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The United States is at war once again and in its favorite battleground, the Middle East. This is despite the fact that they are facing a lot of trouble in withdrawing from Afghanistan in a respectable manner after waging a long war set off in 2001. Their performance in Iraq, where they initiated another war in 2003, has not been something that they could be proud of either. So, why then, is a country facing grave economic crises at home hell bent on inviting more trouble abroad?

There are many explanations circulating in the mainstream and social media. I have here tried to summarise these for you and highlight the ones I find the most plausible.

The humanitarian case:

The US wants to free the Syrian people from a tyrannical regime.

Please, don't laugh. There is whole class of liberal interventionists who think that way and they are entitled to their views. They believe that the US and its European allies have selflessly rendered priceless services to humanity earlier too.

But, I think that the script writers for the western powers have lately been suffering from writer's block and no one wants to watch the same old soap anymore. The important indications are - One, UK parliament has voted down their country's support to the new war. Two, President Obama too understands that the act is highly unpopular, and is thus aiming to legitimise it by seeking prior approval from Congress.

Protests against the Syrian government had started in 2011 and were initially seen as a logical extension of what was termed, the Arab Spring that resulted in regime changes in many countries. But unlike elsewhere, it lingered on in Syria and converted into a protracted and bloody civil war. Humanitarian workers and human rights organisations from around the world have been regularly reporting human rights violations being committed by all parties to the conflict.

The Syria chapter of the Human Rights Watch Report 2013 quotes opposition sources claiming that around 35,000 civilians have been killed in the conflict from end 2011 to November 2012. Most media organisations now quote 100,000 as the total toll of the conflict. And if you have the heart, you may read the CNN report about a ghastly video showing a Syrian rebel eating the heart of a government soldier.

They say everything is fair in war. The Geneva Convention, however, disagrees and has set out some red lines. One such is the use of chemical weapons and the US believes that Syria has just crossed that line. There is conclusive evidence that chemical weapons have recently been used in Syria killing hundreds of civilians. This statement of the international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was the first report of mass killing by chemical weapons near Damascus on 21 August.

But there is nothing that could substantiate that the chemical weapons have been used by government forces. In fact, there are reports that point towards the other side, accusing the rebels of using this, the meanest of weapons. Read this BBC report that quoted a leading member of the the UN Commission of Inquiry telling Swiss TV in May 2013, that is much before the recent use of the killer gas,

I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got ... they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition.

And if you are interested in a full-fledged conspiracy theory about how the chemical weapons incident has been set up, you will love this.

The UK parliament voted on the question of whether or not to support the US attack on Syria, while the United Nations team mandated to ascertain facts about whether the chemical weapon incident was still in Syria. The parliamentarians decided to instead rely on YouTube evidence and experts' interpretations of what could be seen in those videos. The United States officials have in fact designated the Syrian government as the culprit even before the UN team arrived in Syria. The US is in hurry and forcing its way.

Even if the Syrian government did use the killer gas against its civilians, shall it be the US who should lead the punishing act? There are many who argue that the US has no moral standing to lead this 'crusade'. It has been itself complicit in many such incidents in the recent past and the killing of a few hundred civilians in this region has not always invoked similar responses from it. The International Crisis Group in its statement on Syria, on 1st September 2013, questions these grounds and argues that the proposed military action will solve nothing.

The sectarian case:

The Saudis want to see an end to the Alawite Shia regime in Syria.

Syria is ruled by the Assad family since the 1970s, they belong to a Shia Islam sect known as the Alawites. The country itself was carved out of the Ottoman Empire, like most others in the Middle East and North Africa, when it fell to the European forces in World War I. The new 'national' boundaries delineated by the world powers cut across sectarian and tribal boundaries and that complicated the power struggles in the countries to a great extent. Here is a map of the region showing areas inhabited by various sects of Islam.

Syria's President Hafez al-Asad (sitting on the right side) signing the Federation of Arab Republics in Benghazi, Libya, on April 18, 1971 with President Anwar al-Sadat (sitting left) of Egypt and Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya (sitting in the centre). The agreement never materialised into a federal union between the three Arab states. -Source: The Online Museum of Syrian History
Syria's President Hafez al-Asad (sitting on the right side) signing the Federation of Arab Republics in Benghazi, Libya, on April 18, 1971 with President Anwar al-Sadat (sitting left) of Egypt and Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya (sitting in the centre). The agreement never materialised into a federal union between the three Arab states. -Source: The Online Museum of Syrian History

Fareed Zakaria, the renowned American journalist who is associated with Time magazine, Washington Post and CNN thinks that the region is in the middle of a power readjustment process. He tells us that in the post-Colonial arrangement of three Middle Eastern states, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, ended up being ruled by the minority communities of these countries, that are, by Sunni, Shia and Christians respectively and that the majority communities were bound to retaliate. He believes that a rebalancing of power has already taken place in Iraq, courtesy of the US, and Lebanon and it is now Syria's turn.

