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Commentary :: War and Militarism
Targeting Iran and Syria
16 Nov 2011
Targeting Iran and Syria - by Stephen Lendman

America, key NATO partners, and Israel target both countries.

Israel wants regional rivals removed. Washington and key NATO partners want independent regimes ousted, replaced with subservient ones.

At issue is establishing regional dominance. New targets can then confronted politically, economically, and/or belligerently.

Fabricated IAEA Iranian documents escalated tensions. Rhetorical saber rattling followed. Stiffer sanctions are threatened and perhaps war.

Syria's been targeted for months. Libya's insurgency was replicated. Street battles rage daily. Violence engulfs the country. Assad's government is unfairly blamed. Washington's dirty hands are at fault. So are Israel's and other conspiratorial allies.

The Arab League's decision to suspend Syria makes Western intervention more likely. The League's constitution requires unanimity. Lebanon, Yemen and Syria voted "no." Iraq abstained.

Suspension's thus illegitimate. Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem condemned it. America was blamed for demanding it.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman attended the League session to assure things went Washington's way.

On November 4, former UK official Alastair Crooke headlined his London Guardian article, "Syria and Iran: the great game," saying:

"Regime change in Syria is a strategic prize that outstrips Libya - which is why Saudi Arabia and the west are playing their part."

He also said a senior Saudi officials believe toppling Assad will greatly benefit the Kingdom by weakening Iran.

Crooke explained today's "great game" strategy, saying:

"(S)et up a hurried transitional council as sole representative of the Syrian people, irrespective of (its legitimacy); feed in armed insurgents from neighboring states; impose sanctions that will hurt the middle classes; mount a media campaign to denigrate any Syrian efforts at reform; try to instigate divisions within the army and the elite; and ultimately President Assad will fall - so its initiators insist."

He believes Syrian strategy is failing, "in spite of heavy investment." He added that if pushed to the wall, sectarian violence may erupt in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere regionally.

He also called interventionist efforts for democracy "fanciful at best, an act of supreme callousness at worst." Washington, key Western allies and Israel won't tolerate it at home or abroad.

The "lose Assad" strategy stems from Israel's failed 2006 Lebanon war against Hezbollah. Washington calls Syria its achilles heel, as well as a way to weaken Iran.

After Mubarak's ouster, plans gelled. Qatar got involved. Saudi Arabia did earlier. Washington enlisted Turkey's help against Libya and Syria. External and internal Syrian opposition forces differ.

External ones back armed intervention and punishing sanctions. Nonetheless, regime security forces remain solid after months of conflict. Claimed defections are overhyped. Assad's support base is strong. Fear of the unknown and opposition to Western interference sustain it.

Internal forces represent most Syrians. They reject external political, economic and/or military intervention. Most feared is all-out civil war. Whether or not NATO intervention is planned isn't known. Nonetheless, expect externally generated insurgency to be protracted and bloody.

At a Monday Damascus press conference, Syrian Foreign Minister al-Moallem said:

"We wanted the role of the Arab League to be a supporting role, but if the Arabs wanted to be conspirators, this is their business."

Saudi Arabia and Qatar's dirty hands especially backed suspension, following orders from Washington.

On November 13, Syria called for an emergency League summit. Assad wants it before November 16, the date suspension takes effect. Syria acted after protesters stormed Saudi, Turkish, and Qatari Damascus embassies and Qatar's Beirut mission.

Qatar headed the League's Saturday session. In response, crowds pelted its embassy with eggs and tomatoes. Obscenities were shouted at Prime Minister and royal family member Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani, chairing Saturday's session.

Britain's Foreign Office minister, Alistair Burt, blamed Syria, saying:

"By allowing these attacks to take place, the Syrian regime is demonstrating yet again that its first response is repression and intimidation. This cycle of violence must stop now for the sake of the Syrian people and for those who support them."

It would stop if Washington called off its dogs. Across the country, millions of Syrians raged angrily against Western intervention.

