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    Middle East
     Jan 31, 2012


THE ROVING EYE
What is the GCC up to in Syria?
By Pepe Escobar

So the Arab League has a new draft United Nations Security Council resolution to "solve" the Syrian saga. [ 1]

World public opinion may be fooled into believing this is an altruistic Arab solution to an Arab problem. Not really.

First of all this is a draft resolution of NATOGCC - that symbiosis between selected North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and selected petromonarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council. By now, after their "success" in blasting regime change into Libya, NATOGCC should be well known as the axis between the European poodles of the Pentagon and the six monarchies that

 

compose the GCC, also known as Gulf Counter-revolution Club.

This draft UN resolution goes one step beyond a so-called Arab League transition plan laid out over a week ago. Now the spin is of a "political roadmap" that essentially means President Bashar al-Assad voluntarily stepping out, his vice president installed in power for a transition, the formation of a national unity government, and free and fair elections with international supervision.

According to the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, "The president will delegate his first vice president the full power to work with the national unity government to enable it to perform its task in the transitional period."

Sounds very civilized - except that it masquerades the real agenda of UN-imposed regime change. A quick look at the draft resolution also reveals a two-week deadline for Assad to get out of Dodge; if not, expect hell, "in consultation" with the Arab League.

"Arab" League is now a fiction; what’s really in charge is the Arab Gulf league, or GCC league; in practice, the House of Saud. Even aspiring regional superpower Qatar plays second fiddle. And everyone else, they are just extras.

So here we have the House of Saud and its Gulf minions detailing a road map for regime change followed by full Western parliamentary democracy, and places like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait defending human rights in Arab lands. It's as if this whole thing was a joint plan concocted by dadaist Tristan Tzara and surrealist Andre Breton with a Monty Python twist.

Stuff your Somalia remix
Not surprisingly, the Syrian government rejected the drat resolution as a "blatant intervention in its internal affairs", according to the SANA news agency. The Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, was even more graphic; "Syria will not be Libya; Syria will not be Iraq; Syria will not be Somalia; Syria will not be a failing state."

BRICS member Russia - which alongside China had already vetoed a previous Western-redacted resolution - has already buried this one. For starters, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov couldn't understand why the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria this past Saturday. Instead, Lavrov would "support an increased number of observers".

Russia - which in no time learned the lessons of the open-ended UN resolution on Libya - has its own draft resolution which, according to Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, privileges a "Syrian-led political process", not "an Arab League-imposed outcome of a political process that has not yet taken place", or, worse yet, "regime change" a la Libya.

Russia - unlike the West - ascribes the now non-stop violence in Syria to both the Assad regime and the "rebels". Even the GCC League has somewhat admitted that there are shabbihah (armed goons) on both sides, those on the "rebel" side affiliated with the already discredited Free Syrian Army.

That tray of sweets is all mine
Even though there are no objective conditions whatsoever for a NATO bombing of Syria, the NATOGCC + Israel geopolitical axis will pursue its objectives relentlessly.

The objectives are vast; exercising total control over any Arab Spring-related transition (as in the case of Yemen); preventing any changes to the status quo (as in pre-emption in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco); outright repression (as in the case of Bahrain); and preferably getting their cake and eating it too (as in the case of Libya).

But Syria is infinitely more complex; because of the Iranian connection; because BRICS members Russia and China will block any regime change scheme; because there have been no significant cracks among the Syrian military; and because the Assad regime is expert in navigating the divisions between a Sunni majority and the Alawite minority.

So the GCC League was successful in Yemen - controlling the "transition" and even having the dictator Ali Abdulla Saleh sent to the United States. It has been relatively successful in Egypt; even though the head of the snake (Hosni Mubarak) was kicked out, the snake is very much alive and kicking (the military establishment), and to top it off, the new parliament boasts a huge Islamist majority (our heart goes out to the youngsters who actually started everything in Tahrir Square and are left with nothing).

Even the venerable stones in the Umayyad mosque in Damascus know that the Syrian National Council (conveniently exiled in NATO members Turkey and France) is being financed by the House of Saud and Qatar. So expect more GCC-financed weapons to continue raising hell in Syria - now even in some Damascus suburbs. No wonder the GCC League had to pull out its "monitors"; they would have to roundly denounce the very people they are arming.

Even the Playstation King of Jordan - who was the first Arab potentate on the record to want to topple Assad (no wonder Jordan was invited to be a GCC member) - has been forced to admit, "I don't see Syria going through many changes." King Abdullah at least had the good sense to observe, "It's a very complicated puzzle and there is no simple solution. If you can imagine Iraq being a simple solution ... and it's different in Libya, so it has everybody stumped and I don't think anybody has a clear answer on what to do about Syria."

By the way, there are pro-democracy protests in GCC-addicted Jordan virtually every day; but not a peep will be heard about it in Western corporate media. "Liberated" Libya totally disappeared from the Western triumphalist narrative - even as Amnesty International now has evidence of systematic torture in makeshift mini-gulags, and Medicines sans Frontiers (MSF) decided to leave Misrata for good after being asked by those formerly known as "rebels" to treat victims of torture, so they could be tortured again.

Which leads us to the ghastly equivalence between the "transitional councils" in both Libya and Syria. Their undisguised masters were - and are - NATOGCC. Russia may have its own agenda in Syria, but at least the Russians know hardcore violence is being served as much by the Assad regime as by the Syrian National Council and the Free Syria Army.

King Playstation at least got one thing right; no one has a clue on what to do about Syria. So it's Assad on one side against NATOGCC on the other, with average Syrians - covering a wide spectrum of opinion - squeezed in the middle. Rumors swirl about a possible plan C; a bazaar-style deal, over endless cups of green tea, between Assad and the House of Saud. That's unlikely; the GCC League wants the whole tray of sweets - and to eat them too.

Note 1. See here.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)


Arab observer calls Syria mission a 'farce' (Jan 13'12)

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(Jan 26-29, 2012)

 
 



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