US sees no peaceful solution in Syria?
A senior State Department official admitted on condition of anonymity that the United States has increased its assistance to the Syrian opposition, the Washington Post reports. The Obama administration, however, has emphasized that the US is neither supplying nor providing funding for any lethal weapons, including anti-tank weaponry.
“We are increasing our non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” an official said.
The rebels confirm that they have begun receiving significantly more – and better – weapons in recent weeks. Officials and opposition activists say it is all paid for by states in the Persian Gulf and coordinated by the United States.
With the US repeatedly saying that “all options are on the table” the report seems to be a shift away from a peaceful solution to the crisis. RT spoke about the issue with Brian Becker, the director of the anti-war coalition ANSWER.
RT: What does Washington seek to gain by this? And what about the Gulf states? Why are they fueling a conflict in their own backyard?
BB: I think Saudi Arabia, Qatar have their own interest in terms of reorganizing the Middle East, principally weakening Syria, weakening Iran, changing the relationship of forces in Lebanon. But behind Qatar and Saudi Arabia and even Turkey which has its owner regional ambitions, is the United States and NATO countries, the former colonizers of Syria and the region, who are committed to overthrowing the Assad government. They have crossed the Rubicon now in terms of preparing for the all-out intervention, including military intervention by NATO forces. They will use, ultimately, military power to overthrow an independent government that they want to replace with a proxy regime in this important region.
RT:What chances does the UN observer mission in Syria have of achieving its goals with high-level foreign support for the armed rebellion?
BB: It’s quiet clear that when the United States and its allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are pumping in huge quantities of weapons right into the middle of Damascus and other areas, their intention is not to have a negotiated settlement but an all-out civil war as a precursor to a NATO intervention. So I think the UN observer mission is basically dead in the water at this point.
RT:Damascus has been saying all along that it is fighting a foreign-funded insurgency – and these developments are certainly damning. How much of a boost is this for Assad?
BB: Of course it gives legitimacy to the Syrian government’s narrative that it is in fact facing a foreign intervention, but ultimately this will be a matter of military force. Ultimately this outcome will be arbitrated by those who amass the greatest number of weapons.
The United States scripted it in a way that peace is impossible. How can any sovereign government say ‘yes we’ll pull back’ while foreign forces are arming to the teeth those who are determined to overthrow them?
RT: Iran's closely watching how all this is playing out as well, with Damascus being its close ally. What stake and role does Tehran have in the conflict?
BB: The Western powers, NATO, see the destruction of the Iranian government as the ultimate prize in terms of a reconfiguring, re-colonizing, of the Middle East. Iran has been independent since 1979; it has an ally in the Assad government and the Assad government also was a bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon. I think the UnitedState sees the destruction of the Assad government as part of an effort to reshape Lebanon and ultimately to overthrow the Islamic republic in Iran – not to make it more humanitarian, more democratic, but to put in place in Tehran a proxy acquiescent regime.