Written by Paul Craig Roberts; Originally appeared on paulcraigroberts.org
As I wrote two weeks ago, the Syrian crisis is only in its beginning stages. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/04/17/crisis-beginning-stages/ The assault on Syrian military positions last night, apparently a US/Israeli operation, is evidence that the crisis continues to develop. https://www.timesofisrael.com/resonant-syria-strike-suggests-coordinated-us-israel-message-to-russia-and-iran/
There are four mutually reinforcing causes of the crisis:
(1) Israel’s ability to use the US government to eliminate foes in the Middle East that are obstacles to Israel’s expansion. Israel has Syria and Iran targeted, because the two governments supply the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which has twice driven Israel out of Israel’s attempted occupation of southern Lebanon, whose water resources Israel covets.
(2) The neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony, which fits well with Israel’s Middle East agenda, a fit made even stronger by the strong neoconservative alliance with Israel.
(3) The US military/security complex’s need for justification for its massive budget and power.
(4) The inability of the Russian government to understand the first three reasons.
From the way the Russian government speaks, the Russians believe that Washington’s military actions in the Middle East for the past 17 years dating from the US invasion of Afghanistan, a still unresolved war, have to do with fighting terrorism. The Russians keep expressing the view that Russia and the US should join in a common effort to fight terrorism. Apparently, the Russian government does not understand that terrorism is Washington’s creation. The long wars with unfavorable outcomes that were the results of Washington’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq led to Washington recruiting and supplying terrorists to overthrow Libya and Syria. Clearly, Washington is not going to fight against the weapon it created with which to achieve its agenda.
The Russian government’s confusion about Washington’s relationship to terrorism is the fourth cause of the ongoing Syrian crisis. Washington was caught completely offguard in 2015 by Russia’s surprise intervention in Syria on the side of the Syrian government against Washington’s jihadist “rebels.” Russia was in complete control and could have ended the war in 2016. Instead, apparently hoping to appease Washington and show a reasonable face to Europe, the Russian government announced in March 2016 a premature victory and withdrawal. This mistake was repeated, and each time Russia made this mistake gave Washington opportunity to introduce its own troops and aircraft, to resupply and train its jihadist mercenaries, and to organize Israeli, Saudi, French, and British participation in the military assaults on Syria. Now the problem is that US troops are mixed in with the jihadist mercenaries, making it difficult for the Syrian/Russian alliance to clear Syrian territory of foreign invaders without killing Americans, something the Russians and Syrians have so far avoided doing. The Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, now accuses Washington of trying to partition Syria, but it was Russian indecisiveness that led to Syria’s partition.
The inability of the Russian government to comprehend the US/Israeli/neoconservative alliance and what this means for the Middle East, together with the indecisiveness of the Russian government about supplying Syria with the S-300 air defense system, has enabled the crisis to escalate with last night’s as of yet unclaimed attack on Syrian military positions with what appears to have been “bunker buster” bombs, an escalation.
The attacks last night killed Iranians, and the next attack might kill Russian military personnel. At some point the Russian government might tire of its humiliation, in which case Israeli and US aircraft will begin falling from the sky and attacks on “rebel” positions will claim US lives.
The Russian government’s inability to comprehend that peace is not the Israeli/American agenda and that neither in the US nor Israel is there any good will on which Russia can build an agreement to bring peace to Syria and the Middle East means the crisis will continue to build until war is upon us.