The ongoing conflict in Syria has always been a proxy conflict aimed at Iran, as well as nearby Russia, and more distant China. As far back as 2007, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh warned in his 9-page New Yorker report “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” that a region-wide sectarian war was being engineered by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel – all of whom were working in concert even in 2007, to build the foundation of a sectarian militant army.
The report would cite various serving and former US officials who warned that the extremists the West was backing were “preparing for cataclysmic conflict.”
In retrospect, considering the emergence of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), Hersh’s warning has turned out to be prophetic. The destabilization of Syria and Lebanon were noted in particular as prerequisites for a coming war with Iran. Confirming this would be the lengthy policy treatise published by the Brookings Institution in 2009 titled, “Which Path to Persia?”
In it, it is openly discussed that regime change for the purpose of establishing regional hegemony is the only goal of the United States and its regional partners, with attempts to frame the conflict with Iran as an issue of “national security” and “global stability” serving as mere canards.
Throughout the document, US policymakers admit that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are merely one of several pretexts being used to foster political subversion from within and justify war from beyond Iran’s borders.
…the most salient advantage this option has over that of an American air campaign is the possibility that Israel alone would be blamed for the attack. If this proves true, then the United States might not have to deal with Iranian retaliation or the diplomatic backlash that would accompany an American military operation against Iran. It could allow Washington to have its cake (delay Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon) and eat it, too (avoid undermining many other U.S. regional diplomatic initiatives).
Various diplomatic postures are discussed in consideration of the best formula to mitigate complicity amid a “unilateral” Israeli strike on Iran. Of course, and as the report notes, US-Israeli foreign policy is unified with Israel’s defenses a product of vast and continuous US support. Anything Israel does, therefore, no matter the political or diplomatic facade constructed, it does with America’s full backing – hence the inclusion of “encouraging” in the title of the chapter.
Today, an alleged “fallout” between the US and Israel has been grabbing headlines. Beyond the most superficial of political commentary, there have been no real manifestations of this “fallout.” Israel is still receiving immense aid both military and political from the United States, and Israeli foreign policy is still one with Washington.
The purpose of the feigned “fallout” is to produce room between the US and Israel, so that possible upcoming “unilateral” actions taken by Israel can be disavowed by a “cold” US.
A row between the US and Benjamin Netanyahu has deepened, with the Israeli leader accusing America and others of “giving up” on trying to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. The US secretary of state questioned Mr Netanyahu’s judgement on the issue.
This is precisely the political charade implied by the Brookings Institution in their 2009 report as being necessary before any so-called “unilateral” action by Israel could be taken. In reality there is no row, simply a need for establishing plausible deniability ahead of an egregious act of unwarranted, unjust military aggression.
The War on Syria: Containing Iran Before, During, and After Airstrikes
Such theatrics are but one troubling sign that aggression toward Iran is still very much in the cards, that current negotiations are but a smokescreen for preparations to strike Iran anyway regardless of what concession it is willing to make, and that such aggression may take place once the US and its regional partners believe Syria has been reduced to its weakest state possible – if outright regime change is seen as impossible.
Brookings states clearly that:
As the conclusion discusses, an air campaign against Iran’s nuclear sites would likely have to be coupled with a containment strategy—before, during, and especially after the strikes. Containment would be necessary to hinder Iran from reconstituting its nuclear program, prevent it from retaliating against the United States and its allies, and to deal with Iran’s support for violent extremist groups and other anti-status quo activities.
Admittedly, part of that containment strategy have been attempts to destroy Syria and Lebanon – where the majority of Iran’s regional support is based and where Iran would marshal support from in the immediate aftermath of an unprovoked attack on its territory by US-Israeli aggression.
In addition to propping up terrorists across the region to attack Iran’s allies abroad, the Brookings report dedicated an entire chapter to “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority and Opposition Groups.” Here, Brookings talks about backing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its military wing, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – the latter being a verified terrorist organization, previously listed by the US State Department as such, and guilty of killing not only Iranian civilians throughout decades of terrorism, but also US military personal and US civilian contractors.
For those who have difficulties believing the US would back Al Qaeda terrorists for the purpose of overthrowing the governments of Libya, Egypt, and Syria, they need only look at overt and continuous support for MEK terrorists in a bid to overthrow the government of Iran to uncover the reality of Washington’s willingness to sponsor terrorism.
Brookings would openly admit that:
…even if U.S. support for an insurgency failed to produce the overthrow of the regime, it could still place Tehran under considerable pressure, which might either prevent the regime from making mischief abroad or persuade it to make concessions on issues of importance to the United States (such as its nuclear program and support to Hamas, Hizballah, and the Taliban). Indeed, Washington might decide that this second objective is a more compelling rationale for supporting an insurgency than the (much less likely) goal of actually overthrowing the regime.
Brookings describes in exceptional detail how the US would organize its proxy terrorists. It would claim:
Insurgencies take a long time to succeed, when they succeed at all. It takes time for insurgents to identify leaders and recruit personnel, establish bases and gather equipment, and learn tactics and proficiency with weapons. It takes even longer to win popular support, erode the morale of the government’s armed forces, and then undermine the government’s legitimacy.
It would also claim:
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could take care of most of the supplies and training for these groups, as it has for decades all over the world. However, Washington would need to decide whether to provide the groups with direct military assistance…
And finally, it would admit:
To protect neighboring countries providing sanctuary to the insurgents. Any insurgency against the Iranian regime would need a safe haven and conduit for arms and other supplies through one or more of Iran’s neighbors.
This precise strategy has been implemented regarding Syria. Material support for terrorists operating in Syria has been provided for years by the West, with the West’s vast media monopolies providing rhetoric to undermine the legitimacy of the Syrian government, and US-created sanctuaries outside of Syria (primarily in Turkey and Jordan) for terrorists to to seek safe havens in and through which a torrent of arms, cash, equipment, and fighters flow.
When understanding that the war in Syria is but a lead up to a larger conflict with Iran – with a literal signed confession created by US policymakers clearly serving as the foundation for several years of American foreign policy across the Middle East – one begins to understand the urgent imperative incumbent upon those who, for the sake of their own self-preservation, are tasked with stopping it.
Russian and Chinese efforts to obstruct US designs in Syria are about more than selfish regional interests, they are a matter of self-preservation, stopping the conflict in Syria from spilling into Iran next, southern Russia afterwards, and eventually enveloping western China as well.
That the US has committed itself to fueling chaos in Syria despite the unlikelihood of actually overthrowing the government in Damascus, costing tens of thousands of innocent people their lives, illustrates the callousness of US foreign policy, highlighting that Western sponsorship of terrorism around the world constitutes perhaps the most egregious, continuous, and most horrifically demonstrable threat to global peace and stability in our age.
As the US and Israel conduct their latest diplomatic charade, a harbinger of even more chaos to come, those concerned must read the policy papers of the West and understand the true nature of their methodology if ever they hope to expose it and stop it.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.