Squandering Peace Hopes in Syria

The Obama administration is so wedded to its false narrative on Syria insisting that the only answer is for Russia to force President Assad to cede power to a largely fictional U.S.-backed “moderate” opposition that new peace talks in Vienna are headed nowhere, writes Gareth Porter for Middle East Eye.

By Gareth Porter

I have always been enthusiastic in my support for peace negotiations, which have been neglected all too often in internal and international conflicts. But it is clear that the international conference on Syria that held its first meeting in Vienna on Oct. 30 is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.

The administration was touting the fact that Iran was invited to participate in the conference, unlike the previous United Nations-sponsored gathering on Syria in January and February 2014. That unfortunate conference had excluded Iran at the insistence of the United States and its Sunni allies, even though several states without the slightest capacity to contribute anything to a peace settlement – as well as the Vatican – were among the 40 non-Syrian invited participants.

Secretary of State John Kerry delivering remarks on the crisis in Syria. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry delivering remarks on the crisis in Syria. (State Department photo)

Iran’s participation in the Vienna conference represents a positive step. Nevertheless, the conference was marked by an even more fundamental absurdity: none of the Syrian parties to the war were invited. The 2014 talks at least had representatives of the Assad regime and some of the armed opposition.

The obvious implication of that decision is that the external patrons of the Syrian parties – especially Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia – are expected to move toward the outline of a settlement and then use their clout with the clients to force the acceptance of the deal.

The idea of leaping over the Syrian parties to the conflict by having an outside power negotiate a peace agreement on behalf of it clients is perfectly logical in the abstract. The classic case of such an arrangement is the U.S. negotiation of the Paris Agreement with the North Vietnamese in January 1973 to end the U.S. war in Vietnam. The U.S.-backed Thieu regime’s total dependence on U.S. assistance and the weight of the U.S. military in Vietnam ensured Thieu’s forced acceptance of the arrangement.

But it should also be noted that arrangement did not end the war. The Thieu regime was unwilling to abide by either a ceasefire or a political settlement, and the war continued for two more years before a major North Vietnamese offensive ended it in 1975.

Even more important in regard to the applicability of the model to the Syrian War is the stark difference between the U.S. interest in negotiating over the head of its Vietnamese client and the Iranian and Russian interests in regard to the Syrian government. The United States was negotiating to get out of a war of choice that it started, like Iraq, in the mistaken belief that its dominant power guaranteed control of the situation and in which it was forced to end by domestic political pressure.

Iran, on the other hand, is fighting a war in Syria that it regards as vital to its security. And Russia’s political and security interests in Syria may be less clear-cut, but it also has no incentive to agree to a settlement that would risk a victory for terrorism in Syria.

Eclipse of ‘Moderate’ Opposition

The prospect of delivering the anti-Assad forces in a settlement is even bleaker. If the U.S.-supported opposition forces facing the Syrian regime and its foreign allies had enough power to threaten the regime it might be an objective basis for peace negotiations.

The Obama administration has tried to create the impression that the “moderate” forces – meaning those that are willing to work with the United States – are the primary military opposition to the Assad regime. In reality, however, those “moderate” forces have either been absorbed by or have become allied with the jihadists of the al-Nusra Front and its allies.

That dramatic shift in the nature of the armed opposition to Assad was first apparent in September 2013. That was when the three major “moderate” Islamist brigades unexpectedly joined with the allies of al-Nusra Front in opposition to the Syrian National Coalition, which had been formed in Doha in November 2012 under pressure from the United States and its Gulf allies.

The shift toward jihadist domination of the war against the Assad regime accelerated between November 2014 and March 2015 when the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and the Harakat al-Hazm groups, the two main rebel groups which had been getting weapons from the CIA or the Saudis, were attacked and mostly absorbed by al-Nusra Front.

That shift has obvious implications for the possibility of a negotiated settlement. At United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s Geneva II conference in January 2014, the only opposition groups at the table were those represented by the U.S.-supported Syrian National Coalition, which no one took seriously as representing any military threat to the regime. Missing from the conference were the self-styled Islamic State and the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, al-Nusra Front and its allies, which did represent such a threat.