Video | Listen to him here:

In this video recorded in June 2013, Fareed advised the US to not meddle with Syrian affairs. He points out that the dislodging of minority rulers is typically followed by the majority exacting revenge on them, and in the third phase internecine fighting erupts among the various groups of majority communities. He estimates that the civil war in Syria is bound to continue for years, if not decades, before the country finds a new balance and the US should not afford any involvement in such a taxing and possibly futile activity. But the sensible advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Why would the US be interested in dislodging a minority ruler? May be it actually hates Shias. But in neighboring Iraq, which the US attacked and literally occupied to remove a ruler it had started hating, it ended up having a government of the majority Shia community and it doesn't feel threatened by it. Neither has this 'Shia' government united with its sect-fellow, the neighboring Iran, which is seen by the West as a serious security threat.

If the US has no axe to grind against Shias, then maybe it wants to please its most trusted ally in the region - the Wahabi Saudis - whose grudge against Shias is no secret. The majority Sunnis of Syria are, however, not Wahabi and the country shares its northern boundaries with Turkey which is also opposing the government forces. So if and when Assad falls, both Saudi Arabia and Turkey could vie for influence in the post-Alawite Syria.

In this Thursday, Oct 26, 2011 file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, and Chief of Staff Gen. Fahed al-Jasem el-Freij, left, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. -AP File Photo
In this Thursday, Oct 26, 2011 file photo, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, stands next to Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, right, and Chief of Staff Gen. Fahed al-Jasem el-Freij, left, during a ceremony to mark the 38th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, in Damascus, Syria. -AP File Photo

There is little doubt that the Saudis will welcome and rejoice the end of the Alawites rule but they cannot expect a lucrative bounty at the end of this war. Saudi Arabia cannot expect a subservient, client state taking over Syria. They stand to gain little if considered strictly in sectarian terms or in other words, their possible gains will be mainly psychological which might not translate into concrete benefits. The sectarian interpretation of the situation thus fails to explain why the US would commit a highly unpopular act of war just to help its ally with such flimsy gains.

The strategic case:

Israel, US want to destroy the Iran-Syria-Hizoballah nexus.

Alawite Syria has good brotherly relations with Shia Iran in the east (across Iraq) and Shia Hezbollah, that dominates parts of Lebanon, in its west. The anti-Israel Hezbollah, a militant and political organisation declared terrorist by most world powers, is supported and supplied by Iran. It is the Islamic Iran's major foray into the regional politics. It runs on an arc of Shia influence extending from near Quetta right up to the Lebanese shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

If the Assad government falls, it will be disrupted and Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia will supposedly benefit. The weakening of Hezbollah will reduce the size of security threat it poses to Israel. Iran will lose its only strategic ally outside its boundaries and deep into the region; it will be completely isolated and substantially weakened. It is already reeling under the crippling sanctions imposed by the western powers. All this is likely to delay and degrade Iran's efforts to go nuclear. The US would take a sigh of relief at that and Saudi Arabia would celebrate the demise of its main contender for power in the region. That's why Robert Fisk thinks that Iran, not Syria, is the West's real target.

Syrian President Hafez al-Asad (centre) with Iraqi Vice President Saddam Hussein (left), Algerian Foreign Minister Abd al-Aziz Bouteflika (right), and Syrian Vice-President Abd al-Halim Khaddam (far right, half-covered) at Arab League Baghdad Summit. -Source: The Online Museum of Syrian History
Syrian President Hafez al-Asad (centre) with Iraqi Vice President Saddam Hussein (left), Algerian Foreign Minister Abd al-Aziz Bouteflika (right), and Syrian Vice-President Abd al-Halim Khaddam (far right, half-covered) at Arab League Baghdad Summit. -Source: The Online Museum of Syrian History

But, will a regime change in Syria ensure that Hezbollah's supply lines are cut? Iraq falls between Syria and Iran and despite being a US ally it has not been able or willing to even check Iranian flights supposedly supplying Iranian arms to Syria. John Kerry chided Nuri al-Maliki's government over Iranian flights when he visited Iraq in March this year. Read Aljazeera’s report on it.

Whether or not it breaks the Shia arc, most critics agree that the end of the Alawite rule will be followed by years of chaos and mayhem. Are then the potential strategic gains worth the risk? Some insist that Israel, and by extension the US want to have 'controlled chaos' on the other side of its concrete fence. But then, there is little doubt that this chaos will breed more violence and extremism. Moreover, Israel has been surviving next door to the Alawites since the 1970 and in fact, the present period is the only time in its history when it felt least threatened by its almost dormant neighbor. Israel has anyways successfully insulated and fortified itself from its neighbors. Why would Israel want to upset the cart in Syria, especially when its results are unpredictable?

I am, however, not negating that the realignment of power in the region that will be followed by the fall of the Assad regime will have no gainers and losers but I do not see any major shifts and certainly not the ones that could justify a major and risky military undertaking. My question thus remains, what is driving the US assault on Syria?

