Thoughts on the major Israel missile strike on Damascus while reading a bit too much of the Western war propaganda …

Internal chaos weakens Syria and at least for now benefits Israel. However, the Syrian people have long tired of senseless killing there and support peace above all else. So, those still fighting the government are now largely either paid Western mercenaries or paid Islamic extremists bent on establishing a Saudi-style Sunni state in Syria. Not a surprise that, faced with such opponents the Syrian state was making progress on the battlefield (note such real news is not allowed on the mainstream ‘news’ because it counters the line/narrative that the Syrian government is on its last legs). Israeli missile attacks will help but won’t be enough, the rebels are too weak, so the attacks are primarily aimed at forcing Western intervention ‘Libya style’. (If you’ve forgotten what that did to Libya read this by Patrick Cockburn.) In sum, the ‘why’ of the Israeli attacks has nothing to do with the mainstream media’s explanation: “Israel strikes Syria, says targeting Hezbollah arms.” So please, read Robert Fisk:

The story is already familiar: the Israelis wanted to prevent a shipment of Iranian-made Fateh-110 missiles reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon; they were being sent by the Syrian government. According, at least, to a ‘Western intelligence source’. Anonymous, of course. And it opens the old question: why when the Syrian regime is fighting for its life would it send advanced missiles out of Syria? … why would the Syrians send [the missiles to Lebanon], as US sources were also claiming last night, when the Americans themselves claimed only last December that the Syrians had used the same ground-to-ground missiles against rebel forces in Syria.

I think Fisk’s analysis makes a great deal of sense, especially in light of the fact that the attack was on a huge scale, killing over a hundred Syrian soldiers and civilians (note how the mainstream ‘news’ avoids mentioning casualties: the only reference I have seen is on page 2 of a long New York Times report and refers only to soldiers killed). Al Akhbar’s Ali Rizk comments on RT.com:

It seems that Bashar Assad militarily has gained the upper hand so Israel realizes Assad won’t be going unless there’s outside intervention. So Israel is trying to drag the US by saying “If you don’t go in, then we shall wreak havoc. We shall go ahead with our own military escalation.”

But how could huge Israeli missile strikes on Syria trigger a pro-Israeli intervention? Don’t such unprovoked attacks indicate the problem is Israel, the attacker, rather than the ‘attackee’? (You might have asked the same thing after Syria asked the UN to investigate the rebels’ use of chemical weapons.) No, that would make too much sense, so read on:

In Washington, the reported Israeli attacks stoked debate about whether American-led airstrikes were the logical next step to cripple the ability of the Syrian president to counter the rebel forces or use chemical weapons. That was already being discussed in secret by the United States, Britain and France in the days leading to the Israeli strikes, according to American and foreign officials involved in the discussions, with a model being the opening days of the attacks on Libya that ultimately drove Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power.

But but but, the problem for U.S. and Western intervention is the Big Bear to the north:

I think what you have now is that Iran and Hezbollah now have a new significant ally of real significant weight which is Russia, which is continuing to the Middle East scene once again. So I think that if we do have escalation, Iran will intervene, Hezbollah will intervene, and I think also we might speak about a Russian intervention or some kind of a Russia role because Russia clearly has been very much present and there saying “I am here and I have a significant say.”

Is the West prepared to go mano v mano with Mr. Putin?

My guess is no, in part for the additional reason that even from a rational Israeli perspective ousting the Assad government is counterproductive. I think we are observing an Israeli military-industrial complex out of control, acting for its own expansionary and profit interests rather than in the interest of the Israeli state. Perhaps, just perhaps, there are rational (and powerful) people within the Beltway who realize that.

P.S. — Another recent Fisk piece well worth reading is “Alawite history reveals the complexities of Syria that West does not understand,” which begins:

In Syria these days, we are resorting to our racist little maps. The Alawite mountains and the town of Qardaha, home of the Assad family – colour it dark red. Will this be the last redoubt of the 12 per cent Alawite minority, to which the President belongs, when the rebels “liberate” Damascus? We always like these divisive charts in the Middle East. Remember how Iraq was always Shias at the bottom, Sunnis in the middle, Kurds at the top? We used to do this with Lebanon: Shias at the bottom (as usual), Shias in the east, Sunnis in Sidon and Tripoli, Christians east and north of Beirut. Never once has a Western newspaper shown a map of Bradford with Muslim and non-Muslim areas marked off, or a map of Washington divided into black and white people. No, that would suggest that our Western civilisation could be divvied up between tribes or races. Only the Arab world merits our ethnic distinctions.