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After Iraq, is Syria the next target on US list?

Last updated on: November 1, 2011 11:05 IST

After Iraq, is Syria the next target on US list?

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Seema Mustafa in Damascus

The sophistication and education of the Syrians has made them close ranks against foreign interference. While recognising the mistakes and follies of the Bashar al Asad government, the Syrians seem to have decided not to make this an issue for the moment, and to work together to keep the Americans from destroying the country, says Senior journalist Seema Mustafa.

There is clearly some truth to the assertions by retired United States General Wesley Clark as far back as 2007 that were heard but generally disregarded.

Clark did not mince his words in interviews and at public meetings at that time, when he spoke of a US plan to "take out" seven countries, "starting with Iraq, Libya and Syria" and going on to Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan before finishing with Iran in five years.

He said a Pentagon official showed him a memo to this effect just before the invasion of Iraq. And when he asked him why they were doing this, the official said "I don't know."

Clark went on those days to ask over and over again, "What is our aim, what is our purpose, why are we there, why are Americans dying in the region" pointing out that Bush and his team had effected a policy coup without a national debate.

"They wanted us to destabilise the Middle East, turn it down, make it under our control," Clark went on to say, but then his voice was drowned by the jingoistic drums of the US national media.

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Image: Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march with a banner through the streets after Friday prayers in Marrat Tahrama near Adlb
Photographs: Reuters
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'Saddam was killed when he tried to follow an independent foreign policy'

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The Americans are clearly working according to a set plan to control the Middle East, one for oil, and two, to ensure a safe playing field for Israel. The policy sanctions the assassination of state leaders as the US aided now by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation determines the fate of sovereign governments and nations.

The late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a friend of the US in his most draconian years, and was targetted and killed when he tried to follow an independent foreign policy for the region, after relations turned sour between him and Washington.

As Clark said, Saddam was not linked with the al Qaeda, and the reasons for the invasion escaped even the officials dealing with policy matters in the Pentagon. The then US President George W Bush had justified the invasion by insisting that Iraq was harbouring weapons of mass destruction.

When these were not found, he changed the argument for the war that destroyed not just Saddam, but Iraq, to ambiguous references to al Qaeda. This argument was aimed at the ignorance of the American people, as everyone on this side of the ocean knew and knows of Saddam's zero tolerance of terrorism and fundamentalism.

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Image: Late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein reacts in court during the Anfal genocide trial in Baghdad in this picture taken on December 21, 2006.
Photographs: Nikola Solic/Reuters
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Gaddafi's execution has been received with silence'

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Bush might have gone since then, but clearly the policies being pursued by President Barack Obama are no different. The attack on Libya proves that with Muammar Gaddafi being "taken out" by the US and NATO forces riding on the back of what the world press has described as the Arab Spring.

A genuine people's movement in Egypt that has unfortunately, not yielded much, except for the departure of the ageing Hosni Mubarak, has been cashed into by the US policy makers to unleash a wave of terror in the Middle East.

Libya became the testing field for US and Europe's military hardware companies, as they have been advertising their prowess in killing pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya in a bid to secure international defence contracts.

A small opposition received full American support with NATO and the US military taking over the so called resistance, to "shock and awe" the Libyan forces.

Gaddafi and his sons did not flee their land, as all international laws and conventions were willfully flouted with the capture and the execution of the former Libyan President and one of his sons in custody.

This barbaric action has been received with silence by the supposed civilised nations of the West, who have condoned the war on a sovereign nation and the custodial murders with complete shamelessness.

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Image: Muammar Gaddafi
Photographs: Nikola Solic/Reuters
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Karzai's writ does not run outside Kabul

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It is clear that those who have been brought to power by their western benefactors in Libya do not have the support of the people. Western journalists who understand the region have interviewed young Libyans as opposing the foreign intervention, and questioning the violation of their country's sovereignty.

This is also clear from the "transition" council's appeal to NATO to not leave the country, more because they fear their own safety and ability to govern the nation.

The same is true of the regimes installed by the Americans in Afghanistan where President Hamid Karzai's writ does not run outside Kabul, and Iraq that has become a hotbed of factional terrorism.

Syria is apparently the next target on the US list. Work is in progress to create a case for intervention. What would be described as small insurgencies in the Indian context, are being blown out of proportion by the world's embedded media as the US and Europe prepares for full scale intervention.

Fortunately, the sophistication and education of the Syrians has made them close ranks against foreign interference. While recognising the mistakes and follies of the Bashar al Asad government, the Syrians seem to have decided not to make this an issue, for the moment at least, and to work together to keep the Americans from destroying Syria.

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Image: Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Photographs: Reuters
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Syrians don't want to be exploited by foreign powers

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This is one of the primary reasons why the opposition in cities such as Homs is isolated and even petering out as in Deraa. The other, of course, is use of brutal force by the regime, but this alone would not have worked in Syria in the present circumstances, if the people were not willing to hold off the 'resistance' that they do not want to be exploited by foreign powers.

Syria was part of Bush's "axis of evil" and remains so in the Obama book as well. A highly civilised country has been placed under debilitating sanctions, because, unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar and now Turkey, it has refused to march to another government's tune.

It has taken a fairly independent stand on Palestine and Israel, like Iraq and Iran, and has a far less repressive government than Saudi Arabia for instance, that remains a close and trusted US ally.

In fact, Saudi Arabia has been unabashedly supporting Sunni Wahabi propaganda to cut into the strong secularism of the Syrian state. And currently, the US and NATO are supporting the Islamists in Syria, even as they claim to be fighting the trend for the consumption of their citizens at home.

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Image: A Syrian boy shouts slogans against Syria's President Assad, during a demonstration in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman
Photographs: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
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The US seems to be planning to Balkanise the Middle East

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The US, judging from what has happened in Iraq and the kind of forces that are being encouraged in Libya, seems to be working on a carefully-calculated plan to Balkanise the Middle East by splitting the countries into ethnic and religious mini-states.

This, it hopes, will give it full control of the rich hydro carbon resources in the region, and also allow Israel levels of comfort.

It is no secret that Israel, that has imprisoned the Palestinians into the two mutually-hostile and isolated areas of Gaza and the West Bank, had/has been worried about the now 'neutered' Iraq, Libya that seems to be now coming under pliable hands, Syria that France has already declared to be next on the agenda, and Iran that is a constant thorn in the US foreign policy turf.

A great deal will now depend on what Russia and China do, but of course the war on Iraq was launched without the US even bothering for a United Nations Security Council clearance.


Photographs: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
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