Syria: NATO Plans New Sykes-Picot, Middle East Chaos
June 14, 2012
No repeat of Sykes-Picot in Mideast chaos
By M.D. Nalapat
On May 16, 1916, in the middle of World War I, Paris and London approved a secret agreement to dismember the Ottoman Empire and divide the Middle East between themselves.
The Sykes-Picot agreement set new boundaries for many countries in the region, and began a period of direct control of the Middle East that the West has sought to perpetuate to the present.
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and Iraq’s former colonial master, the UK, NATO has been transparent in its desire to once again exercise direct control over the countries in the region. The few regimes that are opposed to NATO hegemony are being faced with a concerted effort by NATO and its regional backers to overthrow them.
After Iraq, it was the turn of Libya, followed by Syria. Next will be Iran. I believe the casualties in Libya were much higher than the official figures claimed by the coalition. Libya has become a madhouse of tribal and religious conflicts, and a country where competing mafias have sliced up the country, united only by their subservience to the commercial interests of their creator and benefactor, NATO.
Even the so-called peace mission to Syria has as its deputy head a diplomat from France, the main player in the 2011 regime change in Tripoli and a country that is actively pressing for military intervention in Syria. Only UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with his complete confidence in NATO member states, believes that Jean-Marie Guehenno will play a “neutral” role in Syria.
NATO is also encouraging Turkey to believe that it can regain the status it enjoyed during the Ottoman Empire, thereby provoking Ankara into a hyper-active stance in support of NATO’s regime change operations.
As for Qatar and Saudi Arabia, they are so blinded by their hatred for the anti-monarchist and Shia regime of Bashar al-Assad that they are willing to join hands with NATO in destabilizing a fellow Arab government, oblivious to the fact that someday, they themselves could get exposed to the same medicine.
Unlike Libya, Syria is not in an isolated corner. An intensification of the NATO-sponsored civil war in that country, which is pitting Salafists and Wahhabis against Shia, Druze, moderate Sunnis and Christians, would set off sectarian unrest in the entire region.
If this has not happened so far, the credit must go to Russia and China, which have thus far succeeded in blocking NATO from direct military intervention. The alliance needs to know that 2012 is not 1916, and that their ongoing efforts at repeating the Sykes-Picot agreement will lead to disaster.
The author is director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India.
June 14, 2012
Who brought Syria to brink of civil war?
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous claimed Tuesday that Syria is now in “a full-scale civil war.” It is the first time the UN has made such a grave assessment of the country’s situation.
Civil war is usually a result of military confrontation between forces with matching combat abilities and bases. In this sense, it is a bit early to call the current situation in Syria a full-scale civil war, as opposition forces cannot compete with the government army in terms of strength and bases at the moment.
But the Syrian conflict is spiraling out of control, and sliding toward an all out civil war. This is the tragedy of Syria. The current upheaval started with small-scale clashes. The Assad regime, under external pressure, has pledged comprehensive reform, including amending the constitution and adopting more democratic steps. But the West, seeking to oust Assad, turned a blind eye to the changes. The peace of the country and security of its 20 million people are at stake in this gamble by the West.
Not all Syrian people are against Assad, who still claims the support of at least half of the population. The political will of this country is being forced to change. An opposition force is being fostered and armed, putting Syria onto a bloody course. The Assad government has its share of the blame, but the process is being promoted by the West.
The Assad regime has already changed under the new constitution. But the real reason for the West seeking to end his rule is not about democracy, but weakening Iran and Moscow’s influence in the Arab world. If the current chaos continues, Assad may very likely be overthrown. But how many more people will be killed? And are they aware they are actually victims of a geopolitical game that has nothing to do with democracy?
China is not interested in sustaining Assad’s rule, but we support the Syrian people in choosing their own fate. We urge the parties involved to negotiate for a solution to end the bloody confrontation early. But the principle has been abandoned. Now the Assad regime and the Western-backed opposition are close to a showdown.
Annan’s reconciliation plan and the chance for peace have been wasted. But we still advocate political talks. Even though the appeal sounds weak, it is better than supporting killing. The escalation of the Syrian tragedy is a crucial lesson to China and Russia. They have to avoid the tragedy being repeated in Central Asia and regions that concern them.
Syria’s fate may have already been sealed, as it is a small country struggling with big powers and facing a divided domestic political landscape. But since its special geopolitical position will not be changed with this round of military actions, it will still be grilled further.