Jonathan Cook, writing in al-Ahram, believes Israel’s recent air attack in Syria is linked to broader foreign policy goals. He argues many American neo-conservatives consider either cowing or defeating Syria as step one in their goal of destroying the present regime in Iran. The Bush administration is divided between pragmatists like Condi Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates who want to involve Syria in any peace process versus neo-conservatives led by Dick Cheney who seek to reorganize the entire Middle East.
Cook charges the Israel Mossad and top military leaders have been fostering the idea of Iran being months away from developing atomic bombs making it imperative to destroy their nuclear facilities. Therefore, it was necessary to take care of Syria whose airspace had to be used in bombing Iran. Despite Syria’s assistance to American intelligence during the Iraq war and its desire for peace with Israel, American turned a deaf ear to Syria. This led Syria to purchase arms, including anti-missile weapons from Russia. Israel then argued Syria was arming for war.
The recent air strike by Israeli planes in Syria is a blatant violation of international law, but no protests came from Washington D.C. which is quick to blame Iran or its enemies of violating international boundaries. The air attack was most probably aimed at weapons destined for Hezbollah. Stories circulated by American officials claiming Syria had nuclear facilities are too ridiculous to fathom.
Cook argues a “reality” is being created by the American media of a Syrian-Hezbollah-Iran axis close to possessing atomic weapons. Neo-conservatives have stretched the boundaries of reality by claiming Shiite Iran is supporting Sunni al-Qaeda. American media is continually presenting stories concerning Iran’s atomic weapon development even though the IAEA has found no evidence of any such achievement. The drum beat goes on creating a new reality of an atomic bomb Iran which must be immediately halted.