Real Target of These Attacks is Not Syria
Why a victory for Assad is a victory for Iran
By Robert Fisk
Clearing House - "The
Before the stupidest
Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of
course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all now have to
swallow – it might be as well to say that the Cruise missiles
which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s
oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.
They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at
the Islamic Republic now that it has a new and vibrant president
– as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – and when it
just might be a little more stable. Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran
is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy. So there is nothing
pleasant about the regime in Damascus. Nor do these comments let
the regime off the hook when it comes to mass gassing. But I am
old enough to remember that when Iraq – then America’s ally –
used gas against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988, we did not
assault Baghdad. Indeed, that attack would have to wait until
2003, when Saddam no longer had any gas or any of the other
weapons we nightmared over. And I also happen to remember that
the CIA put it about in 1988 that Iran was responsible for the
Hallabjah gassings, a palpable lie that focused on America’s
enemy whom Saddam was then fighting on our behalf. And thousands
– not hundreds – died in Hallabjah. But there you go. Different
days, different standards.
And I suppose it’s worth noting that when Israel killed up to
17,000 men, women and children in Lebanon in 1982 in an invasion
supposedly provoked by the attempted PLO murder of the Israeli
ambassador in London – it was Saddam’s mate Abu Nidal who
arranged the killing, not the PLO, but that doesn’t matter now –
America merely called for both sides to exercise “restraint”.
And when, a few months before that invasion, Hafez al-Assad –
father of Bashar – sent his brother up to Hama to wipe out
thousands of Muslim Brotherhood rebels, nobody muttered a word
of condemnation. “Hama Rules,” is how my old mate Tom Friedman
cynically styled this bloodbath. Anyway, there’s a different
Brotherhood around these days – and Obama couldn’t even bring
himself to say ‘boo’ when their elected president got deposed.
So what in heaven’s name are we doing? After countless thousands
have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after
months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a
few hundred deaths. We should have been traumatised into action
by this war in 2011. And 2012. But now? Why? Well, I suspect I
know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army
might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm.
With the assistance of the Lebanese Hizballah – Iran’s ally in
Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may
be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever
more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a
victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories
cannot be tolerated by the West.
And while we’re on the subject of war, what happened to those
magnificent Palestinian-Israeli negotiations John Kerry was
boasting about? While we express our anguish at the hideous
gassings in Syria, the land of Palestine continues to be gobbled
up. Israel’s Likudist policy – to negotiate for peace until
there is no Palestine left – continues apace, which is why King
Abdullah of Jordan’s nightmare (a much more potent one than the
‘weapons of mass destruction’ we dreamed up in 2003) grows
larger: that Palestine will be in Jordan, not in Palestine.
But if we are to believe the nonsense coming out of Washington,
London, Paris and the rest of the ‘civilised’ world, it’s only a
matter of time before our swift and avenging sword smiteth the
Damascenes. To observe the leadership of the rest of the Arab
world applauding this destruction is perhaps the most painful
historical experience for the region to endure. And the most
shameful. Save for the fact that we will be attacking Shiite
Muslims and their allies to the handclapping of Sunni Muslims.
That’s what civil war is made of.
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