Israeli Attack on Syria: Stop the drive to war

May 6, 2013

The recent Israeli attacks on Syrian territory are designed to further destabilize the situation in the area and push us closer to a larger regional war. They are illegal under international law and must be condemned.

For the last two years NATO and its allies have been attempting to control the Syrian opposition by funneling weapons to the rebels through the gulf states, deploying missile batteries in Turkey and by sending U.S. Special forces to the Syrian/Jordanian border.

This Israeli attack signals a dramatic escalation in that intervention. The timing of the strikes suggest that Israel is attempting to stoke the conflict to provide justification for a larger NATO led military campaign.

If the government of Bashar Al Assad were to gain ground on the opposition forces, as appeared to be possible as recently last week, it would pose a serious challenge for NATO countries hoping to use the conflict in Syria to weaken other regional players, especially, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the government of Iran.

And so the west is ramping up the rhetoric. Recently, U.S. intelligence officials stated that they had “some degree of varying confidence” that the Syrian state was using sarin gas on opponents. That absurd statement was hardly the smoking gun that NATO wanted to justify the intervention. A leading UN investigator now says that the sarin may have been used by the opposition forces rather than the Syrian government.

All these factors point towards a larger – if not entirely coherent – drive to war with Syria. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird suggested that Canada is talking to its allies about a possible attack. His press secretary Rick Roth subsequently “clarified” Baird’s statement and said that Canada isn’t contemplating support for a military attack on Syria.

But Canadians know what the government says, and what it does, in the realm of military intervention, are often two very different things. Most recently, they told Canadians no troops would be sent to support the French led mission in Mali, but deployed Canadian Special Forces within a week. In 2008 and in 2010, they extended the mission in Afghanistan after promises that they would not do so.

Any NATO attack on Syria would result in a much larger war throughout the Middle East and must be opposed. As we see in places like Libya and Afghanistan, NATO intervention have a tendency to leave a trail of dead bodies and corrupt governments.

All Canadians concerned about peace need to be on the alert for any further escalation and should be prepared for action should the Harper government decide to intervene in this conflict.