Syrian people crushed under pipeline and power politics

By Ameen Izzadeen
The United States and its allies which seek a regime change in Syria might do well to take a close look at what is happening in Libya, which they ‘liberated’ from the clutches of dictatorship two years ago — and at media and intelligence reports about life under the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Strangely, Libya does not make news nowadays in the Western media. This does not mean that everything is hunky dory there. On the contrary, Libya is fast hurtling towards political anarchy, if it has not already fallen into it.
August 26 marked the second anniversary of the overthrow of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. But there was little celebration in Tripoli, Libya’s capital. This is not because the Libyans who overthrew the Gaddafi regime and later killed him in a brutal manner are magnanimous in victory. Rather it is because the Libyans have countless other problems to worry about.
A weak government and an unstable parliament add to the political chaos there while myriad groups which had a say in the ouster of Gaddafi try to direct the affairs of the country the way they want. Each group, armed to the teeth, administers its area of dominance, so much so that some of those who control oil-rich areas even threaten to sell oil to foreign countries without getting the government involved. There is little law and order. Killings and kidnappings are commonplace.
The country’s economy is also in a shambles despite its vast oil wealth.
“We do not feel the taste of happiness, security and stability. Neither did we have any benefit from the government. People are now feeling insecure and live in fear because of killings that are being witnessed all over Libya,” a resident told Libya Herald on the eve of the non-event — the second anniversary of the regime change brought about by the US and its allies which by deliberately misinterpreting a United Nations Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone, joined the civil war.
In the latest bomb blast to rock Libya, a senior investigative officer was killed in Benghazi on Tuesday. On the same day the country’s Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, addressed an investment forum in London, urging foreign investors to come to his terrorist-ridden country and called on the international community to help defeat al-Qaeda terrorism.
For obvious reasons, the chaos in Libya is not reported in the mainstream Western media. Neither are many people in the West interested to find out about what is happening in Libya though it was their tax money which turned into guns and missiles that eventually brought about the regime change.
If President Bashar al-Assad is ousted, Syria won’t be like Libya. It will be worse. Syria will be like Afghanistan under the Taliban, for it will be groups such as an-Nusra and Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria that will try to control the government that the West may install. The Syrian rebels’ track record shows they are ruthless. Videos posted on YouTube reveals their barbarity, which prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to describe them as ‘liver eaters’.

But the Barack Obama administration, in defiance of the majority view of the American public, appears to be still hanging on to its regime change idea instead of trying to solve the Syrian crisis through a political dialogue. One wonders whether Obama is toeing the Israeli-Saudi-Qatari line. The United States’ best interests will be served not by ousting Assad, but by helping Assad to bring about political reforms that will allow democratic elections, where armed rebels will have no say unless they give up their weapons and enter the political process.
But Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are determined to bring about a regime change. They believe the regime change formula which worked in Libya will also work in Syria. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are apprehensive about the rise of the so-called Iran-led Shiite crescent which extends from Teheran to Beirut via Baghdad and Damascus. Assad is a key link in the Shiite crescent. If Assad falls, Lebanon’s pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia group which is more powerful than the Lebanese military, will be isolated. Israel, which is determined to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, fears that any attack on Iran will draw a response from Hezbollah. It is believed that Iran has via Syria supplied Hezbollah with powerful anti-ship and anti-tank missiles and equipment that could bring down drones.
Besides weakening Iran, the Zionist regime also has a plan to balkanise the Arab world. Israeli strategists believe the Zionist goal of Greater Israel that will extend to the Nile in the east and the Euphrates in the west should be achieved by balkanizing the Arab countries and weakening them. The British and the French effected the first part of the Balkanisation process when they conquered the Arab world after World War 1 and divided what was part of the Ottoman empire into many countries.
A Zionist plan, known as the Oded Yinon plan, proposes that Iraq should be broken into three small states — two Arab states – one for the Sunnis and the other for the Shiites – and a Kurdish state. Countries earmarked for balkanisation include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Syria.
In Syria, the civil war has already divided the country – one controlled by the State, one by the rebels, the third by the Kurds and possibly a fourth by the Druze.
As the civil war escalates with more than 100,000 deaths, 2 million refugees and 4.6 million internally displaced people, Syria’s Kurds, who maintain close ties with Israel just as the Kurds in Iraq do, have intensified their campaign for autonomy. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post in May last year, Sherkoh Abbas, leader of the Washington-based exile group, the Kurdish National Assembly, said that dismantling Syria into ethnic enclaves with a federal administration would serve to “break the link” between Syria and the Iran-led “Shiite crescent.”
But Iran is equally determined not to allow Syria to break into three or more pieces. Thus it provides military support to the Syrian regime. In many ways the civil war in Syria is not aimed at ousting Assad, but at emaciating Iran. The process began by creating an international outcry against Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran was slapped sanction after sanction aimed at weakening its economy and provoking large-scale public demonstrations within the country against the government. But Teheran has shown resilience to withstand the crippling sanctions though they have made life difficult for millions of Iranians.
Israel does not hide the reality that its Syria policy is Iran-centric. Israel’s position was made clear by its outgoing ambassador to the United States in an interview given to the Jerusalem Post.
Ambassador Michael Oren said Israel recognises the Syrian rebels – the liver-eaters – as bad guys. But says Israel prefers them to Assad.
“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.
This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida.
In his interview, which is published in full in today’s Jerusalem Post, Ambassador Oren also reveals closer cooperation between Israel and Arab Gulf states. He admits he is in contact with the Gulf countries’ envoys posted in Washington and says, “In the last 64 years {since the creation of Israel} there has probably never been a greater confluence of interest between us and several Gulf States. With these Gulf States we have agreements on Syria, on Egypt, on the Palestinian issue. We certainly have agreements on Iran. This is one of those opportunities presented by the Arab Spring.”
Adding to the worries of Israel and fears of the Arab Gulf states is a proposed gas pipeline which Iran, Iraq and Syria are planning to build. The deal signed by the three countries in 2010 sent panic waves across oil exporting Gulf countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia – and Turkey, which is a major hub for oil and gas pipelines from the Middle East and Central Asia.
If the pipeline comes into operation, it will deal a blow to Qatar which also seeks to set up a rival pipeline via Syria to send its gas to Europe. Assad shot down the Qatari proposal in favour of the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, dubbed the Islamic pipeline, which will make Syria’s Mediterranean port a rival to Turkey’s ports. This explains why Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Damascus and has sent more than US$ 3 billion to the Syrian rebels and why Turkey supports the rebellion.
The pipeline politics behind the blood being shed in Syria also took another sharp turn when Damascus announced in the early days of the rebellion in 2011 that it had struck gas in Homs, at present the hotbed of anti-Assad rebellion. If Syria’s new-found gas and the gas from Iran through the Islamic pipeline glut the European market, one may expect the world gas prices to come down. But oil and gas are not governed by market forces. Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas exporting countries manipulate the prices by controlling the supply through various nefarious means — including civil wars. Weeks ago, Saudi Arabia’s spy chief Bandar bin-Sultan told President Putin that his country could, by withholding supplies, help shoot up the oil prices and Russia, as a chief exporter of oil, could benefit from the high prices. Putin rejected Bandar’s offer aimed at cajoling him to withdraw Russia’s support for Assad.
As the US and its allies – Israel, the Gulf Arab countries and Turkey – play politics, it is the innocent civilians who are being killed, maimed and rendered homeless. When these countries cry foul over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, it is not altruism or any compassion for the Syrian people. It is power politics and pipeline politics.
(This article first appeared in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)

About ameenizzadeen

journalist and global justice activist
This entry was posted in Political analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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