Rumble in the Desert – Events Leading up to Arab Spring
As stated before in Part I of this two-part series, the redrawing of the Middle East has been in the U.S. radar for a long time. Quoting Wesley Clark again, he was told – in 1991 – by the prominent Neocon and then #3 official in the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz: “One thing we did learn from the Persian Gulf War is that we can use our military in the Middle East and the Russians won’t stop us. And we’ve got about five or ten years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.”
Syrian President Assad knew he was on the crosshair of the US military, so he actually tried to court the US and the European governments. After 9/11, he cooperated extensively with the FBI and the CIA, giving them valuable information on Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda who were covertly operating in the Syrian/Iraqi borders.
But all his efforts were like a rabbit trying to make friends with a hungry lion. Before the dust settled on the “shock and awe” campaign against Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration had labeled Syria a “rogue nation” and threatened it with sanctions, which came into force the next year. By 2005, the Bush administration had withdrawn the U.S. ambassador from Syria. That’s when the “regime change” apparatus and programs were switched on.
After decades of regime changes around the world, the program has been fine-tuned into an algorithm. Enticing top political and military leaders to defect, funding “grassroots” opposition movements on the ground, arming militants, waging propaganda war, stirring up religious and social tensions are all standard protocols in a regime change operation.
By 2006, a former Vice President of Syria with close ties to Muslim Brotherhood had defected and gone to live in France; Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding Sunni opposition groups within Syria; Kurdish groups within Syria were being lured to join the fight; and Sunni extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood were infiltrating Syrian borders. A WikiLeaks cable shows the depth of detailed analysis and planning in 2006 to bring Assad down.
Later in 2009, a U.S.-funded satellite TV station started beaming anti-government propaganda all over Syria (as revealed in another WikiLeaks memo, many years later).
Continue here for my article in Nation of Change … (Chris Kanthan)