On "Spreading Democracy"
Neoconservative forces within the United States are continuing to press for "regime change" in the Middle East. But what is it that they really want? Patrick Seale explains the American plan for confronting the perceived Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis and clearing the way for an American-Israeli hegemony in the region.
Attacking the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah Axis
by Patrick Seale
18 March 2005
It has become clear that American policy is to deny Iran access to nuclear technology -- if necessary by force -- for fear that it might acquire nuclear weapons. Towards Syria, U.S. policy is to ensure its full withdrawal from Lebanon as a first step -- an aim which has now more or less been achieved -- before proceeding with "regime change" somewhat later.
Regarding Hezbollah, while the United States has come round to recognising it as a powerful force on the Lebanese scene, it seems determined to disarm it in the longer term to prevent it projecting power outside its frontiers, notably against Israel.
Syria is seen in Washington as the weakest link in the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis. In the language used by militant neo-cons it is "low-hanging fruit," ripe for picking. The argument is that a knock-out blow to Syria would bring about the collapse of the entire axis!
Syria is also accused of providing a "rear base" for the insurgency in Iraq. Overthrowing the Syrian regime is therefore promoted by the neo-cons as the key to victory in Iraq. It is clearly being set up as the next target for "regime change".
The immediate tactic would seem to be to destabilise the Damascus government by exploiting the legitimate impatience of many Lebanese with Syrian control.
Although Bush has declared that the "free world would not tolerate" a nuclear-armed Iran, the United States does not seem quite ready to launch a military campaign against Iran. The view in Washington would appear to be that Iran can best be worn down by attrition.