FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stoking the Syrian Inferno

by BEN SCHREINER

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.

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his blog.

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail