Monday, February 20, 2023

Saving Humanity and Planet Earth (SHAPE) - Global Webinar



Greetings friends,
Saving Humanity and Planet Earth (SHAPE) is an initiative to address the multiple crises that have brought us to the brink of the precipice.
JUST has been part of this initiative since its inception, and now we are calling for invitations to join us on our second upcoming Webinar to be held on 23rd February 2023, 4.00pm MYT
The main goal of this Webinar is to lay down a frank appraisal of both on-going and arising geopolitical crises, and draws lessons from the Ukraine war and set new pathways to global security
To Register for the Webinar, please click the link below:
We encourage all our members and friends to also share this Webinar with others among their networks of friends
If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact us
Hassanal Noor Rashid
JUST Programme Coordinator
H/P: +6012-3621155

Sunday, February 19, 2023



The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) urges the
American, British, Australian, Canadian, Swiss and some
European Union and Arab League governments to lift the
unjust, immoral sanctions against Syria in order to lessen the
immense sufferings of the people caused by the massive
earthquake of 6th February 2023.
A number of local groups including the Syrian Red Crescent
Society have already made this call. Among individuals and
groups at the international level who also want sanctions
lifted is Helga Zepp LaRouche of the Schiller Institute. It is
reported that the US and EU have suspended temporarily
their sanctions. But this is not enough because it means that
they can be re-imposed at any time. If sanctions have to be
terminated once and for all, it is because there were no
justifications for them in the first instance.
The US began targeting Syria in 1979 by placing it on the list
of state sponsors of terrorism. This was largely because of the
support that then Syrian president Hafez Azad gave
Palestinian, Syrian and other Arab freedom fighters seeking
to liberate Palestine, Syria’s Golan Heights and other Arab
territories from Israeli occupation. It is an indication of the
degree of influence that Israel and Zionism exercise over US
foreign policy in West Asia and North Africa (WANA).
Between March and August 2004, sanctions were intensified
as a result of new allegations of Syrian interference in Iraq
and Lebanon which impacted upon Israel. By this time, the
Syrian government’s relationship with Hamas in Palestine and
Hezbollah in Lebanon and its close fraternal ties with Iran
were at the core of US animosity towards the resolutely
independent minded nation. Needless to say, Israeli interests
were prominent in all these US stances.
However, it was only after 2011, camouflaged by the socalled Arab Spring, that organised, aggressive US led attempts
to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar Azad,
supported by some of its European allies and WANA friends,
gave birth to a whole range of new sanctions from travel bans
and asset freezes to prohibitions on exports and restrictions
upon the oil sector. The EU also joined the US in embargoing
the oil sector. 20% of Syria’s GDP came from oil. It has been
estimated that the country has lost 107 billion US dollars
from its oil and gas earnings since 2011.
Some Arab League states also froze Syrian government assets
as did Turkiye in 2011. But none of these actions had as
severe an impact upon the Syrian economy and State as the
capture of territories containing oil and producing wheat and
cotton by rebel groups linked to governments, ethnic
movements or terrorist outfits in the region. These groups
collectively known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are
led by Kurds with longstanding grievances against both the
Syrian and Turkish governments and are supported by the US.
They occupy parts of North West Syria badly affected by the
It is this fractured and fragmented country that Bashar Azad
presides over. It is a country in which 15.3 million people out
of a population of 21.3 million are in need of humanitarian
aid. Bashar’s power and authority have been further
weakened as we have seen by loss of control over vital
resources and by crippling sanctions. It is understandable
why his government was not able to respond quickly and
effectively to the earthquake catastrophe which as of 11
th February has killed at least 3,500 people. It is of course much
smaller than the more than 22,300 children, women and men
who have perished in neighbouring Turkiye.
Nonetheless, the Syrian tragedy demands a response that
goes beyond rescue and recovery operations. It is a colossal
tragedy complicated by sanctions which impede not only ongoing operations such as the flow of basic necessities and the
arrival of much needed personnel but also hinder medium
and long-term relief and rehabilitation work. This is why
sanctions have to be lifted immediately. This is why both
peoples and governments everywhere should make this their
priority plea.
The conflicts between competing groups the majority of
which are armed should also be brought to an end as soon as
possible. It is not going to be easy. One hopes that this
mammoth catastrophe will persuade some of the principal
actors in these conflicts to reflect deeply on what has
happened --- the unfathomable suffering of millions of
human beings on both sides of the Turkiye-Syria border. If
their suffering is to have any meaning at all, let it herald the
end of conflicts and killings along the border and in other
parts of Syria. In this regard, it is encouraging that the United
Nations has appealed to all warring parties to observe a
ceasefire with immediate effect to enable humanitarian
assistance to be channelled to the victims of the earthquake.
There is another glimmer of hope. Even before the
earthquake, on the 5th of January 2023, the president of
Turkiye, Recep Erdogan indicated that he wants to meet up
with the Syrian president, Bashar Azad, to discuss and resolve
their differences. Let us hope and pray that both men will
work towards such a meeting --- a meeting which will result
in a mutually acceptable solution to their problems. If the two
leaders who enjoyed a close friendship some time ago make
peace with one another, there is a strong possibility that
Turkiye and Syria will be able to come together on a firm
footing and most of the other protagonists will also be able to
bury the hatchet.
If that happens, the deaths of thousands --- especially little
children --- in one of the greatest tragedies in recent times
would not have been in vain.
Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the president of the International
Movement for a Just World (JUST).
12 February 2023