Essay: George W. Bush Administration Policy on Syria

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Syria

An Analysis of the U.S.-Syrian Conflict

This paper will analyze the G.W. Bush Administration's justification for conflict with Syria and show how the disparate reasons of internal organs within the White House and those offered to the public by way of the national press suggest that an ulterior motive much broader in scope and ideological in nature was (and is) actually the basis for justification. In doing so, this paper will utilize Conflict Theory to help bring into perspective the opposing rationales that are presented throughout the analysis.

The Bush Administration had very clear reasons for initiating conflict with Syria, outlined by such neo-conservative think tanks as the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) (members of which were highly placed in the Administration itself).

And yet when the American public was addressed by the White House those reasons were often marginalized in favor of more generic motives, such as humanitarian aid, the spread of democracy/liberty, and the suppression of suspected nuclear reactors and terrorism.

What then was the real policy of the Bush Administration with regard to Syria and why was it not presented as such to the American people by the Oval Office or the mainstream media? In consideration of the overwhelming amount of "faulty" intelligence used to justify U.S. invasion of Iraq, one must wonder at the underlying issues that truly led the U.S. To war in the Middle East (in general) and into conflict with Syria (in particular).

A brief outline of the Bush Administration's interest in Syria will help frame This paper's discussion. On 11 May 2004, President Bush issued for immediate release through the Office of the Press Secretary to the Congress of the United States the announcement "that I have issued an Executive Order (order) in which I declared a national emergency with respect to the threat constituted by certain actions of the Government of Syria."

In the same letter, Bush references the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SAA), which he signed into law on 12 December 2003, and which gave the U.S. The power "to effectively confront the threat to U.S. national security posed by Syria's support for terrorism, its military presence in Lebanon, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and its actions to undermine U.S. And international efforts with respect to the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq."

From such allegations, it may be surmised that the Bush Administration was neatly lumping Syria in with Iraq, Iran and Al-Qaeda. The letter summarized the situation tersely with a regurgitation of PNAC ideology: "These policies by the Government of Syria directly threaten regional stability and undermine the U.S. goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace."

In the light of independent journalists and alternative media (as well as the PNAC papers themselves), the line could easily be interpreted to read: Syria undermines the U.S. goal of American hegemony in the Middle East. And yet to assert that U.S. interests are independent of any other nation's interests would be to leave out a major source of influence to the Bush Administration's foreign policy: Israel.

The Importance of Syria

Alfred B. Prados reasserts the basic neo-conservative perspective of Syria and its role in the Middle East when he states that the country's importance may be seen in "the course of Arab-Israeli talks; questions of arms proliferation; Syrian connections with terrorist activity; Syria's role in Lebanon; and Syria's opposition to the U.S. occupation in Iraq."

Each of these is a standard neo-conservative talking point, which makes it no surprise when Prados next considers Syria's importance in the Israeli-Lebanese conflict: "Since the outbreak of fighting between Israeli military forces and the militant Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah organization on July 12, 2006, U.S. officials have increased their criticism of Syria's political and logistical support for Hezbollah."

And here is the crux of the matter, according to Prados: "U.S. officials and Members of Congress have blamed Syria for acting as a conduit for the transfer of rockets and other arms to Hezbollah units, thereby enabling Hezbollah units to engage in military action against Israeli targets."

The importance of Syria to the neo-conservative position (which is essentially the position of the Bush Administration) is thus made clear: Syria is influencing Lebanon against Israel; thus, Syria is an enemy. Israel's well-being is at the heart of the neo-conservative agenda. One should not wonder at Prados' allegiance: he refers to Lebanese forces as "militant" -- but not Israeli forces, which could just as easily be classified so.

Historical Background

In the first half of the 20th century, Syria saw its independence both established (by King Faisal) and taken away (by the League of Nations) and placed under French mandate. Syria revolted against French occupation. A 1936 treaty would have made Syria a republic and given it independence once more; but it was not until the Free French movement of WWII and a vote of Syrian authority in 1943 that the country actually began to be governed by itself. In 1970, Hafez al-Assad of the Baath Party was installed following a coup. In 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad, already groomed for the position since the death of his brother (the former heir-apparent), took control of Syria. Since his rise to power, Bashar al-Assad has worked closely with Lebanon and demonstrated a preference for Iran over Israel.

The Current Uprising and U.S. Concern

The 2011 Syrian "uprising" is being touted as an extension of the so-called Arab Spring.

Assad is portrayed as a murderous tyrant, who has begun to slay his own people. Again, the U.S. is pictured as the hero of humanitarian aid, democracy, liberty, etc., thwarted only by the intervention of Russia and China whose vetoing power has blocked UN from adopting any resolutions.

In 2011, President Obama (with what is essentially the same Bush Administration just with a new face and name) ordered sanctions against Syria, designed to curtail the country's "use of violence against its people and begin transitioning to a democratic system that protects the rights of the Syrian people."

And yet, as shall be shown in the following narrative, evidence contradicts U.S. accusations that Assad is massacring his own people.

Syria's Resources, Policy towards the U.S. And Foreign Policy Goals

Syria's resources have much to do with its placement in the geo-political realm of the Middle East. As Ryan Dawson observes, "Syria signed off on a $10 billion pipeline deal that breaks the BTC monopoly of Turkey and Israel. And Syria holds Russia's last naval base on the Mediterranean."

In other words, Syria is geographically situated to block Israeli control of oil pipelines in the Middle East and help opposition to the West. Pepe Escobar states that "virtually all current geopolitical developments are energy-related."

Essentially, Syria is another domino in "Eurasian integration" -- and control of the integration appears to be a source of conflict between the East and the West: indeed, "keeping Russia, an energy powerhouse, from developing bonhomie with the oil-rich Persian Gulf oligarchies has been a priority in Western strategies through the past several decades."

Nonetheless, Syria has tried to maintain an amicable relationship with the U.S. The relationship became severely strained in 2005 following the Bush Administration's accusations that Syria was aiding terrorists.

Syria has attempted to work with the U.S., but as Alfred Prados notes, as long as Assad remains anti-Israel, it remains an obstacle for the Project for the New American Century -- which is one reason Secretary of State Clinton is pushing for regime change in Syria. Syria's stance, however, remains the same as it was during the Bush Administration: then as now, Assad "derided U.S. claims of creating a new Middle East and warned that 'future generations in the Arab world will find a way to defeat Israel.'"

Conflict Theory

Though most often associated with Marxist theory, Conflict Theory provides the most pertinent perspective for this study because it is so fundamentally critical of the socio/geo-political system under analysis. Conflict Theory enables the researcher to perform a macro-evaluation of the ideologies that underpin America's war on terror. Because it is not a one-sided war, it goes without saying that there are competing ideologies, which are at odds with one another. What makes this study all the more compelling is that the ideology promoted by the U.S. is only skin-deep; below the surface of the "pro-democracy, pro-freedom, anti-terrorism/nuclear armament" ideology is a geo-political ideology intimately linked to Israel by way of the neo-conservative groups in Washington. This ideology is plainly exposed by independent journalists and alternative media sources around the world, but is massively covered-up by American mainstream media outlets. Not only are these two ideologies opposed to one another (a pro-democracy, pro-freedom, anti-terrorism ideology cannot readily be anti-democratic, anti-freedom, and pro-terror at the same time -- which is, ironically, essentially how Conflict Theory allows the U.S. To be seen), but the ideology of the enemy, which in this case is Syria, is painted by the West in a light that does not necessarily reflect the reality.

Thus, Conflict Theory… [END OF PREVIEW]

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