Thursday, May 26, 2005

Road to Damascus: Next Step for the Crawford Caligula?

Corrente notes some ominous moves of US Naval forces sent on an "unexpected mission" to "support anti-terrorist efforts" in "the Balkans and the Middle East." Meanwhile, Condoleeza Rice has moved from condemning Syria for "not doing enough" to stop insurgents moving across its borders into Iraq to blasting Damascus for knowingly allowing insurgents to stage their operations on Syrian soil. And US forces in Iraq are carrying out large-scale attacks near the Syrian border. How long before "hot pursuit" of insurgents carries them into Syria itself, or some other border incident -- contrived or genuine -- gives rise to war fever among the chickenhawks of the Potomac?

All the recent Zarqawi noise seems to be part of this buildup as well. Would a jihadi website controlled or supporting Zarqawi really be posting a stream of stories about his being wounded, taken out of action, passing on the baton to an aide, etc.? Wouldn't they instead be singing the praises of their invicible leader, or other such freeper-like propaganda? One possibility is that it's dat ole debbil psy-ops at work again -- possibly setting up a scenario that finds the "jihadis" confessing that their boss is safe and sound in Syria: yet another casus belli for Bush agression.

The Syrians are desperately trying to stave off the impending strike -- first by withdrawing from Lebanon, and today by announcing their large-scale efforts in arresting would-be foreign insurgents trying to get into Iraq. Over and over they keep signaling how cooperative they've been in the "War on Terror," hoping, perhaps, they'll win brownie points for taking part in Bush's priority project. But of course, the "war on terror" is demonstrably NOT Bush's priority: the domination of world energy resources -- by force and threat -- and the imposition of Bush-style crony capitalism -- again by force and threat -- are the real foreign policy priorities of the Bush Administration.

Syria is in the cross-hairs: when Bush is ready to pull the trigger, he will. It wouldn't matter if Syria handed over Osama bin Laden on a platter. It's not about terrorism, it's not about "keeping America safe" -- it's about the brutal expansion of elite power.

This has been obvious for a long time. Here's a take on the Syrian situation that I wrote about in The Moscow Times -- in April 2003:

As shovels scoop the shredded viscera of cold collaterals in Baghdad, and brisk hoses scour the blood from market stalls and children's bedrooms – festive preparations to make ready for the enthronement of the new lords of Babylon – we cast an anxious gaze beyond the barbed steel of the security perimeter, to a column of troops and ordnance rumbling toward the horizon. Whither are they bound? Who's next to feel the mailed fist of liberation?

At the moment, all signs point to Syria. Iran, of course, would be a more glittering prize – not to mention a more remunerative one for the unholy trinity of Oil, Arms and Construction whose mephitic spirits brood over the rising American Empire. But Iran is a big beast; first Iraq must be chewed, swallowed and digested before there is sufficient room in the imperial gut – and sufficient loot in the imperial treasury – for another sumptuous banquet.

Syria, however, would make a tasty snack – rough fare gulped down on the long, circuitous march to Persia and Cathay. What's more, a dose of shock and awe for Damascus would secure the rear for any eventual push on Teheran. And once recalcitrant Syria is brought to heel, the juicy olive of Lebanon would surely fall of its own ripe weight, without any need of brutal plucking. Then, with the equally cowed Jordan, it could serve as a – what should we call it? repository? refuge? – yes, a refuge for the troublesome hordes of Palestine, transferred – humanely and happily, of course – from the newly cleansed lands of Judea and Samaria...


....And last week, Bush courtiers suddenly began trumpeting the fact that the repressive Syrian regime – a Baathist Party state, just like Iraq! – sadistically tortures its prisoners, who are often snatched in secret arrests and held without charges or trial. This fact has hitherto been conveniently overlooked by the Bushist Party state, which has been sending some of its own Guantanamo zeks – often snatched in secret arrests and held without charges or trial – to Syria's torture chambers for "special interrogation."

But as Saddam has learned, doing America's dirty work – which he did for many years, bombing, brutalizing and gassing with the gushing support of Ronald Reagan, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior – cuts no ice when the courtiers change their plans. So keep looking for that light on the road to Damascus – not the blinding glory that converted Saul of Tarsus, but the flash of flesh-chewing MOABs launched by the Crawford Caligula, George Widowmaker Bush.