Asia Time Online - Daily News
Asia Times Chinese
AT Chinese

    Middle East
     Aug 24, 2012

Realpolitik blurs US red line on Syria
By Pepe Escobar

Weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are back. It's like we never left Dubya's glory days. No, they didn't find the non-existent Saddam stash on eBay. This is about the existent Bashar al-Assad's. And it's not WMDs as the pretext for an invasion and occupation, but WMDs as a pretext for whatever euphemism the Obama administration comes up with to define "kinetic military activity".

The whole thing is especially suspicious considering Damascus has been on the record stressing it will never use chemical weapons against the "rebels".

Here's US President Barack Obama; "A red line for us is [if] we


start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized." [1]

So now even a few mustard gas containers slightly wobbling inside a depot may constitute a casus belli. But is it that clear-cut? Obama said this is "a" red line - implying there may be unspecified (covert) others.

Obama also stressed Washington's "fears" of Syria's WMDs "falling into the hands of the wrong people". Considering the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is in the business - alongside Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) stalwarts Saudi Arabia and Qatar - of weaponizing the myriad gangs that constitute the Not Exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA), including hundreds of Salafi-jihadis, this is a stark admission that in fact they are the "wrong people". Ergo, the "right people" is the Assad regime.

Was that an Obama coded message to Turkey - implying that if you invade northwest Syria, now practically an autonomous Kurdish area, you will have to do it alone, without the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and without the Pentagon? Was that a message to the "wrong people", aka the "rebels", that apart from dubiously effective covert CIA shenanigans, you are on your own?

These two possibilities were advanced at the website Moon of Alabama. [2]

Yet it may have finally dawned on the Obama administration that a possible post-Assad Syria ruled by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) - which is infinitely more ruthless and sectarian than the Egyptian version - is not exactly an enlightened bet.

The White House and the State Department are livid over Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's purge of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces leadership and his upcoming diplomatic trips to - heaven forbid - Beijing and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran. If the MB in Egypt can pull that off, imagine in Syria, which was not under Washington's sphere of influence to begin with.

So why not let the whole thing drag on in a Lebanonization - rather Somalization - scenario that pins down the Syrian army and weakens the central government in Damascus, thus erasing its "threat" in case the war-mongering Bibi-Barak duo in Israel goes ahead with an attack on Iran?

Stuff your democracy by bombs
Let's see how the situation stands. The Three (Warring) Graces - Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power - and their doctrine of R2P ("responsibility to protect"), applied "successfully" in Libya, miserably floundered in Syria.

There won't be any "no-fly zone" - in fact a declaration of war. There won't be any "humanitarian" bombing; it has been blocked at the UN Security Council no less than three times by Russia and China.

On top of it, the whole decade-old "war on terra" hysteria has proved itself to be an intergalactic scam; the CIA, alongside the House of Saud and Qatar, is once again side-by-side with Salafi-jihadis of the al-Qaeda variety merrily fighting a secular Arab republic.

The key Syria question is how Russia and China see Obama's red line.

Here's the Russian response. [3] Its bottom line is that the US should respect the "norms of international law"; no to "democracy by bombs"; and only the UN Security Council has the power to authorize an attack on Syria. Once again; Russia and China, three times already, have said no to war.

Here's the Chinese response. Not via diplomacy, as in Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, but as a Xinhua editorial, which in the Chinese context means Beijing's official version. The headline says it all; "Obama's 'red line' warnings aimed to seek new pretext for Syria intervention".

Arguably this is the money quote - a summary of US foreign policy according to Beijing; "It is not difficult to find that, under the disguise of humanitarianism, the United States has always tried to smash governments it considers as threats to its so-called national interests and relentlessly replace them with those that are Washington-friendly."

All the key players here - the US, Russia and China - know Damascus won't commit the folly of using (or "moving") chemical weapons. So no wonder Moscow and Beijing are extremely suspicious this "red line" gambit may be yet another Obama deception maneuver, as in "leading from behind" in Libya (this is nonsense; in fact the attack on Libya started with Africom and then was transferred to NATO).

As Asia Times Online has been reporting for over a year, once again the big picture is clear; this is a titanic battle between NATO-GCC and BRICS members Russia and China. At stake is nothing less than the rule of international law, which has been steadily going down the drain since at least Agent Orange being sprayed all over Vietnam, through Dubya's invasion of Iraq in 2003, and with the Libyan "humanitarian bombing" reaching an abysmal low. Not to mention Israel daily threatening to bomb Iran - as if this was a trip to a kosher deli.

Well, one can always dream of the day a multipolar world will give a pink slip to those issuers of red lines.

1. Obama Threatens Force Against Syria, New York Times, August 20, 2012
2. http://www.moonofalabama.org/2012/08/obama-to-assad-do-whatever-you-need-to-do.html, Moon of Alabama, August 21, 2012.
3. Russia warns West on Syria after Obama threats, Reuters, August 21, 2012.
4. Obama's "red line" warnings merely aimed to seek new pretext for Syria intervention, August 22, 2012.

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 book 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.)

The deadly Israeli and the mad Turk
(Aug 13, '12)

Planning intensifies for Syria after Assad (Aug 10, '12)

The South gathers in Tehran

2. Will Iran be US's Melos?

3. Meles Zenawi and the death of the African Renaissance

4. China bides its time with political model

5. Why Gu Kailai stood by her man

6. War fever as seen from Iran

7. Pussy Riot divides Russian society

8. Indian Army in the line of unfriendly fire

9. Old wealth reborn in new Indonesia

10. Egypt thumbs nose at US

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Aug 22, 2012)


All material on this website is copyright and may not be republished in any form without written permission.
Copyright 1999 - 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings), Ltd.
Head Office: Unit B, 16/F, Li Dong Building, No. 9 Li Yuen Street East, Central, Hong Kong
Thailand Bureau: 11/13 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuab Kirikhan, Thailand 77110