By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
Much of the news in the past few weeks centers around the European debt crisis, but even bigger problems are coming to a boil in the Middle East. First off, Syria is degrading into a full blown civil war. Rebels set jets and helicopters on fire in an airbase in southern Syria over the weekend. The Syrian army has been accused of a massacre that killed more than 100 people last week. After more than a year of bloody fighting, there are growing calls for the U.S. military to take action. This has Texas Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul worried the U.S. could charge into another quagmire. On his House of Representatives website this week, Dr. Paul said, “As might be expected from an administration with an announced policy of “regime change” in Syria, the reaction was to blame only the Syrian government for the tragedy, expel Syrian diplomats from Washington, and announce that the US may attack Syria even without UN approval. . . . It may be the case that the Syrian military was responsible for the events last week, but recent bombings and attacks have been carried out by armed rebels with reported al-Qaeda ties. With the stakes so high, it would make sense to wait for a full investigation — unless the truth is less important than stirring up emotions in favor of a US attack. . . . We are on a fast track to war against Syria. It is time to put on the brakes.” (Click here to read the complete Ron Paul post.)
Attacking Syria will not be the same as NATO’s attack on Libya because of one very big reason—Russia. Syria hosts a small, but strategically important, naval maintenance and supply base in Tartus on the western Syrian coast. The Russians will not want to give this up as it is a permanent base for some of its nuclear armed warships. This alone makes Syria and Russia inseparable military allies. Russia has reportedly sold Syria sophisticated missiles recently to thwart air attacks like the ones carried out by NATO in Libya. It is hard to imagine a scenario where Syria was attacked and Russia would stand aside and allow it to be overrun by western backed rebels.
On the Eastern side of the Middle East, there is another boiling caldron with the Iranian nuclear program standoff. Two meetings in the last few months with the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Russia, China and Iran have produced nothing but continued meetings. Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for the peaceful production of energy, but the West does not buy it. (Of course, Iran might be a little nervous having U.S. led invasions in countries bordering it on both East and West. Think Afghanistan and Iraq. This would be akin to a hostile country invading both Mexico and Canada.)
The next meeting in Russia comes in less than two weeks. A July 1st deadline for an all-out EU oil embargo is approaching. Now, the U.S. is threatening a near blockade of air and sea traffic in and out of Iran if the Iranians do not back off their nuclear ambitions. Debka.com reported Monday, “In the fall, the US administration will bring out its most potent economic weapon: an embargo on aircraft and sea vessels visiting Iranian ports. Any national airline or international aircraft touching down in Iran will be barred from US and West European airports. The same rule will apply to private and government-owned vessels, including oil tankers. Calling in at an Iranian port will automatically exclude them from entry to a US or European harbor. This sanction would clamp down an air and naval siege on the Islamic Republic without a shot being fired.” (Click here to read the complete Debka.com report.)
The Obama Administration is trying to persuade the Israelis to hold off attacking Iran by promising these new crippling sanctions. Nearly two months, ago a defiant Iran said it could endure an oil embargo for “two to three years.” Meanwhile, the Israelis continue to prepare for war. This week, it was reported, “Israel is arming submarines supplied and largely financed by Germany with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, influential German news weekly Der Spiegel reports in its issue to be published on Monday. . . . In Israel, foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said only: ‘I can confirm that we have German submarines. It’s no secret. “As for the rest, I am not in a position to talk about their capacity,’ he told AFP. Israel is the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power.” (Click here for the complete AFP.com story.)
The Israelis are not the only ones who think they should be prepared for war. Last week, GOP rising star Senator Marco Rubio was asked, “You would sanction a strike before you would tolerate a nuclear Iran?” Rubio said, “Yes and I think that we need to begin to prepare people for that.” (Click here to see the complete comment by Senator Rubio.)
Russia and China are not only trading partners with Iran but military allies. The Russians and Chinese have reportedly sold Iran missile and torpedo technology that can sink U.S. warships and heavily damage U.S. bases in the Middle East. If there is a war, expect Russia and China to side with Iran. They will, at the very least, continue to supply Iran with weapons. There is a good chance any war with Iran or Syria will spiral out of control and directly involve the Russian and Chinese military in what will surely be a WWIII event. I hope I am wrong, as there will be no real winners in the next global conflict–only survivors.