February 24, 2012. Tehran. Iranian actions over the past week have caused oil prices to spike and every military superpower on Earth to rapidly populate outposts at ground zero. China and Russia have confirmed support for Syrian and Iran while steadfastly warning the West to stay out of each country’s internal business. At the same time, Iran docked a war ship in Syria in solidarity with the embattled Assad regime. Word is beginning to leak out, this may be the next US-Russian proxy war.
US officials insist the Syrian rebels will receive military arms very soon, but won't elaborate how or from whom.
Like Vietnam and Korea before, a scattering of independent news pundits are beginning to suggest that the details of the upcoming Middle East military confrontation have already been plotted out, by both sides. If history is any indication, the two nations that will be destroyed in the event of a US-Russian war, albeit limited to the Middle East, will be the two countries on the immediate front line – Israel and Iran. And if a Korean or Vietnam-style war broke out in the region, it’s safe to assume Turkey and Syria may be just as devastated.
The first mention of a ‘proxy war’ was in regard to Syria’s civil war. When Russia and China reaffirmed their support of the Assad regime after vetoing a UN resolution against the Syrian government, the US quickly announced plans to arm the Syrian rebels, somehow. Until now, Western journalists, some of which have been killed in recent days, repeatedly described the scene in Syria as rows of tanks firing into civilian neighborhoods on one side, and shopkeepers and teenagers with pistols on the other. It seems to be nothing short of a slaughter.
With the Obama administration being elusive on the issue, both the President and Secretary of State Clinton have assured the media that the Syrian rebels will definitely be receiving arms very soon. Again, no one in the administration will confirm whether or not the US will play any roll in providing military arms to the Syrian revolution.
In another change of events, while a host of European and Arab nations press Assad to step down or at least declare a cease fire, Syria’s long-time ally Hamas announced its support for the Syrian revolution. After weeks of silence on the issue, the Palestinian organization finally broke from its sponsor. Whether the announcement today by one Hamas leader will hold true is yet to be determined.
Showing its own resolve, according to Ma’an News, two Iranian war ships sailed through the Suez Canal in Egypt last week. They continued on into the Mediterranean Sea in a show of defiance and strength. At roughly the same time, Iran announced it would be cutting off oil supplies to England and France in protest over the two countries’ push for sanctions on the Islamic state. Experts expect the move to have little actual affect on gas or oil supplies since the two countries get so little of their oil from Iran.
Two days ago, the UN announced that its IAEA nuclear inspectors were stopped by Iranian officials from inspecting the nuclear site at Parchin, just south of Tehran. According to BBC, after two days of repeated requests and negotiations, the UN team left Iran without being able to see the site. This was the same fate the IAEA suffered during its last attempt to inspect the nuclear facility in January. "It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, "We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached."
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According to today’s Tehran Times, Iranian officials are touting the united support of their coalition of nations. Standing firm against what they call American imperialism and Israeli Zionism, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader made the announcement in the nation’s capital today. Speaking of his nation’s support for the Syrian government, Ali Akbar Velayati said the West was ‘unaware of the fact that Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah are on Syria’s side. Russia and China have also joined the supporters of Syria since they have realized that “the situation in the world is changing.”’
If Syria’s united front consists of Iran, Iraq, Russia, China and Hezbollah – and each country has confirmed its support – then existing alliances with Afghanistan and Pakistan would also kick in. Nuclear armed Pakistan has already announced loudly and clearly to the world that if Israel and the US attack Iran, the Pakistanis would come to the aid of their Iranian neighbors. Pakistan is like many nations, stuck in the middle. Pakistani officials have also announced that they do not want Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, and if they did, Pakistan would supply Saudi Arabia with nukes to level the field.
Friends of Syria
A delegation of 50-60 nations, led by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is calling itself the Friends of Syria. Together, and somewhat unorganized as today’s meeting in Tunis hinted. The one item the alliance of nations agrees on is that Syrian dictator Assad should stop the killing immediately. From there, divisions arise among the anti-Assad forces.
Some nations have announced they are willing to settle for political and humanitarian reforms in Syria. That’s the stance taken by Russia, China and Iran – Assad’s allies. Other anti-Assad countries among the Friends of Syria are going so far as to demand that Assad step down from power. Somewhat fewer nations affirm their support for supplying the rebels with military arms. And even fewer yet are advocating direct military intervention such as happened in Libya only months ago.
Showing the official US position, Clinton told the gathering today, “We look forward to concrete progress on three fronts: providing humanitarian relief, increasing pressure on the regime, and preparing for a democratic transition.” That’s political speak for ‘regime change’.
Speaking of direct military involvement, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe confirmed, “There is no military option at the moment on the table.” He also affirmed that France would not take part militarily action against the Syrian government without a UN Security Council resolution authorizing it.
According to Al Arabiya News, diplomats left today’s meeting in Tunis with a feeling of disappointment. The only item achieve was the drafting of a document urging pressure on the Assad regime to stop the bloodshed. It also adopts the Arab League plan in calling for Assad to step down from power immediately and place one of his deputies in power until elections can be held. The paper concludes that officials from the various attending states left with a feeling that there was little they could do as long as Russia and China continue to stand in the way.
Iran and Syria are two separate nations with two separate dilemmas. But they are staunch allies, along with Russia, China and other countries throughout the Middle East. Each day, they as a group, feel more and more isolated, desperate and provoked. If Iran’s blocking of IAEA inspectors and Syria’s slaughter of its own civilians are enough to push Russia and China out of the two countries’ corner, the world may wake up to a peaceful tomorrow. If they remain loyal to their allies and continue to turn a blind eye however, the world may wake up to a vastly different tomorrow.
World War 1 started over the course of one second, with one bullet from one gun in one tiny disagreement between two tiny countries. And one second later, due to alliances that divided the globe in two, the entire world was at war. With Russia and China lining up behind Syria and Iran, history is setting itself up to be repeated.
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