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Meanwhile, Back In The Middle East...

By       Message Russ Baker     Permalink
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As part of its total cooperation in this charade, Turkey forced down a Syrian commercial jetliner, and announced that it had impounded Russian munitions found on board that were intended for the regime in Damascus. To be sure, Turkey is impacted by the thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing across its border, and by the unsettling of Kurdish populations in the region. But it is the agitation against the Syrian government that is causing the regional instability in the first place. Also, it's hard to understand the justification for blocking Russian arms shipments to a standing government in the area seeking to defend itself when Turkey has purchased billions in armaments from the United States, ostensibly for the same purpose.

Speaking of Turkey, how remarkable is the following? The Turkish television network NTV quoted a US general, Mark Hertling,  throwing water on Western-Turkish propaganda accusing Syria of lobbing shells into Turkey...

"We are not sure if these shells are from the Syrian army, from rebels who want to get Turkey involved in the issue or from the PKK [Kurdish Workers' Party]."

Did we hear that bracing candor in the Western media? Nope. Had the Western media paid attention to what its own general told the Turkish media, Western audiences would realize that Turkey was being made to go along with a charade designed to further tar Assad and justify further Western military efforts to overthrow him.

Meanwhile, on October 9, the New York Times reported that...

"The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, to prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons, and to be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict."

This so-called revelation of "secret" operations was based on a briefing from "American officials familiar with the operation."

The next day, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (could he be one of those "officials familiar with the operation"?) announced at a NATO conference that he was sending troops to the border between Jordan and Syria, masking both the fact that US troops had previously been sent there with no public notice as well as the true reason they were being sent. The Associated Press did a better job than most traditional news organizations of getting to the core of the matter:

"Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta said the U.S. has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria. The troops are also building a headquarters for themselves.

"But the revelation of U.S. military personnel so close to the 19-month-old Syrian conflict suggests an escalation in the U.S. military involvement in the conflict, even as Washington pushes back on any suggestion of a direct intervention in Syria."

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The truth is that invasions have long been planned throughout the Middle East, as confirmed both by the stated goals of entities such as the Project for a New American Century, and by the assertions of Gen. Wesley Clark. See this regarding the background to the invasion of Iraq under similar claims of purely defensive motives.

That Panetta would announce the deployment of American troops in the fall of 2012 just as the nation was distracted by the presidential horserace is significant. In fact, American troops have been operating out of the same Jordanian base for almost a year and a half, a tell-tale sign of the West's direct involvement in supporting if not creating the Syrian uprising in the first place. By making this long-delayed announcement when few were paying attention, the Obama administration could still claim that it was being forthright, and by ascribing the most benign of motives to this action the Pentagon could avoid criticism of yet another (how many have there been now?) undeclared war.

The true reasons for getting rid of Assad are multiple -- but none of them are being shared with the public. The foremost one is that Syria is an important ally of the Iranian regime -- getting it out of the way makes the big prize of removing Tehran's ayatollahs more attainable. Then there is the fact that Syria offers Iran access to European waterways. Another surely has to do with concerns in Saudi Arabia over a restive Shiite minority living in its oil-bearing Eastern Province, a minority with ties both to the Shiite leadership of Syria and that of Iran. Finally, and perhaps most importantly: with the US dialing down its military presence in Iraq while oil companies dial up their production there, it's essential to base Western troops nearby to protect the budding industry. What better than next-door Syria?

How Do Those Syrian Citizens Feel?

Meanwhile, reports from primarily non-American journalists that ordinary Syrians have very mixed feelings about the uprising -- and that many are indeed opposed but coming around to the inevitability of it because they are so exhausted by the violence -- get little play in the United States.

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Nonetheless, after many, many months in which WhoWhatWhy has cast doubts on the balance and fairness of Western reporting that was quick to pin atrocities squarely on the Assad regime (see for example thisthis and this), we are finally starting to hear the establishment coming around.

For one thing, the United Nations has declared that the Syrian rebels may be guilty of war crimes based on a video showing them summarily executing captured, helpless government troops. A front-page article in the Nov. 9 New York Times about "rebel missteps" may signal a reappraisal of the situation by mainstream media.

Yet instead of calling for an end to the US role in fomenting violence, a Times editorial has declared that the "political way out" of the "stalemate" in Syria is the "pragmatic" new proposal from Hillary Clinton, i.e., the "most aggressive effort yet to reshape the Syrian opposition." Rather than showing what it might have learned after decades of US interventionism have led to disaster here and abroad, the Times  criticizes China -- because "it still refuses to join Western and Arab nations in pressuring [Assad] to give up power."

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