The war industry case:

The US war industry wants to expel its competitor, Russia from the lucrative Middle Eastern market.

Wars are supplied services, weapons and ammunition by an industry that treads on a demand-supply balance, like all other industries do. The world spent a whopping $1,756 billion on its militaries in 2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) which is a reputed global watchdog on military and armament, working since 1968. The size of the war industry in each country is generally proportionate to its spending on its military. The US thus tops the list. Of the world’s 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies for 2011 (the SIPRI top 100 list), 44 were based in the US. The major client of these companies is their own military. Read about the top 10 weapons companies of 2011 here.

These companies also trade their products internationally, following the policies of their home country governments. SIPRI reports, in its 2013 Yearbook that the global arms trade was worth at least $43 billion in 2011 and more than half of this was done by just two countries, the US and Russia. The share of US companies stood at 30 per cent while Russia occupied second position with a 26 per cent share.

However, the future outlook for this industry is not quite rosy. SIPRI noted a decrease in world military expenditure in the past year. The US in particular, and Europe and the rest of the world in general, faced a major financial crisis in 2008, which the critics compare with the Great Depression of 1930s that was followed by World War II. The crisis has substantially reduced fiscal space for the governments forcing them to cut spending and go for austerity measures. The governments' choices in reducing expenses are constrained by their politics - cuts in social welfare are not popular among their electorates, while they don't mind reductions in military expenses.

The total global military expenditure thus fell in 2012, in real terms compared with 2011, and this is the first fall since 1998. More important, however, is regional breakup. The world's single largest military budget, that of the US, amounting to over $700 billion or 40 per cent of the world total, saw a substantial decrease of 5.5 per cent and that of Central and Western Europe shrank by 1.6 per cent. SIPRI notes that in other regions that did register growth like South Asia, "there was a major slowdown in the growth rate". The only exceptions are the Middle East and North Africa that recorded a very impressive growth of 8.3 and 7.8 per cent respectively. The two regions collectively spent $ 154.4 billion on their militaries in 2012. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the top 10 arms importers of the world for the five-year period 2008-12.

The business of the big armament companies is constrained at home and their future prospects are bleak. Their governments are worried too as this industry employs millions of people.

"Individual companies are taking steps to insulate themselves against austerity measures through military specialisation, downsizing, diversification, and exports and other forms of internationalisation. In some cases, company subsidiaries have maintained or increased arms and military services sales outside of the countries in which the parent companies are headquartered," says SIPRI.

The promising market of the Middle East is the proverbial ray of hope for the western war industry. They have the money, the willingness to spend and are not constrained on how to spend it. There is, however, one problem or an irritant, if you like to call it - Russia. The old enemy of the US is there to spoil all the fun.

Iraq, Syria and Libya were among the countries who allied with the Soviets in the Cold War. The regimes in these countries were supported and supplied by the Soviets, the 'responsibility' was later inherited by Russia. Their good relations continued after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s. Iran also joined this club after the Islamic revolution of 1979. The Gulf states, however, wholeheartedly supported the US in the Cold War and their friendships have flourished in later years.

Russia exported food, medicines and weapons to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The country has a big military complex that includes a massive war industry, employing around two million people. It has rejuvenated its military ambitions recently. Its 2011–20 State Armaments Program envisages wide-ranging reforms of its armed forces. According to SIPRI, "the rising trend in Russia’s military expenditure, which started in 1999, accelerated sharply in 2012, with a real-terms increase of 16 per cent". In February 2012, the Russian government announced plans to spend about $100 billion through 2020 to modernise its military-industrial complex.

After the demise of the Soviet Union, the Russian war industry is left with a few clients in the outside world which weighs negatively against it, not only in terms of business but also in terms of its shrinking military influence. According to a New York Times report, Russian arms sale to Iran dropped from $2.1 billion to $300 million in the period 2003-06 due to UN-imposed sanctions but the loss was compensated by more sales to Syria whose orders increased from $2.1 billion in 2003-06 to $4.7 billion in 2007-10. Russia recently lost another generous client - Libya - when the government of Muammar al-Gaddafi fell. The chief spokesman for Rosoboronexport, the state-owned weapons trading company of Russia, Vyacheslav N. Davidenko, had disclosed in an interview in 2012 that the new government in Libya has suspended about $4 billion in previously agreed-upon contracts.

The ouster of the Assad regime thus will destroy another of the Russian war industry's major clients. It will be ousted from the world's most lucrative arms market - Middle East. This will hurt its strategic position in the region and its repute in the global arms bazaar. One company's loss is another’s gain and when the times are tough you can't leave that to chance.

The people's case:

A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 15, 2012 shows Syrian mourners burying a body of a man in Baba Amr in the flashpoint city of Homs. -Photo by AFP
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 15, 2012 shows Syrian mourners burying a body of a man in Baba Amr in the flashpoint city of Homs. -Photo by AFP

Syria has an estimated population of 23 million people, a little less than that of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and with one hundred thousand already dead, the conflict has rendered homeless over two million, that is almost every tenth family. An end to the violence is years, or decades, away. It will take even longer for sectarian and tribal fissures to mend, which ostensibly means that a generation is wasted. So, whoever wins this war - the US arms corporations or the Russian military complex, the Saudi Wahabis or the Irani Shias, the Israeli strategists or the Islamic militants - the Syrian people have already lost it.

