American Interests in Syrian Crises
Under the aegis of operation Timber Sycamore and other clandestine activities, CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops trained and armed nearly 10,000 rebel fighters at bases in Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia at a cost of $1 billion a year since 2012. Yet, despite all these huge investments in terms of men, money and material, the USA and its allies have suffered a humiliating defeat and loss of face. What were the reasons for the USA to intervene in the Syrian crisis?
- Retaining Global Hegemony
For the USA and its western allies, the Syrian crisis was one more step forward towards the realization of their grand strategy to retain their global hegemony which is under threat due to a gradual structural shift in world power equations. Syria was one of the 5 most important countries of the Middle East which enjoys a unique geostrategic and geopolitical position. Consequently, whatever happens, anywhere affects the Middle East more than any other region. Similarly, whatever happens here affects global politics. This unique location has made the Middle East an arena where anyone, who has the pretensions to be a global player, comes to jostle for influence, starting off regional conflicts. Albert Hourani, a British-Lebanese historian who specialized in Middle Eastern studies rightly stated that
“He who rules the Near East rules the world, and he who has interests in the world is bound to concern himself with the Near East.”
Part and parcel of the Neo-con agenda, this grand strategy has been successfully implemented so far, albeit at great human and financial costs in various parts of the world. Starting with the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s which left both the countries financially ruined and militarily weakened, the strategy aims to control the Middle East resources by supporting western friendly regimes, how oppressive these may be.
That is why despite all their rhetoric about the preservation and promotion of democratic values and fighting wars in the name of democracy all over the world, they have never sincerely and seriously tried to nudge their client Middle Eastern allies to introduce some sort of representative governance style in these counties. Arab Spring was not the making of the CIA or its sister organizations, but they took full advantage of these people’s uprisings for pressing their demand for human rights and good governance for installation of pro-west regimes while carefully pre-empting the repeat of the similar movements in the countries ruled by their own clients.
2. War for Resources
In the ultimate analysis, every conflict is for control of resources irrespective of the stated objectives of the contenders. Present conflicts, crises and wars in the Middle East are no exception. At the global level, it is an all-out war for controlling the hydrocarbon and mineral resources as well as the markets for selling their goods, services and military hardware. And, at the regional level, it is a struggle to control water and other resources by the regional hegemons. One of the major bones of contention between Turkey, Israel and Syria is the apportionment of water of the rivers.
3. Safeguarding Israeli Interests
In an interview done in 2005, 6 years before the start of the war, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour told Assad about the intentions of the USA to remove him. This has been confirmed after the Wiki Leaks which reveal that the plans to change the regime in Syria were hatched in 2005/6 prepared by the Israeli government and handed over to the USA. It had three objectives.
• Firstly, to ensure Israeli security by installing a pro-west regime in Syria and weakening Israel’s arch-enemy namely Iran by cutting off its supply routes to Hezbollah passing through Syria. It has been confirmed after the revelation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
• Secondly, to facilitate Israel to cement/expand its occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration and water security.
• Thirdly, to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian and Iranian oil and gas by building an alternative pipeline known as Qatar Jordan-Turkey-Syria Pipeline. Assad refused to agree to this pipeline passing through his country.
Just as 9/11 provided excellent Casus Belli to invade Afghanistan which had no role in this tragedy, Arab Spring was used to destabilise the Syrian government. Within a few months of demonstration of a few hundred Syrians for greater empowerment, hundreds of armed non-Syrian rebel groups with CIA ties entered Syria. The government retaliated with a typical Middle Eastern style crackdown to deter this foreign meddling.
4. Destroying Syrian Military
Syria and Iran are the two countries in the Middle East that have been resisting the hegemony of Israel for the last 6 decades. Amos Yadin, former Israeli Intelligence Chief rightly believed that Syrian military
“which is a huge threat to Israel, is now also weakening and, in a way, disintegrating. We still have risk from Syria– a risk of being an Al Qaeda country, a Somalia-type country — but from a military point of view, each one of these is less dangerous than the Syrian regular army.”
Thus the USA and its allies are determined to neutralize Syria as a military force in the Middle East by destroying its chemical weapons and putting restrictions on the size of the military set up and arsenal it can keep.
