The Day After Damascus Falls

Exclusive: The Saudi-Israeli alliance has gone on the offensive, ramping up a “regime change” war in Syria and, in effect, promoting a military victory for Al-Qaeda or its spinoff, the Islamic State. But the consequences of that victory could toll the final bell for the American Republic, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets the same fate as Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi or Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, much of Official Washington would rush out to some chic watering hole to celebrate one more “bad guy” down, one more “regime change” notch on the belt. But the day after Damascus falls could mark the beginning of the end for the American Republic.

As Syria would descend into even bloodier chaos with an Al-Qaeda affiliate or its more violent spin-off, the Islamic State, the only real powers left the first instinct of American politicians and pundits would be to cast blame, most likely at President Barack Obama for not having intervened more aggressively earlier.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of a poster of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in front of a poster of his father, Hafez al-Assad.

A favorite myth of Official Washington is that Syrian “moderates” would have prevailed if only Obama had bombed the Syrian military and provided sophisticated weapons to the rebels.

Though no such “moderate” rebel movement ever existed at least not in any significant numbers that reality is ignored by all the “smart people” of Washington. It is simply too good a talking point to surrender. The truth is that Obama was right when he told  New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in August 2014 that the notion of a “moderate” rebel force that could achieve much was “always a fantasy.”

As much fun as the “who lost Syria” finger-pointing would be, it would soon give way to the horror of what would likely unfold in Syria with either Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the spin-off Islamic State in charge or possibly a coalition of the two with Al-Qaeda using its new base to plot terror attacks on the West while the Islamic State engaged in its favorite pastime, those YouTube decapitations of infidels Alawites, Shiites, Christians, even some descendants of the survivors from Turkey’s Armenian genocide a century ago who fled to Syria for safety.

Such a spectacle would be hard for the world to watch and there would be demands on President Obama or his successor to “do something.” But realistic options would be few, with a shattered and scattered Syrian army no longer a viable force capable of driving the terrorists from power.

The remaining option would be to send in the American military, perhaps with some European allies, to try to dislodge Al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State. But the prospects for success would be slim. The goal of conquering Syria and possibly re-conquering much of Iraq as well would be costly, bloody and almost certainly futile.

The further diversion of resources and manpower from America’s domestic needs also would fuel the growing social discontent in major U.S. cities, like what is now playing out in Baltimore where disaffected African-American communities are rising up in anger against poverty and the police brutality that goes with it. A new war in the Middle East would accelerate America’s descent into bankruptcy and a dystopian police state.

The last embers of the American Republic would fade. In its place would be endless war and a single-minded devotion to security. The National Security Agency already has in place the surveillance capabilities to ensure that any civil resistance could be thwarted.

Can This Fate Be Avoided?

But is there a way to avoid this grim fate? Is there a way to wind this scenario back to some point before this outcome becomes inevitable? Can the U.S. political/media system as corrupt and cavalier as it is find a way to avert such a devastating foreign policy disaster?

To do so would require Official Washington to throw off old dependencies, such as its obeisance to the Israel Lobby, and old habits, such as its reliance on manipulative PR to control the American people, patterns deeply engrained in the political process.

At least since the Reagan administration with its “kick the Vietnam Syndrome” fascination via “public diplomacy” and “perception management” the tendency has been to designate some foreign leader as the latest new villain and then whip up public hysteria in support of a “regime change.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Victory of Perception Management.”]

In the 1980s, we saw the use of these “black hat/white hat” exaggerations in Nicaragua, where  President Ronald Reagan deemed President Daniel Ortega “the dictator in designer glasses” as Reagan’s propagandists depicted Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a “totalitarian dungeon” and the CIA-trained Contra “freedom fighters” the “moral equal of the Founding Fathers.”

And, since Ortega and the Sandinistas were surely not the embodiment of all virtue, it was hard to put Reagan’s black-and-white depiction into the proper shades of gray. To make the effort opened you to charges of being a “Sandinista apologist.” Similarly, any negative news about the Contras such as their tendencies to rape, murder, torture and smuggle drugs was sternly suppressed with offending U.S. journalists targeted for career retaliation.

The pattern set by Reagan around Nicaragua and other Central American conflicts became the blueprint for how to carry out these post-Vietnam War propaganda operations. Afterwards came Panama’s “madman” Manuel Noriega in 1989 and Iraq’s “worse than Hitler” Saddam Hussein in 1990-91. Each American war was given its own villainous lead actor.

In 2002-03, Hussein was brought back to reprise his “worse-than-Hitler” role in a post-9/11 sequel. His new evil-doing involved sharing nuclear weapons and other WMD with Al-Qaeda so the terror group could inflict even worse havoc on the innocent United States. Anyone who questioned Official Washington’s WMD “group think” was dismissed as a “Saddam apologist.”

Amid this enforced consensus, there was great joy when the U.S.-led invasion overthrew Hussein’s government and captured him. “We got him,” U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer exulted when Hussein was pulled from a “spider hole” and was soon heading to the gallows.

However, some of the triumphal excitement wore off when the U.S. occupation forces failed to discover the promised caches of WMD. Hussein’s ouster also didn’t produce the sunny new day that America’s neocons had promised for Iraq and the Middle East. Instead, Al-Qaeda, which had not existed under Hussein’s secular regime, found fertile soil to plant its “Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” a radical Sunni movement which pioneered a particularly graphic form of terrorist violence.

