Recently, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, visited Amman to inaugurate the new forward command center.
These important stories should have been headline news here in the US. But, thus far, I have seen no mention of them in the fawning US press. Clearly, the American people are being kept in the dark about the true extent of US involvement in the Syrian civil war, which is about to go viral. We are also being jollied about US objectives in the region.
The American people need to understand that a US missile attack on Syria will not be the end of itâââonly the start. Passage of Obamaâs war resolution by Congress will commit the United States to supporting the geopolitical agenda of two US allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, both of which, while they have not been friendly with one another in the past, now find themselves perversely allied in a common cause. Both seek the destruction of the sovereign nations of Syria and Iran. The current battle for Damascus is simply one step on the road to Tehran.
The bottom line is that the corrupt Saudi monarchy feels threatened by the Shiâite crescent that extends from Lebanon through Syria and Iraq to Iran. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is using his vast oil wealth and the influence that money buys to redraw the political map. Last year, Abdullah, along with Qatar and Turkey, pledged $50 billion to arm the Syrian rebels, whose ranks include fighters linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia, which attacked and killed the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, last September, in Benghazi.
Let us also be clear: the Saudis have no intention of installing a democratic government in place of the authoritarian Assad regime; though by necessity they dance around the issue with the Americans so as not to offend US sensibilities about liberty and freedom. The curious word-play in a recent article in the Wall Street Journalcaptures the dilemma faced by CIA officers in the field, who must look the other way while agents from Saudi Arabia pass out arms and cash to hired mercenaries. This past May, one such group of rebel fanatics reportedly massacred the entire population of a Christian village near Homs.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the most repressive and misogynistic societies on the planet, and over the last 30+ years has spent untold billions exporting the worldâs most extreme form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism, to places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Libya and nowâ¦Syria, where a failed state along the lines of âliberatedâ Libya will be regarded as a successful outcome.
On this point the Israelis concur. Although itself a democracy, Israelâs top priority is to control a tough neighborhood; and a failed state next door fits the bill perfectly. The Israelis recently granted oil rights in the Golan Heights to Genie Energy, whose major shareholders include Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild. If they ink the deal it will be illegal for the simple reason that the Golan is part of Syria. Twenty years ago, the Israelis attempted a similar gambit but had to back off when the US objected. Now, however, the Israelis sense that the goal (Eretz Israel) is within reach. Once the sovereign nation of Syria is no more everything will become possible. The incorporation of parts of Lebanon will similarly follow, once Hezbollah has been dealt with. Perennially short of water, Israel has long coveted the Litani River in southern Lebanon.
Obamaâs proposed missile strike on Syria will help to pave the way. One of the strikeâs probable objectives will be to degrade Syriaâs air defenses, so that the Israeli Air Force can safely enter Syrian airspace and bomb the country at will.
To be sure, Syria will not go quietly into that good night. The Syrian government has warned that it will respond to a US strike by attacking Israel, which has bombed Syria repeatedly in recent months. A state of war has existed between the two nations for many years.
This is the grim reality. Obamaâs proposed attack to punish Syria will likely trigger a wider Mideast war. The fighting will quickly spread to Lebanon, and may also involve Turkey, Jordan, Iraq andâ¦Iran. The Iranians have made it clear they will not stand by while their ally Syria is destroyed.
If a regional war unfolds, it will be a human disaster beyond reckoning. Such a war will make the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look like a warm up. Although in June the Russians closed down their naval base at Tartus, on the Syrian coast, and have withdrawn all or most of their military personnel from Syria (which is good news), the Russians still maintain a naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean. If their ships come under fire, whether by accident or miscalculation, the resulting crisis could escalate in a matter of hours to a nuclear showdown reminiscent of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. The world will stand at the brinkâ¦
But why go there? Indeed, why take the chance? It is all so unnecessary.
Official US policy is that the various parties to the Syrian conflict should come to the table and negotiate a political settlement. All well and good, but why then is the US aiding the rebels (who have been the recalcitrant party) instead of using its influence to persuade them to go to Geneva? And why attack the Assad regime which is already on board with peace talks? Americans will not like the answer.
The root problem is the vacuum of leadership in Washington. In blunt language, Obama is a spineless wimp, incapable of standing up to Israel and the Saudis, let alone Wall Street and the US war machine. This is why the tail wags the dog, i.e., why official policy is subordinated to the agenda of banksters, industrialists, and foreign governments.
Hence, the vital importance of the upcoming debate in Congress over Obamaâs war resolution. The president needs a wake up call, a spine stiffener, a clear mandate from the people to bolster his resolve to do what is right for the nation -- so that Obama can just say "no" to war.
*** Mark H. Gaffney is the author of five books. His latest is Black 9/11: Money, Motive and Technology (2012, Trineday) Check out his website at www.GnosticSecrets.com Mark can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
Syria:"Wag the Dog" Towards a Major Mideast War?