Pressure Building for More Middle East War
by Stephen Lendman
The name of the game is dominance. Washington accepts nothing less. All means are used. War is a favorite option.
America has always been a warrior nation. It’s addicted to war. Permanent ones are waged. Nations are ravaged one at a time or in multiples.
If America had a motto it would be war is good, the more the better. How else can generals get more stars and profiteers cash in big?
Human lives are a small price to pay. Rule of law principles are ignored. Wealth and power alone matter. It’s the American way.
Fast moving events suggest full-scale intervention in Syria. War already rages. City streets are battlegrounds. Dozens die daily. Civilians always suffer most.
The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Destroying Syria isolates Iran. America’s war machine can then focus on regime change there.
Its regional regime change plans are longstanding.
In his book, “Winning Modern Wars,” General Wesley Clark said Pentagon sources told him two months after 9/11 that war plans were being prepared against Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. Months earlier, they were finalized against Afghanistan.”
“And what about the real sources of terrorists – US allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia?”
“Wasn’t it repressive policies of the first, and the corruption and poverty of the second, that were generating many of the angry young men who became terrorists?”
“And what of the radical ideology and direct funding spewing from Saudi Arabia?”
“It seemed that we were being taken into a strategy more likely to make us the enemy – encouraging what could look like a ‘clash of civilizations’ – not a good strategy for winning the war on terror.”
On March 7, 2007, Seymour Hersh headlined his New Yorker article “The Redirection,” saying:
Strategy calls for “open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.”
Part of it involves weakening Syria and Hezbollah. Sunni extremists are being bolstered. Many have close Al Qaeda ties. Sunni/Shia conflict was planned. Positioning fighters in northern Lebanon gives them cross-border access to Syria.
A new strategic regional alignment depends on pitting one side against the other. Obama continues Bush era policies. Replacing independent regimes with client ones is key. Syria and Iran are prime targets.
Russia and China so far prevented passage of Security Council resolutions similar to SC 1973 against Libya. Authorizing a no-fly zone automatically means war. So does approving safe havens in Syrian territory.
On July 11, Russia submitted a draft SC resolution. It calls for extending the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) three months.
Deputy UN envoy Alexander Pankin said the draft “is not confrontational at all. Its main point is in support of Kofi Annan’s efforts and agreements reached in Geneva at the action group’s meeting.”
Moscow wants ongoing conflict solved diplomatically. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other government officials repeatedly say Russia opposes foreign intervention.
Washington, key NATO partners and rogue regional states want war. They also want stiffer sanctions.
Pankin said Russia won’t support them because they won’t stop raging violence. China said the same thing.
A spokesman for France’s Foreign Ministry called Russia’s proposal “below the expectations” of the global community. It wasn’t tough enough he meant.
On July 11, Washington, France and Germany backed a belligerent UK draft resolution. It calls for stiffer sanctions and compliance with transition government replacing Assad. It’s enforceable under the UN Charter’s Chapter VII.
It calls for measures ranging from economic sanctions, severing diplomatic ties, and/or blockades to direct military intervention.
Annan backs these ideas. He’s a longstanding imperial tool. He asked the Security Council to agree on “clear consequences” if Syria doesn’t comply with what Western powers demand.
Since his appointment as Syrian UN/Arab League envoy, he’s pointed fingers one way. He blames Assad for Western-generated violence. Diplomacy isn’t his long suit. It’s serving power and privilege no matter the body count fallout.
Journalist Jurgen Todenhofer writes for Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). He made half a dozen trips to Syria. In April, he headlined “Syria: The rebels of the Syrian city Homs,” saying:
He interviewed them and war victims. The country needs reform, he said. Assad’s new constitution is “an important step.”
“Violence is no solution.” Rebels are responsible for most killing.
On July 9, he wrote:
Anyone describing ongoing Syrian violence as “a dictator killing his own people….under(stands) nothing.”
“(A)rmed rebels are entrenched (in) neighborhoods (killing) civilians (with) heavy weapons.”
“This massacre marketing strategy is one of the most hideous things I’ve ever experienced in warfare.”
Rebels are allied “with al-Qaeda fighters.”
He spoke to some. They were responsible for a Damascus bomb attack.
On July 11, Sryian state media SANA said Todenhofer reported “armed terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda organization in Syria.”
He told German TV he “met several al-Qaeda-affiliated groups which are committing violence acts in Syria.”
