Major Regional Military Campaign against Syria in August – September
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc),- The USA, along with anti-Syrian allies, is preparing a major military campaign against Syria in August – September 2013. The United States has officially begun arming predominantly foreign insurgents. US Special Forces are training insurgents in Jordan for the coming campaign. Meanwhile, the international opposition against the arming of the insurgents and the covert war on Syria becomes more vocal.
A Palestinian nsnbc correspondent in Jordan reported, that the additional 300 US Special Forces, which have remained in Jordan after a regional military exercise a month ago, who are stationed in and near the Jordanian city al-Mafraq, are involved in training foreign insurgents, including insurgents with ties to al-Qaeda associated organizations, in special operations.
Special operations are reportedly being prepared, with the intention to target high-profile political and military targets in Syria, in support of a major military push against Syria in August and September.
The Palestinian nsnbc correspondent reports, that staff, following US Secretary of State, John Kerry, on his Middle East visit, has been taking parts in talks with Israeli, Jordanian and Turkish diplomats, military, and intelligence experts, to discuss the coordination of the assault on Syria from a Jordanian, Israeli and Turkish front.
A recent report on nsnbc international revealed, that the Israeli military in the Golan is already involved in direct military operations against Syrian armed forces. The nsnbc correspondent reports, that the nature of the training of those insurgents who are being trained for special operations in August and September suggests, that air strikes against high-profile political and military targets in Syria are being prepared.
While the anti-Syrian alliance is preparing, what amounts to the onset of an open war on Syria, the international opposition against the war is increasingly becoming more vocal.
On Thursday, Germany´s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned the German Parliament, that the risks involved in arming the insurgents are too high and incalculable.
Already in May, during discussions about whether to lift the EU arms embargo and disagreements about the French and British decision to supply weapons to insurgents in Syria, the German Chancellor stated, that Germany would never send weapons to militants in Syria. Angela Merkel said:
“Germany will under no circumstances send weapons to Syria – a country in civil war – no matter how other countries deal with the embargo”.
A comprehensive analysis of the dynamics of the crisis in Syria, by Christof Lehmann, published in October 2012, concludes that part of the US and Israeli Syria strategy is aiming at creating a divergence of interests in the Russian and European energy markets by creating relative insecurity about the European Union´s natural gas supplies from Russian and Iranian providers. The strategy aims, among other, at denying the completion of a gas pipeline from Iran, through Iran and Syria to the Eastern Mediterranean.
One of the primary motivations is, according to the analysis, that neither the USA or Israel would be willing to accept the political leverage Iran would gain in Europe, if the European Union was to receive more than 45 % of its natural gas for the coming 100 – 120 years from Iranian – Russian sources.
On 1 – 2 July 2013, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, convenes in Moscow to discuss long-term contracts and infrastructure projects. Among the members of the GECF who will arrive to the talks in Moscow, are Russia, Iran, Qatar and Venezuela. Whether a possible solution to the root causes of the war on Syria can or will be discussed at the conference is yet unclear.
Also the Czech Republic is becoming increasingly vocal against the arming of insurgents and the war on Syria. The Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg met a delegation from the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change Forces in Syria.
The Czech Foreign Minister and leading members of the Coordination Committee were discussing the situation in Syria and means to support those forces in Syria, who have been working toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict for two years. The committee, as well as political parties, leaders of ethnic and religious communities and special interest and advocacy groups have been engaged in a constructive dialog in cooperation with the Syrian government for almost two years.
The national dialog, which is conducted under the supervision of Syria´s Prime Minister al-Halqi, has been successful on all levels and has succeeded at maintaining Syria´s national integrity. Both the Syrian government, the Baath Party and all other parties and organizations who are taking part in the national dialog welcome the foreign-backed opposition if it wishes to take part in the national dialog and stops the violence, but all of the stakeholders reject, that the foreign backed opposition should have any privileges compared to those of all the other stakeholders.
