The Dangerous Mess in Syria Grows Murkier
By Eric Margolis
March 25, 2012 "Information
Clearing House" --- Syria’s murky,
multi-level conflict continues to grow worse. So does public
confusion here in the west as the US, British and some European
media keep depicting Syria’s civil war as a simple passion play
pitting the evil Asad regime in Damascus against mostly unarmed
We saw this same one-dimensional, deceptive reporting recently in
Libya that was designed to support foreign intervention. It’s as
incomplete today about Syria as it was in Libya which, by the way,
is turning into a dangerous mess.
My assessment based on reliable primary sources in Washington,
Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon:
Support for the Asad family’s Ba’ath regime, now in power for 41
years, is clearly slipping. But important sections of the armed
forces, the 17 intelligence and security agencies, the powerful
Alawai minority, most Syrian Christians, tribal elements and much of
the commercial middle and upper class still back the Asad’s. In
spite of intense western efforts to overthrow him, Bashar Asad, a
mild-mannered former eye specialist, is still hanging on.
The US, Britain, France, and some conservative Arab allies have
funded and armed the Syrian rebellion from its start a year ago. In
fact, the US has been funding anti-Asad groups since the mid 1990’s.
Arms and munitions are said to be flowing to Syria’s rebels through
Jordan and Lebanon. Extreme rightwing groups in Lebanon, funded by
western and Arab powers and Israel, are playing a key role in
infiltrating gunmen and arms into northern Syria.
The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood has once again risen against the Alawi-dominated
regime in Damascus. In 1982, this writer was outside the Syrian city
of Hama when government forces crushed a Brotherhood uprising,
killing an estimated 10,000 people and razing part of the city with
Enter the jihadis. Recently, small numbers of al- Qaida veterans of
Iraq and Afghanistan have entered Syria and are using car bombs to
try to destabilize the government. Current al-Qaida leader, Dr Ayman
al- Zawahiri, has called for all-out war against the Asad regime.
Interestingly, the US, France and Britain now find themselves in bed
with the very jihadist forces they profess to abhor – but, of
course, whom they used in Afghanistan in the 1980’s and, lately, in
Add to this dangerous mix growing numbers of local militias in Syria
who are battling one another and committing many of the atrocities
against civilians, recalling Iraq and Lebanon’s bloody civil wars.
Washington’s key objective in Syria is to overthrow the Asad regime
in order to injure its closest ally, Iran. There is so much
anti-Iranian hysteria now in the US, that any blow against the
Islamic republic is seen as good. Former US fears of a chaotic,
post-Asad Syria are now forgotten in the rush to undermine Iran, by
destabilizing Syria. Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain, are
baying for war against Syria as President Barak Obama tries to hold
back the war hawks.
Israel, whose influence in Washington in this election year is
unprecedented, is stoking war fever against Syria and Iran. Israel
is delighted that the crises with both nations have eclipsed the
issue of Palestine and of Syria’s Golan Heights, which were
illegally annexed by Israel in 1981. Golan supplies on third of
Israel’s total water. Israel’s objective is to see Syria splintered
into feuding cantons like today’s Iraq.
France’s right wing, led by President Nicholas Sarkozy’s UMP party,
has long desired to re-establish France’s former colonial influence
in Lebanon and Syria. The Asad regime in Syria has been a thorn in
France’ side for four decades, particularly so in Lebanon, which
Syria still insists is a historical part of Syria. France hopes to
duplicate in Syria its success in stirring up and profiting from the
uprising in Libya.
Russia has been defending the Asad regime and is determined not to
be outfoxed in Syria by a false “humanitarian” intervention as it
was in Libya. China is similarly cautious. But both are slowly
lessening their former staunch support of Damascus as seen by last
week’s UN Security Council call for a new peace plan in Syria.
A cease fire is urgently needed. Syria must stop using heavy weapons
in urban areas. But outside powers must also stop supporting violent
armed groups that Damascus calls “terrorists.” There are no clean
hands in Syria.
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated
columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the
International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London,
the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, –
Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.
Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2012
|Scroll down to add your comments - Please read our Comment Policy before posting -
Support Information Clearing House
Search Information Clearing House