In this, our second installment on the Strategy & Tactics as well as Theory of the Syrian situation, we have further developed this topic both in thematic significance, and have better included elements of our Syncretic methodology in a manner demonstrating the practical application of pieces which otherwise might strike the reader as overtly esoteric or cryptic. We trust our readers will understand the relationship between the geostrategic and geopolitical reality today, on the one hand, and the the philosophical and in particular existential, meta-historical, and theological questions looming in the subtext, on the other.
This piece is organized by sections listed below under the heading ‘Organization’. In the section on the Iran Factor and also in the following section on American Policy, we delve more deeply into the Iran question unto itself and as it relates to Syria. While this deserves later elaboration and could stand as a theoretical type piece on its own, we have included a preview of it in this Syria piece with the aim of broadening the scope of our reader’s view. We are absolutely sure that in both by way of practicality and by of abstraction, the Iran factor in Syria is significant.
In helping to outline a course of the future of Syria as moves forward from Victory in practical political and economic terms, it will be crucial to understand the benign role of Iran in relation to Syrian aims in the context of the mostly Assyrian and Arab (double) trajectory of the latter.
We will not touch on the Arab identity of Iraq and any possible changes to present British colonial and post-colonial borders which define the present Iraqi ‘failed’ state.
Realignment and Refocus
A Note on our Methodology
Wither the Atlanticists?
The Iran Factor in Syria and the Future History
American Policy: Savant or Idiot?
Syria: Proscription of Triangulation
It may be a matter of considerable debate for some time to come as to whether the US understood, before their staged August 21st 2013 ‘chemical weapons attack’, that they had been already checked by the emerging facts on the ground and shifting alliances of tectonic proportions. This ‘attack’ has since been thoroughly exposed as a false flag by any number of NGO and independent sources, including the investigation by Mother Agnes Mariam al-Salib.
To wit, the large scale movement of Russian naval hardware into the region coupled with the reinforcement in Syria of Iranian special forces alongside some Russian military advisers sent a loud and clear to the “Washington-Berlin-Tel Aviv” axis that an escalation of the present course would be unacceptable and would be responded to in a robust manner which did not preclude mirroring.
The Atlanticists have been thoroughly frustrated by the reaction of the international community led this time by Russia and Iran and supported by both the Chinese Sphere and the Latin American Bloc. Indeed the US in particular has been embarrassed, and sent to ‘re-examine its approach’ by its attempts to force Syria to prostrate itself before the Atlanticist power base. CSS research fellow J.V Capone developed Part I of this three part series in which we presented a cursory overview of some of the major news pieces which characterized decisive developments in the public mind’s eye. These developments were both symbolic and actual successes in the struggle for survival faced by Syrian civilization.
These frustrations for the Atlanticists in turn created a fissure within their already fragile coalition of competing regional hegemons like Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia and emerging local powers like Qatar and to a lesser extent Jordan. This caused some realignment and refocus, the future possibilities of which have been covered recently in the short by analyst Sharmine Narwani in an al-Akhbar editorial.
Realignment and Refocus
In terms of refocus, the US and its European partners have predictably turned their public focus back directly onto both Iran and Africom. Additionally, we have seen the histamine reaction of the Atlanticists in Ukraine – where displaying their typical arrogant hypocrisy, they lambasted the Ukrainian government for seeking a balanced relationship with both the EU and the Eurasian Union. Naturally it is understood that the Atlanticists are moving at all times on all fronts behind the scenes, and this is why we emphasize that the ‘change’ in focus is a public one and necessarily substantive one. Still, in simple terms, the change in public focus is simultaneously a substantive one insofar as ratcheting up public focus over a series of particular memes and talking points on the Syria issue is entirely tied up with an escalation in the war effort. This means that there is a connection, though not necessarily entirely descriptive, between the media spectacle and the actual state of Atlanticist efforts in Syria.
The change in public focus is a face saving one, helping to create the sense that the US simply has ‘other’ concerns to focus on. This was coupled by the ridiculous and child-like claim just recently that the US ‘doesn’t care’ if Assad stays as president in Syria. We are to believe, after all of this carnage and destruction, that the US doesn’t really hold the toppling of Assad as a priority. Certainly, we are asked to see that the US’s veritable foiling at the hands of a coalition of responsible nations was really not so.
The intelligence controlled mainstream media in the US also coordinates the refocus of the public through the creation of news stories and the manipulation of the news cycle. But the US will return to its focus on Syria quite soon.
But the chances of this working as the Atlanticists had planned are in significant doubt. Since the publishing of our first part, events have continued to unfold to favor Syria, as the Syrian Arab Army have found continued successes.
Iran now has an cooperative partner in Iraq, and a broader security ‘arc’ can be described as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Additionally with Egypt – including the nebulous figure of Al Sisi – and Jordan likely to cooperate in various ways. Turkey is also undergoing a series of internal changes, some of which were demonstrated in the June ‘Occupy’ type protests which hit that state, which we covered. We explained then that the instability in Turkey was not just a product of its own internal machinations, but also the activity of US backed NGO’s but also for the first time in a prominent manner, the activity of Eurasian backed NGO’s pulling at Turkey in another direction.
With regard to the critical Turkey piece, we wrote at the time:
“The Eurasianists would like to use threats from it’s constituent groups including primarily NGO’s tied to Ergenekon and the Worker’s Party and sympathetic strains among other Communist groups as well as Kemalists and Nationalists to push Turkey to do several things. This includes using its already existing relationship with NATO to leverage in Eurasian and SCO interests, which include the end of the deadly Syrian game it now plays, a move which would have pros and cons. It could also include a complete break with NATO and instead outright alliance with Russia, Iran, and China. It must include the release of all relevant political prisoners including the socialist champion and Worker’s Party leader Doğu Perinçek.”
Presently we are witnessing a diplomatic ‘race against time’, when mainstream media and punditry returns to the Syria subject in order to ramp up the next series of Atlanticist escalations, we will be confronted with a ground situation somewhat different, with a shift of tacit alliances and new agreements in place which with a doubt represent a realignment.
A note on our Methodology
These events have continued to develop at such a pace that in developing this series, considerable time had to pass before being able to find a respite where some contingent conclusions could be made. This is because our work does not revolve just around journalism and up-to-the-minute coverage, but rather attempts to create long term and impact based assessments which are usable as valuable tools that help to frame the endless stream of daily and weekly information.
Moreover, our methodology is interdisciplinary and relies upon the placement of the generalist over the specialist; the convergence of several distinct schools including structuralism and post-structuralism, social psychology and psychobiology, psychoanalysis, strategic and security studies, phenomenology, international relations and geopolitics, philosophy and theology, systems theory and semiotics, geostrategy and positive economic analysis.
Wither the Atlanticists?
Indeed the Atlanticists have had to take a step back, but this should not be taken as a sign that the US will give up. The legitimate government, led by Bashar al-Assad, has already committed to a series of political reforms which reflect the aspirations of certain segments of Syrian society who affirm that they are under-represented. That point will be the primary focus of part III of this series. This has been largely welcomed as a good sign and a turn of events which helped to shore up support from those sections of society which had previously been, or felt they had been, alienated from the political discourse and decision making process. Western media for reasons overly obvious have ignored the facts surrounding the Assad reforms, a number of which have already been implemented and the balance requiring a waning of the foreign mercenary invasion in order to enact.
At any rate, one must look outside of the Syria example to understand Atlanticist thinking in regards to their process of destabilization and power projection. The Atlanticist have funded and started and backed any number of civil wars and astro-turf separatist movements all over the world, in Latin America, Africa, the Caucuses, and south-east Asia.
In examples such as in El Salvador (1979 – 1992) or Angola (1961 – 2002), Atlanticist strategy shifted midstream away from trying to establish a puppet state, and towards a ‘scorched earth’ policy of promoting general stagnation and instability through endless civil war. As perhaps a secondary consideration, this is suited as well to the needs of privately owned weapons manufacturers in particular, and to the Military-Congressional-Industrial complex as explained by former US president Eisenhower.
In a public forum, at the Belgrade Conference and Panel Discussion on Syria on the 18th December, 2013 , the author of this article reaffirmed his analysis that the Atlanticists have shifted their strategy away from toppling Assad in the near term, and instead have moved to a scorched earth policy of gradual erosion of the civil society through the infiltration and destruction of the pluralist institutions. This was coupled with and then ultimately overtaken by an endless campaign of Saudi and Qatari backed mercenaries operating under the auspices of Wahhabist Salafism and similar (al-Nusra, Al Qaeda of Levant and Iraq, etc.).
To be clear, the shifting strategy was not one of shifting from establishing a puppet state to one of creating a failed state. Rather, the tactics employed in creating a failed state have shifted from toppling the Ba’ath administration and then endless civil war, (as was the case in Iraq), to engendering a perpetual civil war which does not formally remove the Ba’ath party.
Conclusively, while it may appear that the US has been fended off, it will continue upon its course of a scorched earth policy in Syria. Insofar as we may be close to a technological (means of production) transition towards a higher economic mode characterized obviously by a reduction in scarcity and a decrease in profitability both in terms of the value of labor productivity and in terms of the purchasing power of workers and commoners, we can understand another element of US military policy as it connects to US economic policy.
The more the means of production can be destroyed and set back in general, anywhere or everywhere, it almost quite literally sets back the hands of time to a past where the productive forces were less developed and hence there existed a higher rate of profit extracted as surplus value from socially necessary labor.
This is a somewhat sinister twist on the concept of creative destruction, it creates a new balance between the appropriators of surplus value when the means of destruction are destroyed. In the short term, the contracts for investment for rebuilding alone will be worth tens of billions of Euros or Dollars. It is not the most significant factor if Russian or Chinese capital steps into finance the reconstruction of Syria in the short term in terms of ‘creative destruction.
To day the mercenary invasion has cost Syria over $2.4 billion in the industrial sector alone, and this does not even begin to touch on the costs of reconstruction estimated in tens of billions, according to Industry Minister Kamaleddine Tohme.
Still the aid and loans from Syria’s friends will give a high degree of confidence in the state apparatus from among various sectors of society including the state bureaucracy, the military general command, academia, and organized labor and other pluralist institutions. However in the time being, Syrian exports will be much lower, imports will be up, the cost of its labor lower and the surplus value extracted from that labor thus higher.
Due to the highly complex and interwoven network of finance and speculation which connects all world players despite their geopolitical and geostrategic differences, the immediate beneficiaries of any given project may be from a different ‘camp’ than the ultimate or long-term beneficiaries.
Also, whatever Chinese or Russian investments are tied up and lack a liquid form due to rebuilding in Syria, it creates an advantage for other – likely Atlanticist – players to exploit their competitors shortage of capital and rather the advantage is gained in places like east-Africa where rivalries between China and the Atlanticist beachhead statelette of Israel run high.
Thus whatever the result in Syria, the US has already produced a set of irrevocable near-term gains.
Yet the difference between gains and victory cannot be muted. We are absolutely and in no uncertain terms confronted with the reality that in the final analysis today we are grappling with a question on the survival of Syria as a civilization.
The Iran Factor in Syria and the Future History
The Atlanticist efforts against Syria are already widely understood to be connected to a larger strategy of projecting NATO and Israeli influence in the region, while allowing Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar to play a game of brinkmanship at each other’s expense. The destabilizing effect of the destruction springing forth from that course was in line with US policy.
The ultimate goal of that policy was to engender Syria as a failed state. It is a scorched earth tactic which has been used for countless centuries. It must be again stated before moving forward in no unambiguous terms that Iranian efforts in the region must be lauded and have contributed to peace, stability, and development. Furthermore, they are presently an historically progressive reification of the world-spirit; being on the ‘right side’ of history.
Their activities and tendencies place front and center the reality of multipolarity and the ever increasing concretization of multiple ‘national’, autonomous and non-linear modes of independent historical trajectories; in turn representing a turn towards a recapturing of the eternal and the myth. In the language of the semi-Marxian ‘new left’, this is something akin to ‘indigenous development’ within the ‘framework of the traditional forms’ as discussed in the ‘One Dimensional Society’ section of Marcuse’s ‘One Dimensional Man’.
It is commonly discussed that Iran is the near term ‘big target’ of the Atlanticist power, connected to longer term strategies of checking both Russia and China. This view while justified and contains many elements of truth, is also insufficient because China and Russia have their own tensions and contradictions and both Af-Pak and Iran figure in their own muted contest. A part of long term Russian foreign policy is to check Chinese hegemony.
Yet we are confronted with the strategic dilemma in which Atlanticists attacks on Iran rather strengthen areas of cooperation and indeed conjure into solidified form the Moscow-Tehran-Beijing axis.
