Heading for More Middle East War – by Stephen Lendman
Washington, Israel and rogue NATO allies seem headed for ruinous wars with Iran and Syria, besides others ongoing interminably.
Former State Department official/now AIPAC-linked Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) fellow Dennis Ross said:
“There are consequences if you act militarily, and there’s big consequences if you don’t act. The administration considers the risks of permitting a nuclear-armed Iran to be greater than the risks of military action.”
In fact, no evidence whatever suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program, according to the latest March 2011 US intelligence assessment. Ross knows it. So do political Washington and major media scoundrels. Yet they suppress truth and promote confrontation and war.
On January 12, Haaretz headlined, “Israel is pushing US toward Iran War Russian official says,” saying:
“Russia fears Israel will push” America to war on Iran “which could retaliate by blocking” Persian Gulf oil shipments.
According to Kremlin Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev:
“There is a likelihood of military escalation of the conflict, towards which Israel is pushing the Americans. It cannot be ruled out that the Iranians will be able to carry out their threat to shut exports of Saudi oil through the Strait of Hormuz if faced with military actions against them.”
He added that no proof suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons program, saying:
“Talk about Iran creating an atomic bomb by next week we have heard for many years.” At issue is Washington’s longstanding regime change policy, using “all available means” to transform Tehran into “a loyal partner.”
He also sees Western countries close to attacking Syria. Regime change there is planned. “We are receiving information that NATO members and some Persian Gulf states, working under the ‘Libyan scenario,’ intend to move from indirect intervention in Syria to direct military” confrontation.
This time, he believes, regional countries, not Western ones, will play the lead role – mainly neighboring Turkey. Initially, a no-fly zone would be imposed without Security Council authorization.
Washington and Ankara are involved. Their plans call for coordinated attacks by Western backed insurgents, including Turkish based Free Syrian army forces and Syrian National Council elements.
“The plan is to punish Damascus, not so much for repressing the opposition,” but for its close ties to Iran. America’s regional military forces will support planned aggression. So will close allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan, other Gulf states, and, of course, Israel.
Russia will do what it takes to protect its strategically important Tartus, Syria base, its only Mediterranean one. Currently, its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier battle group is positioned nearby.
According to Russian Defense Ministry officials, it includes the heavily armed carrier and two supporting ships. Its armaments include “12 long-range surface-to-surface anti-ship Granit cruise missiles, a six-gun short-range surface-to-air system Kinzhal, eight close-in air defense Kashtan gun-missile systems, and two UDAV-1 anti-submarine systems.”
Most likely, it’s also nuclear armed. Reportedly, it supplied Syria with weapons, munitions and other equipment. At issue is protecting its regional ally and Tartus naval base.
According to Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Viktor Kravchenco, counterbalancing NATO is vital to “prevent the outbreak of an armed conflict.” He also said Russia had regional naval forces for years to “deter” American and NATO aggression.
According to Irina Zvyagelskaya, Academy of Sciences in Moscow Middle East analyst:
“Our fear is that Syria could collapse and extremist Islamist forces will seize control that no one will be pleased about. This could destabilize the entire region.”
In fact, Washington supports extremist elements throughout the region and Central Asia. They’re either sitting governments or insurgent groups like Al Qaeda, used strategically at different times as allies and/or enemies.
Zvyagelskaya added that:
“While Russia would block any effort to seek UN approval for a no-fly zone in Syria….Western nations and their allies may form a coalition” of the willing, similar to the anti-Iraq 2003 alliance.
“There are scenarios which different countries look at. We have seen before what a no-fly zone means. It will be used to overthrow the regime.”
Moscow-based Council on Foreign and Defense Policy analyst Fyodor Lubyanov said:
“After the Libyan experience, Russia will do everything to stop this scenario from happening. Syria is much more important than Libya from Russia’s point of view.”
On January 10, Pravda.ru contributor Anton Krivenyuk headlined, “Iran to kick off World War Three,” saying:
“The world is perhaps standing on the brink of another major war,” starting with Iran. “Sources close to special services of different countries even” name dates when conflict will begin.
