Syria’s Nightmarish Narrative

Exclusive: With military and political help from Saudi Arabia and Israel, the nightmare scenario of an Al-Qaeda and/or Islamic State victory in Syria may be coming true, as the army of the more secular Syrian government retreats and as President Obama seems frozen by indecision, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Saudi-Israeli alliance, in league with other hard-line Sunni countries, is helping Al-Qaeda affiliates advance toward gaining either victory or at least safe havens in Syria and Yemen, highlighting unresolved contradictions in President Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East.

Fueled by a surge of support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and with Israel striking at Syrian government allies Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda’s hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, are making major advances in Syria with some analysts now predicting the likely collapse of the relatively secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.syria-map

Saudi Arabia and Israel have made clear over the past few years that they regard the overthrow of the Iranian-backed Assad government as a geopolitical priority even if it results in a victory by Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. But Obama, who has been unwilling or unable to rein in the Saudi-Israeli alliance, would then have to decide what to do with Islamic terrorists dominating a major Mideast nation.

Some of these Sunni radicals have shown that they will move aggressively toward slaughtering minority groups that they consider infidels, including Christians, Alawites and Shiites. The terrorists could leave the streets of major Syrian cities running red with blood and give Al-Qaeda a solid platform from which to launch terrorist attacks against the West.

How Obama or his successor might respond to that is uncertain but it would be difficult for any American president to sit back and do nothing. Yet, dispatching another U.S. military expeditionary force to Syria to dislodge Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State from Damascus and across Syria would likely be a fool’s errand resulting in massive loss of life, costing trillions of dollars and promising little success.

Meanwhile, the neocon-dominated mainstream U.S. news media is already pushing the narrative that Obama’s failure was that he didn’t intervene earlier to overthrow the Assad regime so some  “moderate” rebels could have taken power.

But the existence of a significant “moderate” rebel army was always a fiction. As Obama noted in a frank interview with New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in August 2014, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has “always been a fantasy.”

Obama explained: “This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.”

Obama added that his administration had trouble finding, training and arming enough secular Syrian rebels to make a difference: “There’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”

Indeed, much of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army threw in its lot and their U.S.-supplied weapons with Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the Islamic State in 2013. After that, Obama’s only realistic choice was to strike a pragmatic political agreement with Assad and cooperate with Iran and Russia in reclaiming territory from Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Getting Rid of Assad

But that option proved politically impossible because the Israel Lobby and American neocons continued to press for Assad’s overthrow. They were aided by Obama’s unwillingness to release U.S. intelligence that undercut some of the major anti-Assad themes dominating the mainstream U.S. media. For instance, Obama could have revealed doubts within the U.S. intelligence community that Assad’s regime was responsible for the infamous sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013.

Blaming Assad for the sarin attack, which killed hundreds of civilians, was a valuable part of the neocon narrative that prevented any détente with Assad. Yet, even as more evidence emerged that the attack was likely a provocation committed by rebel extremists, Obama balked at updating the initial rush to judgment nine days after the event fingering Assad’s forces.

As recently as this month, the Obama administration was still handing out those initial accusations to CBS’ “60 Minutes” and other mainstream media outlets, which simply regurgitate the outdated intelligence data rather than examine the newer evidence that points to a rebel “false-flag” operation designed to draw the U.S. military into the Syrian civil war on the rebel side. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Fact-Resistant ‘Group Think’ on Syria.”]

Though Obama pulled back in 2013 from bombing the Syrian military, which could have opened the gates of Damascus to Al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State, the President hasn’t been willing to override the “regime change” desires of his State Department, which remains influenced by neocons and their sidekicks, the liberal interventionists.

Now, despite the growing risk of an Al-Qaeda or Islamic State victory in Syria, Obama seems frozen by indecision over what to do, hemmed in by the Israel Lobby, the oil-rich Saudis and neocon politicians and opinion-leaders in Official Washington.

