By: Stephen Lendman
Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov calls it “full-scale civil war.” It’s full-scale but not civil.
Syria’s been invaded. Civil war implies two internal warring sides. That’s very much not the case. Primakov said:
“Mercenaries and volunteers from other states are fighting (Assad) jointly with” violent internal forces. Most Syria opponents are nonviolent. They want peaceful conflict resolution. Washington has other ideas.
“President Obama has given a direct order to the CIA to support the Syrian opposition.”
“That is flagrant interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state, which does not endanger the United States or anyone else.”
“Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding militants. Turkey is giving them active support.” So are other regional countries.
“Russia holds the only correct position,” he added. “We have a moral position: we care for life and security of millions of people and for stability of the huge and important region.”
Syria is strategically important for Moscow. Tartus is its only Mediterranean base. Protecting it is key. Assad is a valued regional ally. It’s in Russia’s interest to support him.
Moscow backed Annan’s peace plan dependent on keeping him in power and having Syrian sovereignty be respected. Its strategy also lets other global allies know it’s committed to back them if needed. Some have their own internal problems and need reassurance.
Regional economic interests are also important. Much more is involved than weapons.
Russia constructed Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and agreed to build three more. Both countries have strategic ties. They also have other economic relations.
Russian Federation regions have additional ones. Both countries cooperate on oil and gas interests.
Russian expertise and technology helped build Syrian infrastructure. It’s also responsible for dozens of industrial facilities. It includes about one-third of its electrical power capacity, another third of its oil-related operations, and help building the Euphrates dam.
Maritime interests are important. Linking Latakia, Syria with Novorossiysk, Russia on the Black Sea facilitates cargo shipments. Gazprom has oil and gas development operations.
Both countries have nuclear energy ties. They also cooperate on other commercial, scientific, military, and environmental issues.
Russia and Syria enjoyed strategic relations for decades. Patrick Seale called Moscow Hafez Assad’s main ally. Given Washington’s regional ambitions, both countries serve each other strategically.
Greater Washington Eurasian control threatens Moscow directly. Preventing it is key. Standing firm on Syria and Iran is vital.
America infests the region with military bases. Offensive missile shield installations target Russia and China. Both countries partnered with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) alliance.
India, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mongolia have observer status. Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners. Expanding the organization is planned.
SCO supports economic cooperation, peace, and national sovereignty. Member states are a potential bulwark against Washington-led NATO aggression.
On June 6 and 7, members met in Beijing. Security and economic cooperation issues were discussed. Washington’s missile shield was condemned.
Its North Africa/Eurasian militarization threatens Russia, China, Iran, and other countries. Syria is ground zero. Holding the line is vital. Odds of succeeding are uncertain. Washington doesn’t quit once strategic plans are implemented.
Assad promises to try. On August 8, SANA state media said he’s determined to defeat terrorists responsible for mass killings and atrocities.
He spoke during a meeting with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili. They met on issues affecting both countries. They agreed that resolving Syria’s crisis depends on internal solutions.
Separately, SANA reported Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi warning about:
“plots which aim at destabilizing peace and stability in the region, instigate conflicts among the minorities and sects which lived together in peace in order to change the situations in the region.”
Salehi met with Turkish officials in Ankara. They discussed 48 Iranian visitors abducted by Syrian insurgents. At issue is ensuring their safety and release. Reportedly three were killed.
Syrian captors said one was a Russian general. They identified him as Major General Vladimir Kuzheez. Moscow’s Defense Ministry called the claim “complete lies.” An official statement added:
“The goal of broadcasting such statements is not just to cause a sensation, but a clear attempt at a slur toward the Russian Army.”
Kuzheev is very much alive. He met with journalists and dismissed reports of his death, saying:
“I want to express thanks to the media for their attention to my person….I want to confirm that I am well and alive in Moscow….I realize that this information is a provocation not only against me but against my country.”
Saudi controlled Al Arabiya broadcast a video featuring Free Syrian Army representatives claiming Kuzheev was killed. They showed what they called his photo ID identity card. It was fake.
The battle for Aleppo continues. Government forces cleared insurgents from Salaheddin. They’re gaining the upper hand. Reports are the city is surrounded.
Five Saudi and two Turkish military officers were captured. One was a Turkish general. Earlier insurgent claims about controlling most of the city were false.
They’re outmanned, outgunned, and outmaneuvered. They’re being defeated. Nonetheless, clearing them from neighborhoods takes time.
Press TV cited reports about insurgents supplied with chemical weapons. It said Turkey gave them surface-to-air Stinger missiles. They came with “thermal rockets and sophisticated weaponry.”
“More than 100 Turkish troops backed with armored vehicles and helicopters entered the Syrian border town of Cerablos in the Kurdish region of Kobani on Tuesday.”
“A spokesman for the Kurdish militias in the border towns of Kobani and Efrin accused the Turkish forces of supplying arms and ammunition to insurgents fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”
“NBC News also reported on July 31 that nearly two dozen MANPADs (man-portable air-defense systems) have been delivered to the insurgents in Syria by Turkey.”
Rick Rozoff also said Turkey has troops in Syria. They threatened to use them to protect a site agreed to in 1921.
Ankara was guaranteed the right to station forces at the Suleyman Shah mausoleum. He’s the grandfather of Ottoman Empire founder Osman I (Osman Bey).
Turkey considers the site and surrounding area sovereign territory. A small military contingent protects it. Whether it’s a wedge for larger numbers and planned belligerency remains to be seen.
Rozoff said the site was “proclaimed a NATO outpost in Syria.” Developments ahead warrant close monitoring. Incrementally they head toward Western and/or regional intervention.
On August 6, Ron Paul warned about more war, saying:
“The administration seems determined to fight yet another war in Syria that has nothing to do with American national interests.”
“Neoconservatives have long demanded that we overthrow the Syrian government before moving on to war against Iran. This bellicosity continues regardless of which party is in the White House.”
“In Syria we see once again we see how our interventionist policies backfire and make us less secure.”
Washington has no business being involved in Syria, he added. “When will we learn our lesson and stop intervening in conflicts….having nothing to do with American national interests?”
Republican and Democrat hawks way outnumber Paul and other congressional doves. Obama heads toward war. Electoral politics dictate timing. Post-election may be planned. He and Romney are like-minded.
It doesn’t matter who wins. Both men support war. Expect it. Only its timing is unknown. Catastrophic consequences look certain.
About the author: Stephen Lendman writes on topics of international importance such as war and peace, American imperialism, corporate dominance, political persecutions and other socio-economic and political issues. He is also the author of ‘How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War’ and the co-author (along with J. J. Asongu) of ‘The Iraq Quagmire: The Price of Imperial Arrogance’. A former marketing research analyst, Lendman also hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour (on the Progressive Radio Network, Thursdays at 10:00 AM & Saturdays/Sundays at noon, US Central Time), that features cutting-edge interviews with distinguished guests. Click here to visit his blog.