Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation visit Syria

by Henry Lowendorf, Co-Chair, GNH Peace Council

From July 24 to July 30, I co-led a delegation of peace activists and journalists to Syria. In talking with leaders of many NGOs and government ministers, we learned that the vast majority of Syrians support their government and the Syrian Arab Army, which protect them from mercenaries that terrorize the populations they control and which are paid for by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and armed by the CIA. The CIA provides supplies and free passage into Syria through Turkey and Jordan. Syrians believe in, and the UN Charter supports, their right to determine their destiny without interference from the United States and its allies.

syria-mapMy co-leader, Gerry Condon, vice president of Veterans for Peace, said this: “Almost everything we read about Syria in the media is wrong…The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state.”

“In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change,” continued Condon, “the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true.”

The Syrians we spoke with, especially Grand Mufti Hassoun and Orthodox Bishop Luca, refuse to see themselves split into narrow groups such as Sunni and Shia, or Muslim and Christian, or Kurdish or Arabic-speaking. This U.S. and Europe formulation is used to divide Syrians as it has with Afghans, Iraqis, and Libyans in order to weaken and conquer Syria. The Grand Mufti told us he is the Mufti of 23 million Syrians, the full Syrian population. The Bishop agreed.

The U.S. peace movement’s premier responsibility is to stop our government’s interference in Syria, its long-held policy of “regime change,” overthrowing the Syrian government to install a subservient client. We must allow Syrians to retain their national sovereignty. Once the foreign aggression ends, Syrians will decide who governs Syria.

For more information, call Henry Lowendorf at (203) 389-9547 or e-mail grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

ACT to Get Congress to Support the Iran Agreement

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Prompt action is needed to move Senator Blumenthal to support the Iran agreement and to counter the opposition he is hearing from constituents. At least $20 million is being spent by AIPAC to oppose the agreement. Specific actions are proposed below. A Senate vote will take place in early September.
In a meeting Aug. 10, Blumenthal said he will vote for or against the Iran agreement based only on facts. He’s still gathering them. Blumenthal states he will take a course to avoid war. He says he is listening to his constituents – and to his credit he spent an hour with our delegation.

We don’t have to be disarmament experts to readily see that the President is right: either we accept this agreement or we will see Israeli and US war hawks pushing for an attack on Iran. They have been calling for a war on Iran for decades. The war hawks disliked the agreement before it was signed, before they saw it, before it was negotiated. In Congress. This bellicosity comes largely, but not exclusively, from Republicans, who also want to sink anything progressive coming from the Obama White House. They are bombarding our representatives with calls to stop the Iran Agreement.

Whatever we think of the Iranian government and its policies, Iran consistently every year since 1974 has called for a nuclear-weapons free Middle East. The US, Israel and a very few allies have opposed such a zone. Currently only Israel and the US have nuclear arsenals in the region.

The intelligence and disarmament agencies state that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Iran’s clerical leaders have continually stated that possessing nuclear weapons is a sin. For over 200 years Iran has attacked no other country. The same cannot be said for the US or Israel.

The peace agreement, a diplomatic success, is the surest way to prevent another escalation of war in the Middle East. The war hawks want diplomacy to fail. If a policy of diplomacy rather than war is to be given a chance, then we must support this agreement. 29 nuclear physicists, including 4 Nobel laureates, wrote Obama supporting the agreement. Ambassadors, world leaders and the UN support it. HELP this peace agreement. Call Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office to support the agreement: (860) 258-6940. Urge friends to do so. We must not miss this chance to prove diplomacy works.