That brutality, often directed at Shiites, was met with brutality in kind from Iraq’s new Shiite leadership, touching off a sectarian civil war. Meanwhile, the war against the U.S. occupation turned into a messy struggle between America’s high-tech military and Iraq’s low-tech resistance.

Lessons Unlearned

What Americans should have learned from Iraq was that just because the neocons and their liberal-interventionist friends identify a foreign “bad guy” and then exaggerate his faults doesn’t mean that his violent removal is the best idea. It might actually lead to something worse. There is wisdom in the doctor’s oath, “first, do no harm,” and there’s truth in the old warning that before you tear down a wall, you should ask why someone built it in the first place.

However, in the propaganda world of Official Washington, a different lesson was learned: that it is easy to create designated villains and no one of importance will dare challenge the wisdom of removing that villain through another “regime change.”

Instead of the neocons and their liberal helpers being held accountable and removed from the corridors of power, they entrenched themselves more deeply inside the U.S. government, mainstream media and big-name think tanks. They also found new allies among the self-righteous “human rights” community espousing the theory of “responsibility to protect” or “R2P.”

Despite President Obama’s election partly driven by the American people’s revulsion over the neocon excesses during President George W. Bush’s administration there was no real purge of the neocons and their accomplices. Indeed, Obama kept in place Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the neocons’ beloved Gen. David Petraeus while installing neocon-lite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Around Obama at the White House were prominent R2Pers such as Samantha Power.

So, although Obama may have personally favored a more realist-driven foreign policy that would deal with the world as it is, not as one might dream it to be, he never took control of his own administration, passively accepting the rise of a new generation of interventionists who continued depicting designated foreign villains as evil and rejecting any discouraging word that “regime change” might actually unleash even worse evil.

In 2011, the R2Pers, as the neocons’ junior partners, largely initiated the U.S.-orchestrated “regime change” in Libya, which starred Muammar Gaddafi in a returning role as “the world’s most dangerous man.” All the old terror charges against him were resurrected, including some like the Pam Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 that he very likely didn’t do. But, again, no one wanted to quibble because that would make you a “Gaddafi apologist.”

So, to the gleeful delight of Secretary of State Clinton, Gaddafi was overthrown, captured, beaten, sodomized with a knife, and then murdered. Clinton made no effort to conceal her glee. “We came, we saw, he died,” she joked at the news of his murder (although it was not clear that she knew all the grisly details at the time).

But Gaddafi’s demise did not bring Nirvana to Libya. Indeed, Gaddafi’s warning about the need to attack Islamic terrorists operating in eastern Libya his military offensive that led to the R2P demand that Obama intervene militarily to stop Gaddafi proved to be prophetic.

Extremists grabbed control of much of Libya. They overran the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other U.S. diplomatic personnel. A civil war has now spread anarchy and mayhem across Libya and nearby countries.

Libya also now has its own branch of the Islamic State, which videotaped its beheadings of Coptic Christians along a beach on the Mediterranean Sea, a sickening sign of what could be expected after a possible Syrian “regime change” next. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The US Hand in Libya’s Tragedy.”]

On to Ukraine

While U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and other R2Pers took the lead in provoking the Libyan fiasco, neocon holdovers demonstrated their own “regime change” skills by turning a pedestrian political dispute in Ukraine about how fast to build new economic ties to Europe while maintaining old ones with Russia into not only a civil war in Ukraine but a revival of the Cold War between the United States and Russia.

In the Ukraine case, the neocons made elected President Viktor Yanukovych wear the black hat with Russian President Vladimir Putin fitted for even a bigger black hat. So, as Yanukovych and Putin were scripted as the new “bad guys,” the anti-Yanukovych protesters and rioters at the Maidan square were made into the white-hatted “good guys.”

Much as with the Sandinistas and the Contras in the 1980s, this dichotomy required assigning all evil to Yanukovych and Putin while absolving the Maidan crowd of all sins, including the key role played by neo-Nazi militias in both the Feb. 22, 2014 coup and the subsequent civil war. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Seeing No Neo-Nazi Militias in Ukraine.”]

As the Ukraine crisis has played out, Official Washington and the mainstream U.S. news media have consistently placed all blame for the violence on Yanukovych lodging the dubious charge that he had snipers kill both police and protesters on Feb. 20, 2014 or on Putin fingering him for the still-unsolved case of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shoot-down on July 17, 2014.

Evidence that suggests that right-wing Ukrainian elements were responsible for those pivotal events is sloughed off with anyone daring to dispute the conventional wisdom deemed a “Putin apologist.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Ukraine Commemorates the Holocaust.”]

Meanwhile, starting in 2011, the neocons and the R2Pers were both active in pushing for the overthrow of Syria’s President Assad, who like all the other “bad guys” has been made into a one-dimensional villain brutalizing innocent “moderates” who stand for all that is good and right in the world.

The fact that the anti-Assad opposition has always included Sunni extremists and terrorists drawing support from Saudi Arabia and other authoritarian Sunni Persian Gulf states is another inconvenient truth that usually gets kept out of the mainstream narrative.

