Stoking the Syrian Inferno


The bloody U.S.-led proxy war in Syria, laying unimaginable waste to its cities and people, escalates daily.  For Washington, “all options” are now clearly in play in the quest for “regime change” in Damascus.

Capitalizing on the resignation of joint Arab League-United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan on Thursday, Washington and its imperial cheerleaders in the U.S. mainstream media immediately began to lay the ground for a greater degree of foreign military intervention into the Syrian crisis.

The Washington propaganda line swallowed whole by the U.S. media and spit back out for public consumption?  Diplomacy is dead solely due to the intransigence of Russia and China, leaving increased Western support for the freedom-loving rebels of the Free Syrian Army as the only means to save Syria.

Assuming its favored role as “respectable” huckster of U.S. imperialism, the hawkish Washington Post editorial board was typical of the U.S. media reaction to Annan’s departure.

“Now that diplomacy has utterly failed to stop him [Assad],” the Post wrote, “it is time for the Obama administration to consider measures that stand a real chance of accelerating his downfall — beginning with greater material support for the opposition.”

Such calls for greater U.S. involvement into the Syrian crisis come just as it is confirmed (yet again) that the U.S. has long since interjected itself into the conflict.  As Reuters reported, President Obama signed a secret order earlier this year—this is, when the U.S. was publicly playing lip service to the Annan peace plan—which permits the “C.I.A. and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.”

And according to Reuters reporting, the C.I.A. is actively coordinating with a secret command center operated by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar along the Turkey-Syria border established to better organize the military campaign against the Syrian state.

“This ‘nerve center’ is in Adana,” Reuters notes, “a city in southern Turkey about 60 miles from the Syrian border, which is also home to Incirlik, a U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies maintain a substantial presence.”

All such heightened U.S. support for the “Free” Syrian Army coincides with mounting evidence of rebel atrocities and an increasing al-Qaeda infiltration into the ranks of the armed opposition.  Nonetheless, the U.S. facilitated arms spigot continues to pump increasingly lethal weapons to oppositional forces.

As NBC News reported this past week, the militarized Syrian opposition has now received its first batch of surface-to-air missiles via Washington’s N.A.T.O. ally Turkey.  The blowback possibilities astound.

As one might expect, though, determining exactly who the C.I.A. is overseeing deliveries of surface-to-air missiles to, has been sidestepped by a U.S. press deeply infatuated by the ruggedly heroic image of the rebels it so eagerly nurtures.  Just how allying with al-Qaeda fits into the ongoing U.S. “war on terror” is thus utterly ignored.  Depending on the day then, al-Qaeda is either presented to the U.S. public as a menace to all who cherish freedom, or a necessary instrument in the “liberation” of Syria.  Orwell would no doubt feel at home is such a world.

In lieu of serious inquiry and honest reporting, the U.S. establishment media instead busies itself with baseless repetitions of the tired mantra that Assad’s days are numbered—the “liberation” of Aleppo and Damascus imminent.  As the New York Times reported this weekend, such folly is also ripe within the very nexus of empire.  As the paper revels, the Pentagon and U.S. State Department, “mindful of American mistakes following the invasion of Iraq in 2003,” are in the midst of hurriedly planning for a post-Assad Syria.  (No doubt, Washington planners will use their inevitable “mistakes” in Syria when planning the post-Khamenei Iran.)

Such dreams of Assad’s imminent fall, however, belie reality.

In a rare report by a Western journalist actually on the ground in Damascus, Austin Tice reported for McClatchy that government forces retain a firm grip on the city.

“Finding myself in the capital,” Tice writes, “made me re-evaluate the rebels’ prospects for a victory soon. The city is huge, just huge, and seizing it will be an enormous undertaking.”

Instead of an impending triumph for Syrian “freedom” to come at the hands of U.S. military might, in reality Syria appears set for a protracted, foreign-infused bloodletting.  One would be wise, then, to heed the warning of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued all the way back in April.

“It is clear as day that even if the opposition is armed to the teeth,” Lavrov remarked, “it will not defeat the Syrian army, and there will simply be slaughter and mutual destruction for long, long years.”

The destruction of the Syrian state and the slaughter of its people, however, do not represent the grisly “collateral damage” of U.S. imperial ambitions, but rather a principal aim.  After all, a fragmented and war-ravaged Syria presents nothing less than a strategic victory of sorts for Washington in its larger preoccupation with weakening Syria’s regional ally, the Islamic Republic of Iran.  And any opportunity to target Iran, no matter the costs in human life and misery for the Syrian people, is to be taken.

As former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy coolly argued in a New York Times op-ed earlier this year: “The current standoff in Syria presents a rare chance to rid the world of the Iranian menace to international security and well-being.”

And so with the dream of ultimately purging the “Iranian menace,” Washington wildly stokes the Syrian inferno.

Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer based in Oregon.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his website.

Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
David Stocker
Report from the Frontline of Resistance in America
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
Lars Jørgensen
Vive la Résistance
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Simon Bowring
UN Climate Talks 2009: a Merger of Interest and Indifference
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
Aidan O'Brien
Same-Sex Sellout in Ireland
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer