Obama Regime Courts World Conflagration: Imperial Overstretch Threatens as US, NATO Wage Five Wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen – Are Syria, Iran, Lebanon Next?
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
June 20, 2011
Washington DC, June 20 - With the previously covert US bombing of Yemen out in the open, the Obama administration is now waging illegal wars against at least five countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen. Given Obama’s absurd and Orwellian theory that acts of war from the air in the sea do not constitute hostilities under the terms of the War Powers Act, this list may be incomplete, and stealth US attacks may be going on elsewhere as well. As spring turns into summer along the banks of the Potomac, there are signs that Obama’s next move may be a trifecta of aggression – an attack on Syria which would also embroil the US in war with Iran and with the Hezbollah forces of Lebanon. Or, the Obama rampage may strike Pakistan. The “Arab Spring” of color revolutions, military coups, and destabilizations is moving inexorably towards a possible world conflagration whose outlines are already visible.
According to military sources speaking on the Alex Jones radio program on June 15, US Special Forces units based at Fort Hood, Texas, have been told to prepare for deployment to Libya no later than July. Also on alert, reportedly for September or October, are the heavy armored units of the First Cavalry Division, currently located in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other components of the US III Corps at various US bases. Observers point out that US Special Forces have been in Libya since February at the latest. They also note that, while the Libyan destination is highly plausible, some of these units may also find themselves on the way to Yemen, Syria, Iran, or beyond. At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry was denouncing the presence of the US Aegis cruiser Monterrey in the Black Sea. The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and its task force are presently off the coast of Syria. One very plausible explanation for these deployments might be that a US attack on Syria, under the pretext of protecting civilians, is imminent.
On June 19, CNN reported1 a large-scale US Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps military drill, the biggest of its type in history, along much of the American Atlantic coast under the code name of Exercise Mailed Fist, to be conducted from June 19-24. “The exercise is designed to test the capability of every type of Marine Corps aircraft, including MV-22 Ospreys and F/A 18 Hornets, as well as some Navy ships and Air Force planes,” CNN reported. This drill appears designed to train for amphibious landings on the coast of the Mediterranean, as in Libya or Syria.
June-July Turning Point, as in 1848
The US-UK putsch wave of 2011 continues to exhibit similarities to an earlier historical model, the insurrections of 1848 in Europe. The 1848 events started with a revolt in Sicily (not far from Tunisia), and forced the ouster of King Louis Philippe of France in February and of the powerful Austrian Chancellor, Prince Metternich, in March. These insurrections drew on the pent-up tensions accumulated over decades under the post-1815 Holy Alliance system, but they were by and large detonated by the networks of Italian ultra-nationalist firebrand Giuseppe Mazzini, an agent of the British Admiralty. Tides of unrest swept through central Europe.
The turning point came in June-July 1848. When a Czech nationalist insurrection broke out in Prague, it was crushed by the Austrian army of Gen. Windischgrätz after June 12. An attempted coup by the radical working class and city mob of Paris, organized in Louis Blanc’s National Workshops, was defeated by the reactionary Gen. Cavaignac in the June Days – June 24-26, 1848. In northern Italy, the army of the Italian Kingdom of Sardinia – which had declared war2 on Vienna in support of a rebellion in Milan and with the hope of using the upheaval to drive the Austrians out of Italy and thus achieve national unity – was defeated on July 25 by Marshal Radetsky at Custozza. In September and October, Hungarian nationalist radicals under the Mazzini disciple Kossuth set off a civil war with the Croatians, leading to social chaos and (as R. R. Palmer put it), “the war of all against all.” Somewhat later, Russian troops were invited in to put down the Hungarian rebellion. There was a renewed flare-up of insurrectionary activity in the spring of 1849, notably with the creation of Mazzini’s Roman Republic, before the insurrectionary movements subsided during the late summer of 1849, and gave way to a phase of oppression, cynicism, and reaction. It may be useful to keep this time frame in mind as a rough guide to evaluating events today, while of course bearing in mind no mechanistic or cyclical repetition should be anticipated.
Ahmadinejad of Iran to Obama: Only the US Mask Has Changed, Hands Off Syria
On June 8, President Ahmadinejad of Iran warned the US-NATO bloc not to assail Syria: “Syria is a pioneer of resistance. The Syrian government and nation can settle their issues and there is no need for the interference of others,” Ahmadinejad said. He cautioned certain US-led countries in the region to “stop interfering in Syria’s affairs,” and added that Washington will turn against these states immediately after it achieves its objectives in Syria.3 These warnings may be addressed to Jordan, the Iraqi Kurds, or Turkey, whose territories may have been used by CIA/MI-6 networks to smuggle weapons and commandos into Syria to help constitute the armed gangs of the Moslem Brotherhood which have killed 400 Syrian military and security forces so far. “The Americans want to gain popularity among the regional nations through the implementation of this plan and portray themselves as the upholder of people’s rights,” Ahmadinejad went on, and noted that while a new regime took power in the U.S. in 2009, the nature of the ruling system has not changed: “Only the masks have changed. Campaign against terrorism was the mask of the previous U.S. administration, but the mask of the current administration is supporting human rights.”4 More recently, the Iranian Foreign Ministry and leading Iranian generals have issued stern warnings against any aggression at the expense of Syria, which they evidently would regard as casus belli. Increased attacks on US forces by Shiite militias in Iraq in recent weeks may be a token of Tehran’s alarm over the possible loss of its main ally.
“Gay Girl in Damascus” a US Hoax – Like So Many Reports on Syria and Libya?
On June 14, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an unusual dual condemnation of both Damascus and Tehran, repeating the US line that Iran is assisting in the repression of Syrian protests. “Today in Syria, Iran is supporting the Assad regime’s vicious assaults on peaceful protesters and military actions against its own cities,” said Clinton. Back in the real world, suspicions were growing up that much media reporting concerning events in Syria represented pure fiction in the tradition of the Kuwait incubator babies and Jessica Lynch: the much-touted “Gay Girl in Damascus” blog, which had been cited as a primary source of information about Syria by mainstream news media across the western world, was exposed as a total hoax. This hoax was the handiwork of Tom McMaster, a 40-year-old American man, and his wife Britta Froelicher, an activist with the American Friends Service Committee, an organization linked to the US intelligence community since the Cold War. How many of the films, photos, and interviews broadcast and posted about supposed war crimes in Libya, Syria, and other countries have also been invented out of whole cloth by this CIA cottage industry of disinformation and black propaganda? How much of the social media hype associated with the “Arab Spring” derives from the trolls at US Cyber Command?
Egypt’s Asterisk Revolution: Run by Samantha Power and McFaul From the White House
The “Gay Girl in Damascus” stunt may be seen in retrospect as a microcosm of the entire “Arab Spring”: a cynical manipulation of idealistic (or nihilistic) young dupes under the aegis of US-designed color revolutions and people power coups, playing these affluent computer-oriented young people against the fragile structures of the modern state under conditions of world economic depression. But even so, the activities of the golden youth in the public squares have been largely a media spectacle, a diversion, a smokescreen. Street demonstrations do not amount to a struggle for power. The overthrow of governments has been accomplished behind the scenes by generals and government officials who have been bribed, blackmailed, and otherwise subverted into mounting putsches sponsored by CIA/MI-6/DGSE. In Tunisia this worked well, with Ben Ali fleeing the country when the general staff made clear that they had turned against him. In Egypt, the procedure finally ousted Mubarak, but with much greater difficulty. US assets like Tantawi and Enan proved unable to drive out the Rais until the Obama White House made some heavy-duty threats of direct US action, the exact nature of which has yet to be determined, but which may have involved the menace of US action against the Suez Canal.