Though it’s surely true that both sides in the Syrian civil war have engaged in atrocities, the neocon-R2P storyline for much of the civil war was to consistently blame Assad and to conveniently absolve the rebels. Thus, on Aug. 21, 2013, when a mysterious sarin gas attack killed several hundred people in a Damascus suburb, the rush to judgment blamed Assad’s forces, despite logic and evidence that it was more likely a provocation by rebel extremists. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Fact-Resistant ‘Group Think’ on Syria.”]

Though it was less clear in August 2013, it soon became obvious that the most effective rebel fighters were Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State, which had evolved from the hyper-violent “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” into the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” before adopting the name, “Islamic State.” By September 2013, many of the U.S.-armed and CIA-trained fighters of the Free Syrian Army had thrown in their lot with either Nusra Front or Islamic State. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Syrian Rebels Embrace Al-Qaeda.”]

No Self-Criticism

But the opinion leaders of Official Washington are not exactly self-critical when they misread a foreign crisis. To explain why the beloved Syrian “moderates” joined forces with Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, the neocons and the R2Pers blamed Obama for not intervening militarily earlier to achieve “regime change” against Assad.

In other words, no lessons were learned from the experiences in Iraq and Libya that “regime change” is a dangerous strategy that fails to take into account the complexities of the countries where the United States decides to overthrow governments.

The same unlearned lesson should have applied to Ukraine, a strategically important nation to Russia and one in which much of the population is ethnic Russian. But there neocon Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland brushed aside the possibility of a costly showdown with Russia a conflict that could potentially evolve into a nuclear conflagration in order to pursue the “regime change” model.

While Ukraine today remains engulfed in chaos the same as “regime change” experiments Iraq and Libya the most potentially catastrophic “regime change” could come in Syria. The neocons and the R2Pers as well as the mainstream U.S. media remain set on ousting Assad, a goal also shared by Israel, Saudi Arabia and other hard-line Sunni states.

For his part, President Obama seems incapable of making the tough decisions that would avert a Syrian victory by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. That’s because to help salvage the Assad regime as the preferable alternative to transforming Syria into the bedlam of “terror central” would require cooperating with Iran and Russia, Assad’s two most important backers.

That, in turn, would infuriate the neocons, the R2Pers and the mainstream media. Obama would face a rebellion across Official Washington, where the debating points regarding “who lost Syria” are more valuable than taking realistic actions to protect vital American interests.

Obama would also have to face down both Saudi Arabia and Israel, something he does not seem capable of doing, especially as he tries to salvage an international agreement to restrict Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful purposes only when Saudi Arabia and Israel want to enlist the U.S. military in another “regime change” war in Iran.

Indeed, the recent decision by the Saudi-Israeli alliance to go on the offensive against what it deems Iranian “proxies” is possibly the major reason why the United States is incapable of taking action to avert what may be an impending Al-Qaeda/Islamic State victory in Syria. Between Saudi Arabia’s power over finance and energy and Israel’s political and media clout, these “strange-bedfellow” allies wield enormous influence over Official Washington. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Did Money Seal Israeli-Saudi Alliance?”]

This alliance is now entangling the United States in ancient Sunni-Shiite rivalries dating back to the Seventh Century. Saudi Arabia, Israel and their many U.S. backers are gluing black hats on Shiite-ruled Iran and its allies while adjusting white hats on the Saudi royals and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has unleashed the potent Israel Lobby to get Official Washington in line.

Israel also has intensified its airstrikes inside Syria, bombing targets associated with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia which is supporting the Assad regime. Israel rationalizes these attacks as designed to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining sophisticated weaponry but the practical effect is to weaken the forces battling Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, along with Turkey and some Persian Gulf states, has stepped up support for the Sunni Islamists battling Assad’s army, thus explaining the recent surge of new recruits and improved fighting capabilities of the rebels.

Yemen’s Suffering

In another front in this Sunni-Shiite regional war, Saudi Arabia deploying sophisticated American warplanes continues to pummel neighboring Yemen where Houthi rebels, belonging to a Shiite offshoot, have gained control of the capital Sanaa and other major cities.

On Tuesday, Saudi jets bombed Sanaa’s airport to prevent an Iranian humanitarian aid flight from landing, but the destruction also made the runway unusable for other supplies desperately needed by the Yemeni people. While the Saudis prevented this aid from the air, the U.S. Navy has mounted what amounts to a blockade at sea, turning back nine Iranian ships last weekend because of unconfirmed suspicions that weapons might be hidden in the food and medicine.

The combination of these interdictions is creating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East. The U.S. Navy, which likes to call itself “a global force for good,” has, in effect, been drawn into a strategy of starving the Yemeni people into submission as just more collateral damage in the Saudi war against Iranian influence.

Another consequence of the Saudi air campaign has been to boost “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” which has exploited the Saudi targeting of Houthi forces to seize more territory in Yemen’s east.

Yet, as tragic as the Yemeni situation is becoming, the more consequential crisis is emerging in Syria, where some analysts are seeing signs of a possible collapse of the Assad regime, a chief goal of the Saudi-Israeli alliance. Senior Israelis have been saying since 2013 that they would prefer a victory by Al-Qaeda over a victory by Assad.

For instance, in September 2013, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in an interview: “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. 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.

