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Targeting Syria and Iran

February 8th, 2012

by Stephen Lendman

Slowed but not derailed by Russia and China vetoing its Security Council resolution, America's regime change/war plans remain on track.

In 1999, Washington circumvented the Security Council, UN Charter, and US Constitution to wage aggressive war against nonbelligerent Serbia/Kosovo.

According to former Nuremberg prosecutor Walter Rockler, it "constitute(d) the most brazen international aggression since the Nazis attacked Poland to prevent (nonexistent) 'Polish atrocities' against Germans."

"The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok."

In 1999, Nobel laureate Harold Pinter called America's aggression "barbaric (and despicable), another blatant and brutal assertion of US power using NATO as its missile (to consolidate) American domination of Europe."

It replicated the same process against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, as well as indirectly against other MENA (Middle East/North African) countries. More aggression's planned against Syria and Iran, mostly likely in 2012.

Run-up tactics include sanctions, hardening existing ones, imposing new ones, isolation, and closing Washington’s Damascus embassy among other steps. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said:

"The United States has suspended operations of our embassy in Damascus as of Feb. 6. Ambassador (Robert) Ford and all American personnel have now departed the country (allegedly because) the regime failed to respond adequately" to US security concerns.

Hawkish UK Foreign Minister William Hague barely stopped short of declaring war, saying Assad must surrender power. "This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime. There is no way it can get its credibility back either internationally or with its own people."

Furious about the Russian/Chinese veto, he added: "There is no way to mince words about this. Such vetos are a betrayal of the Syrian people."

Like Washington and other rogue NATO partners, he also didn't "rule out" recognizing opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) legitimacy, much like Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) won backing against Gaddafi.

In fact, international law prohibits it, but no matter. It doesn't deter Washington/UK/French efforts to circumvent legal standards to advance their joint imperium.

America's UN envoy Susan Rice, an unprincipled offender with higher aspirations, threatened Russia and China with international isolation for opposing Washington's Security Council action.

She added that America will use all means available against Assad. Like Hague, she stopped short only of declaring war, though, of course, ambassadors have no power to do so. Neither do foreign ministers with platforms only to repeat sentiments of higher-ups.

Of course, Western-backed insurgents are largely responsible for months of Syrian violence. Assad's more victim than villain. So-called Syrian Free Army (SFA) militants promise stepped up efforts ahead. According to SFA commander Colonel Riad al-Asaad:

"There is no other road. This regime does not understand the language of politics. It only understands the language of force."

Behind the scenes, Washington's orchestrating regime change tactics. So far bombing's not included. Expect it if other methods fail. Notorious war goddess Hillary Clinton promised to "redouble our efforts outside the United Nations." Her meaning was undisguised.

She also assailed Russia and China for vetoing SC action. She said doing so "is to bear the responsibility for the horrors that are occurring on the ground in Syria."

Obama repeated the accusation, blaming Assad (for) "murder(ing) hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children."

In fact, no nation exceeds Washington's culpability throughout the region. It orchestrated and participated in murdering tens of thousands of Libyans, ravaging the country, and creating incalculable human misery. Moreover, it's directly involved in today's ongoing violence.

Cynically blaming Assad, America's responsible for thousands of Syrian deaths and atrocities. Its bloodstained hands are infamous. Its crimes of war and against humanity touch dozens of countries globally. Syria's now target one, then Iran.

Similar to what preceded America's 2003 Iraq war, Washington, Britain and France now call for a "coalition of the willing" against Assad. If formed, expect Turkey, other rogue NATO partners, regional despots, and Israel (at least covertly) to be included.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy cynically called it a "group of friends of the Syrian people." Excluded, of course, are the opposition Arab street, millions of others globally, and most Syrians supporting Assad.

Major media scoundrels conceal it. Instead, a February 6 New York Times editorial is typical headlined, "Killing in Syria," saying:

Assad "continue(s) his killing spree." Government "forces us(e) tanks and machine guns (against) residential areas in Homs," killing hundreds....Moscow and Beijing now have the blood of Syria's valiant people on their hands as well."

Fact check

Throughout the Western-backed insurgency, Times scoundrels blamed the victim like they always do. Syria was invaded by heavily armed foreign militants. Assad confronted them responsibly. He's obligated to protect his people. Yet he's blamed for externally generated violence.

Russia and China blocked SC action intended to smooth the way to war. Similar to Resolution 1973 against Libya, it made demands and promised "further measures" if unmet.

