The US war on Afghanistan is over. Syria is the new project

Published: August 31, 2013
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The American public, in a latest poll, has voted against any intervention in Syria. 53% say that they are against US military intervention in Syria. PHOTO: AFP

“He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge, by his deceptions and by his cruelties….”

You might be thinking that this is an excerpt from an Obama press conference citing the reasons for a strike against Bashar al Assad’s Syria. Yet, these words were spoken by George W Bush at the United Nations on 13 September 2002, and the above quote ends with…,

“Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.”

Some things never change.

With the UN weapons inspectors pulling out of Syria with the “possible” evidence of chemical attacks, it seems that the US is hell bent on attacking Syria and “punishing the country for using chemical weapons”. It must be noted that the weapons inspectors would only have evidence concerning the occurrence of chemical attack and not who did it. This leaves the field open for the US to assert its “moral authority” to attack Syria based on its own “reliable” intelligence. The possible US attack on Syria would again throw the region into geopolitical turmoil the likes of which can only be matched by the Iraq invasion disaster.

But the US is not alone. France –fresh and confident from its adventures in Mali and Libya- is ready to assist the US in “punishing” Syria for using chemical weapons. The UK’s parliament has thankfully voted against any intervention.

The American public, in a latest poll, has voted against any intervention in Syria. 53% say that they are against US military intervention in Syria, though it must be acknowledged that the numbers were higher in the previous week (60%).  Even the officers in the US military have doubts regarding the wisdom of attacking Syria when they are already coping with the economic and military battering that the US has received from both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Iranian and Hezbollah threat is always present. Thus, the case against any intervention in Syria is strong.

So why is the American administration hell-bent on engaging in another military adventure which nearly everyone thinks will probably end like another Afghanistan?

The answer can be sought in the preparations that the jihadis in Syria are making for the coming American strike. Many jihadist organisations are shifting bases, evacuating headquarters, moving equipment and even finding safe hiding places in the mountainous terrains. They think that the coming US attack would also be aimed at jihadist organisations that control vast swathes of land in the northern and eastern provinces of Syria. In a statement, the jihadi outfit Fatehul Islam has said that,

“For every US missile that hits a regime target, another will strike a jihadi base.”

The bread and butter of any standard jihadi outfit depends on how well it fights and speaks against US hegemony. This might be a heaven sent opportunity for the jihadis to entangle the US in another war.

It must be asked that who will benefit if the US destroys President Assad’s military strike capability.

The only winner in that case would be Jabahat-al-Nusra and other jihadi outfits who have travelled all across the world to take part in the war. Indeed, it is now becoming increasingly evident that if President Assad falls and when the Syrian civil war is over and done with, Jabahat al Nusra would eventually fall out with Free Syria Army (FSA) (endorsed by the US and NATO and is the official rebel army in Syria) and with seasoned fighters coming from Iraq and other neighbouring battlefields, it would eventually succeed in stopping the FSA from gaining further power and quite possibly open the way for bringing the Syrian war into Iraq against the Shiite government over there, led by Nouri Al Maliki. The Syrian war would spill all over the middle-east and the chemical weapons that Assad allegedly possesses might fall into very wrong hands.

This might be reason as to why the US wants to have a presence in Syria; to stop the jihadists from gaining any further control and chemical attacks were only an excuse. Other than that, we only have the “USA has a moral duty” explanations, and no one in the post-World War II history has ever bought that.

The US might find itself caught in a bear trap that it laid for the Soviets.

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Jamaluddin

Jamaluddin

A student of Information Systems Management at Latrobe University, Melbourne. He tweets @Einsjam (twitter.com/Einsjam)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.