In June 2014, Oren expanded on this thinking at an Aspen Institute conference, extending Israel’s preference to include even the hyper-brutal Islamic State. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

During Netanyahu’s March 3, 2015 speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, he also downplayed the danger from the Islamic State with its “butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube” compared to Iran, which he accused of “gobbling up the nations” of the Middle East. However, Iran has not gobbled up any nations in the Middle East. It has not invaded any country for centuries. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Inventing a Record of Iranian Aggression.”]

Yet, while the Saudi-Israeli alarums about Iran may border on the hysterical, the alliance’s combined influence over Official Washington cannot be overstated. Thus, as absurd and outrageous as many of the claims are, they are not only taken seriously, they are treated as gospel. Anyone who points to the reality immediately becomes an “Iranian apologist.”

But the power of the Saudi-Israeli alliance is not simply a political curiosity or an obstacle to sensible policies. As it creates the conditions for an Al-Qaeda/Islamic State victory in Syria and the possible reintroduction of the U.S. military into the middle of the Middle East the Saudi-Israeli alliance has become an existential threat to the survival of the American Republic.

As the nation’s first presidents wisely recognized, there are grave dangers to a republic when it entangles itself in foreign conflicts. It’s almost always wiser to seek out realistic albeit imperfect political solutions or at least to evaluate what the negative ramifications of the military option might be before undertaking it. Otherwise, as the early presidents realized, if the country plunges into one costly conflict after another, it becomes a martial state, not a democratic republic.

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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39 comments for “The Day After Damascus Falls

  1. incontinent reader
    April 29, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    This article is brilliant and all the more depressing for being so right.

    I don’t know where to start to vent my own rage at such a venal system as we have promoted.

    Last week my Yemeni neighbor showed me I-Phone pictures of his bombed out house near Sanaa and told me that while his family members were seeking in their old village, even that was not safe. Today he spoke about the wanton slaughter of children.

    I pray that the Syrians will prevail in Syria and that the Saudis will be brought down in both Yemen and Syria and that eventually Israelis and Turks will take such a drubbing EVERYWHERE in the world, and no leader or citizen of either those countries will be safe anywhere that they travel or seek to do business, such that at some point they will no longer be able to avoid or survive the consequences of their killing and plundering of their neighbors in the Middle East.

    As for Power, Nuland, Kerry, Rice and Obama (and their predecessors, Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al), may they rot in hell for what they have done to this country and made this country do to others.

    • Hana Ghanem
      April 30, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      AMEN. How much I agree with you! How much I am unhappy for the current situation in the world!

  2. Greg Driscoll
    April 29, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    I think it’s about time that we – the workaday commoners of the former democracy known as the United States – declare our independence from both the Middle East oil sheikdoms and the duplicitous Israeli government. And how do we do that? By refusing to vote for either Democratic or Republican candidates for any office – federal, state, or local. It’s early enough in the so-called election cycle to actually have real success in becoming independent once again, through organizing a broad-coalition against the two demonstrably corrupted parties. If we fail in doing so, we will be living in what is, in effect, a Potemkin democracy.

    • Gregory Kruse
      April 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      At the very least we can support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Jill Stein.

      • Richard Braverman
        May 1, 2015 at 1:11 am

        Forgive me,
        .
        But Bernie Sanders gutted the Senate’s version of the Ron Paul audit the fed bill. His actions put his trustworthiness in doubt.
        .
        While Israel pummeled Gaza in 2014, Elizabeth Warren could not find the courage to speak up against that crime, her most bold statement was to claim …”America has a very special relationship with Israel. Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren’t many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world” Her actions put her trustworthiness in doubt.
        .
        Jill Stein-“equal rights for all; raise the bar; ingrained conflict” But she cannot call a crime a crime. No courage, no leadership; just another COMPROMISED politician.
        Her actions put her trustworthiness in doubt.
        .
        There must be three better people in the United States to be President than Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Jill Stein.

        • Larry
          May 8, 2015 at 1:25 am

          You exaggerate Rand Paul’s bill’s importance. It was only posturing. The Fed is a problem, but mostly because of the people who run it. Not a populist in the bunch. That could be changed with an anti-corporate left candidate. Anyway, Warren’s not running, doofuses, and Stein, whom I like, hardly merits an asterisk. And ‘soft on crime’? Really? Can’t you do more than paste yourself to stupid right-wing Republican talking points? Isn’t the fact that the USA has by far the highest percentage of its population imprisoned in the entire planet enough sadism for you to enjoy already? You are a fraud without ideas of any merit, and no opinion you haven’t thumbsucked from somewhere else stupid already.

    • Hana Ghanem
      April 30, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      To start with don´t vote for Hillary – the war criminal, PLEASE!

  3. Gregory Kruse
    April 29, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Robert, you are right to encourage this tired and valiant horse to put one hoof in front of the other. This fine animal has been on the right and difficult path for some years now, and nothing along the way has indicated that it is a wrong path. In fact, it is clear that everything observed along the way indicates that it is the right path. This horse might die of exhaustion along with the American Republic (for which the Stars and Stripes stand) but for now I pat it on its sweaty neck and give it some oats whenever I can. If the horse and the Republic should survive, I would hope the horse will be rewarded with some molasses in its oats, and be put at the head of the celebratory parade into the new world of actual democracy.

    • Richard Braverman
      May 1, 2015 at 1:29 am

      ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
      Boring

  4. Bill Bodden
    April 29, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    What should the United States do? Given its record in the Middle East we might well ask when did it not make things worse? If there is no redeeming answer nothing may be the best option.

  5. bfearn
    April 29, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    America has had good political choices in the past, as it has now, however the mainstream media BS is too strong. Most Americans don’t even know about the existence of alternative media let alone one of the great books out there.
    The future is bleak and I wished that more Americans realized how important a vote for Bernie etc. was.

  6. pablo Diablo
    April 29, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    And, a few people make money off of war (lots of money)
    The “land of the free” has become a “police state”. WAKE UP AMERICA. Take back “our” government.
    Those who control the media, control the dialogue.
    Pump up fear to justify a militarized police state
    Constant cycle of problems
    Prevents us from seeing corporate control of government
    Corporate control of resources.

  7. Paul Easton
    April 29, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    You ask the question “Can This Fate Be Avoided?”. Your answer seems to be “If Obama turns the government around”. Oh good.

  8. Sally
    April 29, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    I’ve been looking at Jim Webb as a potential candidate for the Dems, but can anyone really go against the Hillary “machine”? How can we stomach someone like her as our leader – openly gloating over the murder of the head of state of a sovereign country? Is this what America stands for now? We have lost our way. And, we have forgotten how to take care of each other and the Earth.
    We Baby Boomers helped stopped the Vietnam War and then seemed to go to sleep. I feel that we are leaving a horrible mess for the next generations to clean up. Can we redeem ourselves before we are too old to be effective?

    • FDRva
      April 30, 2015 at 1:46 am

      I was an enthusiastic Webb For Senate 2006 Va Democrat.

      And a Hillary delegate to the Va. 2008 convention–mostly because then-media darling Obama was clearly Wall Street’s guy.

      Since America’s relationship to Russia has always been muddied by British intelligence misdeeds–who better to stand up to the Brits–than an Irish-American.

      I like the sound of President Martin O’Malley.

      • Brad Owen
        April 30, 2015 at 4:51 am

        Finally, someone not taken in by the Jewish “Red Herring” that’s ALWAYS dragged across the old Imperial Anglo-Saxon Trail (just ONE of the many tools in their Imperial Tool Kit). An O’Malley-Webb ticket. A President O’Malley will put The Street through a Glass-Steagall bankruptcy re-organization, crushing them, and their Imperial pretensions. The ruination of these enablers of The City-of-London (LTD.) will bring a quick, relatively clean end to the long era of Empire. Just have them wear flak vests and helmets, and stay in “the bunker” for godsakes, don’t work the crowd. The Imperialists of The City and The Street had the last Irish-American we had for a REAL President, killed (JFK) for taking on The City and The Street.

  9. William Jacoby
    April 30, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Today I watched an old YouTube of Vincent Bugliosi calling (in 2008) for the prosecution of George Bush for murder. He and others found ample legal grounds for conviction, basically because the war was deceitfully marketed. But no prosecutor could be found to take the risk, the press ducked for cover. With such deceit and such cowardice, people should revisit their mistaken belief that 9/11 was caused by 19 Arabs with box cutters. The mayhem of 2011 was nothing compared to the mayhem we are bringing to one country after another, with no end in sight other than martial law in the U. S. There is no statute of limitation on murder; and Mr. Bugliosi’s book and offer to provide free legal assistance are still available. But cowardice and deceit still prevail, as the grip of fascism tightens.

    • Tom Welsh
      April 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

      ” But no prosecutor could be found to take the risk…”

      And there you have one of the fatal weaknesses of our Western constitutions. Well, the USA and UK anyway. I understand that the laws of France and many other “Latin” nations, which are heavily influenced by Roman and Napoleonic law, do not give prosecutors such discretion. If a law has been broken, they are legally obliged to prosecute. It’s not, as in the USA, a question of “will this help my political career or not?”

  10. Andrew Nichols
    April 30, 2015 at 2:33 am

    The neocons and the R2Pers – as well as the mainstream U.S. media – remain set on ousting Assad, a goal also shared by Israel, Saudi Arabia and other hard-line Sunni states.

    Be careful; what you wish for Israel. I have no doubt that after a very short time with Syria and no doubt shortly afterward, Lebanon becoming Saudi type fundamentalist hell holes Tel Aviv will be in serious trouble.

    Who’d have believed it? A decade or so after 911 the USA is Big Al Khyders navy and Israel its airforce. I wonder if the dimwitted electorate of the USA will even ponder the absurdity while they tuck into their next Taco Belle.

    • Tom Welsh
      April 30, 2015 at 11:16 am

      Maybe it’s all an elaborate plan to get revenge for the USS Liberty. “Revenge is a dish best served cold”.

    • Minnesota Mary
      April 30, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      “Be careful; what you wish for Israel. I have no doubt that after a very short time with Syria and no doubt shortly afterward, Lebanon becoming Saudi type fundamentalist hell holes Tel Aviv will be in serious trouble.”

      Are you kidding? Israel is angling for an excuse to go into Syria and Lebanon to capture more territory that they believe is part of the Promised Land. That’s why they are supporting ISIS. Once ISIS is in control of Syria watch Israel, the 800 pound gorilla in the ME take them out based on “self defense” rationale.

  11. Bob
    April 30, 2015 at 3:33 am

    God is sovereign and only he decides what happens in Syria. Everything that happened there happened because God allowed it to happen. It’s God’s wisdom. Jesus is King forever.

  12. Peter Loeb
    April 30, 2015 at 6:33 am

    THE PROSECUTION IS RESTLESS BUT “RESTS”

    In this brilliant presentation of the MidEast we hear much of what we have refused
    to hear so many times before.

    Perhaps it is presumptious to even dare to suggest any flaw. However, the very
    idea that Obama or any political structure will suddenly confront its corrupt
    relationship with the neocons/R2P ers or other politicians who support Zionist
    Israel is an fantasy. This simply won’t happen. It seems that we
    have gone back of the days of the alliances and “games” of the twentieth century.
    (World Wars One and Two).

    As Michael Prior CM observed in his work THE BIBLE AND COLONIALISM ,
    one can analyze with precision but “justice” will have to wait.

    Another primary ingredient is to put all of this in context with developments
    which include not only Western foci but the entire world. Where is the East?
    Where is Moscow and China? Parry’s views are expressed from an
    American perspective. (Recall that while the US wished to focus its foreign
    policies on Europe, it was time again diverted by events in the East, in
    China, in Japan, in Korea, in Indochina…)

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  13. onno
    April 30, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Thank you for this excellent analysis of truth, it teaches us again and again that the Middle East is a barrel of dynamite ready to explode and all that because of US so-called democracy claims. It’s all about US neocons who lack brains and even more lack an understanding how the Muslim world works.

    After invading Iraq and killing and murdering its dictator Saddam Hussein, USA/NATO invaded Libya with similar results. After USA/NATO has destabilized these countries USA does it again in Syria and Ukraine. The USA is a war machine directed by Neocons in Washington influenced by Lobbyists and financed by the Defence industry and of course the American taxpayers.
    The world would be a much safer and more peaceful place without the control by US capitalists and now by incompetence and stupidity in Washington. I wonder WHEN the American people stop funding this GLOBAL MILITARY AGGRESSION costing Trillions of Dollars and so many American lives and instead would concentrate on the many DOMESTIC problems.

  14. paul wichmann
    April 30, 2015 at 10:24 am

    “at least to evaluate what the negative ramifications of the military option might be before undertaking it.”

    Remember “Mission accomplished?” Cheney and all the corners we’d turned? Rumsfeld with ‘Democracy can be messy’ at the looting of Iraq’s antiquities? Or Obama, how we were leaving a stable Iraq (all trained up and) capable of defending itself? How can we evaluate the negative ramifications of the military option when we haven’t put a foot wrong in, say, the past 14 years (at least)?
    We’ve bullshirted ourselves right into dystopia / The Twilight Zone.

  15. Helge Lohse Tietz
    April 30, 2015 at 10:54 am

    I am afraid that the Israeli-Saudi connection might become as fatal for Israel as was the underestimation of the viciousness of the Nazi-regime by many Jews in the 1930s who believed that by remaining law-and-order obedient they will be left in peace in Germany. Assad might not be exactly an Israeli friend just like Iran is not but if the Sunni radicals win the consequences could be by far worse for Israel: They may expand further, bring Lebanon and Jordania under their control and launch a joint attack on Israel by all means, something Syria and Iran have refrained from. It is just amazing how Israel can ally itself to Saudi-Arabia where absolutely no religious dissent is tolerated, there are no Synagogues or Jews anywhere on the Arab peninsula in contrast to Iran, where there is Jewish community still existing being left in peace and which is allowed to practice their believes as well. There are about 10 Synagogues in the city of Esfahan alone. Should they not rather approach Iran then ally themselves to totalitarian and intolerant Saudia-Arabia? Concerning Ukraine it appears that the new Kiyiv government has also devolved in a worse evil than what was before under democratically elected Yanukovich. Just read this statement by recently murdered jounalist Oles Buzina, it makes me shiver, and we are sending billions from the west to those people around Yatzenyuk: http://fortruss.blogspot.nl/2015/04/oles-buzina-on-media-censorship-in.html

    • Brad Owen
      May 1, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Perhaps it’s worth considering that the little, sawed-off, Zionist “Tail” is NOT wagging the gigantic Imperial “Dog”,after all? Maybe Israel AND Saudi Arabia are subjugated client states of the monetarist, trans-national, Western Empire of The City(London) and The Street(NYC), who are performing their allotted tasks; namely, the production of Failed States (including Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK, and USA) in order to bring the shattered, “shocked and awed” pieces more firmly under “Imperial Management”, via its’ Security State apparatus, eliminating all tendencies towards democracy, Peoples’ Movements, Solidarity, Populist uprisings, etc…The old Roman Empire didn’t just practice the “Carthaginian Solution” only upon Carthage. The Samnites got the same treatment; so did the Dacians, and many other Tribes and Kingdoms too. That’s how Empires stay one step ahead of any potential Tribal or National rivals-for-Reign. If they’re too big to eliminate directly, make their rulers into your partners in your nefarious Empire, and cut them in for a “Piece of the Action”.

