Friday, September 06, 2013

Pepe Escobar analyzes Obama's motives RE the Syrian situation

OpEdNews Op Eds 9/5/2013 at 23:49:40
G20 hijacked by scan/drone/bomb Obama Doctrine
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Source: RT

Children play at a damaged street in Deir al-Zor August 30, 2013. Picture taken August 30, 2013. (Reuters/Khalil Ashawi) 

The G20 summit in St. Petersburg was supposed to be a serious discussion about the extreme turmoil affecting the global economy -- especially in the West. Instead, the only growth and job creation in sight will be for the US military- industrial complex.

Another beneficiary will be assorted mercenaries plying their trade in the Levant. 

The original Russian agenda is a road map towards stimulating "economic growth and job creation."

Confronted with a horrendous economic scenario -- with 90 percent of new jobs in the US qualifying as temporary, low wage and with no benefits -- the "wag the dog" response of the Obama administration is to start a new war in Syria to the benefit of, who else, Israel and the House of Saud (who will be picking up the tab). 

Talk about the Obama Doctrine reaching new heights.

We make our own reality  

For a while, the world was fooled by the notion that the Obama doctrine -- extricating the US from George "Dubya" Bush's disastrous wars -- would direct the superpower towards a modus vivendi with a multipolar world. That was a myth. 

Add to it another myth; the "pivoting to Asia" -- significantly announced by Obama at the Pentagon -- selling the notion that from now on Washington would focus on containing its rival for real, Beijing. 

Yet most of the "pivoting" so far has been pure hype -- as Beijing quickly noticed. And the Middle East never left the equation -- as the Obama administration kept performing cataclysmic geopolitical somersaults to finesse its "doctrine."

And what a mess of a doctrine this is. Obama has given his blessing to every momentary "winner" in Egypt -- from the sinister SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the Sisi military dictatorship.

G8 leaders (L-R) Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, France's President Francois Hollande, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta stand on the podium for the family photograph on the second day of the G8 summit at the Lough Erne resort near Enniskillen in Northern Ireland on June 18, 2013. (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

It has "led from behind" in Libya, when in fact the bombing of Libya was initiated by AFRICOM and then transferred to NATO (that is, the African and European arms of the Pentagon). 

It reconfigured the Global War on Terror (GWOT) into a newspeak-laden "Overseas Contingency Operations' (OCO), in fact a "kinetic" shadow war crammed with drones and death squads. 

It weaponized hardcore Islamists and even Al-Qaeda offshoots in one country while supporting military goons in another; it solemnly brushed aside real pro-democracy protests (as in Bahrain); and in Syria, after being defied for over two-and-a-half years on the "Assad must go" red line, it's about to resort to default mode; good ol' democracy bombed from above.

I have qualified this mess as the indispensable (bombing) nation syndrome -- the benign hymn of the last resort that every "idealistic" US President is required, sooner or later, to sing. 

In Obama's case, the hymn comes with the requisite Gotterdammerung overtones. We're talking about the fragile ego of a pampered teenager blown to smithereens because, recklessly, he drew a "red line"  without thinking about the serious consequences; and now, afflicted by hubris and terrified of losing face, he's on a path to deliver some heavy metal.

The narrative is not exactly uplifting; our tormented "hero," weasel-style, is trying to extricate himself from the responsibility, stating that "US credibility" is on the line, and not his own. He seems not to have noticed that US "credibility" -- not to mention US Tomahawk diplomacy -- is already shattered all across the developing world (European poodles, though, bravely resist). 

Whatever I say is legal, goes 

Before the "red line" fiasco, our Wagnerian lost soul would have profited from the G20 to once more lobby President Putin to extradite a real hero, Edward Snowden. Now he will be lobbying for his puny Tomahawk diplomacy. French President Francois Hollande, self-styled new American attack poodle, is already yapping. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may join him. Forget about discussing that pesky global economy.

Yet the majority of the G20 member-nations, from spied-upon Brazil and Mexico to Indonesia and Argentina, not to mention China, find this whole business utterly disgusting. They are very much aware that according to the UN Charter, article 2(4) makes it ILLEGAL for any country to use force or threaten to use force against another country; and article 2(7) makes an intervention in an internal or domestic dispute in another country also ILLEGAL.

