Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Western Foreign Policy on Syria-Continuity over "Contradictions"

Journalist Clare Ridley has written The Guardian

..."the tragedy of Syria lies as much in the fragility of the coalition supporting the rebels as in the inconclusiveness of the rebels' own political and military battles. Since the Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN in early 2011, there has been no single "international community" voice on Syria"

First, in response to this, many of the rag bag militias are actually better termed 'insurgents' just as they were in Iraq were they were fighting the US installed Iraqi government or, as the country descended into chaos, other rival sectarian militias, either sunni or shia.

The secondly,  "the international community" has operated as a term for the USA, Britain and France whose Great Power ambitions for the Middle East have from the outset included demanding "regime change" in Syria as opposed to a negotiated settlement.

The foreign policy of the US and Britain may appear to be "riddled with contradictions". Yet , in fact, it is the continuities in foreign polict strecthing back to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that are more apparent than the idea the West is now dithering over Syria.

so called "diplomacy" regarding Syria is all about about a broader geopolitical strategy and tilting the balance of power in the Middle East away from Iran. It has nothing to do with "humanitarian intervention". Broader Power interests are being calculated.

Syria is one of the dominos that was meant to fall on the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. The notion, supported by neoconservative politicians and think tank "experts". would be that a succesful resoration of a oil producing state adjacent to Syria would ramp up reform there.

The removal of the Assad regime is foreign policy continuation designed to break the arc of power exercised by Iran through a Shia dominated Iraq, its ally Syria and through Hezbollah into Lebanon. To take out Assad would diminish Hizbollah's power and supplies of arms from Iran via Syria.

Even before the push to life the EU arms embargo on supply of lethal weapons to Syria, the US had granted $60 of "non lethal aid" to promote the "rebel" cause to make it popular amongst ordinary civilians who are not necessarily more supportive of the "rebels" than the Assad regime.

As John Laughland has written,

'the ordinary Syrian population is suffering very greatly from this opposition, from this so-called liberation. These paramilitary groups cannot provide any basic services, they are not the state. They don’t run hospitals, they don’t run the police, they don’t run the water supply and so on. People are fleeing from the areas where these rebels are located. So as I say, this is an attempt to prop an opposition which is failing on its own terms. It’s an attempt to make it popular among the civilian population. And I am sure that many Syrians who watched the meeting in Rome, and who have seen al-Khatib and many others hobnobbing with John Kerry will draw the conclusion that the opposition is a Western puppet, and that will surely not be good for its image back home in Syria'
Far from "hand wringing" the policy towards Syria fits into a remodelling the Middle East according to Western energy security. For by removing Assad, Iran's regional ambitions would be severely curtailed to the West. And the strategy fits in with the policy to the east of Iran too.

From the east, the pressure being put on Pakistan by US diplomats not to go ahead with co-operating with Iran on the IP pipeline dovetails with the protracted NATO effort in Afghanistan to secure the route for the rival TAPI Pipeline route ( the unstated war aim of the US & Britain in Afghanistan )

By installing a pro-US Syrian government no matter what the humanitarian cost, Iran will be effecively encircled on both sides by US military presence, an aim that goes back to the Carter Doctrine of 1980s about removing potential threats to the supply of oil through the Persian Gulf.

By blocking off lucrative Iranian gas exports east to Pakistan, the overarching strategy to encircle and degrade the Iran economy to the point where domestic discontent provide the material for a a revolution against what is simplistically referred to as a 'theocratic dictatorship' .

The drive to arm the Free Syria Army is about destroying Iran as having any regional interests in the Middle Est and, ultimately, prizing it open for regime change. This is the ultimate geopolitical game plan from Washington, London and Paris-control of the oil and gas supply routes in Central Asia.

The West's foreign policy is hence not "riddled with inconsistencies" when the broader geostrategical context is understood. This is part of the New Great Game for the oil and gas resources of Central Asia. And it's a messianic strategy that could ignite and trigger off even more war and carnage.

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