Freedom House

World News


The West is Playing with Fire in Syria

“Let’s be clear: Washington is pursuing regime change by civil war in Syria. The United States, Europe, and the Gulf states want regime change, so they are starving the regime in Damascus and feeding the opposition.” – Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies

While the UN remains paralyzed on whether to extend its observer mission or impose sanctions, Syria is drifting quickly towards what the International Committee of the Red Cross calls “a state of civil war,” a declaration, with cataclysmic consequences, and which might radically change the rules of the game.

Finian Cunningham, Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent, notes to the extent to which the Syrian uprising has been exploited, “the irony is that leading NATO members, the United States, Britain, and France, as well as their Turkish and Arab allies, are the very parties that have deliberately created the precipice for all-out war in the Middle East.” It’s no longer a secret that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have been steadily, and from the early stages of the Syrian crisis, increasing the violence inside Syria, turning a blind eye to the dire, grim and ominous consequences which might leave Syria, like Libya, a mess, “shattered, divided, destitute, and at the complete mercy of the West’s corporate-financier interests.”

Asia Times correspondent, Pepe Escobar, writes “Certain countries are behaving like arsonists, especially Turkey, in continuing to offer a logistical base for mercenaries from ‘liberated’ Libya. Saudi Arabia providing the money to buy them weapons. As for Washington, London, and Paris, they will continue to calibrate their tactics in the protracted anticipation of a NATO attack against Damascus.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other reactionary Gulf states are actively taking part in the covert operations and efforts to force regime change in Syria are serving American geopolitical objectives with the goal to neutralize American global competitors, namely, Russia and China.

Aligning itself with the United States, the Arab League has announced plans to open talks with the Syrian opposition and cut all diplomatic ties with the Syrian government, without offering condemnation of the Bahraini, Saudi and Sudanese protest crackdowns. Turkey is an active participant in the Syrian civil war. Not only did Turkey introduce a de facto “buffer zone,” 4 miles along the Syrian-Turkish border – now enforced by F-16s taking off from NATO’s Incirlik base, it also dispatched tanks, missile batteries and heavy artillery to the 500 mile border, following Erdogan’s declaration that Syria is “a hostile state.”

No one could doubt that the Syrian regime is corrupt, bloody and brutal, and vital reforms are necessary. But reforms, unfortunately, are no longer on the agenda of the rebels. The Syrian civil war has already moved beyond the control of the Assad regime and the opposition. From the moment the Syrian uprising was hijacked, the whole Syrian affair has become part of a different foreign agenda having nothing to with a better future for the Syrian people. What is at stake is creating the “necessary” mayhem, to manufacture and engineer an international crisis, which will serve as a final push to get rid of the Syrian regime.

Until now, the objective seemed more and more to be confined only to deposing the Syrian regime, but no one, save the victims themselves, dares to evoke the possibility of an ominous civil war which may quickly follow, as armed groups contest the succession, and outside countries, with their different interests, rally to different sides. While Syria is sinking deeper and deeper into an uncertain future, drifting more and more into a bloody civil war, the 16 month-old uprising against the Syrian regime seems to be reaching a tipping point. Kofi Anan’s peace plan was doomed and sabotaged from the beginning. Arab countries and the international community must assume their responsibilities. The crisis should not be allowed to precipitate into a regional catastrophe.

Once the civil war reaches a tipping point it will escalate, and it will be hard to contain within Syria. The Iraqi scenario, for those who practice amnesia, is still a source for lessons learned. Turning a blind eye, to a volatile and explosive situation, is nothing but playing foolishly with fire on a powder keg. Discarding any Arab, or at least a regional plan will make it easier for the war-mongers to impose a NATO military intervention to oust the Syrian despot and replace him with another puppet regime. Focusing only on the Anan’s initiative without taking the adequate measures to make the conditions ripe, as far as security, a cease-fire and dialogue are concerned, is by no means sufficient.

Former national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, cautioned against acting on “the basis of emotion” making it clear that “We’re dealing here with a region in which all of these issues are interconnected.” Brzezinski warned about producing “a region-wide outbreak in which the issues within Syria will become linked with a conflict between the Saudis and the Shiites, Iraq will become destabilized, Iran will be involved.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, though operating and doing absolutely the opposite, is right when she declared, “the sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there’s a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region.” Those who are sending “hordes” of “excited radicals,” recruited, funded, trained and unleashed whenever “proxy wars” are waged, will soon be convinced that their dangerous game is a double-edged sword. The monster, they have created, has already mutated and will soon be untamed. Who dares betting on chaos?