[News] War against Iran, Iraq AND Syria?

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 23 14:15:51 EDT 2013

*War against Iran, Iraq AND Syria?*
By Pepe Escobar


Amidst the incessant rumble in the (Washington) jungle about a possible 
Obama administration military adventure in Syria, new information has 
come to light. And what a piece of Pipelineistan information that is.

Picture Iraqi Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi, Syrian Oil Minister 
Sufian Allaw, and the current Iranian caretaker Oil Minister Mohammad 
Aliabadi getting together in the port of Assalouyeh, southern Iran, to 
sign a memorandum of understanding 
for the construction of the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, no less.

At Asia Times Online and also elsewhere I have been arguing that this 
prospective Pipelinestan node is one of the fundamental reasons for the 
proxy war in Syria. Against the interests of Washington, for whom 
integrating Iran is anathema, the pipeline bypasses two crucial foreign 
actors in Syria - prime "rebel" weaponizer Qatar (as a gas producer) and 
logistical "rebel" supporter Turkey (as the self-described privileged 
energy crossroads between East and West).

The US$10 billion, 6,000 kilometer pipeline is set to start in Iran's 
South Pars gas field (the largest in the world, shared with Qatar), and 
run via Iraq, Syria and ultimately to Lebanon. Then it could go under 
the Mediterranean to Greece and beyond; be linked to the Arab gas 
pipeline; or both.

Before the end of August, three working groups will be discussing the 
complex technical, financial and legal aspects involved. Once finance is 
secured - and that's far from certain, considering the proxy war in 
Syria - the pipeline could be online by 2018. Tehran hopes that the 
final agreement will be signed before the end of the year.

Tehran's working assumption is that it will be able to export 250 
million cubic meters of gas a day by 2016. When finished, the pipeline 
will be able to pump 100 million cubic meters a day. For the moment, 
Iraq needs up to 15 million cubic meters a day. By 2020, Syria will need 
up to 20 million cubic meters, and Lebanon up to 7 million cubic meters. 
That still leaves a lot of gas to be exported to European customers.

Europeans - who endlessly carp about being hostages of Gazprom - should 
be rejoicing. Instead, once again they shot themselves in their 
Bally-clad feet.

*Want war? Here's the bill*
Before we get to the latest European fiasco, let's mix this 
Pipelineistan development with the new Pentagon "discovery" - via the 
deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), David Shedd, 
according to whom the proxy war in Syria may last for "multiple years" 
If that happens, bye-bye pipeline.

One wonders what those Pentagon intel wizards have really been doing 
since early 2011, considering they had been predicting Bashar al-Assad's 
fall every other week. Now they have also "discovered" that jihadis in 
the Syrian theater of the Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) 
mould are actually running the (ghastly) show. Shedd admitted there are 
"at least 1,200" disparate "rebel" factions/gangs in Syria, most of them 

Attesting to the appalling average IQ involved in foreign policy debate 
in the Beltway, still this information had to be spun to justify yet 
another military adventure on the horizon - especially after President 
Barack "Assad must go" Obama declared he would authorize the "light" 
weaponizing of "good" rebels only. As if the harsh rules of war obeyed 
some Weapon Fairy Godmother high up in the sky.

Into the ring steps General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff. On the same day that Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus were talking 
seriously about the business of energy, Dempsey wrote to US senators of 
the John McCain warmongering variety that the US getting into yet 
another war would lead to "unintended consequences".

Dempsey wrote that weaponizing and training the "good" rebels (assuming 
the CIA has a clue who they are) would cost "$500 million per year 
initially", require "several hundred to several thousand troops" and 
risk weaponizing al-Qaeda-style jihadis, as well as plunging Washington, 
according to Dempsey's Pentagonese, into "inadvertent association with 
war crimes due to vetting difficulties."

In case the Obama administration caved in to the warmongers' favorite 
option - a no-fly zone - Dempsey also said "limited" air strikes would 
require "hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines, and other enablers", 
to a cost "in the billions", and all that to achieve little else than a 
"significant degradation of regime capabilities and an increase in 
regime desertions".

Dempsey at least was frank; unlike Gaddafi in Libya, Bashar al-Assad's 
forces would not fold because of a no-fly zone. And nothing 
substantially would change because the Syrian government "relies 
overwhelmingly on surface fires - mortars, artillery, and missiles". And 
even a limited no-fly zone - what former State Department star 
Anne-Marie Slaughter euphemistically defined as a "no-kill zone" - would 
cost "over $1 billion a month". And who will be paying for all this? China?

Even with Dempsey playing god cop and sporting the voice of reason - 
something quite astonishing in itself; but anyway he's been to Iraq, and 
saw first hand the ass-kicking by a bunch of towelheads with second-hand 
Kalashnikovs - US pundits are still relishing the internal debate in the 
Obama administration over the "wisdom" of yet another war.

*Round up all the Prada jihadis*
And while the "wisdom" debate is slated to go on, the European Union 
decided to act; meekly bowing to US and Israel pressure, the EU - itself 
pressured by the UK and the Netherlands - blacklisted the armed wing of 
Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The pretext was the bombing of a bus carrying Israelis in Bulgaria in 
2012. Hezbollah said it had nothing to do with it. Bulgarian 
investigators said positively yes; then maybe; and now they admit even 
circumstantial evidence is shaky.

So the pretext is bogus. This is the EU - after the despicable denying 
of overflying rights to the Bolivian presidential plane - once again 
meekly playing poodle, with the Brits and the Dutch trying to weaken 
Hezbollah just as it has staked its ground in the Syrian/Lebanese border 
and has actually fought those jihadis of the Jabhat al-Nusra and AQI kind.

As a graphic illustration of utter EU cluelessness - some might say 
stupidity - Britain, the Netherlands and France, especially, followed by 
the others, have just branded the organization that is fighting jihadis 
on the ground in Syria/Lebanon "terrorists", while the jihadis 
themselves get away with it. So much for European ignorance/arrogance.

So what's next? It's not far-fetched to imagine the EU totally 
forgetting about a pipeline that will ultimately benefit its citizens 
and issuing - under US pressure - a directive branding Iran-Iraq-Syria 
as a terrorist axis; lobbying for a no-fly zone applying to all; and 
recruiting jihadis all over for a Holy War against the axis, supported 
by a fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. But first they would need 
Washington's approval. As a matter of fact, they might even get it.

/*Pepe Escobar* is the author of /Globalistan: How the Globalized World 
is Dissolving into Liquid War 
/(Nimble Books, 2007), /Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the 
/(Nimble Books, 2007), and /Obama does Globalistan 
<http://www.amazon.com/Obama-Does-Globalistan-Pepe-Escobar/dp/1934840831> /(Nimble 
Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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