Of all the facile analyses of foreign policy which compete for public sympathy, this two-word query is perhaps the most egregious example of an ideology which has replaced serious thought with meaningless clichés.
Of course, when commentators pose such questions they’re not really engaged in an inquiry at all.
Whether discussing war, international monetary policy or bilateral trade agreements, employing this brief non sequitur of an interrogative allows writers to avoid messy, complicated political and moral analyses and pivot directly to their desired target.
Thus, U.S. military involvement in the Middle East can be divorced of its geopolitical and strategic complexities, and the arduous policy considerations of the American President and his advisors, and its motivation reduced to whatever benefit the Jewish state (or other “imperialist” actor) is perceived to reap.
Indeed, the Iraq War has come to represent, for many employing such logic, the perfect Zionist storm – a conflict fought by American and NATO forces not to protect U.S. and Western interests, but to defend Israel – a state which skillfully deployed its supporters to the corridors of power to create a Middle East more to their liking.
Sami Ramadani‘s ‘Comment is Free’ essay, ‘Military intervention in Syria would be disastrous for its people“, includes the following strap line, representing a meme about an imagined threat of U.S./Western military intervention in Syria which could have been written by the Guardian’s chief “anti-imperialist” propagandist, Associate Editor Seumas Milne.
Syrians opposed to [Western] intervention are ignored by a de facto alliance against the Shia ‘crescent’ between the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel and al-Qaida.
The fact that U.S. led military intervention in Syria has all but been rejected by the Obama administration is not an insurmountable barrier to Ramadani’s desired narrative.
In fact, what does this dangerous “military build-up” remind him of?
Yes, you guessed it.
“All this sadly reminds me of the drums of the Iraq war and the media circulation of made-up stories peddled by Blair, Bush and pro-intervention Iraqi factions, while the anti-Saddam but anti-war Iraqis were marginalised.”
Later, moving on to Israel, Ramadani writes:
“It is opposition by the “crescent” to hegemony by the US and Israel, rather than religion or human rights, that worries Washington and its dictatorial allies in the region.”
“…democratic opposition organisations, at the receiving end of decades of regime repression and probably representing the will of majority of Syrians, strongly opposed the militarisation of the protests. They argued that militarisation weakened the growing mass movement for radical democratic change, left the door wide open for foreign intervention, threatened the social fabric of Syrian society and helped Israeli forces occupying the Syrian Golan Heights…”
It’s unclear how IDF forces in the Golan are assisted by violence in Syria, or how Israel benefits from the militarization of the uprisings – a conflict which had led to the loss of control by Syrian authorities over its southern border, and which, the IDF fears, may allow for global jihadists operating in Syria to attack Israel.
Finally, Ramadani goes beyond vaguely suggesting that the militarization of the conflict is an element of a broader Western pro-Israel strategy, and floats this artful suggestion:
“Iran has…officially pointed the finger at an Israeli “terrorist training base” in Iraqi Kurdistan, which is a major route for intervention in Syria.”
Get it? According to Ramadani, Israel may be operating a “terrorist training base” in Iraqi Kurdistan, and using the base to funnel weapons to Damascus, Hama and Deir al-Zor. The Jewish state could be the party responsible for the bloodshed in Syria.
Where did Ramadani find such explosive and grossly under-reported news?
The link takes us to a “report” on the site of Iranian PressTV, the official media of a regime representing the only major supplier of arms, fighters (and even troops) in support of Bashar al-Assad’s brutal campaign to crush the uprising.
Here’s the relevant passage from PressTV:
“The [Israeli] occupier regime of al-Quds (Jerusalem) is exploiting the soil of [autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq]…a region abutting our land and even has a terrorist training base and military site there,” Iranian Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said on June 17.
So, final question: who benefits from commentary citing official Iranian propaganda to buttress a wild claim of Israeli responsibility for political phenomena completely outside its control?
Answer: anyone who reads the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ to reinforce their obsession with the Jewish state.
- ‘Comment is Free’ or PressTV? CiF contributor portrays Iran as a force for peace & reform in Syria (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Comment is Free’ moderators fail to remove references to “ZioNazis” (cifwatch.com)
- CiF reader comment of the day: On “Zionist Keyboard Brigades” (cifwatch.com)
- Alon Liel at ‘Comment is Free’: a match made in BDS heaven. (cifwatch.com)
- The Guardian ideology: Where reporting Iranian antisemitism is counter-revolutionary (cifwatch.com)
- Why does the Guardian get Middle East analysis wrong? (cifwatch.com)
- Has the Guardian reached the tipping point in its crusade against Israel? (cifwatch.com)