A microphone unintentionally left open at the July 17, 2006 G-8 summit luncheon picked up snippets of unguarded talk between George Bush and Tony Blair. While most media coverage has focused on the embarrassing, stupid and profanity-laced portions of the comments uttered by Bush, a closer examination of the transcript confirms the multinational targeting of Syria and Syrian president Bashar Assad.
It also suggests that severe Anglo-American pressure, via the UN, will continue to be applied to Syria and Iran, both of which have been broadbrushed as the “terror masterminds behind Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists”.
More than an idiot’s profanity
The worldwide media, Bush’s damage control apparatus, has spun the Bush-Blair exchange, in the most deceptive Bush-friendly manner. The New York Times spun it as a “blunt call for diplomacy”, while another New York Times piece refers to “wise-guy Bush’s blunt and coarse chit-chat”. Other headlines hailed the performance as “straight-talking Dubya”, Bush “lets fly”, “curses Hezbollah actions”, “Bush urges Assad to end fighting”, etc. All false.
First, Bush demonstrated what seasoned observers already know: Bush is a grotesque simpleton suffering from some mental afflication, who is also a ruthless intimidator wielding violence and power without intellect, and without regard. In short, a gangster. Gangsters do not need a great intellect to successfully conduct criminal activities, or head criminal empires. (In fact, intellect gets in the way.) Bush (and Cheney) routinely speaks using profanity.
More importantly, the Bush-Blair exchange was not a “call for peace”. They were caught talking in practical and casual fashion about covert back door deals, and geostrategic plans that are either in the works, or in process.
The precise nature of their plan is hard to ascertain, but what can be interpreted should be cause for alarm. The key passages, from the complete transcript from the Washington Post [my comments in italics-LC]:
Bush: What about Kofi? That seems odd. I don’t like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically ceasefire and [then] everything else happens. You know what I’m saying?
Bush finds it “odd”, and “doesn’t like” how UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has apparently put ceasefire ahead of “everything else”. What is this “everything else” that will “happen”? Conditions for ceasefire? Or a new attack by some party or another? Has this “everything else” already been put into place? What are the US,UK, Israel and the UN really up to? Bush is not liking the choreographed order, of some future event. What is the event?
Blair: Yeah. No, I think — the thing that’s really difficult is we can’t stop this unless you get this international presence agreed. Now, I know what you guys have talked about but it’s the same thing.
What are they seeking to”stop” with “international presence”? Does “stop” refer to ending the current violence, or “stopping” as in a multinational conquest (of Syria, Iran or both)? What have they “talked about”? Does the international “presence” refer to diplomatic talks, or military forces? If it applies to military force, are they talking about a peacekeeping force in Lebanon, or a new multinational operation that has been “agreed” upon?
Blair : . . . see how reliable that is. But you need that done quickly.
What is “reliable”? What needs to be done quickly?
Bush : Yeah, she’s going. I think Condi’s going to go pretty soon.
Condi is going to do what? Given the known Bush administration position, she is not going to negotiate a ceasefire that offers anything whatsoever to Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorists”, nor will she make overtures towards what she and the Bush administration have insisted are their masters, Syria and Iran. What back door deal is Rice cooking up?
Blair : Right. Well, that’s, that’s, that’s all that matters. If you — see, it’ll take some time to get out there. But at least it gives people a –
What “people”? Is he referring to political players, who need time to negotiate something, or is he talking about creating the propaganda illusion of diplomacy for the benefit of the masses (“people”)? If it is the latter, it would be a political cover for what?
Bush : A process, I agree. I told her your offer too.
Should this be read at face value as “diplomatic process”, or a process towards something else? Is he talking about a real or fake (propaganda) process? More importantly here, some sort of “offer” has been made between Blair and the US, and Rice is aware of it. What is it?
Blair : Well, it’s only if it’s — I mean, you know, if she’s gotta — or if she needs the ground prepared, as it were. Obviously, if she goes out, she’s got to succeed, as it were, whereas I can just go out and talk.
She (Rice) needs the ground prepared to “succeed” doing what? “Whereas I can just go out and talk” suggests that Blair intends for him and the UK to take a back seat, and let the US and Rice lead the way —towards what? Peace, or more war? A ceasefire, or an opportunistic maneuver of some kind?
Bush : See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over.
This is a key passage. What is “ironic”? Is the irony that they must ask for Syrian cooperation—or is it ironic that they are setting up Syria to take the blame (for “Hezbollah’s shit”)? What is “over”— the current violence, or any remaining obstacle to a full-blown Middle East war?
Blair : Who, Syria?
Bush : Right.
Blair : I think this is all part of the same thing. What does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way, he’s [inaudible ] . That’s what this whole thing’s about. It’s the same with Iran.
The inaudible word is critical. Without the word, the passage is hard to interpret. Blair seems to be characterizing Syrian president Bashar Assad as somewhat naive (a “solution in Israel and Palestine”, and happy endings in Iraq, as well as Iran are far fetched), as well as a .dupe who is willing to play along with Anglo-American and Israeli plans.
Note: some media reports, including the San Francisco Chronicle, have the last line of this passage as “It’s the same with Iraq.” An error, or an intentional lie?
Bush : I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen. We’re not blaming Israel. We’re not blaming the Lebanese government.”
What does Bush want the UN to “make happen”?
Is Bush talking about an Anglo-American diplomatic stance (don’t blame Israel or Lebanon) towards a ceasefire, or he is talking about the creation of a political cover by which a larger “anti-terror” war targeting Hamas and Hezbollah, and their alleged masterminds in Syria and Iran, will be conducted?
Is Assad complicit, or is he being set up?
As noted by William Arkin, in his Washington Post analysis of Bush-Blair exchange, “Early Warning” :
“As I’ve been watching the latest Middle East saga unfold, I’ve been struck by the almost universal insights being offered by pundits and talking heads that Iran or Syria planned the Hamas and Hezbollah kidnappings of Israeli soldiers and also control what happens now.
“In this narrative, Iran is trying to divert attention from its nuclear weapons program; Syria is seeking revenge against American isolation and seeking to enlarge its power base. The two countries provide missiles and supply lines and sanctuary for Hezbollah and Hamas. Iranian ‘soldiers’ are even secretly in Lebanon, aiding Hezbollah in its Friday attack on the Israeli naval vessel, an attack that Hezbollah could not have otherwise mounted.
“In this telling, Hamas and Hezbollah are reduced to almost unimportant terrorist dupes of Iran and Syria, Lebanon is just a poor victimized country, and Israel is only defending itself. The United States and the international community are also absolved of any responsibility for their failures of diplomacy because what is unfolding is part of a grand conspiracy that no amount of intervention could have an impact on.
“In this version of history, Iran and Syria can also just snap their fingers and ‘stop’ the fighting. Even if this is a false characterization, their failure to do so confirms that the Bush administration’s approach towards them is the only option. The two are thus confirmed as rogue nations and new axis of evil.”
“In this world, various leaders and factions plot their next moves, plan covert operations, undertake assassinations, decide on who to support and how based upon inside information.
“The danger of this type of intelligence, and of leaders obsessed with gossip and the lurid details of world events, is that pretty soon the geopolitical double dealing crowds out any true picture and any sense of State responsibility.”
With all due respect, there is not simply “double dealing”. There is also blackmail and extortion, with violent military ramifications. Outright thuggery is the basis of much imperial geostrategy.
It remains to be seen what Bush, Blair, and the brutal Israeli government have in store. The gates of hell have already been opened. Only the naïve would think they have any desire to close them.