Neocons Urge Embrace of Al Qaeda

Exclusive: The latest neocon gambit is to build support for “regime change” in Syria by downplaying the evils of Al Qaeda, rebranding it as some sort of “moderate” terrorist force whose Syrian affiliate is acceptable to Israel and supported by Saudi Arabia. But this audacious argument ignores reality, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare

Just nine days after the fall of the World Trade Center, George W. Bush announced that he was imposing a radical new policy on virtually the entire globe: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

As dramatic as the statement was, just about every phrase was open to question in one form or another.  But rather than launching into a long and vigorous debate about the meaning of terrorism or America’s right to impose diktat on the world at large, congressmen turned their minds off and gave Bush a standing ovation.

Today, the same Bush Doctrine is sinking beneath the waves as a growing portion of the punditocracy declares that some forms of terrorism are better than others and that harboring a terrorist may not be so bad if it advances U.S. interests. But once again, the response is not questioning, debate, or even applause, but silence.

The latest evidence of a sea change in establishment thinking is a blog that Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Middle East correspondent, recently published on The New York Review of Books website. Entitled “Why We Need al-Qaeda,” it argues that Al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, Al Nusra, are evolving in a more moderate direction in growing contrast to its rival, the super-violent Islamic State. So why not use Al Nusra as a counterforce against both Bashar al-Assad and ISIS?

As Rashid puts it: “Unlike ISIS, which demands absolute subjugation of the inhabitants of any territory it conquers (surrender or be executed), al-Nusra is cooperating with other anti-Assad groups and recently joined the ‘Army of Conquest’ alliance of rebel militias in northern Syria. Moreover, in contrast to ISIS’s
largely international and non-Syrian fighting force, al-Nusra’s fighters are almost wholly Syrian, making them both more reliable and more committed to Syria’s future.

“Meanwhile, in interviews with Al Jazeera, al-Nusra leaders have vowed not to attack
targets in the West, promoting an ideology that might be called ‘nationalist jihadism’ rather than global jihad. In recent months, al-Nusra’s leaders
have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law, while putting on hold their own plans of building a caliphate.”

Thus, according to Rashid’s viewpoint, Al Nusra is cooperative, patriotic, unthreatening to anyone other than Assad, and in favor of a kinder and gentler form of shari‘a as well. Yet, Rashid argues, that while Turkey and the Arab gulf states recognize that change is afoot, the U.S. keeps its eyes resolutely shut:

“With 230,000 killed and 7.6 million people uprooted in Syria alone, the Arab states want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria. They know that solution will never come from the weak moderate opposition, and that
any lasting peace will require support by the strong and ruthless Islamist
groups fighting there.”

Gulf States’ Favorite

So the gulf states are backing the second most ruthless Islamist group in Syria (Al Qaeda’s affiliate) in hopes of offsetting the first most ruthless (ISIS) and making short work of the Baathist regime in Damascus. But as Arab leaders prepare for direct negotiations with Al Nusra, Rashid warns, “the only one not at the table could be the
United States.”

This is dramatic stuff. After all, Rashid is not taking aim at some minor doctrine, but one that has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy since 9/11. Moreover, he’s not the only one talking this way. Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Riyadh in early March to meet with Saudi King Salman and discuss ways of upping support for the Syrian Islamist opposition, there has been a veritable boomlet in terms of calls for a rapprochement with Al Qaeda.

Within days of the Riyadh get-together, Foreign Affairs went public with an article arguing that even though “the United States is the closest it has ever been to destroying al Qaeda, its interests would be better served by keeping the terrorist organization afloat.” Lina Khatib, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, wrote a few weeks later that “while not everyone likes Nusra’s ideology, there is a growing sense in the north of Syria that it is the best alternative on the ground and that ideology is a small price to pay for higher returns.”

Charles Lister of the Brookings Institute’s Doha Center, wrote that Al Nusra is undergoing a “moderating shift.” Frederic Hof, Obama’s former envoy to the Syrian guerrillas and now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the group has become “a real magnet for young Syrian fighters who don’t have any particular jihadist or even radical sectarian agenda.” They are drawn to Al Nusra, he explained, for two reasons because it’s “well-resourced” and because it “seems to have been willing to fight the regime and not to engage in some of the corrupt activities and warlordism that you would find elsewhere within the panoply of Syrian opposition.”

