The Syria War, Preventing a General War in the Middle East, Europe and Beyond
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The crisis in Syria or Syria war, which is in its third year, has so far cost more than 70,000 lives, displaced millions, and is increasingly developing into a regional conflict of mind-boggling complexity. The dynamics of inner European conflicts between France and the UK on one hand, and Germany on the other, and their respective positions with regard to bellicose US and allied ambitions are as complex as they are kept out of the public discourse.
The support for the veracity of assessments, according to which the USA is utilizing the Syria crisis to create a scenario in which the EU, which is increasingly developing into a threat for the survival of US dominance by the means of the military-backed Petro-Dollar, is positioned for a military conflict with Russia, has become significantly stronger since December 2012 and failure to reach an agreement between Russia and the EU over energy security.
The scheduled International Syria Conference which may be held as early as by the end of May, could very well be the proving stone by which it will be determined whether a genuine, peaceful resolution of the “Syria War” is possible or whether it will be spiraling into a regional war which very well may spread into Europe. A solution for the so-called “Crisis in Syria” cannot not be found unless it is found within a context that simultaneously and comprehensively addresses a number of related conflicts.
The conflicts between leading member states of the European Union; The conflicts between leading EU member states and the USA; The decades-old neo-colonialist problems between France and Central Africa, which are causing a conflict between France and other EU member states; the United States creation of tensions between the European Union and Russia over energy-security; the unavoidable end to the Bretton Woods monetary system and the urgent need for a non-conflict based new approach to a global economy.
The following analysis is an attempt to provide a realistic draft assessment of the current situation and the risk for a general war in the Middle East and Europe. It drafts the interplay between the above mentioned factors, elicits the urgency for a comprehensive course change in international politics and suggest the minimum and urgent initiatives which would have to be taken in order to avert two regional wars with catastrophic global consequences.
Syria Crisis – A Misnomer. The situation in Syria has been addressed as Arab Spring, popular uprising, revolution, insurgency, attempted subversion, jihad, democratic struggle, preemptive airstrikes, and a cohort of other denominators. The situation has, over the course of its evolution, included elements of all of the above. However, there exists ample evidence to document that the situation from its onset has been, and still is a war. It may be an undeclared war that is largely being waged by unconventional and illegal means, but it is a war nevertheless.
Any attempt to arrive at a successful, peaceful, political resolution of this war has to be based in a language for the discourse, that has been cleared of euphemisms, positioning, scapegoating and other flaws which are rooted in a dishonest social construction of the actual facts.
Mistake of historical proportions. Maintaining that the war in Syria began with popular protests would be a historical mistake. It would be comparable to stating, that World War One began with the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, 1914 in Sarajevo , without investigating the motivation of the gunman, his ties to “The Black Hand”, to foreign powers and to neglect the entire historical context from the Napoleonic wars and up to the shots in Sarajevo.
Moreover, not to be addressing the evolution of the war on Syria as a series of policy decisions which have led to the systematic manufacturing of the war at a time when catalyzing situations, which are related to energy-security, energy-policy, and the event that has been described by the euphemism the Arab Spring presented itself, would be the single greatest obstacle to preventing, that the war in Syria turns into a Sarajevo – like situation.
A Sarajevo-like situation, that is, a situation in which the events begin determining the decisions of the policy makers instead of the policy makers being the ones who are determining their decisions and the course of the events.
The Syria war is rapidly approaching a “Sarajevo -like” scenario, in which the Syria war would develop a catastrophic dynamic in and on itself. The first and most important steps toward preventing this extremely dangerous and tragic situation are, to take steps toward using an honest language to the discourse, to discuss the discourse on the basis of an understanding of the fact, that the war was being planned long before the evolution of the first popular protests in Syria, and to understand the historical function of the Arab Spring as a catalyzing phenomenon which has determined the timing of the implementation of a long planned war. Furthermore, the ailing Dollar, the near collapse of the Bretton Woods institutions and economy, and US – EU rivalry which results in a US push for conflict between Russia and the EU also have to be taken into account an become part of the negotiations.
War Plans against Syria and other Countries existed long before “The Arab Spring”.
Early plans for the war have existed in the form of several studies, policy papers and policy decisions, years before the first public protests in Syria in 2011. Although it would be a mistake to claim, that the war is the incarnation or implementation of any specific one of these policies or plans, all of them have contributed to the evolution of the current situation by guiding decision making processes.
One of the single most important of these policies is expressed in “The Future Security Environment in the Middle East, Conflict, Stability and Political Change” , published in 1996, which the US Air Force and the US Department of Defense commissioned from the RAND Corporation. (1 It constitutes part of a complex of policy and strategy papers and decisions, which are generally known under the name “The Greater Middle East Project”.
One primary objective for these studies was to assess the feasibility of a division of Syria and Turkey into smaller states and the implications of this development with regard to energy security, US hegemony, and other factors. One of the primary objectives with the “balkanization” of Syria and Turkey was, and still is, the establishment of a Kurdish state, a Kurdish Corridor, which has the function to secure the flow of oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean coast.