Does then, the victory matter at all?

Archival Videos:

Footage of Yassir Arafat speaking to a crowd, then meeting Leonid Brezhnev and Hafez al-Assad. -Source: Wikimedia

Footage of Hafez al-Assad overseeing training of the Syrian army with his brother Rifaat, then meeting Leonid Brezhnev, Yassir Arafat, King Abdullah and King Hussein. -Source: Wikimedia

Author Image

Tahir Mehdi works with Punjab Lok Sujag, a research and advocacy group that has a primary interest in understanding governance and democracy.

He tweets @TahirMehdiZ

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (104) Closed

AbbasToronto Sep 03, 2013 06:27pm

A turning point in West Asian politics has reached.

  1. The 65 year old US-Pak pact has outlived its usefulness.
  2. Israel has become a liability for the US.
  3. China is the new powerhouse in East Asia
  4. The Star of India is beginning to set
  5. Russia is becoming weaker and losing population by the day
  6. 80 year old US Support for the Wahabbi Saudis backfired with 9/11
  7. Shia sit on 90% of oil in the Middle East, and 95% of its water
  8. Fall of Assad means Jihadist takeover, bringing US and Iran closer
  9. New Iran President wants rapprochement with the West

Next year this time the ME Map will be a different one.

Shujaat Abbas Sep 03, 2013 06:53pm

Nice article, it provided deep insight into regional conflicts. . . Syrian have already lost its war of Economic development and Prosperity. The only solution is to let Middle east region to solve it with out any aggression.

Magnetar Sep 03, 2013 07:11pm

I totally agree with you, there may not be a winner but unfortunately there is a loser in this war! Nice article. thank you!

Aamir Sep 03, 2013 07:14pm

A good, short but comprehensive analysis

H L Sep 03, 2013 07:32pm

Well written and asking the right question. Who is at war? ideas, corporations, states or religious beliefs?

Hassan Sep 03, 2013 07:48pm

Very informative article that gives insight on this issue from all angels. Appreciate, Dawn for doing what many newspapers in the world have not been able to do.

Kumar Sep 03, 2013 08:33pm

Mr Mehdi.....You are awesome....great informative are my fav @DAWN

yourname Sep 03, 2013 08:34pm

you're misinformed!

TALAS Sep 03, 2013 08:42pm

The use of chemical weapons by Asad's regime is the sign that it is collapsing and like Qadafi the west knows that it is the time for the push.

Sonal Sep 03, 2013 09:13pm

Great analysis! And quite entertaining in parts.

You forgot the hypothesis that perhaps the US wants to ensure it prevents any further terrorist attacks on American soil, and make the world a safer place for Americans. Besides, the Al Qaeda seems to be moving its roots from AfPak to Syria and Yemen.

Someone needs to send out the message that you can't kill innocent people just like that and not be punished for it. I don't think airstrikes are the answer to the chemical weapons ordeal, as more people will be killed presumably, but which OTHER country is better placed to send out this message? I can't think of any. Can you?

Salman Sep 03, 2013 09:39pm

A very informative article for someone who is not a native resident of Syria or any of the other players involved in the region. I do hope to see a sectarian free Muslim world one day.

jj Sep 03, 2013 09:50pm

Unfortunately, None of these reasons are true....a very uninformed and ill informed article

Nadia Khanum Sep 03, 2013 09:51pm

It is a fabulous piece of analysis of the real situation in Syria.

Rizwan Sep 03, 2013 09:52pm

Its NOT the US - its Saudia that wants to eliminate all Iranian backed regimes in the region. Prince Bandar bin Sultan (fondly called Bandar Bush by George Bush senior) says that the impending US action is in accordance with the wishes of the people of Syria i.e. that is what the Syrian people want. Does Prince Bandar Bush remember a couple of year back he sent in Saudi forces to quell the rebellion (by shia majority population) against the sunni monarch/ dictator in Bahrain? Home come Prince Bandar did not want to respect the wishes of the Bharaini people? The US fleet was anchored there and could have easily helped the Bahraini people.

UnitedweStand Sep 03, 2013 10:23pm

The Muslims at large reject the Western rhetoric and their efforts of pitting Sunnis against Shias except the ever so faithful Western lapdog, Saudi arabia who still vehemently defends its Master's stance on this. Iran, Syria and Lebanon nexus talked about in this article if looked at closely though predominantly Shia are trying to be a voice in the region for the freedom of Palestinians who are predominantly NOT Shias, further rejects the notion if the divide really exists and exists to the extent the West is trying to make believe.