As US Egyptian asset Saad Eddin Ibrahim told Lally Weymoth of the Washington Post: “The Egyptian chief of staff [Tantawi] on orders from the White House was escalating the pressure. President Obama’s advisers, who are good friends — Samantha Power and Michael McFaul — asked me to come [to Washington]. They relied on me as a source. .?.?. After Mubarak’s second speech, Obama became convinced [that Mubarak had to go].”5 Nationalist colonels in the Egyptian Army may be interested to know that their supreme commander, now the virtual dictator of Egypt, acted on orders from the likes of McFaul and Power, who control the “democratic” opposition as well.
In Libya, the color revolution has worked far less well, as armed al Qaeda gangs have been unable to conquer the loyalist stronghold of Tripoli, and are also having trouble subduing loyalists in the Benghazi-Darna-Tobruk corridor. In Syria, the color revolution model has not worked at all, since the middle class is not interested in undergoing a total Iraq-style bloodbath and Moslem Brotherhood reign of terror for the sake of some vapid slogans about democracy. In Algeria, where the population has immediate experience of the nightmarish slaughter wrought by the Groupe Islamique Armé (GIA) a few years back, no appetite whatever for new adventures has been observed. Al Jazeera has now shifted target to destabilize Morocco, and we will see how that turns out. The destabilization of Jordan has gone nowhere.
An attack on Syria could come soon. “It has gotten to the point where Qaddafi’s behavior and Assad’s behavior are indistinguishable,” commented warmonger GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who noted “You need to put on the table all options, including a model like we have in Libya.”6 This meant a much wider war.
Yemen: Government of Wounded President Saleh Crumbles, US Drone Strikes Begin
Yemen’s President Saleh was seriously wounded on June 3 when rockets allegedly fired by insurgent tribesmen struck his palace. Saleh was flown to Saudi Arabia the next day for emergency treatment. While Saleh’s relatives and allies tried to hold onto power, the Pentagon exploited the resulting power vacuum to begin large-scale Predator drone attacks in the country. It was revealed that the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and the CIA were operating out of a headquarters in Sanaa, and that the CIA would soon begin a wide-ranging program of Predator drone assassinations outside of any rules of military engagement. There were also reports that the US was building a large Predator drone base for operations in Yemen. In the meantime, Islamic militants of the Ansar al-Sharia group, equated by the US media to “al Qaeda,” seized parts of a provincial capital in southern Yemen. It should be remembered that the two leading spokesman for “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (“AQAP”) are US citizen Anwar Awlaki and Guantanamo alumnus al-Shiri, both obvious US double agents. The purpose of the entire Yemen destabilization is to open an avenue of attack against Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s immediate neighbor.
US Strike Against Pakistan Nukes On Front Burner
On June 17, Pakistan said “NATO aircraft attacked one of its military posts in the northwest near the Afghan border and it had expressed its serious concern to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad…. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said NATO aircraft intruded around 2.5 km (1.5 miles) inside Pakistani territory” to make the attack.7 These probes by NATO aggressors along Pakistan’s border are now a frequent occurrence, and threaten to break out in an open, shooting war – all the more so since any one of these raids could represent a US attempt to cripple Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent with a conventional first strike below the nuclear threshold. Afghanistan President Karzai has officially announced that peace talks with State Department participation are now going on with Mullah Omar and others leaders of the Afghan Taliban. These talks have nothing to do with peace; they rather represent a US attempt to recruit the Afghan and other Taliban and Pushtuns generally as kamikaze puppets to be launched against Pakistan in military attacks.