High ranking officers of the Turkish military have been warning about the plan for years. So has the chairman of the Turkish Workers´Party who latest detailed the plan in his 2012 article “ A ´Kurdish Corridor´ to be set up by the US & Israel”. (2
In a 2012 interview, the Security and Energy Security Expert Agha Humayun Amin, a retired Major of Pakistan´s military, who has been working as security consultant on three major gas and oil pipeline projects in the Greater Middle East, assesses the RAND Corporation´s Greater Middle East Project and the Kurdish Corridor within the context of plans for the establishment of a U.S. / NATO controlled corridor from the Eastern Mediterranean to Pakistan´s Baluchistan province, along “the soft, energy rich underbelly of Russia´s Asian Republics”. (3 Other examples of such prototype war plans which needed a catalyst are the Brookings Institution´s “Which Path to Persia” from 2009 (4, and the Brookings Institutions´s “Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change”, which is a 2012 adaption of previously existing plans or studies. (5
In other words, the so called Arab Spring was the catalyzing development that motivated certain international actors to begin implementing long developed plans. As it will become more evident below, the Arab Spring was the catalyst, not the cause.
The US Department of Defense has according to Wesley Clark had plans to wage a war on Libya and Syria ten years before the onset of the Arab Spring. The US American General Wesley Clark wrote on page 130 of his book “Winning Modern Wars”:
“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
…He said it with reproach–with disbelief, almost–at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. …I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned.” (6
It would be possible to provide volumes of evidence and witness testimony, from among other, high ranking Turkish military officers, many of whom are currently imprisoned on manufactured and trumped-up charge for espionage, backed up by complicit media, in the so-called Ergenkonen case.(7
While general plans, policy papers and strategies have been developed since the 1990th, there are two catalyzing key events, which determined the timing of the decision to draft and implement an actual “war plan”.
In 2007 the worlds largest known reserves of natural gas, the PARS gas fields in the Persian Gulf, which are shared by Qatar and Iran, were discovered and began being developed.
In 2007 it was discovered that the gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean Levanthine Basin held about 70 % more gas than previous assessments had indicated.
The geo-politic and energy-security implications related to these two discoveries and developments of the resources by two competing cartels, are a direct cause of the war in Syria. One more direct cause for the war is, that Iranian and Russian predominance over these resources constitutes one of the most serious threats to the already ailing Bretton Woods monetary system. More about the Bretton Woods, the (f)ailing US Dollar, the non-existence of German Gold in the USA, and the BRICS will follow in detail below.
The energy and geo-political analyst F. William Engdahl was one of the first to warn about a regional energy war, that could develop as a consequence of the discovery of the gas reserves and subsequent political, economic and other consequences of their discovery. (8
The Russian South Stream pipeline project had shown to be more competitive than the US-backed Nabucco project. Moreover, the newly discovered PARS gas fields were situated in the geo-politically volatile Persian Gulf and shared by Qatar and Iran. A cartel, consisting of Iran, Iraq and Syria, with Russian influence and expertise, would develop a USD 10 billion pipeline project that would deliver the gas from Iran, through Iraq and Syria to the Syrian Mediterranean Coast, ending not far from the sole Russian naval base in the Mediterranean, which is located in Tartus, Syria. Moreover, this pipeline and the infrastructure which was to be built in Syria, could be connected to the large new gas fields in the Levanthine Basin.
The Geo-Politic Implications of Russian and Iranian Gas Pipeline Projects in the Middle East not acceptable for the USA, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Had the completion of the PARS gas pipeline not been obstructed by the war in Syria, it would have begun in Iran, traversed Iraq and Syria, and ended at the Eastern Mediterranean coast of Syria, near Tartous. The pipeline has so far been completed to the region near the Syrian capital Damascus. Both the war in Syria and the recent peace between the PKK and Turkey, resurgence of sectarian violence in Iraq are directly related to, or cause by the geo-political consequences which a completion of the pipeline would have had.
In 2012 Europe received about 22 – 26 per cent of its natural gas from Russia, via the North Stream pipeline and the Ukraine. The completion of the South Stream pipeline added to this to such a degree that the EU receives the largest part of the gas it will consume over the coming 100 – 120 years from Russia. After the completion of the PARS pipeline the EU would receive more than 45 per cent of all of the gas it will consume over the coming 120 years from Russia and Iran.
The political leverage Iran and Russia would acquire in the European Union are unacceptable for Israel and for the USA. Israel is vehemently opposed to the political leverage Iran would acquire in questions such as the EU´s acceptance of the occupation of Palestine and continued support for an Israeli policy that counters Iranian regional hegemony.
For the USA the completion of the PARS gas pipeline constitutes the single greatest geo-politic threat to the value of the militarily enforced Petro-Dollar and to regional hegemony in both the Middle East and Europe.
The looming European Conflict.
