Mar 5, 2013 | By Finian Cunningham
Is Russia sleepwalking when it comes to defending allies Syria and Iran and ultimately its own vital long-term interests?
It seems that Russian leaders are befuddled by the conflict raging in Syria, sensing rightly on one hand that the Western powers and their Turk and Arab proxies are conducting a low-intensity war for regime change. Yet, strangely, on the other hand, Moscow appears apathetic or blasé about the West’s criminal geopolitical agenda.
The same applies to Iran, where Russia (and China) continues to engage in a bankrupt process of isolating the Islamic Republic through the P5+1 sham negotiations over sovereign nuclear rights.
First though on Syria, take this statement from Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov following the carnage of a massive car bomb last month that obliterated 53 lives, including women and children, near the Russian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
On 22 February, Reuters reported Lavrov as being “disappointed” by American “double standards” in not condemning the massacre. Regarding Washington’s lack of condemnation, Russia’s most senior diplomat commented: “And we see in it a very dangerous tendency by our American colleagues to depart from the fundamental principle of unconditional condemnation of any terrorist act, a principle which secures the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism.”
Hold on a minute. What’s this talk about “American colleagues” and “the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism”? That atrocity in Damascus was indisputably the work of Western-backed terrorists who are funded, armed and directed by Western military intelligence to wipe out the government of President Bashar Al Assad.
This kind of indiscriminate mass murder has proven to be standard operating procedure for the Western proxy army in fulfilling long-held Western plans for regime change in Syria.
Despite cynical claims by Washington, London, Paris and Berlin of supplying “only non-lethal” military equipment to Syrian militants, Russia is well aware that these Western governments are arming this network of killers to the teeth and providing the logistics and intelligence to expedite the terror against civilians. Previously, Russia has itself highlighted and condemned the supply of American anti-aircraft missiles to the armed groups.
So let’s disabuse this notion of “colleagues fighting international terrorism”. The so-called “colleagues” are fomenting terrorism via well-worn Western channels Al Qaeda and other Saudi-backed extremist mercenaries.
Russia (and China) must be cognizant of the bigger picture by now. The post 9/11 “war on terror” charade has nothing to do with “an international fight against terrorism” and all to do with the American-led capitalist Western powers staking out new global spheres of influence. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Mali are all part of a continuum in Washington’s strategic vision of “full spectrum” dominance in resource-rich regions.
The expansion of NATO bases into former Soviet Union member states, the encroachment of missile systems on Russia’s borders, and the threatening military encirclement of China are also part this dynamic in which perceived geopolitical rivals must be thwarted, corralled and subjugated. The Western pseudo “wars against terrorism” or “responsibility to protect” that have spawned across Asia and Africa are as much about dominating those continents’ resources as usurping Russian and Chinese economic interests.
Syria provides the only foreign naval base to Russia, at Tartus, enabling access to the strategically vital Mediterranean Sea and the oil-rich Middle East. It is transparent that the Western powers want to oust Russia from this holding, by killing off the Assad government in Damascus and installing a pro-Western puppet regime.
Yet instead of condemning Washington and its allies for criminal aggression, Moscow seems to be indulging in some kind of illusion that the US and other NATO criminals are to be reasoned with. Last week, for example, Sergei Lavrov met new US secretary of state John Kerry in Berlin, while President Vladimir Putin entertained French counterpart Francois Hollande in Moscow for negotiations over Syria.
But rather than pandering to political chicanery, what Russia and China should be doing is using their combined undoubted influence on the world stage to expose and denounce Western governments for their crimes against humanity and international peace in Syria and elsewhere. Furthermore, Moscow and Beijing should be deploying forthright and unapologetic military support for Damascus.
Clearly, the only language that the criminal Western powers understand is force not diplomatic rhetoric. If the Western regimes can be so brazen as to arm and support terrorists who are detonating 1.5-tonne car bombs in downtown Damascus targeting Russian sovereign interests, then Moscow needs to be brazen back in its support for Syria.
On the issue of Iran, Russia and China also need to urgently raise their political game and get real. For more than a decade, Iran has been threatened with war and pummeled with illegal sanctions all on the back of entirely bogus claims by Western states that Iran is secretly using its nuclear program for military ends.
This Western calumny as pretext for criminal aggression towards Iran keeps being repeated like a broken record.
US secretary of state John Kerry said of the latest P5+1 talks in Kazakhstan at the end of last month: “Iran knows what it needs to do, the president has made clear his determination to implement his policy that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”
Kerry is either woefully briefed or, more likely, cynically spinning the propaganda wheel of fortune. The US National Intelligence Estimates, its plethora of spy agencies and its Israeli surrogates do not even pretend to believe this fairytale about Iran as a nuclear threat. Russia must know this too. It has been involved closely in developing Iran’s civilian nuclear industry at Bushehr for the past 16 years.
So why does Russia and China continue to give this mockery of international relations and sovereign rights any further legitimacy by engaging in P5+1 wrangling? This self-styled grouping comprises the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China. Who are these nuclear-armed powers to dictate to anyone, especially given the record of the Western entities for genocidal wars and international lawlessness?
This cabal would not be able to continue plying its fiction over Iran’s nuclear ambitions if Russia and China simply walked away – as they should.
Moscow and Beijing have both expressed support for Iran’s right to civilian nuclear development. Therefore, these powers should put their money where their mouths are and insist on Iran’s inalienable right, not lend legitimacy to a smokescreen for strangling Iran.
Iran and Syria are part of the same imperialist dynamic of Western capitalist powers waging wars on the world for their selfish and criminal interests. Ultimately, Russia and China are the targets of this dynamic. Even if it’s only for their own self-defence, Moscow and Beijing must adopt clearer analysis of the geopolitical context and see the Western powers for the aggressive adversaries that they are.
A military defence of Syria and an insistence on ending illegal sanctions on Iran would be a start to more realistic thinking and policy that could restore a semblance of law and order in the world.
Russia and China bear a heavy responsibility for world peace. They need to act promptly on that by forming a realistic defensive alliance with Syria and Iran.
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