OPINION: Another war in Pipelinestan averted
Free Press Opinion Columnist
Overt intervention in the Syrian civil war has been suspended for now, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s shrewd exploitation of John Kerry’s gaffe about Syria disposing of its chemical weapon arsenal, and the war-weary American public’s resounding disapproval of yet another military venture in the Middle East.
The Obama administration’s charge — that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on its own populace — was never proven to any disinterested observers’ satisfaction. Russia and other news sources provided equally convincing evidence that it was the Syrian rebels who perpetrated the gas massacre, “to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons,” in Putin’s words — a false flag attack. Cui bono? (Who benefits?) is the answer to this riddle, and it was definitely not Assad.
He’s no angel, but neither are the foreign rebels we’ve been supporting for the last two years; the al-Nusrah front is a designated terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda and has perpetrated many atrocities in Syria. They are mostly radical Islamic jihadists — our supposed worst enemies — with a contingent of mercenaries and criminals (in a “Dirty Dozen” scenario, Saudi Arabia freed 1,200 death-row inmates for the fight). A more repugnant band of “freedom fighters” has never been seen.
It should be obvious by now that “fighting terrorism” and “humanitarian intervention” are fig leaves used selectively to justify military action where our supposed vital national interests are at stake. In this case, it’s fundamentally about two opposing natural gas pipelines that would feed the European market:
The South Pars/North Dome natural gas field, straddling the Persian Gulf between Qatar and Iran, is the world’s largest. One proposed pipeline would be routed from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, terminating in Turkey — the “Sunni pipeline.” It could also connect to the Nabucco pipeline, supplying central Asian gas to Europe as well. The opposing pipeline would run from Iran through Iraq, terminating on Syria’s Mediterranean coast — the “Shiite pipeline.” In 2009, Assad nixed a deal to run the Qatar pipeline through his territory.
So the irate Saudis and Qataris began funding the Syrian insurgency, with our CIA supplying arms. Regime change is the purpose: Installing a Sunni-friendly government that will be more amenable to Saudi, Qatari, American and Israeli national interests. Assad is the kingpin in another pipeline — the weapons flow from Iran through Syria to Hezbelloh. That’s why the Israel lobby (AIPAC) has gone into a “full-court press” urging Congress to support Obama/Kerry’s “unbelievably small” attack — as “unbelievably” small as the Gulf of Tonkin or that hunt for WMDs in the Iraq “cakewalk.”
Putin is pursuing Russia’s interests in the region, but he is not using sponsored mercenaries or his missiles and drones to do it. Russia is currently the largest natural gas supplier to Europe, but we have the largest proven reserves. We do not need Mid-east gas. This is mainly a central Asian/European problem, and if Europe feels threatened by a competing gas line through Shiite territory, let them deal (France) with it. The U.S. really has no vital national interests involved in this quagmire, or obligation to intervene unilaterally, especially without UN or congressional approval. And if Israelis want Assad removed for their own interests, they should go it alone. As Jewish radio talk host Michael Savage puts it: “I’m sick and tired of America being yanked around like we’re the tail and they’re the dog.”
Syria is just another chapter in the long Neocon playbook, defined by the “Plan for a New American Century” crowd: Spend vast sums on the military to establish British-American-Israeli hegemony in middle and central Asia, whatever the costs to international law, our overstressed troops, the American economy, and the millions of Arab citizens who’ve been killed, maimed, orphaned, homewrecked and impoverished over the last decade of our interventions. Afghanistan remains a violent basket case, Iraq has erupted into bloody anarchy again, Libya is now in a tribal civil war breeding terrorists, and Syria is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in recent history. We have made four countries into hellholes where families cannot even go out to get the groceries without risking death, with no end in sight.
According to the recent National Defense Authorization Act, any American suspected of rendering “material support” to a terrorist organization can be arrested and indefinitely detained without trial or due process. Like the terrorist al-Nusrah front in Syria that we are arming. By all rights, President Obama and John Kerry should handcuff each other and indefinitely detain themselves. But for now, it appears Vladimir Putin has managed to disable them himself.
Travis Kelly is a web/graphic designer, writer and cartoonist in Grand Junction. See his work or contact him at http://www.traviskelly.com.
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