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The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War

by Michel Chossudovsky

What is unfolding in Syria is an armed insurrection supported covertly by foreign powers including the US, Turkey and Israel.

Armed insurgents belonging to Islamist organizations have crossed the border from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The US State Department has confirmed that it is supporting the insurgency.

The United States is to expand contacts with Syrians who are counting on a regime change in the country.

This was stated by U.S. State Department official Victoria Nuland. “We started to expand contacts with the Syrians, those who are calling for change, both inside and outside the country,” she said.

Nuland also repeated that Barack Obama had previously called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to initiate reforms or to step down from power.” (Voice of Russia, June 17, 2011)

The destabilization of Syria and Lebanon as sovereign countries has been on the drawing board of the US-NATO-Israel military alliance for at least ten years.

Action against Syria is part of a “military roadmap”, a sequencing of military operations. According to former NATO Commander General Wesley Clark–the Pentagon  had clearly identified Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon as target countries of a US-NATO intervention:

“[The] Five-year campaign plan [included]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan” (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

In “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130) General Wesley Clark states the following:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

…He said it with reproach–with disbelief, almost–at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. …I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned.”

The objective is to destabilize the Syrian State and implement “regime change” through the covert support of an armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist militia. The reports on civilian deaths are used to provide a pretext and a justification for humanitarian intervention under the principle “Responsiblity to Protect”.

Media Disinformation

Tacitly acknowledged , the significance of an armed insurrection is casually dismissed by the Western media. If it were to be recognized and analysed, our understanding of unfolding events would be entirely different.

What is mentioned profusely is that the armed forces and the police are involved in the indiscriminate killing of civilian protesters. Press reports confirm, however, from the outset of the protest movement an exchange of gunfire between armed insurgents and the police, with casualties reported on both sides.

The insurrection started in mid March in the border city of Daraa, which is 10 km from the Jordanian border.

The Daraa “protest movement” on March 18 had all the appearances of a staged event involving, in all likelihood, covert support to Islamic terrorists by Mossad and/or Western intelligence. Government sources point to the role of radical Salafist groups (supported by Israel)

Other reports have pointed to the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the protest movement.

What has unfolded in Daraa in the weeks following the initial violent clashes on 17-18 March, is the confrontation between the police and the armed forces on the one hand and armed units of terrorists and snipers on the other which have infiltrated the protest movement.

….

What is clear from these initial reports is that many of the demonstrators were not demonstrators but terrorists involved in premeditated acts of killing and arson. The title of the Israeli news report summarizes what happened:  Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests.

(See Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24591 Global Research,  May 3, 2011)

The Role of Turkey

The center of the insurrection has now shifted to the small border town of Jisr al-Shughour, 10 km from the Turkish border.

Jisr al-Shughour has a population of 44,000 inhabitants. Armed insurgents have crossed the border from Turkey.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are reported to have taken up arms in northwest Syria.

There are indications that Turkish military and intelligence are supporting these incursions.

There was no mass civilian protest movement in Jisr al-Shughour. The local population was caught in the crossfire. The fighting between armed rebels and government forces has contributed to triggering a refugee crisis, which is the center of media attention.

MB Rebels at Jisr al Choughour

Muslim Brotherhood Rebels at Jisr al Shughour Photos AFP June 16, 2011

In contrast, in the nation’s capital Damascus, where the mainstay of social movements is located, there have been mass rallies in support rather than in opposition to the government.

President Bashir al Assad is casually compared to presidents Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. What the mainstream media has failed to mention is that despite the authoritarian nature of the regime, president Al Assad is a popular figure who has widespread support of the Syrian population.

The large rally in Damascus on March 29, “with tens of thousands of supporters” (Reuters) of President Al Assad was barely mentioned. Yet in an unusual twist, the images and video footage of several pro-government events were used by the Western media to convince international public opinion that the President was being confronted by mass anti-government rallies.

