15.05.2013 Author: Konstantin Penzev

A Syrian Initiative by Some US Senators

5253A few days ago, US senators from both parties urged the Obama administration to intervene directly in the war in Syria. They believe Washington should increase the military pressure on President Bashar al-Assad in order to end the so-called “civil” war.

I have one thing to say about that.

The Western media frequently calls the conflict in Syria a “civil war.” That is a lie. The fighting in Syria is not between government troops and some “opposition,” but between government troops and bands of foreign mercenaries acting under Islamist slogans. The West hires these mercenaries through its henchmen governments in the Middle East. They are quite well equipped. But the Islamists fight poorly, and they are being systematically beaten. Washington therefore is deeply concerned about the way things are going in Syria.

Senator Levin says the United States should work with its allies in the region to “step up to military pressure on the Assad regime.” Senator McCain has noted that the “strategic and humanitarian costs of the Syrian conflict are devastating both the Syrian people and American interests.”

McCain has fallen in love with Syria today just as he “loved” the war-torn country of Vietnam, which he bombed mercilessly when he was a naval aviator. Vietnam’s government showed its appreciation by keeping the future senator in prison for five and one half years, after which he spent a long time recovering on crutches. His limbs healed with time, and he gradually came to love many other countries and peoples, particularly Libya, and he learned to despise Russian President Vladimir Putin. He never forgot that iit was the Russians who supplied the Vietnamese army with air defense weapons.

The “good soldier” McCain believes that the US military should employ its capabilities to destroy Syrian government aircraft: “We have the capacity to significantly weaken… The changes the Assad regime’s airpower…” Of course. The senator from Arizona has already attempted to do something similar to that, and he knows what he is talking about.

Possibly as a mark of good relations with McCain, who once reviled John Kerry for his pacifism after he returned from Vietnam, the current Secretary of State urged Russia not to sell modern air defense systems to Syria. Russian air defense missiles evidently are still harmful to the honorable senator’s psychological health.

Russia’s Embassy in Washington reacted to Kerry’s statement by saying it is not authorized to comment on Russian arms sales to other countries.

Kerry said the sale of air defense systems to Syria could threaten Israel, the United States’ main ally in the region. After all, Israel takes advantage of the weakness of Syria’s military hardware to periodically carry out airstrikes on Syrian targets. The sale of S-300 systems to the Assad government could significantly reduce the fighting spirit of the Israeli Air Force, which is accustomed to acting with impunity.

Israel itself asked Russia not to sell Syria modern air defense systems. Reuters cited official Israeli sources in reporting that on May 9. The sources confirmed that Israeli leaders told Russian and American officials that the deal would be very undesirable, saying that S-300s would create many problems for Israel. “We have raised objections to this (sale) with the Russians…”

Israel’s Air Force fears encountering armed resistance. That is their problem with the deal.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that the the behavior of the United States and its minions today clearly shows signs of cowardice.. For all his fierce aggressiveness, Senator McCain still evokes some respect. He belongs to the generation that was accustomed to fighting the enemy face-to-face. The Americans mixed it up in Korea and Vietnam, although not always with success. Now they prefer acting on the sly, by proxy, using bribery and intrigues.

The initiative of the US Senators, who want to “end the suffering of the Syrian people,” in reality more closely resembles a desire to finish them off. The initiative resembles an attempt to inflict a coup de grace, except that Bashar Assad is not a mortally wounded soldier and is fully capable of fighting.

Kerry visited Moscow after reports of the sale appeared in the foreign press. Talks between Russia and the United States resulted in the announcement of a decision to hold an international conference in the coming weeks with the goal of finding a speedy and peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict area The New York Times reported that John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov said the two countries want to prevent a dangerous escalation of the conflict. It would be more accurate to say that Washington is greatly concerned about the prospect that Syria’s air defenses would be strengthened.

That could both discourage the Israeli Air Force from bombing with impunity and thwart possible US attempts to establish a no-fly zone over Syria. At least, it would be a no-fly zone for US aircraft.

A Wall Street Journal by Jay Solomon and some colleagues claims a Joint Chiefs of Staff analysis says the Syrian air defense system is approximately five times more powerful than Libyan air defenses were prior to the start of the NATO military operation in 2011 and ten times more sophisticated than what the United States encountered in Serbia. Remember, an F-117 stealth aircraft was shot down in Serbia.

Kerry was so well disposed towards Putin during his visit that he waited outside his office several hours for Putin to finish what he was doing. Kerry also met with members of the “Bolotnaya” opposition and war veterans. Tthe US Secretary of State laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and even brought up the past cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II.

British Prime Minister David Cameron farrived in Russia right after Kerry left. President Putin took him on a tour of the Olympic facilities in Sochi, and Cameron promised to improve cooperation between British and Russian intelligence during the 2014 Olympics. It is difficult to say whether that implies Britain is promising to refrain from any provocations during the games. As we know, intelligence cooperation has been suspended by the British government.

To put it bluntly, government circles in the Western countries have no real proposals for resolving the Syrian conflict other than bombing Syria to bits. Russia’s president has not the least desire to sacrifice the Syrian people for the sake of “better relations,” especially since Washington has no wish to improve them. Kerry obviously thinks that all he needs to do is mention past cooperation and Moscow will fall into his arms in an excess of emotion, sob and give up all its positions in the Middle East.

To sum up, without air superiority, the United States and its allies will not conduct a military operation against Syria, and without air support, such an operation could result in heavy US losses. What bothers Washington is not military casualties, but that no one in the West is willing to die for democracy in a country like Syria, which some American politicians cannot even find on a map.

No matter what we may think of Senator McCain today, he was not afraid of attacking enemy positions under fire. Alas, the current generation of American pilots are unable to do that kind of thing.

Konstantin Alexandrovich Penzev is an author and historian and a columnist for New Eastern Outlook.

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