But the dangers of an Islamic terror victory in Syria grow by the day. In an article entitled “Rebel resurgence puts Syrian regime in peril,” the Washington Post’s Liz Sly reported on Monday that “A surge of rebel gains in Syria is overturning long-held assumptions about the durability of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which now appears in greater peril than at any time in the past three years.

“The capture Saturday of the town of Jisr al-Shughour in northern Idlib province was just the latest in a string of battlefield victories by rebel forces, which have made significant advances in both the north and the south of the country.

“The battlefield shifts come at a time when the Obama administration has set aside the crisis in Syria to focus on its chief priorities: defeating the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and concluding a nuclear deal with Iran. Yet the pace of events in Syria may force the United States to refocus on the unresolved war, which remains at the heart of the turmoil engulfing the Middle East, analysts say.

“Iran backs ­Assad, Saudi Arabia backs the rebels, and a shift in the balance of power in Syria could have profound repercussions for the conflicts in Iraq and Yemen. ‘We’re seeing a game changer right now in Syria,’ said Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist. ‘I think we are going to see an end to the Assad regime, and we have to think now about what will happen the day after, because the day after is near.’

“The revival of rebel fortunes is attributed to a large degree to the recent rapprochement between a newly assertive Saudi Arabia and its erstwhile rivals for influence over the rebels, Turkey and Qatar.

“Since inheriting the throne in January, Saudi King Salman has moved forcefully to challenge the expanding regional influence of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s biggest foe, most publicly by embarking on an air war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. He has also acted to shore up the flagging and deeply divided rebels in Syria, in coordination with Qatar and Turkey, Khashoggi said.

“The result has been an unexpectedly cohesive rebel coalition called the Army of Conquest that is made up of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, an assortment of mostly Islamist brigades and a small number of more moderate battalions. The coalition, which launched last month, has proved more effective than expected.

“In a commentary for the Middle East Institute in the past week, Robert S. Ford, a former U.S. envoy to Syria, said a regime collapse cannot be ruled out. The regime’s schisms, its battlefield setbacks and its manpower shortages ‘are all signs of weakness,’ he wrote. ‘We may be seeing signs of the beginning of their end.’”

More Israeli Airstrikes

Meanwhile, Israel has reportedly resumed airstrikes against Syrian military bases near Lebanon, possibly aimed at Lebanese Hezbollah forces cooperating with the Assad government in battling Sunni rebels. While refusing to comment directly on these reported airstrikes, Israeli officials have vowed to prevent Syria from transferring sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.

An earlier Israeli airstrike killed a number of Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general who was in Syria assisting Assad’s military. Israel also has arranged what amounts to a non-aggression pact with Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front along the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, with Israel even providing hospital care for Nusra fighters who then return to the battlefield.

More importantly, Israel has turned loose its powerful Israel Lobby in the United States to rally Republicans and many Democrats to obstruct President Obama’s efforts to work out an agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program and clear the way for a more constructive relationship with the Shiite-ruled country.

Obama’s overtures toward Iran have alarmed Saudi Arabia, which views itself as leading the Sunni faction in the Middle East. The Saudi disdain for Iran even has led to the Saudis joining sides with Israel in an odd-couple relationship, since both countries now view Iran as their principal adversary.

As this relationship firmed up, Israel even began voicing a preference for Al-Qaeda’s militants over the relatively secular Assad government, which was viewed as the protectors of Alawites, Shiites, Christians and other Syrian minorities terrified of the Saudi-backed Sunni extremists.

In September 2013, in one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post that Israel favored the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Oren expanded on his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then, speaking as a former ambassador, Oren said Israel would even prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.

“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

On Oct. 1, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu hinted at the new Israeli-Saudi relationship in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.

Amid the bellicosity, Netanyahu dropped in a largely missed clue about the evolving power relationships in the Middle East, saying: “The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”

The next day, Israel’s Channel 2 TV news reported that senior Israeli security officials had met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart in Jerusalem, believed to be Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States who was then head of Saudi intelligence.

