The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War
By Michel Chossudovsky | Global Research, June 17, 2011
What is unfolding in Syria is an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey and Israel.
Below: Syrian antigovernment protestors are given big play in the Western media. Here, Syrians who have fled into Turkey protested in refugee camps after Assad’s speech (AFP)
Armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting the insurgency.
The United States is to expand contacts with Syrians who are counting on a regime change in the country.
This was stated by U.S. State Department official Victoria Nuland. “We started to expand contacts with the Syrians, those who are calling for change, both inside and outside the country,” she said.
Nuland also repeated that Barack Obama had previously called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to initiate reforms or to step down from power.” (Voice of Russia, June 17, 2011)
The destabilization of Syria and Lebanon as sovereign countries has been on the drawing board of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance for at least ten years.
Action against Syria is part of a “military roadmap”, a sequencing of military operations. According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark–the Pentagon had clearly identified Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon as target countries of a US-NATO intervention:
“[The] Five-year campaign plan [included]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)
In “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130) General Wesley Clark states the following:
“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.
…He said it with reproach–with disbelief, almost–at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. …I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned.”
The objective is to destabilize the Syrian State and implement “regime change” through the covert support of an armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist militia. The reports on civilian deaths are used to provide a pretext and a justification for humanitarian intervention under the principle “Responsiblity to Protect”.
Tacitly acknowledged, the significance of an armed insurrection is casually dismissed by the Western media. If it were to be recognized and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.
What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of civilian protesters. Press reports confirm, however, from the outset of the protest movement an exchange of gunfire between armed insurgents and the police, with casualties reported on both sides.
The insurrection started in mid March in the border city of Daraa, which is 10 km from the Jordanian border.
The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)
Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.
What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which have infiltrated the protest movement.
What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened: Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests.
(See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”,http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24591 Global Research, May 3, 2011)
The Role of Turkey
The center of the insurrection has now shifted to the small border town of Jisr al-Shughour, 10 km from the Turkish border.
Jisr al-Shughour has a population of 44,000 inhabitants. Armed insurgents have crossed the border from Turkey.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are reported to have taken up arms in northwest Syria.
There are indications that Turkish military and intelligence are supporting these incursions.
There was no mass civilian protest movement in Jisr al-Shughour. The local population was caught in the crossfire. The fighting between armed rebels and government forces has contributed to triggering a refugee crisis, which is the center of media attention.
In contrast, in the nation’s capital Damascus, where the mainstay of social movements is located, there have been mass rallies in support rather than in opposition to the government.
President Bashir al Assad is casually compared to presidents Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. What the mainstream media has failed to mention is that despite the authoritarian nature of the regime, president Al Assad is a popular figure who has widespread support of the Syrian population.
The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad was barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.
Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a
pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)
On June 15, thousands of people rallied over several kilometers on Damascus’ main highway in a march holding up a 2.3 km Syrian flag. The rally was acknowledged by the media and casually dismissed as irrelevant.
While the Syrian regime is by no means democratic, the objective of the US-NATO Israel military alliance is not to promote democracy. Quite the opposite. Washington’s intent is to eventually install a puppet regime.
The objective through media disinformation is to demonize president Al Assad and more broadly to destabilize Syria as a secular state. The latter objective is implemented through covert support of various Islamist organizations:
Syria is run by an authoritarian oligarchy which has used brute force in dealing with its citizens. The riots in Syria, however, are complex. They cannot be viewed as a straightforward quest for liberty and democracy. There has been an attempt by the U.S. and the E.U. to use the riots in Syria to pressure and intimidate the Syrian leadership. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and the March 14 Alliance have all played a role in supporting an armed insurrection.
The violence in Syria has been supported from the outside with a view of taking advantage of the internal tensions… Aside from the violent reaction of the Syrian Army, media lies have been used and bogus footage has been aired. Money and weapons have also been funnelled to elements of the Syrian opposition by the U.S., the E.U….Funding has also been provided to ominous and unpopular foreign-based Syrian opposition figures, while weapons caches were smuggled from Jordan and Lebanon into Syria. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, America’s Next War Theater: Syria and Lebanon? http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25000, Global Research, June 10, 2011)
The joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement
The geopolitics of this process of destabilization are far-reaching. Turkey is involved in supporting the rebels.
The Turkish government has sanctioned Syrian opposition groups in exile which support an armed insurgency. Turkey is also pressuring Damascus to conform to Washington’s demands for regime change.
Turkey is a member of NATO with a powerful military force. Moreover, Israel and Turkey have a longstanding joint military-intelligence agreement, which is explicitly directed against Syria.
…A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”
Turkey agreed to allow IDF and Israeli security forces to gather electronic intelligence on Syria and Iran from Turkey. In exchange, Israel assisted in the equipping and training of Turkish forces in anti-terror warfare along the Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian borders.”
Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….
The triple alliance is also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which includes “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)
Covert support to armed insurgents out of Turkey or Jordan would no doubt be coordinated under the joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement.
Dangerous Crossroads: The Broader Middle East War
Israel and NATO signed a far-reaching military cooperation agreement in 2005. Under this agreement, Israel is considered a de facto member of NATO.
If a military operation were to be launched against Syria, Israel would in all likelihood be involved in military undertakings alongside NATO forces (under the NATO-Israel bilateral agreement). Turkey would also play an active military role.
A military intervention in Syria on fake humanitarian grounds would lead to an escalation of the US-NATO led war over a large area extending from North Africa and the Middle East to Central Asia, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It would also contribute to a process of political destabilization in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. It would also set the stage for a conflict with Iran.
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© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2011