‘Israel is Obama’s fall-back plan for Syria’
In a space of less than three days Israel has bombed Syria
twice. Escobar believes this to be a deliberate provocation
involving multiple players, and says the biggest mistake Syria (or
Iran) could make right now is to carry out any type of retaliatory
action. He explains why in an interview with RT.
RT:The U.S. said Israel is justified in its concerns
over the Hezbollah threat. So wasn't making a move to defend itself
the right thing to do?
Pepe Escobar: Let’s recapitulate. First of all, this is
an act of war and a provocation at the same time. Why happening
now? It starts with Chuck Hagel, Head of the Pentagon’s tour in the
Middle East and Israel a few days ago. Remember that Chuck Hagel
was against arming Syrian rebels, and then he changed his mind and
said that rebels actually used chemical weapons in Syria with no
evidence. At the same time rebels start losing ground inside Syria.
The Syrian army has been making advances in the Homs corridor these
past few weeks. And at the same time we also know that all these
divergent strands of the Free Syrian Army - they are basically the
one that are really fighting on around jihadis. Obama
cannot arm jihadis in Syria, period. So what is his fallback
plan: a kind of mini shock-and-awe. But would the US start a shock
and awe in Syria? No. It’s by proxy. It’s via Israel. This is what
Hagel and the Israelis were discussing only a few days
RT:So, you are saying Israel has gone ahead with this
with US blessing? It did not act alone?
PE: If anybody believes that anything Israel does in the Middle East it does not consult the Americans, you should go back to kindergarten. It does not work like this in the real world. They did it because they were consorted with the Obama administration which is in a bind at the moment. They cannot intervene directly in Syria. They know that the support for the so-called rebels and all their different strands is going nowhere, because they are likely retreating instead of advancing. So, Israel with this provocation they are waiting for a response either from Syria, or from Hezbollah, or better yet – from the point of view of the Obama administration and Israel – from Iran. So if Iran and Syria don’t do anything for the moment, they just wait. This will be seen as it is, just a provocation. But if there is the slightest bit of response, from either Syria or Iran, this will be the perfect pretext for what? A mini shock-and-awe against Syria.
RT:What sort of a response are you expecting from
Syria? It surely can’t just choose another conflict bearing in mind
circumstances at the moment. Iran would really respond militarily
to what happened in Syria?
PE: Exactly! That’s the point. The hardliners in
Washington and Israel are expecting exactly that – a non-measured
response from Iran. It’s not going to happen. The Iranians might
calibrate their response for months from now in fact… different
targets. Maybe not even in the Middle East. Israelis interest
outside of the Middle East. The Syrians, they are moving some of
their missiles to the northern part of Syria. You don’t know what
they are going to do about it.
RT:How dangerous is this situation now? Is this
really a sign of what everybody was really worried about – a
sparking of a regional conflict?
Yes, absolutely. And in fact this proves how desperate this so-called coalition of the willing …US, Brits, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are with what is going on inside Syria. They were expecting Bashar al-Assad government to collapse in a few months. But it has been two years and it is still in place. There are no major defections. They still control the business classes in Damascus and Aleppo. It is still there and could fight for a long time. And they want a quick resolution, so they use Israel as a proxy. It’s the perfect foil. And they can blame Israel in fact, the Arabs. The Arab league which nowadays is an annex of NATO, they are blaming Israel. But Saudi Arabia is into it as well. Because the US, the Saudis and the Israelis they are actually arming rebels as well, they see that it is going nowhere. Ok. Let’s activate plan B. Let’s start bombing Syria and see if they respond.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.