The reality of this unlikely alliance has even reached the mainstream U.S. media. For instance, Time magazine correspondent Joe Klein described the new coziness in an article in the Jan. 19, 2015 issue: “On May 26, 2014, an unprecedented public conversation took place in Brussels. Two former high-ranking spymasters of Israel and Saudi Arabia Amos Yadlin and Prince Turki al-Faisal sat together for more than an hour, talking regional politics in a conversation moderated by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius.

“They disagreed on some things, like the exact nature of an Israel-Palestine peace settlement, and agreed on others: the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat, the need to support the new military government in Egypt, the demand for concerted international action in Syria. The most striking statement came from Prince Turki. He said the Arabs had ‘crossed the Rubicon’ and ‘don’t want to fight Israel anymore.’”

Rallying Congress

During Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to a joint session of Congress, he further indicated Israel’s preference for the Saudi-backed jihadists over Iranian allies in the Syrian government. He urged the U.S. government to shift its focus from fighting Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to fighting Iran.

Netanyahu depicted the danger from the Islamic State as relatively minor with its “butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube” compared to Iran, which he accused of “gobbling up the nations” of the Middle East.

To the applause of Congress, he claimed “Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.” His choice of capitals was peculiar, however, because Iran took none of those capitals by force and, indeed, was simply supporting the embattled government of Syria and was allied with Shiite elements of the government of Lebanon.

As for Iraq, Iran’s allies were installed not by Iran but by President George W. Bush via the U.S. invasion. And, in Yemen, a long-festering sectarian conflict has led to the capture of Sanaa by Houthi rebels who are Zaydi Shiites, an offshoot of Shia Islam that is actually closer to some Sunni sects. The Houthis deny they are agents of Iran, and Western intelligence services believe Iran’s support has consisted mostly of some funding.

However, as part of the Saudi-Israeli campaign against Iranian influence, Saudi Arabia has bombed Yemeni cities from the air using sophisticated American-supplied aircraft while the U.S. Navy has supported a blockade of Yemen from the sea, including this past weekend turning back nine Iranian ships carrying relief supplies because of unconfirmed suspicions that there might be weapons onboard as well.

Though the Saudi leadership had agreed to peace talks urged by President Obama, the Saudi air force resumed its bombing of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and other targets on Sunday. Despite U.S. intelligence support, the Saudi airstrikes have been largely indiscriminate killing hundreds of civilians and shattering some of Yemen’s ancient cities.

Another effect of the Saudi airstrikes has been to bolster the cause of “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” an affiliate that the U.S. government has identified as the most dangerous Al-Qaeda branch in terms of sponsoring attacks on the West. With the Houthi rebels under Saudi bombardment, AQAP has succeeded in seizing more territory in the east and overrunning a prison to free Al-Qaeda militants.

The most immediate and severe crisis, however, appears to be unfolding in Syria where Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the bloodthirsty Islamic State appear to be gaining the upper hand, with military support from Saudi Arabia and political cover from Israel.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Did Money Seal the Israeli-Saudi Alliance?”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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19 comments for “Syria’s Nightmarish Narrative

  1. Randy
    April 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t really think Obama is indecisive, he is just doing what he is told like all good Presidents do. He decided to support Al Qaeda in how ,any countries already? He made his decision a long time ago, and we are seeing the results of that in Syria.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    April 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    If the end result is for Syria, Yemen, and Iraq to become the next Libya, then someone explain to me the brilliance of that kind of plan. If the U.S. is in the business of pissing everyone off, then the U.S. is succeeding at that goal very well. I guess we should ignore the millions of innocent people who are being effected by all this chaos. ‘Chick-Hawks’ don’t seem to worry about ‘Blow Back’, or do they? Their solution of guarding against blowback is to militarize our local police forces. So, give all the bully’s a badge and everything will be okay. If the outside world is not a blowback problem, then don’t worry you will have the police to fear. Seriously, what is the rationale behind such decisions? In the meantime the rest of humanity through out this world thinks all Americans are lazy, and stupid, due to our current governments leadership. I guess they have a point when they see how our next president could be either Hillary or Jeb. Now, would be a good time for the U.S. people to take back their government, but I don’t see that on the immediate horizon.

