The Paris Conference on IS has brought together nearly 30 countries from North America, Europe, the Mideast, and even East Asia. The full UNSC is represented, with the participation of Russia and China, however, the conference itself is primarily a gathering of NATO and pro-NATO states. This makes it nothing more than an expanded NATO summit that, with Russian and Chinese in a semi-observer status, is putting the finishing touches on the US’ plans for a regional war in Syria.
The Syrian Application of Lead From Behind
The conference is significant because it demonstrates the US’ second conventional application of the Lead From Behind (LFB) strategy. This was first implemented during the 2011 NATO War in Libya where France and Britain took the military lead while the US managed affairs from behind. This new style of warfare is the US’ adaptation to the emerging multipolarity of the 21st century. According to the implicit logic, the US finds it cheaper, more effective, and more convenient for it to contract regional allies to pursue what are thought to be shared geopolitical objectives. Unconventional applications of this strategy are the use of Turkey to destabilize Syria and Poland’s role in the Ukrainian crisis (especially in the run-up to the February coup).
Pertaining to the conference, the US is expanding the Libyan LFB template to adapt it to the military imperatives of a forthcoming Syrian War. Unlike the first application, this one is envisioned to involve the military intervention of the targeted state’s neighbors, an expanded international and regional coalition (supposedly nearly 40 total states, according to John Kerry) and a new anti-terrorist justification. The previous attempt at ginning up a LFB regime change coalition (RCC) against Syria last year failed because it was based on a humanitarian intervention/responsibility to protect foundation. This cookie-cutter copying of the Libyan template was too blatant for the vast majority of the world, including the NATO countries, and the ‘coalition’ was embarrassingly only the US, France, Albania, and a few other states. By marketing the RCC on anti-terror grounds, however, the US has already shown a higher rate of success for creating the LFB coalition than it did a year ago under different pretenses.
The Final Pow-wow
The US’ objectives at the conference are to hammer out the final details about the LFB division of militant labor in Syria. This meeting can thus be looked at as the final powwow for the Syrian RCC before they launch their upcoming war. Some of the issues to be discussed among the US and its NATO and pro-NATO Mideast allies are who will host which international forces, which states will contribute ground troops, and how to make the official transition from an ‘anti-terrorist’ campaign to a regime change operation. After the conference, Obama is slated to chair a meeting of the UNSC next week, during which he will make his official UN appeal for going to war against Syria, and despite the international reaction, he is expected to unilaterally active his ‘international’ Syrian RCC shortly after that date.
Russia and China, although being present at the Paris Conference, are powerless to do anything to stop the US’ warmongering unless they can present an alternative and actionable proposal. Even so, should they come up with something, it is not likely that the US and its allies would consent to it, and their war plans would continue unabated. Thus, in order to prevent this meeting from being the final strategy session for the RCC, Russia and China need to not only come up with their own strategy, but to take visible steps in initializing it before the RCC begins theirs.
The Transition from Anti-Terrorism to Regime Change Operations
Going back to how the RCC plans to transition their operations from being an ‘anti-terrorist’ mission to a regime change scheme, such a step could likely play out if the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) defends its airspace and fires on the foreign warplanes encroaching within it. It must be emphasized that this scenario would only occur if the planes approach areas where Syria actually has the capability to shoot them down, which is not in the areas that ISIS currently controls and where the world has been misled into thinking the US and its allies will limit their militarism.
Knowing this, the US already has in mind that its ISIS bombing campaign will push the organization to the front lines of the SAA and beyond, figuring that by ‘chasing’ the terrorists into government-controlled territory, they can then ‘legitimately’ expand their bombing campaign into these areas. Of course, collateral damage is anticipated to occur, and not only would Syrian civilians be killed, but the SAA could also be bombed under the chaotic cover that the US’ expansion of ‘anti-terror’ bombing into these parts brings. On top of that, the foreign warplanes would then be within sight of Syrian anti-air units and given the threat that they pose, would probably be fired upon. If the SAA doesn’t react, the US and its allies may continue ‘chasing’ ISIS all the way to Damascus and bomb the rest of the country on the way.
Already anticipating Syria’s reaction to foreign warplanes bombing its territory, the New York Times reported on Sunday that Obama said that Syria’s entire air defense system would be resultantly obliterated, thus opening up a de-facto no-fly zone and drastically increasing the odds of regime change by extension. It goes without saying that after the US formally declares its ‘anti-terrorism’ operation to be extended to regime change ends, the involvement of conventional regional forces (likely Jordan, which a Republican Congressman said has already offered its troops, and possibly Iraq and Turkey) is all but imminent, if they are not already active on the ground by then.
The gathering of a myriad of states in Paris to discuss battling ISIS in Iraq is actually a cover for an expanded NATO Summit aimed at regime change in Syria. With all of the war rhetoric emanating from the US and its allies, it is not possible that this issue will be neglected at such a critical time. In all likelihood, the US will use the opportunity of having all of its allies under one roof to go over the final details for the upcoming Syrian War, including how to seamlessly transition from an ‘anti-terror’ operation to a regime change mission. All the while, as the NATO and NATO-affiliated states hammer out the details of their next upcoming war, Russia and China, should they not come up with an alternative plan quickly, will be left helplessly fulfilling the role of semi-observers over this unfolding catastrophe.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Sputnik.