By 2007 over 3.9 million people, or 16 per cent of the Iraqi population, had become uprooted. Of these, around two million fled Iraq to flood neighbouring countries, and about 1.9 million are refugees inside Iraq. The 2012 UNICEF survey of Iraqi households found that between 800,000 and a million Iraqi children under 18 have lost one or both of their parents. The estimated number of orphans across Iraq ranges from 400,000 (according to the Baghdad Provincial Council), to five million (according to Iraq’s anti-corruption board). Due to the lack of any genuine national reconciliation and basic trust, a sustained and stable political settlement in Iraq remains unfeasible, so Iraqis are falling back on previous institutions and patterns of behaviour relied upon when faced with fear and uncertainty.
By the time Washington was preparing to draw down forces in Iraq, wrote Robert Tollast in The National Interest on 31 December 2012, “elements of ISOF (the U.S-trained and equipped Iraqi Special Operations Forces) were already being used as a private army by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.” Over the preceding 12 months Maliki ordered the arrest of bodyguards of the Finance Minister Rafa al-Issawi while government forces and tanks intimidated the residences of Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. These events led radicalised groups parading themselves under titles like al-Qaeda of Western Iraq and Syria to take advantage of popular outrage to fuel increasingly radicalised and increasingly violent rebellion. Together with similarly disaffected Yemenis and Libyans many have joined the Saudi and Qatari financed Salafist groups attempting regime change in Syria and Iraq under the covert guidance of NATO.
The U.S, U.K, Turkey, and the European Union are determined to save the ailing Petro-dollar by preventing the completion of Iran’s Pars gas field pipeline, through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean. Should the Pars pipeline go online and remain under Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian control, then Russia would control approximately 40 per cent of Europe’s gas consumption, and with a Russian allied Syria, Russia would also be able to take part in the development of major gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean Levantine Basin.
Neither Russia nor China will accept a repetition of NATO’s abuse of UNSC Resolution 1973 – 2011 on Libya, but neither will NATO compromise with Russia on Syria. NATO and the GCC are determined to install an anti-Iran/Russia government in Syria that will only provide gas from the GCC to Europe instead of Iranian gas. While the likelihood of the present conflict in Syria ending with a pro-GCC/NATO government ruling a docile Syrian population is negligible, there is a chance that if the Muslim Brotherhood gained control of a significant part of Syria then Western aims could be achieved. Even a chaotic Syria prevents Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian control of the gas lines to Europe and increases feasibility for the proposed U.S. backed Turkey–Austria Nabucco pipeline projectfor natural gas from Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
The Syrian government is far more stable than one is led to believe by Western propaganda and enjoys the support of the majority of the Syrian population, partly as a result of the massive influx of Salafist extremists who daily commit the most serious atrocities and war crimes on the Syrian population on behalf of the NATO/GCC/Israel alliance. This has rallied the majority of Syria’s population and its peaceful opposition to support the Syrian military and government in their struggle against the insurgency. An ousting of the Syrian government and its substitution by Salafist extremists would undoubtedly result in awidening oftheconflict into aregional warpitting Iran,Hezbollah and Syria against Turkey and the GCC, with Israel, NATO and Russia poised for a wider battle that wouldbe almost impossibleto contain. But ruthless control of a large part of Syria by a Muslim Brotherhood regime could render an outcome that Western strategists believe would hold a wider conflagration at bay.
Although Washington ist rying to avoid giving the impression that it is involved in the military aggression against Syria, it is obvious that the conflict would end within weeks after Qatar,Saudi Arabia,the U.S.and U.K. stop sponsoring, arming and supervising the mercenaries in Syria. But they are unlikely to do so.
Russia and China have been working diplomatically to propose a Security Council Resolution which would secure the deployment of Russian led U.N. Peace Keeping Forces in Syria, while behind the scenes NATO is intensely negotiating on ways to save the Petro-dollar while avoiding a regional war in the Middle East, recognising that any involvement of Russian troops against non-Turkish NATO troops would rapidly escalate into conflict inside Europe and possibly even a disastrous clash between U.S. and Chinese troops in Asia.
Ray Bergmann is a Brisbane-based peace activist. He is a member of Just Peace Queensland and moderator of the Queensland Palestinian SOlidary Campaign YahooGroup site. He has been publishedin Beyond Tribal Loyalties – Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists and blogs at http://all-born-equal-rights.newsvine.com/.