Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mr. Blowback rising in Benghazi....

Mr. Blowback rising in Benghazi....

By Pepe Escobar

"Daddy, what is blowback?"

Here's a fable to tell our children, by the fire, in a not so-distant post-apocalyptic, dystopian future.

Once upon a time, during George "Dubya" Bush's "war on terra", the Forces of Good in Afghanistan captured - and duly tortured - one evil terrorist, Abu Yahya al-Libi.

Abu Yahya al-Libi was, of course, Libyan. He slaved three years in the bowels of Bagram prison near Kabul, but somehow managed to escape that supposedly impregnable fortress in July 2005.

At the time, the Forces of Good were merrily in bed with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Libya - whose intelligence services, to the delight of the Bush administration, were doing their nastiest to exterminate or at least isolate al-Qaeda-style Salafi-jihadis of the al-Libi kind.

But, then, in 2011, the Forces of Good, under new administration, decided it was time to bury the oh so passe "war on terra" and dance to a new, more popular groove; humanitarian intervention, also characterized as "kinetic military action".

So al-Libi was back from the dead - now fighting side by side with the Forces of Good to topple (and eventually snuff out) "evil" Col Gaddafi. Al-Libi had become a "freedom fighter" - even though he was openly calling for Libya to become an Islamic Emirate.

The honeymoon didn't last long.

In September 2012, for the first time in three months, al-CIAda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, aka The Surgeon, released a 42-minute video special to "celebrate" the 11th anniversary of the most Barbaric False Flag attacks of 9/11, finally admitting the snuffing out of his number two.

His number two was none other than Abu Yahya al-Libi - targeted by one of US President Barack Obama's cherished drones in Waziristan on June 4.

An immediate effect of al-Zawahiri's video was that an angry armed mob, led by Islamist outfit Ansar al Sharia, set fire to the US consulate in Benghazi. The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed. It didn't matter that Stevens happened to be a hero of the "NATO rebels" who had "liberated" Libya - notoriously sprinkled with Salafi-jihadis of the al-Libi kind.

Stevens was rewarded by Washington with the ambassadorial post only after "evil" Gaddafi was finally sodomized, lynched and killed by, what else, an angry mob.

So finally the blowback serpent was able to bite its own tail.

Terra, terra, terra
What happened in Benghazi may have been just an out-of-control protest against a crude, amateur, made-in-California movie produced and directed by an Israeli-American real estate developer and certified Islamophobe (an identity now being reported as a guise), financed with US$5 million from unidentified Jewish donors, depicting Islam "as a cancer" and Prophet Muhammad as a womanizer, a pedophile and most of all, a fraud. The movie was duly promoted by wacko Florida pastor and Koran-burning freak Terry Jones.

Yet the killing of the US ambassador in Libya is just an hors d'oeuvre to what may happen in Syria - where scores of "freedom fighters" supported by the CIA, the Turks and the House of Saud are al-Qaeda-linked, either via the supposedly reformist Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) or acronym-infested subcontracting gangs such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) or al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM).

So how will Washington "bring the perpetrators to justice" in Libya? After all this is the same gang that was hailed as "heroes" when they sodomized, lynched and snuffed out "evil" Gaddafi.

Asia Times Online has been warning for over a year about blowback in Libya - and potentially in Syria, where medieval Saudi sheikhs frantically issue fatwas legitimating a widespread massacre of "infidel" Alawites. This is all a rerun of the same old 1980s' Afghan jihad movie; first you call them "freedom fighters", but when they attack us they revert to being "terrorists".

Now we have NATO-armed Salafi-jihadis in Libya, and House of Saud-financed and Turkey-based Salafi-jihadis in Syria - deploying "terra" antics such as suicide bombers to bring down the Assad regime - all wired up and ready to roll. It certainly adds a new meaning to Obama's "kinetic action" gig.

Blowback - as in Afghanistan - might have taken years. This time Mr Blowback reared its ugly head in only a few months. And that's just the beginning.

