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Assessing Syria

In his Aug. 28 column, There is a role for Canada in action against Assad, Lloyd Axworthy suggests that Canada has a role in an American and British intervention in Syria. I have another suggestion.

According to the Pew Research Institute (2010), there are 49 Muslim-majority countries in the world. Some have small populations mired in poverty, but there are some with large populations dripping in wealth.

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Some of these wealthy Muslin-majority countries must see Syria as a situation that merits attention by fellow Muslims. Can they not see this has repercussions for all Muslim countries? They need to speak out against Assad and the senseless killings of civilians by bullets, missiles and alleged chemical agents. Better yet, send in a complement of peacekeepers and emissaries to broker a solution or at least a ceasefire. Or they can wait for majority non-Muslim "do-good white" countries to intercede and fail like so many before.

It's time we heard from the 90 per cent of Muslims who abhor violence and not from the fanatical 10 per cent who revel in it.


West St. Paul


Jennifer Rubin's Aug. 27 column, Dithering on Syria marks low point in U.S. foreign policy, boggles the mind.

In her opinion, the Syrian government is guilty of having gassed its country's children. No proof is needed. She wants us to believe that Assad would do this while the inspectors just got into the country.

You have to ask yourself: Who benefits?

Similar accusations have been made in the past, only to be found wrong. It doesn't even cross Rubin's mind that the rebels might have done it -- the same rebels who are, for the most part, paid terrorists of the al-Nusra front and al-Qaida.

These are the same terrorists we are supposedly trying to defeat in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the same terrorists who have murdered and decapitated Christians, Kurds and people loyal to Assad. Where is Rubin's disgust concerning those atrocities?

Why would Assad use gas against his own people as opposed to using it against the terrorists? He is winning the war. The West, which wants to see regime change in Syria, is getting desperate and will cling to any atrocity to bring Assad down.


La Broquerie


Re: Russia joins calls for Syrian investigation (Aug. 24). Whatever one believes about the source of the chemical attack in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, surely by now there ought to be ample reason for the nations of the West to take seriously the interests of the Russians and invite them to join them in finding a solution to the Syrian conflict.

Why should we think that what might come after the overthrow of Bashar Assad's regime would be any improvement? Certainly for minorities such as the Christians in Syria it quite likely will be worse.

If the drive for political change in the Middle East was begun by people with real democratic aspirations, the biggest risk to them has been that the momentum would be captured by Islamists with a vision for society that is hardly truly democratic. That's why so many of the past authoritarian governments of the Middle East have tried to function as secular governments.

Syria needs political change, but it needs those who will argue for Assad as others have been arguing for the opposition. This needed doing long ago, but it may not be too late even now. That's why the Russians ought to be fully at the table just as the Arab bloc, Americans, British and French ought to be.




The International community is slow to learn. Following the atrocities of the Holodomor and the Holocaust, we heard the united cry of conscience, "never again!"

Then there was Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur and Sudan, to name a few, where once again we sat on our hands and watched unspeakable crimes take place. Now Syria. Every day we view images on TV of Assad's regime killing his own people, while world leaders fiddle.

Military action is always a difficult decision. But with Russia and Iran acknowledging that chemical weapons were used in Syria, now may be the right time for decisive military action.




Liberals hit new low

Re: It's Trudeau the transparent (Aug. 26). The Liberals have succumbed to an all-time low with Justin Trudeau's so-called pot strategy.

Any intelligent person realizes that Trudeau has smoked much more pot than the five or six times he has admitted to. And in spite of the Liberal party's fan-boy attitude, Trudeau hasn't answered a tough question since becoming a member of Parliament.

If Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc truly believes Trudeau represents the type of leadership Canadians have been waiting for, LeBlanc should seek out professional help.

Trudeau is vacuous. It is a fact that the party has tried to gloss over. He has the mind of a teenager without a wisp of knowledge of the country's economy, foreign policy or laws.

Yet the deep thinkers in the Liberal party have decided to foist this booby on the Canadian people. As if this nation could take four years of such reckless nonsense. This latest bit of Liberal showmanship is not just wanting, it's laughable.

But, if anything, Trudeau's pot smoking explains much about his performance in question period.




Justin Trudeau's admission to using marijuana a few times in recent years is being met with exaggerated outrage that is bordering on hypocrisy. The bipartisan vitriol is substantively misplaced, considering it was an honest admission and one that subsumed a real risk.

Let the politician who has not experimented with or consumed legal or illegal mood-altering substances deliver the Sermon on the Mount. Trudeau should be respected for his candour.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 29, 2013 A10


Updated on Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 10:49 AM CDT: adds links

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