conflict zones, latest
Comments 8

Opinion: “I’m confused”


Who remembers the children of Donbass?

British journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger Neil Clark writes:

[…] The first thing I’m confused about is the refugee crisis currently affecting Europe.

The vast majority of refugees are coming from countries e.g. Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, which were targeted by the West for ‘regime change’ and which experienced bombing/invasion or destabilization by NATO powers and their regional allies.

We’re told by the West’s political elite and much of the media that in order to stop the influx of refugees to Europe we need to do more bombing.

But if bombing solves the problem of refugees, why are people fleeing from countries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya that the West has already bombed?

How can more bombs and intervention solve a problem caused by bombs and intervention? And how can the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria stop ISIS, which doesn’t have an air force?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

On the subject of Syria I’m confused about the West’s obsession with toppling President Assad and his government. The secular Syrian government does not and did not threaten the West, and its sworn enemies are the groups- such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, which we are supposed to have been fighting ‘a war on terror’ against. If radical Islamist terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are such a danger, why are we still trying to topple a government which has been fighting them? Why does UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne say that the British Parliament’s refusal to support US-led air-strikes on the Syrian government in 2013 was “one of the worst decisions the House of Commons has ever made” when voting ‘Yes’ would have put the RAF on the same side as ISIS – a group which claimed responsibility for the killing of 30 British tourists on a beach in Tunisia earlier this summer? Surely if our leaders really wanted to defeat ISIS, they would be working with countries in the region that have a vested interest in defeating ISIS – like the government in Syria – and not working to overthrow them, which would only help ISIS.

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

It’s the proposed free trade deal between the free, open democracies of Europe, and that bastion of democracy the US, but the deal itself is shrouded in secrecy and can only be read by politicians in a secure reading room in Brussels.

If TTIP is so great- as its supporters claim, why can’t we see its terms and provisions? Why in ‘democratic’ Europe, where our leaders all claim to support public participation in the political process, are we being kept in the dark over a deal which is likely to have a major impact on our daily lives? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused too about events in Yemen, and the lack of concern from Western ’humanitarian interventionists’ over what is happening in the country.

A Saudi-Arabian led alliance has been bombing Yemen since March – yet despite Amnesty International reporting that the bombing campaign has left a “bloody trail of civilian death and destruction paved with evidence of war crimes”– the West‘s “Something Must Be Done” brigade have been strangely silent.

“The civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict: a shocking four out of five Yemenis require humanitarian assistance and nearly 1.5 million people are internally displaced,” says Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

In Libya in 2011 we had a no-fly zone imposed to prevent massacres that might happen- in Yemen, we’re seeing large scale casualties as a result of airstrikes but this time there’s no calls for NFZs from Western leaders or ‘liberal interventionists’ in the media.

Why was there a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians in Libya in 2011, but not a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians who are being killed in Yemen in 2015?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about US policy towards anti-government protests in Ukraine which involve violence from ultra-nationalists.

In early 2014, there were violent protests against the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovich, protests in which ultra-nationalists played a prominent role. The US and its allies told the Ukrainian government that it was not allowed to use force against protestors, even though some of them smashed into government buildings and threw Molotov cocktails at police.

“We unequivocally condemn the use of force against civilians by security forces and urge that those forces be withdrawn immediately,” said Secretary of State Kerry.

But last week, when there were fresh anti-government protests involving ultra-nationalists in Kiev which also involved violence, the US’s line was rather different. “Law enforcement agencies need to exercise restraint, but there’s an obligation on the protestors to behave in a peaceful manner”– a State Department spokesman said. Why was there criticism of violent ultra-nationalist protestors in August 2015, but not criticism of violent ultra-nationalist protestors in February 2014? And why was the Ukrainian government given a fierce warning in 2014, but not one this time?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m also confused about the continuation of the sanctions war between the US and its allies and Russia. The OSCE report that things are calming down in eastern Ukraine.

