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11-03-2016
Saudi Arabia-Turkey-Qatar remain wishing to overthow Bashar al-Assad
Author : Hendrajit, Geopolitical analyst of Global Future Institute (GFI)

I think it's understandable and not surprising that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad urged Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to stop their support for terrorist groups in Syria, particularly ISIS, either in the form of financial assistance or military training. It is also very reasonable when Assad asserted that cutting off aid to the terrorist groups will pave the way for a possible cease-fire in Syria.


If we trace the evidence back, when the Syrian opposition groups agreed to unite, Qatar has from the begining played an active role in helping the formation of the opposition groups to overthrow Assad. The groups could be regarded as a political base of anti-Assad opposition groups.
 
Imagine. In November 2012, various opposition groups held a meeting in Doha, Qatar. It importantly decided to appoint Muaz Khatib as chairman of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). SNC is the official organization of the newly opposition group in Syria. Muaz-the activist, engineer and former imam of the Umayyad Mosque Damascus-gained trust all the attending delegates. He was accompanied by two vice presidents, namely Riad Saif and Suhair Atassi.
 
Apparently, overthrowing Assad is their ultimate goal and called for international support against Assad overthrowing movement. United States has inevitably come into play from the beginning. Opposition groups previously consisted of various factions with different and fragmented political agendas, under pressure from the US and its allies had to reach an agreement and unite.
 
Muaz from the begining plotted as "a major player" in addressing the interests of the US and its western allies, then signed a draft of forming a opposition coalition along with the Syrian National Council led by George Sabra. Outside the United States and its allies, Turkey has likely become the first country from the Middle East declarig enthusiastically its support in establishing a new coalition of Syrian opposition under the umbrella of SNC. Even it confidently ensured that there was no reason for the international community to reject the the Syrian opposition.
 
US-British scheme to take control of the geopolitics Syria and its surrounding areas
 
Certainly we should not merely focus on the intervention and involvement of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar to worsen the situation and create the crisis in Syria in the last 5 years. Because these three countries are merely the US puppets in the Middle East. The real issue is that the desire of strategic policy makers in Washington to topple Assad from office.
 
Let's take a look at old reports. On April 18, 2011, in the midst of intense, incessant wave of demonstrations led by Syrian opposition groups against the government of Assad, suddenly WikiLeaks led by Julian Assange published openly leaked diplomatic secret cable, mentioning the US State Department had secretly funded the opposition groups amounted to USD 6 million since 2006.
 
Even the funding has been going on since the administration of George W. Bush in 2005 and then continued by President Barrack Obama. Even in 2010, Obama did support sanctions issued by Bush against Syria and accused Bashar of supporting terrorism.
 
Materially, may be the USD 6 million financial assistance could not be said to be very large. But at least it proved that US was considerably in the position of supporting opposition groups to topple Assad in the name of upholding democracy and justice. Even Obama firmly considered the existence of SNC as a very representative group representing the Syrian people.
 
Thus, when the movement to overthrow Assad through the Arab Spring scenario as that in Egypt and Tunasia failed to be waged by the US due to the current mass movement was not as strong as Syrian people support against President Assad, the scale of movement was changed from the pro-democracy mass movement to the civil war. So inevitably, the United States helped the formation of armed groups as a knot of resistance against the government of President Assad.
 
In its development, the armed resistance conducted by the Syrian opposition has led to the formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). FSA has now become the main armed opposition group, consisting of militia. The FSA itself was formally established on July 29, 2011.
 
FSA has operated throughout Syria, both in urban and rural areas. In the northwest region, the FSA troops are active in Idlib and Aleppo. While at the city center, they are active in Homs, Hama, and Rastan. In coastal areas, FSA has operated around Latakia. In the southern region they are active in Dara'a and Houran, in eastern region they are active in Dayr al-Zawr and Abu Kamal.
 
And now, the FSA has already operated in a number of areas in Damascus, the capital of Syria. The massive concentration of FSA forces have also begun to appear in the central areas such as Homs, Hama and its surroundings. No less than ten combat battalions have been active there.
 
From a series of these facts, it can be concluded that the SNC and FSA are the groups having different tactics but having the same purpose: toppling the Assad government.
 
And efforts taken by the US, Britain and NATO have really been intensified since 2011. Because in the year, the US intelligence agency, CIA, reported to Congress that Syria had chemical weapons for many years. The US has clearly implemented the same way as that during its invasion of Iraq, on the same pretext, namely the Saddam Hussein's government of Iraq had biological weapons.
 