But the points of agreement between Russia and China at the present revolve around their mutual understanding of the desirability of a multi-polar world which opposes Atlanticist hegemony. Iran, with its population of nearly 80 million and an increasing GDP now estimated at US $514 billion is highly capable as an economic player and is quite able at projecting its power regionally in terms of its self defense and preservation of sovereignty.
Iran is a regional hegemon unto itself, but does not exert its power homogeneously. Moreover it does not seem to have territorial ambitions and indicates that it understands its own limitations and prospects. It is not pursuing an Empire model of any kind, and seems to understand the ‘Malthusian’ life-cycle of Empires and as the result of circumstance and thoughtfulness; perhaps learning from its own over-extension into Greece and the Balkans in the alleged aeon before this, when proto-Roman and Aryan figures like Cyrus, Xerxes, and Darius ruled, has avoided that fate in recent centuries.
Iran is presently ruled by a highly sophisticated caste of intellectuals, strategists, and philosophical clerics; the reign of Ayatollahs as Valy-e-Faqih above them being admirably demonstrative of the Platonic administrative ideal of the philosopher king. Despite the ebb and flow, the waning and waxing, the hopes and dreams of the multitudes – some dashed some lived, its disappointments and victories; on the balance the Iranian Revolution has been a success in both geostrategic and world-historical terms. Unlike other revolutions, the Islamic Revolution of Iran is not ideologically restricted to concepts like time and place as with the defective (mainstream or ‘academic’) Marxian conception. Despite the passage of over three decades, it contains many elements which are still a model for the oppressed nations of the world.
This is in part because it contains elements of Marxian class and economic analysis including elements of Three Worlds Theory, Leninism, and paralleling other borrowed and synthesized elements from pan-arab Socialism and Nationalism. This was metabolized by and combined with existentialism and the greater elements of Shia Islam’s contemplative theological philosophy which itself characterizes the Iranian as Aryan; the Hellenic and Mithran, essentially proto-Christian ideal of the Sol Invictus as represented uniquely by Shiism. That includes the 12 Imams who in this light mirror the 12 Apostles, and the accompaniment of Mahdi by Jesus Christ in the second coming. It is recalled that it is he who will aid him in his war against the anti-Christ as Masih ad-Dajjal. The predicted rise of the Dajjal and the significance of Damascus in Syria as sanctuary may indeed play not an insignificant role in the esoteric geostrategy of the Ayotollah and the Iranian bureaucracy today. Unlike in the far-west, the Iranian establishment does not confuse rational activity and thoughtful planning and statecraft for a materialist disregard for truths of theology and the old sciences of the preceding several thousand years.
Its support for Syrian civilization is both simultaneously coherent for Iranian short and long term strategy. The tactic of direct military counsel and the deployment of special forces is commensurate with the broader strategy. While representing some of the finer ideals of the revolution, the practical and pragmatic elements of Iranian power should also not be misunderstood. And yes it is precisely here where the real-is-rational and the rational-is-real that we understand a divine splinter of the world-spirit to be expressed in revolutionary Iran in its actions that are also in line with its essentially Hellenic and Aryan Shiism.
American Policy: Savant or Idiot?
The US would like to think it can pursue support of any developments that propel Russia-China tensions. And yet it is also widely observed that the US relies on China as the largest single consumer of US debt. In the US’s push to create fragmented states or failed states in Egypt and the Levant and support energy and oil markets, Iran was better positioned to create opportunities than the US was; this is also true with Russia’s position in Egypt post-Morsi. But the US relied also on Russian support for its supply lines to Afghanistan in that occupation and adventure. All of this places into question the thinking behind US plans in Eurasia and Africa.
Today we hear from any number of analysts and pundits who have publicly expressed optimism around the US-Iran agreement on nuclear enrichment. They say that this is a critical turn around in US policy.
Let’s assume for the purpose of discussion that this is not merely a face-saving measure which simply acknowledges the defeat of US attempts to curtail Iranian energy independence in the wake of the diplomatic and proxy military failures of NATO interests visa-viz Syria. With this assumption in mind, we can explore some of the actual history of US thinking on Iran.
US thinking on Iran is more developed than either the mainstream media coverage or the popular ‘alternative’ analysis of its policy would otherwise indicate. The primary Neo-con think-tank, Project for a New American Century, previously had noted that the Iran of the Ayatollah was a well suited ally and that the US policy of hostility had been doomed to fail. While Hussein’s Iraq served US interests to a degree, this was primarily insofar as he was able to keep Iraq out of the inner Soviet orbit and also his willingness to attack Iran.