So, Rashid’s views are hardly unique. Nonetheless, they’re the most explicit and upfront to date, an indication that support for an alliance with Al Qaeda is on the upswing and that advocates are growing bolder and more self-confident. So how should ordinary people who are not part of the elite foreign-policy discussion respond?

One-Sided Arguments

For one thing, they might notice that such articles are remarkably one-sided and poorly reasoned. Rashid may be “one of Pakistan’s most respected journalists,” as the BBC puts it, someone whose work has appeared in such publications as the Daily Telegraph and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Yet shooting holes through his arguments is child’s play.

Take his claim that “al-Nusra’s leaders have toned down the implementation of their own brutal version of Islamic law.” Whatever the difference between Al Nusra and ISIS on this score, it’s less impressive than Rashid lets on.

The Soufan Group, a New York-based security firm headed by a Lebanese-American ex-FBI agent named Ali H. Soufan, notes, for instance, that while Islamic State released a video in January showing its forces stoning an accused adulteress, Al Nusra released one around the same time showing its forces shooting two women for the same alleged offense. Since the victims in either case were killed, the difference, as the Soufan Group noted, was purely “stylistic.”

Rashid claims that Al Nusra is less extreme in its hostility to Shi‘ism, in part because it thinks “anti-Shia fanaticism” is backfiring and becoming “an impediment to gaining more territory.” Indeed, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, Al Nusra’s commander-in-chief, told Al Jazeera in a rare interview on May 27 that his forces were willing to welcome Alawites, as Syria’s Shi‘ites are known, back into the fold.

“If they drop weapons,” al-Julani said, “disavow Assad, do not send their men to fight for him and return to Islam, then they are our brothers.” But when he described Alawism as a sect that has “moved outside the religion of God and of Islam,” the meaning became clear: Alawite must either convert or die.

Whether this makes Al Nusra less genocidal than ISIS is open to debate. According to the pro-rebel Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, Al Nusra recently massacred more than 20 Druze villagers in northwestern Syria reportedly after a local commander denounced them as kuffar, or infidels, while al-Julani, in his Al Jazeera interview, specified that Christians must pay the jizya, a special head tax imposed by Islamic law, as well a stipulation Syria’s ten-percent Christian minority is not likely to find very reassuring.

Ordinary people viewing this from afar might notice that the government that al-Julani is seeking to overthrow is officially secular and non-discriminatory and that even Obama has conceded that it has “protected the Christians in Syria,” as he told a Syrian Christian delegation last September. They might also notice that Rashid’s article is in other respects highly revealing, although not in ways he cares to admit.

For instance, Rashid writes that U.S. policy in the Middle East is beset by “growing contradictions.” This is obviously correct. But the problem is not that Washington refuses to face facts about Al Nusra’s alleged moderating trend, but that the U.S. is attempting to hammer out an accord with Iran while struggling to preserve its alliance with Israel and the Arab gulf states, all of whom regard Iran as public enemy number one.

Obama’s Fence Straddling

The effort has led to monumental fence straddling. While entering into talks with Iran, the Obama administration has given the go-ahead to Saudi Arabia’s two-month-old assault on Iranian-allied forces in Yemen while turning a blind eye to growing Turkish and Saudi support for anti-Iranian terrorists in Syria.

While paying lip service to the Bush Doctrine that he who harbors a terrorist is as bad as a terrorist, the Obama administration made no objection when the Saudis and Turks donated U.S.-made TOW missiles to Al Nusra-led forces in northern Syria or when the Saudi bombing campaign allowed Al Qaeda to expand in Yemen.

It’s a mixed-up policy that has people in the Middle East shaking their heads. Yet Rashid adds to the confusion by misrepresenting the Saudi role. He writes, for instance, that the Arab States are swinging behind Al Nusra because they “want a quick end to the Assad regime and a viable solution for Syria,” when, in fact, Saudi Wahhabists have sought from the start to impose a government much like their own, as a report by U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency observed back in August 2012.

Rather than “viable,” such a government would be precisely the opposite for a highly variegated society like Syria with its large Christian, Shi‘ite, and Druze minorities fearful of Sunni fundamentalist domination yet the gulf states, backed by the U.S., have pushed on regardless.

