NATO suspends military plan to wage all-out economic war on Syria
by Thierry MeyssanHaving applied until now the humanitarian military intervention model already tested in Yugoslavia and more recently in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is forced to rewrite its script for Syria. It will now adopt the same strategy that was used in Iraq: To besiege the country, in defiance of the population, and weaken it sufficiently for the next assault. The plan of a conventional war against Syria raises many economic issues. No European nation would have anything to gain either in the short or medium term, while many are likely to lose a few feathers. In the case of Libya, whereas British and French businessmen were swift to cash in on their dividends by renegotiating the oil concessions to their advantage, the Turks and the Italians were left holding the bag, losing nearly all their markets in the former colony.Pending the creation of an ad hoc military coalition, NATO has temporarily turned to the economic war scenario. It intends to besiege Syria by cutting it off from all import-export trade, and sabotaging its means of production. Behind the moralistic label of "sanctions," the Alliance member states and their Arab League vassals have already imposed a bank freeze that prohibits commodity trading. They are currently concentrating on shutting down lines of communication, including airlines, and the pull out of multinational companies, mainly oil companies. Thus, following in the footsteps of Shell and Total, Petro-Canada is on its way out, closing behind it the plant that supplies electricity to the city of Homs.In particular, the first major act of sabotage was perpetrated against the pipeline supplying the same power plant, to make sure it could not operate once the Canadian engineers had gone. This terrorist act was claimed by the Syrian Free Army, although it is not possible to verify who was really behind it: military felons, Al Qaeda mercenaries or NATO commandos.With the exception of fuel and electricity, no shortage has so far been reported in Syria. To mitigate the impact of the siege, Damascus is busy establishing new exchanges with Beijing. Because of the bank embargo, they have to be conducted on a barter basis, as China is already doing with Iran. This system should allow Syria to save its economy, apart from the tourist industry which has already been severely affected over the long term.At any rate, the siege of Syria has already claimed many economic victims in Turkey, whose cancellation of the free trade agreement with Syria and the introduction of prohibitive tariffs have devastated the border regions. And although the Syrians are prepared to endure deprivations to save their country, the Turks are not willing to suffer the same fate on behalf of NATO’s ambitions.In addition, this strategic reorientation has placed the Syrian National Council in an awkward position. Those political figures who endorsed a form of nonviolent action inspired by Gene Sharp’s orange revolutions  are now forced to subscribe to acts which have been claimed by members of the Syrian Free Army. The conflict is all the more acute considering that both groups are based in Istanbul and expected to work side by side.The suspension of the international military intervention plan was confirmed by the return to Damascus of the US, French and German Ambassadors. It imposes a change in the media campaign. Already, the Anglo-American media have dropped references to the most outrageous and less credible accusations leveled against Bashar al-Assad, such as the allegation concerning the torture of children. The State Department itself no longer describes the Syrian President as a monster, but as a man "out of touch with reality" (sic) " . His case, therefore, no longer requires an urgent treatment. Moreover, the revelations made by several journalists about the situation in Syrian, belying the image conveyed by Western propaganda for the past eight months , calls for an indispensable lull.