Syria: March to Disaster

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Eric Margolis

Syria: March to Disaster

Recalling the massacres and destruction during the 1820’s Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, then Victor Hugo wrote, “the Turks have passed by here – All is in ruins and mourning.”

Today, the nations in ruins and mourning are Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and, to a lesser degree, Libya, all dismembered or broken up by the power of the mighty American Raj.

Syria is clearly the next target of the American imperial bulldozer. After two years of brutal rebellion armed and financed by the US and its regional allies, Syria now faces devastation.

A campaign of air-strikes and missiles will crush Syria’s air force, tanks, artillery and communications. Israel stands ready to sweep up the ruins of Syria.

Pure black comedy. Shamelessly stealing Bush administration propaganda, the Obama White House has been actually warning that Syria’s chemical weapons (most of their raw materials came from Europe) pose a dire threat to the United States. Syria acquired chemical weapons to counter Israel’s large arsenal of nuclear weapons, originally supplied by France.

Failure to act will be another Munich appeasement, warns Obama. But the US Congress could not take action because it was still on summer vacation.

President Obama even allowed there was no urgency for action. The important thing he declared was that America’s “credibility” was at stake. Politicians invoke credibility as a excuse after they have made a huge blunder –notably Obama’s foolish “red lines” in Syria that boxed the president into a corner of his own making.

What we are seeing is the latest, 21st century version of the new era of colonialism and imperialism, with a touch of Crusader zeal thrown in.

Today, the favored euphemism is humanitarian intervention, but the song remains the same. Syria is not about poison gas or human rights: it’s about a proxy war against Iran, the only nation now challenging total US and Israel military domination of the Mideast.

For France, it’s about reasserting its former colonial rule in Syria and Lebanon

In 1857, a Chinese baker in Hong Kong tried to poison the British trade superintendent. Britain’s parliament was summoned to vote on retaliation against China. The vote did not pass. But soon after a new parliament with more conservatives voted for war.

France rushed to join Britain, citing the killing of a French missionary. Russia and the US joined. The Second Opium War had begun. China was quickly defeated by the western powers and forced to open it ports to their commerce and begin consuming highly addictive opium grown in the British Indian Raj.

Look at current events in Syria in this historical light rather than all the indignation over chemical weapons in Syria. Besides, given that the weird Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, managed to produce home-made Sarin ( I just barley missed its attack on Tokyo’s subway), how do we know who really made Syria’s gas?

Far more important, the US Congress has become seriously corrupted by special interest money – and that’s putting it gently. How else did all the Wall Street bankers escape punishment for their egregious financial frauds and theft?

Now, other wealthy special interest in America are beating the war drums and pulling the strings of their legislators. Israel is pushing the US hard to destroy its old foe Syria – which would remove the last Arab state capable of offering even modest military resistance to Israel.

So it seems likely the upcoming Congressional vote may approve a “limited” war. But remember “mission creep” from Vietnam days? Previous estimates of a so-called limited air campaign against Iran called for over 3,200 targets to be hit repeatedly.

And who will rule Syria after President Bashar Assad is deposed or killed? Today’s Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan hardly offer a promising example of Washington-guided democracy.

Washington is still trying to figure out what happened to Herzegovina – it’s not ready for Syria’s maddening complexity. In fact, I’d wager that most members of the US Congress could not find Syria on a map. Ordinary taxpaying Americans, polls show, are totally against yet another jolly little war that has no sense to it, no exit strategy, and that offers only mayhem and confusion.

But the US chariot of the Juggernaut just keeps rolling along.

Eric Margolis

Columnist and author Eric Margolis is a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World

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