      • Markus
        May 1, 2015 at 11:53 am

        “monetarist, trans-national, Western Empire of The City(London) and The Street(NYC),”

        Perhaps these neocons, Rothchilds, Israel lobbyists, Friends of Israel etc. are part of the same elite that rule Israel ?

        • Brad Owen
          May 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

          Perhaps. It’s not like I have solid insider information. I lean alot on Tarpley and what he has to say in his online book, “Against Oligarchy”. I’m more inclined towards the belief that Israel is just a Province in a vast Western Empire of oligarchic families who can trace lineages back a thousand years and more, and were likely the descendents of old Roman families who ran the Western Roman Empire during its’ collapse. Empires die, but people and families live on…ESPECIALLY well-heeled families. They bear uncanny resemblance to Mafia “Families”. Whoever rules Israel are, at best, just governors and “Tools” of this Western Empire of “Families” and their affiliated Crime Syndicates, hired to bring about some desired effect in this one provincial area-of-concern to this Western Empire. If all of the Jews and zionists of the World disappeared, some other “Tool” would be employed by The Empire (Sunni-Shiites perhaps?…Secular Moderns vs. religious Traditionalists maybe? See what I mean?

  16. Tom Welsh
    April 30, 2015 at 11:10 am

    It seems less unlikely than it once did that the medium-term outcome will be that Islamic State and its burgeoning offshoots will flow irresistibly through the Near East, taking over Iraq and Syria, then Jordan and possibly Egypt, and eventually spilling over into Saudi Arabia. There, it would find a ramshackle medieval theocracy supported only by American-manufactured air power. Once a powerful guerilla army gets in “under the radar” and reaches Riyadh, Islamic State might find itself well on the way to the modern Caliphate it desires. Such a territory might extend from the Iranian borders all the way across North Africa, quite possibly to the Straits of Gibraltar. And then Turkey will be in the sights… As for Israel, it would be immersed in a sea of hostile Muslims determined to overthrow Jewish rule, and undeterred by any number of bombing raids or rocket attacks. What would the USA do then?

  17. Tom Welsh
    April 30, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I beg your pardon, Amid Yousef, but what’s your point? You haven’t given us a single (alleged) fact to go on. And I’m afraid many of us will have stopped reading the moment we reached that fatal phrase “proud American”. It’s just associated with so much innocent blood – metric tons of blood.

  18. Everybodys Fool
    April 30, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Obama is not the naive innocent portrayed here who just happened to pick old neocons to fill his regime. The corrupt machine is playing good cop bad cop. They want Jeb the war hawk next so are making warmonger Obama out to be a peacenik and blame that as a reason for the rise in CIA-Duh / ISIS. As horrendously bad as Hillary is, Jeb is worse. The msm quiet now about the last Bush’s role in bringing Iraq down and igniting terrorism in the Arab world because the establishment prefers Jeb, though they’ll accept their Hillary and either one will kill us.

  19. Anonymous
    April 30, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    14 years of war and it is only getting worse. These are the dumbest wars that I can think of where historically the US armed and trained the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets (the Mujahideen later becoming Al Qaeda and the Taliban). Then Al Qaeda attacks the US and in-turn the US illegally invades Iraq who were not linked to Al Qaeda and did not attack the US. With the overthrow of Hussein in Iraq then Al Qaeda expands into Iraq where ISIS becomes an off-shoot of Al Qaeda. Then NATO overthrows Gaddafi and again Al Qaeda expands into Libya. Then you have the US, Britain, and France arming and training “moderate” Syrian rebels in Jordan 2012 – God knows how we could not figure out how this would turn out bad considering the example of the rise of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It seems that these “moderate” Syrian rebels then went off to join the Al Nusra Front (an offshoot of Al Qaeda) and ISIS (another offshoot of Al Qaeda) in Syria. Now both the US and Canada, without a UN Security Council Resolution OR permission from the Syrian Government are bombing in Syria which I believe violates the UN Charter Article 2(4) – another lawless intervention. So in essence we are dropping bombs on ISIS and the Al Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq meanwhile we are supporting the Saudis to bomb the Houthis who are fighting against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen. The whole foreign policy by western countries is so upside down, I don’t even know what to say but to describe it as sheer stupidity (though some arms dealers are making out like bandits).

    I really wish that the American people would come to the realization that if you vote for either Republicans or Democrats that it is just going to bring the World more war which could eventually bring us ever closer to a new World War – which would be bad for all of us. Please get out and vote but for someone other than these 2 political parties – send a message that enough is enough. Also though, and maybe Americans won’t like to hear this, it is also why I look forward to the rise of China because China is not invading country after country to get what they want – I prefer China’s use of soft power compared to the US’ use of hard power. The world is out of balance and our western countries, I am Canadian, are running rampant throughout the world, lawless, and we desperately need a counterbalance to put us back in check. That is how I feel…

  20. alexander horatio
    April 30, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    It is a great article Mr. Parry,
    A very thoughtful argument on the demise of Syria and what it portends for the future of the middle east and the future of our (once great ) republic !
    Thank you !
    But it neglects to mention a very, very crucial point , ….perhaps the MOST crucial point about our ENTRY into this 13 year “excursion” (fiasco) in the middle east !
    First, the american people( at least I did ) signed onto the “IRAQ WAR” because we were TOLD, categorically, by our administration .that IRAQ was an “IMMINENT THREAT” to our nation…that Saddam Hussein was going to use his “weapons of mass destruction “on US, and that if we did not .. ACT NOW ….there would be “mushroom clouds” over every major city in the United States…
    We were told with “absolute certainty” that it was “SADDAM’S ANTHRAX” that was sent to Tom Brokaw’s and Senator Leahy’s office….
    Absolute certainty !

