Former US Senate Advisor says US wants Al-Qaeda in power in Syria

US attempts to bring al-Qaeda into power in Syria: Analyst

Wed Dec 5, 2012 2:9PM GMT

A former US senate foreign policy advisor says that the Obama administration has completely dovetailed the US policy in the Middle East region to the radical extremist forces.

Syria has dismissed allegations that it is preparing to use chemical weapons amid the ongoing turmoil in the country and says Damascus will never use such weapons against Syrians. On Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that if the Syrian government uses such chemical weapons, it would mean that Damascus has crossed a US red line. “Once again we issue a very strong warning,” she said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Press TV has conducted an interview with James Jatras, former US Senate foreign policy analyst, Washington DC. to further discuss the issue at hand. He is joined by two additional guests: Tahsin al-Halabi, political analyst from Syrian capital city of Damascus and Sharif Nashashibi, chairman of the Arab Media Watch from London. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: First of all the question is, why do you think Turkey says that it needs these Patriot missiles and are they, actually, going to lead to more tensions, rather than to ease the problems?

Jatras: Yes, of course they will lead to more tensions. There is a certain irony, if not…, well let’s say hypocrisy in putting these missiles there to “defend” Turkey from Syria as if it were somehow Turkey that is the victim of the Syrian aggression, rather than the other way around.

We all know that Turkey together with the other NATO countries, especially the United States, the Obama administration, as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia are committing act of aggression against Syria.

These weapons are there to create an impression that somehow it is the aggressive Syrian regime that is the source of the problem there.

I think what we are seeing here is the ebb and flow of a kind of a war fever where the powers that are determined to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad will increase the tension, point to various pretexts such as civilian death or possible use of chemical weapons, however improbable that might be and then you will see a certain relaxation for a time and then they will crank it up again until they have a suitable pretext for intervention and I think that we saw the same pattern in Libya, we saw it in Iraq in 2003 and in Kosovo in 1999. We have seen this movie before.

Press TV: James Jatras we had the former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice saying recently that she believed Syria was the obstacle to the formation of the New Middle East after Israel’s war with Lebanon in 2006 and that raised questions by some observers whether there were plans to divide Syria and how that would affect, of course, the interest of Israel and its allies?

Do you think that a possible military intervention would be aimed at the division of Syria?

Jatras: No I don’t think so, just as the United Sates does not favor the division of Iraq; given the divisive tendencies that exist with [in] that country; I do not think in fact that the US attitude toward Syria is largely driven by considerations regarding Israel.

In fact you see an awful lot of people in Israel who are far less enthusiastic about regime change in Syria than a lot of people in the United States’ foreign policy community are.

From Israel’s point of view, Hafez and also Bashar al-Assad have not been a friendly neighbor but a relatively a quiet one.

The prospect of another Sunni radical government headed by the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda, in other words the usual friends the United States has been making in many countries in league with the Wahhabist establishment in Saudi Arabia, is something that certainly will not make the Israelis happy but for some reason the Obama administration has completely dovetailed American policy in the Middle East with the most radical Sunni influences and it is committed to bringing to power in Syria, together with elements of al-Qaeda and other Jihadist groups, a similar regime in Syria.

Press TV: When it comes to whether, basically, the next leadership in Syria would or would not support the Palestinian cause, would still serve as what is being called the axis of resistance in the region; exactly what the opponents are saying is that look at the people who are now inside of Syria, look at the militants who are now inside of Syria, they have Wahhabi backgrounds, they have Salafi backgrounds; we have al-Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria and at the same time they are saying that a foreign military invasion and direct intervention would not lead to a government that would follow the cause of the Palestinians. Now what is your idea?

Jatras: I think there is an assumption that when the United States supports militant Sunni groups that somehow this is an aberration or undesirable and some kind of clever plan to, really, bring more moderate liberal elements to power.

I do not think that is true. I think that the United States for many years under different administrations has consciously allied itself with such groups, again always in concert with Saudi Arabia, which is a constant in our policy, and it is not at all surprised or particularly upset when people like these come to power.

For example look at the pathetic position the United States finds itself now in with regard to Egypt and Gaza, where the United States now has to come crawling on its hands and knees to the Muslim Brotherhood, for goodness sake, to mediate between Israel and Hamas.

It is a completely untenable position for us to be in; and I think that the gentleman from London [Sharif Nashashibi] is correct. The idea that Bashar al-Assad needs to be removed because he supports Hamas and Hezbollah and other groups that are hostile to Israel because why? A more friendly government is likely to take power in Damascus and he needs to be overthrown? This simply does not make sense.

To the extent there is any calculation at all in Washington, it is simply a kind of a mindless strike against a regime seen as friendly to the Iranians and we do not care what effect that produces in Syria, for example for secular elements, for Christians, for other ethnic and religious minorities.

We look at how they were decimated in Iraq after we “liberated” Iraq; does anybody in Washington care?

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