The US administration has launched the process of getting congressional approval of an attack against Syria. The Senate foreign affairs committee has voted for the resolution supporting the planned action. The next step is moving the motion to the full Senate and then to the House of Representative to receive bipartisan support. This way Washington is trying to make the decision to strike Syria look legitimate, even if it is going around the UN Security Council.
The prediction that the war will spill over to encompass the entire Middle East in case the United States strikes Syria is coming true. As it was supposed to be, the first outside actor to get involved is Iran. The enlistment is on, Iranian young people are willing to put on uniform and defend Syria.
The number of volunteers is nearing 100 thousand. They have sent a letter to the President of Syria asking for his permission to be deployed in the area of Golan Heights… They want their government to provide airlift to Syria across the Iraqi airspace.
Iraq is the country with large Shiite population; the probability is high that thousands of Shiites there will join the Iranian volunteers. Obama wanted the inter-religious strife in the Middle East turn into a slaughter of universal scope, now he can get it, or to be more exact, he can provoke its start in Syria by launching the Tomahawk missiles against this country.
It’s Syria that is in sight, but the main target is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The newly elected President Rouhani’s policy is aimed at normalization of relations with the West and putting a stop to international isolation. It evokes concern among the United States and Israel’s ruling circles.
It’s a long time since Americans have been putting blame on Iran for all the troubles of the Middle East, even when it was clear that Iran had nothing to do with what happened. It may sound as a paradox, but the Tehran’s readiness to start the talks on nuclear program was perceived by the Obama’s administration as a threat to its interests.
According to the White House logic, it may lose the main argument in the confrontation with Tehran. Then the US sanctions will instill no fear anymore.
Europe is already sending unambiguous signals to demonstrate that it expects real progress to be achieved at the talks. The US has no trade ties with Tehran and it views the sanctions as an effective leverage in the standoff while Europeans face multibillion losses.
The argument of “Iranian nuclear threat” has become an obsession for Washington after Ahmadinejad is gone. It fully matches the intent to find a pretext for war. The Syrian phase of the military operation is to start pretty soon.
Iran needs no war. Instead Iranians want Obama to seriously weigh the consequences of such action letting him know that there is no way he could hide behind the back of Congress.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifsaid said, “Mr. Obama cannot interpret and change the international law based on his own wish.” He added, that, “Only the UN Security Council, under special circumstances, can authorize a collective action, and that will be under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and this issue needs the approval of the Security Council.”
By and large it coincides with the Russia’s position.
Tehran sees no intrigue in the fact that Congress will finally sanction the war against Syria, it is just curious to see how the US lawmakers will manage to do it under the pretext of “punishing” Syria for using chemical weapons while going around the Iranian issue.
The members of Congress will inevitably take into consideration the “Iranian factor.” Calling for war against Syria, State Secretary John Kerry tries to convince lawmakers that, if no action is taken against Syria, Iran is more likely to move ahead on its nuclear program.
Kerry does not deliberate on availability of direct link between the events in Syria and the Iranian nuclear program, he simply states the White House position. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says taking no action against Syria will undermine the Washington’s ability to counter the Iranian nuclear efforts.
The US Congress is under heavy influence of Jewish lobby and the arguments work because, while being hostile to Syria, Israel always had Iran in mind. Where exactly the “red line” is drawn presents a matter of rather minor importance for Israeli politicians.
Some Republicans in Congress not only support the action against Syria but call for an intervention of larger scale sayinga limited strike will not be enough to seriously scare Iran.
A strike against Syria is likely to make Tehran boost its security, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons as a universal deterrent… This is a reasonable warning which is not heeded somehow.
Having Iran in sight, a military provocation against Syria is also aimed at stoking disagreement in the ranks of Iranian leadership. Washington hopes that war-minded politicians will prevail and the Iranian government will have to cede and abandon balanced approaches to the issue.
Indeed, only a few months ago such overt threats from Washington would have stoked a storm of responses, former President Ahmadinejad used to strike the keynote.
Now Iran appears to be extremely restrained. Talking to Obama in absentia, Iran’s Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan uses proper diplomatic language and insists that all problems should be solved by political means.
Still, the public restraint of the new Iranian government should leave no illusions for Americans. It’s not government bureaucrats they’ll have to deal with in case combat actions start, but rather the Iranian Republic’s armed forces – the guarantee of retaliation in case the country is attacked.
Iran’s chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi was quoted declaring that if the US strikes Syria, Israel will be attacked. It’s not an occasion that Iranian volunteers, who are going to defend Syria, pay no interest in being deployed in the areas adjacent to the borders with Turkey of Jordan.
No, they want it to be the Golan Heights – the line of Syrian-Israeli border stand-off since a long time. A potential strike delivered by Iran against Israel in retaliation for US attacking Syria is the worst scenario of all; this is the case when it’s impossible to avoid a large-scale Middle East war.
Instead of taking a decision to back away from a military action against Syria, Obama is driving Iran against the wall by staging incessant provocations like. For instance, the recent demonstrative Israeli missile defense test in preparation for Iranian retaliatory strike.
Nikolai BOBKIN | Strategic Culture Foundation