So what now? Who're you gonna bomb? Who're you gonna drone to death? What about bombing Benghazi a year after condemning Gaddafi to death because he might have threatened to ... bomb Benghazi?

Ask US Secretary of State Hillary "We came, he saw, he died" Clinton, who claims to talk on behalf of the "Libyan people". Maybe she will come up with a policy of retroactively aligning the US with Gaddafi.

And since this is an electoral year, why not ask invisible former president Bush himself? After all, he proclaimed on September 20, 2001 that "either you are with us, or you are with the terra-rists."

Well, Mr Blowback would say, beware of what you get when you are in bed with the terra-rists.

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).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Passions around the Caspian Sea...

[The following article gives a detailed analysis of the forces in and around the Caspian, each of them actively defending their own piece of turf. It also spells-out the growing US presence within these national forces, as well as the problems the Imperial presence is causing. Russia has a slight window of opportunity to checkmate the US expansion plans for the Caspian itself, by virtue of the vastly superior Russian naval, ground and air forces already deployed there. Just as the US grand scheme has been to open-up a multitude of small confrontations between the Zioconned US forces and Russian allies throughout the Asian theater, Russia has the opportunity to reverse the process in several of these small conflicts at once (Syria, Caspian, Caucasus), so as to overcome US forces there, while simultaneously bolstering allies.

We are living in the most troubled time in all human history, how we resolve those troubles will determine the future of our single race. Russia is the only power on earth separating civilization from a new barbarism (which paradoxically and hypocritically masquerades as "humanitarianism"). Does the human race live on, to grow and to prosper as a single tribe or family, or will our race be relegated to the dustbin of history, to be replaced by another new, more savage neanderthal race? Like this supposition, or not, but it sure looks as though Vladimir Putin gets to decide the future of the human race.]


Military-Industrial Courier

The ever-increasing excitement about the energy resources of the Caspian Sea has given impetus to the formation of political-military knot of contradictions.

The ever-increasing excitement about the energy resources of the Caspian Sea has given impetus to the formation of political-military knot of contradictions in the region, creating one of the most dangerous conflict zones in contemporary world politics, which has already received a “code” international title – the southern arc of instability.

In addition, as expected in zones of instability, the Caspian states are constantly arming, increase its naval presence. And leadership in this process in some areas seems to have been transferred from Russia to Azerbaijan, which should not be overlooked Russian political and military leadership.

The geopolitical situation in the region

After the Soviet collapse interstate differences came to the fore in the geopolitical situation in the Caspian region.

Five Caspian littoral states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan) have long been vainly trying to reach an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. But she had a problem Caspian slowly becoming an increasingly volatile and unpredictable.

The ratio of the Navy in the past have had a significant impact on the region, but it is at present the military factor is strongly associated with the foreign policy aspirations of the Caspian states to protect and promote their interests at the regional level through military force, or at least acts of intimidation.

For Russia, the Caspian Sea region is not so much a resource positions, but as the area of ​​geostrategic importance in terms of national security in the south.

Feature of the region in the Russian Federation is that almost all of the factors that influence the course of events, working against Russia. This requires that the Russian foreign policy to prevent the impending demolition of the safety line to the south.

There are many variants of division of the Caspian Sea. For example, Russia and Kazakhstan propose to divide the seabed and its resources between all coastal states to determine quotas of these countries in the fishing industry, but to leave the waters of the sea in common use.

Azerbaijan calls allocate all resources on the basis of the international law of the sea, that is split at the bottom, and the clear waters of the sea borders between the states.

In an embodiment of Turkmenistan proposed to allocate the share of each country in the region in the production of energy and fisheries resources, but to leave shared by the central sector of the Caspian Sea.

In this issue is the most rigid position of Iran – Allocate to each country to 20 percent of the area and the bottom of which is opposed by, inter alia, Azerbaijan. However, this option also remains unresolved the question of determining the coordinates of the median line of the sea, which will be determined by the boundary of the national sectors in the Caspian region of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

Alternatively Iranian waters remain in common use, but for each country should be fixed equal share in the development of oil and gas and fisheries resources.

