When False Narratives Fade
Most of those in Washington pushing for direct intervention into Syria by, at least, supporting the opposition fighters with weapons and intelligence are still harping on the whole “humanitarian intervention” narrative. Like most of the garbage that comes out of the mouths of politicians, this narrative is largely a lie, but I always find it interesting when politicians readily admit the truth, no matter how ugly.
A number of the Republican presidential candidates have openly admitted that a U.S. intervention is Syria would not be about a humanitarian mission based on the Responsibility to Protect Syrians. Rather, they explain, the terrible bloodletting in Syria should be exploited in order to weaken Iran. Ha’aretz:
On the possibility of intervention in Syria, Senator Rick Santorum said “Syria is a puppet state of Iran. They are a threat not just to Israel, but they have been a complete destabilizing force within Lebanon, which is another problem for Israel, and Hezbollah.”
Romney said that amid all the bad news coming from the Middle East, a troubled Syrian regime is one piece of good news. “The key ally of Iran, Syria, has a leader that’s in real trouble. And we ought to grab a hold of that like it’s the best thing we’ve ever seen,” said Romney, adding that the U.S. needs to work with the Alwaites, the ethnic group of Syrian President Bashar Assad, to show them they have a future without Assad. In addition, said Romney, the U.S. needs to work with Saudi Arabia and with Turkey to support the Syrian rebels with weaponry. “If we can turn Syria and Lebanon away from Iran, we finally have the capacity to get Iran to pull back. And we can, at that point, with crippling sanctions and a very clear statement that military action is an action that will be taken if they pursue nuclear weaponry. That can change the course of world history.”
Romney and Santorum aren’t the only ones. Rep. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said recently in a video message to his constituents that arming and aiding the Syrian opposition is “in our national security interest” because “Iran,” which he described as “the number one immediate threat facing the world and the United States,” has “no stronger ally in the world than Syria” and “the loss of the Assad regime in Syria is the single, most damaging thing that can happen to Iran’s regime.”
How quickly notions of humanitarian intervention begin to fade. This should make it clear to anyone still mulling the issue that humanitarian concern was not a part of the intervention in Libya. It should also raise questions about the dominant narrative on Iran: note that a consensus in the military and intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so has not deterred a U.S. policy of military encirclement and crippling economic sanctions that are almost surely a prelude to war. Clearly, a nuclear weapons program has little to do with the supposed “threat” posed by Iran. Yes, the U.S. is laid prostrate in subservience to Israel on the Iran issue and that certainly explains part of it. But I wonder what it will take for this false narrative to fade away and for Washington to start readily admitting the grand strategy implications on Iran, as opposed to lies about an Iranian nuke, giving WMDs to terrorists, and annihilating Israel.