5. Neutralising Hezbollah
They are determined to eliminate Hezbollah and other militant groups operating in the Middle East by cutting their supply routes from Iran which uses the Syrian territories to assist its surrogates in Lebanon and Gaza. The realisation of these objectives will not only establish Israel as a regional policeman in the Middle East, it will also help in reducing the threat of international terrorism emanating from this part of the world.
6. Checking China
Besides the above strategic aims of the USA and its allies in beating the drums of war in the Middle East, they also want to restrict the increasing Chinese access to vast resources of the region and her accompanying political clout among the regional countries.
7. Restricting Russia
The USA and its allies are also determined to expel Russia from Syria, its last outpost in the Middle East as well as its military base. It also has long-standing strategic interests in Syria; Russia has been openly augmenting its Black Sea Fleet and intends to increase its strength by procuring more than 80 new ships during the next five years. It is also building a second naval base for this fleet at its Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. In this power play, its naval base at Tartus in Syria is the lynchpin of Russia’s strategic calculations. If it falls Russian warships would have to traverse the narrow waters of the Bosporus, under control of Turkey — a NATO member.
8. Pipelines Politics
They want to thwart the attempts of Iran to build an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market. The USA and its allies are interested to build a more northbound pipeline from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Syria being a key link in this chain needs to be governed by a West-friendly regime.
9. Cutting Iran to Size
There were four countries that resisted their hegemonic designs — Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran. They invaded Iraq, sent Saddam to the gallows which he deserved and have virtually left Iraq fragmented on racial and sectarian lines. Libya was next to fall where they bribed Qaddafi into submission and then toppled his regime with the use of proxy groups.
Syria is presently their target before sorting out Iran, the last hurdle in the implementation of their grand strategy in the Middle East. The USA and her allies in Europe and the Middle East are therefore interested in regime change in Syria before launching the final assault on Iran to cut her to size. However, to do that it is necessary to first finish off the pro-Iranian regime in Syria and weaken iran’s surrogates, Hamas and Hezbollah, which may pose a threat to Israel, the regional policeman of the west in the Middle East
Why the USA is afraid of Basar ul Assad is evident from this leaked email of Hilary Clinton
UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014–20439 Doc No. C05794498 Date: 11/30/2015 RELEASE IN Full.
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. Negotiations to limit Iran’s nuclear program will not solve Israel’s security dilemma. Nor will they stop Iran from improving the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program — the capability to enrich uranium. At best, the talks between the world’s major powers and Iran that began in Istanbul this April and will continue in Baghdad in May will enable Israel to postpone by a few months a decision whether to launch an attack on Iran that could provoke a major Mideast war. Iran’s nuclear program and Syria’s civil war may seem unconnected, but they are. For Israeli leaders, the real threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is not the prospect of an insane Iranian leader launching an unprovoked Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that would lead to the annihilation of both countries. What Israeli military leaders really worry about — but cannot talk about — is losing their nuclear monopoly. An Iranian nuclear weapons capability would not only end that nuclear monopoly but could also prompt other adversaries, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to go nuclear as well. The result would be a precarious nuclear balance in which Israel could not respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today. If Iran were to reach the threshold of a nuclear weapons state, Tehran would find it much easier to call on its allies in Syria and Hezbollah to strike Israel, knowing that its nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to Israel responding against Iran itself. Back to Syria. It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel’s security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria. The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel’s leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests. Speaking on CNN’s Amanpour show last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak argued that “the toppling down of Assad will be a major blow to the radical axis, major blow to Iran…. It’s the only kind of outpost of the Iranian influence in the Arab world…and it will weaken dramatically both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.” Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted. Right now, it is the combination of Iran’s strategic alliance with Syria and the steady progress in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that has led Israeli leaders to contemplate a surprise attack — if necessary over the objections of Washington. With Assad gone, and Iran no longer able to threaten Israel through its, proxies, it is possible that the United States and Israel can agree on red lines for when Iran’s program has crossed an unacceptable threshold. In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria. The rebellion in Syria has now lasted more than a year. The opposition is not going away, nor is the regime going to accept a diplomatic solution from the outside. With his life and his family at risk, only the threat or use of force will change the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s mind.”
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