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Thursday, April 28, 2011
‘U.S. provoking China and Russia in Mediterranean’
Tehran Times International Desk
TEHRAN -- The United States is at the risk of a war with China and Russia as its main objective behind engineering the Libyan war and Syrian unrest is to remove the two major powers from the Mediterranean, a senior former U.S. official has warned.
“Washington is all for invading Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to… clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean,” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, said during an interview with Press TV on Tuesday.
On the one hand, China has massive energy investments in eastern Libya and is relying on Libya, and on the other hand, Russia has a large naval base in Syria and it gives it a presence in the Mediterranean, he added.
“Those two countries are just in the way of American hegemony in the Mediterranean and certainly the Americans do not want a powerful Russian fleet stationed there and they certainly don't want China drawing energy resources,” the former editor of the Wall Street Journal stated.
“Once Russia and China come to the conclusion that the Americans simply cannot be dealt with in any rational way and are determined to somehow subdue them and do them damage, all kinds of escalations can result. This is the real danger and we're risking a major war,” Roberts cautioned.
Following are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: There is talk about Washington being advised to arm the revolutionaries in Libya. Do you think this is a good idea?
A: They are already arming them. That is what's unique about the Libyan revolt. It's not a peaceful revolt; it's not taking place in the capital; it's an armed revolt from the eastern part of the country. And we know that the CIA is involved on the ground and so they are already armed.
Q: How do you compare this military intervention to the one in Bahrain?
A: We don't want to overthrow the government in Bahrain or in Saudi Arabia, where both governments are using violence against protesters, because they're our puppets and we have a large naval base in Bahrain.
We want to overthrow Gaddafi and Assad in Syria because we want to clear China and Russia out of the Mediterranean. China has massive energy investments in eastern Libya and is relying on Libya along with Angola and Nigeria for energy needs. This is an American effort to deny resources to China just as Washington and London denied resources to the Japanese in the 1930s.
The interest in the Syria protests, which WikiLeaks shows the Americans are behind -- we are interested in that because the Russians have a large naval base in Syria and it gives them a presence in the Mediterranean. So you see that Washington is all for invading Libya and is putting more and more pressure to intervene in Syria because we want to get rid of the Russians and the Chinese.
We don't have anything to say about the Saudis -- how they treat protesters -- or anything to say about the violence used against protesters in Bahrain.
Q: Are you saying the ultimate goal in attacking Libya is… the oil factor?
A: It's not just the oil, it's the fact of China's penetration of Africa and China lining up oil supplies for its energy needs. You may be aware that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released a report that says that the 'Age of America' is over and that the American economy will be bypassed by China in five years and then the U.S. will become the second largest economy rather than first. So one of the things Washington is trying to do is to block, to use its superior military and strategic capabilities at this time to block China's acquisition of resources in order to make the development of the Chinese economy slow down.
This is a major reason why the CIA has been active in eastern Libya and it's the reason protests broke out in the east not in the capital like in the other Arab countries and it's the reasons it's armed.
Q: Do you think Libya's diplomatic isolation was the main reason for this military intervention?
A: I don't think it was the main reason. The main reason I think was to evict China from Libya, which is what is happening. The Chinese had 30,000 people there and they've had to evacuate 29,000 of them.
It's also payback to Gaddafi for refusing to join the U.S. Africa Command (Africom). It became operative in 2008 and was the American response to China's penetration of Africa; we created a military response to that and Gaddafi refused to participate -- he said it was an act of imperialism trying to purchase an entire continent.
And I think the third reason is that Gaddafi in Libya controls an important part of the Mediterranean coast, as does Syria.
So I think those two countries are just in the way of American hegemony in the Mediterranean and certainly the Americans don't want a powerful Russian fleet stationed there and they certainly don't want China drawing energy resources.
Washington was caught off-guard by the outbreaks of protests in Tunisia and Egypt, but quickly learned that they could use and hide behind Arab protests to evict Russia and China without a direct confrontation. They wouldn't want that, so they've engineered these protests.
We know for a fact that the CIA has been stirring up discord in eastern Libya for some time, this is a known fact. And the release of WikiLeaks cables shows that the Americans are involved in stirring up unrest in Syria.
We didn't stir up unrest in Egypt or Bahrain or Tunisia or Saudi Arabia. We probably are responsible for the unrest in Yemen because we were using drones and strikes against various tribal elements.
So, that is the big difference that the Syrian and Libya affairs have American hands in them, organizing the demonstrations, providing money and so forth. There are always discontented people that can be bought and promises given.
Q: Drones are now being used in Libya. From where do these drones operate?
A: I don't know -- could be from American naval vessels. I believe the last report about the drones did come from a Navy officer.
I'd like to add something to this conversation. Probably the biggest risk and the one that's being ignored is China's attitude. The Chinese companies are losing hundreds of millions (dollars) from this intervention. They have 50 massive investments there all going down the drain and this is clearly perceived by China as an act against them. They don't have any illusions; they don't read the New York Times or Washington Post and believe all of that crap. So what they see is a move of the Americans against China.
Q: Are you suggesting that the Americans want to take out China and replace these investments with American companies?
A: Or anybody, that's right. And I think the Russians are beginning to perceive that the whole Syrian thing is a move against them and their base there.
So what we're really doing is antagonizing two large countries: China, which has an economy that is probably better than the U.S. because their people have jobs; and the Russians have an unlimited nuclear arsenal -- and so we're starting to press very strong countries in a very reckless way. We're behaving in a very reckless and dangerous way.
Once you start this, and Russia and China come to the conclusion that the Americans simply cannot be dealt with in any rational way and are determined to somehow subdue them and do them damage, all kinds of escalations can result. This is the real danger and we're risking a major war.
Q: What about the role of Italy in Libya?
A: This is another unique thing with this Libyan intervention. What is NATO doing fighting a war in Africa? NATO was formed to guard against the potential of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. The Soviet Union has been gone for twenty years. Steered by the U.S. and the Pentagon, it has been turned into an auxiliary force, and we now have NATO involved in an aggressive war in Africa. This is a war of aggression, a war of attack.
So this is an extraordinary development. Why is this happening? We didn't use NATO in Egypt and Tunisia and will certainly not use it in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain so we see something highly unusual -- NATO at war in Africa. This needs an explanation.