Iran, not Syria, is the West's real target


100% recycled karma
Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government. Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran.
And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West

Before the stupidest Western war in the history of the modern world begins – I am, of course, referring to the attack on Syria that we all yet have to swallow – it might be as well to say that the cruise missiles which we confidently expect to sweep onto one of mankind’s oldest cities have absolutely nothing to do with Syria.

They are intended to harm Iran. They are intended to strike at the Islamic republic now that it has a new and vibrant president – as opposed to the crackpot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and when it just might be a little more stable.

Iran is Israel’s enemy. Iran is therefore, naturally, America’s enemy. So fire the missiles at Iran’s only Arab ally.

There is nothing pleasant about the regime in Damascus. Nor do these comments let the regime off the hook when it comes to mass gassing.
But I am old enough to remember that when Iraq – then America’s ally – used gas against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988, we did not assault Baghdad. Indeed, that attack would have to wait until 2003, when Saddam no longer had any gas or any of the other weapons we had nightmares over.

And I also happen to remember that the CIA put it about in 1988 that Iran was responsible for the Hallabjah gassings, a palpable lie that focused on America’s enemy whom Saddam was then fighting on our behalf.
And thousands – not hundreds – died in Hallabjah. But there you go. Different days, different standards.

And I suppose it’s worth noting that when Israel killed up to 17,000 men, women and children in Lebanon in 1982, in an invasion supposedly provoked by the attempted PLO murder of the Israeli ambassador in London – it was Saddam’s mate Abu Nidal who arranged the killing, not the PLO, but that doesn’t matter now – America merely called for both sides to exercise “restraint”.
And when, a few months before that invasion, Hafez al-Assad – father of Bashar – sent his brother up to Hama to wipe out thousands of Muslim Brotherhood rebels, nobody muttered a word of condemnation. “Hama Rules” is how my old mate Tom Friedman cynically styled this bloodbath.

Anyway, there’s a different Brotherhood around these days – and Obama couldn’t even bring himself to say “boo” when their elected president got deposed.

But hold on. Didn’t Iraq – when it was “our” ally against Iran – also use gas on the Iranian army?
It did. I saw the Ypres-like wounded of this foul attack by Saddam – US officers, I should add, toured the battlefield later and reported back to Washington – and we didn’t care a tinker’s curse about it. Thousands of Iranian soldiers in the 1980-88 war were poisoned to death by this vile weapon.

I travelled back to Tehran overnight on a train of military wounded and actually smelled the stuff, opening the windows in the corridors to release the stench of the gas. These young men had wounds upon wounds – quite literally.
They had horrible sores wherein floated even more painful sores that were close to indescribable.
Yet when the soldiers were sent to Western hospitals for treatment, we journos called these wounded – after evidence from the UN infinitely more convincing than what we’re likely to get from outside Damascus – “alleged” gas victims.

So what in heaven’s name are we doing?
After countless thousands have died in Syria’s awesome tragedy, suddenly – now, after months and years of prevarication – we are getting upset about a few hundred deaths. Terrible. Unconscionable. Yes, that is true. But we should have been traumatised into action by this war in 2011. And 2012. But why now?

I suspect I know the reason. I think that Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless army might just be winning against the rebels whom we secretly arm.
With the assistance of the Lebanese Hezbollah – Iran’s ally in Lebanon – the Damascus regime broke the rebels in Qusayr and may be in the process of breaking them north of Homs. Iran is ever more deeply involved in protecting the Syrian government.
Thus a victory for Bashar is a victory for Iran. And Iranian victories cannot be tolerated by the West.

But if we are to believe the nonsense coming out of Washington, London, Paris and the rest of the “civilised” world, it’s only a matter of time before our swift and avenging sword smiteth the Damascenes.
To observe the leadership of the rest of the Arab world applauding this destruction is perhaps the most painful historical experience for the region to endure. And the most shameful. Save for the fact that we will be attacking Shia Muslims and their allies to the handclapping of Sunni Muslims. And that’s what civil war is made of

much truth to this, look at the prevous gassings we didn't do anything about - or the Iran/Iraq war.

This is about WMD's but Iranian ones - not Syria's small potatos

The mideast is in a civil war stay out of it, Authorizatons or not..
Iran is, amazingly, advocating restraint in his matter.
Iran is supplying mostly weapons, not jihadists into the cauldron of the Syrian civil war.

AQIR, and the Levant (ISIL) from Iraq are supplying the bodies. Iraq allows Iranian flyovers
What started out 2½ years ago in Syria as a series of peaceful protests inspired by the Arab Spring, has morphed into a bloody sectarian civil war pitting government forces against a number of disparate rebel groups and seemingly inexorably drawing in neighboring countries and other foreign powers.

More than 100,000 people have died since early 2011, when a series of small-scale civil protests calling for reform of the 40-year-old Baathist regime were brutally suppressed by the security forces. Gradually, armed groups — consisting mainly of Sunni army defectors — began to emerge to challenge the regime dominated by President Bashar Assad’s minority Alawite religious group, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

Today, the opposition remains fractured both politically and militarily, despite Western efforts to impose unity and a central high command. And in a development that has caused deep concerns for the United States and its European allies, the insurgency is increasingly dominated by radical Islamic forces, which account for about one-third of its approximately 100,000 fighters and are now considered the spearhead of the anti-Assad rebellion, analysts say.

