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The Latest in the New Cold War -- My Money's on Putin

By       Message Mike Whitney     Permalink
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Cross-posted from Counterpunch


From youtube.com/watch?v=-YOyhAcO5oQ: Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
(image by YouTube)
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"History shows that the United States has benefited politically and economically from wars in Europe. The huge outflow of capital from Europe following the First and Second World Wars, transformed the U.S. into a superpower " Today, faced with economic decline, the US is trying to precipitate another European war to achieve the same objective." -- Sergey Glazyev, Russian politician and economist

"The discovery of the world's largest, known gas reserves in the Persian Gulf, shared by Qatar and Iran, and new assessments which found 70 percent more gas in the Levantine in 2007, are key to understanding the dynamics of the conflicts we see today. After a completion of the PARS pipeline, from Iran, through Iraq and Syria to the Eastern Mediterranean coast, the European Union would receive more than an estimated 45 percent of the gas it consumes over the next 100 -- 120 years from Russian and Iranian sources. Under non-conflict circumstances, this would warrant an increased integration of the European, Russian and Iranian energy sectors and national economies." -- Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine

The United States' failed operation in Syria has led to an intensification of Washington's proxy war in Ukraine. What the Obama administration hoped to achieve in Syria through its support of so called "moderate" Islamic militants was to topple the regime of Bashar al Assad, replace him with a US-backed puppet, and prevent the construction of the critical Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. That plan hasn't succeeded nor will it in the near future, which means that the plan for the prospective pipeline will eventually go forward.

Why is that a problem?

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It's a problem because -- according to Dr. Lehmann -- "Together with the Russian gas" the EU would be able to cover some 50 percent of its requirements for natural gas via Iranian and Russian sources." As the primary suppliers of critical resources to Europe, Moscow and Tehran would grow stronger both economically and politically, which would significantly undermine the influence of the US and its allies in the region, particularly Qatar and Israel. This is why opponents of the pipeline developed a plan to sabotage the project by fomenting a civil war in Syria. Here's Lehmann again:

"In 2007, Qatar sent USD 10 billion to Turkey's Foreign Minister Davotoglu to prepare Turkey's and Syria's Muslim Brotherhood for the subversion of Syria. As we recently learned from former French Foreign Minister Dumas, it was also about that time, that actors in the United Kingdom began planning the subversion of Syria with the help of "rebels"' (Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine)

In other words, the idea to arm, train and fund an army of jihadi militants, to oust al Assad and open up Syria to western interests, had its origins in an evolving energy picture that clearly tilted in the favor of US rivals in the region. (Note: We're not sure why Lehmann leaves out Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or the other Gulf States that have also been implicated.)

Lehmann's thesis is supported by other analysts including the Guardian's Nafeez Ahmed who explains what was going on behind the scenes of the fake civil uprising in Syria. Here's a clip from an article by Ahmed titled "Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern":

"In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorised CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had 'cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations' intended to weaken the Shi'ite Hezbollah in Lebanon. 'The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria,' wrote Hersh, 'a byproduct' of which is 'the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups' hostile to the United States and 'sympathetic to al-Qaeda.' He noted that 'the Saudi government, with Washington's approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria...'

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"According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009: 'I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business,' he told French television:

"'I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.'
... Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting 'collapse' of Assad's regime 'from within.'

"So what was this unfolding strategy to undermine Syria and Iran all about? According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to 'attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years,' starting with Iraq and moving on to 'Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.' In a subsequent interview, Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region's vast oil and gas resources."
("Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern," The Guardian)

Apparently, Assad was approached by Qatar on the pipeline issue in 2009, but he refused to cooperate in order "to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally." Had Assad fallen in line and agreed to Qatar's offer, then the effort to remove him from office probably would have been called off. In any event, it was the developments in Syria that triggered the frenzied reaction in Ukraine. According to Lehmann:

"The war in Ukraine became predictable (unavoidable?) when the great Muslim Brotherhood Project in Syria failed during the summer of 2012. 'In June and July 2012 some 20,000 NATO mercenaries who had been recruited and trained in Libya and then staged in the Jordanian border town Al-Mafraq, launched two massive campaigns aimed at seizing the Syrian city of Aleppo. Both campaigns failed and the 'Libyan Brigade' was literally wiped out by the Syrian Arab Army.

"It was after this decisive defeat that Saudi Arabia began a massive campaign for the recruitment of jihadi fighters via the network of the Muslim Brotherhoods evil twin sister Al-Qaeda.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.


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