FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syria Endgame Approaching Fast

by SHAMUS COOKE

The tempo of events in Syria has accelerated in recent weeks. The government forces have scored significant battlefield victories over the rebels, and this has provoked a mixture of war provocations and peace offers from the U.S. and its anti-Assad allies.

With Obama’s blessing Israel fighter jets recently attacked Syria on three occasions; in one massive air strike on a military installation in Damascus 42 Syrian soldiers were killed. Shortly thereafter Obama finally agreed to a peace conference with Russia, which had been asking for such talks for months.

Obama is entering these talks from a weakened position; the Syrian government is winning the war against the U.S.-backed rebels, and success on the ground is the trump card of any peace talks. Obama and the rebels are in no position to be demanding anything in Syria at the moment.

It’s possible that Obama wants to avoid further humiliation in his Syria meddling by a last minute face-saving “peace” deal. It’s equally likely, however, that these peace talks are a clever diplomatic ruse, with war being the real intention. It’s not uncommon for peace talks to break down and be used as a justification for an intensification of war, since “peace was attempted but failed.”

And Obama has plenty of reasons to pursue more war:  he would look incredibly weak and foolish if Syria’s president were to stay in power after Obama’s administration had already announced that Assad’s regime was over and hand picked an alternative government of Syrian exiles that the U.S. — and other U.S. allies — were treating as the “legitimate government of Syria.”

Here’s how the BBC referred to Obama’s Syrian puppet government:

“… the Syrian opposition’s political leadership – which wanders around international capitals attending conferences and making grand speeches – is not leading anyone. It barely has control of the delegates in the room with it, let alone the fighters in the field.”

If an unlikely peace deal is reached, these Syrian exiles — who only a tiny minority of the rebel fighters actually listen to — will be the ones to sign off on the deal.

Many politicians in the U.S. are still clamoring for war in Syria, based on the unproven accusation that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against the rebels. In actuality, however, the UN so far has only indicated that the exact opposite is true: there is significant evidence the U.S.-backed rebels used chemical weapons against the Syrian government:

Of course this fact only made the back pages of the U.S.media, if it appeared at all. Similarly bad news about the U.S.-backed rebels committing large scale ethnic/religious cleansing and numerous human rights violations didn’t manage to make it on to the front pages either. And the numerous terrorist bombings by the U.S.-backed rebels that have indiscriminately killed civilians have likewise been largely ignored by U.S. politicians and the media.

The U.S. position is weakened further by the fact that the majority of the rebel fighters are Islamic extremists, who are fighting for jihad and sharia law, not democracy. The Guardian reported recently:

“Syria’s main armed opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), is losing fighters and capabilities to Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist organization with links to al-Qaida that is emerging as the best-equipped, financed and motivated force fighting Bashar al-Assad’s [Syrian] regime.”

The New York Times adds:

“Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

But even with all these barriers to the U.S. dictating its terms to the Syrian government, Obama has trump cards of his own: the U.S. and the Israeli military.

It’s possible that the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were used as a bargaining chip with the proposed peace conference in Russia. If Obama threatened to bomb Syria into the Stone Age there is plenty of evidence —Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — to back up this threat.

Following through with this kind of threat is actually considered intelligent foreign policy to many politicians in the U.S., since a country not aligned with the U.S. will have been weakened and fragmented as an opposing force, lowering the final barrier to war with Iran.

U.S. foreign policy is now completely dependent on using the threat of annihilation. As U.S. economic power has declined in relation to China and other countries, the economic carrot has been tossed aside in favor of the military stick. Plenty of U.S. foreign policy “experts” are demanding that Obama unsheathe the stick again, lest this foundation of U.S. foreign policy be proven to be just talk and no action.

This is the essence of U.S. involvement in Syria, which is risking regional war that could include Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with the potential to drag in the bigger powers connected to these nations, the U.S. and Europe on one hand and Russia and China on the other.

The fate of the already-suffering Middle East is hanging in the balance.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org)  He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at shamuscooke@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and Henry the First: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
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 (But 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
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail