First published at Palestine Chronicle, 2015-10-08.
The dogs not barking: Netanyahu and Harper muzzled.
Most people know the now cliche passage from Sherlock Holmes:
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."
Two days after Putin made his historic speech at the UN indicating that the new world order was not necessarily that of the U.S., Russia has vigorously entered into the war against the terrorists in Syria/Iraq. Caught off guard and unawares, the U.S. and its allies, notably the U.K., pounced on Russia’s actions.
It would appear that Putin and his advisors have the upper hand. His arguments concerning international law hold up against the undeclared war and illegal maneuverings of the the U.S. and their gulf state allies. It is notable that Russia has supported Syria since the 1950s, notable for its duration, and notable because of its significance for Israel.
The western mainstream media has made a significant outcry from this, including the U.K.’s Cameron blathering on about the attacks causing the creation of terrorists and turmoil in the region. Of course he should know, as the U.K. has been bombing and attacking Iraq since the establishment of their puppet king in Iraq back in the 1920s.
Silence is deafening
Where there has been a deafening silence is from two surprising sources, Canada and Israel.
I have tried to find any significant commentary from either of these two countries without success.
For Canada in particular, this is quite amazing. Our (neo)Conservative government is now in a closely contested election campaign. Stephen Harper was never previously shy about denouncing the aggressiveness of Russia, and making disparaging personal comments about Putin. His braggadocio fortunately could not be put into military action, but it served his militaristic megalomania well.
On the other hand, the reverse was true for Harper’s support of Israel. Throughout the Gaza attacks, he maintained the position about Israel’s right to defend itself, combined with indirect but obvious hits at the Muslim religion, such as attempts to ban the niqab, and attempts to equate the terrorists of the Middle East as a result of Islam rather than as a result of U.S. military and economic interventions alongside Israel.
Similarly, Israel has been making noises about Hezbollah and Syria (while the world apparently is now ignorant of the fact that the Golan Heights of Syria was illegally annexed by Israel after the Six Day War). More than making noises, it has been aiding the foreign mercenaries fighting against Assad in Syria, by providing air cover and ground recovery areas. Israel of course enjoys any turmoil in the area outside its boundaries, as this allows them to go about their own form of internal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as the recent actions around the al-Aqsa mosque indicate. Similarly, it allows them to continue with their ongoing cantonization of the West Bank as more and more settlements are built or enlarged, while the Palestinian population remains under military ‘governance’.
Why the silence?
It may be entirely coincidental, but why are they so silent now? Normally Harper would be bad mouthing the Russians while throwing his weight behind Israel, asserting the latter’s right to attack Syria. Normally Netanyahu would be saying something crazy about the war in Syria to try and take advantage of any territorial gains it could make.
Netanyahu did visit Putin in Moscow. Harper wouldn’t dare go there, as he is not one to let dialogue and diplomacy get in the way of a good war. Now they are both eerily quiet.
Pure speculation, but it can be safely assumed that Harper has been told to keep his mouth shut. And perhaps he can even see reason for it: Canadian JTF fighters are in Iraq “training” the Kurdish fighters; Turkey has attacked the Kurdish fighters; the Kurds have welcomed Russia’s entrance into the war; the U.S. has backed off bombing in and near Kurdish territory. But the order for silence would more than likely have come Netanyahu.
Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow may have held a few surprises. Perhaps he was informed about Russia’s plans, but not likely as Russia would not want to leak any information that might be forwarded to the U.S. Perhaps he was simply warned to stay out of Russia’s way pending ‘future concerns’. Or maybe he has enough brains to recognize that - even though Israel is nuclear armed - Russia is demonstrating that the U.S.’ hegemonic drive to control the world is pretty much at an end, barring full scale war from which there would be no winners.
Canada has strong ties with Israel at the geopolitical level, with many interactions concerning security and crowd control mechanisms, as well as military technology trade. It would not be too wildly speculative to think that Canada has received comments from Israel to drop the rhetoric when it comes to Russia’s actions.
Harper has said he will oppose Russia until Crimea is returned to Ukraine. Netanyahu has never indicated any interest in Ukraine, and obversely, could just as well operate with Russia as the Middle East’s new super power partner as the geopolitical power of the U.S. declines.
Two dogs not barking at this obvious incursion into their direct spheres of interest. This is a good case of ‘time will tell’. I do not like being speculative, but truly the silence is deafening.