 

Syrians display a giant national flag with a picture of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during a
pro-government rally at the central bank square in Damascus March 29, 2011. (Reuters Photo)

On June 15, thousands of people rallied over several kilometers on Damascus’ main highway in a march holding up a 2.3 km Syrian flag. The rally was acknowledged by the media and casually dismissed as irrelevant.

Thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a 2,300-metre-long Syrian flag in a demonstration in  Damascus on Wednesday. The Syrian government is working to stop the spectacle of Syrians fleeing in terror from government troops trying to quell the three-month rebellion.  Muzaffar Salman/Associated Press

AP. Thousands of supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad carry a 2,300-metre-long Syrian flag in a demonstration in Damascus on Wednesday.

While the Syrian regime is by no means democratic, the objective of the US-NATO Israel military alliance is not to promote democracy. Quite the opposite. Washington’s intent is to eventually install a puppet regime.

The objective through media disinformation is to demonize president Al Assad and more broadly to destabilize Syria as a secular state. The latter objective is implemented through covert support of  various Islamist organizations:

Syria is run by an authoritarian oligarchy which has used brute force in dealing with its citizens. The riots in Syria, however, are complex. They cannot be viewed as a straightforward quest for liberty and democracy. There has been an attempt by the U.S. and the E.U. to use the riots in Syria to pressure and intimidate the Syrian leadership. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, and the March 14 Alliance have all played a role in supporting an armed insurrection.

The violence in Syria has been supported from the outside with a view of taking advantage of the internal tensions… Aside from the violent reaction of the Syrian Army, media lies have been used and bogus footage has been aired. Money and weapons have also been funnelled to elements of the Syrian opposition by the U.S., the E.U….Funding has also been provided to ominous and unpopular foreign-based Syrian opposition figures, while weapons caches were smuggled from Jordan and Lebanon into Syria. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, America’s Next War Theater: Syria and Lebanon? http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=25000, Global Research, June 10, 2011)

The joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement

The geopolitics of this process of destabilization are far-reaching. Turkey is involved in supporting the rebels.

The Turkish government has sanctioned Syrian opposition groups in exile which support an armed insurgency. Turkey is also pressuring Damascus to conform to Washington’s demands for regime change.

Turkey is a member of NATO with a powerful military force. Moreover, Israel and Turkey have a longstanding joint military-intelligence agreement, which is explicitly directed against Syria.

…A 1993 Memorandum of Understanding led to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”

Turkey agreed to allow IDF and Israeli security forces to gather electronic intelligence on Syria and Iran from Turkey. In exchange, Israel assisted in the equipping and training of Turkish forces in anti-terror warfare along the Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian borders.”

Already during the Clinton Administration, a triangular military alliance between the US, Israel and Turkey had unfolded. This “triple alliance”, which is dominated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, integrates and coordinates military command decisions between the three countries pertaining to the broader Middle East. It is based on the close military ties respectively of Israel and Turkey with the US, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. ….

The triple alliance is also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which includes “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises. These military cooperation ties with NATO are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” (See Michel Chossudovsky,“Triple Alliance”: The US, Turkey, Israel and the War on Lebanon, August 6, 2006)

Covert  support to armed insurgents out of Turkey or Jordan would no doubt be coordinated under the joint Israel-Turkey military and intelligence agreement.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with (former) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2004)

Dangerous Crossroads: The Broader Middle East War

Israel and NATO signed a far-reaching military cooperation agreement in 2005. Under this agreement, Israel is considered a de facto member of NATO.

If a military operation were to be launched against Syria, Israel would in all likelihood be involved in military undertakings alongside NATO forces (under the NATO-Israel bilateral agreement).  Turkey would also play an active military role.

A military intervention in Syria on fake humanitarian grounds would lead to an escalation of the US-NATO led war over a large area extending from North Africa and the Middle East to Central Asia, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It would also contribute to a process of political destabilization in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine. It would also set the stage for a conflict with Iran.

