by Jonathan Reynolds
If the title of this article sounds familiar, that's because it should. In 2011, the West (Israel, the U.S., and its loyal tools throughout Europe) booted their long-time Libyan ally Muammar Gaddafi out of power for a list of reasons very similar to the one that follows.
Gaddafi, like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, assisted the U.S. with brutally torturing many innocent people following the attacks of 9/11, a fact that the U.S. and its allies would prefer to be forgotten. All that matters now to the West are Assad's atrocities which, like Gaddafi's atrocities, are immensely overblown by the same unapologetic, complicit news media networks and "journalists" who brought us all those claims about Iraq's WMDs.
These "journalists", like their psychotic government counterparts, embody hypocrisy at its finest. That's because if the West really had an interest in bringing freedom to the oppressed, they would broadly oppose all dictatorships; of course, not all dictators are created equal according to the West. This is why the U.S. supports brutal dictatorships inYemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere while simultaneously opposing dictatorships which refuse to go along with their interests. The best dictators do what they're told like good puppets, but since Assad no longer fits this mold, the alleged champions of peace, justice, and freedom in the West are forcing him to step down.
What's particularly disgusting about their efforts to do this is that they are hiding such attempts behind the guise of a supposedly organic rebellion. Yet, according to the United Nations, Syria's "rebels" come from at least 29 different countries. That's hardly "organic". Moreover, these "rebels" are being supported by U.S. intelligence and weaponry, despite overwhelming evidence of their connections to anti-U.S., al-Qaeda-linked elements. But who cares? I mean, we funded those same anti-U.S., al-Qaeda-linked elements during the Libyan coup in 2011 and nothing bad came out of that... right?
In any case, without further ado, here are six reasons why the West wants Assad to Go:
1. The unbreakable, unshakable, Iran-Syria alliance
Confrontation with Iran has been the goal of U.S. foreign policy for decades and Syria is one more strategic stepping stone in the process. Syria is one of Iran's strongest allies in the region and getting rid of Assad will further isolate Iran.
While visiting Iran in 2010, Assad said: "We have stood beside Iran in a brotherly way from the very beginning of the (Iranian Islamic) revolution."
During the visit, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad awarded Assad Iran's highest medal of honor in recognition of his support for Palestinians and Lebanon and his resistance to "global arrogance" -- a term which usually refers to the United States and its allies.
Assad also rejected an offer by the U.S. to have sanctions dropped against his country if Syria ditched Iran as an ally.
2. Assad's failure to sugarcoat critiques of Israel
Bashar al-Assad said in 2009: "How can a state that was founded on illegal occupation and continues to murder the original inhabitants work toward peace? How can a country that has chosen the most extreme government in its history be a partner for peace?"
"We the Arab nations, and especially Syria will not change our view about peace as a strategic goal, including the full return of occupied lands."
Also on the topic of Israel: it was reported in 2003 that in order to secure a pipeline for Israel through Iraq and Syria, regime change must first take place in both countries.
3. Assad goes "South of the Border"
In an effort to boost oil flow into Syria, Bashar al-Assad began strengthening ties with Latin American countries, territory which the U.S. has always been protective of.
As reported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2010: "In his recent visit to [Venezuela], Al-Assad signed an agreement for a $100 million trade and development fund with Chávez, established an $11 million fund to finance joint projects, and made plans to jointly invest in a $4.7 billion oil refinery in Syria. In Cuba, the Syrian president signed an understanding memorandum on agriculture to foster cooperation and establish “a common framework for the mutual development of beneficial agricultural actions,” reports the Cuban Headlines website. In his visits to Argentina and Brazil in the following weeks, Al-Assad is looking for similar commitments. Next on his Latin American tour will be Brazil, where Al-Assad is expected to strengthen technology and trade agreements, specifically the burgeoning sugar trade. On the last stop of his tour, the Syrian president will sign similar bilateral agreements with Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez focusing on tourism, culture, and transportation to increase the existing $158 million in trade between the two countries and prevent double taxation of exports to streamline trade. Trade relations between the two countries, which began 75 years ago with the formation of the Arab-Argentine Chamber of Commerce, are likely to continue growing in the coming years."
4. Ties with China and Russia
In 2008, Syria agreed to allow Russian missile defense systems into their country as a counterweight to plans for a United States missile deployment to Poland.
That same year, according to UPI: "Syria is adding the latest Russian MiG-29SMT fighter to 36 Pantsir S1E air-defense systems purchased from Russia, RIA Novosti reported, noting Syria also hopes to buy Strelets short-range air defense systems, Iskander tactical missile systems, Yak-130 aircraft and two Amur-1650 submarines -- all Russian-made."
In terms of the China-Syria relationship: "China has become Syria’s number one supplier. While figures from Syria’s Bureau of Statistics put the value of Syrian imports from China at $691 million, Syrian officials have said the real figure is more likely to be close to double that at around $1.2 billion. What is not in doubt is that China easily outstrips Syria’s other major suppliers Egypt ($553 million), South Korea ($441 million), Italy ($356 million), Turkey ($338 million), Japan ($317 million) and Germany ($308 million). Bilateral trade surged to a record high of $1.4 billion in 2006. [...] China was the second largest non-Arab investor in Syria in 2006, accounting for $100 million out of the $800 million in non-Arab investment funds which flowed into the country. By the end of 2006, Chinese companies had signed project contracts worth $819 million and this amount is virtually guaranteed to be superseded this year with a billion dollar oil refinery deal near completion."
5. A new market for the military-industrial complex
Shortly after former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was butchered in late 2011, the ground below his fresh corpse began rumbling furiously as a money-hungry stampede of Western corporations flooded into the country. Most notable in this crowd were the oil companies eager to capitalize on the largest oil reserves in Africa, but not far behind were the Western defense companies. In 2012 it was reported that "Boeing — the maker of the Chinook — is in discussions with the State Department about “opportunities to provide” used Army CH-47E helicopters to Tripoli."
Further evidence of the Western military-industrial complex monopoly on armaments in the countries it takes over can be found in Iraq, where it was also reported in 2012 that had Iraq canceled a $4.2bn Russian arms deal due to "western pressure", a move that Igor Korotchenko, head of the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, called "absolutely unprecedented in the history of the Russian arms trade".
As mentioned above in reason #4, Syria is a major buyer of Russian armaments, and getting a Western-friendly face in a leadership position there will allow Western defense companies to start selling to the country while simultaneously delivering the boot to Russian defense companies.
6. Syria trashed the U.S. dollar
Ditching the dollar is perhaps the ultimate insult to the United States.
Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein ditched the dollar back in 2000. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi talked about dropping the dollar in 2009. During the same year, Iranian leader Muammar Ahmadinejad switched Iran's reserve currency off the dollar.
In 2006, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, Syria "switched the primary hard currency it uses for foreign goods and services from the U.S. dollar to the euro in a bid to make it less vulnerable to pressure from Washington."
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(*) Title of the article slightly changed