The Czech Foreign Minister stated to the press, that both sides stressed the importance of the upcoming meeting on Syria in Geneva, and that the discussion between him and the Committee focused on supporting a political and peaceful solution of the crisis in Syria.
Schwarzenberg also stressed, that the Czech Republic supports, that representatives of the opposition inside Syria are accepted as a legitimate part of the Syrian opposition, instead of limiting the opposition´s representation to those ones from abroad. The position of the Czech Republic, against the arming of insurgents, concurs largely with the positions taken by Germany and Austria.
The split within the European Union over Syria and the participation of France and the United Kingdom in poising Russia and especially the EU member states Germany and Czech Republic against Russia, is re-opening an inner European conflict that has its roots in both the first and second world war.
Also Morocco is becoming increasingly vocal in its warnings about the dangers of arming the insurgents. During a joint press conference, together with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Saadeddin al-Othmani, said, that the main principles behind the Moroccan position on Syria are, the national unity of the country, non-interference in its internal affairs, and the backing of every political solution that can lead to a cessation of the violence.
Al-Othmani stressed Morocco´s support for the convening of the Geneva 2 conference, and he assured that he was ready to take part in every endeavor that leads to an end of the bloodshed in Syria.
The Moroccan policy has recently been underpinned, when Moroccan and Spanish security services cooperated in breaking up of a Northern Africa based al-Qaeda network that recruited and deployed insurgents, including minors, to Syria. On Friday 21 June, Spanish authorities broke up the network, before insurgents could be deployed from Spain.
During the joint press conference with his Moroccan counterpart, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, reiterated, that:
”Russia is committed to convening the international conference on Syria according to what has been agreed upon with the Americans on May 7.’…
Asked about the US decision to arm the insurgents via Jordan, the Russian Foreign Minister stressed that it was counterproductive to finding a peaceful resolution and to convening the Geneva 2 conference.
“Arming the insurgents”, said Lavrov, “will merely support the opposition in their position, that they will not take part in negotiations before they have the upper hand in the battlefield”.
Lavrov Demands Investigation Into Serious Violation of UNSC Resolution on Libya. Lavrov stressed, that other than American weapons were being delivered to the insurgents.
He, warned about gross violations of the UN Security Council ban on arms deliveries to and from Libya and demanded an investigation into the shipment of European weapons from Libya, through the Gulf states to Syria, saying:
“Journalists do not only speak about the US administration´s plans on sending weapons to Syria, but also about previously sent weapons, and here I mean weapons purchased from European countries, which were later sent from the Gulf to Syria. If this is true, this is a gross violation of the UN Security Council ban on arms deliveries to and from Libya”.
On 13 April 2013, nsnbc published an article that evaluates a UN Report on Libya and which documents, that Libya has not only become a hub for weapons deliveries to insurgents in Syria, but that Libya is also functioning as a recruitment base for Syria insurgents, and moreover, that Gulf Arab nations are directly implicated. Lavrov also stressed that Russia and Morocco are cooperating with regard to Northern African nations involvement in Syria.
Also India reiterated its position on the importance of finding a political solution to the “crisis in Syria”. During a meeting between the Indian ambassador to Moscow, Ajai Malhotra, and the Russian President´s Special Envoy to the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov, the two sides discussed joint efforts which could help finding a speedy political settlement to the crisis through convening the Geneva 2 conference. The Russian Foreign Ministry informed, that the two sides had met on Friday, to discuss “urgent topics on the Middle East Agenda”.
Iran has condemned the US delivery of weapons to the insurgents, criticized Israel for its involvement, and reiterated calls for a peaceful settlement. Other nations which become increasingly vocal against the arming of insurgents include China, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and South Africa.
So far, all signals are set for a major military assault on Syria in August and September, and the Geneva 2 conference remains an elusive goal. Willingness, from the side of the US Administration, to work with Russia and other partners toward the Geneva 2 conference, is by many analysts perceived as stall tactic, while military preparations continue and intensify, and the “Syria Crisis” is evolving into a regional war.