    • Brad Owen
      April 28, 2015 at 4:31 am

      Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya: all are countries who were, once-upon-a-time, hosts to People’s Movements to secularize and modernize (read=”De-Oligarch-ize”) their societies…an extremely taboo project (not unlike FDR’s New Deal, JFK’s New Frontier, LBJ’s Great Society) in the Bankers’ neo-feudalist Western Empire of The City, and The Street. I smell MI6/CIA all over the place, doing the bidding of the financial Oligarchy that reigns over the Western Empire…and we don’t realize yet, how deeply our government, OUR Tool for advancing the General WELFARE, has been turned upon us, as a weapon meant to destroy us.

  3. incontinent reader
    April 27, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Bob- I desperately hope that you are wrong in your predictions and that somehow the Syrian government with continued help from the Russians, Iranians, Chinese and Hezbollah (and the Iraqis if they can continue to regroup) will prevail. A Middle East ruled without constraints by the Saudis, Israelis, Turks, and their proxies in the form of ISIS and Al Quaeda, would be a future too horrible to conceive, and to bear for those living in the region. As for Yemen, I think the Saudis will continue to do horrendous damage, but will find this to be their Vietnam, and eventually their leaders will be targeted and suffer a terrible fate. This is a people’s war in Yemen, and no amount of firepower will prevent it from consuming the aggressors.

  4. Anthony Shaker
    April 27, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    The recent string of “victories” for the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi terrorists in Syria is not as “strategic” as the media and some analysts have made it out to be. These setbacks for the Syrian government have taken place on the peripheries, but they are not as serious those of previous years. While this does presage a more dangerous phase there is no chance in the foreseeable future of the Syrian government falling. Syria has too many friends for this to happen.

    What the Saudi-Israel alliance–based as it is on the complete acceptance of “Israel” as the only state in Palestine–is designed to achieve three things: completely destroy Syria’s capacity to resist Israel; establish room for Israel (effectively a foothold) in the Gulf of Aden for the coming onslaught on Iran, nuclear accord or no nuclear accord; and to foreclose any possibility of change inside the dying Saudi kingdom.

    What the next few weeks and months will show is how the nuclear accord will fit in. Will it free up a “budding relationship” between Iran, the United States and the West? Or will it damage Iran’s industrial plans by hobbling its nuclear capacity while being attacked from all sides by barbarian hordes.

    This question only Iran can answer. I am starting to doubt there will be a deal. What would Iran gain? More chains?

    These are savage times, and mostly of the United States’ making. Saudi Arabia and Israel have walked into the void left by a US president walking around like someone’s a puppet. The larger regional stakes and developments remain unchanged. They indicate that both Israel and Saudi Arabia have permanently lost their usefulness as Western bulwarks.

    But Israelis, in particular, are liable to wake up one day to a devastating and heart-wrenching fact: their country’s leadership either decapitated or “Israel” abruptly ceasing to be an independent state. Israeli spies and traitors around Congress will eventualy be hauled off to prison just like those AIPAC officials who were caught a few years ago. That day is fast approaching.

    I don’t see how either a race colony like “Israel” or a culturally decadent creation of the British like Wahhabi Saudi Arabia with its “Sunni” pretensions will survive. They both stand on nothing but terror. But resorting to terror and violence indicates that nothing else has worked to ensure survival. Violence is the last phase in a conflict when everything else has failed.

    So, this is pretty much the end of the road for them. Ever wonder why all this unending, hysterical belligerence against Iran? I would be surprised if King Salman survived year’s end. There are steady reports from inside the kingdom of more than just policy rifts.

  5. Randy
    April 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Speaking of Syria, can someone get DR ASSAD on a plane to Baltimore with a full Prescrition of BARREL BOMBS! DR ASSAD has the cure for America’s ailment in Baltimore. He knows exactly how to deal with “peaceful protest”

  6. ltr
    April 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Frightening and tragic and completely realistic.

