Why the US Wants Regime Change in Syria
(This is the second of two blogs about the covert US war against Syria. The case Obama is making for sanctions and “humanitarian” intervention in Syria is a total fabrication. The US goal in Syria is regime change. The people Assad is attacking aren’t unarmed protestors. They are Islamic militants that the US and NATO have been funding and training for at least ten months.)
The People of Syria Support Assad
According to John R Bradley, author of After the Arab Revolution and the only analyst to predict the Egyptian revolution, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are also providing arms and funding to the Free Syrian Army. In an interview with Russia Today, Bradley supports the prevailing view of Assad as a ruthless despot. However he also points out that Syria’s president is one of the last secular Arab leaders in the most ethnically diverse nation in the Middle East. At the moment, he enjoys wide popular support because many Syrians view him as the last bastion between them and a fundamentalist Islamic government, like the one just installed in Libya.
Recent callers from Homs (the Syrian city under siege) to the February 10, 2012 BBC Have Your Say seem to support this perspective. While none are big Assad fans, the growing strength of the Islamic resistance worries them. Moreover they see Assad’s secular administration as far preferable to Sharia Law.
The US Military Agenda in the Middle East
Michel Chossudovksy, who has also been writing for months on the covert US war in Syria, is more alarmed about its significance in the context of broader American objectives in the Middle East. He explains that the US has targeted Syria, both because of its strategic alliance with Iran and because of Pentagon’s underlying strategy of isolating and encircling Iran as a prelude to toppling its current government. In a recent interview on Guns and Butter, he describes how the US has systematically occupied and/or militarized nearly all the countries that border Iran. First you have US-occupied Afghanistan and Pakistan (the target of a second undeclared US war) on Iran’s eastern border. Then you have Iraq, which is still partially occupied, Kuwait (where the US deployed 15,000 troops in December), and Turkey, with its US airbases, on Iran’s western border. Finally you have Saudi Arabia (also host to major US military bases) and Qatar to the south. According to Chossudovksy, US military intervention in Syria will spill over and involve the Hezbollah in Lebanon, effectively neutralizing Iran’s last remaining allies.
In a disturbing article entitled When War Games Go Live , Chossoduvsky quotes from retired General Wesley Clark’s 2003 book Winning Modern Wars regarding the role of military intervention against Syria and Iran in the Pentagon’s grand Middle East strategy. According to Clark, the Pentagon has been making preparation to attack both countries since the mid-nineties. On page 130 of Winning Modern Wars, Clark states
“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”
The reliability of these predictions, despite a 2008 regime change from George Bush, the so-called neocon hawk, to Barack Obama, a supposed soft power advocate, is uncanny. The US persists in its occupation of Iraq, in addition to major military engagements in Somalia and Sudan. Presumably the military intervention in Libya is complete, now that the new US-friendly regime has agreed to privatize Libyan oil for the benefit of US oil companies.
According to Chossudovsky, countries such as Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Sudan became US military targets because they refused to play ball by allowing Anglo-American oil company unlimited access to their oil resources. In contrast, oil-poor countries like Syria and Lebanon are current targets because of strategic alliances with oil-rich Iran.