Syria Intervention on a 72-Hour Trigger?
February 24, 2012 • 9:49AM

Another Tony Blair war is at hand. The first question raised at today's State Department briefing was a request for comments on the discussion that tomorrow's "Friends of Syria" meeting in Tunisia will issue a 72-hour ultimatum to Assad to initiate a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid to be brought in. Briefer Mark Toner said he could not "speak to an ultimatum", and proceeded to imply such an ultimatum, and to criticize China and Russia for continuing to "isolate themselves" by refusing to participate. Toner reiterated that the entire "Friends of Syria" operation was cooked up as the answer to the Russian-Chinese veto of just such plans at the Security Council.

Notably, the final touches on this operation were being made in London today, in various meetings held on the side of the Foreign Office-sponsored conference on Somalia.

The plans for tomorrow were more stark in the background briefing given, appropriately enough, in London today by "a senior State Dept official."

"Three pillars" is the catchword of the day. They are, in the order given:

—The "humanitarian" pillar. The rump caucus meeting tomorrow will issue "concrete proposals on how we, the international community, plan to support humanitarian organizations on the ground within days [nota bene], meaning that the challenge is on the Syrian regime to respond to this." In other words: an ultimatum to accept foreign "humanitarian" intervention, and probably of 72 hours.

—The "transition" pillar. More commonly known as "regime change." The State Dept. official emphasized that the Syrian National Council is to present its transition plan to the 70 nations, NGOs, and groups claiming to represent "The International Community." Reuters reports that the draft statement prepared in London to come out of the Tunisia meeting "recognized the Syrian National Council as a legitimate representative of Syrians seeking peaceful democratic change." Without using those words, the State Dept. official treated the SNC as exactly that, stating that "the group meeting tomorrow will, of course, show that we support these efforts, not only the Arab League transition plan but the Syrian National Council's efforts to implement the Arab transition plan." And the SNC is going to present "what they need from us in terms of support," so that this self-designated group of "Friends of Syria" can "collectively decide how to ... match our capabilities with their needs."

This is the London-headquartered, British-Saudi-Washington- sponsored Syrian National Council, whose first (of many) calls for international intervention into Syria was virtually a word-for-word reprint of the call issued on Dec. 20 by the Henry Jackson Society of London, a British Round Table descendant committed to the Empire program of perpetual war and the end of the nation-state.

And thirdly, there is the "pressure and isolation" pillar. That is, a tightening of the international sanctions upon the nation and people of Syria which has already brought the country to the brink of collapse.

Just yesterday, the spokesman for U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged at a press briefing that the Secretary General has been consulting with the Turkish and Lebanese governments on preparations to handle the massive flight of refugees out of Syria expected, "if" the Assad regime falls.