were to pack up and go home now, it would be a repeat of the betrayal of the Kurds following the first Gulf War in 1991. They were encouraged by promises of Western intervention to rise up against Saddam Hussein. When they did, the West (mostly the first Bush administration) failed to provide the air cover it had promised and Hussein slaughtered the rebels, their families and thousands of random Kurds in retaliation.

We’re stuck in Libya for the time being, like it or not.

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4 Responses to CANADA SERVES ISRAEL ON ROAD TO RUIN DAMASCUS: Warmongering journalists pretend to debate Canada’s war on Libya at National Post while Herr Stephan von Harper apes Obushama, calls for Syria’s President to go

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