By Steven MacMillan/New Eastern Outlook: 23 August, 2016
Similar to petulant children who do not get their own way, there is an increasingly choir of war hawks in the US who are pushing for a major escalation in the Syrian war. In response to the fading power of Washington in the world, and the success of the Syrian Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, in fighting terrorism in Syria, the war hawks in Washington are calling for blood.
The fact that the government of Bashar al-Assad is still standing after the West has spent the last five years trying to overthrow it is too much for many in the US to accept. Furthermore, with a growing number of major powers forming strategic relationships outside of Washington’s control, US imperialists are increasingly terrified of how the geopolitical landscape is shaping up.
Making Russia and Iran “Pay a Price” for Fighting Terrorists in Syria
The most recent bellicose comments coming from the US were made by the former Acting Director of the CIA and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) member, Michael Morell. In an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on the 8th of August, Morell called for acts of aggression against a troika of powers – namely Syria, Iran and Russia:
Morell: “We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price.”
Rose: “We make them pay the price by killing Russians and killing Iranians?”
Morell: “Yes, covertly… Here’s the other thing I want to do: I want to go after those things that Assad sees as his personal power base; I want to scare Assad.”
The former CIA boss made his comments a week after a Russian helicopter – which was on a humanitarian aid mission – was shot down over territory controlled by Jabhat Al-Nusra (now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) in Syria, killing the five personnel onboard. This is at least the second Russian helicopter shot down in Syria this year, after two Russians were killed in July when their Mi-25 was downed.
Morell, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, is not a lone voice in his belligerent comments however. There have been numerous politicians, strategists and generals, who have advocated aggressive actions against Russia, not only in Syria, but also in Ukraine.
In October of last year, US Senator John McCain said in an interview with Fox News that if he was President he might arm the Syrian rebels so they could shoot down Russian planes. Also in October, 2015, the former National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter and one of the top geostrategists in the US, Zbigniew Brzezinski, called for US retaliation against the Russian campaign in Syria, potentially using military force.
But the most belligerent rhetoric award in relation to ‘punishing’ Russia must go to the former US general, Robert Scales, who called for the US to “start killing Russians” in Ukraine in a March, 2015 interview on Fox News:
“The only way the US can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians. Killing so many Russians that even Putin’s media can’t hide the fact that Russians are returning to the Motherland in body bags.”
The Special Forces Invasion of Syria
On the same day as Morell’s interview was aired, photos appeared in the British media showing heavily armed UK special forces operating on the ground in Syria. This comes shortly after US special forces were pictured fighting alongside Kurdish forces in March of this year.
Realistically, the presence of Western special forces in Syria is nothing new. In August of last year, it was reported that British SAS soldiers were dressed as ISIS rebels conducting missions on the ground in Syria. In addition to the illegal air campaign conducted by the US-led coalition, the presence of Western special forces in Syria is yet another violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The news that Western special forces are operational in Syria should also be kept in context however. There is a major distinction between a few thousand special forces operating in Syria and a full-scale Western invasion of Syria with over 100,000 troops deployed.
In 2003, approximately 150,000 ground troops were deployed to Iraq in the initial phase of the invasion. There is still a danger that a coalition of powers may launch a larger war in Syria similar to the scale of the Iraq invasion in 2003 – a type of war that Tony (the war criminal) Blair recently advocated.
With the West’s strategy in the Middle East in disarray, there is a growing amount of war hawks in the US who are pushing for a significant escalation in the Syrian war. Morell’s call for killing Russians and Iranians is nothing short of lunacy, with the US perhaps having a hand in the recent downing of a Russian helicopter that tragically killed five Russian personnel.
Photo Credits: DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett
Video Credits: Charlie Rose