September 18, 2013

Components of the Firmness of the Syrian State. Part 1.


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Oleksiy O. Volovych, Candidate of Historical Sciences

Components of the Firmness of the Syrian State

In the era of globalization, when mutual interdependence among all countries of the world is increasing, the issue of strengthening international security is of particular importance. At the moment, this is clearly shown by the situation around Syria, where the third year in row the civil war continues because of the large-scale foreign intervention. Today, we have to state that the effectiveness of the UN as a universal mechanism for resolution of international conflicts, is catastrophically falling mainly due to the efforts of some Western countries, primarily the United States, to “restore order“ in the world at their own discretion by force. Yesterday, we saw it in Iraq and Libya, and today we see it in the situation around Syria.

Unilateral USA's  actions against Syria have been supported by 11 countries of the G20
Unilateral USA's  actions against Syria have been supported by 11 countries of the G20

Uncompromising rhetoric of the U.S. administration under President Barack Obama obviously does not contribute to the intergovernmental dialogue around solutions of crises in the world. President Barack Obama's refusal to meet with President Vladimir Putin at the summit of the G-20 in St. Petersburg on September 5-6, is another evidence of intransigence and biases of the American administration. When, then, to meet with a view to finding a consensus and understanding, if not in critical moments of inter-state relations? The president of a large country should not put his own ambitions above the interests of his people and the international community.

Without the support of the majority of the American people, and some of the leading NATO countries, as well as of the UN Security Council and the EU, disregarding the position of such great powers as Russia and China, without waiting for the results of the investigation by UN experts of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and a vote in the U.S. Congress for the resolution on military actions against a sovereign country — the Syrian Arab Republic, President Obama is frantically rushing to put missile and bomb attacks on military targets and government agencies in Syria with the intention to “punish the Syrian B. Assad's regime“ for the alleged use of chemical weapons, that no one so far has documented and convincingly proven.

Barack Obama – Congressman…

As a senator from Illinois, Barack Obama had been consistently speaking against the war in Iraq before it began. When in 2002 the Washington ruling elite favored the war, Obama had the courage to speak out against these aggressive intentions. In our opinion, the victory of Barack Obama in the presidential election of 2008 was not in the least related to his consistently negative attitude to the war in Iraq already at the stage of its planning. For example, in his speech, October 26, 2002, Obama warned that “even a successful war in Iraq would require indefinitely prolonged occupation, many victims and unpredictable consequences. The intervention in Iraq without strong international support will further ignite the flames of conflict in the Middle East, will wake not the best impulses of the Arab world and will provide thousands of new recruits for al-Qaeda”.

In his public speeches, Senator Barack Obama kept touching upon Iraqi issues and invariably criticized the administration of George W. Bush for its adventurism. Here are a few quotes from his speeches in the early years of the occupation of Iraq:

”We have an administration whose arrogance seems to have no limits. The war in Iraq makes it impossible to effectively fight against terrorism. There is no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda”.

”I am the only candidate for election to the Senate from Illinois, who had been publicly opposing the war in Iraq before it began. Instead of reducing the threat of terrorism and making America safer, our unilateral war in Iraq, I am afraid, will ruin our relations with other countries. We need to stop our military presence in Iraq as soon as possible. We should develop an effective plan to stabilize Iraq and leave this country as soon as possible”.

In his speech in Chicago on the 20th of November, 2006 Senator Barack Obama again stopped on the problem of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, “2,867 Americans were killed in this war. Thousands more will suffer from their injuries for a lifetime. Chaos has gripped Iraq because of ethnic clashes that had lasted long before American troops entered Iraq. This conflict has deprived us of the opportunity to effectively confront other threats in North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan. Our own intelligence reports that al-Qaeda is successfully using the war in Iraq to mobilize a new generation of terrorists in the war against America”.

