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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/18/13

US, UK and France stress threat of force against Syria

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And last week, Turkish prosecutors presented an indictment against a Syrian member of the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front and his Turkish accomplices charging them with attempting to procure chemicals in Turkey for the manufacture of sarin gas.

The threat of US aggression against Syria was never driven by concern over chemical weapons -- that was merely a pretext. Washington's real aim is regime change in Syria as a means of furthering US hegemony over the Middle East and preparing an even wider war against Iran, which it sees as its principal regional rival.

To those ends, the US and its allies meeting in Paris vowed to step up their support for the "rebels," a collection of some 1,000 separate militias and death squads dominated by Al Qaeda and other Islamist elements. Together with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, the US and its NATO allies have poured billions of dollars' worth of weapons and funding into Syria, stoking a bloody civil war that has claimed over 100,000 lives. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Syrian troops and pro-Assad militias account for over 40 percent of these casualties.

On the same day that the chemical weapons inspectors' report was released, the United Nations committee on Libyan sanctions also came out with a report to the Security Council that found "an increasing number of reported cases of trafficking of arms and ammunition from Libya to the Syrian Arab Republic by sea and air," in the wake of the US-NATO war for regime change that ended in the murder of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

This arms pipeline, financed by Qatar and coordinated by the CIA -- which established a large secret station in the Libyan city of Benghazi that was attacked by Islamist militants last year -- has been a source of large amounts of advanced weaponry for the anti-Assad militias.

Last week, it was reported that the CIA, which had organized the provision of arms bought by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is now directly arming the "rebels."

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov dismissed Kerry's claim that Russia was in sync with the West on the use of military force against Syria. "Yes, our American colleagues would very much like there to be a Chapter VII resolution," he said. "But the final declaration, the final document that we approved and which has the guiding principles for how we proceed and for our mutual obligations, makes no mention of it."

"If for someone it is more important to constantly threaten " that is another path to wrecking completely the chances of calling the Geneva 2 conference," Lavrov added, referring to the proposed conference for negotiating a political settlement of Syria's civil war.

The reality is that Washington has no interest in convening such a conference under conditions in which the "rebels" are suffering mounting defeats and are, according to multiple reports, in a state of disintegration. Rather, it wants to change the facts on the ground, through an increased flow of weapons and, despite the present postponement, direct military intervention.

In addition to prolonging the Syrian bloodbath, this predatory policy poses the threat of igniting a regional war that could draw in neighboring countries, as well as Iran and Russia.

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Bill Van Auken (born 1950) is a politician and activist for the Socialist Equality Party and was a presidential candidate in the U.S. election of 2004, announcing his candidacy on January 27, 2004. His running mate was Jim Lawrence. He came in 15th (more...)
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