Certain parts of the US media – particularly the ones addressed to policy elites — have mounted a sustained campaign of demonization against Pakistan. Here are some recent samples of top front-page headlines from the Washington Post:
May 28: “Infiltrators worry Pakistani military; ‘We are under attack’; US unsure of army’s commitment to purging ranks”
May 30: “In Afghan war, Haqqani group is ‘resilient’ foe; Operations based in Pakistan; Network is seen as least reconcilable insurgent faction”
June 11: “Thwarted raids add to tension with Pakistan; US shared intelligence; Bomb-making sites were later found vacant”
June 16: “Pakistan Relations Reach a new low; security ties fraying; Anti-US sentiment in Pakistani army on rise”
Iran’s Ahmadinejad was also taking seriously the spate of media reports about a coming US attack on Pakistan’s nuclear forces. “We have precise information that America wants to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear facilities in order to control Pakistan and to weaken the government and the people of Pakistan,” he said on June 6. The U.S. is also seeking to “use the United Nations Security Council and some other international organizations as a lever to pave the way for its increased presence in Pakistan with the aim of undermining Pakistan’s national sovereignty,” said the Iranian President.8 The Pakistani government has requested that Iran share with them the detailed intelligence that was the basis for this report.
The Pakistan nukes scenario was the centerpiece of a widely noticed study entitled “Terrorist Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety,” by British academic Shaun Gregory, published on June 1 in the CTC Sentinel, the house organ of the Combating Terrorism Center of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. Gregory’s thesis is that Pakistan, now equipped with over 100 nuclear weapons, will not be able to defend all of them against a determined terrorist attack. He estimates that some 70,000 Pakistanis are now involved in the nation’s nuclear program, and that terrorists would inevitably be able to infiltrate and subvert some of this personnel, including by recruiting rogue commanders of the tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons which Pakistan is currently deploying to guard against an attack by India. Gregory also asserts that it would be enough for terrorists to get possession of fissile materials that would allow the construction of a dirty bomb. Even a failed attack on a nuclear site would cause world hysteria: “The successful location and penetration of such a site by terrorists, even if they were ultimately unsuccessful in accessing nuclear assets, would itself be a transformative event both in terms of the U.S.-Pakistani nuclear relationship and in terms of international anxiety about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,” writes Gregory.9
Reuters commented: “It’s a nightmare scenario: al Qaeda militants gain control of a Pakistani nuclear weapon, either through a base assault, theft or a rogue commander’s cooperation, possibly in the event of hostilities with nuclear-armed neighbor India.10 The Pakistanis were on full alert: “We know that the ultimate objective of the United States here is not to get a piece of land but to target our nuclear facilities….” said a Pakistani source quoted by Ansar Abbasi in News International on June 9.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff head Admiral Mike Mullen confirmed that this is indeed what the Pentagon has in mind, saying of Pakistan: “It’s a country with an awful lot of terrorists on that border… Things that I fear in the future, it’s the proliferation of that [nuclear] technology, and it’s the opportunity and the potential that it could fall into the hands of terrorists, many of whom are alive and well and seek that in that region.”
As if to provide a suitable pretext for such an attack, the US media has been trumpeting the alleged selection of notorious MI-6 asset Ayman al-Zawahiri as Bin Laden’s successor as top dog of “al Qaeda.” Zawahiri has allegedly sworn to avenge the death of Bin Laden, meaning that the door to new false flag terror events is wide open. This coverage was accompanied by the assurance that Zawahiri’s home base was nowhere else but Pakistan. Mullen immediately proclaimed that Zawahiri would soon meet the same fate as his predecessor, meaning that the US is determined to carry out more unilateral attacks on Pakistani territory, despite the virtual certainty that these will meet with Pakistani countermeasures. Pakistan’s Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik “has said that a foreign hand is involved in terror incidents in Pakistan,” and called for national unity against terrorists in “the fight for our survival.”11
The other main US goal is to block the creation of the Pakistan energy corridor, the fabled Pipelinestan. These projects involve oil and gas pipelines from Iran to China and India, all crossing through Pakistan. The US and UK are determined to block such peaceful infrastructure development, which would give all these countries a rational common economic interest. One key part of the Pakistan energy corridor has been halted; on June, IANS reported that “the proposed Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline has run into delays as Islamabad has failed to raise the necessary funds…. Pakistani officials have told their Iranian counterparts that the pipeline was unlikely to be completed by the scheduled deadline of December 2014, the Urdu daily Jang reported. According to reliable sources, Pakistan has neither been able to raise the necessary $1.24 billion funding nor plan out the proposed route for the pipeline within its territory.”12
An Anti-US Coup d’État by Nationalist Colonels in Islamabad?
