Broader Than Syria: U.S. Plans For Greater Middle East Dominance From Morocco To Pakistan
Voice of Russia
October 8, 2012
The US and its allies are wary of Syrian backfire
[Recent] reports only demonstrate the double-minded policy the US is pursuing in the Middle East (in fact, everywhere). While trying to position itself as a “good cop” it encourages all kinds of proxies to do the dirty job of a “bad cop”.
The case of Syria…should be looked upon in a much broader context than just one particular country-case. It is an integral part of a broader assault in which the ultimate objective is not Syria or Bashar al-Assad, but Iran, which, in turn, is the last remaining obstacle in the region for the US to establish its dominance over the Great Middle East from Morocco to Pakistan.
On Saturday, the New York Times published a lengthy article dedicated to the ambiguous situation in which the Persian Gulf monarchies have found themselves in regard to their aid to Syrian rebels.
“For months,” states the paper, “Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been funneling money and small arms to Syria’s rebels but have refused to provide heavier weapons, like shoulder-fired missiles.”
One of the reasons they refrain from doing so is the fact that they have been discouraged by the United States, which fears the heavier weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists.
As a result, the story goes on, the rebels have just enough weapons to maintain a stalemate, the war grinds on and more jihadist militants join the fray every month.
Still, Saudis and Qataris do not abandon hope that they will persuade their trans-Atlantic mentors and the latter will finally give their approval to arming the Syrian rebels with heavier weapons, because this, according to Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Khalid al-Attiyah, “has to happen.”
Also on Saturday, the Associated Press reported that the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was visiting Peru, expressed his worries that the continued exchange of artillery fire between Syria and Turkey raises additional concerns that the conflict may escalate and spread to neighboring countries.
Indeed, both reports only demonstrate the double-minded policy the US is pursuing in the Middle East (in fact, everywhere). While trying to position itself as a “good cop” it encourages all kinds of proxies to do the dirty job of a “bad cop”.
The case of Syria, therefore, should be looked upon in a much broader context than just one particular country-case. It is an integral part of a broader assault in which the ultimate objective is not Syria or Bashar al-Assad, but Iran, which, in turn, is the last remaining obstacle in the region for the US to establish its dominance over the Great Middle East from Morocco to Pakistan.
Achieving this goal needs a lot of evasive maneuvering, and this is where Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel come into the picture. Harnessing the four so distinctly different countries into one carriage of US Middle Eastern policy may seem a difficult task, but the common Iranian scarecrow helps a lot.
In fact, for the US there are several obstacles that do not allow it to openly support arming Syrian rebels with heavy weapons. One (the minor one) is the traditional intention of the modern Western governments to appear as humane and compliant with the “universal values” and principles of “human rights” as possible even when they launch the bloodiest aggression against those who allegedly do not observe those values and principles. But this, after all, can be disregarded.
What is more important is the fact that the direct US involvement in Syrian internal matters would become untimely at this particular moment. While the war in Afghanistan remains one of the biggest pains in the neck of the current administration and seriously mars the prospects of Barack Obama’s reelection, stepping into another venture in the volatile region would only add to the US public’s irritation. This is something that President Obama and his cronies cannot afford.
And the third consideration relates to the fact that most probably Washington strategists have begun to realize that the foes of their foes do not necessarily become their friends. The recent events in Libya where the Islamist rioters attacked the US embassy and killed Ambassador Chris Stevens is the most outstanding of such backfires.
The countries of the region which either go on insisting that Syrian rebels should be supplied with heavier weapons, or venture on direct military actions against the Syrian government. But while toying with the idea that they can “prevent the weapon from falling into the wrong hands” and may be able to control its future use, those countries should take into account only one possibility. If a major fire flares up, the neighbors now so recklessly fanning it will inevitably be affected themselves.
Boris Volkhonsky, senior research fellow, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies