Haggai Carmon: Attorney and Author

Does NATO Plan to Attack Syria and Iran? Moscow Says Yes, But Don’t!

Those who wondered why the U.S and its European allies limit their reaction to the Syrian massacre of its citizens to lip service only should listen to the Russian offered explanation. The Russians believe that the message NATO and the U.S are sending Syria and ultimately Iran is, “we are coming soon to attack you.”

After three months of bloodshed in Syria, the world has started moving. On August 3, 2011 the UN Security Council in a Presidential Statement condemned Syria for ongoing violence and expressed “grave concern at the deteriorating situation in Syria, and expresses profound regret at the death of many hundreds of people.”

However, a Presidential Statement is not as strong as a Security Council resolution, although it still required approval from all 15 council members. That was the most the U.S and its allies could get. A stronger language or a resolution that could lead to sanctions was not an option given the veto power of China and Russia.

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in an interview to the Russian Izvestia newspaper published on August 5, 2011 has warned President Assad that Russia’s patience is ending as well, “We are watching how the situation is developing. It’s changing, and our approach is changing as well.” And if that was not clear enough for Assad, came a more pointed warning from Dmitry Rogozin the Russian envoy to NATO, “NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran.” Then Rogosin became blunter, “This statement means that the planning [of the military campaign)] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa.” Apparently Moscow suspects that a military campaign against Syria will eventually spread to other conflict areas in the region, thereby removing Moscow’s influence from countries that still listen to it. “The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogosin concluded.

Surprise! The Russians are warning those whom they protect, but for a reason.

Russia continues the policy of its predecessor the Soviet Union to obtain friends, a foothold and ultimately a powerful presence in the region. Therefore, America’s rivals and enemies are considered Russia’s friends. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the increased U.S influence in the region, Russia is left with one ally — Syria, and with a hate-love relationship with Iran.

A careful reading of Rogosin’s warning shows that he avoided mentioning the U.S as a major participant in the attack he said was on the drawing board. But NATO going to war without the U.S military might is like sending a one legged boxer to a kickboxing match. NATO member countries are not strong enough militarily to defeat Syria and Iran. To attack these rogue countries you need Big Bro — the U.S. Therefore, hidden within the diplomatic language he used there was a veiled warning to the U.S not to move forward with this plan. The Russian officials effectively said, “Do not touch My anointed ones” (Psalm 105:15) although it’s safe to assume that they didn’t use that verse nor looked it up in the Bible to check the spelling. But at the same time, the Russian message to Syria and Iran was: See who your real friends are. Get under our wings and you won’t get hurt.

Why are the Russians taking this route to protect, albeit tacitly, pariah nations? Weapons sales and political gains, and it doesn’t really matter which one comes first, as long as in the end Russia achieves both goals. Russia sold Iran and Syria huge amounts of weapons. Although Russia put on hold the sale of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran, the deal is in fact just on temporary hold. Russia has also entered into substantial energy transactions with Tehran in 2010. These deals came with a price tag Iran attached to which the Russians agreed: Russia pushing toward easing sanctions on Iran if it cooperates with the International Atomic Energy Agency. That condition is a bad joke because the Iranians have already shown how they toy and manipulate the agency when it attempted to inspect the Iranian nuclear program.

Moscow reads the region’s influence map closely waiting for an opportunity, because there’s never a void in this business. Russia senses that the U.S influence in the region has weakened and it will be further reduced when the U.S completes its withdrawal from Iraq. Therefore Russia rushes to forge stronger ties with Iran, a rising power in the Gulf and Middle East. With Iran as a friend, Syria comes a bonus. Syria, is Iran’s crony and Russia accepts it with open arms because a foothold in Syria provides Russia with precious benefits: Tartus, a modern deep Mediterranean sea which the Russians financed and built as well as regained access to the former Soviet naval base in Latakiye. That explains why Russia defends Bashar al-Assad’s regime regardless of what the world thinks of it.

Marking the target was Russian Prime Minister who said last week that, “The country (USA) live in debt, and [Does] not live according to their means and shifts the burden of their problems on the world economy,” he offered that explanation during a meeting with youth groups, according to the Russian RIA-Novosti news agency. Putin has also said that the U.S. “acts as a parasite on the dollar’s monopoly in the global economy.”

The 1960s cold war with Russia is not here yet, but it’s certainly getting warm in the region.