But neither the Islamic State nor the Nusra-Front-led Islamists were interested in the slightest in a peace conference. The military head of the Islamic Front, which is dominated by a close ally of al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, declared that he would consider the participation by any rebel troop in the peace talks as “treason”.

What the Obama administration has said it wants to see emerge from the Vienna conference is a “road map” for a transition in power. The administration has made it clear, moreover, that it wishes to preserve the institutions of the Syrian state, including the Syrian military structure. But both Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-led coalition are sectarian Sunni extremist organizations that have not hidden their intention to replace the Assad regime with an Islamic state that has no vestiges of the existing state apparatus.

The Assad regime obviously has no incentive, therefore, to even hint at any flexibility on the demand for Assad’s departure from Syria, when it knows there is no possibility of any ceasefire or settlement with Islamic State and al-Nusra Front. Similarly, neither the Russians nor the Iranians are likely to force Assad’s hand on the issue merely to negotiate with the weakest element in the armed opposition.

U.S. False Narrative

The Obama administration’s policymakers nevertheless appear determined not to allow unpleasant realities to interfere with its propaganda line on Syria, which is that it is up to Russia and Iran to take care of the problem by somehow wringing concessions from the Assad regime.

Secretary of State John Kerry suggested in an interview with Kazak TV channel a few days after the Vienna conference had convened that “the way to end the war is to ask Mr. Assad to help with a transition into a new government.” Russia failed to do so, and instead “is there to simply support the Assad regime,” Kerry said, adding that “the opposition will not stop fighting Assad.”

It is doubtful that Kerry mistakes such a patently propagandistic position for the much more intractable Syrian political-military realities. But it is not politically convenient to acknowledge those realities.  That would invite unwanted questions about the administration’s decision in 2011 to align its policy with the Syria hawks in Riyadh, Doha and Istanbul who were so bent on regime change in Syria that they were not only indifferent to the jihadist buildup in Syria but saw it as a useful tool for getting rid of Assad.

Now the price of Obama’s fateful political-diplomatic strategy is a sham peace conference that misleads the rest of the world about the lack of any realistic solution to the war.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. [This story first appeared at Middle East Eye.]

42 comments for “Squandering Peace Hopes in Syria

  1. Mortimer
    November 9, 2015 at 10:04

    I tried, honestly, to edit/shorten this evocative report – but it’s content, line by line, is invaluably potent… .

    The Flood of Refugees into Europe: “The New Slave Trade”
    By Peter Koenig
    Global Research, November 08, 2015

    The flood of refugees entering Europe is endless. They are the direct results of the Washington-NATO driven wars and conflicts in the Middle East which keep raging on; creating chaos. Complete deliberate and manmade chaos.

    This flood of refugees, ordered by the Washington Dictator to be retained by Turkey at the tune of 2.5 million – or more – in camps with full infrastructure that have cost some 6 billion dollars to build – not counting their maintenance – and then let lose in huge hordes at the appropriate times, like now, in stormy fall weather, followed by harsh European winters, also by orders of the Dictator. He, in turn, is comfortably protected between two oceans, oblivious to the pain of far-away others – creating purposely more confusion, destabilization and havoc within the EU – which has never really been a union, with or without refugees. The refugees are used as a weapon of destabilization

    (http://www.globalresearch.ca/refugees-as-weapon-and-germany-shifting-alliances/5476544 ).

    And yes, he the Washington strongman can, because the Europeans are his trusted vassals.

    One by one of these un-solidary union members are pushing and shoving the stream of forced migrants, desperate hungry and sick people – on to the next country. Some build walls, or lock their borders with barbed wire fences, patrolled by armed police, military and vicious dogs. Sea-water or rain-soaked refugees are beaten, families pulled and pushed apart, dragged in the dirt. Police and military hatred and brutality in Serbia, Hungary the Czech Republic and others know no limits. