Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Peace Advocates: If Trump Wanted to Help Syrians, He Would Lift Refugee Ban & Fund Humanitarian Aid

We continue our roundtable discussion on Syria after the United States carried out a missile attack on a Syrian airfield, saying it was a response to a chemical weapons attack that killed 86 people, including at least 30 children. Syria denies carrying out the attack. "Both these superpowers … do not give a damn about Syrian self-determination nor justice for Syrians," says Yazan al-Saadi, a Syrian-Canadian writer who joins us from Beirut. "We do want something that will be positive for the Syrian people," adds Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CodePink. "That means immediately lifting of the Trump ban on Syrian refugees coming to the United States, of funding of the $5 billion that the U.N. says is desperately needed to help the humanitarian crisis facing the Syrian refugees, and demand that the U.S. work with Russia to finally come to a ceasefire and work for a political solution." We are also joined by Alia Malek, journalist and former human rights lawyer, and Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
 AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our roundtable discussion on Syria, the United States striking a Syrian military airbase for the first time in the six-year Syrian civil war. Speaking Thursday, interestingly, at the Women in the World Summit in New York City, before the strike happened, before President Trump came out in Florida, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. should take out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s airfields, after the chemical attack that killed scores of people on Tuesday.
HILLARY CLINTON: I think we should have been more willing to confront Assad. ... I really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.
AMY GOODMAN: For more, we are going to Lebanon, where we’re joined by Yazan al-Saadi, Syrian-Canadian writer, researcher based in Beirut. We are also continuing with Alia Malek, author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria. Phyllis Bennis is with us, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. And we’re joined by Medea Benjamin, who is co-founder of CodePink.
So, let’s go to Lebanon right now, to Yazan al-Saadi. Your response to the first U.S. attack on the Syrian military base, after the Tuesday chemical attack in Syria?
YAZAN AL-SAADI: Well, my first response is that I personally don’t think it’s going to matter much in the long term. I think it’s simply a symbolic attack. Let us not forget that the U.S. has told the Russians beforehand that they were going to do it. They hit a lone air base. This won’t really damage the capabilities of the Assad regime to do what it is doing.
I also would like to highlight that regardless of the fact that it’s the first so-called U.S. response on the Syrian regime, the U.S. has been bombing Syria since 2014, killing hundreds of civilians. So, for me, I would have to disagree with my other guest, Alia, in saying that this is a positive thing. There can be nothing positive, nothing at all, from the U.S. regime, nor the Russian regime, in their bombings and invasions of Syria. Neither of them—
Please continue the transcript and video interview here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/7/peace_advocates_if_trump_wanted_to?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=c21ddd34f1-Daily_Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-c21ddd34f1-191574905

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