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Towards a World War III Scenario [New E-Book]

New E-Book from Global Research Publishers

by Michel Chossudovsky

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The following is a preview from the preface of a newly released E-book by Global Research Publishers

“Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” by Michel Chossudovsky

E-Book Series No. 1.0
Global Research Publishers
Montreal, 2011
ISBN 978-0-9737147-3-9

Order your pdf of this important new book from Global Research here
Introductory offer: $5.00 (plus $1.50 processing fee. Sent directly to your email!)


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The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.

Coinciding with the onset of the nuclear crisis in Japan, a new regional war theater has opened up in North Africa, under the disguise of a UN sponsored “humanitarian operation” with the mandate to “protect civilian lives”.

These two seemingly unrelated events are of crucial importance in understanding both the nuclear issue as well as the ongoing USNATO sponsored war, which has now extended its grip into Libya. The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. Its potential repercussions, which are yet to be fully assessed, are far more serious than the Chernobyl disaster, as acknowledged by several scientists.

The crisis in Japan has also brought into the open the unspoken relationship between nuclear energy and nuclear war. Nuclear energy is not a civilian economic activity. It is an appendage of the nuclear weapons industry which is controlled by the so-called defense contractors. The powerful corporate interests behind nuclear energy and nuclear weapons overlap. In Japan at the height of the disaster,

“the nuclear industry and government agencies [were] scrambling to prevent the discovery of atomic-bomb research facilities hidden inside Japan’s civilian nuclear power plants”.[1]

The media consensus is that the crisis at Fukushima’s five nuclear power plants has been contained. The realties are otherwise. The Japanese government has been obliged to acknowledge that “the severity rating of its nuclear crisis … matches that of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster“. Moreover, the dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination. Radioactive elements have not only been detected in the food chain in Japan, radioactive rain water has been recorded in California:

“Hazardous radioactive elements being released in the sea and air around Fukushima accumulate at each step of various food chains (for example, into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow’s meat and milk, then humans). Entering the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, continuously irradiating small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years often induce cancer”.[2]

A New War Theater in North Africa

The War on Libya was launched within days of the Fukushima disaster. As we go to press, a dangerous process of military escalation is ongoing. NATO warplanes are hitting civilian targets in Libya including residential areas and government buildings in violation of international law.

The war on Libya is an integral part of the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which until recently consisted of three distinct areas of conflict : Afghanistan and Pakistan (the AfPak War), Iraq, Palestine. A fourth war theater has opened up in North Africa, which raises the issue of escalation over a vast geographical area. These four war theaters are interrelated. They are part of a broader region of conflict, which extends from North Africa and the Middle East, engulfing a large part of the Mediterranean basin, to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan, and Northern Pakistan.

How does the war on Libya relate to this broader US-NATO military agenda?

Is a World War III scenario unfolding?

Is the use of nuclear weapons contemplated in North Africa?

With regard to nuclear doctrine, the concept of a US sponsored pre-emptive nuclear attack applies to a number of countries or “rogue states” including Libya. An all out war against the Qadhafi regime has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than 20 years, Moreover, Libya was the first country to be tagged for a preemptive attack using tactical nuclear weapons.[3] The Clinton administration’s plan to nuke Libya had been announced in no uncertain terms in a 1996 Department of Defense press briefing:

“[The] Air Force would use the B61-11 [nuclear weapon] against Libya’s alleged underground chemical weapons plant at Tarhunah if the President decided that the plant had to be destroyed. ‘We could not take [Tarhunah] out of commission using strictly conventional weapons,’ Smith told the Associated Press. The B61-11 ‘would be the nuclear weapon of choice,’ he [Assistant Secretary of Defense Harold P. Smith] told Jane Defence Weekly.[4]

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B61-11 Nuclear Bomb

Clinton’s Defense Secretary William Perry had confirmed in a statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that “the U.S. retained the option of using nuclear weapons against countries [e.g. Libya] armed with chemical and biological weapons.”[5] The Department of Defense’s objective was to fast track the “testing” of the B61-11 nuclear bomb on an actual country and that country was Libya: “Even before the B61 came on line, Libya was identified as a potential target”.[6]