But this Iraqi service to US interests under Hussein with respect to Iran is only as valuable as Iran is seen as a problem state in US eyes. For the 1979 revolution in Iran re-nationalized the oil industry, thus expelling once again the Seven Sisters led by Great Britain and supported by Israel.
From the start, there had been some indications that the Ayatollah Khomeini had connections with the British MI6 and was something of both an anti-communist ally and check on the Shah Palavi whose geostrategic position created a naturally arising tension with the very same crumbling British empire and oil syndicates whom he was placed to serve in the first place. This is suited as an example of government compelled economic policies directed by the geostrategic and geopolitical reality of a would be puppet-state overriding the policies promised by the puppet-himself to the puppet-master. The strings in the final analysis are not pulled by the Atlanticist puppet-master but by the Hermetic Stone-God of geostrategy.
Likewise, Iran was active through Hezbollah in the fracturing of Yugoslavia, other reports confirmed Iranian special forces, and in a tactical manner, even though playing a small role, was consciously or not, engendering US goals in the west Balkans in the broader sense. That the pro-Yugoslavia side, and its successor state of Serbia & Montenegro prior to the illegal arrest of Milosevic, had active armament and technology/development deals with Ba’athist Iraq made Iran’s support for the Bosniak campaign through Croatian interests all the more coherent.
” 1. The Clinton Green Light to Iranian Arms Shipments (page 3): In April 1995, President Clinton gave the government of Croatia what has been described by Congressional committees as a “green light” for shipments of weapons from Iran and other Muslim countries to the Muslim-led government of Bosnia. The policy was approved at the urging of NSC chief Anthony Lake and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith. The CIA and the Departments of State and Defense were kept in the dark until after the decision was made.
2. The Militant Islamic Network (page 5): Along with the weapons, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence operatives entered Bosnia in large numbers, along with thousands of mujahedin (“holy warriors”) from across the Muslim world. Also engaged in the effort were several other Muslim countries (including Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkey) and a number of radical Muslim organizations. For example, the role of one Sudan-based “humanitarian organization,” called the Third World Relief Agency, has been well documented. The Clinton Administration’s “hands-on” involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline included inspections of missiles from Iran by U.S. government officials.
3. The Radical Islamic Character of the Sarajevo Regime (page 8): Underlying the Clinton Administration’s misguided green light policy is a complete misreading of its main beneficiary, the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic. Rather than being the tolerant, multiethnic democratic government it pretends to be, there is clear evidence that the ruling circle of Izetbegovic’s party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), has long been guided by the principles of radical Islam. This Islamist orientation is illustrated by profiles of three important officials, including President Izetbegovic himself; the progressive Islamization of the Bosnian army, including creation of native Bosnian mujahedin units; credible claims that major atrocities against civilians in Sarajevo were staged for propaganda purposes by operatives of the Izetbegovic government; and suppression of enemies, both non-Muslim and Muslim.”
Readers will also recall Iran’s offer of logistical support for the US’s war against Iraq from 2003 through 2008, and the directive for Al Sadr’s Mahdi army to develop a complex relationship with the US led NATO occupation forces. From this we can understand a highly sophisticated pattern in Iranian power projection and long-term thinking. Even where Iran acts in areas which seem to aid the Atlanticists, it does so to firstly bolster its own near-term position, but also conceives of its plans in ways which ultimately ensnare, over-commit, and weaken the Atlanticist power. The Atlanticists as an over-projected power is in the difficult situation of needing to place into the future the payments for costs incurred in the obtaining of a marginally better position in the region in question, and also the world in general.
While the US benefited from Iranian efforts to move into the vacuum created by the Atlanticist toppling of Hussein, including the de-Ba’athification process initiated by the US and supported – at times tacitly and other times overtly – nominally opposition leaders like Al Sadr and his Mahdi Army and Militia. This is an example par excellence of the classical table’s leg tactic. By becoming one of the legs of the opposition table, your support level determines the stability of the opposition itself. This was also used by Chetnik outfits in German occupied Yugoslavia during the European Civil war, by becoming agents guaranteeing Axis supply lines, they were in the position to remove that support at the appropriate time later when Partisan power waxed, in the interests of Yugoslav sovereignty.
This was also the tactic employed by the Mahdi Army at Iran’s direction from 2003 through 2008, even as Al-Sadr played the public spectacle role of an Iraqi patriot unwilling to play as Iranian agent. After all, Iran was the primary benefactor of the US invasion, leading very quickly to the present situation wherein Iran exerts tremendous political influence in the normalized areas of Iraq, while US and Saudi-backed Al Qaeda-type groupings are active in the perimeter areas of Rutba and Tal Afar in the west and north west, towards Syria where these groups are also active in now infamously barbaric organizations like Al-Nusra front.
The Sunni affiliation of Balkans Muslims should not be a major focus in terms of understanding Iranian, though Shia, maneuvers in the region of the Balkans or the Middle-East and Levant. The Shia-Sunni issue as a schism outside of the philosophical and theological areas outlined earlier in this article, is one which is more prominent in Western thinking, a product of media focus and US divide and conquer policy. Sunni-Shia divisions were at its lowest point during the height of Pan-Arabism and various secular Arab socialisms and nationalisms in the period spanning from the 1930’s through 1960’s.
This is not to underplay or downplay the schism of sorts, but rather to illustrate how these differences, while rooted in theological and serious historical matters, are propelled today by what appears – in secular form – as a both a foundational (economic) and superstructural (cultural, legal, etc.) permutation of a geopolitical and geostrategic tension between players in the Islamic world and middle-east and absolutely fueled both by regional hegemons and also world powers when it is suited to those interests.
Even today, for example ‘Shia’ states like Iran have a strong connection with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, connected formations like Hamas in occupied Palestine, and are able to exert some influence on them. This was demonstrated recently in the foreign war on Syria. The rise of anti-Shia clerics of prominence coincide with Atlanticist meddling in regional affairs.
Moreover, Salafism and more particularly Wahhabism is not representative of Sunnism as a whole, with most non-radical Sunni clerics performing their regular duties to the layman, and not stoking the flames of rivalry.
Nevertheless today Iran’s ability to project influence in the Balkans was only permissible by the Western and Saudi alliance insofar as it destabilized Yugoslavia (today Serbia). Also it sought to be build alliances there for reasons mentioned above, but also to check the ability of Saudis and others to do the same, relying on the maxim that those they supported in the Balkans – their Sunni affiliations notwithstanding – would not bite the hand that feeds.
Today it is that pernicious Salafist Sunnism, Wahabbism, led by Saudi Arabian intelligence operatives, which represents clerical fanaticism in the Balkans; today in Bosnia-Herzegovina there is a a Sunni jihadist military training facility. Today in Syria a significant number of west Balkans fighters have been arrested or killed by the Syrian Arab Army.
One needn’t struggle too hard in connecting the dots to see how Iranian collaboration with Balkans Islamicist radicals in the 90’s is now a small, though not entirely insignificant, component of the same which they arm the Syrian Arab Army to fight against. This is not to imply any lack of foresight on their part, the period of the 90’s was still characterized by military doctrines focusing on conventional over unconventional warfare in the Islamic world of the middle-east. Additionally the benefits may have outweighed the costs in terms of trade deals and not least the destruction of the Yugoslav state which, as stated before, had a long history of aid to Ba’athist Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
So we can understand the possibility, from the last two sections, that neither US thinking is not lacking in substance, and Iranian foreign policy is not unsophisticated or inflexibly tied to an anti-Atlanticist power block insofar as that would disallow complex relationship building, or pragmatic networking and coordination.
We cannot conclude from this, however, that Iran is some crypto-agent of Atlanticism. Indeed the threat that a collapse of Syria poses to Iran is very real. It is just that we must be very cautious in describing the situation and not to error on the side of over-simplifications or repetitions of the homogeneous and uncomplicated picture painted not only by the mainstream media but in the alternative media as well. Thus Syria can learn much from Iran, if it has not already. US, Iranian, and Syrian propaganda regarding the effort against Syria is meant for mass public consumption does not reflect the reality of their own respective strategists and advisers.
Syria: Proscription for Triangulation
Like Iran and post-Soviet Russia, and as well Yugoslavia when it existed, Syria must develop a strategy of triangulation or playing the sides against the middle. Public politics and punditry have amazingly short memories, but it was not but ten years ago and before that Bashar Al-Assad was considered a moderate in the region and open to the Atlanticists.