…and Barack Obama - President

Obama is seeking war in Syria and becoming a clone of Bush
Obama is seeking war in Syria and becoming a clone of Bush

So what do we see today? We see that today President Barack Obama “without strong international support” wants to do in Syria what Bush did 10 years ago in Iraq. Why is Barack Obama not afraid that “unilateral war” against Syria “will ruin (and has already ruined!) relations with other countries”? Today from B. Obama we hear insinuations about the use of chemical weapons in Syria by government troops, exactly like 10 years ago we heard such insinuations from Bush about Iraq's alleged use of weapons of mass destruction, which was never found. But the country was occupied and a terrible slaughter was started, which to this day has not stopped.

Anti-war demonstrators imitate death at the action of protest on the day of the 6th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq
Anti-war demonstrators imitate death at the action of protest on the day of the 6th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, Hollywood, March 1, 2009 (Mark Ralston - AFP / Getty Images)

According to various sources, during the occupation of Iraq about a million of Iraqis had been killed and twice as many had been crippled. Several millions of Iraqis had become refugees. According to the Pentagon's data, total losses of U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq from March 20, 2003 to July 31, 2010 had made 4413 people killed and nearly 31870 people wounded. What can justify the terrible sacrifices? What today can justify those potential victims of the Syrian population, which the White House is going to cause as it is planning missile and bomb strikes on Syria?

And even withdrawal from Iraq of most of the U.S. troops in 2011, that was widely credited to Barack Obama, has not brought peace to Iraq. Sentenced to 22 years in prison Saddam Hussein's associate, former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in 2010 gave an interview to the British newspaper The Guardian, in which he expressed a strong protest against U.S. President Barack Obama's insisting on a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, “I did hope that Obama would correct George W. Bush's mistakes, but he has turned out to be a hypocrite. Obama is giving Iraq to the wolves. Saddam had been building this country for 30 years, and the Americans have destroyed everything. Today people are being killed in dozens, if not hundreds every day”…

Today, the Nobel Peace(?!) Prizewinner, President Barack Obama gives Syria at the mercy of the same wolves - al-Qaeda militants and al-Nusra, with assistance of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who obediently follow instructions of Washington, supplying the Syrian opposition and rebels from 18 countries with American weapons and equipment, as well as providing generous financial support.

The Libyan Scenario in Syria

In Syria, the Libyan scenario of unlawful force foreign intervention is being repeated
In Syria, the Libyan scenario of unlawful force foreign intervention is being repeated

With some minor differences, in Syria the Libyan scenario of unlawful force outside intervention is being repeated: there is a high degree of participation of foreign armed groups in the internal Syrian conflict; the Syrian opposition is being supplied with American weapons from huge arsenals in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, a leading member of NATO — Turkey — has provided its territory for deployment of the armed forces of Syrian opposition, becoming a foothold for illegal military actions against a sovereign state with which Ankara till 2011 had had a relationship of strategic cooperation; intelligence units and special forces of NATO countries are operating in the territory of Syria and training Syrian opposition's militants in neighboring countries; against Syria's legitimate leadership headed by president B. Assad Western media is leading a distraught information and psychological war, in which are involved Arab TV channels “Al-Jazeera“ and “Al-Arabiya”; like in Libya, in the ranks of the Syrian opposition are ruling radical Islamists.

Until recently, perhaps the only difference between the events in Libya and Syria was the fact that the aircraft and warships of NATO so far have not struck at the Syrian territory de facto, mainly due to the lack of UN SC resolution that would allow the forceful intervention of NATO. However, today, when defeat of the Syrian opposition has become obvious, the lack of the UNSC resolution, as repeatedly declared Barack Obama, will not stand in the way of the aggression of the United States and some of its allies against sovereign Syria.