Its Special Monitoring Mission report of 5th September said there were “few ceasefire violations in the Donetsk region and none in Lugansk.”

But despite this, the US and Britain are not talking about the easing of sanctions. On the contrary, there have been calls for sanctions to be extended. The economic damage of the sanctions war to EU economies has been put at $100 billion-with 2 million jobs at risk. Surely, seeing how things have calmed down in the Donbass region, and the damage that the sanctions war is doing to Europe, the sensible thing is for the sanctions to be eased or lifted altogether?

Or is there another agenda at work here, that has nothing to do with events in eastern Ukraine and which we’re not being told about?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

I’m confused about photographs of dead children and why some seem to affect the Western elites more than others. The photograph of poor little Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee washed up on the shore in Turkey, has been used to drum up support for bombing Syria.

Yet photographs of dead Palestinian children, killed in the Israeli offensive against Gaza last year, brought no such response. On the contrary, this week the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Britain and can expect to receive the red carpet treatment. Among the 539 killed by Israeli forces in Gaza were four children, aged between 9 and 11, who were killed while playing on the beach. Why did their deaths not lead to a political/media campaign for ‘action’ to be taken, as the death of Aylan Kurdi has?

The general public certainly cares: a petition calling for Netanyahu to be arrested for Israeli war crimes when he visits Britain received over 100,000 signatures, meaning that it has to be debated in Parliament. But government minister Eric Pickles dismissed the petition as ‘completely absurd’. Why is it ‘completely absurd’ to care about dead Palestinian children as well as dead Syrian ones?

I’m confused. Can anyone help me?


  1. Vladimir says

    Where do you see the Russian army in the Donbass? There is no evidence, there is not one video of the fact. There are only local people fighting here, who defend their homes protect from Ukrainian fascists.

    Video from Youtube, Russian brothers volunteers go to the aid of the Russians in the Donbass.

  2. Petr Skupa says

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    „How can more bombs and intervention solve a problem caused by bombs and intervention?“ Problems are not caused by bombs, but by people holding those bombs. Bombs alone hardly solve anything, but bombs alone are not the thing, people are fleeing from. Why it so, that people from Afghanistan didn’t flee 10 years ago, when they were “bombed” by us. People are fleeing from desperate situation and lack of security and perspective. Can You offer them solution? Is non –acting on the part of those who terrorize them any better?
    (I am not advocating for more bombs everywhere , but pointing at your „concern“ being just rhetorical puzzle)

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    „I’m confused about the West’s obsession with toppling President Assad and his government. The secular Syrian government does not and did not threaten the West,“

    Yes, You are correct, unlike ISIS, Asad did not threat the West. He only did threat his own people, being bigger threat to them than the ISIS, he murdered by now quarter of million of them.. Civilians, women, children without mercy, cities leveled down with barrage to rubble. So shouldn’t just West mind its own business, and in line with its „best“ tradition just keep him do so? Never-mind, that the refugees to Europe from Syria are having Asad’s terror as reason to flee in 70% of cases among them. .. It seems unimportant to You.
    (ISIS came to life, after people in Syria out of desperation supported the wrong guys, reportedly all the torture and infamous things ISIS is doing -also to westerners-, they did learn from Asad régime, who used all of them allready before. Even so, all the operation in Syria are aiming against ISIS and not against Assad – as confirmed by Asad himself)

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    TTIP will be made public in due time. Seems normal to me, that in the negotiation stage, we would not see the fights and strain and the negotiators of both sides would have their space.
    (Help Yourselves – wait a little)

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    „Why was there a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians in Libya in 2011, but not a ‘Responsibility to Protect’ civilians who are being killed in Yemen in 2015?“

    Wouldn’t the answer be in direct and loud plea from Libyan people to Europe for help? In their proximity to Europe? In the long standing and binding condemnation of Libyan regime by Western World, so they were bound to help, when asked?
    (Yes You might be right with Yemen in itself. What would You do?)

