mad dogs of war, unleashed by George W. Bush, are baying
up a storm.
The War Party isn't resting on its laurels. The conquest of
Iraq had hardly been celebrated by our President, as he landed
on an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet and bounded out to
meet his cheering Praetorians,
when the cry for an encore was heard:
Bush is committed, pretty far down the road. The logic of
events says you can't go halfway. You can't liberate Iraq,
Lenin of the neocons, Weekly Standard editor Bill
Kristol. In spite of the story being bruited about that
Condolezza Rice reined in the gung-ho guys in the Pentagon
at the last moment and barely avoided a U.S. invasion of Syria
White House is denying it – Kristol is right. George the
Great can hardly contain his own Greatness within the arbitrary
boundaries drawn by the British Foreign Office on the
map of the Middle East. The incision has been made, and the
Bushies have no choice but to keep operating, whether they
like it or not. Bush implied
as much in his speech to the troops, as
he strutted about in his flight suit, his helmet tucked
neatly under his arm:
battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began
on September the 11, 2001 and still goes on. … Any
outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks
or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger
to the civilized world and will be confronted."
Syria – you're next!
"terrorist" is not just a member of Al Qaeda, in
the Bushian lexicon: now Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinians,
the Syrians, the Shi'ite groups in Iraq that sympathize with
the Iranian regime – all are in the sights of this administration,
which has initiated a new kind of urban
renewal project in the region. After the bulldozers do
their work, a new Middle East is supposed to rise out of the
rubble – one that is "democratic,"
secular, and could easily be mistaken for the Middle Western
areas of the good old United States – like
those American compounds in Saudi Arabia. But does anyone
really believe for a minute that Iraq can be turned into,
say, Arizona? This "democratization" campaign is
a crock. Something else is going on here....
"outlaw regime" is, potentially, any and all Middle
Eastern governments with the glaring exception of Israel,
the one nation in the region that we know has
nuclear weapons and much else. We know because we paid
for them. While we question captured Iraqi scientists searching
frantically for evidence of Iraq's legendary "weapons
of mass destruction," Mordecai Vanunu sits in
an Israel maximum-security prison in solitary confinement,
having spent 12 of his 18 year sentence in solitary confinement.
He was imprisoned after being kidnapped
by the Mossad off a London street for revealing the
truth about Israel's nuclear weapons.
this is not hypocrisy: Israel, you see, is a "democracy."
Never mind that its Palestinian helots
are dispossessed of their land and disenfranchised as well.
The hallmark and guiding principle of U.S. policy in the region
is simple: one standard for the Arabs, and another one for
al Assad found this out when tried to explain to Colin
Powell why Israel, too, must get rid of its WMD. Powell's
response to the Syrian suggestion that the U.S. back their
proposed UN resolution to rid the entire Middle East of nukes
and other WMD, submitted to the Security Council on Friday,
was to reject out of hand the principle of evenhandedness:
such weapons from the region is a long-standing U.S. goal,
but now is not the time to address that matter," is how
the f*** up, get
your hands out where I can see them, and get
down on the ground!"
Syrians know what's up: Assad rushed
Powell that anti-Israel groups headquartered in Damascus would
be expelled. But the Israelis and their
"free Lebanon" contingent have been raising
doubts about how much control the Syrian President has over
his own country, and now that meme has made it into this
New York Times op ed piece written by a CIA analyst:
Assad was only 34 when he became president upon the death
of his father, Hafez, in June 2000. Until then, most of his
political career had been spent as head of the government-run
Syrian Computer Society. Still encumbered by several of his
father's key advisers, he does not yet have the standing to
make fundamental changes in policy on his own. One has only
to observe the Syrian president in meetings where he is accompanied
by his foreign minister (in office since 1984) or his vice
president (a key regime figure since the 1970's) to appreciate
the constraints he faces."
and other anti-Israeli guerrilla groups are asking: "What
are consequences lurking in the background," growled
Powell on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. The President
will "have all his options on the table" if Syria
doesn't hop to it. Are we talkin' war? Powell's answer: "There
are many ways to confront a nation." Yes, and our neocons
know each and every one of them, including sanctions, a propaganda
war, and a new selection in the Hitler of the Month Club.
is lurking in the background is the
neocon network that has burrowed its way up to the highest
levels of this administration and is on a roll. These guys
aren't going to miss their opportunity to raise the banner
of Imperial America in the Middle East – and, incidentally,
smite Israel's enemies in one fell swoop before the
American public catches on to their game. As CIA analyst Flynt
military victory over Saddam Hussein's regime has empowered
some officials in the Bush administration to push for similarly
decisive action against other state sponsors of terrorism.