  7. Arius
    April 27, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    As an Armenian it has amazed me to see the Assad’s mostly Muslim army of young men fighting and dying to protect mostly Christian towns. What do I see the US doing? It’s aiding and abetting jihadi and fascist rape and murder. The US brought an apocalypse to Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine, and is now trying to bring the apocalypse to Syria.

    If my father was alive today how could I tell him that America, the land he loved for its peace and prosperity, is killing his people in the Middle East, and killing millions of innocent Muslims? I can’t even explain it to myself.

    The America he believed in and taught me to believe in is no more.

    • Zachary Smith
      April 27, 2015 at 10:41 pm

      The US brought an apocalypse to Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine, and is now trying to bring the apocalypse to Syria.

      The US is doing more than “trying”, the Empire is succeeding. Syria has a fine army now, and wins every battle to which it sets its mind. But that army faces an unending stream of fanatics from the outside. The unholy alliance of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey is simply overwhelming Syria, and attrition is beginning to bite. The Syrians just can’t get enough replacements. I don’t know what they’ve got on Obama, but whatever it is sure works to keep him doing his dance to the neocon tune and enabling all this.

      IMO Syria has contingency plans to fall back to the Alawite strongholds in the West. Unless sanity overtakes the US and a few others, it may have no choice. Iran is going to do whatever it can to preserve certain sections of Syria, for it simply cannot afford to lose contact with Lebanon and Hezbollah. On the flip side, Israel sees Syria as the key to several things. Getting rid of Assad is the “professed” aim of the crappy little nation, but that’s only a talking point. Isolating Lebanon & Hezbollah is (again my opinion) the main goal. With the threat of Hezbollah gone, it can tackle non-nuclear Iran with relative impunity.

      But a big secondary goal must be to simply grab some more real estate. Both Eastern Syria and Lebanon have a lot of water Israel covets.

      So with my tinfoil hat firmly in place, here is how I see things going if the attackers get their way. I’d assume a rump state of Syria would be where the Alawites are now – the section north of Lebanon. Googling Water Map Syria shows where this resource is located. Turkey might be permitted to grab the northern strip along its border.

      Now we have a Syria occupied by the “moderate” Rebels. Hillary and Obama and the rest pat themselves on the back. But I’d expect that all of a sudden those moderates would do something strange – they’d pull a surprise attack on poor innocent little Israel. Call it the Zionist 911. Lots of poor Jewish citizens (and I mean that literally) would die. Outrage everywhere! Holy Israel grits its teeth, mobiilizes, and drives into Syria to clean out the evildoers. Most likely there would be virtually no news coverage of the invasion except whatever was released from Israeli military headquarters. I’d predict that everybody in the affected parts of Syria would end up running for their lives, and those who didn’t run fast enough would become buzzard food. Call it Nakba II.

      So Israel now has every part of Syria it wants, and it might even drive a column to the sea to separate Assad-Land and Lebanon. Lebanon is now ISOLATED except for the coast, and a blockade would suffice for that.

      Why would Israel want the eastern desert? Recall that the Syrian desert is the exact place where the Turks drove the Armenians to starve in WW1.

      Naturally in all the uproar the subhuman Palestinians and the treacherous Israeli Arabs would have tried to take advantage of the situation and would have done something or other which was both awful and awfully stupid. They want a Homeland, well by *** they’ll get their Homeland. Eastern Syria. Free transportation at the point of bayonets.

      Call that one Nakba III.

  8. Peter Loeb
    April 28, 2015 at 5:41 am

    THE FEAR OF ASKING “WHO”?

    Following the best information possible there are areas so “delicate”
    that no one dares to ask. Who will join Palestinians in their struggle?

    Begin with the horrible events in Yarmouk. Not much information
    is available. The silence on every side permits all to blame”the other
    guy”for all the death and inhumanity of every kind that have occurred
    there. There was been little balanced investigation of how all
    accusations (to the UN, by whom, etc.) benefit each party.