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    „I’m confused about US policy towards anti-government protests in Ukraine which involve violence from ultra-nationalists.“

    You got it wrong here. Nationalists did not play prominent role until the escalation was already under way by Yanukowich’s forces. And the protest were loooong and peaceful before escalation happened and the bloody escalation did start after Yanukowich did want to be already over with it, and brought deadly force on place.

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    Yes ceasefires seems to be growing, luckily. Just let’s acknowledge what did Putin said one and half year ago.: that there are not Russian units either in Ukraine far East or Crimea (April 2014). That all the fighters are native men and while Russia did not send anyone, she might do so, if needed, to protect Russian-speaking people. He said that, even when everyone observed, that the little green man in Crimea must have been Russian specialists. From that time many changes did happen obviously, for example this leader of Russia did remembered willingly, that he actually did sent some good special forces to Crimea– and said that openly and even proudly. Yet he is still claiming, that with Donetsk and Lugansk it is different, while again the presence of about 8000 Russian soldiers in East Ukraine is more than just well documented..
    (Crimea is not resolved and Russian soldiers are still in Ukraine and You would lift the sanctions?)

    Yes, You are confused. Are You looking for help?

    I would not comment about specifics of British specifics – as I am central European  – nevertheless, here it is me who is confused – was the photograph of poor little Aylan Kurdi really used to drum up support for bombing Syria? Wasn’t there this support to bomb ISIS from a beginning? (No one is bombing Assad so far).

    Petr Skůpa, Czech Republic, Prague

  3. Brad Benson says

    You guys are getting better every day and now that the Guardian is openly conceding their censorship, while banning the most prolific and knowledgeable CIF posters, there should be a flock of people coming over to this site.

    I make a point to link to Off-Guardian as relevant at other sites. Our good friends over at The Guardian remove all links to Off-Guardian as soon as they are detected, but people are finding out about this site anyway. Keep up the good work.

    “If you build it. They will come.”

    (from the movie “Field of Dreams”, which I slept through, but which had one good line)

    • I apologize for my anguish. Google translator. Russian troops appeared in the Crimea in 1784. Since then, they have not gone anywhere. In 2013 – 2014 they were also present in the Crimea. After the overthrow of the legitimate president of Ukraine, the fascists, with the help of the United States (the remembers the cookies of Nulland), the fascists went to kill the Russians in the Donbass and the Crimea. The population of the Donbass and Crimea, they consider themselves to be Russia and always believed so, so they asked for help from Russia. Do not forget how ordinary people of the Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk called their territory. The name of Novorossia (New Russia). Russian special forces arrived to the Crimea and cleanly, without a single shot, without casualties, not a single Ukrainian soldier died, Russian special forces helped hold a referendum in which the people of the Crimea made their choice and returned to Russia. Only volunteers from Russia and even Europe fight in the Donbas, there is no regular army. Judge for yourself, in the Crimea without shooting and victims in one day, disarmed all. And in the Donbas 3 years can not cope with the Ukrainian army. Brad Poroshenok and his company.

  4. Heiland says

    The problem is that such questions are excluded from mainstream media and debate. It seems Murdoch and his cronies have erected not just a paywall but a neocon worldview where such questions are simply not permitted to be framed. 1984 et al.
    All I can do is keep providing links and urging friends and family to get educated!
    Please keep the site going.

  5. Andor says

    You reminded me the Emil Zola” J’accuse!”
    Just the scope of the today’s crimes of our governments has changed. If in 19th century the fate of one falsely accused could arouse the intellectuals, now , after the WW2 and Hiroshima, no crime against humanity is ‘too big”… if it serves the interests of a few..

  6. Guest says

    Eloquently captures the real hypocrisy of the western govt. To the so called western democracies, some lives do matter more than others!!

    • You do not know? United States is the highest race, so said Mr. Obama

Please note the opinions expressed in the comments do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or of OffG as a whole