“Why does the U.S. insist on regime change in Syria?” asked Sonia in The Syrian.
“Syria is the link to Iran,” Tony replied. “The Syrian debacle is really a proxy war between the U.S. and Iran. Both Israel and the U.S. think Iran is trying to undermine Sunni dominance and stir up Arab nationalism and so do Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. The best way to destabilize Iran is through Syria. If Syria collapses, so the thinking goes, Iran will implode.”
There are only three countries in the Middle East that are not totally within the U.S. orbit —Iran, since the 1979 revolution, Syria, which has experienced rarely-on-and-mostly-off relations with Washington for decades, and Iraq, a bombing target of four U.S. presidents, the object of two wars and years of killer sanctions, now closely tied to Iran. It so happens that these three countries are not only allies, but Iran and Iraq have majority Shiite populations and Syria is led by the Alawite (Shiite derivative) government of President Bashar al-Assad. In addition, these three countries are backed by China and Russia which the U.S. finds intolerable.
Given it’s distain for anything Russian, it is not surprising that the U.S. refused to adopt the Russia-backed U.N. Resolution in 2012, a year after the Syrian war began, which proposed effective measures that could have eliminated the tensions and ended the conflict.
“The interest of the Syrian people was never their first priority,” said former United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi who tried to help broker that cease-fire.
In a recent debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hillary Clinton referenced the 2012 Russian-proposed U.N. Security Council Resolution.
“You know, the Security Council finally got round to adopting a resolution. At the core of that resolution is an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012, which set forth a cease-fire for moving toward a political resolution, trying to bring the parties at stake in Syria together.”
According to Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in his February 16, 2016 Huffington Post article Hillary Clinton and the Syrian Bloodbath, “Clinton was the obstacle, not the solution, to a ceasefire being negotiated. It was U.S. intransigence—Clinton’ intransigence—that led to the failure of the U.N. Resolution in the spring of 2012, a point well known among diplomats. Despite Clinton’s insinuation, there was no 2012 ceasefire, only escalating carnage. Clinton bears heavy responsibility for that carnage, which has by now displaced more than 10 million Syrians and left more than 250,000 dead.”
Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel have all clamored to remove Iran’s influence in Syria. This is incredibly naïve. Iran has been around as a regional power for about 2,700 years. And Shia Islam is not about to disappear. Clinton joined Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel to try to isolate and eventually defeat Iran. In 2010 she supported secret negotiations between Israel and Syria to attempt to wrestle Syria from Iran’s influence. When those talks failed, the CIA and Clinton moved on to Plan B—the overthrow of Assad.
Again, according to Jeffrey Sachs, in early 2011 Turkey and Saudi Arabia leveraged local protests against Assad to try to foment conditions for his ouster. By the spring of 2011, the CIA and the U.S. allies were organizing an armed insurrection against the Assad regime. On August 18, 2011, the U.S. government made public its position: “Assad must go.”
The U.S. policy in Syria has been a massive failure. Assad did not go, and was not defeated. Russia and Iran came to his support. Yet the hubris of the U.S. in its approach to regimes it does not like seems to know no bounds. The tactic of CIA-led regime changes is now so deeply enmeshed as a “normal” instrument of U.S. foreign policy that it is hardly noticed by the American public.
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