On record: Interview With US General Wesley Clark (Ret.): US Government Planned To ‘Take Out 7 Countries In 5 Years’: ‘Starting With Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan And Finishing Off Iran’ (Video)
Originally from Belfast, Ireland, Finian Cunningham (born 1963) is a prominent expert in international affairs. The author and media commentator was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For many years, he worked as an editor and writer in the mainstream news media, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. He is now based in East Africa where he is writing a book on Bahrain and the Arab Spring.
– ‘West moves in for Syrian endgame and war on Iran’ (PressTV, Dec 5, 2012):
US President Barack Obama’s renewed warning against Syria this week, that any use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces is a red line triggering direct military assault on the country, can be seen as the Western powers moving towards their endgame of “regime change.”
Washington first raised the specter of Syrian chemical weapons several months ago and warned then that it would be forced to act militarily in order to “secure” such alleged stockpiles.
Now the American president and his officials are rekindling fears of this contingency, with the added alleged development that the Syrian government of President Bashar Al Assad has become so desperate to survive that it is preparing to mobilize chemical warheads.
Speaking in Washington, Obama upbraided the Syria government that “the world is watching” and that there would be “consequences” for any such deployment.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton echoed the warning and described the use of these weapons as “a red line.” Tellingly, she added that if there is “any evidence” that the Syrian military had begun to use chemical warheads then “we are certainly planning to take action.”
Various Western media reported that American officials have over the past week stepped up contact with counterparts in other Western states to formulate a military response. This is said to include limited air strikes and the dispatch of thousands of ground forces.
Previously, the US and other Western governments had declined to commit military forces to Syria, as they had done in Libya last year, preferring the covert option of proxy forces, including Persian Gulf Arab weapon suppliers and mercenary fighters. That calculus seems to be now changing.
The first point to note from above is that the allegations of Syria mobilizing chemical weapons are stemming from unnamed and unverifiable American military intelligence sources, who have been busily briefing, anonymously, the major news media organizations, including CNN and the New York Times. These “reports” are then amplified by other Western media outlets, such as the Washington Post, BBC, Financial Times and Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
This is the same process of disinformation that set Iraq up for an illegal nine-year war of aggression, beginning in 2003 – with over one million people killed – over that country’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
It is the same scurrilous, criminal process that has set up Iran up for crippling – and illegal – economic sanctions over unfounded allegations of nuclear weapons, which are in turn fuelling tensions towards a possible all-out war on the Islamic Republic.
That’s why Obama and Clinton’s latest warning words to Syria are ominous. “The world is watching… for any evidence of chemical weapons.” In other words, the world is being prepared for a “shocking revelation” by American and Western spy agencies and ventriloquist media, who are about as trustworthy as a nest of scorpions and rattlesnakes.
The second point to note is that the Syrian government has repeatedly denied possession of chemical weapons and that if it had such munitions it would not deploy them against its own citizens.
Apart from the CIA and other anonymous secret service agents doing their best through trusty media outlets to whip up hysteria about sarin, VX, mustard gas and other horrors, the other tactic by Western forces is to portray the Damascus government as increasingly panicky and therefore sufficiently under duress that it would resort to such weapons.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told media, “We believe that with the regime’s grip on power loosening, with its failure to put down the opposition through conventional means, we have an increased concern about the possibility of the regime taking the desperate act of using its [alleged] chemical weapons.”
Well, a big part of the reason unmentioned by the White House for why the Syrian military is failing to put down the opposition is because of the criminal, massive flow of weapons, funds, logistics, mercenaries and covert personnel that the American government and its Western allies and regional proxies have been funneling into Syria.
There is no doubting that after 21 months of unrelenting violence, the Western-backed insurgents and foreign mercenaries are taking a heavy toll on Syrian society and the Damascus government’s control.
Reports of recent significant military gains by the foreign-backed militants have indeed intensified efforts by the government to maintain its authority over the ravaged country.
In particular, American-made surface-to-air missiles, reportedly supplied by Qatar and also possibly Saudi Arabia, appear to have lately given the anti-government militants crucial extra firepower and important tactical and territorial advantages.
Western military sources are reportedly of the view that the Syrian national army and air force retain the upper-hand and are too strong to be seriously threatened with defeat.
Nevertheless, with the Western-fomented havoc wreaking Syria – up to 700,000 refugees, five million displaced, 30-50,000 dead out of a population of 20 million – it is all too easy to portray and perceive an atmosphere of doom and desperation, which is then cited by the White House and its anonymous media agents as a “tipping point” for the imminent deployment of alleged chemical weapons of mass destruction.
To this end, there seems to be a concerted effort in the past few days to convey the image of a country falling apart.
Turkish officials have disclosed that it was fears that Syria may use chemical weapons against opposition militants on its border areas that prompted Ankara to request the supply of Patriot anti-missile systems in the coming weeks.
Both the UN and the European Union are reported as closing down activities in Syria on grounds of “security concerns” and both organizations are said to be preparing for the imminent evacuation of all staff from the country.
Regional airlines, including Egypt Air and Dubai’s Emirates Airline, have this week cancelled regular services to Syria on the basis of “safety concerns”. Both countries, it should be noted, are firmly in the Western geopolitical camp of demanding Assad’s overthrow.
Last weekend, the Syrian population was cut off from telecommunications in a three-day blackout that was blamed on sabotage. That too is serving to heighten an atmosphere of duress that the Western powers can cite as “evidence” that the Syrian authorities are “preparing to use chemical weapons”.
After 21 months of international conspiracy, the American-led propaganda war on Syria seems to be moving towards the endgame of providing the political cover for direct Western military attack on that unfortunate country. This is, of course, outrageously criminal. But it is entirely predictable from the bigger picture strategic agenda of Washington and its allies: to roll over the anti-imperialist Syrian enemy, install a pliable pro-Western regime, and then pave the way for the next round of war in the region – against Iran.