The U.N. Security Council met shortly after the July 18 attack that decapitated the command of the Syrian security forces. The two sessions that followed addressed the Resolution proposals submitted by the Western powers and Russia. It was incumbent upon the Council to condemn terrorist action on principle, as it does in all similar circumstances. The practice is to unanimously adopt a declaration and have it read by the sitting president of the Council, in this case the Columbian, Nestor Osorio. Protocol dictates that he present his condolences to the member state under attack.
However, the Council remained silent. The Western members refused to apply to the attack in Syria one of the most basic principles of international relations: the condemnation of terrorism. Even worse, in their respective declarations German, British, American and French leaders instead condemned the victims, making them responsible for the violence they had been the targets of and reaffirming support for the forces that perpetrated the attack. Immediately, the Western media set about defiling the memory of the victims as if their deaths were still insufficient to quench their thirst for Syrian blood.
No one doubts that terrorism in Syria is being sponsored by NATO and the GCC but until now it was being carried out behind a veil of hypocrisy. Unable to bombard and raze the country because of the Russian and Chinese double veto, the Western powers and their Arab partners decided to bleed the country while setting it up for an attack by mercenaries. Then on February 12 came the call to jihad issued by Ayman al-Zawahiri. Suddenly, NATO, the GCC and al-Qaeda found themselves pursuing the same objective. Notwithstanding, Brussels took the view that the Egyptian sheik’s declarations were his alone and were therefore unworthy of comment as if to underline that NATO doesn’t revise its positions in response to such fatwas. This rationale remained unconvincing because it ignored the issue of the common objectives shared by the self-proclaimed advocates of democracy, on the one hand, and Islamism, on the other. It did allow appearances to be preserved. The masks are now off. The Western powers have acknowledged their links with terrorists.
The turning point occurred during the 3rd Conference of the “Friends” of the Syrian people in Paris on July 6. President Francois Hollande accorded a place of honor to individuals who had previously been paid in secret while taking care to deny knowing them. He elevated war criminals to the rank of heroes without eliciting the least discomfort among his foreign partners.
Without waiting for al-Qaeda to be invited to yet another conference of the “Friends” of the Syrian people, Sergei Lavrov expressed surprise at this behavior: “This signifies that [the West] will continue to support this kind of terrorist attack until the Security Council fulfills its obligations. It is a terrifying position.” He continued, “We do not know how we are to interpret this.”
Beyond the moral questions, what does this doctrinal turnaround signify in that for over a decade the Western powers have touted themselves as the champions of the “war on terrorism” while today they openly proclaim their support for terrorists?
Many authors, among them U.S. strategists such as Zbignew Brzezinski, have emphasized that the notion of a “war on terrorism” is an absurd concept. One can conduct a war on terrorists but not against their strategy. Be that as it may, the slogan has had the double advantage of placing certain states on the side of Good while justifying a “war without end” against all others.
Terrorism is a method of asymmetrical combat that is always resorted to by default. It permits the weakening of the adversary but it is insufficient to achieve military victory and always leads to political defeat. Those who use it must forgo indefinitely the prospect of actually exercising power. Thus, terrorism is an immoral method that is only used from a position of weakness, not for gaining advantage but for gaining time, until conditions are met to engage in conventional warfare.
Everyone understands that the Syrian crisis is not or is no longer an internal confrontation but is the result of a global readjustment of power relations. Washington is attempting to remodel the Greater Middle East and to change the regional military equation. Moscow challenges that authority and is attempting to usher in a new international order based on international law and on multilateralism. Syria is the line of demarcation between these new blocs.
Hence Sergei Lavrov’s perplexity: Are the Western powers in the process of acknowledging both their immorality and their impotence? What lies hidden behind their behavior? Could it be that their decadence is even more advanced than anyone has dared to conceive?
Geophysics teaches us that plate tectonics provoke earthquakes. Geopolitics functions in the same manner. The public relations experts of the so-called Free Syrian Army erred in evoking this image. Two blocs do confront each other in Syria but it’s the Western plate that is starting to slip and disappear beneath the Asiatic one and not the other way around. Sergei Lavrov considers Washington to be terminally ill. Aware that “empires do not die in their beds,” he is attempting to calm the “American empire” to prevent paroxysms of madness while gently accompanying the patient to his final resting place. He is observing the patient with care. Is the West’s current apologia for terrorism the onset of a crisis of dementia or the sign of irreversible anemia?
Thierry Meyssan, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. Professor of International Relations at the Centre for Strategic Studies in Damascus. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
Translated from the French by Michele Stoddard