Paul Sep 03, 2013 10:52pm

I'm an American and I oppose my country's involvement in Syria's civil war. Yes, the civilian casualties are heartbreaking and the use of chemical weapons shocking. But this would be the umpteenth time that America is attacking a Muslim country. I'm a Christian and Muslims are my brothers and sisters. Not my enemy. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and others of the general region should solve the disputes of the countries of the region. They can do it- insh'Allah...

Anthony Sep 03, 2013 11:06pm

Very Detailed and unbiased analysis . I think opportunists like USA and Russia are doing their job though they don't have any business here. Russia ignores poisoning of people and USA going to kill few more to restore it . Israel is rightly concerned as it's matter of its survival from terrorist organizations like Hezbolla . Real war is between Saudi and Iran , One is notorious Wahabi country infamous for its bad influence in neighboring countries and another is half-dead and lonely Shia country on earth waiting for its demise. Some shameless spectators are other Islamic countries on earth . These countries erupt in anger when some Muslims were killed in Myanmar or Palestine without judging the case properly. Why they are silent now ? Are those died ones in Syria not Muslims ?Can't see even a peaceful rally . One good option is , Let Russia help Asad regime and USA remains silent to help Syria's Shia regime to thrive which will lead to Shia-Sunni conflict in middle-east , ultimately leads to world peace .

ahmedj Sep 03, 2013 11:18pm

The answer lies with the famous quote "Axis of Evil" and the article Blood Borders by a present CIA and ex US Army Colonel. The narrative starts with Iraq and ends with Pakistan.

Zubair Ghumro Sep 03, 2013 11:19pm

Its a well composed insight into the possible reasons of attack on Syria. I really liked the article which provides great overview to a novice as well. I had feared and voiced my opinions the it was IRAN that US was after and not SYRIA. I wish we could do something to stop US' self-imposed morality.

Thankyou very much!

Isadora Sep 04, 2013 12:05am

A large number of children were killed. That's why Mr. Obama wants a 'minimal show of horror on our part. It's hard to figure this man out, but eighty per cent of Americans do not want war and I don't know where you got the idea that we did.

Three times I have tried to write a comment and they just disappear? I assume that's to tell us there is a minimum number of words we can post?

Pakistan has become known as a country who will believe almost anything if it's put in the form of a conspiracy. I wonder why you don't let go of that. But it's none of my business.

Kasim Osmani Sep 04, 2013 12:10am

Bravo.. This is an awesome piece and a must-read item. Thanks for clarifying the US war game from the core.


Neil Sep 04, 2013 12:20am

The author did not include the following option in their analysis

Paul Sep 04, 2013 12:24am

@Sonal: The collective will of the countries in that live in the region.

H L Sep 04, 2013 01:33am

@Paul: Thank Paul. Rightly said.

sudeep Sep 04, 2013 02:08am

cCome on, buddy. Syrian regime used chemical weapons on women and children. that is reason enough.

In case you forgot, the dead were muslims. Not that it should matter - chemical and biological weapons used on human beings, irrespective of their religion, are beyond the pale

You know, complicated conspiracy theories and analysis are fun, and can make the author look intelligent. But simply explanations are usually the truth.

rana1 Sep 04, 2013 02:45am

@Paul: love you man

Chanpir Sep 04, 2013 04:51am

Great research. Awesome peace of information. Keep writing!

Sunil Gautam Sep 04, 2013 05:51am

A great article. Thanks a lot for presenting all possible angles none of which, unfortunately and understandably, condones US actions in the region. I hope the Syrians (if they are allowed to) can resolve it within themselves.

moazzam Sep 04, 2013 07:30am

Excellent article, really well written, good research, A+ Keept up the good work, DAWN. Simply love you guys.

moazzam Sep 04, 2013 07:30am

Hats off, Tahir Mehdi, remarkable piece !!!

... Sep 04, 2013 07:41am

What about the use of chemical weapon by the US on Iraqi people? Why that was acceptable?

javed Sep 04, 2013 07:48am

@Anthony: nice analysis realy good

Azad Kashmiri Sep 04, 2013 09:13am

Everyone is entiled to its opinion, no matter how stupid that is. The author's views are based on speculations and prejudism.

Cosmic Lion Sep 04, 2013 10:10am

Why don't neighboring islamic countries try to broker peace talks between the army and the rebels?

Ahlia Zubair Sep 04, 2013 10:28am

America should be stopped waging a war on Syria. Muslim Leaders should devise a plan to curb human massacre in Syria. America should follow them.

Syeda Jafri Sep 04, 2013 10:41am

A very well analysed & detailed article. Truly gives a clear picture based on facts.

Syeda Jafri Sep 04, 2013 10:43am

A very well analysed & detailed article. Truly gives a clear picture based on facts.

Khanm Sep 04, 2013 10:44am

Why do US wants to attack Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran. The stronger these countries are, bigger the threat to Israel

Red Dawn Sep 04, 2013 10:45am

It has to do with economic realignment of the world. American economy is slipping. Having developed same rigidities that british economy had or for that matter any leading economy after 40-60 years (Rigidities being too high labor costs, easy lifestyle and outlook on life because thershold of basic wage is too high and economic incentives for earning each incremental dollar becomes less and less). Having very good finance skills, i dont think every war is other than a positive Net present value project for america.

