by Ayesha Alam (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 10, Muharram, 1435)
The US and its Western and Zionist-Wahhabi allies may have lost in Syria but this should not lead one to conclude that their mischief-making is over. Vigiliance and prudent rather than complacency are required.
The convenient aspect of a proxy war is the fog and smoke that allow one to play a long hand. In June 2013, President Bashar al-Asad’s forces won a strategic victory against the Saudi-Zionist alliance when his army with the help of Hizbullah fighters gained a critical victory against rebel forces in Qusayr. The rebels and foreign mercenaries that had overrun the town in 2012 and carried out ethnic cleansing of the local residents, quickly collapsed, a critical failure in the Libyan playbook used by the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
But for the West, Israel’s security is considered to be of paramount importance in this gory war of expansion in the Levant, therefore, there was no way that the détente would be allowed to remain. The bloodletting is to continue even at the cost of two million Syrian refugees desperately streaming into Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon; as well as the radicalization of the terrain at the hands of the “rebels” — aka al-Qaeda takfiris — and the poisoning of the landscape under chemical and nuclear weapons detonated by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
This was made clear by the November 19 twin terrorist bombings at the Iranian embassy in Beirut, an attack that signaled both to Iran and Hizbullah that their victory would be challenged. The suicide bombings announced that Saudi and Israeli power was inveterate against the Iran-Hizbullah-Syria resistance front, and the fight would be taken to the center of their stronghold. In terms of military strategy, perhaps it was a violent form of message to Hizbullah to abandon the Syrian battleground and regroup in Lebanon.
While Israel shilled for a US attack on Bashar al-Asad, Russia stood its ground, inspired perhaps by the danger of losing yet another Middle Eastern ally, along the lines of Libya. Thwarting a UN Security Council ruling on Syria, Russia had perhaps its finest moment in diplomatic history. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chastisement of his American counterpart Barack Obama, questioning the basis of American exceptionalism and the US’ divine right to perpetual warfare, finally gained him the liberal legitimacy that he never possessed in his decades of rule. “We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement,” he wrote sonorously in his op-ed, turning Obama’s trademark rhetoric against him.
Similarly, the myriad mercenary militias composed of Wahhabi-engineered thugs collapsed. Unlike isolated Libya, the battle hardened Hizbullah fighters and Syrian army troops were an effective defense against men culled from prisons, terrorist organizations, half-baked militias, and other unsavory places. Videos released of “rebels” devouring the hearts of cadavers and carrying out executions was a public relations disaster for NATO, which politically sponsored the Syrian rebels. The “Free Syrian army” all but collapsed and the Asad regime, whose days seemed numbered in the face of Obama’s “thin red line,” has persisted.
For a moment, it almost seemed as if Israel’s ambitions were teetering on the edge. The deal to delay war on Syria in exchange for UN access to Syria’s “chemical weapons” was punctuated by reports of Syria’s scrupulous compliance. To add insult to injury, Iran (the raison d’etre for the Syrian civil war) under the tenure of President Hassan Rohani, managed to forge a nuclear agreement with the United States. Israel, gloatingly silent throughout the Syrian mayhem, began to shrill its protests. In October, Netanyahu took to the podium to spew his Iranophobia, dubbing Rohani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Even more disastrously for Israel, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5+1) have been coming together to recognize Iran’s nuclear program. For the first time since Iran declared its right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the US is offering (at least overtly) diplomatic acceptance of Iran’s civil nuclear program. As per the terms of the deal, Iran has agreed to temporarily cap its nuclear program at its present level for six months in exchange for US easing some of the illegally imposed sanctions. In addition, Iran has agreed not to enrich uranium beyond 5%, which allows for civil uses but is far below weapons-grade level.
Netanyahu reacted in his predictably hysterical style, “Israel is not bound by this agreement,” he declared. “As prime minister of Israel, I would like to make it clear: Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.” Turkey, ever-motivated by economic gain, raced to rebuild ties with Iran following the deal. Turkey lost billions in trade revenue after Iran was hit with sanctions — Iran had previously been Turkey’s third largest export market in the days when Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan was projecting Turkey as a pacesetter in Middle Eastern affairs.
The question is, will the détente last? Alas, no — the project of Zionist imperialism will not countenance a stable Iran, or its network of alliances with Hizbullah and Syria. The November 19 bombing outside the Iranian embassy in Beirut, in which the Iranian ambassador barely escaped with his life, was a calculated political statement, most probably on the part of Bandar Bush’s intelligence services and Mossad to the effect, “watch out, we are still at war.” Unfortunately, the 25 people who lost their lives, among them Iran’s Cultural Attache, Hujjatul-Islam Ebrahim Ansari (and the 150 that were wounded) were simply “collateral damage,” the spattering of blood and gore required to punctuate the statement.
The Iran and Syria détente appears to be a delaying tactic, prelude to a strategic gathering of forces. In the war offices of the United States, for instance, strategists are figuring out a solution to the collapse of the rebels and mercenaries in Syria. The solution has been to reprogram the rebels, choosing the most bloodthirsty of the confederation and training them in a counter militia that can face up to the Syrian army and Hizbullah fighters. As reported by The Economist, Saudi Arabia is funneling vast sums of money to build an army that could counter Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. The Persian Gulf monarchies are also a major source of funding, funneling cash to hardline terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon that hijack the name of Islam to justify their blood-lust and vengeance.
In a recent video aired on al-Jazeera, the most inveterate “rebel” leaders gathered together to announce that they were closing ranks to form a new army that would face off against al-Asad’s forces and Hizbullah. Seven of the militias announced that they will be closing ranks to form a new army dubbed “The Islamic Front.” In their statement, they declared, “The Islamic Front is an independent military and social force that is aimed at bringing down al-Asad’s regime in Syria and replacing it with a just Islamic state.” In addition, rebel commander Salim Idriss declared that he will disregard the Geneva conference where the Syrian government will have a place at the table, and that his followers would work together to topple the government in Damascus, regardless of the agreements reached on the negotiating table.
Whatever the recent US moves toward détente, if there had been enough political will to normalize relations with Syria and Iran, a gag order would be executed on funnels of money and military assistance to al-Qaeda militias in Syria. The tactic to delay can only mean a more concentrated push against Syria — the mobilization of a galvanized war effort where powers hide behind hyper-armed gangs in their ambition to remake the Muslim East.
Only time will tell if Damascus will be able to withstand the new campaign — and at what price tag in human life and happiness.