While the 1996 plan to bomb Libya using tactical nuclear weapons was subsequently shelved, Libya was not removed from the “black list”: “The Qadhafi regime” remains to this date a target country for a pre-emptive (“defensive”) nuclear attack. As revealed by William Arkin in early 2002,

The Bush administration, in a secret policy review… [had] ordered the Pentagon to draft contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against at least seven countries, naming not only Russia and the “axis of evil” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea but also China, Libya and Syria.[7]

Operation Odyssey Dawn. Nuclear Weapons against Libya? How Real is the Threat?

Has the project to nuke Libya been definitively shelved or is Libya still being contemplated as a potential target for a nuclear attack? (This preface serves as an update on the potential dangers of a nuclear war against a defenseless non-nuclear State). The air campaign directed against Libya commenced on March 19, 2011. America deployed its Bat-shaped B-2 Spirit Stealth bombers operating out of the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Described as “deadly and effective”, the B-2 was used as an instrument of “humanitarian warfare”.

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B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber

Barely two weeks after the commencement of the war, the Pentagon announced the testing of the B61-11 nuclear bomb using the same B-2 Stealth bombers which had been deployed to Libya at the very outset of Operation Odyssey Dawn. The B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber is the US Air Force’s chosen “carrier” for the delivery of the B61-11 nuclear bomb. These timely tests pertained to the installed equipment, functionality and weapon’s components of the B61-11 nuclear bomb. The tests were conducted by the B-2 bombers operating out of the same Air Force base, from which the B-2 bombing raid on Libya were conducted.[8]

http://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/operation-odyssey-dawn.jpg?w=600&h=650

Is the timing of these tests in any way related to the chronology of the Libya bombing campaign?

The U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command was in charge of both the JTA tests of the B61-11 as well as the deployment of three B-2 Spirit Stealth bombers to Libya on March 19 under operation Odyssey Dawn. Both the deployment of the B-2s to the Libya war theater as well as the tests of the equipment of the B61-11 (using the B-2 bomber for delivery) were coordinated out of Whiteman Air Force base.

America’s Long War: The Global Military Agenda

The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. The first two chapters of this E-book focus on the “Cult of Death and Destruction” underlying this global military agenda. US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”. Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

1280x1024 Nuclear War

US nuclear doctrine is intimately related to “America’s War on Terrorism” and the alleged threat of Al Qaeda, which in a bitter irony is considered as an upcoming nuclear power. Under the Obama administration, Islamic terrorists are said to be preparing to attack US cities. Proliferation is tacitly equated with “nuclear terrorism”. Obama’s nuclear doctrine puts particular emphasis on “nuclear terrorism” and on the alleged plans by Al Qaeda to develop and use nuclear weapons.

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Chapter III focusses on America’s Holy Crusade and the Battle for Oil. The “Global War on Terrorism” requires going after the terrorists, using advanced weapons systems. US foreign policy upholds a pre-emptive religious-like crusade against evil, which serves to obscure the real objectives of military action. In the inner consciousness of Americans, the attacks of September 11, 2001 justify acts of war and conquest against evil-doers. The Global War on Terrorism is presented as a “clash of civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives. The lies behind 9/11 are known and documented. The American people’s acceptance of this crusade against evil is not based on any rational understanding or analysis of the facts. “The American inquisition” purports to extend Washington’s sphere of influence. Military intervention is justified as part of an international campaign against “Islamic terrorists”. Its ultimate intention, which is never mentioned in press reports, is territorial conquest and control over strategic resources. Ironically, under the Global War on Terrorism, these plans of conquest are instrumented by covertly supporting Islamic paramilitary armies, which are then used to destabilize non-compliant governments and impose Western standards of “governance” and “democracy”.

World War III Scenario

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The contours of a World War III scenario are discussed in Chapter IV. The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the World simultaneously. Militarization at the global level is instrumented through the US military’s Unified Command structure: the entire planet is divided up into geographic Combatant Commands under the control of the Pentagon. According to (former) NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, the Pentagon’s military road-map consists of a sequence of war theaters:

“[The] five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”

Chapter V focusses on war preparations pertaining to Iran, including the launching of a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the Islamic Republic. While Iran remains on the Pentagon’s drawing board, a fundamental shift in the sequencing of military operations has occurred. The US-NATO-Israel alliance realizes that Iran has significant capabilities to respond and retaliate. With the onset of the US-NATO led war in North Africa, Washington and its allies have chosen to wage war on countries with lesser military capabilities. This factor in itself has been crucial in the decision by the US and its allies to put “the Iran operation” on hold, while launching a “humanitarian war” on Libya.

How to Reverse the Tide of War

Chapter VI focusses on antiwar actions directed against this diabolical military agenda. Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled:

“We must fight against evil in all its forms as a means to preserving the Western way of life.”

Breaking the “big lie” which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well organized grassroots antiwar network, across the land, nationally and internationally, which challenges the structures of power and authority. People must mobilize not only against the military agenda, the authority of the state and its officials must also be challenged. This war can be prevented if people forcefully confront their governments, pressure their elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens as to the implications of a nuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

The object of this E-Book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Break the American Inquisition.

Undermine the US-NATO-Israel military crusade.

Close down the weapons factories and the military bases.

Members of the armed forces should disobey orders and refuse to participate in a criminal war.

Bring home the troops.

Notes

1. See Yoichi Shimatsu, Secret Weapons Program Inside Fukushima Nuclear Plant? Global Research, April 12, 2011
2. Helen Caldicott, Fukushima: Nuclear Apologists Play Shoot the Messenger on Radiation, The Age, April 26, 2011
3. See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s Planned Nuclear Attack on Libya, Global Research, March 25, 2011.
4. Federation of American Scientists, The Nuclear Information Project: the B61-11
5. Ibid, See also Greg Mello, The Birth Of a New Bomb; Shades of Dr. Strangelove! Will We Learn to Love the B61-11? The Washington Post, June 1, 1997
6. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – September/ October 1997, p. 27. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, America’s Planned Nuclear Attack on Libya, Global Research, March 25, 2001
7. See William Arkin, “Thinking the Unthinkable”, Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2002.
8. In late March or early April (prior to April 4), the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber from the 509th Bomber Wing operating out of Whiteman Air Force Base, was used in the so-called “Joint Test Assembly” (JTA) of the B61 Mod 11 nuclear bomb.
The announcement of these tests was made public on April 4; the precise date of the tests was not revealed, but one can reasonably assume that it was in the days prior to the April 4 press release by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA. Press Release, NNSA Conducts Successful B61-11 JTA Flight Test, April 4, 2011. For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Dangerous Crossroads: Is America Considering the Use of Nuclear Weapons against Libya? Global Research, April 7, 2011

Montreal, May 2011

Order your pdf of this important new book from Global Research here
Introductory offer: $5.00
(plus $1.50 processing fee. Sent directly to your email!)

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages.

This E-Book is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alice C. Tang, who devoted her life to global peace, the pursuance of truth, military disarmament and the prevention of nuclear war. Alice Tang’s proposal was titled “Two Percent, No First Strike.” The pledge would be that no nation shall spend more than 2 percent of its GDP on military purposes, and no nation would be a “first strike” aggressor with nuclear weapons.

Acknowledgments

Research for this E-book was conducted over a period of almost ten years. Our sincere thanks to Global Research members and our readers, whose support has enabled us to develop our publishing and educational outreach activities.

I am much indebted to Maja Romano of the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG) for her support in the editing process as well for the creative design of the front page graphics. I extend my thanks and appreciation to Réjean Mc Kinnon, for the careful typesetting, layout and production of the E-Book and to Drew McKevitt for her assistance in the copyediting of the manuscript.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

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