By standing firm responsibly, The Times condemned Moscow and Beijing for wanting "to deny the West another perceived victory."

At the same time, NYT editors endorse Washington's intention to circumvent international and constitutional law by using other means to topple Assad. It's "time for (him) to go," they stressed, no matter how illegitimate to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries.

Taking Aim at Iran

On February 6, Obama used unilateral Executive Order (EO) authority to impose new sanctions on Iranian assets and central bank.

In a letter to Congress, he said:

"I have determined that additional sanctions are warranted, particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies in Iran's anti-money laundering regime and the weaknesses in its implementation, and the continuing and unacceptable risk posed to the international financial system by Iran's activities."

Like he always does, he lied issuing EO 12957. Accusations are spurious. They apply more to America's deeply corrupt financial system. It involves grand theft, including looting the federal treasury, customer accounts, and other private sources; market manipulation; and money laundering through Wall Street and other Western banks as one of their significant profit centers.

Instead of shutting down this money making racket and prosecuting culpable officials, Obama ordered "All agencies of the United Stated Government (to) hereby... take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order" against Iran.

Describing the action as another way to isolate its government, it's more cosmetic than effective as practically no Iranian assets remain in America or under US control.

In other words, it was an election year stunt to win votes and silence Republican hard-liners wanting bombs away now on Iran.

Not opposed, Obama favors delay to concentrate on toppling Assad, isolating Iran, then directing full attention against Tehran by all means necessary. Translation's unnecessary.

On February 5, AFP headlined, "Obama says US working 'in lockstep' with Israel on Iran," saying:

"Obama "sought to reassure Americans over the threat posed by Iran...." If fact, Tehran threatens no one but faces preemptive Western belligerence to replace its government with a client one.

Nonetheless, Obama said:

"I've been very clear. We're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating a nuclear arms race in a volatile region."

In fact, US intelligence and IAEA documents show no evidence whatever of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Obama knows it. So do other NATO states and Israel. Claiming one is a red herring to conceal regime change intentions.

Moreover, America and Israel share responsibility for regional violence and instability, not Iran, Syria, Hezbolloh or Hamas. They're victims, not villains.

Yet Obama claimed his "number one priority continues to be the security of the United States (and) Israel."

In fact, he, Israel, and rogue Western partners prioritize imperial lawlessness against targeted countries. As a result, all options are considered, included preemptive wars with nuclear weapons against Iran's underground facilities.

As a result, all humanity's potentially threatened by deranged leaders too unconcerned to care. That's how Western civilization today is governed.

When asked, no wonder Gandhi mocked its principles for good reason. Imagine what he'd say today.

A Final Comment

On February 1, the Movement of the Icelandic Parliament (MIP) nominated Private Bradley Manning for the Nobel Peace Prize. They felt compelled to recognize his important contribution to world peace.

He's an American hero threatened with life in prison or the death penalty for his courage. Facing general court-martial, the US Army Military District of Washington announced February 3 that he'll be tried on all 22 charges. They include aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, and fraud, among others.

Aiding the enemy carries a possible death sentence. Most likely Manning faces life in prison.

On May 26, 2010, he was arrested and brutalized in prison isolation. No announced trial date was set even though court-martial procedures require trying suspects within 120 days of arrest or "preferral of charges."

MIP's letter to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee said the following in part:

"We have the great honor of nominating (Manning) for the 2012 (award)."

He stands accused of leaking documents revealing "a long history of corruption, war crimes and imperialism by the United States government in international dealings."

The evidence "should never have been kept from public scrutiny." They document crimes of war and against humanity. "Citizens worldwide" are indebted "to the WikiLeaks whistleblower for shedding light on these issues, and so I urge the Committee to award this prestigious prize to accused whistleblower Bradley Manning" for displaying the highest form of courage at great personal risk.

Of course, expect Nobel officials to spurn him. The Committee's history is long and inglorious. Past honorees included Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres, Yirzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Al Gore, Obama, and others like them.

They share a common trait. They're unindicted war criminals, not peacemakers. Choosing them exposed the Committee's real agenda.

It follows the tradition of Alfred Nobel. He was a wealthy 19th century dynamite inventor/armaments manufacturer/war profiteer/then reinvented peacemaker to conceal his disreputable past.

As a result, the Committee scorns peace and favors war. Usually, those most deserving are bypassed for the world's worst.

In December, expect the tradition to continue. Perhaps Netanyahu and NATO will share honors this year. Why not. It fits the pattern.

-###-

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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