The Syrian massacre has flooded the news items all around the world. It’s been a year since Obama administration, for the first time, called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down and let Syrians have their right of self-determination. However, the obdurate dictator turned a deaf ear to this call. The clash between the ‘regime loyalists’ (supporters of Assad) and myriad rebel factions has claimed thousands of lives in Syria for almost seventeen months. The roots of this ongoing civil war can be traced to Benghazi, Libya, where Muammar Qaddafi refused to surrender in front of the rebels. His forces were ready to fight and what they couldn’t resist was the ‘overreached’ retaliation by NATO which had entered the conflict on behalf of the rebels. China and Russia allowed the resolution which gave NATO such sweeping powers to pass, but Russia along with South Africa criticized NATO’s role after the death of Qaddafi. This dispute in the UN Security Council created an unpleasant atmosphere as there was a disagreement between the members at a time when an agreed response to violence in Syria had to be chalked out. It was Russia which insisted on quelling the pressure from Assad’s regime and including the President while deciding any future political set up for Syria. This was the reason for the appointment of Kofi Annan (the U.N.-Arab League joint envoy to Syria) in February 2012 who worked on ”mission impossible” (as he himself quotes it). After failing to devise an ‘agreed’ plan, for a political transition that did not explicitly require Assad’s departure, Annan has now resigned. The persistent efforts of Washington to dislodge Assad through negotiations have failed utterly, especially after the resignation of Kofi Annan. The U.S blames Russia and publicly denounces it for purporting a dictatorial regime. On the other hand, Annan blames the Security Council giants (big western states) for name-calling Russia and China. Other than the obviously disgruntled, Moscow and Beijing, the U.S shouldn’t ignore Brazil, India and South Africa which are also in the list of dissenters this time. All four of them are established democracies.
From the Geneva recommendations to the six-point peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan, nothing was endorsed with consensus. It is interesting to highlight that both the drafts had a common agenda which favoured a democratic transition at the cost of dismantling authoritarian rule. For this purpose, the notion of a government of ‘national unity’ (which allows the opposition and those already in the government to share power) was presented. This clearly indicates that the U.S isn’t ready to back a complete ‘regime change’ and wants to maintain some of the institutions in Syria which will have to abide by its standards of ‘human rights’. Moreover, there is an unattended question which inquires about the composition of Syrian opposition factions. The most ripe option is that of ‘rebels’ being fed by Washington’s Gulf allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. With the infiltration of Al-Qaeda jihadis, increased involvement of Turkey, influx of arms and intelligence support from the U.S, Assad is likely to depart especially after the defection of Syrian Prime Minister, Riad Hijab. There is nothing better for the U.S. other than deciding an abominable fate like that of Qaddafi for Assad or pushing him behind the bars like Hosni. However, the focus is now on the post-Assad Syria that is a more daunting task, orchestrated a decade ago.
U.S General Wesley Clerk, former Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe, is on record informing US journalist Amy Goodman that within weeks of the terrorist atrocity on 11th September 2001, the then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld wrote a memo describing “how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran,” (after invading Afghanistan). This seems to be somewhat ‘real’, but delayed plan in the wake of all that is being done to carve out the fate of Syria. However, the failure in Iraq and the 2006 Israeli defeat in Lebanon has compelled the U.S to alter the old ‘core strategy’ of direct occupations. It has now embarked upon the mission of encouraging destabilisation, clandestine operations and feeding civil strife in the targeted regions.
Syria is the latest victim in the grip of a bitter conflict in which Al Qaeda-type terrorists have established a foothold similar to the one in neighbouring Iraq. It nurtures armed thugs and terrorists being indirectly supported by the U.S. The long Turkey-Syria border is one of the main routes for smuggling armed men and weapons into Syria. The Syrians represent the heart of what Jordan’s King Abdullah called the “Shia crescent”: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It is the opposition of this crescent against Israel which irks Washington and the ‘advocates’ (Egypt and Jordan) of Israel in the Arab world. Lebanon was bombed and invaded in a US-backed Israeli invasion in 2006, but was repelled by Syrian-backed Lebanese resistance led by Hezbollah. Efforts are now also being made by Saudi Arabia to weaken Hezbollah, the Shi’ite organization that is being backed by Iran. Iraq is disintegrated and bleeding heavily, with daily sectarian terrorist atrocities. Iran is the target for which Israel and the U.S are bloodthirsty in order to ensure Israel’s hegemony in the region. The post- Assad Syria driven by ‘U.S aspirations’ will not only be worse than Iraq, but will also allow the accomplishment of anti-Iranian proxy war under the U.S, Saudi, Qatar leadership, with the easy consent of Britain, France and Israel.
Not to forget what the naïve rebels who initiated the peaceful uprising wanted- a democratic transition ‘without’ any foreign intervention no matter how well-intentioned it might be. A ceasefire and political adjustment can include the rebels into the process of negotiation, who are being deliberately turned into terrorists. The idea of militarisation is still strongly condemned, even by the democratic organizations in Syria. The Syrians must accept the fact that they are still not the decision-makers of their country. A glittery illusion from the U.S in the name of human-rights has turned their homeland into a battlefield tilting in favour of Israel.
The verbal content of this post was originally published in Jahangir’s World Times- September 2012