Interference of third countries

Despite the high level of interest of many international organizations in matters of cooperation with the countries of the region, development of the overall situation of concern.

In 2004, the U.S. administration has launched an initiative “Caspian Guard» (Caspian Guard) to assist a number of Caspian CIS countries to establish systems of control of the Caspian Sea as well as the formation of the special forces to protect the export pipelines.

The program of “Caspian Guard” with the following main objectives: to build a system for monitoring air and sea space, the creation of rapid reaction forces and border control, training of troops participating countries and the provision of economic and political support to partners. U.S. plans to help Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to develop naval forces.

Russia expressed its dissatisfaction with the U.S. initiatives, and in turn create an initiative in the Caspian collective rapid reaction forces generated from the military only littoral states. Iran supported Russia.

Contributes to the militarization of the Caspian Sea and Europe – the EU proposed the idea of ​​a stabilization plan for the Caspian region and the joint forces under the aegis of the OSCE. Russia’s position is unequivocal and unambiguous. ”Since the Caspian Sea is an inland sea coastal countries, the protection of maritime borders – the prerogative of these states themselves, which are services of third countries do not need,” – said the representative of the Russian Embassy in Azerbaijan.

Increased military presence

After the collapse of the USSR Soviet Caspian Flotilla was divided between the newly independent states of the Caspian Sea, and the command of the naval forces of the United Forces of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan originally performed exclusively by Russia.Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the voluntary-involuntary abandoned its interest in the section of the flotilla.

The composition of Azerbaijan includes Navy surface ships crew, consisting of patrol division, battalion landing ships, minesweepers Division, Division of SAR vessels and training division of vessels and ships brigade of water region. Almost all ships and boats are based in Baku. Also included in the structure of the Navy Marine battalion (2,000), reconnaissance and sabotage center of the special-purpose coastal units and divisions, military Shipyard (formerly the 23rd Military Plant Soviet Navy).

In total, the Azerbaijani Navy has 14 warships and boats, 23 auxiliary vessels. Auxiliary fleet is represented by more than two dozen different courts. Total strength of the VMC Azerbaijan for 2008 – 3500. The reserve is in the Coast Guard crews patrol ships.

Baku intends to combat international terrorism, placed along the Caspian coast seven radar. With Pentagon Azerbaijan established a unit of naval special forces.

Air support for Navy and Coast Guard can provide the Air Force of Azerbaijan, on the Caspian coast only they have three air bases, “pumping”, “Lankaran” and “Kala”. The air force has a frontline bombers Su-24, MiG-29, MiG-25, MiG-21, Su-25, helicopters for various purposes, military transport aircraft.

Iran now – the second naval power in the Caspian Sea after Russia. National Navy in this region are represented by two different commands security forces: Navy Army and Navy IRGC. Their battle of the Coast Guard has units and lungs (katernye) division. In service with the army and the IRGC Navy Iran on the Caspian Sea are from 50 to 90 combat and support units of the ships, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and naval aviation – only up to 3000.

At present, Iran is able in a short time and a half times increase the grouping of their ships in the Caspian Sea by boat transfer from the Persian Gulf.

Until 2003, Kazakhstan has the Caspian Border only boats and one patrol boat. The main strength of his fleet now consists of 16 patrol and patrol boats, two offshore trawlers, two hydrographic boats, personnel – 3000. In Aktau and Atyrau – airbases naval aviation: six Mi-8 and six Mi-6. In addition, in Aktau brigade deployed base of coastal defense, in Atyrau deployed Marine battalion.

For the defense of the naval forces at sea, conduct maritime reconnaissance and attacks on surface targets Kazakhstan could use its air force aircraft (Air Defense Forces). Only at the air base “Aktau”, located in the immediate vicinity of the Caspian Sea, has 14 Su-25s, two Su-25UB, 16 Su-27P, two Su-27UB.