Ali hemani Sep 04, 2013 10:49am

Amazing article. Every bit of this article was well thought and analyzed.

Awais falak Sep 04, 2013 11:05am

@Paul: nice thoughts bro......

ala Sep 04, 2013 11:12am

great article. it helps to understand the complexities and exploiters.

HS Sep 04, 2013 11:47am

attacking Syria will open a gateway to Iran, which is the main motive of the zionist regime, a very insightful article on the arms trade. It is also important to mention the geopolitical conflict about natural resources, gas to be precise.

Akhter Husain Sep 04, 2013 12:37pm

@Anthony:You are wrong Mr Anthony,the real war is not between Arabia and Iran but between The Exploiters and the Exploited.

Zahid Sep 04, 2013 12:47pm

Worth to mention here gas pipeline.... ????

Abhishek Sep 04, 2013 01:15pm

What a deep insight. A great analysis, i always wanted to read. Thanks DAWN for publishing such articles.

salman Sep 04, 2013 01:14pm

The fact USA wants to attack Syria is because they want the world to turn their focus from Palestine to Syria. The world should not forget the atrocities Israel is doing with Palestinians, bulldozing their homes and building 1500 new homes for their people. Although the UN has criticised the act but no action has been taken against Israel who is violating the UN charter. Why USA is turning blind from the fact and why they are not criticising Israel? The Human Rights too are just criticising with no action.

shahzad Sep 04, 2013 02:01pm

Great article-nice work

Dasti Sep 04, 2013 01:59pm

Please correct: Great Depression of 1930s that was followed by World War I

Dasti Sep 04, 2013 02:03pm

Please Ignore my Earlier comments, my comments was incorrect. Thanks

Naveed Alam Khattak Sep 04, 2013 02:04pm


Faroukh Bhandara Sep 04, 2013 02:05pm

When I was young I tried to join a gang of young teenagers who fancied themselves as being tough. They would try to pick up fights every Friday after prayers as they believed this was needed to keep themselves fight ready. they would not pick me because they did not trust me, that I would squeal since some of my family were in the police. The US is no different. It spends a huge amount on its fighting forces and, like the juvenile gang members, they feel they need to invent wars to keep fighting-fit. There are other ways to get rid of Assad but that would make too much sense.

Faroukh Bhandara Sep 04, 2013 02:09pm

"It has been itself complicit in many such incidents in the recent past and the killing of a few hundred civilians in this region has not always invoked similar responses from it. "

Which ones in the "recent past"? Tahir mehdi the last time the US used chemicals was in Vietnam.

Alex Sep 04, 2013 02:09pm

The gentleman is known for plagiarism. Should CNN, let alone US govt be bothered by his unsolicited advice based on his remote knowledge of the ground realities. ?

Cosmic Lion Sep 04, 2013 02:13pm

US should not get into this mess..let the Syria and it's neighbors sort it out.

Anna Tahir Sep 04, 2013 02:35pm

This is a pure conspiracy if US is so pure in helping nations Why not they help people of Bahrain where govt is constantly killing them. The people of Saudi Arabia also need help as a single family is sucking all their wealth. In Egypt a dictator threw out an elected democratic govt Does American wear a special glasses which cant see these atrocities. Where are the Weapons of Mass Destruction which they were discovering in Iraq, Had they liberated Iraq and Afghanistan through Carpet Bombing. The World is not Fool every one knew their agenda

Mian Mutti Sep 04, 2013 04:03pm

Why 100 k (mostly civilian humans) has no value to be highlighted and to protest even in this article? Why they are being killed brutally and when US is going to attack now everyone has sympathy with Syrian Shia government. Until hypocrisy exists it will happen that is going to happen with Syrian government. Why Rebels will kill their counterparts in chemical weapon attacks; it is going to be proved that these were from Syrian Govt.

GREATER PAKISTAN Sep 04, 2013 04:47pm

@Sonal: I salute your wisdom...........................first alciada was in Afghanistan, than Iraq, Libya.......tried hard in Pakistan but failed than moved to Syria and Yemen .......according to your analysis it will move next to Iran............isn't it??? .......(When there is will, there is a way) oOOPs Nope (When you are enemy, there is alciada) what about the Rapist Al-Qaida in india?.

edwardian Sep 04, 2013 05:30pm

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time" Abraham Lincoln.

George W Bush jr, took the world to war on false plea of Weapons of Mass Destructions. He fooled everyone.

Obama the Nobel Peace Prize winner has to think with his brain and compare his next action while thinking of his former presidents.

Rishi Sep 04, 2013 05:30pm

Excellent write-up. Very good analysis, should also detail prologue and conclusion and after effects on global economics and South Asia. Best Regards

Sonal Sep 04, 2013 07:25pm


That would be ideal, but they're a bunch of troubled countries themselves. And most are anti-Shia or anti-Assad anyway, no?

