America's longstanding agenda
targets both countries. Israel wants regional rivals removed. Washington
wants independent regimes replaced by pro-Western puppet ones.
All options are considered, including war. For months, saber rattling
targeted Tehran. Multiple rounds of sanctions were imposed. Stiffer
ones are considered. More on Iran below.
For 15 months, Syria's been wracked by Western-generated violence. No
end of conflict appears likely. Constitutional reform and democratic
elections don't matter. Neither does majority pro-Assad support.
Washington's comfortable dealing with democrats, despots, or anything
in between so long as regimes serve its interests. Otherwise they're
targeted for removal. International law is a non-starter. So are fundamental
US statute laws and America's Constitution.
Since early last year, Western and regional nations armed, funded and
trained insurgents. US, UK and perhaps other Special Forces actively
aid them. So do CIA and MI6 operatives.
Al Qaeda elements actively participate. Washington uses them strategically
as enemies and allies. At times, it's done simultaneously in different
parts of the world. Scoundrel media reports don't explain. Regurgitating
official lies are featured.
Last year, Russia accused Western nations of illicitly arming Syrian
insurgents. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:
"Nobody is commenting on it and no one is admitting it, but the facts
are impossible to contradict. Weapons are being smuggled into Syria
from Turkey and Iraq."
They're also supplied by other nations. So are mercenaries used to depose
On May 16, Syrian officials reported a truck seized with hidden weapons
in al-Raqqa province. Numerous times other elicit caches were discovered.
In late April, Lebanon's navy intercepted a Sierra-Leone registered
ship carrying arms and munitions. Heavy ones bound for Syrian insurgents
included machine guns, artillery shells, and rocket-propelled grenades.
Last February, Itar Tass reported a Russian secret services source saying
"(h)uge batches of small arms and munitions for the Syrian Liberation
Army's troops are supplied from Lebanon (by opposition March 14 alliance
elements), Iraq and Turkey, but unofficially, not through (their) governments."
"The supply list includes submachine guns, machine guns, sniper rifles
and antitank grenade launchers."
Lt. General Leonid Sazhin said "the scenario that has already been developed
and administered by the United States and (its) NATO allies, mainly
France, Britain and Turkey, as well as the monarchy regimes from the
Cooperation for the Arab States of the Gulf, in particular Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates, is being implemented in Syria."
Qatar's actively involved. So are Jordan, Libya and Israel. Doing so
is illegal. International law prohibits interfering in the internal
affairs of other countries except in self-defense.
On May 15, the Washington Post headlined "Syrian rebels get influx of
arms with gulf neighbors' money, US coordination," saying:
Insurgents got "significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks."
Coordinated by Washington, Gulf states (notably Saudi Arabia) finance
them. Opposition elements, US, and foreign officials confirm what's
Obama claims Washington's not supplying weapons and munitions directly.
Be skeptical. He's a serial liar. Nothing he says is credible. Directly
and/or indirectly, administration officials are very much involved.
America orchestrated the insurgency from inception.
According to an unnamed State Department official:
"We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition,
and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in
the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we
are collectively doing."
Washington maintains direct contact with insurgent leaders. "Many officials
now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable. Material
is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and
in Zabadani on the Lebanese border."
Large supplies are flowing. One opposition figure said "(s)ome areas
are loaded with weapons."
Washington officials met with Eastern Syrian Kurds. Talks included "opening
a second front against Assad's forces that would compel him to move
resources from the west."
When NATO meets in Chicago this weekend, discussions will include anti-Assad
Syrian "(o)pposition figures said they have been in direct contact with
State Department officials to designate worthy rebel recipients of arms
and pinpoint locations for stockpiles...."
Pentagon officials prepared military options. They include destroying
Syria's air defenses. In fact, if air strikes begin, all strategic sites
will be targeted. Libya's model will be replicated. Mass deaths and
destruction will follow. Increasingly it looks likely.
The RAND Corporation think tank has considerable influence on US policy.
Operating like a shadow government, it supports militarism, imperial
wars, and technocrat run world government.
