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Syria And Iran: Automatic Escalation To World War III?

By John Scales Avery

27 August, 2013

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, we ought to remember that this catastrophic event started as a minor engagement in which the Austrian Empire sought to punish a group of Serbian nationalists. No one involved at the outset of this small conflict had any idea that it would escallate into a world-destroying disaster, which still casts a dark shadow over civilization half a century later.

Can we not see a parallel to the intention of the United States and its allies to punish the Assad regeme in Syria for an alleged use of poison gas, (which might in fact be a “false flag” attack)? The parallel with the start of World War I is particulalrly disturbing because the intervening century has witnessed the development of thermonuclear weapons with the capacity to destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere.

The following is a report from Information Clearing House, dated August 26:

“As talk and rumors of an impending Western attack against Syria mount, a top Syrian official said Monday that if attacked, his country would react against Israel.”

“Speaking to an Arabic-language radio station operated by the United States, Syria's Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah said that Israel would face not only Syria in the event that the US, Britain and France attempted to unseat Bashar al-Assad. A coalition consisting of Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria would respond to any attack against Assad with a response against Israel. In addition, terrorist groups in Syria and Lebanon would attack Israel with full force.”

“Al-Maftah added that Syria has “strategic weapons” that it would use in its attack on Israel. He did not specify what those weapons were.”

“'Syria is ready to deal with all scenarios,' said Al-Maftah. 'We consider these declarations of a possible attack as a form of psychological warfare and pressure on Syria. We are not worried about them. We hope that those threatening us will listen closely to what we are saying. We believe that the only solution for the Syrian issue is a political one,' he added.”

“In recent days, the U.S. has sent warships off Syria's coast, with the assumption being that they were waiting for word from the White House to attack Syria and remove Assad from power. Over the weekend, the U.S. Navy expanded its presence in the Mediterranean Sea with a fourth cruise-missile-armed warship.”

Should the conflict spread to Iran, we can recall a statement by Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh , who is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards missile systems told Iran's Arabic-language television network that should Israel and Iran engage militarily, “nothing is predictable... and it will turn into World War III”.

He added that Iran would deem any Israeli strike to be conducted with US authorisation, so “whether the Zionist regime attacks with or without US knowledge, then we will definitely attack US bases in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan.”

The first point to notice is that an attack on Iran by Israel would be both criminal and insane. It would be criminal because it would be a violation of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles. It would be insane because it would initiate a conflict that might escalate in an unpredictable way. Such a conflict might easily be the start of a Third World War.

Must we allow the actions of a few power-blinded politicians to start a conflict that could lead to the deaths of ourselves and our children?

John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen. Fellowships, memberships in societies: Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, April 2004. http://www.fredsakademiet.dk/ordbog/aord/a220.htm. He can be reached at avery.john.s@gmail.com



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