It's now official. The US has announced, in response to what it regards as confirmation that the Assad regime is using chemical weapons, that it will now arm the 'rebels' in Syria. This morning the Guardian newspaper headline reported 'US says it will arm Syrian rebels following chemical weapons test'.
The US was positively itching to arm 'the rebels' for some time. The
chemical weapons pretext was one needed to convince them that could
conceal a cynical strategy that had already covertly been promoting via
the CIA in arming jihadists just as they did in Afghanistan during the
The secular Syrian democrats who initiated protests
against President Assad are no longer influential and the 'rebels' are
better now term insurgents as they were in Iraq when Sunni militias with
similar ideologies fought against the US and then the Shia guerillas
that were allowed by the US to defeat them.
The willingness of the
US, UK and France to back Sunni militias in Syria is a consequence of
the fact that it backed majority Shia dominance in Iraq, and turned a
blind eye to sectarian and ethnic cleansing after 2006, as the price of
getting a stable government in Baghdad and being eventually able to withdraw troops.
Having supported a Shia
government in Iraq, the US and UK now find themselves fearing Shia
dominance promoted by Iran spreading in to Syria in a way that would
upset the balance of power in the Middle East. Added to that, if Assad
wins, Syria, Iraq and Iran would potentially move closer.
poses a threat to Western geopolitical strategies for containing Iran
which, in effect, means imposing punitive sanctions to destabilise the
government, politicising the IAEA to find Iran guilty of trying to
create a nuclear bomb and continuing the war in Afghanistan to hem it in
from the east.
Control over pipeline supply routes are part of
this lethal New Great Game, one becoming more dangerous with the growth
of the Indian and Chinese super economies and the Western attempt to
compete in Central Asia and the Middle East for access to fossil fuel
The Afghanistan War, set to continue by covert means
and by supporting US contractors after troop 'drawdown' ( i.e. not
withdrawal ) by 2014, is crucially concerned with blocking off Iranian
gas exports east through the partially completed IP pipeline to
Pakistan. The US favours the TAPI pipeline.
The proposals for a
Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline from Iran's South Pars gas field which is shares
with rival Qatar, who is backing Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Islamist
militias in Syria, has created consternation in Saudi Arabia and, of
course, in Turkey, the main 'East-West pipeline transit country after
Destroying Iranian power is the key to hegemony over both
the Middle East and Central Asia which is why the US and UK have
repeatedly made Iran the most demonised nation in the region, even if
it's government commits far fewer human rights abuses than Saudi Arabia,
an outright despotism.
The fact is that the three permanent
security council members that 'represent' the West are not prepared to
see the insurgents lose , as they have been after the defeat in Qusair
because the ultimate game plan is to curtail and roll back Iranian
influence in Syria.
With a Shia dominated government favourable
in Iraq, the balance of power has tilted towards Iran. That threatens
the interests of Saudi Arabia and the stability of certain other
minority Sunni regimes such as Bahrain that faced uprisings in the wake
of the Arab Spring by Shia Muslims this time.
It will be
interesting to see how Iran and Russia will react to the US decision. to
arm the 'rebels' The only certainty is an intensification of the war,
regional instability and a potentially very dangerous clash of interests
together with an arms race by outside powers to back 'their side'.
is a very, very dangerous situation. It has all the elements in place for a potential escalation into an all out regional war and major
diplomatic crisis with global ramifications. For those in Britain
interested in averting catastrophe, energy security needs to be looked
as a matter of emergency.