The European Union is by no means as coherent an political or geo-political entity as one could be led to believe. Most EU member states and especially Germany would be looking forward to an increased interdependence of the Russian and European Union´s market economies, energy sectors, currencies, and increased partnership with Russia in terms of security, was it not for the fact that the USA is using its leverage, together with Israel, to derail that development.
The simmering conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, over charges for gas that transits the Ukraine en route to the EU was warmly “supported” by the USA. The dispute began in 2005, when the Ukraine “diverted” gas which was on transit to the EU for its own use. Confronted by Russia, the Ukraine first denied, but had to admit it in the light of evidence. The Ukraine however, continued “taking” gas and called it “payment for the transit”. This payment for transit however, was in breech of existing contracts, according to which the Ukraine already received payments from Russia. Russia finally responded by closing for all gas to the Ukraine. (9
Although it is not much discussed, the USA played a central role in supporting the Ukraine´s courage to blackmail Russia. The disputes are settled but the insecurity remains. Russia responded by building the North Stream gas pipeline from St Petersburg, Russia to Germany, via the Baltic Sea.
The manufacturing of the war in Syria by the USA, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, Israel, Turkey and to a lesser degree the U.A.E., has again threatened European energy security. A war in Syria, especially a war that develops into a regional war that would involve Turkey and threaten the security of the Russian South Stream pipeline would be a most serious threat to the European Union´s energy security.
The division between EU member states over Syria and the Middle East as well as over Africa is becoming ever more visible. While the UK and France are supporting the US led aggression against Syria, Germany is more reluctant and is calling for a peaceful resolution of the war in Syria. Likewise, there are strong predominantly German led powers at the European Council who have been lobbying for a change in the Africa policy of France. Another strong indicator for a looming European conflict is as unrelated as it may seem to be, is the US led 2013 Korea pivot and the fact that both Russia and China went along with sanctions against the DPRK. Sanctions, which effectively have prevented the transformation of the DPRK´s economy with strong German support, as it was planned for 2013. (10
The international conference on Syria, which is to take place after 20 to 45 days of preparations is, if it can be arranged at all, and even if it should succeed at bringing both representatives of the Syrian government and the foreign backed “opposition” to the negotiating table, bound to head for failure. Preventing a looming regional war in the Middle East and in Europe requires more than such a conference could deliver. It however be a starting point for defusing the war by a cease fire.
In the next section, and before returning to the Middle est and Syria in greater detail, we will examine US pressure for conflict between the EU and Russia and its manifestations in Korea, Russia and Germany, a French German conflict over Africa. (11
1) The Future Security Environment in the Middle East, Conflict, Stability and Political Change. Nora Bensahel and Daniel L. Byman, 1996, RAND Corporation. Published online at http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/2005/MR1640.pdf
2) A ´Kurdish Corridor`to be set up by the US & Israel. Dr. Dogun Perencik, 2012, Chairman of The Workers´Party – Turkey, published online at nsnbc international at http://nsnbc.me/2013/02/06/a-kurdish-corridor-to-be-set-up-by-the-us-israel/
3) The volatility of Gas, Geo-Politics and the Greater Middle East. An Interview with Major Agha H. Amin , 2012, published on nsnbc international at http://nsnbc.me/2013/02/01/the-volatility-of-gas-geo-politics-and-the-greater-middle-east-an-interview-with-major-agha-h-amin/
4) Which Path to Persia, Brookings Institution, 2009, online at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/108902116/brookings-institution-s-which-path-to-persia-report
5) Saving Syria: Options for Regime Change, 2012, Brookings Institution, online at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/108893509/brookingssyria0315-syria-saban
6) Winning Modern Wars, Wesley Clark, 2003, by Public Affairs & Persus Books Group. Cambridge, USA.
7) THE ROLE PLAYED BY THE TURKISH PRESS IN THE ERGENEKON LAW CASE** 1 June 2011, Cüneyt Akalın – Elif Eral, Геополитика (Geopolitics), journal of the Moscow State University, in issue 9 – 2011. Online at the website of the Workers´Party – Turkey, at http://inter.ip.org.tr/lib/pages/detay.asp?goster=tbelgegoster&idbelge=171
8) Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War. F. William Engdahl, 2012, published at nsnbc international at http://nsnbc.me/2012/10/25/syria-turkey-israel-and-a-greater-middle-east-energy-war/
9) Russian Ukrainian Gas Disputes, Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia%E2%80%93Ukraine_gas_disputes
10) Korea Crisis and Sanctions Designed to Sabotage Transformation of DPRK Economy in 2013, Christof Lehmann , 2013, online at nsnbc international at: http://nsnbc.me/2013/04/20/korea-crisis-and-sanctions-designed-to-sabotage-transformation-of-dprk-economy-in-2013/
11) French Africa Policy Damages African and European Economies. Christof Lehmann, 2012, nsnbc international, online at http://nsnbc.me/2012/10/12/french-africa-policy-damages-african-and-european-economies/