Of course this is merely the US pretext, but this proves that Syria has indeed been set as a target to be controlled either by non-military means, such as the mass movement as that of the Arab Spring in Egypt and Tunisia, or by military means such as the Civil War having still existed till now.
 
One of the geopolitically Syrian strategic values is its abundant natural resources, especially natural gas reserves. For the US, the UK and its allies in Western Europe and the Middle East, the control over Syrian natural gas reserves is not only important for their future, but also considering the danger of Russia and China, as major competitors in the global competition in different part of the world.
 
Moreover, the fact that Russia is now a natural gas producing country that is also noteworthy in the international world. While China and the EU, are natural gas consuming countries which will certainly in the future become an arena contested by the US and Russia.
 
At present, being aware of the fact that Russia and China are more congenial with Syria in addressing the strategic issues in the Middle East, of course, all this could make the US, UK and its strategic allies in Europe and Islamic countries in the Middle East upset.
 
Moreover, since July 2011, as reported by CNN that an agreement had been reached between Syria, Iran and Iraq, in the construction of natural gas pipelines. What is interesting to say here is that apparently, the USD 10 billion giant pipe with the three-year construction period, would stretch from Assalouyeh port (near the largest natural gas field of Iran, South Pars) to Damascus (Syria) through some of the territory of Iraq.
 
Otherwise Iran would reportedly develop the pipeline to the Mediterranean port, Lebanon, as a gateway to the European market. In the agreement, Syria and Iraq could buy Iranian natural gas produced in South Pars. South Pars is the largest natural gas field in the world with reserves reached 51 trillion cubic meters.
 
Of the natural gas pipeline project agreement it was revealed that Qatar incidentally the US and UK satellite state in the Middle East as well as the sworn enemy of Iran, began to feel threatened. Why? Geographically, the gas field is located in the territorial waters of the two countries; Iran and Qatar. Iran controls the 9,700 square kilometers, while Qatar controls some 6.000 square kilometers of the total area of ​​the field.
 
Moreover, Qatar basically has its own motives, which certainly refuse cooperation on the basis of Iran-Iraq-Syria agreement scheme. Due to growing information that Qatar had already had a plan related to the management of natural gas in the South Pars, so that it refused to join the Iran-Iraq-Syria natural gas pipeline with Lebanon as a gateway.
 
Qatar has likely enjoyed cooperating with Turkey by using it as a gateway to the European market. In addition, Qatar is also said to have alternative scenarios by using Jordan as a gateway to Europe.
 
This information seems totally not imaginary or fictitious, but is real. According to leading Asia Times analyst Pepe Escobar, Qatar has now sought giant gas export through Aqaba in the Gulf of Jordan. So it is not impossible that one day Qatar will take advantage of the resistance movement of Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan to threaten the royal government.
 
It makes sense, if since from the begining Qatar has been viewed by the Syrian government as one of the major suppliers of the opposition forces in Syria, which are certainly related to the FSA. Because as predicted by Escobar, because the main purpose behind the ongoing armed conflict in Syria is to overthrow Assad.
 
"If the Muslim Brotherhood with the support of Qatar is able to overthrow the Assad regime, the Qatar natural gas pipeline will soon stand and it will facilitate the extension of the pipeline to Turkey," Pepe Escobar said.
 
However, the active involvement of Russia fully supporting the government of Assad and the Syrian military to storm the bases of armed opposition forces seems to have created a new balance in Syria, so that the US and NATO, failed to steer the situation in Syria in line with their wishes and interests.
 
Syria has likely become such a battlefield for the straggle for geopolitical control, especially in the natural gas business that is clearly behind the ongoing armed conflict in Syria. On this stand, the Qatar main aim is to thwart the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline project amounted to USD 10 billion.
 
If for Qatar and Turkey, thwarting the Iran-Iraq-Syria cooperation scheme in natural gas projects is as merely an economic stake, while for the US and its Western allies, thwarting the natural gas project is a geopolitical and geostrategic stake, instead of simply an economic stake.
 
By doing so, then it makes sense when the chain of Saudi Arabia-Turkey-Qatar with the full support indirectly from the US, Britain and NATO, does not want any peace settlement in Syria, if it is not accompanied by toppling Assad and his supporters from power.



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