With increased tension between Turkey and Syria, Israel and Syria, and Syria and opposition groups (it’s naive to lump them into one category such as rebels, or revolutionary forces, or under one umbrella organization newly popped up from Doha, Qatar, as they are not an organized opposition, they are groups of opposition) my natural curiosity was piqued again, and so I hope to pique yours as well.
My question for you to think about is this: Does the West (NATO, EU, specifically France, Britain, USA, maybe the UN, I’ll include Israel in this, even Turkey, that EU-hopeful, could be grouped in there, and economically the House of Saud, the Qataris could be thrown in this categorization as they are players too) want an open conflict with Syria, whether it be through Turkey or Israel?
The first link above, from the New York Times, speaks about France’s president, Hollande, recognizing the new National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (what a long name). It is the first geographically Western country to recognize them not simply as a representative of the Syrian people, but as the sole representative of the Syrian people. Which is an important distinction as they are essentially recognizing them as a government representative of the people, capable of negotiating trade deals (which would include arms deals) with other countries. Which is a fast step to providing these unorganized groups with weapons and money, even if Hollande speaks to it only being an option, it’s certainly an ulterior motive.
Evidenced in this article, Nato is more than willing to intervene on Turkey’s behalf. The fact that they were unwilling to discuss contingency plans is evidence that there are contingency plans.
We know Israel is more than willing to fight Syria, and history is evidence of Israel’s close ties with the West (including all the countries I mentioned above in a really convoluted way which I’m not going to get into now). We know Israel is just as gung-ho as America about war games. So, we can deduce from these the same as was deduced about Nato and Turkey: Israel has thought about what an open conflict would mean with Turkey.
And despite Israel’s obvious ability to defend themselves, I can only imagine that Nato would be all to willing to use the same rationale if an open conflict began again between Assad’s government and Netanyahu’s government as they would use to intervene should a Turkey-Syria conflict arise.
These acknowledged and fleshed out now, the most important question to ask is why. Why would the West want an open conflict?
I’ve written before (and the follow-up here) about a possible option, that being a main contributor to everything the major powers in the world act upon: energy. But, more than that we can’t disregard the role the Saudis and their close, but independent, ally the Qataris, are playing in the conflict in Syria.
In this English interview with Russia Today, Bashar al-Assad speaks about foreign involvement, foreign terrorist fighters, calling this not a war between his government and Syrian people, but a war between his government and proxy groups (terrorists is a hot word it appears for all politicians, no matter where in the world they are, let’s call these politicians Rombamayahussads). And a quick perusing of the Brown Moses blog covering the weapons used by opposition groups in Syria would quickly lend weight to that argument.As a side note, I am extremely disappointed and surprised that the interview has not been covered in more honesty and earnestly by the Western media. There are so many different pieces of bacon to chew and chew on from that interview that would make this article longer than a long article. Perhaps it portrays Assad and his government in too sane a light, and speaks to many of the realities that I’m speaking to in this article. And, even though these bacon bits are juicy bites of truth, this sort of truth is hard for a lot of people to swallow, not only because it challenges their preconceived notions of the geopolitical realities of the world, but also because it demands a lot intellectually.
Also, we can think about to the proxy war fought in Afghanistan (which Osama was birthed and educated, militarily speaking, in) by the CIA and Saudi Arabia. So, there is definitely a precedence for the West to effect change in countries using this method.
So, why would the Saudis and Qataris want a prolonged conflict in Syria?
A few ideas I have, not necessarily original thoughts:
1. A prolonged conflict, a destruction of the momentum of the Arab Spring, in Syria, and the ultimate dissipation of those feelings protects their own regimes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, even Bahrain and Kuwait, or at least focuses international and Islamist attention on Syria, where as previously it was focused on Libya.
2. It allows extremists to be exported to another country, a sort of, “Now it’s their problem not ours,” response, which again protects their own regimes.
3. They will no longer have the pesky government of Assad who was friendly to the Iranians, and through them to Hamas and Hezbollah, which also benefits their governments, because if a new government that is sympathetic to the Saudis, Qataris, and the rest of the West is in power in Syria, avoiding true democratic change, that further supports Western interests in the Middle East.
For instance, where revolutionary change has happened in the Middle East peacefully (Tunisia and Egypt) the governments are beholden to the people, and the people have realized the power in their voice. Violent solutions to these problems only reinforce the monopoly of violence by the government and reinforce the fear of violence in the population, and the disbelief in the possibility of change through non-violence. Libya is a good example of this.
I’m not sure where understanding all of this leads to, so far as any solutions to the conflict in Syria, but it’s important to begin to ask the deeper questions such as these to gain a better grasp on why things are happening the world.