On June 15, the New York Times and Washington Post both published front-page articles highlighting the rapid growth of anti-American resentment in the Pakistani officer corps. The New York Times wrote that many military officers were so disgusted by the servility of army chief Kayani towards Washington that “a colonels’ coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question,” according to “a well-informed Pakistani who has seen the general in recent weeks, as well as an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years.”13
The neocon National Review, genuinely alarmed by the prospect of a new generation of modernizing military officers in the great tradition of Colonel Nasser of Egypt, spun out some grim scenarios and asked, “would the outcome of a break between America and Pakistan be war–whether low-level or outright?”14 In reality, a regime of progressive colonels might provide a better outcome than Islamic fundamentalists not just for Pakistan, but also for Egypt.
Panetta’s New Pearl Harbor of Virtual Flag Cyber-Attacks
Islamabad continues to enjoy support from China, which pledged a month ago to regard any attack on Pakistan as an attack on the Middle Kingdom itself. China has military options for retaliation, ranging from ICBMs to sensitive points like the Taiwan Straits, but these are less likely. China could also express displeasure by divesting some U.S. Treasury bonds. More likely might be operations in the cyber-realm. US sources allege that Lockheed Martin, the CIA, and other websites are under cyber assault, and some commentators have tried to pin this on China. CIA Director Panetta, now moving over to the Pentagon, told a Senate Committee, “The next Pearl Harbor we confront could very well be a cyber attack that cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, our governmental systems.”15 Since no known cyber-attack has thus far been able to create such devastating effects, we may assume that Panetta is preparing the way for virtual flag terrorism, in which the US government would simply assert that some catastrophic event had been caused by a country it wishes to target. In a possibly related development, German attorney Thorsten van Geest is in court seeking a temporary restraining order against the Merkel government to shut down all anti-terror drills around at the June 26 opening of the World the Women’s Soccer Championship in Berlin, citing the danger that these exercises might be flipped live.
Saudi Arabia Signals Break from Washington
Saudi Arabia is known to be seeking cooperation with Pakistan and with other countries as part of its attempted exit from the collapsing US empire. Prince Turki al-Faisal, a leading figure of the royal family, signaled Riyadh’s broad-based rage against Washington with a June 7 op-ed warning Obama that “there will be disastrous consequences for U.S.-Saudi relations if the United States vetoes UN recognition of a Palestinian state.” Turki concluded with a threat: “We Arabs used to say no to peace, and we got our comeuppance in 1967 [with a crushing military defeat] …. Now, it is the Israelis who are saying no. I’d hate to be around when they face their comeuppance.”16 These blunt words, which reflect a Saudi hostility to the Obama regime that goes beyond the Palestinian issue to include the whole range of national strategy, has caused shock behind closed doors in official Washington.
The March visit of Saudi Prince Bandar to Pakistan is widely regarded as having sealed a defensive alliance between these two powers, which may be regarded (along with Egypt) as regional pillars of the US empire. Both are seeking to exit the empire. Pakistan is thought to have guaranteed the Saudis protection under Islamabad’s nuclear umbrella, as well as a division or more of Pakistani troops to quell any color revolution or other destabilization the CIA might attempt. A possible signal of US rage over this cooperation came on May 16, when “motorcycle-riding assassins gunned down a Saudi diplomat in the Pakistani city of Karachi, four days after a grenade attack on the Saudi consulate there.”17
NATO Facing Logistical Overstretch in Libya
Resistance by Colonel Qaddafi of Libya against the attacking US-NATO forces has exposed the grave logistical and political weakness of the supposedly omnipotent Western alliance. A US military source speaking on the Alex Jones broadcast reported that US stocks of depleted uranium (DU) munitions are currently very low. This may be the reality behind outgoing Defense Secretary Gates’ complaint last week that NATO is running out of bombs in Libya, and similar remarks by French NATO General Stephane Abrial in Belgrade. The US still has some stocks, but how long would these last against Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran?