Mustafa Sep 04, 2013 07:39pm

Mr. Tahir Mehdi , the learned writer is probably unaware of the facts that the Syrian opposition does not have the capacity to carry out an operation of such magnitude with chemical agents. . The rockets used in the attack were fired from Assad regime-controlled areas. The launch zone for the rockets was held by the Assad regime while the strike zone was held by the rebels.

ali Sep 04, 2013 07:50pm


i can see the dislikes because of your comment referring to India ;)

rana1 Sep 04, 2013 07:53pm

main motive is pakistan@HS :

Soldier of God Sep 04, 2013 08:27pm

Egyptian government killed hundreds of unarmed protesters in one single day. No one asked for the foreign intervention. Although it was simply straight forward that Egyptian government did that. While in the case of Syria, its still not proved that Syrian government carried out chemical weapons attack on heavily armed rebels. So, is the usage of chemical weapon attack the only requirement to attack a country?? keeping in mind that still it has not been proven. Americans and its allies simply dont need any logic to attack or manipulate governments all over the world. But believe me, it will be their last mistake in middle east to attack Syria, since Syria has the backing of Iran and Hizbullah which has proved its effectiveness in the battle of regaining control of border town of Al-Qusyr from the rebels. In case of American attack on Syria, I wish American soldiers come to ground battle and face the music the music and a humiliating defeat for the first time in middle east.

BEA Sep 04, 2013 08:50pm

@TALAS: where did you read that rubbish from you must be reading too many American Newspapers.

US are looking for a fight and if they go into Syria they will regret it as Russia and Iran will take that as an insult US went into Iraq saying they had WMD when they did not and against the advice of the UN now they want to do the same thing in Syria at least thE UK will not be going as they voted against it. i just do not understand wnat is wrong with the USA who died and made them God.

BEA Sep 04, 2013 08:54pm

@sudeep: Alleged chemical weapons no one knows who used them the Gov or the Reb.

arif Sep 04, 2013 09:14pm


In case you are not aware, Israel is the most powerful country on this planet, ask any American in America.

MuzJee Sep 04, 2013 10:33pm

The author should have at leat mentioned the official reason given by President Obama. The limited strikes are to tell Assad that if he uses chemical weapons, there will be consequencies.

Asif AK Sep 04, 2013 10:51pm

Informative indeed. Just food for thought; US could be doing it to strategically keep its Army within Asian region. As facing heavy toll on their decision that is drone attack, US Army still in Afghanistan etc. And also as this way they will be having more spread of their army in Asia and can easily attack or defend from China and Russia in case of war.

Sonal Sep 05, 2013 12:02am


That would be ideal, but they're a bunch of troubled countries themselves. And most are anti-Shia or anti-Assad anyway, no?

Harinder Sep 05, 2013 12:02am

Duties of being an "EMPIRE"

It is the fore most duty and of all "Empires" in Universe to be perpetually at war . If when and there is no war then the empire is is duty bound to create one to fulfill its cherished goal of .

"Long live the Gods of War"

Ronald Denhardt Sep 05, 2013 02:48am

You missed the oil/gas motivation. See

Singh Sep 05, 2013 04:55am

Never forget this war is Syria started because of brutality of Syria region on few protesters. I don't believe that these protesters ever thought about all these complex logic.

Mustafa Sep 05, 2013 08:12am

@ Neil

Please know that Syrian rebels neither possess the chemical weapons nor they have the launchers or mechanism to launch them. It has been proved that the weapons were launched from government controlled areas targeting rebel controlled areas and not the other way round. The casualties were in rebel controlled areas and not in government controlled areas.

Ahmed Sultan Sep 05, 2013 10:50am

@AbbasToronto: yes.. it will be greater Pakistan from present day Malaysia to Spain

sandeep Sep 05, 2013 11:50am

Lovely article

Asif AK Sep 05, 2013 01:20pm

Informative indeed. Just food for thought; US could be doing it to strategically keep its Army within Asian region. As facing heavy toll on their decision that is drone attack, US Army still in Afghanistan etc. And also as this way they will be having more spread of their army in Asia and can easily attack or defend from China and Russia in case of war.

Saeed Lakho Sep 05, 2013 04:16pm

It reflects a very nice in fact true picture of real problem with the Syrian Nation as a whole.

Mida Sep 05, 2013 04:31pm

@Isadora: Israel is one of the worst human rights violators of this and the last century. If US is such a champion of human rights then the first military intervnetion needs to be in Israel. The day the US proceeds with military action on Israel, that's the day we rational human beings might think that US actually may have the good of the downtrodden at heart. Till then ......

Mohsin Sep 05, 2013 05:48pm

@Mustafa: The article is biased from the point of view of a particular sect, with only distorted and incomplete facts. What a bugger!!!

ahmad Sep 05, 2013 06:27pm

all stories!! it is bcoz syria has muslims!! thats why america is attacking. obama says syria is a menace and has to be confronted!!! all bcoz of muslims

Imad Brohi Sep 05, 2013 06:33pm

Very well written article.