The naval forces of Kazakhstan strengthen coastal defenses in the Caspian Sea with a new antiship missile system Exocet MM40 Block 3, the letter of intent was signed by the Navy of Kazakhstan, JSC “NC” Kazakhstan Engineering », MBDA and INDRA Sistemas in the international exhibition of military equipment KADEX -2012 in Astana. Coastal defense system based Exocet can take control of a greater volume of the Caspian Sea and also able to withstand a serious threat.

Turkmenistan has also continued to build up its military presence in the Caspian, and the Navy plans to buy for the most advanced military boats and weapons.

All patrol boats brought to the brigade of water region patrol ships. Most modern ships: two boats “Sable” Project 12200 missile boats and two Project 12418 of the “Lightning”. In the Navy a battalion of a brigade of marines, it actually tasked with coastal defense. The number of personnel in the fleet, along with the coastal services – about 2000.

Air Forces of Turkmenistan are up to 250 helicopters and aircraft, including the MiG-29, MiG-25, MiG-23/MiG-23U, MiG-21 and Su-25.

Air Force used in Turkmenistan including the patrolling of the Caspian Sea, thereby compensating the lack of power of the fleet. At the same time, it can be employed to combat missions in the area.

Changing the priority of Russia in the Caspian Sea was in 2000, this was due to increased military and political presence in the coastal areas of the Caucasus and Central Asia in the early 2000s. In this regard, Russia has gone on increasing its military forces in the Caspian Sea region, can ensure security of energy fields, protect the economic interests of Russian and objectives for the protection of the southern borders of the state.

At present the Russian Caspian fleet consists of 14 combat ships and boats, including two frigates project 11661K “Tatarstan” and “Dagestan”, two small artillery ships Project 21630 “Astrakhan” and “Volgodonsk.”

The composition of the fleet includes 847-th separate coast missile battalion (Astrakhan), 77th Separate Guards brigade of marines (Kaspiysk), a division of supply vessels and the Division of rescue vessels and a helicopter squadron.

Recently coastal units Flotilla latest missile system “Ball.” In addition, for it is already enshrined four small rocket ship of project 21631 of the “Hail Sviyazhsk.”

The Coast Guard also has the Russian border guards modern ships, for example, in the Caspian Sea are the boat project 14310 “Mirage” and Project 12150 “Mongoose”, soon to join the PSKR “Brilliant” (plant number 502) of the project 22460.

Some Results

Today the situation in the Caspian region escalates amid stalled negotiations, that the hand of external actors, especially the U.S. and, according to some international experts, China. But who will lose – this is Europe, drawing attention to the Caspian oil into the war against Libya and pinned high hopes on the region.

Many analysts are afraid of Russia, the development of naval forces of Azerbaijan. While they do not cause much concern major naval rivals in the Caspian Sea – the Russian Navy and the Iranian navy, especially since there is no part of their naval aviation and ship structure has mostly obsolete ships. In the medium term, things can change very serious in this country partners: U.S., IsraHell and Zio-Turkey...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The main point is that as the war drags on, the entire MENA region is exploding....

I have been informed that this, Obama wrong over Syria action, says top general Dempsey, was the original title of a recent devastating article in the Zioconned MSM is USA... You know just how far Zioconned America has gone off-course, whenever the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff goes public with his opinion that the Commander-In-Chief is wrong about the latest soft and hard Zioconned wars... We are witnesses to one of those defining moments in history when civilization has stood on the precipice, with the Zioconned barbarians pounding on the gates... It appears that the holding actions of the Joint Chiefs may, once again, keep the mercenary Zioconned barbarians outside the gates and civilization perched precariously on the edge. We should take hope in that Gen. Dempsey's bravery for speaking-out for the rest of the World now, instead of bowing in silence under the weight of those stars on his shoulders, while we all descended even further into hell. The war will be in a worse place because of Obama's Zioconned Syrian aggression, just as it is worse off today because of US's last Zioconned war on Iraq. The fate of all mankind would have looked even more bleak, if the Iraq aggression had been allowed to carry the Zioconned USA over into Iran, just like the cowardly attack on Lebanon in 2006, which was soundly defeated by the bravery of the Valiant Lebanese Resistance.... But USA avoided that fate primarily because the previous two Joint Chiefs before Gen. Dempsey (Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. Peter Pace) held the line against Zioconned Bush and basically refused to allow an anti-Iranian aggression on their watches. This is as good of an explanation as any, to explain why the Arab Spring/humanitarian warfare R2P angles are being followed today, as the latest road to Lebanon's Valiant Resistance and Tehran.... , while the naked aggression of the Zioconned Bahraini and Saudi Regimes against their peaceful populations go unchallenged....
There is an invisible "red line," that the Joint Chiefs will not let their Zioconned commander cross, one that will bring about the destruction of the United States (along with everything else). The war against Syria is inherently, an American/Russian war, which would inevitably lead to some level of nuclear exchange. It is the top general's fate to be the one man standing between the Zioconned Commander of US nuclear forces and the series of events which will allow him to push that mesmerizing "big red button."

