Monday

23rd Sep 2019

Russia: EU and US want war with Syria

  • Lavrov's line feeds Assad's campaign to deligitimise the rebels (Photo: CSIS)

Russia has accused Nato countries of trying to start a war with Syria and foment unrest in Iran - claims backed up by some Western security analysts.

Its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov at a press briefing in Moscow on Wednesday (18 January) said: "Our partners in the West are in fact discussing a no-fly zone ... There are other ideas being realised, including humanitarian convoys, in the hope they could provoke a response from [Syrian] government forces."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He added - without naming names - that foreign powers are supplying arms to Syrian "extremists."

He also noted the EU and US are keen to remove a line from a Russian-draft UN resolution on Syria which forbids use of outside force. "If someone conceives the idea of using force at any cost - and I've already heard calls for sending some Arab troops to Syria - we are unlikely to be able to prevent this ... But this should be done on their own initiative and should remain on their conscience. They won't get any authorisation from the [UN] Security Council."

On Iran, he said the EU's soon-to-be-announced oil embargo is an attempt to foment revolution.

"[It] is really calculated to have a suffocating effect on the Iranian economy and on the situation of the Iranian population, in an apparent attempt to provoke discontent," the minister said.

He warned that a Western military strike on Iran could trigger war between the Shia Muslim power and its Sunni Muslim rival, Saudi Arabia: "[It would] pour fuel on the already smouldering fire of the Sunni-Shia conflict and cause a chain reaction. I don't know where it would stop."

With Lavrov confirming that Russian arms traders are still shipping guns to Syria, its Cold-War-era ally, the Kremlin has little moral authority on the subject. Its line also supports Syria's campaign to delegitimise rebels by talk of an external plot.

A number of Western commentators from the security establishment have in recent months aired similar views, however.

Writing in the US journal American Conservative on 19 December, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi said the anti-Syria war effort has already begun.

"Unmarked Nato warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council ... Iskenderum is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and US Spec-Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence."

Another former CIA officer, Robert Baer in June last year told EUobserver: "We've taken sides in the Middle East. We've taken sides with Israel and with the Sunnis, from the US to the Dutch and the French."

He added: "I'm still talking to my Syrian contacts and they are quite convinced that weapons are coming in [to the opposition] not just from the Sunnis in Lebanon and through Iraq but also from Turkey."

For his part, retired MI6 officer Alastair Crooke, who runs an NGO in Beirut, told this website Syrian exile groups in France and the US are feeding Western media with uncorroborated stories of atrocities and false accounts of grassroots revolt.

"Syrians want change. But whether Westerners believe it or not, most people in Damascus, in Aleppo - the middle classes, the merchant classes and the [sectarian] minorities - believe [President] Assad is the only person who can bring in reforms," he said.

A poll by the YouGov Siraj institute in December said 55 percent of Syrians do not want Assad to go because they fear civil war.

Former CIA officer questions EU motives in Syria

EU and US intervention in Syria is designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel and Lebanese Christians, not Syrian people, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer with experience of the region.

News in Brief

  1. Barnier: Johnson's plan for Irish backstop unacceptable
  2. Google will only listen to audio if users give consent
  3. German bank fined for cheating Danish tax system
  4. Supreme Court ruling on Johnson on Tuesday
  5. 10 arrests over possible Catalonia anniversary attacks
  6. 53% of Europeans think LGTBI discrimination is widespread
  7. Doubt cast on new Maltese inquiry into slain reporter
  8. March by Slovak Catholics seeks abortion ban

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  2. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  4. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  8. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  10. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  11. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  12. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  6. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  7. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  10. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us