Tuesday, 18 June 2013

G8: Bilderberg after-party

Last week we had the Bilderberg meeting in sunny Watford and now we're having the after-party in Northern Ireland. It's all the same people but this time they announce their decisions. The key decision is whether to join the Syrian civil war, and if so, on which side?

The side question is tricky - since there are about 1,000 sides. You've got "the government" as one side, and then 999 other factions which are fighting the government and maneuvering to fight each other as soon as the government is defeated. About 93,000 people are thought to have died so far (so a small war by recent middle-eastern standards.)

Islam basically divides into two major sections: Sunni and Shia. There are also Kurds and Sufis and Alawites and lots of other sects, but Sunni and Shia are the two biggies. The Western world is in thrall to the Sunni faction, which notably, controls Saudi Arabia - the big beast of the middle-east.

Saudi money talks in the West. Of the 1,000 or so mosques in the UK 999 are Sunni. American big business is all about buying from the Saudis (oil) or selling to them (weapons). The Shia, whose main power base is Iran, are out of the loop. The Shia used to run Iraq but after two American Gulf wars that country has now been handed over to the Sunni. The regime in Syria is currently Shia-aligned, although Basher Al-Assad himself is Alawite. Historically the Assad dictatorship has been of the same "we look after our friends whatever religion they are" outlook as Saddam Hussein was. Saddam even had Christians in his government! But in its hour of need the Syrian government has found itself in the Shia camp.

So the challenge for the West is to enter the Syrian civil war on a side that results in a Sunni faction getting control of the country. This would please Saudi which would lavish the cash on its tame American politicians, and would also please Israel which is menaced by a terrorist organisation slash political party called Hezbollah based in the Lebanon. Hezbollah "Party of God (but not your God)" is a Shia organisation with the charming habit of nipping into Israel, kidnapping Israeli soldiers guarding the border and holding them hostage for a few years, before returning them dead. Hezbollah is funded and equipped by Iran and Syria.

So turning Syria Sunni would be very appealing to Israel. Hezbollah could be attacked from two fronts: Israel in the South and Syria in the North and the Iranians would have to send their aid through two Sunni countries (Iraq and Syria) to get it to the Lebanon - very little would get through. The Party of God could be reduced to the Intimate Soirée of God and cease to be much of a threat.

So the Americans are being hustled down the war-in-Syria path by two major factors: Saudi money and Israeli influence. While there is no obvious reason why the Americans would want to get involved in a very dirty little civil war where there is really nothing for them to gain and everything to lose - with that kind of an un-Holy alliance working on them, they probably will.

The main challenge for everyone else at the G8 is not to get dragged in as well.

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