Paul Sep 05, 2013 07:01pm

@Sonal: No doubt that the countries surrounding Syria are dripping with sectarian prejudice. Those countries should wake-up and 1) form a collective defense system, 2) create an intervening body from both Sunni and Shia majority countries to address situations like in Syria and 3) the leadership of all those countries call a convocation of all religious figures and thrash out a treaty of live and let live..

Paul Sep 05, 2013 07:21pm

@Sonal: Yes, Sonal, they are "troubled" countries surrounding Syria. But with Faith/Iman/Vishwas, all obstacles can be overcome...

maria raja Sep 05, 2013 09:18pm

Thank you for providing That much Information Sir. (Y)

aLi Sep 05, 2013 09:55pm

@Singh: And do you really think those protesters were acting on their own and were not orchestrated. We are just so naive to understand the politics and benefits of stakeholders.

Faizan Sep 05, 2013 09:55pm

An excellent depiction of the Syrian conflict and the motives of the World Powers to attack the war torn country...

Ahmed Saeed Sep 05, 2013 10:47pm

Excellent research. Good job done.

Mohcin Sep 06, 2013 12:36am

Is there any possibility that the motive behind this : US is weakening the neighbours of israel (to expand Israel ) or Israel to be the head of these countries or to facilitate Israel in any way ?

I see US is only taking interest in neighbouring countries of ISRAEL. Not in rest of the countries.

Mohammad Yamin Sep 06, 2013 12:52am

The article is an eye opener. I must compliment the author for a well researched work.

sali Sep 06, 2013 01:03am

Israeli lobby again very successful in pushing US to another war. One more Islamic nation will be weekend and rolled back 30 years. How does this all happen again n again? Courtesy of infighting and opportunities provided by their leader who love shooting on their own foot.

Khan Sep 06, 2013 01:36am

I think Tahir Mehdi is a bit off on saying that U.S will attack Syria so they can get their $4 billions arms market. I mean the U.S gives $3 billions in aid to Pakistan, another $3 billion to Israel, and same goes for Egypt. They obviously have some interest of their own for attacking Syria. (Assads father was friend of the soviets and now the russians (with Assad pretty much the same) ....same goes for its a nice chance to get rid of thier opponents) ...just like it was in Libya

Mia Sep 06, 2013 02:00am

Why does the US want to attack Syria? Because it can and there is no power on earth to prevent it from doing so!

maryamlane Sep 06, 2013 02:03am

Am I imagining things? If you don't like what someone says, you just grab their Email midair and make it disappear?

Don't worry. I'm gone. Dawn is changing, in my opinion. I guess you wouldn't support separation of church and state. So, I will go elsewhere. I hope you get what I'm hinting at - how you are changing that is.

SRK Sep 06, 2013 03:31am

It is all about the oil - dummy.

Tigermoth Sep 06, 2013 08:59am

For God sake wake up and smell the roses. What is wrong with you! The Syrian government was behind the gassing . All the countries that have gone over the data agree that the barbarian in Damascus did the barbaric deed. Russia is the only country among the G20 that does not seem to agree . Russia, it appears, hasn't the brains to interpret the data - poor intelligence. Putin is made up of the same filth as the butcher of Damascus. He knows ,deep down , that if he lets go now then,some day, the world may come after him in the same way as it going after the Syrian .

Tigermoth Sep 06, 2013 09:06am

@Mida: Israel is the most civilized country in the Middle East . Take your blinders off and look at all the dictators that you call your brothers. You have no knowledge about Israel except what has been brainwashed into you.

Ali Sep 06, 2013 10:22am

@Mohsin: Probably you have not understood this article properly and I reckon have not even read the whole piece, but you just had the free time to take your annoyance out here in the forum. The article is completely unbiased, but the truth is for sure bitter isn't it ??

Ali Sep 06, 2013 10:49am

Dear Tahir Mehdi, not many people will appreciate your article because you have written truth about the so called "Khadimain Sharefain".

Ali Sep 06, 2013 10:51am

@MuzJee: Quit Volunteer yourself into slavery brother....try and free yourself from the shackles of low self esteem.

Ali Sep 06, 2013 10:55am

@Mustafa: And you probably learn your knowledge from FOX NEWS, CNN, BBC & Sky Network isn't it ???

Ali Sep 06, 2013 10:58am

@Mian Mutti: Mian Mufti Saheb, Hypocrisy is when you claim to be the care takers of Khane Kaaba and side with the most Baatil and tyrannical empires...Just clean the grudge & hatred from your heart and try to see the reality before your eyes are closed and its too late.

Ali Sep 06, 2013 11:01am

@Azad Kashmiri: You are from Azad Kashmir, but your comments are of the ones who are mentally slaved. Free your self brother, become AZAD Insaan then Azad Kashmiri.