by Joyce Chediac
March 20, 2012
The first heavy fighting is taking place in Syria’s capital, Damascus, between alleged “defectors” and the Syrian security forces. Four days earlier, two huge explosions ripped through intelligence and security buildings in Christian areas of Damascus on March 16, killing at least 27 people — both civilians and security personnel.
These bombings marked the fourth time in three months that powerful explosions have hit government buildings in Damascus and Aleppo. The recent attacks are clear attempts to destabilize Syria and seem to confirm revelations from U.S. strategic think-tanks discussed below of U.S./NATO plots aimed at “regime change.”
Background to plot against Syria, Iran
The establishment media is full of speculation about whether the U.S. and its NATO allies will intervene directly in Syria and Iran. The war, however, has already begun. It is being waged on the propaganda and the political front, in the banks and boardrooms, and according to recent WikiLeaks, on the covert military front as well. Every week this war intensifies.
From Al Jazeera to the New York Times to Le Monde, the corporate media pitch is the same — the U.S. and the European powers want to “protect” the people of the Middle East from a possible nuclear armed Iran; they want to “save” the Syrian people from President Bashir Assad.
The true aims of the Western powers, along with Turkey and the reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League, are to destroy the independence of Syria and Iran and to make them satellites of imperialism.
A great deal is at stake here for the city workers and rural poor throughout the Middle East. The real issue right now is: Who will prevail in the region, the anti-imperialist forces or the imperialists?
Emboldened by its win in Libya, imperialism is now goingafter Syria and Iran at the same time. These governments are in a strategic anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist, alliance along with Hezbollah in Lebanon. This alliance is crucial in holding back Israel, which has no declared borders, from a military attack and an attempt to take over the whole area. It is crucial to stopping the U.S. from re-enslaving the whole area.
Washington would like to be seen as the protector of the “Arab Spring” against Assad. But Wall Street and the Pentagon’s goal is to smash all forms of self-determination and yearnings for democracy, economic freedom and independence. They want to return the Middle East to the period before the Soviet Union was a counterweight to imperialism, when the Western capitalists stole the natural resources at will and even set the national borders of the countries there.
According to some sources, U.S./NATO forces are already on the ground in Syria. Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi writes that the fighters opposing the government in Syria receive training, logistics assistance, intelligence and military supplies from NATO members and/or Gulf emirates (Global Research, Feb. 4).
WikiLeaks: U.S.-NATO troops in Syria
A confidential e-mail from an analyst in the intelligence firm Stratfor, released by WikiLeaks, said that “U.S-led NATO troops are already on the ground in Syria training armed gangs,” according to the March 7 Reel News. “SOF [special operation forces] teams are already on the ground, focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces,” according to the analyst. He continued, “[T]he idea ‘hypothetically’ is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns to overthrow the Assad government.”
Assassins and internal guerrilla attacks don’t quite mesh with the White House’s claims of wanting to save Syrian lives.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, head of the powerful Senate Arms Services Committee, has openly called for air bombardments of Syria. Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta openly discuss an attack on Syria. The question they raise is not whether to do it, but how to go about it.
Economic war on Syria continues with the goal of destabilizing the country from within. Due to international sanctions, the value of the Syrian pound has dropped by 50 percent against the dollar in a year. As of January, necessities cost as much as three times what they cost a year ago.
Iran’s financial sovereignty dealt a body blow
At the same time, the imperialists struck a body blow against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s financial sovereignty. On March 15, SWIFT, a powerful global bank consortium, expelled up to 30 Iranian banks, including Iran’s Central Bank. Iran had used the bank network to get payments for its oil exports and other exports.
The bank consortium’s chief executive, Lázaro Campos, call the move “extraordinary and unprecedented,” as SWIFT had never before disconnected banks. This lockout disrupts Iran’s ability to do international business and isolates it from the world economy.
Due to sanctions and threats to those who would trade with Iran, Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost 60 percent against the dollar in a year. Some businesses in Iran are dealing only in dollars.
The day before SWIFT’s action, U.S. President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron stood side by side at the White House while Obama threatened Iran: “The window for solving [the nuclear] issue diplomatically is shrinking.” (Washington Post, March 15)
Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Dempsey said several times that the U.S. is prepared to attack Iran.
Intelligence agencies widely agree that Iran has no nuclear weapons. The nuclear threat in the Middle East comes from Israel, which has 300 nuclear warheads and has refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, which Iran has. Yet Western powers have issued no call for international sanctions against Israel. In fact, the Pentagon covertly armed Israel with its nuclear weapons.
Coinciding with a recent trip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, the corporate media have been full of speculation on whether Israel would stage a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.
There might be discord between the U.S. and Israel on where to draw the line on Iran’s nuclear program, as the U.S. has geopolitical concerns that Israel does not have. But there is no fundamental difference between Israeli and U.S. policy.
The U.S. likes to play the role of having to “restrain” Israel, and the mainstream media gladly play along. This diverts attention from the fact that Israel does the U.S.’s bidding. But this is just role playing — Netanyahu’s role being to say, “Let’s bomb Iran now,” and Obama’s to say, ”Let sanctions take their toll first.” Israel is the only reliable U.S. ally in the Middle East. Washington sees Israel as an unsinkable aircraft in the Pentagon’s fleet, not a homeland for Jewish people.
There has also been media speculation that Israel doesn’t have the weapons to bomb Iran’s deep underground facility. Responding to this, Israeli President Shimon Peres said during a visit to New York that security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel was “the best we’ve ever had.” (thinkingprogress.org, March 2)
Indicating the direction in which U.S. imperialism and Israel intend to go, right after Netanyahu left Washington Israel started bombing the Palestinian people of Gaza, using pilotless planes — drones.
Washington and Tel Aviv’s goal has always been to destroy all manifestations of the Palestinian struggle. Any time the imperialists push for a power shift in the Middle East, the Palestinians are the first casualty and suffer the most.
The background presented in this article is based on parts of a talk by Chediac to a March 16 Workers World Party forum in New York.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.