Nonetheless, its new report warned against attacking Iran's nuclear
facilities. Titled "How to Defuse Iran's Nuclear Threat," it argued
for "diplomacy and economic sanctions," not militarism.
"An Israeli or American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would make
it more, not less, likely that the Iranian regime would decide to produce
and deploy nuclear weapons. Such an attack would also make it more,
not less, difficult to contain Iranian influence."
RAND notes Iran's regional "appeal" as an anti-American, anti-imperial,
anti-Zionist "bastion." Attacking its nuclear and/or other sites would
enhance its influence. It believes the hawkish Israeli approach:
"rests on a faulty assumption that a future, post-attack Middle East
would indeed be free of a nuclear-armed Iran. In fact, a post-attack
Middle East may result in the worst of both worlds: a nuclear-armed
Iran more determined than ever to challenge the Jewish state, and with
far fewer regional and international impediments to doing so."
It recommends supporting current and former Israeli officials arguing
against military strikes. It suggests bolstering US/Israeli "security
cooperation and intelligence sharing." It believes pressuring Iran non-belligerently
can weaken "its capacity to project power."
A future Iranian regime may view Israel differently, it says. Washington
should try convincing Iranian people that America "cares about Iran
as a nation, not merely a problem to be solved."
"Iranian people offer the surest hope for a future Iran that is more
amenable to US interests."
Attacking its facilities "would make it more, not less, likely
(to want) nuclear weapons."
Four RAND contributors produced the report, including:
(1) Former US Assistant Secretary of State James Dobbins. He directs
RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center.
(2) Dalia Dassa Kaye, senior RAND political scientist and Pardee RAND
graduate school faculty member.
(3) Alireza Nader, senior RAND international policy analyst focusing
on Iranian politics and foreign policy.
(4) Frederic Wehrey, senior RAND policy analyst focusing on Persian
Whether their assessment and recommendations influence US and/or Israeli
policies remains to be seen.
What their report omitted is significant.
Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, not belligerent. Nothing proves
IAEA inspectors discovered no evidence suggesting weapons development
and/or production. Neither did annual US intelligence assessments as
recently as March 2012.
Discussion of Israel's nuclear arsenal was excluded. So was its willingness
to use it if feel threatened. Israel's a global menace. Belligerence
and violence reflect official policy.
Palestine's been illegally occupied for 45 years. So has Syria's Golan.
Lebanon was attacked in 1978, 1982, 1993, 1996, and 2006. Southern Lebanon
was illegally occupied for 18 years. Israel still holds Ghajar bordering
Golan and Sheba Farms. It's valued for its water resources.
For over 40 years, Israel lawlessly violated Lebanese territory. Daily
overflights occur. Lebanon's justified in fearing more war. So is Gaza
after Cast Lead.
In 2007, Syria's alleged nuclear site was bombed. Evidence of an existing
one was suspect and inconclusive. At the time, IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei
said its experts analyzed satellite imagery. They concluded that the
building struck was not a nuclear facility.
Despite just cause, Damascus didn't retaliate. In 1981, Israel destroyed
Iraq's Osirak reactor. Neither did Baghdad.
Israel's involved in arming and destabilizing Assad's government. It's
longstanding agenda calls for regional hegemony. Balkanization and belligerency
are policies to achieve it.
Iran hasn't attacked another nation in over 200 years. It threatens
none now, including Israel. Claims about wanting Israel wiped off the
map are spurious. Calling it a sponsor of regional terrorism are false.
Israel and America threaten world peace, not Iran or Syria. That should
be issue one. RAND didn't mention it. Instead it discussed defusing
a nonexistent Iranian nuclear threat.
Urging diplomacy and sanctions, not belligerence, misses the point.
Political solutions should always be policy. So should welcoming nonbelligerent
states into the family of nations, ending repressive sanctions, and
working for world peace.
Influential groups should support policies conforming to international
law. They should oppose and denounce belligerent, lawless, destructive,
or counterproductive ones. RAND and others like it fall short on all
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time
and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy