By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Deputy Editor
“We believe there are chemical weapons in Syria” Lures of fear and loathing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction brought an American public to heel as its president crusaded to secure Iraqi oil. Today the same line is trotted out to justify waging war against Syria. Is destiny or idiocy driving the USA toward an Arab-Zionist war?
Image courtesy of the White House
Keys to the George W. Bush plan to ‘settle’ the Middle East are not well hidden. They surface within the leaves of US State Department reports released over time since the morning of September 11 2001. The greenie adage: act locally, think globally is a guide when deciphering the grand USA plan for Middle East ‘stability’. The modus operandi: move against one state, localize the advance, individualize it, personalize it, secure it, govern it, control it, move on to the next. It’s the domino effect.
There’s an agenda emerging, gradually, regionally, globally, the trend reveals the goal.
Take the ‘Patterns of Global Terrorism’ report, released by the US Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism on May 21, 2002. It’s a blueprint for rhetoric – US abhorrence by degrees for Middle Eastern economies and states determined by their responses to the terror attacks against the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.
This Patterns of Global Terrorism report details intrinsically the foreign policy position taken by the United States with respect to each foreign state. This partnered by other such reports like the National Security Strategy display a scenario of how the US intends to reshape the Middle East.
The Administration’s rhetoric during this post-Iraq-invasion period fits like a glove, drawing opinion from conclusion from the above reports, its fingers snugly interlocked within corporate America’s grasp. The goal: to sustain US domestic consumer demand via expansionism, securing ‘stability’ militarily where need be when trade pacts fail. The subsequent discourse: exploitation of foreign resources, assimilating, digesting, governing cultures like some 21st century smooth-talking-Borg. All designed to serve the interests of Uncle Sam, GOP-style.
Well, as they say in America: It’s about oil, stupid! Everybody knows it, it always has been about oil. Oh and religion. Oh and rights to self-determination. Oh and the sins of the fathers: blurring border crimes of both historical and this current crisis.
Sign of the Times.
And behold, suddenly, out of the Baghdad smoke was heard the word 'Syria'.
Syria’s president, Bashar al-Asad is about to become the new Saddam Hussein. Lebanon too is about to feel the heat.
Tune your ear too to ‘Hizballah’ (sic) spelt also Hezbollah, and Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: all names of fear and loathing when you sit stateside, or within the courts of Israel.
Such groups are becoming the ‘terror-tickets’ George W. Bush will use to justify his Grand Military Advance to ‘secure’ the Middle East.
Lebanon houses Hizbollah’s Imad Mugniyah who is about to become the new Osama bin Laden.
STOP-PRESS: April 14 EST - While writing this piece the New York Times reports: “Syria is allowing some members of Hizbollah, a Shiite Muslim militant group based in Lebanon, to travel from Syrian-controlled southern Lebanon to Iraq, current and former United States intelligence officials said today. “Senior Bush administration officials also continued to accuse Syria of helping members of Saddam Hussein's family and leadership circle to escape to Syria from Iraq,” the New York Times reports.
Indeed the rhetoric has begun.
From the White House we are hearing words from the war-cache of George W Bush. It’s his tried and true method of conditioning the US citizen, in preparation for another onslaught of ‘liberation’ American style.
The United States has Iraq's oil-rich resource. Now, currently, to get the oil out of Iraq and delivered cost-effectively to the west the US must securely control the Persian Gulf.
Currently too, the USA commands the Persian Gulf, but only due to a high-cost high naval presence backed by grunt soldier and air force bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – countries that played strong roles in the international Coalition against terrorism.
Forget how many barrels of blood were spilt in seizing this resource, the price in keeping the current military presence in the Gulf, at proportions assuring security, will surely drive the indirect costs per barrel of oil far beyond what this Administration will feel is acceptable.
The Strait of Hormuz is Bush’s bottle-neck of ‘terror’. Island and land claims around the horn-like land-mass are firmly in the sights of Iran.
Image courtesy of the CIA
Iran with 11,192,731 males of military age passionately anti-American and highly charged against Bush’s anti-Iranian rhetoric, is at this time, too creepy a foe for Bush. The USA needs alternative exit routes to transport its oil-booty.
Enter, South-Syria, Damascus: the gateway to securing Lebanese Mediterranean ports and access to the west. Syria already has 1,304 km of pipelines carrying crude oil and 515 kilometres carrying petroleum products. Lebanon is light on oil infrastructure with only 72 kilometres of crude pipeline and none in working order. But Lebanon lies within the most direct pipeline route that would lie from the most western point of Iraq, straight through Damascus to Beirut and then out to the world via the secure Mediterranean Sea.
“We believe there are chemical weapons in Syria” These are the comments US President George W. Bush used to signal this week that Iraq was merely a large domino in his Grand Military Plan.
President George W. Bush arrives aboard Marine One at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, Monday, April 7, 2003.
On April 13 Bush answered reporters’ questions: Mr. President, Secretary Rumsfeld said today he thinks Syria is harbouring some Iraqi leadership. Could Syria face military action if they harbour these people?”
George Bush: “Well, Syria just needs to cooperate with us. We've made -- I made that clear on Friday. I will, if need be, reiterate it today. The Syrian government needs to cooperate with the United States and our coalition partners and not harbour any Baathists, any military officials, any people who need to be held to account for their tenure during what we are learning more and more about. It was one of the most horrendous governments ever.”
Reporter: “Could they face military action if they don't cooperate?”
Bush: “They just need to cooperate.”
It’s all Bush-speak for roll over sucker or we’ll roll over you.
Another reporter asked: “Do you think there are weapons of mass destruction in Syria?”
Bush: “I think that we believe there are chemical weapons in Syria, for example. And we will -- each situation will require a different response and, of course, we're -- first things first. We're here in Iraq now; and the second thing about Syria is that we expect cooperation. And I'm hopeful we'll receive cooperation. All right. Have a beautiful day.”
Reporter: “Yes, sir. Now that there's a vacancy on the axis of evil, is Syria a good candidate?”
Bush: “We will deal with each situation as it arises.”
United States intelligence reports have been advising Bush since he came to office that state sanctioned terrorist organizations pose the gravest threats to the USA. The advised form of defence was pre-emptive, a controversial policy change that was discovered within the National Security Strategy document of 2002.
Pre-emptive defence is the framework that Bush has used to ‘justify’ his UN unsanctioned invasion against Iraq.
As the New York Times reported: “In testimony to Congress last year, Carl W. Ford, Jr., the assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, said Syria had a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin and may have been trying to develop more advanced nerve agents as well.”
While Bush has the troops deployed to the region, the strategy will be to turn up the heat on the perceived ‘rogue-states’ until their reactions appear defiant enough for ‘justified’ US pre-emptive defence strategies to be released.
April 14 EST US Secretary of State Coin Powell met with Kuwaiti Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Al-Sabah. On exiting this meeting Powell told reporters: “As the President noted over the weekend, we are concerned that Syria has been participating in the development of weapons of mass destruction and, as the President noted, specifically on chemical weapons. And we believe, in light of this new environment, they should review their actions and their behaviour, not only with respect to who gets haven in Syria and weapons of mass destruction, but especially the support of terrorist activity.”
The heat is on. The earth is being sowed with the rhetoric necessary to justify military aggression against countries that lie between oil rich Iraq and the free and easy shipping lanes of the Mediterranean Sea.
The USA’s motivation is clearly to get the oil out at the best possible cost.
Syria it appears presents the means by assuming the rhetorical role of Middle terror bogey state, was closer to Saddam Hussein’s regime than others in the region, and geo-politically is locked now Iraq has fallen.
The Bush Administration plays out timelines in monotonous tones. Will Bush be persuaded to seek a United Nations mandate to ‘force’ Syria to comply with US demands? Clearly he will not. US armed forces remain in the region. The pressure is on.
Would Britain continue to flank the US war machine?
On April 14 Reuters reported British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw stating he was unsure whether Syria was developing illegal chemical weapons and that dialogue was needed with the Syrian government.
"What is important...” Straw told BBC Radio “is for Syria fully to cooperate over these questions that have been raised about the fact that some fugitives from Iraq may well have fled into Syria and other matters including whether they have in fact been developing any kind of illegal or illegitimate chemical or biological programs."
United States White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer on April 9 was asked: “Secretary of Defense today cautioned Syria once again for what he said were indications that they were accepting high-ranking Iraqi officials and perhaps contraband. We've heard cautions against Iran. In other words, first, is Syria next? And if not, what is the message that your President wants the regime change in Baghdad to send to countries like Syria and Iran?”
Ari Fleischer replied: “The message is rather simple, and that is that, whether or not the United States is at war or is not at war, Iraq has been under sanctions. And the message to all nations, whether it's Syria or anybody else, is that it's important to obey the sanctions -- not to provide military equipment or anything that is banned to the government of Iraq.
“That is made even worse by the fact that the United States is at war with Iraq for them to engage in that type of behaviour. And under any circumstance, it is behaviour that is wrong and ought to be stopped.”
Israel, clearly the staunchest and most ruthless of USA’s allies, already occupies sections of Syria with 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the occupied Golan Heights region – Syria has been loathe to remove the Israelis even though, according to the CIA, it has 2,539,342 males fit for military service.
Syrian troops have been in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since October 1976.
The United States also alleges that Syria last year had shipped Syrian-made rockets directly to Hizbollah in Syrian-controlled parts of southern Lebanon. The rockets were, the US claims, to be used against the IDF, the Israeli Defence Force.
Israel has the means, the history, and the desire to advance hostilities against Lebanon.
Israel’s military regularly strikes at Hizbollah fighters inside Lebanon. And on Saturday April 12 Israel claimed Hizbollah fired five anti-aircraft shells at the western sector of the Israel-Lebanon border. Additional shells were fired on Sunday afternoon, April 13, at the eastern sector of the border.
Hizbollah is central to providing weapons to Palestinian resistance fighters in the Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territories. The weapons, the United States says, come from Iran, are smuggled through Iraq, into Syria and onto Lebanon. From there, Hizbollah distributes the arms to Palestinian factions and militant splinter groups.
And according to the New York Times, reported April 14 EST: “Hizbollah, which has about 2,500 fighters and is armed and supported primarily by Iran, was the main force resisting Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon before Israel's withdrawal in 2000. The group also kidnapped and held hostage more than a dozen Americans in Lebanon in the 1980's, and a cell within the organization is regarded by American intelligence as a major terrorist threat to American and Israeli interests around the world.”
For detailed analysis of Hizbollah, Hamas, Mossad and the IDF see… The Organisations and Movements central to the Israel-Palestinian crisis...
Geographically, Israel is perfectly positioned to provide a Western assault on Lebanon and Syria with the United States forces crushing from the East.
The US-based pro-Israel lobby has proven a powerful voice within this current Bush Administration think-tank. In the later part of 2001 through to June 2002, the United States blocked all moves by the United Nations security council to quell Israel’s crushing advance into Jenin, Ramallah and Nablus. The United States used its veto of security council resolutions to effectively shut down any move by the UN to interfere in Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s move to isolate, and assassinate Palestinians of whom Israel suspected as key figures in the defense of Palestine.
Since then, deaths have occurred on both sides, have been summary, targeted and indiscriminate.
Is it coincidence that US Secretary of State Colin Powell has in recent weeks been strategically upping public awareness that the USA expects the Palestinian Authority to restore order and security in the West Bank territories? Is the US setting Palestine up to fail?
It may be that the USA views an opportunity with two-fold value: to establish a new oil pipeline from Iraq to Beirut and to command an occupied peace, albeit American style in the West Bank.
To justify US military involvement in Lebanon and the West Bank the US would need to prove terrorist organisations had taken hold, that hopes of Palestinian led peace were futile, and that ‘liberty’ will only be achieved via occupation and United States armed forces involvement in the region.
On February 20 Colin Powell said: “We want to see violence ended, we want to see terrorism ended, we want to see responsible leadership emerge on the Palestinian side of the equation. And at the same time, we want to see Israel help create conditions of stability in the region and create conditions so that a Palestinian state can be created."
Within weeks George Bush altered the sequence of Powell’s conditions.
March 14, just days before launching an invasion of Iraq, Bush said: “The Palestinian state must be a reformed and peaceful and democratic state that abandons forever the use of terror.”
Bush then detailed that Israel, once the ‘threat” of Palestinian terror ends, must take ‘concrete steps” “to support the emergence of a viable and credible Palestinian state, and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement”.
The sequence gave Israel further licence to continue its state-sanctioned-murder. While the Iraq war filled headlines worldwide, killing within the Palestinian Territories has continued. The intensity of Israel’s hunt for Hamas operatives and Hizbollah equipped fighters has left innocents bleeding and dead in numbers that cry shame.
Any sane thinking person would not expect peaceful reform to emerge from a peoples which is subjected night and day to attacks and occupation from a hated and occupying force.
Within this context is it no surprise that Israel has been intensifying its crushing assault and siege of the Palestinian people? All this while Palestinian people resist summary executions, being brutalised like trash, assassinations and slaughter from beneath and about the bulldozed rubble of what were once refugee camps throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
For Powell to deliver his expectation of Palestinian enforced security - at a time when security is in chaos, while Israel is killing men, women, and little children on a daily basis via a dominating orgy of clinical mass-murder and under the guise of hunting terrorists - is surely repugnant to the ears of a country struggling with self-determination.
Clearly there’s a strategy in play here. For liberty? For freedom?
One can speculate the niceties of peace and liberty for your fellowman, but frankly the course of this campaign likely proves it is anything but.
Epilogue - Lures of fear and loathing of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction bring the American public to heel again as its president crusades to secure Iraqi oil and transport it to the west. Today the same line is trotted out to justify waging war against Syria and Lebanon. Is destiny or idiocy driving the USA into an Arab-Zionist war? You be the judge.
EARLIER CHAPTERS IN THIS SERIES
Chapter 1. See Imperial PAX Americana…
Chapter 2. See Lessons In Justice…
Chapter 4. Is Germany about To ‘Stiff’ Bush?
Chapter 5. The
Diversion of Rhetoric Over Reason