Syrian Uprising Morphs Into Regional and Global WarsAugust 10, 2012 · By Phyllis Bennis
A divided, balkanized Syria looms as a dangerous possibility as even UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon acknowledges the conflict has become a proxy war between world powers. inShThe news from Syria is really bad these days. And bad stuff in Syria doesn’t stay in Syria – though Syrian civilians are paying by far the biggest price. With outside governments calling the shots in a civil war, arming both sides, and motivated less by concern for civilians than by their own narrow national interests, we’ve got serious trouble..
And right now unfortunately, that outside super-power game remains dominant. Syria has become the crucible for a number of separate wars, battles for power and influence, for regional resources and access, for strategic location and military expansion. These wars pit regional contenders of the Arab Gulf states and Turkey against Syria and Iran. They set the terms of the rising sectarian battle between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Qatar vs. Shi’a power in Syria, Iraq and Iran. They shape the Middle East competition between the U.S. and Russia for global military/strategic power. And crucially, of course, Syria is a central component of the U.S., Israeli and western campaign against Iran.
Even UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who usually reflects Washington’s positions, acknowledged that the Syrian conflict has become a “proxy war.” He called on the major powers to overcome their rivalries to figure out how to stop the violence. So far, no such move is underway. It should not be forgotten that Moscow's implacable hold on its naval base at Tartus, on Syria's southern Mediterranean coast, matches perfectly Washington's commitment to the Bahrain port that hosts the Pentagon's 5th fleet. Russia will fight for its Tartus base to the last Syrian – just as the U.S. will do anything, including supporting a Saudi military intervention to suppress peaceful Bahraini protesters, to keep the 5th fleet in port. And none of those players have any interest in what happens to the Syrian people.