    ..There was no discussion with the american people about “regime change” !…
    .There was no discussion with the american people about bringing “democracy ” to IRAQ!….
    ..When Collin Powell testified before the U.N.S.C,…he did not discuss “regime change”…at all…He discussed “mobile labs” of W.M.D. pointed straight at US !
    This was “fraud”…plain and simple…..and. No ….I don’t BLAME Collin Powell.( maybe a little bit)…because I know, NOW, that he was not “the source” of the fraud……
    But Imagine for a moment, if Collin Powell had testified before the security council that Saddam Hussein was a brutal despot and we really wanted to go in there and remove him by force, and bring “democracy” to the Iraqi people…and if THAT discussion happened with US, the american people….most of us would probably say….that would be really nice ..to remove a dictator in a foreign land and bring democracy there…
    .But..
    . how many of our Boys will die doing it ?,
    how much will it cost ?,
    how long will it take?,
    and will we be …successful?

    There is a PROFOUND difference between preventing an “imminent attack” against us, and “regime change”in a foreign country !

    And that DISTINCTION,I believe, is what defines “Neo-con Terrorism” versus “making… “a mistake !”

    If the american people were TOLD that fifty thousand of our troops will be wounded, maimed or killed, nearly one million Iraqi’s exterminated(most of them innocent civilians,) the war would destabilize the oil market, forcing gasoline prices up from $1.49 to over $ 5.00 for every american, that the total cost to taxpayers could EXCEED 5 TRILLION DOLLARS…..and in the end, it might NOT work ….and Iraq could become…what it HAS become… a “failed state”…
    Well,perhaps I cannot speak for every american….but i can tell you WHAT I would say……

    Go F##K yourself and the HORSE you rode in on !

    People in positions of “responsibility”.. in “government”,…in “the media” ,and their “billionaire backers” ,have an “obligation'” to be forthright and honest with us,the american people, especially on issues of war and peace….
    and if they are not, or have been shown …not to be …
    Then put them where they belong..

    GUANTANAMO BAY !

    • Joe L.
      April 30, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      First of all, I am Canadian to get that out of the way. I accidentally posted the anonymous posting above before I put my name. One thing that I have to say that I have a real problem with are “pre-emptive” strikes or wars based on what might possibly happen. I think it is extremely dangerous to buy into “pre-emptive” anything because it can justify war against anyone at anytime. For instance I believe that Canada was producing medical isotopes by enriching uranium but what happens if some country does not like Canada and says well Canada is thinking about making nuclear weapons and we need to strike them before they do. Sounds preposterous but using a “pre-emptive” mentality makes it plausible – that’s frightening. Now we know the song and dance about Iraq but still there are calls to “pre-emptively” attack Iran, attack Syria, confront Russia etc. – that is so very dangerous much like Minority Report. So I hope that people realize the dangerous of supporting anything that is “pre-emptive” but reality shows that the US government and western media in general can still provide the same lies over and over again with many people still buying into them.

  21. Chris Jonsson
    April 30, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Robert Parry gives an excellent summary of our foreign policy over the last 40-50 years. The mistakes we keep making and the haphazard decisions made in our name affects us for decades. Unless the neocons are removed from power we will destroy our country and create continuing havoc in the Middle East. Isn’t it frustrating that the voices of understanding and vision are never listened to? Destroying and rebuilding other countries while neglecting our own is draining people physically and emotionally. Let’s refocus our priorities before it’s impossible to return to the American dream.

  22. fbjle
    April 30, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    The protocols in full flight, being followed to the letter.

  23. Inshort
    May 4, 2015 at 10:25 am

    How to remove ourselves from the mess created by and for us in the Middle East? It seems clear that continued action there on any level is sure to make things worse. So what does a reasonable person/nation do when faced with the total bankruptcy of their actions, especially when refusal to acknowledge one’s mistakes will have but one certain outcome: self-destruction combined with self-delusion, and vice-versa.

    Do we the people remain totally ineffectual in the face of this dismal state of affairs? Comments here suggest that action at the polling booth can have some ameliorative result but fails to take into consideration that the people have been seriously duped for a very long time re the candidates shoved before us.

    They’re all uniformly bad because they’re all working for the same behind the scenes cabal. That being the case, the likelihood of someone like Bernie Sanders becoming a viable option is nil. Even if he is able to get to the final round, he is tainted by his long association with the infamously ineffectual and corrupt US Congress. Moreover, we have to intuit that all Presidents in the recent past have working knowledge of the secret cabal that runs the US, excepting perhaps Bernie whose outsider status would make him prey to all sorts of mayhem that the evil insiders are sure to produce.

    So maybe we need to take the high road to a completely different set of options: Start by disavowing the Federal Reserve and shutting this criminal institution down. Follow up with local actions that are aimed at creating self-sufficient local entities that exist independently of the hopelessly corrupted central government… and stop paying taxes to support this rotten-to-the-core government.

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