“He underscored that the western media outlets are conveying distorted image of the events taking place in Syria.”
“The U.S. administration should hold dialogue with the Syrian leadership with the aim of reaching a peaceful solution for the crisis in Syria,” he added.
He interviewed Assad and asked why he didn’t resign.
Assad responded, saying:
“A president should not run away from challenges and we are here right now in front of a national challenge in Syria. The President cannot escape just such a situation.”
He still has popular support, he stressed. Without it he’d step down.
Most of those killed are government supporters. They’re “innocent people who have been killed by different groups in Syria.”
They’re killed by “different kinds of gangs.” Al Qaeda extremists are among them. Some wear army uniforms and pretend to be soldiers. His government is unfairly blamed, he said.
“Who are these rebels you call terrorists,” Todenhofer asked:
Assad said they’re “a mixture, an amalgam of Al Qaeda. Other extremists, not necessarily al-Qaeda and outlaws who escaped the police for years, mainly smuggling drugs from Europe to the Gulf area and others who were sentenced in different sentences. So it’s a mixture of different things.”
He captured many Al Qaeda fighters, he added. Some were identified from Tunisia and Libya.
What role is America playing in the conflict, Todenhofer asked:
Assad said “(i)ts part of the conflict. They offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to (destabilize) Syria.”
Supporting terrorists means you’re partnered with them, he added. He stressed his commitment to defend Syria. “Our priority is to defend our country not to retaliate to anyone. This is our duty and this is our aim.”
He seeks a political solution. He’s agreeable to open conflict resolution dialogue. At the same time, you can’t negotiate with terrorists “while they are killing your people and your army.”
He’s very willing to meet with nonviolent opposition leaders and Western countries. If rebels laid down their arms, he’ll “definitely” talk to them.
Why has Annan’s plan failed, asked Todenhofer:
It’s because “many countries do not want it to succeed. So they offer political support and they still send armaments and send money to terrorists in Syria. They want it to fail in this way,” said Assad.
Conflict resolution requires fighting terrorism, he added. “(W)hat do you do if somebody kills civilians, kills innocent people, kills children and kills your soldiers and the police and anyone.”
“You have to fight (them if they’re) not ready for a dialogue. And that’s what we’ve been seeing so far.”
Political dialogue is vital, he added. Syrians must decide who’ll lead them. He’s committed to free, fair, and open elections. At the same time, he recognizes an ongoing “state of war.”
On May 7, parliamentary elections were held. It was a milestone political event. Independent candidates participated.
Despite ongoing insurgent violence, turnout was high. Voting went smoothly. Independent monitors supervised the process. They included intellectuals, legislators and judicial authorities from other countries.
For Syrians, it was historic. Ba’ath party members won a 60% majority. Previously they held just over 50% control. With support from independent MPs, they comprise 90% of Syria’s parliament. Opposition party members were also elected.
Western leaders and media scoundrels denounced them. Official lies get repeated ad nauseam.
Unfolding events don’t suggest peaceful conflict resolution. On July 3, The New York Times headlined “US Adds Forces in Persian Gulf, a Signal to Iran,” saying:
Significant “military reinforcements” aim to deter Iran from “any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz.”
Deployments are part of longstanding plans to increase America’s regional military presence. Pressuring Syria and Iran is policy. So is war.
On July 11, the Los Angeles Times headlined “US deploys (underwater) sea drones to Persian Gulf to clear Iranian mines,” saying:
They’re unmanned, four feet long, and weigh 88 pounds.
They’re “remotely guided submersibles carry(ing) a TV camera, homing sonar and an explosive charge for what amounts to a kamikaze mission: When it detects a mine, the undersea craft obliterates itself as well as the mine.”
They’re German-made torpedo-like submersibles called SeaFox. They’re not new. They’ve been around for a decade. Ten or more countries use them. They’re simple to deploy from surface ships or helicopters.
Minesweepers, MH-53 minesweeping helicopters, two additional aircraft carriers, and more F-22 stealth fighters were added.
Thousands of troops are stationed nearby. America’s military infests the region. Saber rattling and destabilization are part of the strategy. So is war if other regime change options fail.
Increasingly it looks likely. Anything could happen any time. When Washington is dead set on something, plans are readied to implement it.
They’re on the shelf awaiting a green light to go. It could come any time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.