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Why Western Military Intervention in Syria is Coming Soon: To Protect Israel

The question is: Will military intervention take place end of this year? Or will it wait for a declaration of war against Iran in the coming spring at the most?

By Abdel Bari Atwan

December 13, 2012 "Information Clearing House"  -  THE SUDDEN US-European concern about Syria's chemical weapons, and the growing panic over the possibility of their use by Syrian President Bashar al-Asad against his own citizens reveal an almost certain intention to intervene militarily in Syria to decisively settle the situation and overthrow the ruling regime in Damascus.

A close source to UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi cited him as saying that a key Arabian Gulf ruler told him that the Syrian crisis would be over within two months and that the new Syrian coalition would assume power.

Focusing on the peril of nuclear weapons at this time is reminiscent of the rabid US campaign that preceded the US invasion of Iraq.

The chief difference between the two cases is that Iraq had no such weapons, something the United States was aware of, whereas Jihad al-Maqdisi, the spokesman for the Syrian Foreign Ministry, who recently defected, has officially admitted to the existence of such weapons in Syria.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who will chair a meeting of the Friends of Syria in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh next week, said there were two possibilities regarding the Syrian chemical weapons: First, the Syrian regime may use them if it reaches a state of despair or, second, if it loses control over these weapons, and thus fall into the hands of extremist Islamic groups.

The Syrian regime stressed through Jihad al-Magdisi before his defection that it would not use such weapons against its own people, but would use them should Syria come under foreign aggression. This may explain the current growing US and Israeli concern about these weapons.

I do not believe that the United States, or all the Arab countries that support US policy in the region, have any concern about or fear for the Syrian people. After all, the Syrian regime committed a massacre in Hamah in 1981, a massacre that Washington did not condemn or withdraw its ambassador from Damascus in protest even though that massacre left more than 30,000 people dead. Likewise, Washington kept silent on the Syrian regime's dictatorship and violations of human rights for more than 40 years.

What concerns the United States first and foremost is Israel. What the United States really fears is the possibility of these weapons being used against Israelis whether by the regime in a state of despair, which cannot be ruled out, or by the currently militarily stronger jihadist groups in the Syrian territories. When jihadist groups fight against a common enemy like the Syrian regime, this fight would be commendable, but after toppling the Syrian regime, as happened in Libya and earlier in Afghanistan, the Americans' new enemy would be these very groups.

Overthrowing the regime in Syria has absolutely nothing to do with democracy and human rights, but with the Iranian nuclear programme. This does not mean that the Syrian people's demands for democratic change are not legitimate. These legitimate demands have been and are being exploited and used by the United States, Europe, and Arabs to shatter Iran's nuclear aspirations.

US military intervention in Syria is under preparation, awaiting a green light from the White House. The "Eager Lion" manoeuvres, in Jordan, in which 19 countries participated in an area near Syria's southeast border, included training on ways of fighting in war circumstances in which chemical weapons would be used.

The question is: Will military intervention take place end of this year? Or will it wait for a declaration of war against Iran in the coming spring at the most?

There are two assumptions: First, the Syrian chemical weapons may be seized before a US-Israeli carpet bombing of Iran to prevent the Syrian regime from using them against Israel, should it reach a state of despair; the second assumption envisions that the United States and Israel are more likely to wait for a major offensive that will target Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and perhaps the Islamic resistance movements in the Gaza Strip.

Turkey's request for the installation of patriot missiles on its border with Syria has absolutely nothing to do with fear from the Syrian regime or its aircraft and rockets. The Syrian regime is exhausted and its forces are losing ground while the opposition forces are mounting attacks in the proximity of Damascus, just a few kilometres from the Republican Palace. Turkey's request for Patriot missiles has to do with an imminent war against Iran.

We have learned from previous experience that there are two key indicators for impending wars in our region: First, exaggerated talk about Arab weapons of mass destruction and, second, US-European interest in Arab-Israeli peace.

The sudden US-European protest of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to build 3,000 housing units in occupied Jerusalem and their summoning of the Israeli ambassadors in the Western capitals to protest this step are an exposed theatrical move to cover up the imminent military intervention and to deceive some naive Arabs. This happened during the era of former US President George Bush senior when in 1991 he called for convening the Madrid peace conference to justify the later destruction of Iraq under the label of liberating Kuwait. Similarly, former President Bush junior did the same thing, pledging that a Palestinian state would be created in 2005, he made this pledge prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq in March 2003.

Settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories has continued for the past 60 years, but Washington never moved a finger to stop it. Nor did it impose any sanctions against Israel, and absolutely never summoned any Israeli ambassador in protest. So why the current spineless anger against Israel's settlement construction, anger that involves no sanctions.

The Syrian chemical weapons were obtained to serve as deterrence against nuclear Israel, not to be used against the Syrian people or any other people. If the Syrian regime really uses such weapons against its people, something we doubt and strongly oppose, it would deserve any potential consequences. These are Syrian Arab weapons and must remain in Syrian hands. Neither the United States nor any other country has a right to seize or destroy them, as happened to Iraqi weapons, unless all weapons of mass destruction --biological and nuclear -- in the Israeli military arsenal are destroyed.

This article was originally posted at Stop the War

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