Turkey’s acting as the “subcontractor” for the Zioconned Anglo-Obama attack on Syria and World War III is rapidly becoming a “debacle,” and is being seen as such in Turkey, as the country become more and more destabilized. An op-ed in Hürriyet by senior commentator Semih Idiz said that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will come back empty-handed from the Zioconned United Nations Security Council meeting this week, in terms of help on the refugee situation: “The upshot is that Turkey faces a potential debacle such as it has not had before due to Syria. The question is how much of this is the result of the government’s Zioconned hasty and overambitious Syrian policy, and how much of it is the product of an inevitable chain of events. Clearly, Turkey would have faced a refugee crisis anyway … but critics feel that it should not only have moved more realistically from the start and allowed international agencies in much earlier, but also that it should have had a more regional approach which did not alienate Iran and Iraq and millions of Shiites in the Middle East.

“Not having done that, Zioconned Turkey is forced now to issue futile appeals as the refugee problem grows and the Syrian crisis deepens along sectarian lines. In other words, the government is facing a crisis for which it has no answers, and a public at home that is growing increasingly uneasy over this. If this is not a debacle, then what is?”

Meanwhile, the Zioconned Turkish government announced it will allow a delegation of the parliamentary human rights commission to visit the Apaydin refugee camp in Hatay province, where Zioconned Syrian military defectors are being held, and which is believed to be a base for running Zioconned operations into Syria. Ankara had to make the decision after the opposition reminded it that such actions are totally unconstitutional. The Turkish Constitution clearly prohibits, as Hürriyet reported, foreign troops or paramilitary elements, “free something army,” or any such armed foreign elements, without the approval of parliament.

Tensions have risen dramatically in Hatay province, where the Agaydin and other Syrian refugee camps are located, since the local population are predominantly Alawite, and maintain close ties to the Alawite population on the Syrian side of the border. Turkish press report that the Zioconned Syrian Sunni opposition fighters who are operating out of Turkey, are creating tensions with the local population in Hatay.

On top of this, there are fears that an “Alawite state” would be created that would extend from Latakia in Syria and encompass Turkey’s Hatay province. Such fears are cutting both ways. Some are claiming the Assad regime is behind it, while others fear “international players” are behind it as part of a design to redraw the map of the Syria and the region, and creating Greater Kurdistan as well....

The main point is that as the war drags on, the entire MENA region is exploding....

Fragmentation of Syria, MENA, Africa, then on to Russia, China and India soon...all this is a US strategy cloaked in ZIO-shenanigans....

The Yinon Thesis Vindicated: Neocons, Israel, and the Fragmentation of Syria, MENA, Africa, then on to Russia, China and India soon...all this is a US strategy cloaked in ZIO-shenanigans....

Israel does not want Assad to be removed or any fake puppets of the CNS, NATO-qatar-saud backed mercenaries-contras to replace him. Israel is playing a long internal civil war making sure that the majority of the Sunnis never get access to kind of military organisation capable of resisting any ground invasion from Tel Aviv, destroying the AGP and Iranian pipelines. The majority of the Syrian people, Sunnis do not believe in the Saudis nor the Qatar, seen as Zionist puppets, nor they believe Russia will help them. Syrians understood clearly these facts as Iraq invasion remains in their minds. Israel will face a military defeat when Netanyahu and Barak will try to grab South of Lebanon and Damascus.