The armed rebellion “started off as a very broad and moderate movement, but then al-Qaida-related groups became increasingly identified with the insurgents,” said Omar Lamrani, a military analyst with Stratfor, a Texas-based geopolitical intelligence firm.

The increasing prominence of the jihadist forces has turned what began as a pro-democracy movement into a sectarian conflict between Syria’s Sunni majority and its Alawite, Christian, Druze, Kurdish and other minorities.

The presence of the religious radicals also has hampered efforts by the United States, Britain, France and other Western nations to arm the moderate opposition units grouped under the Free Syrian Army, whose leadership is based in southern Turkey. This lack of weaponry has become a major problem in recent months as Assad’s forces, assisted by contingents of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, have scored a number of significant battlefield victories pushing the rebels from strategically important areas of the country, analysts said.

As a consequence, the rebels’ main military hope nowadays is that possible airstrikes by the United States and its allies against government forces in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus last week, could help shift the momentum of the war in their favor, said a senior Jordanian politician who asked not to be identified.

The Free Syrian Army, commanded by Brig. Gen. Salim Idris, remains the main umbrella organization for the opposition forces, which comprise dozens of semi-independent units, including a number of battalion-size “brigades.” Its approximately 70,000 fighters are mainly armed with light weapons and armored vehicles seized from army checkpoints or brought with them by defecting soldiers, but also with weapons brought in through neighboring Turkey and Jordan, both of which are wary of trans-national jihadist groups gaining the upper hand.

The Free Syrian Army, which claims to be secular and non-political, has been accused by international human rights groups of committing war crimes ranging from the execution of prisoners to using child soldiers in its front-line units. Syria’s Christian minority has accused the FSA of helping jihadist elements in their campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the 2-million-strong community.

The two other main insurgent groups are the Jabhat el-Nusrah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, created in Iraq to fight the U.S.-led occupation.
Although both have been designated terrorist organizations, the Western-backed Free Syrian Army has continued to collaborate closely with them on the battlefield.
“Undeniable that they do carry out operations together,” Lamrani said. “Unity is a very important factor if they want to win, but at the same time, there have also been cases where they turned their guns against each other.”

“The [jihadists] are the most determined of the opposition fighters, and many fought in Iraq against the Americans where they earned tremendous combat experience that proved invaluable in the Syrian war,” he
Why should any American troops be put at risk or any taxpayer's money be wasted because Obama drew a red line in the sand?

Liberals are free to go to Syria at their own expense and join either side with their booties on the ground anytime.
The UK finally woke up and forced our alleged 'representatives' to stop this crap. Let's hope you can do the same.
The UK finally woke up and forced our alleged 'representatives' to stop this crap. Let's hope you can do the same.
I would hope so too, but the war gene is now part of the USA, especially since WWII.
Somehow we think it is our sole business to run the world, or as commonly phrased here "be the world's policeman"

The world doesn't need/want US hegemony, and as the article (OP) says this isn't just Syria for the US.

We are meddlers.
Jb's dad just said we should do what the Russians are doing. Give them all the weapons they want and let them kill each other off!
Jb's dad just said we should do what the Russians are doing. Give them all the weapons they want and let them kill each other off!
there is the question of Syria itself, we were supposed to negotiate in Geneva with the Russians, obviously that idea is dead now.

How about we just stay out? Let SA, Iran, Iraq, internal Syrians, etc, just settle it themselves? Russia was previously giving support to the regime -warships etc. Arms already in the pipeline
Why Russia is willing to sell arms to Syria

Russia suggests it will now sell 'offensive' weapons to Syria
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that, due to the EU's decision to permit arms sales to rebels, the Kremlin may 'revise' its vow not to sell the Syrian government 'offensive' weapons
This was was game changer for Russia:
As the death toll for Syria's popular uprising has risen to more than 5,000 in recent months, international leaders have called for more punitive sanctions against the Assad regime. But Russia's opposition to such measures has toughened in part due to increasing suspicions of Western intentions, and in part due to growing fears that Russia could lose its oldest and most important Middle Eastern ally through Western-sponsored regime change in Syria.

Some analysts add that Russia's own bubbling political instability has sharpened the Kremlin's traditional resistance to any precedents that seem to mandate outside interference in a sovereign country's internal affairs.

Russia stands to lose about $5 billion in arms sales if UN sanctions are imposed on Syria, including current contracts worth about $1.5 billion, a CAWAT study concludes. In recent years Russia has modernized Syria's aging fleet of T-72 tanks and supplied 24 new MiG-29 fighter planes, as well as providing a range of anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank rockets, and smaller arms.
In various stages of negotiation are contracts to purchase $3.5 billion in new Russian weapons, including two diesel-electric submarines, more MiG-29 fighters, mobile Iskander-E missiles, modern T-90 tanks and various other weapons, including surface warships and helicopters, the study says.

