March 22, 2014
As Syria lies dying, western media cries, “we must save Syria’s suffering children.” Indeed so, among Syria’s nine million internal and external refugees, some 450,000 are children.
All civil wars are bloody and cruel, but Syria’s strife has reached new extremes of violence and mass civilian suffering as the US and Saudi Arabia use this once beautiful, bountiful nation as a proxy battleground against Iran.
I extensively covered Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war; its ghastly memory still makes me shudder. In the 14 wars I’ve reported on, Lebanon holds top ranking for barbarity and sadism. One friend of mine, the owners of women’s boutiques, became a paramilitary Rambo and went from selling perfume to cutting off and collecting the ears of Muslims.
A similar madness has descendent on Syria as its many ethnic and religious groups tear one another’s throats. Syria’s 630,000 Palestinian refugees have suffered frightfully, caught between the warring parties.
But as we lament the plight of Syria’s refugees, let’s remember that this brutal war was begun by the Western Powers and Saudis, is financed by them, and could be stopped at anytime if Washington and Riyadh give the order.
In 2011, fighting erupted after demonstrations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Many Syrians were fed up with the brutal, 40-year Assad dynastic dictatorship and domination by Assad’s Alawi minority.
Western intelligence used techniques developed in Georgia, Ukraine, Iran, Libya, Turkey (unsuccessfully) and Egypt to convert public anger into demonstrations. The Assad government’s typically heavy-handed response turned a local problem into spreading civil war.
Most of the uprising against Damascus began on the borders with Lebanon and Jordan, from where US, British, French and Saudi intelligence services organized, trained, and financed anti-Assad groups. Turkish intelligence, MIT, also fuelled the uprising in the north.
This writer strongly believes Western special forces armed with the latest anti-tank weapons covertly supported anti-government forces – just as in the western-organized overthrow of Libya’s leader, Muammar Gadaffi.
France has long aspired to re-establishing some sort of French-led Levant protectorate over Lebanon and Syria. Curiously, France’s socialists are even more imperial-minded than its conservatives. French intelligence – formerly SDECE, today DGSE – plays a key role in supporting Lebanon’s anti-Syrian and anti-Hezbollah factions.
Interestingly, even Russia has never fully given up its 19th-century pretensions as defender of the Levant’s Christians. Moscow remains Syria’s most important ally.
Today, Syria is in ruins. It joins Afghanistan and Iraq who also defied the will of the United States, and paid the price. Three years into the war, the Assad government appears to be slowly winning the conflict, aided by Iran, Russia, and, to a modest degree, Hezbullah.
While Damascus gains military momentum, Syria’s western-backed rebel factions are rent by confusion and rivalries. They are unable to come up with representative leadership. Meanwhile, increasingly radical Islamists – perhaps 100,000 – have taken over much of the fighting. These wildmen are a loose cannon that frightens their Western patrons even more than Damascus. No one is able to control or organize them.
Ironically, these jihadis should be enemies of the West while the secular Assad regime an ally. Hatred of Iran does funny things.
The United States showed its frustration with the war it began, but cannot win, by just breaking diplomatic relations with Syria, a low IQ act that is totally counter-productive and often indicates war is imminent.
More disturbingly, Israel launched another attack on Syria last week after one of its patrols likely hit an old landmine. Israel and its US supporters are determined to crush the Assad regimes as the first step in overthrowing Iran.
Given the failure of the anti-Assad rent-a-jihadis, Israel may soon intervene to destroy Assad’s air force and armored formations. Israel is getting ready to massively attack Hezbullah in Lebanon in yet another attempt to eradicate the Shia resistance movement.
The US almost openly entered Syria’s war last fall until Russia’s deft diplomacy pulled the rug out from beneath Washington’s feet. But powerful factions in the US are still urging air and naval attacks on Syria.
Ukraine and Crimea temporarily distracted the US. The cautious Obama administration seeks to avoid conflict, but America’s pro-Israel neocons and Republican hawks are pushing hard for war – and mid-term elections come this fall.
Eric Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.
Copyright © 2014 Eric Margolis