Obama is Impeachment Bait for Violating the War Powers Act
At a recent Republican presidential debate, candidates Bachman, Gingrich, and Cain hinted that the Libyan rebels include al Qaeda terrorists. Obama’s arrogant and cynical management of the attack on Libya has raised the possibility of congressional action to cut off funds for the war. The Republican fanatics of the Tea Party are seeking to force the US government to default on Treasury securities payments as a way of destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and other economic rights of the American people recognized under the New Deal. However, it is possible that the zombie bankers and hedge fund hyenas of Wall Street who fund and generally own the Republican Party will use threats and bribes to force these Tea Party extremists to knuckle under and increase the debt ceiling over the next month. That will leave the Tea Party fanatics in desperate need of an issue they can use to make a loud show of hostility to Obama to placate their extremist supporters, and that issue may be the aggression against Libya, which has become thoroughly unpopular despite Obama’s attempts to conceal that it is going on.
Libya: A War Too Far, even for GOP
The House of Representatives has voted to demand that Obama seek congressional approval for his stealth Libya war. Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich and others are suing Obama in federal court to force him to get such approval. Speaker of the House John Boehner has warned Obama that, if he does not come to Congress for approval by June 20, he will be in violation of the War Powers Act. Senators like Lugar, Corker, and Webb have also called on Obama to get a congressional resolution to prosecute hostilities. It has also been revealed that Obama was told by lawyers from the Department of Justice and the Pentagon that the Libyan war was indeed covered by the War Powers Act, but that Obama chose to endorse legal opinions from White House and State Department lawyers telling him he did not need to get any go-ahead from Congress. Naturally, Obama’s flagrant violation of the War Powers Act in Libya would make him subject to impeachment, and this possibility might become more likely if the US economy continues to deteriorate. Another approach would be for Congress to cut off the money for the Libyan aggression. Usually, such a move would be blocked with the argument that US troops would be left stranded in harm’s way. But in this case, by Obama’s own assurances, no US ground troops are officially involved (although they are already there nonetheless). Since Obama claims that only air and naval attacks are being mounted, it may prove easier to cut off the funding and end the illegal attacks on Libya.
As Chinese political scientist Kiyul Chung told RT on June 16, the world was at an historic crossroads, on the brink of deciding whether US and NATO military interventions on the Libyan model would subdue the entire world, or whether Russia, China, and other participants in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization would be able to create a worldwide movement to counterbalance the “unilateral, aggressive, and colonial” methods of the NATO bloc.
2 King Carlo Alberto of Sardinia declared war on Austria on March 23, 1848. He was joined by a coalition which included the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Papal States under Pope Pius IX, and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This marked the first transformation of the domestic insurrections of 1848 into cross-border wars. There is an eerie congruence between this event and the initiation of the NATO bombing of Libya on March 19, 2011.
3 Iran censures US interference in Syria, Press TV, June 8, 2011, at http://www.presstv.ir/detail/183696.html
5 http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-egypt-a-revolution-with-an-asterisk/2011/05/20/AF0W3M9G_print.html, emphasis added.
9 Shaun Gregory, “Terrorist Tactics in Pakistan Threaten Nuclear Weapons Safety,” West Point CTC Sentinel, June 1, 2011, at http://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/terrorist-tactics-in-pakistan-threaten-nuclear-weapons-safety; see also http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20110614_5737.php; Professor Shaun Gregory is Director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford, UK.
10 Reuters, June 1, 2011, at http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/01/how-pakistans-nuclear-weapons-could-be-jeopardised.html
14 Stanley Kurtz, “Anti-American Coup in Pakistan?,” National Review, June 16, 2011, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/269822/anti-american-coup-pakistan-stanley-kurtz