The U.S. has dramatically ratcheted up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, slapping new sanctions on key companies Wednesday as White House press secretary Jay Carney said the leader is guilty of “heinous actions” and the country would be better off without him.
President Barack Obama and other administration officials have already said publicly that Assad has “lost legitimacy” and must begin the push toward democracy in Syria or step down. A few weeks ago, after months of protests on the streets of Syria and little progress from Assad without explicit U.S. calls for his resignation, administration officials began to consider calling for Assad to step down, CNN said.
The new push from the White House, officials said, will make clear Assad is no longer a credible reformer and should give up his post.
A Nato plan for a post-Gaddaffi Libya - carving up the country, and giving the richest spoils to the UAE - has been leaked.
The U.S. is already at war in Somalia. As the New York Times noted last month: "U.S. Expands Its Drone War Into Somalia".
What explains these widespread wars throughout the Middle East?
As American reporter Gareth Porter reported in 2008:
Three weeks after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then-under secretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.
Feith's book, War and Decision, released last month, provides excerpts of the paper Rumsfeld sent to President George W Bush on September 30, 2001, calling for the administration to focus not on taking down Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network but on the aim of establishing "new regimes" in a series of states...
General Wesley Clark, who commanded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization bombing campaign in the Kosovo war, recalls in his 2003 book Winning Modern Wars being told by a friend in the Pentagon in November 2001 that the list of states that Rumsfeld and deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz wanted to take down included Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia [and Lebanon].
When this writer asked Feith . . . which of the six regimes on the Clark list were included in the Rumsfeld paper, he replied, "All of them."
The Defense Department guidance document made it clear that US military aims in regard to those states would go well beyond any ties to terrorism. The document said the Defense Department would also seek to isolate and weaken those states and to "disrupt, damage or destroy" their military capacities - not necessarily limited to weapons of mass destruction (WMD)...
Rumsfeld's paper was given to the White House only two weeks after Bush had approved a US military operation in Afghanistan directed against bin Laden and the Taliban regime. Despite that decision, Rumsfeld's proposal called explicitly for postponing indefinitely US airstrikes and the use of ground forces in support of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in order to try to catch bin Laden.
Instead, the Rumsfeld paper argued that the US should target states that had supported anti-Israel forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a "small price to pay for being a superpower".
Indeed, in 2007, General Clark told Democracy Now:
I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you’re too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don’t know." He said, "I guess they don’t know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it’s worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."
Obama is simply carrying out the Neocons' war plans created right after 9/11 ... if not before.
Postscript: The former director of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center says that American policy in the Middle East is failing because the U.S. doesn't believe in democracy.
And security experts - conservative hawks and liberal doves alike - agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
Oh well ... can't change policy now, can we?