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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Une guerre de plus pour Washington

by Stéphane Aubouard

Syria: One More War For Washington

Translated Wednesday 1 October 2014, by Isabelle Métral

Fighter planes, drones, bombers… the US and its allies’ air armada appeared last Tuesday above Syria. For the first time since the beginning of the bloody civil war in 2011... The Pentagon declared that in addition 47 Tomahawk missiles were fired from the US Marine Corps ships in the Red Sea’s and the Gulf’s international waters. As the US requested at the Paris Conference for peace and security in Iraq last week, five of the ten Arab countries of the coalition took part in the offensive: Jordan, Qatar, Saud Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The Bahraini army’s spokesman confirmed the Bahraini army’s involvement: “Units of the Bahraini defense air force, in association with air forces of member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and allied forces, proceeded last Tuesday before sunrise to bomb out some terrorist organizations’ selected sites and targets,” he declared to the Bahraini press agency BNA. The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, an anti-Assad information organ financed by the Muslim Brotherhood, also confirmed that the coalition had carried out about forty air raids against Daesh [1] positions, in Raqqa, its nerve centre (in the north of the country), Deir ez-Zor (in the north-east), Jassaka (in the north-east), and Al Bukamal (in the north), killing a score of jihadists. The US is also said to have struck on its own another Islamist group around Alep – the Khorasan group affiliated to the al-Nosra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, killing about fifty.

The US declared that these strikes had not been coordinated with Syria. Which Damascus denied in a communiqué on the State television, saying that the Syrian ambassador to UNO had been informed of the forthcoming attack by his US counterpart during an informal meeting at the UNO general assembly. The so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition, a partner of the alliance, namely Ahrar ash-Sham, an ultra violent Islamist group operating mainly in the Alep and Idlib governorates, approved of the US strikes but called on Washington to exert pressure on the Syrian government’s troops.

A Syrian-Israeli incident shows how volatile the situation is

These strikes, which are meant to weaken “the Islamic State”, but above all the Syrian régime, are a death blow to the region’s stability. A Syrian plane is rumoured to have been shot down after entering the Israeli airspace. Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner declared to the New York Times that a Patriot surface-to-air missile had intercepted a Russian-made Sukhoi Syrian plane above the Golan at 9.15 a.m. Unsurprisingly, Damascus did not deny the allegation, since Syrian wounded fighters, some of whom belong to the al-Nosra Front present in the Syrian Golan, have for the last month been regularly brought across the front line to the part of the Golan under Israeli control where field hospitals have been set up by Israel: clearly, the Bashar Assad régime is being cordoned off in conformity with Washington’s secret wish. But the Syrian-Israeli incident shows the volatility of a geo-political situation that might soon get out of the alliance’s control.

[1The Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

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