Double Standards and Washington's Adventurism

In the situation around Syria Washington once again demonstrated the policy of double and triple standards. On the one hand, the USA declares about the “inflexible determination“ to fight international terrorism, on the other it actively supports some extremist movements, including radical Islamists. Until recently, instead of the unpopular and burdensome direct intervention Washington considered it better to use Islamists. But, according to U.S. strategists, it was not enough, and the USA must fight directly against Syria, attracting to this dirty business some NATO countries, whose people, unlike their leaders, oppose the new adventure of the White House in the Middle East, the situation in which already is extremely unstable.

Until recently, Washington, fearing occurrence in Syria of a permanent center of Islamist radicalism, did not dare to deliver great amounts of weapons and ammunition directly to Syrian opposition and especially to radical Islamist groups. Today, however, the White House seems to be turning a blind eye to the fact that in the case of overthrow of President B. Assad by force, to the power in the country will come not opposition politicians, but Islamist warlords who are already now openly hostile to each other, and will be dividing “Laurels of winners“, plunging the country into a new round of unmanaged chaos that right now can be seen in Iraq and Libya.

U.S. instructors trained 300 Syrian rebels in Jordan
U.S. instructors trained 300 Syrian rebels in Jordan

Since the spring of 2012, American special forces have been training Syrian rebels in Jordan, at the Center for Special Operations of the Royal Troops near Amman, to capture and hold wear-houses with chemical weapons that could fall into the hands of Islamists in the case of the fall of B. Assad's regime. According to some reports, Damascus had an informal channel of information exchange with Washington on the level of intelligence. Thus, recently, in agreement with Damascus, CIA specialists in the Jordanian military delegation inspected arsenals of chemical weapons in Syria, where they checked the reliability of storage of chemical weapons. In our view, this practice is more effective to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria than a missile and bomb strikes on the country. Why the Pentagon did not think about the fact that as a result of these attacks, several U.S. missiles or bombs can “accidentally” fall into the warehouses of chemical weapons?

Lately among the American leadership have been very heated discussions about the forms of support to the Syrian opposition. In the U.S. Congress have got intensified calls for President Obama to use military force in Syria and extend support to the opposition, including the supply of weapons. A letter to the White House was sent by two prominent U.S. Congressmen — Democrat Carl Levin and Republican John McCain. Also has increased the pressure on the Obama from American politicians who serve the military-industrial complex.

Brzezinski has admitted that the New World Order may never come
Brzezinski has admitted that the New World Order may never come

In his recent interview with the U.S “The National Interest” the world-famous American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski asks rhetorically, “Why have we all suddenly decided that Syria must be destabilized and its government overthrown? Has this ever been explained to the American people?” At the end of the interview he himself answers his own question, “America is a country with a very simplistic understanding of world affairs, with still a lot of confidence in its ability to dominate, if necessary by force... Without a complete understanding of the hidden complexities that will suck us deeper and deeper, and ultimately, we will be drawn into a larger regional war, and this region will become even more hostile to us in comparison with the current attitude of many Arabs to us. It would be a disaster for us”. But, unfortunately, today, few in the White House and on Capitol Hill listen to Z. Brzezinski's wise words.

I would also like to answer Z. Brzezinski's question — why has the White House “suddenly decided that Syria must be destabilized and its government overthrown?” In my opinion, in the adoption of this erroneous decision a crucial role belongs to geopolitical and energy components of the Syrian crisis. To let B. Assad remain in power for the White House means to make concessions to Russia and China, which is considered by American “hawks” a sign of USA's weakness, which, in their opinion, in no case should be allowed.

As part of this geopolitical task, in my view, the current U.S. administration is after three main goals: 1) to force out Russia and China from Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean, after having ousted them from Iraq and Libya, 2) to bring to power in Damascus a compliant pro-USA and pro-Israel puppet, and 3) to increase pressure on Iran, and, when convenient, — to deal with it. However, at the time when Syria is in the center of the zone of permanent instability in the Middle East, the Pentagon's drawing of a military strike against it can be compared to bringing a lit match to a powder keg. Everyone knows that such “playing with fire“ is especially dangerous for the one who holds a lit match in his hand. If the White House does decide to draw the United States into yet another crazy adventure in the Middle East, the situation can totally get out of control, and develop not as planned by American strategists. Too many problem situations have accumulated in the neighboring countries of Syria — in Israel and Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Kurdistan and Turkey.

