US President Obama stated that the United States, after the chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus, has an obligation to act ‘as a leader in the world.’ Secretary of State, John Kerry took this a step further when he said ‘….history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency.” In beginning this article, one would find the word ‘game’ a fitting term to use in justifying American foreign policy and examples to come will give some insight as to why. The United States, its statesman and foreign policy machine, having attempted to justify the impending strike in Syria with morality and justification based upon leadership of the so called ‘civilised world.’ This can’t help but leave the observer pondering upon the past given the lofty nature of the statements above.
US President Obama stated in mid-2012 that the use of chemical weapons was a ‘Red-line’ for the United States, the astute observer would no doubt have rung the hypocrisy bell. After all, in late 2004 , when the United States used incendiary white phosphorus against Iraqi civilians, there was ever any talk of an attack on so much as a American toy tank? When the Israeli IDF launched white Phosphorus shells into Gaza in 2009, the world stood silent and no word was conceived or spoken of in relation to punishing the Israeli militarily for its use of what is most certainly a chemical weapon. Whilst John Kerry decries the deaths of an estimated 1429 of the Syrian people in a single incident, it is further worth noting that is a mere fraction of the number that have died as a result of the tyrannical Assad family dynasty. Yet during this time the US has not concerned itself seriously on the military and diplomatic front with the deaths of men, women and children. Rather it has at every point looked to fulfil its interests, which continue to be paid for with the blood of the innocent inside Syria. Ironically, though unsurprisingly, there is congruence between the actions of the United States and the brutal Bashar al Assad. Can one really conclude that the deaths of the Syrian people, or indeed the use of chemical weapons, which have been used before in this conflict in Khan al Assal and other areas, is what is really driving US foreign policy? Or is this all a convenient excuse to justify the real goal or objective. As an additional point, the Syrian regime has possessed mustard gas and sarin for some years and as to how and from where these agents were acquired by the Syrian government, there are some ironic observations, however that it is not the subject of this article.
So why then is a seemingly imminent US strike, with GPS guided tomahawk cruise missiles upon targets in Syria, on the cards? Why does this military strike make up part of the game? Some would have us believe that US credibility is at stake and that Obama has dug himself a diplomatic ditch that he can only hope to shoot himself out of due to past statements about ‘red-lines.’ Others, would say that an attack on the strategic army headquarter bases in Damascus, particularly in Mezzeh and the Qasyoun, along with Syria’s defence systems and those particular divisions that orchestrated the chemical attack in the Damascene suburbs would send a clear message to the Baa’th regime that military escalations of this sort are indeed a ‘red-line.’ Something easier upon imagining, is that the US could well want to attack the regime and at the same time target elements of the opposition to Bashar’s regime that are deemed to be ‘Islamist’ and dangerous to US interests in the inevitable post-Assad Syria. Indeed, the rebel elements in Daraya, Moudamiya and other Damascus suburbs would make prime targets.
Whilst, some of these views are more credible than others, the fundamental point is being missed in the discussion thus far, and that is that the Syrian Revolution has proven itself to be the ‘wild-child’ of the Arab Spring. It has proven to be utterly unpredictable and against the interests of indeed all international powers on all ends of the spectrum, from the United States to Russia and everything in between. Furthermore, the lack of control that outside powers have on those on the ground is striking and what is worse for the west is that those on the street and in the frontlines are espousing overtly Islamic sentiments towards an Islamic Syria, governed by the Shariah of their God. Indeed, whilst some may claim this is a Qatari or Saudi or even Turkish inspired conspiracy, the reality is that what is playing out in Syria is Islamic and overtly at that. Given this nightmare reality for the Americans and the lack of credible alternatives capable of joining the military and political dots on the ground via the alliance of Salim Idris (FSA) and Ahmad al Jarba (SNC), American policy is left with few options.
The game of American foreign policy is thus to continue to allow the murderous blood thirsty and flesh hungry regime to continue it’s deadly rampage destroying Syria until all that remains is sharp jagged broken rock and mortar shell remains for the new emerged Islamic State to build on, should it arise at the hands of those raising its flag and calling daily for its emergence. From this view, further damage to the infrastructure within Syria via so called ‘targeted strikes’ will only continue to aid in this pursuit. It will weaken Syria further militarily and economically, to the point where it will be paralysed. It must furthermore be remembered that the goal of this anticipated operation is not to inspire regime change and thus the question of replacing Assad is still not an option owing to a lack of US backed support on the ground. Ultimately, The United States and Russia are in absolute agreement on the aims of the so called ‘Geneva II’ conference/ initiative which ultimately seeks to bring about a negotiated settlement between the western backed opposition and the Syrian government. The hope of the American foreign policy machine is thus to abort the aim of Islamic political change thus securing its own interests. Russia also has an interest in securing its interests in Syria while never allowing for Islamic political change to occur, as it has demonstrated in Chechnya and Dagestan.
The American foreign policy game in Syria is one that has fundamentally etched into his very being the interests of the red, white and blue above any concern for human dignity, life or concern for any semblance of morality. The Muslim World has been dominated over and controlled for tens of years and its affairs discussed in London, Paris and Washington, instead of Damascus, Cairo and Islamabad. The time has surely now come for the Muslim World to seek true independence from the colonial exploitation it finds itself in and seek its rightful place as a Superpower in its own right, under the sovereignty of the one idea it can unanimously accept as having the right to govern the affairs of life in all its various spheres. Ultimately success lies in unity across borders, unity across strands of thought and political unity exemplified in, that which gave Muslims a shield from the Crusaders of yester –century, the Islamic Khilafah. Other than this, we will continue to see the disasters of yesterday (Afghanistan and Iraq) become the disasters of today and the seemingly impending strike on Syria is another reminder of exactly this.