By Stephen J. Sniegoski,

It is widely realized now that the fall of President Bashar Assad’s regime would leave Syria riven by bitter ethnic, religious, and ideological conflict that could splinter the country into smaller enclaves. Already there has been a demographic shift in this direction, as both Sunnis and Alawites flee the most dangerous parts of the county, seeking refuge within their own particular communities. Furthermore, it is widely believed in Syria that, as the entire country becomes too difficult to secure, the Assad regime will retreat to an Alawaite redoubt in the northern coastal region as a fallback position. link

Syrian Kurds, about ten percent of the country’s population, are also interested in gaining autonomy or joining with a larger Kurdistan. The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD)—linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has engaged in a separatist insurgency in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast region for nearly three decades—has gained control of key areas in northeast Syria. While Turkey has supported the Syrian opposition, it is terrified of a Kurdish autonomous zone in Syria, believing that it could provide a safe haven for staging attacks into Turkey. Moreover, Kurdish autonomy would encourage separatist sentiment within the Turkish Kurdish minority. Turkey has threatened to invade the border areas of Syria to counter such a development and Turkish armed forces with armor have been sent to Turkey’s border with the Syrian Kurdish region. A Turkish invasion would add further complexities to the fracturing of Syria.

What has not been readily discussed in reference to this break-up of Syria is that the Israeli and global Zionist Right has long sought the fragmentation of Israel’s enemies so as to weaken them and thus enhance Israel’s primacy in the Middle East. While elements of this geostrategic view can be traced back to even before the creation of the modern state of Israel, the concept of destabilizing and fragmenting enemies seems to have been first articulated as an overall Israeli strategy by Oded Yinon in his 1982 piece, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” Yinon had been attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment in the years of Likudnik Menachem Begin’s leadership. Israel Shahak’s translation of Yinon’s article was titled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.”

In this article, Yinon called for Israel to use military means to bring about the dissolution of Israel’s neighboring states and their fragmentation into a mosaic of homogenous ethnic and sectarian groupings. Yinon believed that it would not be difficult to achieve this result because nearly all the Arab states were afflicted with internal ethnic and religious divisions, and held together only by force. In essence, the end result would be a Middle East of powerless mini-statelets unable to confront Israeli power. Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon’s model for the entire Middle East. Yinon wrote: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target.” link

Eminent Middle East historian, Bernard Lewis, who is a Zionist of a rightist hue and one of the foremost intellectual gurus for the neoconservatives, echoed Yinon with an article in the September 1992 issue of “Foreign Affairs” titled “Rethinking the Middle East.” In it, he wrote of a development he called “Lebanonization,” stating “[A] possibility, which could even be precipitated by [Islamic] fundamentalism, is what has of late been fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity. . . . The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.” Since Lewis— credited with coining the phrase “clash of civilizations”—has been a major advocate of a belligerent stance for the West against the Islamic states, it would appear that he realized that such fragmentation would be the result of his belligerent policy.

In 1996, the neoconservatives presented to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu their study “A Clean Break” (produced under the auspices of an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies), which described how Israel could enhance its regional security by toppling enemy regimes. Although this work did not explicitly focus on the fragmentation of states, such was implied in regard to Syria when it stated that “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.” It added that “Damascus fears that the ‘natural axis’ with Israel on one side, central Iraq and Turkey on the other, and Jordan, in the center would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula. For Syria, this could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East which would threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.”

David Wurmser authored a much longer follow-up document to “A Clean Break” for the same Israeli think tank, entitled “Coping with Crumbling States: A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant.” In this work, Wurmser emphasized the fragile nature of the Middle Eastern Baathist dictatorships in Iraq and Syria in line with Lewis’s thesis, and how the West and Israel should act in such an environment.