The G20 might at least be a platform to discuss secret, serious diplomacy involving the US, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia to organize a diplomatic way out, leading to free and fair elections in Syria in 2014. Wait; this process already exists. It's the Geneva II conference, which has been postponed month after month because the Syrian (armed) opposition refuses to discuss anything.

AFP Photo/Kirill Kudryavtsev

The Obama Doctrine has bombed not only the current G20 but in fact any possibility of a diplomatic solution for the Syrian tragedy. For starters, Obama obviously never read Sun Tzu. Naive is an understatement; he telegraphed his move to the "enemy," as in, "Hang in there; my bombs are coming, maybe now, maybe next week." He said the whole thing would be "limited," a "slap on the wrist."

But now the "slap" is morphing into an iron glove, hijacked by the war lobby in Capitol Hill via the Orwellian rhetoric of "change the momentum in the battlefield" -- code for what this has always been about from the beginning: regime change.

Bombing one of the oldest cities in the world during a perverse three-month window will do nothing but perpetuate the war (which is, essentially, the Obama administration agenda). The Pentagon never does "limited"  or "tailored" stuff. This is going to be a much deadlier version of NATO in Kosovo deployed as the Air Force of the Albanian/Kosovars -- then promoted from "terrorists" to "freedom fighters" (just like foreign mercenaries in Syria); NATO wouldn't be foolish to have Western Europeans as "boots on the ground."

The spin in Brussels is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- who needs to face an election in two weeks -- supported by Camembert attack dog Hollande, has been posing as the middle-woman between Putin and Obama, trying to delay the Tomahawks. That's the rationale behind the latest BND -- German intelligence -- report, which contains "evidence" of a dodgy phone call involving a Hezbollah higher-up and the Iranian embassy (presumably in Beirut, though it's not specified). As if Hezbollah would discuss sensitive information on non-encrypted systems. Putin obviously won't be convinced by this new "evidence" to drop his support for Assad.

And even while this charade goes on, Moscow has been cleverly spreading its trade and commercial wings over an economically- and politically-ravaged Europe. Russia is no less than filling a US vacuum in Europe -- as much as China filled a US vacuum in Africa before the Pentagon counterpunched with AFRICOM. 

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo/Jewel Samad)

Keep your eye on Pipelineistan 

By now the different, sometimes converging, agendas of all those who want war on Syria are crystal clear. Essentially, it's "the road to Damascus ends up in Tehran."

The War Party in Washington, Israel and the House of Saud all know that new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's success depends on easing the sanctions and revitalizing the Iranian economy. Tomahawks falling over Syria will virtually obliterate his push for a civilized dialogue between Iran and the US; the ultra-conservatives in Tehran will inevitably regain the upper hand.

So the Obama doctrine, on purpose, is also about bombing any possibility of meaningful dialogue with Tehran. The proof is that Obama eagerly listens to rabid Israeli-firsters such as Dennis Ross, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) think tank. Ross argues that bombing will reinforce the US's "credibility" -- as in threatening to go medieval further on down the road to prevent Iran from acquiring those evil, non-existent nuclear weapons.

And then, of course, there's Pipelineistan -- the elephant in the Syria frenzy room. There's a lot of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean near the Syrian and Lebanese shorelines -- arguably 90 percent more than in Israel. So Syria is a great prize in itself -- on the road to become a natural gas competitor to Qatar.

Add to it the possibility of completion -- post-war -- of the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. Privileged customers: Western Europe. Soon Qatar was being blocked on two fronts; by the House of Saud (who vetoed a pipeline traversing Saudi Arabia) and by the pipeline traversing Syria.

Thus the alliance with the US (and a privileged partnership with Exxon-Mobil), dependent on destroying any moves towards an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, to the benefit of a Qatar-Syria-Turkey pipeline feeding European natural gas customers. For the US, there's the extra incentive that such a pipeline would dent Gazprom's hold over the European gas market.

None of that, of course, will be discussed at the G20; the Obama doctrine won't allow it. Quite predictable, when international relations are prey to a hubristic superpower that still answers geopolitical challenges with gunboat diplomacy.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.  He argues that the world has become fragmented into "stans" -- we are now living an intestinal war, an undeclared global civil war. He has published three books on geopolitics, including the spectacularly-titled "Globalistan: How the Globalised World Is Dissolving Into Liquid War".

His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan."

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