He also cooperated in the spectacle which was the ‘war on Al-Qaeda’ during the early to mid parts of the last decade. His government approved numerous trade deals and monetary agreements with Atlanticist controlled banks. On the internal civil front, he opened up the civil society towards a western style pluralism which, in return for better deals.
Syria allowed Atlanticist backed NGO’s to operate in the country in what were then seemingly innocuous areas of civil society including the post-modern arts, women’s health and reproduction education, child-care, charities for the elderly and sick; but also pro-democracy and pro-reform type non-profit organizations.
The idea that Syria has a solid block alliance with Russia, Iran, and to a lesser extent China is an attractive one for rank and file and laymen opponents of Atlanticism, and the narrative of a Damascus, Tehran, Moscow axis is an attractive one from a Eurasianist perspective. While it would be entirely false to downplay the significance of the cooperation these three distinct players engage in, it would be also false to misunderstand the complexities of diplomacy and international relations.
Even as the general tendency, by way of cultural intercourse and economic accretion, it is conceivable that Syrian and Iranian civilizations would take on even more similarities, as we are being obvious in stating that they already share much as compared to other cultures outside of the region for the very same reasons in historical form: more ancient cultural intercourse and economic accretion.
Nevertheless, given the difference in military and productive capacity between Syria and Iran, it will be a struggle on the part of Syrians to maintain their sovereign character in every way, and they will also have to struggle with Iranian social chauvinism, including the local impact of small things which affect a populations perception; for example wealthy Iranian investors in Syria with their foreign plates parking, with no muted arrogance, choice exotic cars in places which violate local codes and customs. These kinds of things may seem trivial in a discourse on matters of large scale significance and in dealing with geopolitics; however it must be reminded that politics is a very local animal as well.
Often we read about Russian and Iranian support for Syria, and these are spoken of as if they are one and the same. But Syria is already engaged in its own triangulation, making deals with China, Russia, Syria, and other lesser world and regional players as a sovereign state. Again, this does not rule out cooperation among them all and even the forming of blocs, but it needs to be expressed again that all of the parties are engaged in a somewhat complex dance.
All in all, the shape and direction of world events including the ongoing process of globalization is such that Syria can only maintain its sovereignty and those cultural elements, based in its unique history that make it distinct, by continuing its intelligent policy of building and maintaining a network of diplomatic and economic inroads in different parts of the world including India, East Africa, and South-east Asia. These world players may between themselves may in fact have divergent though not necessarily contradictory aims.
At the same time, Syria must maintain its excellent relations with Russia and Iran in order to continue to diversify its diplomatic and economic portfolio. While there are many reasons for this well within the scope of this article, it will be sufficient to point out that in the real economy goods must travel by land, sea, and air. By sea, Russia is needed to ensure the safety of Syrian trade through the Mediterranean, and Iran is needed in the same capacity within the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
While the Atlanticists have been somewhat frustrated in their attempts to create a failed state out of Syria, they will not give up their aims and will continue to finance a low intensity though destructive civil war. The economic and emotional scars and fractures within Syrian civilization will be felt on both the developmental and cultural level for one or more generations to come. By the perseverance of Syria, and the diplomatic and geostrategic successes of both allies Russia and Iran, there has been some serious signs of realignment in the region, of particular note in Egypt with some potential as well in Turkey. Additionally the many different factions and tendencies making up so-called Free Syrian Army have continued to develop their hostilities against each other, with some groupments now fighting on the same side as the Syrian Arab Army.
Nevertheless, American policy cannot be underestimated and at the same time the Russian-Iranian-Syrian bloc cannot be seen in monolithic terms. Both American policy and any would-be axis involve a high level of sophistication based in their strategic and tactical requisites.
Syrian foreign policy is best served by continuing to understand that which the readers of mostly internet based alternative news sources by in large do not, which is that all the ‘bloc’ members each have their own distinct historical trajectories and strategic aims which while not necessarily in conflict are in many ways divergent.
To the extent that they are not divergent, we must also look at the underlying Hellenic, Roman, Assyrian ties that bind these would-be bloc members on the level normally described as esoterica. Some of this has been discussed in the work of Boris Nad in short pieces such as ‘City of Gods’.
In our coming and final part of this series, we will attempt to make some unobtrusive and constructive proscriptions for the Syrian political reform process which will strengthen both its security apparatus and the core of its civilization, the former being that which any pluralism must orbit around.