For those who think that the United States wouldn’t possibly instigate another war in the Middle East, think again. Empowered by his “success” in the bombing of Libya and consequent assassination of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama is now seeking to use the exact same strategy against Syria, while using alarming military threats against Iran. In both cases the U.S. is creating the conditions for war in a region that is already boiling over from decades of U.S. backed dictators combined with past U.S. military aggression.
In Syria, the Libya war formula is being implemented with precision: in the name of protecting “human rights,” the U.S. is enlisting the Arab League to open the gates for a U.S.-backed “coalition” of regional countries to implement a “no fly zone,” i.e. war.
Numerous U.S. news outlets reported–without verification– that protesters in Syria were “demanding a no fly zone” and an “Arab army” to invade and topple the Syrian government.
The U.S. is attempting to channel the popular protests in Syria into “regime change,” with the end goal of having a future regime that will serve U.S. interests better than the present one. The “leaders” of the Syrian opposition are handpicked and very friendly with the United States. This non-representative leadership is now asking the United States for military intervention. The Daily Beast reports:
“… the Obama administration is preparing options for aiding the Syrian opposition directly [militarily]. Two administration officials tell Foreign Policy that a small group of representatives from several [U.S.] agencies has convened to discuss extending humanitarian aid [military aid] to the Syrian rebels and appointing a special coordinator to work with them. They also discussed establishing a humanitarian [military] corridor along the Turkish border, but that would require establishing a no-fly zone…” (December 29, 2011).
The above usage of the word “humanitarian” to describe military action is used unquestionably by the U.S. government and media alike, after having been media-tested in Libya. It is highly unlikely that working people of any Middle Eastern country would invite the U.S. Army in to “help” them, especially after the U.S. military destroyed Iraq and left the country on the verge of civil war while continuing to pummel Afghanistan, pretending this is a war it can win. Libya is still smoldering from the U.S. assistance.
The lie of humanitarian intervention is best exposed when U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia are considered: On December 29th the Obama Administration agreed to send $30 billion worth of sophisticated weaponry to one of the most repressive regimes in human history. The U.S. media publishes anti- Syria “humanitarian” news and Saudi arm sales on the same page, on the same day, without a second thought as to the hypocrisy in plain sight.
To shield the U.S. motives and U.S. weaponry used in a possible Syria attack, the Arab League will again be enlisted. What is the Arab League? Most of the Arab League consists of nations that have very close political/military ties to the U.S. and are utterly dependent on the U.S. for weaponry and political support. is not an exaggeration to call the Arab League diplomatic puppets of the U.S. The membership of the Arab League includes the brutal dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, United Arab Emigrates, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Sudan, etc., nearly all exist purely because of U.S. military/police support.
Syria has pointed out the hypocrisy of the Arab League’s humanitarian “monitors,” headed by a Sudanese General long known for being an enemy of human rights. The Associated Press correctly noted that Syria’s complaints about the Sudanese General:
“…raises troubling questions about whether Arab League member states, with some of the world’s poorest human rights records, were fit for the mission to monitor compliance with a plan to end to the crackdown on political opponents by security forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.” (December 29, 2011).
If the Arab League expels Syria from its membership, as it did Libya, the U.S./ Arab “coalition” will have been given the green light for a military “humanitarian” invasion. If an “Arab army” does invade Syria for “humanitarian” purposes, it be under the direction and assistance of the U.S. military, which will–as in Libya– be the behind-the-scenes leader, coordinating actions while providing military intelligence for the invasion. All of the dropped bombs will be “made in the USA.”
The Iranian situation is no better. The new economic sanctions that the Obama administration plans to implement equal an act of war against Iran, since they would have a crippling effect on Iran’s economy. Sanctions are used in this case to provoke, and when Iran reacted by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz (a vital trade point), the U.S. military instantly responded. The spokesperson for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, threatened Iran by saying: [the U.S. Navy] is always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.” This is a blatant threat of war. Obama’s silence implies agreement.
Many other high-ranking U.S. government officials have recently made highly provocative war comments against Iran in the media, focusing on the “near future” threat of Iran having a nuclear weapon. There is no concrete evidence that Iran is anywhere near having a nuclear weapon, just like no evidence existed proving that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The constant rhetoric against Iran having a nuclear weapon is dishonest hyperbole; even if Iran were to obtain nuclear weapons it would have little motivation to use them, since Israel could easily obliterate Iran with its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Attacking Syria and/or Iran opens the door to a wider regional or even international war. Reuters reports:
“Russia is sending a flotilla of warships to its naval base in Syria in a show of force which suggests Moscow is willing to defend its interests in the strife-torn country as international pressure mounts on President Bashar al-Assad‘s government…Russia, which has a naval maintenance base in Syria and whose weapons trade with Damascus is worth millions of dollars annually, joined China last month to veto a Western-backed U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Assad’s government.” (November 28, 2011).
Russian military officials have stated that having a military presence in Syria is meant, in part, to act as a deterrent against foreign attacks. This is because Syria is an ally and trading partner of Russia. If Russia were to invade Saudi Arabia for “humanitarian” purposes, would not the United States jump to defend it?
The international situation is on the verge of a larger explosion, with Russia and China viewing the U.S. actions in Libya– and possibly Syria and Iran–as attacks on their border, threatening their own national security.
The U.S. is assuming that Russia or China will not respond militarily, but they’ve been wrong before. When President Bush Jr. gave the green light to the President of Georgia–a U.S. puppet– to attack South Ossetia, Russia surprised everyone by responding militarily and crushing Georgia’s invasion. If an “Arab army” invades Syria and Russia again responds, the U.S. will no doubt become directly involved.
The game of war is often played like poker, where one nation bluffs and hopes the other folds. Obama’s reckless provocations have a limit that may soon be reached, at the expense of the Middle Eastern people and possibly the rest of us. If the U.S. becomes militarily involved with Syria and Iran, it is up to the working people of the U.S. to mobilize in massive numbers in the streets to prevent such an attack.
Shamus Cooke is a social worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org)