For the hardliners, Syria has become the preferred next target
in the war on terrorism. I know because I've been hearing
the argument a lot in recent days. For the last eight years,
I have been directly involved in United States policymaking
toward Syria, as a CIA analyst, on the State Department's
policy planning staff and at the White House. In all that
time, I have never seen officials as willing to take on the
Syrian regime as they are today."
longer even bothering to hide their Likudnik
loyalties, Bush's top advisors on the wrong side of the
Powell-Rumsfeld divide are plumbing for war. Newt Gingrich's
blast at Powell's "ludicrous"
trip to Damascus was just the first salvo. The Secretary of
State was quite right in his reply: the President was the
real target of the Newtster's ire. Gingrich's diatribe
was a shot across the bow at the first sign of hesitation
by George the Conqueror in pressing on with what the more
neocons gleefully refer to as "World
War IV." Get on with it, George – or else.
the Iranian front, the threat to "isolate"
Teheran is a hollow one: it is the United States that is being
isolated, as an American viceroy appoints a
largely secular civilian junta dominated by Iraqi exiles
to build a nation where the imams rule. How is it "isolating"
the Iranians to invite
the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI),
armed and trained by Teheran, into the new Iraqi "interim"
bluster is a smokescreen for what amounts to a de facto US-Iranian
alliance: after all, the Americans knocked off Iran's principal
enemy, and immediately
turned their sights
on Syria. Rumors that the
Iranians promised to allow the use of their airspace for
the attack on Iraq may not have been entirely unfounded. In
any case, a January trip by Assad to Teheran was cancelled
at the last minute, and Syrian-Iranian relations, never
all that cordial to begin
with, have never been worse. If the Americans amputate
the Syrian wing of the secularist Ba'ath party, Iran's ayatollahs
won't shed a tear, nor will the Turks, who have outstanding
issues with Damascus. When it comes Syria's turn to be
"liberated" from its sovereignty, the Turkish parliament
may prove far more cooperative with Washington. Syria is surrounded
by enemies, and it is only a matter of time before they pounce
with the U.S. leading the way.
as a grand-scale replication of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
the invasion and occupation of Iraq begins to make at least
some kind of twisted sense. The goal of U.S. war plans in
the region, like the strategic thrust of Israel's fight against
the Palestinians, is to destroy the secular-modern Arab entities
– the Ba'athists of Iraq and Syria – just as the Israelis
trained their fire on the PLO, and encouraged the development
of religious rivals to Arafat, even going so far as to fund
the early growth of Hamas.
since Bashar al Assad succeeded his
father, the Israelis have feared a U.S. rapprochement
with Syria: the former London-based opthamologist is Hafez
al Assad's second son, and never
intended to inherit his father's power. But the death
of the family's first-born male heir, Basil,
thrust him into the leadership. Bashar started
out as a reformer, and hopes were high, but the reforms
were stalled by the resistance of the Ba'athist old guard.
Now the news that the Syrian President had offered
to negotiate directly with the Israelis before the invasion
of Iraq lends credence to his reputed willingness to compromise
and break the logjam blocking Middle East peace. Naturally,
Sharon rejected the offer. Why should the Israeli Prime
Minister bother talking with Assad when he can send
his American errand boy to do the job?
that there is anything for Syria to negotiate – except the
terms of its surrender.
the pretexts for Gulf War II are torpedoed, one by one, the
real reason for the invasion of Iraq becomes more obvious
with each passing day. As "weapons of mass destruction"
to turn up, and the fabled Al Qaeda-Iraq link is less
convincing than ever, the swiftness of the American victory
underscores the reality that Saddam never was a military threat
to begin with, either to his neighbors or to us. What, then,
was the point of this war?
Douglas Feith, Robert
Wurmser, and Meyrav
Wurmser collaborated on a policy paper for then-Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which declared "A
Clean Break" with the "defensive" strategies
of the past:
can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey
and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back
Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from
power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in
its own right – as a means of foiling Syria's regional ambitions."
Israelis, and their American amen corner, have always understood
that the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad. As the authors
of "A Clean Break" presciently put it:
enters this conflict with potential weaknesses: Damascus is
too preoccupied with dealing with the threatened new regional
equation to permit distractions of the Lebanese flank. And
Damascus fears that the 'natural axis' with Israel on one
side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in
the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula.
For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the
map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria's territorial
not a few of the authors of this policy paper are now high
officials in charge of directing America's foreign policy
means that this strategy can now by implemented – by the U.S.
what the invasion of Iraq was all about. Syria was always
the real target of "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and
this post-war diplomatic dance with Damascus confirms it.
Buchanan put it in The American Conservative:
charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek
to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in
America's interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel
to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge
them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every
state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the
Palestinian people's right to a homeland of their own. We
charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over
the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris,
this same gang of warmongers entrap us in a war with Syria,
and drag us back
into Lebanon, where we are sure to confront the
ghosts of our past errors? The battle-cry has already
been sounded: Stay tuned as we hear news
of Syria's "weapons of mass destruction" and
the inevitable question: "Is
Saddam in Syria?"
Yogi Berra once said: "This
is like deja-vu all over again!"
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