No War on Syria...Yet

UK parliament drops quick vote on military intervention while Obama consults with Congress

29.08.2013 // PRINT
DR
The British government has abandoned its initial plans for an anticipated vote on the country’s intervention in Syria.

Politicians are currently discussing in the House of Commons on how to proceed.

A motion has been put forward in Commons that a final vote on military intervention must be carried out after the UN inspectors have completed their investigation on the suspected chemical attacks.

However the Labour party (the major opposition in government) has not yet made a decision on whether or not they intend to support such a motion, having put its amendment to a vote. The party has demanded that before action be taken “compelling evidence” must be put forward, showing that president Assad and his regime were really responsible for last Wednesday’s chemical attacks that killed over 350 people and injured more than 3,600.

Labour party leader Ed Miliband has insisted that the UK learns “the lessons of Iraq” and gives the UN inspectors the time that they need in order to analyse the evidence and make their reports. He said that he wanted no “artificial timetable” with decisions for military action.

The British government have presented the UN’s Security Council with a draft resolution, authorising “all necessary measures to protect civilians" in Syria. They have also put together legal advice with regards to military action that they plan to publish shortly.

UK foreign minister WIlliam Hague has said that the government must move forward under a “consensual basis.” He said that the prime minister was aware of and understood the “deep concerns in this country over what happened over Iraq".

Cameron recognized that "Interfering in another country's affairs should not be undertaken except in the most exceptional circumstances. It must be a humanitarian catastrophe and it must be a last resort” he said.

However he made a plea to Commons: "by any standards, this is a humanitarian catastrophe, and if there are no consequences for it, there is nothing to stop President Bashar al-Assad and other dictators from using these weapons again and again.

"Doing nothing is a choice. It's a choice with consequences. And these consequences in my view would not just be about President Assad and his future use of chemical weapons."

Miliband said: "I'm not with those who rule out action - the horrific events unfolding in Syria do ask us to consider the options available.

"But we owe it to the Syrian people, to our own country and to the future security of our world to scrutinise any plans on the basis of the consequences they have."

Meanwhile in Britain, demonstrations against military action on Syria have been gathering momentum. Outside Downing Street hundreds of protesters of all ages are gathered together holding anti-war signs with phrases like "Hands off Syria."

US deliberates

The situation is similar in the US. The president is obliged by law to confer with Congress before giving the go-ahead for any military intervention.

Obama is set to speak with congress on Thursday despite the fact that both the House and Senate are on their summer break until 9 September. There have been some complaints within Congress  on the lack of disclosure given to them by the president on the issue of military action against Syria.

Republican speaker for the House, John Boehner, wrote a letter to president Obama on Wednesday. He requested that the president “clearly articulate” his plans, policy and strategy on the issue to both the public and Congress.

"I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees” he wrote “who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation."

Thursday’s meeting will aim to debrief adequately Congressional leaders.

Assad warns west

Syrian president Assad who has denied accusations against him of being responsible for the chemical attacks, has said that "Syria, with its steadfast people and brave army, will continue eliminating terrorism, which is utilised by Israel and Western countries to serve their interests in fragmenting the region."

He also promised to fight against any “western aggression.”

Babylon’s Patriarch  of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael Sako, head of the most significant Christian community in Iraq has said that military intervention in Syria would be "a disaster. It would be like a volcano erupting with an explosion meant to destroy Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine. And maybe someone wants this."

He continues: "everyone is talking about democracy and freedom, but to reach those goals one must pass through historical processes and one cannot think of imposing them in a mechanical way or with force. The only way, in Syria, as elsewhere, is the search for political solutions. To push fighters to negotiate, to imagine a provisional government that involves both those of the regime and the opposition forces. Listening to what the Syrian people really want in their majority."

"Westerners" says His Beatitude Sako "have also justified the intervention against Saddam with the accusation that the Iraqi Rais had weapons of mass destruction. But those weapons have not been found."

