First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq, after that it was Libya and now Syria. The targets of US intervention in the civil war of the Middle East are never ending. The US supported (first clandestinely and then openly) the separatist movement in Syria and a civil war in full swing has been the result, a war that has brought with it violent confrontations between President Assad and his Islamist population.
In politics, they say, history repeats itself. And Syria’s embedded association with Iran is important in all this. In July last year, by a 326-90 vote, the US senate passed a critical military spending bill, thereon allocating more than $600 billion for defence and military purposes; more specifically, for war against Iran by all possible routes viz. sea and air. Within a month after the bill was passed, Obama signed a secret order that empowered the US army to help Syrian rebels against the Assad government. The US has now forced even its so-called fair weather allies—Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and many more—to help these rebels in all possible ways they can.
A New York Times report reveals that CIA is now actively facilitating arms and weapons transfer to Syria via Turkey. This may force the current regime to use deadly weapons against the rebels, which in turn would act as a veil for the West to intervene and eventually declare a full-fledged war against the country.
Interestingly, a broken Syria will fulfil America’s 2013 Iran war ambition too. With Syria’s collapse, Iran would be left isolated in the region and would have virtually no support. This very war would weaken Iran, a country that has been pushing for a new front in the northern tier of Middle East along with Syria and Lebanon; and these three countries would have been the key players in the region, which is the one of the leading reasons that has made America act against Assad.
Interestingly, ‘safety zones’ and ‘no-fly zones’ have already been created in Syria by the US, which is evocative of the run-up to the second Gulf war that flattened Iraq. The Obama administration, in its desperate bid to win the November Presidential election, would try to win some brownie points from its electorate by removing the perceived ‘villain’ in Syria.
Moving further, the reasons for America’s interest in Syria’s war also include their greed for oil and gas reserves. A recent US Geological Survey found around 100 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.5 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin which also covers Syria. Thus, it becomes far more important to America that Syria be controlled by a puppet government that follows American diktats to the tee. For records, the US has already imposed sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act over the Syrian state-run oil company Sytrol, which apparently supplied fuel to Iran in the recent past. But in all this, Americans might end up paying a heavy price for their proxy wars in the Middle East. If the US attacks Syria, chances are that Iran might get involved too. In that case, in a frantic bid to defend itself, Syria—or even Iran for that matter—can use chemical, biological or even other weapons of mass destruction that would cast disaster in the Middle East. And if the US openly starts a full-fledged war with Syria, Iran will have full justification to openly seek the nuclear weapons armament route. With the recent NAM summit showing open support to Iran and opposition to America, Iran has shown that it’s no spring chicken when it comes to international diplomacy. So America’s war with Syria clearly could be a self-defeating one with no solution of any problem in sight. With American establishment spokespersons increasing their threats to newer levels in August and September, the probability of US openly attacking Syria has increased to levels never seen before. America cannot be allowed to attack Syria. It’s not just entities like NAM, but entities like EU and UN which must immediately act against US. The world must stand together to halt Uncle Sam in its dangerous aggression right now.
Chaudhuri is a management guru and honorary director at IIPM think tank