Calm Before Greater Storm in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles stressed Washington’s longstanding regime change plans in Syria. Independent sovereign states aren’t tolerated.
Replacing them with pro-Western ones is policy. All means are used. They include punishing sanctions, color revolutions, violent coups, subversion, cyberwar, targeted assassinations, armed insurgencies, and war if other methods failed.
So far, Syria and Iran withstood hostile Washington assaults. At issue is what’s next? On April 12, Syria was largely calm. Both sides halted hostilities. For how long?
Calm and stability defeat Washington’s agenda. Advancing it depends on violence blamed on Assad. Expect lull conditions to be temporary.
Insurgent attacks will resume. It’s just a matter of time. Alleged or provoked incidents will be used as justification. Perhaps one already occurred.
On April 12, Today’s Zaman headlined, “Syrian troops fire on refugees fleeing Turkey,” saying:
Hours before the ceasefire deadline, Turkey’s state-run Anatolia news agency said Syrian troops “reportedly” fired on civilians fleeing to Turkey. “(N)o casualties were reported.” Regard the allegation skeptically.
Syrian forces engage armed insurgents. Noncombatant civilians aren’t attacked. Why would they fire on men, women and children posing no threat? Reports said they tried to enter Southern Turkey through its Kilis Province Oncupinar border post.
If an attack occurred, blame insurgents, not Assad. Witnesses said they heard “heavy gunfire.” It was dark. Attackers weren’t visible. It suggests guerilla activity, not an army provoked incident.
Insurgents willfully target civilians. Assad’s blamed. Perhaps again. It happens regularly. Expect further provocations. Fingers will point the wrong way. Violence will resume, then intervention. Expect war to follow.
On April 12, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Syria instituted positive steps toward ending violence. He wants international monitors sent soon as possible to supervise ceasefire conditions. He also urged all sides to engage diplomatically.
Expressing concern, he added:
“However, it is clear that some of our partners in the international arena have been saying different things to the opposition and pushing it towards intransigence.”
“The Syria leadership has the support of the majority of the Syrian people and to say that an opposition trend is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people is an exaggeration.”
Ahead of the ceasefire deadline, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said insurgents escalated violence after army forces withdrew from some areas. It suggests short-lived peace and calm before renewed eruptions.
On April 12, The New York Times headlined, “Activists Report Quiet but No Pullback of Forces in Syria,” saying:
Fighting stopped, but opposition Syrian National Council (NTC) officials claim “there were reports of raids and arrests of the government’s opponents in some suburbs of Damascus and that it was not clear how long the guns would remain silent.”
The Times and other scoundrel media also cite the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). UK-based, it’s a pro-Western propaganda vehicle pretending to support human rights. Its reports lack credibility. Many later were proved false, grossly exaggerated, or misleading.
From Homs, The Times quoted SOHR spokesman Rami Abdel Rahman. He contradicted himself. On the one hand, he said “(t)he situation is calm in all regions.” On the other, he claimed “a few explosions” were heard in Zabadani near Damascus.
He also accused Assad of violating ceasefire terms. He added that “(t)here has not been any movement indicating a withdrawal of tanks.”
According to Free Syrian Army (FSA) spokesman Qassem Saad al-Deeb, government forces made a “detour” around Annan’s plan by remaining in major cities. “We will wait until tomorrow and see. We will not act before tomorrow.”
FSA’s Col. Malik Kurdi said:
“The regime is mocking the international community. It will stop shooting for Mr. Annan for a while, but it will go back to the killing and violence and humiliation.”
Assad’s damned whatever he does or doesn’t do. Al-Deeb’s comments suggest resumed insurgent violence. Pretexts are easy to find. If not readily available, they’re invented. Today’s calm belies what’s likely coming.
Belligerent media and political comments incite it. On April 11, White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed skepticism of Assad’s intentions, saying:
“(D)epending on how events play out on Thursday, the administration would consult with allies on any additional measures toward Syria.”
According to Washington’s UN envoy Susan Rice, Assad’s “commitments….have little if any credibility given (his) track record.”
Ahead of the ceasefire deadline, Hillary Clinton expressed “alarm for the ongoing violence in Syria and we are concerned about the problems facing (Annan) as he attempts to bring about a ceasefire and the end to violence.”
“We will have another go at trying to persuade the Russians that the situation is deteriorating and the likelihood of regional conflict and civil war is increasing.”
She added that Washington and allies will “look for ways (to) bring about a peaceful resolution of the current situation and a political transition.”
In other words, regime change.
Perhaps Annan spoke for her warning of “unimaginable consequences” if violence continues. It suggests short-lived calm followed by violent eruptions, then intervention heading for war.
British Prime Minister David Cameron perhaps implied it saying:
“Now is the time to say to the Russians and Chinese, look at the man we are dealing with, look at the appalling way he is behaving. We need to go back to the UN and tighten the pressure, tighten the noose.”
He stopped short of what he likely means. Perhaps not for long, nor from Obama administration officials.
A Final Comment
The blame game points fingers the wrong way. Today’s lull resembles hurricane eye deception. Often following calm, more dangerous storm surges, winds, and tornadoes follow.
This one may head toward Category 5. With it comes significant damage and loss of life. Hurricanes do it through storm surges, wind velocity and flooding. America’s wars feature shock and awe mass killing, devastation, colonization, resource theft, exploitation, and human misery.
Storms come and go. Imperial war effects are long-lasting. Syrians understand. So do Iranians and others throughout the region. When America shows up, trouble follows.
In response, they resist. Sovereignty is too precious to surrender to imperial control. They’ll do what it takes to prevent it or contest what Washington imposes.
US policies make more enemies than friends. Perhaps when few or none remain, they’ll be free. Imagine an imperial America free world. What better way to secure ceasefires and peace.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.