By Max Musson:
Until just a few years ago, the government of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, was widely regarded by Western governments as progressive and modernizing and it is therefore curious that a coalition of Western powers including Britain, are now plotting military intervention aimed at bringing down that regime.
Assad came to power in July 2000, following the death of his father, Hafez Al-Assad, who had ruled the country over the previous thirty years.
Basher Al-Assad was the second of his father’s four sons and initially was not destined for a life of political leadership.
He graduated from the medical school of the University of Damascus in 1988, and initially began work as a physician in the Syrian army. In 1992, he attended postgraduate studies at the Western Eye Hospital, in London, specializing in ophthalmology and this experience forms the basis of his assumed affiliation with the West.
In 1994, Assad’s older brother Bassel was killed in a car crash and Bashar was recalled to Syria to take over as the heir apparent to his father. He entered the military academy and in 1998 took charge of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.
Following his father’s death in June 2000, Assad was appointed leader of the Ba’ath Party and the Army, was elected President of Syria by the People’s Council, and his position was confirmed in a subsequent national referendum in which 97% of the electorate gave him their approval.
Assad married his wife Asma during the latter part of 2000. She is a woman of Syrian origin who was born, raised and educated in the UK. She graduated from King’s College London in 1996 with a degree in computer science and French literature. She briefly pursued a career in international investment banking before moving to Syria to marry Assad.
Interestingly, Asma is from a nominally Sunni Islamic background, while Assad is an Alawite and therefore of a Shia background which rather discredits attempts by Assad’s critics to suggest that his government are persecuting the Sunni majority in his country.
It was probably as a result of Asma’s influence that Assad was for a period before his presidency, the head of the Syrian Computer Society and introduced the Internet to Syria shortly after coming to power.
Assad cannot therefore be categorized as a political thug in the way that Saddam Hussein was. He is an obviously intelligent man; a medical doctor; a fluent speaker of two European languages in addition to his native tongue; he has lived and worked in the West; he has married a Westernised woman who is also highly educated and who was a career woman before their marriage.
Assad comes from a secular family background, albeit ethnically Alawite, and has demonstrated such a relaxed approach to religious matters that he has married a woman who nominally at least comes from a religious denomination with a tradition of intolerance and hostility towards the Alawite minority.
Assad’s fall from grace as far as the New World Order is concerned stems from his foreign policy, in which he has been an outspoken critic of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Furthermore, Assad has become an ally of Hezbollah in the Lebanon and was an opposed to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Most significantly, Syria has in recent times become an ally of Iran and this has aroused the enmity of Israel and it is the Israeli factor in all this that makes sense of the current situation in which Western governments, who are already spending more on public services than they can collect in taxes, are now falling over themselves to borrow more money on behalf of their nations, in order to finance an ill-conceived military adventure that risks the lives of their country’s servicemen and women, and which does not serve their national interests.
To date, Israel is the only state within the Middle East that has nuclear weapons and because of their precarious military position they wish to keep it that way. It seems that whenever another Middle Eastern power looks as though they have the wherewithal needed to develop nuclear weapons, the USA and a coalition of other Western nations, together with Israel, attempt to contrive a pretext with which to justify invading and or bombing that other power, ‘back to the stone age’.
Syria does not have the wherewithal to develop nuclear weapons, but Syria is one of the few allies of the only Middle Eastern nation that does.
Iran if we believe all that is printed in the mass media about that country is on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons and for some time now Israeli governments and their American poodles have been stating that it would be an intolerable situation for Iran to become a nuclear power.
The Israelis have done their utmost in recent years to push the US government into conducting a ‘pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but so far all these attempts have failed. Iran is a relatively large country, that is technically sophisticated and which has a large military and the capability to strike back at the West should we attack them, and this has deterred Barack Obama from making a reckless attack.
In September of last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood up at the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoon like drawing of a bomb designed to show how close Iran was getting nuclear weapons. For some time Isreali government spokesmen have been warning the West that the Iranians are on the verge of completing their development of nuclear weapons and have threatened that if the Americans are not prepared to take action, it may be necessary for the Israelis to force their hand against the Iranians by launching a preemptive strike of their own.
Then in January of this year, Netanyahu blasted his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, for comments made by the former prime minister who accused Netanyahu of wasting NIS 11 billion (just under $3 billion) on “harebrained adventures that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition.”
Olmert was referring to money that Netenyahu’s government had spent evaluating military options for an attack on Iran.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Netanyahu defended his government’s military spending, and asserted that it “did not waste a single shekel.”
“Investing in the security of Israel’s citizens is not a waste,” said the prime minister, insisting that what he had accomplished with defense spending “serves the State of Israel very well. We have developed both offensive and defensive capabilities, for the short and long term.”
In the latter part of last year, much diplomatic effort was expended in getting a commitment from the American government that they would support the Israelis if the Israelis felt compelled to launch such a preemptive strike and in April earlier this year the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution to support Israel if a conflict with Iran arises.