On the issue of Al Qaeda’s brutal intolerance, Rashid adds, “For Arab leaders, determining whether al-Qaeda has really changed
will depend on the group’s long-term attitude toward Shias,” suggesting that the gulf states are seeking a fairer outcome for Syria’s Alawites.

Saudi Intolerance

But this is misleading as well since Saudi attitudes toward the kingdom’s own 15-percent Shi‘ite minority are deeply oppressive and seem to be getting worse.

According to the Cambridge scholar Toby Matthiesen, for example, Saudi Shi‘ites are barred from the army and the National Guard as well as the top rungs of the government.  State-mandated schoolbooks denounce them as “rejectionists,” while, according to the independent scholar Mai Yamani, they cannot testify in court or marry a Sunni and must put up with abuse from Wahhabist clerics who regularly preach that killing a Shi‘ite merits a greater heavenly reward than killing a Christian or a Jew.

Since Salman’s accession in late January, there is no sign of a softening. Indeed, by bombing Yemen’s Shi‘ite Houthi rebels and stepping up support for fanatically anti-Shi‘ite rebels in Syria, Salman gives every indication of intensifying his anti-Shi‘ite crusade and taking it abroad.

Neocons pushing for an explicit alliance with Al Nusra are thus attempting to plunge the U.S. ever more deeply into a growing sectarian war. Ordinary people might also notice that such “experts” expound their views from cushy posts financed by Qatar (the case with Brookings’ Doha Center) or by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain (the case with the Atlantic Council).

Yet Congress doesn’t care about such conflicts of interest and the White House is too intimidated to speak out, while the American people at large are not consulted. Questioning and debate are more imperative than ever, yet they are as absent as they were back in 2001.

[For more on this topic, see’s “Climbing into Bed with Al-Qaeda.”]

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

29 comments for “Neocons Urge Embrace of Al Qaeda

  1. Benson Sundheim
    June 30, 2015 at 16:28

    Yes, US policy up to now has been very clumsy. What do you recommend we should be doing now?

  2. Abe
    June 30, 2015 at 15:12

    The present ISIS lightning war in Iraq is the creation of an illusion to initiate the fulfillment of a pre-planned agenda of the West in close alliance with Israel to redraw the map of the entire region as the “New Middle East.” This is the Yinon Plan at work, which aims at the balkanisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region into smaller and weaker entities or states in order to ensure the dominant position of Israel in the region and the control of its oil, gas and water resources by the US-Israel nexus. In the process of balkanisation, the facets of ethnicity, religion and race from within the region are engaged for destruction, causing alarm for the UN and international military intervention to “protect innocent civilians,” thus paving the way for the ultimate achievement of the designed goals of creating the “New Middle East.”

    The chaos, destruction and devastation caused by the ISIS in its process of establishing the Sunni Islamic Caliphate in Iraqi and Syrian territories is the realisation of the intended policy of the US and the West to change public perception that the “War on Terror” was never a war waged by the West against Islam but a “war within Islam” along religious, ethnic and sectarian lines in the Islamic world. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s Sunni Caliphate project coincides with a longstanding US agenda to carve up both Iraq and Syria into three separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shiia Republic, and a Republic of Kurdistan.

    The Yinon Plan and the role of the ISIS
    By Sultana Afroz

  3. MarkU
    June 28, 2015 at 23:55

    The British politician Robin Cook said just before his death that Al-Qaeda was just a database of CIA Mujahadeen operatives. It always has been so and it is still so today.

    Even now when the US is openly supporting the alleged perpetrators of 9/11, certain alternative gatekeeper sites (such as this one) are still peddling the same old crap. What a shame that so many otherwise politically aware individuals are still sucking it up.

    • OH
      June 29, 2015 at 16:50

      You could say “that’s nothing new” any practically every article existence, it is a very vague criticism.
      The fact is, neo-cons have only recently started floating the idea of embracing Al Qaida openly, and this will continue to be a story until the day they are humiliated and give up on that.

  4. June 28, 2015 at 01:01

    Rashid himself calls the strategy of supporting al-Nusra “sup[ping] with the devil.” And that’s the meal he has invited us to.