    Palestinians oppose the brutal oppression they suffered in their
    land by Israel. A list need not be repeated again and again.

    If the Zionist State of Israel is to be replaced or altered in a major
    way, who will Palestinians turn to for support? It seems they
    have eliminated all possible applicants for support: Lebanon, Syria,
    Iran, Russia (China?) and possibly more. Do Palestinians believe
    that they can meet the powerful Israeli government supported
    by the US all by themselves?

    While this seems to border on the absurd, it seems urgent that
    these issues be dealt with by consortiumnews and its many
    contributors. Such questions are, to put it mildly, extremely
    uncomfortable. Why insult analysts and intellectuals whose
    work we have long supported with these problems? Is there
    a fear of making enemies of one’s friends?

    There are many historical events, wars and occupations between
    Syrians and Palestinians.

    The topic of Palestinians’ allies needs to be addressed. Perhaps
    this does not put food on the table today or build a house that
    US-Israeli airstrikes have demolished, or bring to life thousands
    massacred. If its consideration is uncomfortable, the reasons
    need to be clear.

    At present, it seems that a genocide of Palestinians is in progress.
    In transition their bondage is being planned. From an American
    perspective, are we looking at the genocide and inevitable defeat
    of Native Americans (“Indians”) on the North American continent?
    Native Americans lost one battle after another and can today treasure
    their cultural past as best they can (and even that is slipping away,
    being consumed voraciously by the enemy that won).

    Personally,as an anti-Zionist, I oppose the settler colonialism which
    Zionists have always represented. I also want to see a path to go
    forward. whether in my lifetime or after it.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  9. Stefan
    April 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

    The prediction in the headlines of op-eds and the wishful thinkers of the neocon press, have been predicting and screaming Assad is near the end, for 4 years now.

    Mr Parry’s points and fears are all valid and spot on.

    I do concur with @AnthonyShaker that strategically, the recent setbacks may not be as alarming as they would appear to be in the NYT or the WAPOST.

    The most worrying trend that Mr Parry informs us on, is the recent push and by Turkey and its allies, to renew and reinvigorate the proxy war by striking strategic alliances to end the terrorist infighting.

    The upcoming Iran Talks, I believe may (but only maybe) show a reversal – but until proven otherwise, USA is a de-facto strategic “ally” with Al Qaeda (Nusra / ISIS / FSA … ) and the terrorist network’s state supporters – until proven otherwise.

    Sad, but I think americans have to face the reality, that USA is directly aiding and abetting the groups and networks who allegedly masterminded the attacks in 911 – and so far, the viable presidential candidates, will without any doubt on my part at least, prove just more of the same.

  10. Duglarri
    April 28, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    A big question is this: what happens when Assad is gone? After a massive genocide of Allawites and Shia, the next step is not going to be an assault on Israel. ISIS has already said where they’re going. They’re going south, and they’re going to conquer Saudi Arabia. And unlike Israel, Saudi Arabia doesn’t have an army that can stop them.

    It is jaw-dropping that people like Bandar can’t see this. In fact, it’s far more likely than not that he does see this, and far from being scared of it, is arranging for it. Bandar may intend on being at the head of that army that ISIS is going to send to Mecca.

    • Stefan
      April 28, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      Assaulting/attacking Israel?
      Hardly, they are enjoying comfortable beds, meals and treatment in a modern field hospital set up by the israelis for them. Patching them up, then sending them back in to commit their atrocities, like beheadings, feasting on people’s raw organs, grilling chopped off heads over open fires, burning people alive, beheading small infants and their mothers, gang raping young women in sex dungeons, then beheading them when they are done (russian journalists from Anna News, published the report on this dungeon, and it is on record on their news site, sourced, photographed and with witnesses.)
      Israel is also on record supporting the terrorists by attacking the only forces that are fighting them in the region, the Syrian Army, Hezbollah and Iranian advisors.
      Having said that, in the longer horizon it is impossible to say where the apples will eventually land having turned over the apple cart.