Resolution 65, sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Lindsey Graham, states: “If the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defence against Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, the United States government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with United States law and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorise the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence.”
Also in April of this year, it was reported in a press release by the US Department of Defense that “The Government of Israel has requested a possible sale of 864,000,000 gallons of petroleum based products consisting of JP-8 aviation fuel, diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline… The estimated cost is $2.67 billion.”
The proposed sale of this JP-8 aviation fuel is intended to enable Israel to maintain the operational capability of its aircraft and the diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline will be used for Israeli ground vehicles. Undoubtedly however, it would appear from purchases such as these that Israel is preparing for the possibility of a protracted war.
During 2012 Benjamin Netanyahu campaigned for the US and other Western powers to adopt ‘red lines’, the crossing of which by either the Syrian or Iranian governments would prompt immediate military intervention.
In September 2012, former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk forecast that the United States will go to war with Iran this year over its nuclear program. Speaking during a panel discussion on the CBS-TV program ‘Face the Nation’, Indyk said: “I’m afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we’re going to have a military confrontation with Iran.”
In April the Jewish Chronicle reported Israeli intelligence officials as saying that the moment was fast approaching when the country’s so-called “red line” triggers for military action in both Syria and Iran will have been crossed.
They stated that President Bashar al-Assad is already believed to have crossed the line in Syria by using chemical weapons and there is now a widely shared view within Israeli intelligence that Iran will have the option of a nuclear capability by the end of this year.
Analysts made clear at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University that Israel potentially faces two large-scale wars within months and Amos Yadlin, the former commander of Israeli Military Intelligence, is reported to have said of Iran: “We are headed toward a collision course by the end of this year.”
This background information demonstrates that the situations in Syria and Iran are regarded by the Israelis as linked to some extent, and it does not take a military genius to work out that if the Americans and Western ‘coalition’ powers can be goaded by Israel into attacking the relatively ‘soft’ target of Syria, this will prompt Iran to intervene on Syria’s behalf and voila! Israel would then have the might of the US military and the militaries of the other Western nations pitched against both Syria and Iran, ‘killing two birds with one stone’.
The US have shown themselves reluctant to initiate military action against Iran, but if they can be induced to attack Syria and Iran retaliates on Syria’s behalf, the Americans would be left with no option but to turn their weapons on Iran as well.
In looking at the chemical weapons attack that took place in a Damascus suburb last week, it is clear that some sort of lethal substance was delivered by rocket shaped missiles and while Western (read Israeli) intelligence sources have claimed that the rebel Syrian forces do not have access to such weapons and have therefore declared that Syrian government forces must have launched the chemical attack, there is no proof of this and the chemical weapons could have actually been supplied to the rebels by the Israelis themselves.
The question that must be asked is ‘cui bono?’ – who benefits?
Government forces under Assad had no reason to use chemical weapons as they are winning the civil war and Assad will have been well aware that the use of such weapons would give the US a pretext to intervene. Furthermore, the attack was launched against a suburb of Damascus and it would be reckless indeed to launch such an attack against a district of one’s own capital city, in circumstances where loyal civilians and the governments own forces might be injured by the chemicals released.
The only other power currently active within the Syrian theatre of war that would benefit from the apparent use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government and which has the capability of both supplying and delivering such chemical weapons is the Israeli military.
The Israelis are believed to have already intervened in the Syrian conflict launching a number of air strikes, however whether they would be prepared to employ a ‘false flag’ attack in order to mislead and deceive Western governments cannot be known for certain.
Assad has the means to deliver a chemical weapons attack and the opportunity should he choose, but he does not have a motive, as such action would, as I have already stated, backfire on him by providing the Americans with a pretext for intervening on the side of the rebel forces. Only the Israelis have the means, the opportunity and the motive and therefore until there is absolutely incontrovertible proof available, governments should be very reluctant to apportion blame.
In Westminster tonight MPs are discussing the possibility of British forces assisting the Americans in launching a punitive attack upon Syria.
In time honoured fashion, British intelligence have produced a ‘dodgy document’ in which they assert that in the view of their ‘intelligence sources’, probably Israeli Mossad, the balance of probability is that the Syrian government were responsible for the use of chemical weapons, but their report is scant on factual information and like the Iraqi ‘dodgy dossier’ before it, is obviously worthless from an evidential point of view.
Let us pray that our MPs realise that Britain, already almost drowning in debt, lacks both the funds and the military capability for any sustained involvement in the Syrian civil war and we certainly lack the funds and the resources to allow ourselves to be drawn into a war with Iran, especially as there is no British interest at stake.
Indeed, if we allow ourselves to be drawn further into this debacle, it could have far-reaching and calamitous consequences for us, especially if the Iranians do already have a nuclear weapons capability and a delivery system capable of reaching these islands.
By Max Musson © 2013
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