  5. David Simpson
    June 28, 2015 at 00:01

    As if al Queda had anything to do with 9/11. They were merely a manufactured scapegoat for a Made in America shock treatment.

  6. Skip Edwards
    June 27, 2015 at 22:17

    Connect the dots. It is not only the neocons who promote the wars destroying the world for profit. Remember the war cries by the Obama Administration and the “who wants to be the last to die” John Kerry as they strived to destroy Syria as they did to Hillary’s Libya and Bush-
    Obama’s Iraq, and Nuland’hysterical attempts to prove what a tough woman (in an alpha male’s pants) while bring us and the world to an unnecessary brink of nuclear annihilation (you go girl) and the bipartisan effort to destroy the world’s environment by taking absolutely no concrete action to halt, even slow down, the use of fossil fuels since Jimmy Carter warned in the late ’70’s. I am a registered Democrat for local primaries only and detest both major (only) political parties with a passion. It is time, past time, for a new Peoples’ Party which truly represents the vast majority of Americans and understands that all people are brothers and sisters who destest bullies no matter from which country they might claim as home. Wake up people of the world. Unite!

  7. Stanley Crawford
    June 27, 2015 at 21:29

    Many mentally-challenged Americans don’t realize Al-CIAda was created by the U.S.A. to fight the former U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan and the unpatriotic, immoral and unethical Ronald Reagan provided them with billions of $’s in weapons. Along with Reagan “Freedom Fighters” Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban; now relabeled “Terrorists.” Reagan also fomented Treason as the Iran-Contra weapons for cocaine scandal proved. The idea that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” has still not been realized that both are your enemy and eventually the weapons provided them will be turned against the U.S.A.. 9/11 was the “New Pearl Harbor,” to implement the PNAC agenda, with the Bu$h administration and government agencies complicit in its happening. So, with the biggest breech of American defenses in the history of the country proves Republicans are the worst defenders of U.S. “freedoms.” This is why Bernie Sanders need to be elected president in 2016, along with a Congress that will support his policies, to take back the country from corporatism.

    • Procopius
      July 5, 2015 at 20:47

      The Taliban hadn’t been formed when Saint Ronnie was selling arms to the mullahs in Iran and also providing chemical weapons (and plenty of conventional weapons) to Saddan Hussein and Usama bin Laden. Get a grip.

  8. Giovanni Angeletti
    June 27, 2015 at 12:37

    This post is very good, but the title is quite misleading: Ahmed Rashid is not a neocon, and if he were he would not be published in the NYRB, which features hawkish interventionists on the ‘liberal’ side. Know your enemy.

    • Procopius
      July 5, 2015 at 20:45

      I don’t know Ahmed Rashid or what his usual line is, but in this case he’s promoting the neocon agende. The New York Times is solidly neoliberal unless the current administration wants a different line, in which case they are perfectly happy to print he press release without demur. Izvestia on the Hudson. Neoliberals do not seem to be distinct from neoconservatives. Who are the highest ranking people in the State Department now? His piece seems to be a trial balloon from them.

  9. dahoit
    June 27, 2015 at 11:21

    Hasbaritic nonsense is now the height of rational discussion,its Islam to blame,and we are all true blue enlightened justice seekers.Jeez.(Guardian)
    No mention of how we have screwed with the region for 70 years,and this is all blowback,and the use of false identification of the real sponsors of terror,Israel and their lackeys,US and GB.

  10. OH
    June 27, 2015 at 10:22

    Terrorist Sympathizers is what they are. They are dipping their toes in and test whether they might get away with openly declaring their true intentions to help ISIS set up a Sunni Islamic State. Because anything is better than having Secular Socialist Arab govts one day put a tax on that oil and use it for health care which would not impact the US negatively at all – to them – to the evildoers EVIL doers – to the terrorist-helping sympathizers.
    This is a time of war, if you’re with Al Qaida, then you’re on the wrong side neo-cons.
    One day, the US needs to have a non-contradictory foreign policy that takes into account what is best for American working families.
    Supporting Al Qaida, or it’s affiliates, openly? Forget it neocons.