Imagine the following situation. From American destroyers and submarines in the Mediterranean Sea into Syria are launched cruise missiles “Tomahawk“ and fly over Russian ships and over heads of Russian sailors. What if accidentally one of the thousands of missiles deviates from its course, and strikes one of the Russian ships? What if some Russian naval chief's nerves fail and he launches torpedoes towards U.S. destroyers? What to do then? To begin World War III?

Map of cross-border gas pipeline Iran-Iraq-Syria: it is Syria that has to become a through corridor for the gas pipeline
Map of cross-border gas pipeline Iran-Iraq-Syria: it is Syria that has to become a through corridor for the gas pipeline

As in the case of Iraq and Libya, in the White House's decision to begin a military action against Syria, there is an important, and perhaps the main component — the energy one. As you know, on the eve of the civil war in Syria, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran had agreed on the construction of the Iranian gas pipeline through Iraq and Syria to Europe, which of course could not make Tel Aviv or Washington happy. As a result, with a new force was used the myth of the “nuclear threat“ from Iran, and the sanctions against the rebellious country became tougher. The above-mentioned Iranian gas pipeline project also did not cause admiration in the neighboring Qatar, which itself was planning to extend its own pipeline to Europe via Syria, but these plans cannot be implemented until at power in Syria is President B. Assad. This can explain the fact that Doha gives a huge military and financial aid to opposition forces and foreign fighters in Syria. Another part of the energy component of the Syrian crisis is the discovery on the Mediterranean shelf of Syria of huge reserves of oil and gas, development of which could lead this country in the top ten countries in the world, producing oil and gas. As the expert Osama Monahid from International Carnegie Middle East Center stated to the El Confidencial, Syria is the fourth largest oil and gas producing country now, after Norwegian experts explored on its territory the largest gas fields in the world.

In accordance with the UN Charter, civilized countries should not interfere in the internal conflict (civil war), especially on the side of one of the opposing forces without UN authorization. First of all, the entire diplomatic arsenal of means for peaceful settlement of the conflict has to be used. As for the situation in Syria, this could be an international conference, Geneva-2, but Washington's policy on military intervention in internal Syrian conflict leaves no chance to hold that conference, or makes its holding useless and pointless.

Washington's biased approach to the situation in Syria is manifested in the fact that the White House strongly demonizes “Assad's regime”, accusing it of all imaginable and unimaginable “crimes against the Syrian people”, at the same time completely ignoring crimes of anti-government rebel forces. In Washington, for some reason they do not think much about  whom the United States supports and whether those it supports are worth  to be supported.

Armed gangs of “revolutionaries” carry out acts of violence against non-Arab ethnic minorities, Christians, and those Syrian Muslims who do not belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. Christians, Circassians, Armenians, Alawites, Shiites and Kurds fear for their physical survival in case of victory of radical Sunni Islamists. The latest crime of Islamist militants in early September was the destruction of ancient Christian holy sites in the Syrian Maalula village, whose inhabitants still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ.

In Syria hundreds of mercenaries are fighting on the side of militants
In Syria hundreds of mercenaries are fighting on the side of militants

It should be noted that foreign, mostly Arab mercenaries, in armed Syrian opposition groups, according to different data, make from 40 to 60%. Most of mercenaries fighting in Syria are from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Turkey, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Somalia, Chechnya, Kosovo, all in all from 18 countries. Foreign mercenaries-Islamists are fighting in the the following armed groups: “Al-Qaeda”, “Liwa al-Umma” brigade, “Liwa Al-Asifa” brigade, “Al-Tawhid” brigade, Front “Jabhat al-Nusra”, “Fatah al-Islam”, “Ansar al-Islam” and others.