On November 14, China's Xinhua News Agency headlined, "Millions of Syrians rally against the Arab League," saying:

Damascus residents displayed a giant Syrian flag. Millions "thronged main squares and streets in various cities to lend support to their embattled President Bashar al-Assad, and to express discontent with the Arab League (AL) decision to suspend Syria's membership."

In Damascus, hundreds of thousands filled Saba Bahrat Square. "It looks as if the whole city was out on the streets on Sunday."

Residents waved personal Syrian flags. Many shouted "God, Syria and Bashar only." Others carried banners reading "Down with the Hebrew League," meaning Arab League duplicity.

Within one hour of suspension, nationwide protests followed. Opposition Third Way movement parliamentarian Mohammad Habash joined them, saying:

The League "deviated from its charter and internal system" illegitimately. Syria's League ambassador Yusaf Ahmad accused members of supporting a foreign agenda.

Suspending Syria for reacting to externally generated violence is outrageous. Notably, League members backing it suppress their own people brutally.

Qatar partnered with NATO against Libya. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other regional states provided material and/or political support. Last February 23, League members duplicitously suspended Libya for defending itself against Western-backed rebel rats.

Libya's model targets Syria, so far without NATO intervention that may follow. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said Western-backed insurgents "are being financed in an unofficial way by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon('s opposition Hariri March 8 alliance), and Jordan."

As a result, he added:

"Syria has lost more than 1,150 martyrs from the army and security forces."

Turkey is conspiratorially involved. As a result, full-blown civil war and greater regional disruption may follow. Ankara helped establish the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and Free Syrian Army (FSA). SNC recognition accompanied Syria's suspension.

Former Syrian Colonial Riad al-Asaad heads FSA. Turkey provided its members refuge inside its borders. Asaad claims a 15,000-man force. He believes Assad won't fall without war. He said he's working with another internal group, the Free Officers Movement. He also asked for more international support.

London's Independent said insurgents' "strategy (includes) guerrilla attacks and assassination of security force figures and state-sponsored militias amid signs of growing armed resistance against the regime after months of protests."

Israel's Mossad-linked DEBKAfile claims NATO and Turkey plan intervening in Syria by enlisting and arming thousands of insurgent forces. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon's Hariri March 8 alliance, Jordan and Israel are involved. Washington's in charge orchestrating events.

Contradicting reports by US intelligence and other sources, DEBKA cited a November 13 "closed meeting of Jewish leaders in New York." Based on no evidence whatever, they claim Iran will have five nuclear bombs by April 2012.

According to DEBKA:

"The Jewish leaders....were informed that the Obama administration had intelligence data that the US and Israel have no more than a couple of months left for striking down Iran's military weapons development by force. This will no longer be viable after Iran is armed with five nuclear bombs or warheads."

In fact, Obama has nothing. As recently as March 2011, America's Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community said no evidence suggests Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

DEBKA for sure knows it, but misreported anyway. Some of its reports are reliable. Others fall way short, including this one. Events remain fluid. Their consequences are unpredictable, including ones cooler heads dread.

A Final Comment

On November 14, London Independent writer Robert Fisk headlined, "Arab League's 'roar' at Syria shows how tiny Qatar is starting to flex its muscles," asking:

Did Arab Spring contagion lie behind Syria's suspension "or was it leaned on by the British Empire-style ambitions of tiny, rich Qatar?"

Calling the League "one of the silliest, most impotent, preposterous organizations in" Arab history, Fisk said it "suddenly turned from mouse to lion and roared...."

So did Damascus about illegitimate League action, violating its charter. Pushed by Washington, Qatar spearheaded the decision, acting as "the League's vanguard against Syria."

Whatever unfolds ahead, Assad is seriously challenged. He and his father called Syria the "Mother of the Arab Nation."

Conspiratorially with Western powers, League members want it isolated, weakened, humiliated, and perhaps toppled, risking what lies ahead.

An English proverb says "Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it." Cooler heads know potential dangers most others don't until it's too late matter.

Assad may indeed fall, followed perhaps by Iran and other regional targets. At issue is what's next?

Challenged hornets' nests hold nasty surprises. In geopolitical terms, out-of-control conflict stands out.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

Also visit his blog site at 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.                                  
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