  11. Mark
    June 27, 2015 at 00:19

    It just goes to show you the only thing that really matters to neocons is serving thyself — at the exspense of millions of other people around the world — all for the neocons! And if you are of temporary use to them, they’ll simply use you up without gratitude, and then destroy you if that now serves their purposes — just as they’re doing to the USA and so many other places around the globe. It’s all meaningless and worthless to them — except for their personal wealth, comfort and security — don’t you just loath those kind of self-serving people?

    • Erik
      June 27, 2015 at 07:54

      I think that you have hit that one. They would just as soon have the business of replacing skyscrapers knocked down by Al Qaeda, if they can’t profit from random anti-socialist wars claimed to be defensive. But wait for a new prez, and we’ll have ourselves a new war. They shall be the our defenders against the low bidders in the foreign policy sales game, according to their press, as they destroy the last of our rights and economy for private gain.

    • OH
      June 27, 2015 at 10:26

      To me, the terrible thing is supporting Al Qaida affiliates, whether they support Al Qaida affiliates with or without gratitude it is still treason.

      • Procopius
        July 5, 2015 at 20:39

        Treason? Nonsense. This is the way the world works. This is all necessary for America’s long-term survival and prosperity ;-)

  12. hammersmith
    June 26, 2015 at 16:20

    It is a hoot. The military chiefs let it be known the want no part of a boots-on-the-ground war w/ Isis. Wise counsel…or just sniffing the wind? And the Republicans–it seems they have lightened up, except for a few who have not gotten the memo yet. I always thought the Americans have more in common with Isis than they realized!

  13. Brendan
    June 26, 2015 at 16:17

    It’s not all that long ago that you would have been accused of being soft on terror if you didn’t fully support the invasion of Afghanistan. You would have been seen as risking another 9/11 if you didn’t support the torture of suspected terrorists.

    It looks like that’s all forgotten now. Some Al Qaeda terrorists nowadays are even the good guys. The war on terror is so 2001.

    • OH
      June 27, 2015 at 10:48

      Right so now these chess players reason, just punch a few buttons, and now you can run around trying to tell the same people that you’re risking another 911 if you don’t support Nusra!

    • Procopius
      July 5, 2015 at 20:31

      Back to the ’80s. Oh, wait, wasn’t that Saddam Hussein and his (our) war against Iran? It’s so hard to keep track of who we are supporting and who is our mortal enemy. Apparently we were supporting Da’esh for a couple of years, too before they decided to take part of Iraq.

  14. Brendan
    June 26, 2015 at 15:11

    Patrick Cockburn in the Independent has more on the subject:
    “Jabhat al-Nusra’s massacre of Druze villagers shows they’re just as nasty as Isis”

    In a sign of things to come if they take they take over power in Syria,
    “Al Nusra … shot dead at least 20 villagers from the Druze community. They had earlier forcibly converted hundreds of Druze to their fundamentalist variant of Sunni Islam”

    On Al Jazeera’s interview with their leader al-Golani (also known as al-Julani):
    “The interview did not entirely succeed in conveying a comforting sense of restraint and moderation. This is not because Golani came under much pressure from the sympathetic Al Jazeera interviewer. “It was not Frost/Nixon, more like a high-school date,” says the Syria expert Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis, in the online newsletter Syria Comment. The softball approach, he says, “may well have been intentional. Many assume that Qatar, which owns and controls Al Jazeera, is eager to see the group show its gentler side, now that it and other rebels are capturing territory in north-western Syria.”
    Golani expressed his new-found moderation by saying that it would be safe for a member of the Allawite sect – to which President Assad and much of Syria’s ruling elite belong – to surrender to Nusra fighters “even if he killed a thousand of us”. But any Allawite considering taking advantage of Golami’s kind offer must meet certain conditions. They must not only stop supporting Assad, but they must convert to Nusra’s brand of extreme Sunni Islam or, in other words, stop being Allawites. Christians will be given a grace period before they have to start pay jizya, a special tax, and Golani takes for granted that Sharia will be implemented. “The basics remain the same,” says Lund, “and they’re extreme enough to be borderline genocidal even when sugar-coated by Al Jazeera.” ”
    More on the interview here:

    • mark
      June 29, 2015 at 07:45

      Why So dismissive of the Kurds? “Other Rebels Capturing Territory in the Northwest”. Herein lies the entire problems with the US approach to Syria, One group has constantly challenged and beaten back ISIL. The YPG/J have beaten ISIL at every turn and are currently advancing on Raqqa. the US provides some air support.