      Attacking Saudi Arabia?
      Possibly.

      (continuing) Using these terrorist proxy forces in efforts to destabilise Russia’s underbelly and China – as well as their allies such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon – even deploying them in Europe to demonise Islam – continue to support them into Yemen, Libya possibly even Nigeria, Somalia and so on and so forth…?
      Most likely scenario (almost certain).

      That’s my view.
      Most likely scenario.

  11. David G
    April 28, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    “… with Israel even providing hospital care for Nusra fighters who then return to the battlefield.”

    Robert Parry has mentioned this more than once, but I don’t recall links or citations to any reporting on it, and I haven’t seen this anywhere else.

    It’s a pretty explosive charge; can Robert Parry or anybody else substantiate it? (I’m talking about this *specific* allegation, not the thrust of the piece as a whole, which is well argued.)

    • Stefan
      April 29, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Israel is … providing medical care and other unidentified supplies to the insurgents ….

      In the past three months, battle-hardened Syrian rebels have transported scores of wounded Syrians across a cease-fire line that has separated Israel from Syria since 1974, according to a 15-page report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the work of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Once in Israel, they receive medical treatment in a field clinic before being sent back to Syria, where, presumably, some will return to carry on the fight.

      U.N. blue helmets responsible for monitoring the decades-old cease-fire report observing armed opposition groups “transferring 89 wounded persons” from Syrian territory into Israel, where they were received by members of the Israel Defense Forces, according to the report. The IDF returned 21 Syrians to armed opposition members back in Syria, including the bodies of two who died.

      “Throughout the reporting period, UNDOF frequently observed armed members of the opposition interacting with the IDF across the cease-fire line,” according to the report. “On one occasion UNDOF observed the IDF on the Alpha side [inside Israel] handing over two boxes to armed opposition on the Bravo side [inside Syria].”

      ***

      The Israeli government has been providing medical assistance to Syria’s wounded for more than a year. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to a military field hospital in the Golan Heights

      Source: http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/06/11/exclusive-israel-is-tending-to-wounded-syrian-rebels/

      Times of Israel reported:
      A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.

      In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

      “The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.

      ***

      In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.

      Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/syrian-rebel-commander-says-he-collaborated-with-israel/

      Haaretz reported:
      The Syrian opposition is willing to give up claims to the Golan Heights in return for cash and Israeli military aid against President Bashar Assad, a top opposition official told Al Arab newspaper, according to a report in Al Alam.

      ***

      The Western-backed militant groups want Israel to enforce a no-fly zone over parts of southern Syria to protect rebel bases from air strikes by Assad’s forces, according to the report.

      There are quite a few other sources if you make just a halfhearted effort through your favorite search engine.

    • Zachary Smith
      April 29, 2015 at 9:53 am

      I haven’t seen this anywhere else.

      That Israel is actively assisting the “rebels” is found in many places – Israeli newspapers included. This result from my Google Search came from the US WSJ.

      Only about one-third of the Syrians treated in Israel, however, were women and children. An Israeli military official acknowledged that most of the rebels on the other side of the fence belong to Nusra but said that Israel offered medical help to anyone in need, without checking their identity.

      Conclusion: they’re not even trying to hide it.

  12. Colinjames
    April 28, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    ISIS takes over Syria, and then what? Can anyone imagine what the consequences will be? Libya is bad enough, the nightmare scenario being played out here is catastrophic if Syria falls, I can’t wrap my head around it. Nothing good can come of this, a million curses on ISIS degenerates and their backers at home and abroad. No words can really describe what I’m feeling right now. God help the good people of Syria and around the Middle East who will suffer endlessly, and pointlessly, as if it couldn’t get any worse. This is just unreal.

  13. April 30, 2015 at 3:15 am

    The idea that an extremist islamofascist government will not want to turn its attentions toward Israel at some point in the future is an indication of just how insane Benjamin Netanyahu really is.

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