The loss of the Syrian market would be a huge blow to Russia's arms export industry, which has already lost an estimated $4.5 billion in lost contracts with Libya and as much as $13 billion due to UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.

"Syria has been a traditional ally and arms importer from Russia [since 1971) and so Russia has a very different view from the West's hope of overthrowing the ruling regime there," says Igor Korotchenko, director of CAWAT. "Therefore, Russia has put its stakes on providing political and military support for the Syrian regime, and Russian leaders believe this corresponds to the long-term national interests of Russia itself."

Not everyone agrees.

"I do wonder whether Russia's interests are best served by following these contracts. There are differences of opinion within Russia's ruling elite over this, but the group that sees Syria as a traditional ally that must be supported seems to prevail," says Alexander Sharavin, director of the independent Institute of Political and Military Analysis. "In my opinion, these arms contracts and the use of Tartous to serve Russian warships are important, but they are not so large" that they should be allowed to dictate Russian policy.

"Probably we should have changed these attitudes a long time ago, [because these relations with Syria] injure Russia and hamper our relations with the West," he adds.

No more Libyas

Everyone agrees that Lavrov's assertion that there are no internationally approved sanctions against Syria is technically correct. But most experts say the tone of abrupt dismissal toward Western concerns is new.

Russia's position is hardening because the Kremlin feels it was conned last year into acquiescing to a UN-approved no-fly zone in Libya, supposedly to protect civilian lives, which turned into drawn-out armed support for a rebellion that ended in the overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Lavrov complained that Western countries are secretly planning, and perhaps arming, Syrian rebels to carry out a similar ousting of Mr. Assad, again under the guise of humanitarian concerns.
"Our partners in the West are in fact discussing a no-fly zone. . . No one can deny that (some forces) are smuggling weapons to the gunmen and to the extremists in Syria who are attempting to exploit the protest movement to achieve their goals of usurping power... There are other ideas being realized, including humanitarian convoys, in the hope they could provoke a response from [Syrian] government forces," he said.

Most Russian security experts consulted today agreed with Lavrov.
Some pointed to a draft Russian resolution before the Security Council that calls for dialogue between the Assad regime and its opponents, and international condemnation of all violence no matter whether it originates with the Syrian state or the rebels.

"Russia is not concerned any longer with what they say in the West," says Alexander Khramchikhin, an expert with the independent Institute of Political and
Military Analysis in Moscow. "Russian leaders are right to see the double standards in play when the West complains about Middle Eastern 'dictatorships'. Is Syria really worse than Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or is the problem just that it's not a US ally? ...

"Russia's position on Syria is fair and balanced," he adds. "We want to see an end to violence on both sides, equal blame for both sides, and we are against any external interference in Syria."

"Russian leaders view Syria as our major ally in the Middle East, with whom we have good political, military, and economic ties," says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal. Mr. Golts suggests that with Vladimir Putin almost certain to return as president in March, foreign policy experiments involving greater cooperation with the West that occurred under President Dmitry Medvedev are probably a thing of the past.

"Putin has a real paranoia about colored revolutions. He reads such [pro-democracy rebellions] as a result of Western conspiracies," he says. "The attitude is, we're not going to be fooled any more."

In his annual press conference Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rebuffed concerns about a reported delivery of Russian ammunition for Syria's armed forces this month by saying: "We don't consider it necessary to explain or justify ourselves, as we are not violating any international agreements or any [UN] Security Council resolutions."

UN sanctions would cost Russia $5 billion in arms sales

Russia's official arms export corporation, Rosoboronexport, declined to detail the extent of weapons contracts with Syria today. Its press secretary, Vyacheslav Davidenko, merely echoed Mr. Lavrov by insisting that "Russia will do nothing in violation of UN sanctions. If there aren't any, then we are free to supply any goods or services," to Syria, he says.

But according to the independent Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) in Moscow, Syria is Russia's seventh-largest customer in a global market that yielded almost $8 billion for Rosoboronexport in 2009. Sales to Syria over the past decade have amounted to about 10 percent of Russia's total weapons exports.
Israel, Saudis make common cause
Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary - Iran.

Israel's response to Obama's surprise move to delay or even possibly cancel air strikes made clear that connection: looking soft on Assad after accusing him of killing hundreds of people with chemical weapons may embolden his backers in Tehran to develop nuclear arms, Israeli officials said. And if they do, Israel may strike Iran alone, unsure Washington can be trusted.

Neither U.S. ally is picking a fight with Obama in public. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the nation was "serene and self-confident"; Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal simply renewed a call to the "international community" to halt Assad's violence in Syria.

But the Saudi monarchy, though lacking Israel's readiness to attack Iran, can share the Jewish state's concern that neither may now look with confidence to Washington to curb what Riyadh sees as a drive by its Persian rival to dominate the Arab world.

Last year, Obama assured Israelis that he would "always have Israel's back". Now Netanyahu is reassuring them they can manage without uncertain U.S. protection against Iran, which has called for Israel's destruction but denies developing nuclear weapons
this is a good example that we really have to think this one through carefully - whatever we do or don't do will have side effects and consequences well beyond Syria.