      If you want a reliable Allie in the area the Kurds are it, it will cost you a chunk of Iraq, a chunk of Syria, possibly some part of Iran, but you get your stated goal of ISIL defeated. it must be the Turks who are preventing the all in support of YPG/J . The formation of a Kurdistan in Iraq is a reality, that country will expand into Syria. live with it and stop with the stupid.

      • Procopius
        July 5, 2015 at 20:28

        It’s likely to “cost us” a part of Turkey, as well, which is the biggest reason the Kagans have been holding back from full support of the Kurds. For some reason they think Erdogan is vitally important to their strategy. I wish we could determine exactly what their strategic goals are, though, other than what they outlined in the Project for a New American Century. As another commenter noted, establishment of a police/surveillance state seems to be part of it.

  15. paul wichmann
    June 26, 2015 at 13:52

    So Al Qaeda did US on 9-11, for years had US dancing to color-coded alert-levels, stood US off in Afghanistan, IED’d US in Iraq, spread its terror across North and into Middle Africa, and now… eh, you know, the lesser of evils is as close to moderate as we’re gonna get. We aren’t going in, and neither are our allies (sick).

    And all we got for all of it was a police / surveillance state.

    • Brad Owen
      June 27, 2015 at 07:57

      Perhaps the police/surveillance state (along with de facto dismissal of Constitution as a serious document for “modern times”) was the goal, the objective? The wars “against terrorism” sure seem surreal enough, with their shifting realities of who the friends are, and who the enemies…doesn’t matter, as long as The Police State stays in operation, “protecting us from terrorists.” I wonder when the New “Red”{read “terrorist/traitor”} Scare will get going in a serious way…the Prison/Police State Complex needs more bodies…and then prisoner/slave labor will return to these shores once again. The South will have their revenge. This is why I think all of these wars were meant to destroy the USA (as a secular Republic, governed by Law & concern for the Common Good of ALL) as their PRIMARY goal, rendering it as a reliable pool-of-manpower for soldiers-of-the-Empire.

      • paul wichmann
        June 27, 2015 at 10:33

        “…and then prisoner/slave labor will return to these shores once again.”

        This is already the case. Chris Hedges over at TruthDig has written a number of articles on the subject. It’s hell.

        America handing its prison operations to private corporations is disaster for those swept up, an abdication of the country’s responsibility (we’re getting really good at this), which in my opinion is as good as treason.

      • OH
        June 29, 2015 at 16:41

        More blowback is the tactical pivot, more wars is the strategic pivot, lower wages is the prize.

  16. Abe
    June 26, 2015 at 12:31

    The US Invasion of Syria

    After arming and funding a literal region-wide army of Al Qaeda terrorists, the United States now plans to use the resulting chaos to justify what it has sought since the beginning of the conflict when it became clear the Syrian government was not to capitulate or collapse – the establishment of buffer zones now called “safe zones” by Brookings.

    These zones once created, will include US armed forces on the ground, literally occupying seized Syrian territory cleared by proxies including Kurdish groups and bands of Al Qaeda fighters in the north, and foreign terrorist militias operating along the Jordanian-Syrian border in the south. Brookings even admits that many of these zones would be created by extremists, but that “ideological purity” wound “no longer be quite as high of a bar.”

    The US assumes that once this territory is seized and US troops stationed there, the Syrian Arab Army will not dare attack in fear of provoking a direct US military response against Damascus. The Brookings paper states:

    “The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would actin support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the presence of special forces as well. The approach would benefit from Syria’s open desert terrain which could allow creation of buffer zones that could be monitored for possible signs of enemy attack through a combination of technologies, patrols, and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.

    “Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal of the outside special forces, he would be likely to lose his air power in ensuing retaliatory strikes by outside forces, depriving his military of one of its few advantages over ISIL.Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.”

    In a single statement, Brookings admits that the government of Syria is not engaged in a war against its own people, but against “ISIL” (ISIS). It is clear that Brookings, politicians, and other strategists across the West are using the threat of ISIS in combination with the threat of direct military intervention as a means of leverage for finally overrunning and seizing Syria entirely.

    US To Begin Invasion of Syria
    By Tony Cartalucci

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