Tbilisi State University, Georgia political science Professor Solomon Lebanoidze said Israel may initiate strikes against Iranian nuclear targets with US support. If so, war’s inevitable. Iran’s not Libya or Iraq. No regional “axis of hatred” targets it.
As a result, regional and other countries will provide direct or indirect support, including China and Russia. “Chinese President Hu Jintao stated that if the USA or any other country attacked Iran, China would take responsive measures immediately. As for Moscow,” Defense Ministry sources said regional forces “had already been mobilized in case of a possible war.”
However, war may escalate “into World War III.” Neighboring countries won’t stand aside. “Since there are many nuances that won’t allow any of the Caucasian countries to stay safe haven(s),” they have to act defensively.
Russia’s Yerevan, Armenia base will also be vulnerable. If war breaks out, it may be isolated as Georgia closed off transiting military supplies though the country. As a result, Russia most likely will do what it takes to secure a corridor. Georgia will either cooperate or be forced.
Russia already evacuated military family members. It’s readying for possible war. South Caucacus nations may use it to settle old scores and take advantage of Russia’s preoccupation with Iran and Syria.
China’s Special Middle East envoy Wu Sike stressed Beijing’s support for Arab League (AL) dialogue and diplomatic efforts to avoid war with Syria. He said China opposes internationalizing the crisis and stresses regional solutions.
In contrast, Washington’s pressuring AL monitors to blame Damascus for violence. At issue is providing pretext for Western intervention. So far, mission head General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi defied expectations by calling Assad’s government “very cooperative.”
In other words, he contradicted Western propaganda and confirmed evidence of an externally generated insurgency. As a result, he’s now assailed as unreliable. Efforts are made to discredit him.
Washington wants anti-Assad assessments to intervene. Any means will be used to get them. On January 19, al-Dabi will report on Syria’s compliance.
A Final Comment
On January 12, The New York Times headlined, “US Sends Top Iranian Leader a Warning on Strait Threat,” saying:
Communicating through a third country, administration officials warned Iran over crossing a “red line.” Doing so will provoke a US response.
Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey also said military forces will “take action and reopen the strait.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta added that Washington won’t tolerate its closure.
Unexplained was which side provokes conflict and which one wants peace. Iran has no nuclear weapons program. It cooperates with IAEA inspectors. It neither threatens neighbors or Washington. America’s accusations are spurious. Its permanent war agenda threatens humanity.
A sober January 12 Times editorial headlined, “Dangerous Tension With Iran,” saying:
“(M)any officials, experts and commentators increasingly expect some kind of military confrontation….But a military strike on (Iran’s nuclear facilities) would be a disaster.”
Obama “and his allies have” ignored “serious talks.”
“Economic pressure could be more effective” by tightening “existing sanctions.” Russia and China oppose confrontation. “The Iranians need to know that the economic pressure will not let up until they stop the nuclear program.”
Targeting Iran’s nuclear program is a red herring. At issue is regime change and controlling strategic regional resources. Russia and China oppose Washington’s bullying.
Current sanctions come perilously close to acts of war. They’re belligerent, unjustified, and illegal.
True to form, Times comments were hostile and wrongheaded, stopping only short of supporting war.
London Guardian commentator Simon Jenkins asked “Why is Britain ramping up sanctions against Iran?”
Kipling was right saying, “The dog returns to its vomit, and the sow returns to her mire. And the burnt fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the fire.”
With Britain out of Iraq and “desperate to get out of Afghanistan….why gird (for another) fight with Iran, a proud country of 75 million people with whom we cannot go to war without taking leave of our senses?”
Saber-rattling during recession “is beyond stupid.” Moreover, sanctions topple no one. Ordinary people alone get hurt. In addition, threats gird nations to respond defensively.
For decades, Britain’s “been useless at putting the world to rights.” Instead of maintaining good relations and promoting peace, it salutes “whenever Washington says so….(That’s) the most (degrading and) humiliating idiocy.”
It also threatens humanity if attacking Iran and Syria provoke World War III. Risking it is lunacy!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.