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A Kerala Model for New Evangelisation It‰Ûªs just awesome! 560,829 are the participants this year for Logos Mega Bible Quiz to be conducted on 30th September 2012 in Kerala the great and ancient centre of Christianity in India. The interest in the Quiz has gone up steadily since it was initiated in 2000 the Great Jubilee Year by the Bishops‰Ûª conference. This year saw an increase of 25,000 compared to last year‰Ûªs registration (537,300). This colossal phenomenon, called ‰Û÷Logos Mega Bible Quiz‰Ûª, invites the keen attention of the universal Church at the dawn of the Synod on New Evangelization. The Aim The Logos Bible Quiz, which is organized by Kerala Catholic Bishops‰Ûª Council‰Ûªs Bible Commission, provides people opportunity to read and study the Holy Bible carefully. ‰ÛÏOur aim is to promote interest in Bible reading and to cultivate a culture of systematic study of the Bible in order to make a vibrant Christian life possible‰Û, says Rev. Dr. Joshy Mayyattil the chief co-ordinator of Logos Mega Quiz and Secretary of KCBC Bible Commission and Kerala Catholic Bible Society. The Mode The participants, in the quiz conducted by Bible Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, are divided into six age groups. People of all walks of life can participate in this popular Bible quiz. Many religious and priests too participate in it. The preliminary round of the Logos Quiz, conducted in parishes under the auspice of Diocesan Bible Apostolate directors, lasts for one and half hours in which the participants will answer multiple answer questions. Three toppers from each age category will participate in the written quiz conducted in KCBC headquarters at Kochi. Top ten from each age category from this round will be eligible for the final round which includes audio, video, written, oral and Bible verse recitation tests. Once the final round gets over, the winners in each category is awarded with gold medals and cash prizes. And the champion of the Logos Quiz (Logos Prathibha) will have a free pilgrimage to Holy Land. The possibility of introducing scholarship for Bible study for the Logos winners is under consideration. Last year the Logos Prathibha (i.e., Logos Champion) was Sr. Betty LAR from the diocese of Palai. Year before last it was Miss Reshma Pius a 16-year old student hailing from an economically poor family. This Bible lover has proved that her family‰Ûªs richness consists in their love for the Scripture. A Year-long Preparation for 35 chapters! People prepare themselves well in advance for the quiz. The syllabus of almost 35 chapters from the Old and New Testaments (the syllabus for this year: Exodus 25-40; the Gospel of Mark; II Peter) for the quiz is announced a year in advance so that the contestants can get ample time to prepare. Often people carry their personal Bibles during travels in order to read the portions. In many cases parents and children get ready for the Logos making collective study and preparing notes in the family. It is not a rare thing in Kerala to see members of the same family, especially children, competing among themselves to learn biblical verses by-heart. In some places, the participants of the Logos Quiz sit together after the Sunday Catechesis and revise the topics. Study guides are also available. Last year more than 20 various guides were available in the bookshops. In Future ‰ÛÏLogos Quiz has become a Herculean task for the conducting team. However it is also a pleasant task‰Û, says Bishop George Punnakkottil the Chairman of KCBC Bible Commission. ‰ÛÏLast year we introduced on-line registration (visit: www.logosquiz.org). In a few years we will be able to conduct on-line exam also. Thus the desire of numerous Keralites abroad to participate in the Logos Quiz would be realized‰Û. ‰ÛÏThe KCBC Bible Commission has plans to make this Bible Quiz popular in other parts of the world too. For this purpose, the Bible Quiz, which is currently conducted in Malayalam and English, will be made available in other languages also‰Û, added Bishop Punnakkottil. The e-mails that the organizers of the Logos Bible Quiz receive are evidences for the desire of the people around the globe for such methods and tools for Bible study. The great success of this Bible contest in Kerala could be a pointer for the universal Church ‰ÛÒ Bible Quiz, if culturally adapted, may be one of the best means for the new evangelization.

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