[News] War against Iran, Iraq AND Syria?
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
*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
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
Books, 2009). He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com./
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