In contrast to some of the Western democracies as well as Arab states, Israel did not publicly call for Assad’s removal until a few months ago. This, however, does not mean that the Netanyahu government did not support this outcome. This tardiness has a number of likely reasons, one of which being the fear that an Islamist government would replace Assad that would be even more hostile to Israel and more prone than he to launch reckless attacks. Moreover, instability in a country on Israel’s border is of tremendous concern to its security establishment. It is feared that in such a chaotic condition, Assad’s massive chemical weapons arsenal and advanced surface-to-air missile systems could end up in the hands of terrorist groups like the Lebanese Hezbollah, which would not be hesitant to use them against Israel. link

Unlike the armchair destabilization strategists and the neocons, the actual Israeli leaders, including hardline Likudniks such as Prime Minister Netanyahu, have to be concerned about facing the immediate negative political consequences of their decisions even if they believe that the long-term benefits would accrue to the country. This invariably leads to the exercise of caution in regard to dramatic change. Thus, the concern about the immediate security risks cited above likely had a significant effect on their decision-making.

Furthermore, it could have been counterproductive for Israel to express support for the Syrian opposition in its early stages. For Assad has repeatedly maintained that the opposition is orchestrated by foreign powers, using this argument to justify his brutal crackdown. Since Israel is hated by virtually all elements in the Middle East, its open support of the opposition could have turned many Syrians, and much of the overall Arab world, against the uprising. While Israel did not openly support the armed resistance, there have been claims from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence has been providing some degree of covert support along with other Western intelligence agencies, including that of the United States.

Since May of this year, however, the Israeli government has become open in its support for the overthrow of the Assad regime. In June, Netanyahu condemned the ongoing massacre of Syrian civilians by Assad, blaming the violence on an “Axis of Evil,” consisting of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. “Iran and Hezbollah are an inseparable part of the Syrian atrocities and the world needs to act against them,” he proclaimed. This inclusion of Iran and Hezbollah illustrates Israel’s goal of using the Syrian humanitarian issue to advance its own national interest.

If the Assad regime were to fall, Israel would certainly be more secure with a splintered congeries of small statelets than a unified Syria under an anti-Israel Islamist regime. Consequently, staunch neoconservative Harold Rhode presents the fragmentation scenario in a positive light in his article, “Will Syria Remain a Unified State?” (July 10, 2012). In contrast to what has been the conventional Western narrative of the uprising against the Assad regime, which presents a heroic Sunni resistance being brutally terrorized by government forces and pro-government Alawite militias, Rhode writes with sympathy for the pro-government non-Sunni Syrian minorities: “In short, what stands behind most of the violence in Syria is the rise of Arab Sunni fundamentalism in its various forms – whether Salafi, Wahhabi, or Muslim Brotherhood. All of those threaten the very existence of the Alawites, the Kurds, and other members of the non-Sunni ethnic and religious groups.

“It is therefore much easier to understand why the ruling Alawites feel they are fighting a life and death battle with the Sunnis, and why they believe they must spare no effort to survive. It also explains why most of Syria’s other minorities – such as the Druze, Ismailis, and Christians – still largely support the Assad regime.”

For a short aside, the neoconservative background of Harold Rhode is of considerable relevance, providing further evidence for the much denied neocon support for the fragmentation of Israel’s enemies. (The mainstream view is that the neocons are naïve idealists whose plans to transform dictatorships into model democracies invariably go awry.) Rhode, a longtime Pentagon official who was a specialist on the Middle East, was closely associated with neocon stalwarts Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle. He was also a protégé of Bernhard Lewis, with Lewis dedicating his 2003 book, “The Crisis of Islam,” to him. Rhode served as a Middle East specialist for Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy during the administration of George W. Bush, where he was closely involved with the Office of Special Plans, which provided spurious propaganda to promote support for the war on Iraq. Rhode was a participant in the Larry Franklin affair, which involved dealings with Israeli agents, though Rhode was not charged with any crime. Alan Weisman, the author of the biography of Richard Perle, refers to Rhode as an “ardent Zionist” (“Prince of Darkness: Richard Perle,” p.146), more pro-Israel than Perle, which takes some doing since the latter has been accused of handing classified material to the Israelis. Rhode is currently a fellow with the ultra-Zionist Gatestone Institute, for which he wrote the above article.

Obviously the very removal of the Assad regime would be a blow against Israel’s major enemy, Iran, since Syria is Iran’s major ally. Significantly, Assad’s Syria has provided a conduit for arms and assistance from Iran to Hezbollah and, to a lesser extent, Hamas, to use against Israel. If Israel and Iran had gone to war, these arms would have posed a significant threat to the Israeli populace. Moreover, a defanged Hezbollah would not be able to oppose Israeli military incursions into south Lebanon or even Syria.

A fragmented Syria removes the possible negative ramifications of Assad’s removal since it would mean that even if the Islamists should replace Assad in Damascus they would only have a rump Syrian state to control, leaving them too weak to do much damage to Israel and forcing them to focus their attention on the hostile statelets bordering them. Moreover, Israel is purportedly contemplating military action to prevent Assad’s chemical weapons from falling into the hands of anti-Israel terrorists. With such a divided country there is no powerful army capable of standing up to an Israeli military incursion.

The benefits accruing to Israel from the downfall of the Assad regime and the concomitant sectarian fragmentation and conflict in Syria go beyond the Levant to include the entire Middle East region. For sectarian violence in Syria is likely to cause an intensification of the warfare between Sunnis and Shiites throughout the entire Middle East region. Iran might retaliate against Saudi Arabia’s and Qatar’s support for the Syrian opposition by fanning the flames of Shiite Muslim revolution in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich and majority Shiite Eastern Province. Both areas have witnessed intermittent periods of violent protest and brutal government suppression since the Arab Spring of 2011. And Iraq remains a tinderbox ready to explode into ethno-sectarian war among the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds, with violence already on an uptick since the formal departure of American troops in December 2011.

In assessing the current regional situation, American-born Barry Rubin, professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (Herzliya, Israel) and director of its Global Research in International Affairs Center, writes in the Jerusalem Post (“The Region: Israel is in good shape,” July 15, 2012) : “The more I think about Israel’s security situation at this moment, the better it looks.” He goes on to state: “By reentering a period of instability and continuing conflict within each country, the Arabic-speaking world is committing a self-induced setback. Internal battles will disrupt Arab armies and economies, reducing their ability to fight against Israel. Indeed, nothing could be more likely to handicap development than Islamist policies.” link

It should be noted that the “period of instability and continuing conflict” in the Middle East region has been the result of regime change and is in line with the thinking of Oded Yinon who, along with the other aforementioned geostrategic thinkers, pointed out that the major countries of the Middle East were inherently fissiparous and only held together by authoritarian regimes.

America’s removal of Saddam in a war spearheaded by the pro-Israel neoconservatives served to intensify Sunni-Shiite regional hostility and, in a sense, got the destabilization ball rolling. Iran is targeted now, and Israel and its neocon supporters seek to make use of dissatisfied internal elements, political and ethnic—the radical MEK, democratic secularists, monarchists, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, and Azeris— to bring down the Islamic regime. And while Saudi Arabia is currently serving Israeli interests by opposing Iran, should the Islamic Republic of Iran fall, Israel and their supporters would likely turn to Saudi Arabia’s dismemberment, seeking the severance of the predominantly Shiite, oil-rich Eastern Province, with some neocons already having made such a suggestion—e.g., Max Singer, Richard Perle, and David Frum (schemes which have been put on ice while Israel and its supporters have focused on Iran). If everything went according to plan, the end result would be a Middle East composed of disunited states, or mini-states, involved in intractable, internecine conflict, which would make it impossible for them to confront Israeli power and to provide any challenge to Israel’s control of Palestine. The essence of Yinon’s geostrategic vision of Israeli preeminence would be achieved.

Stephen Sniegoski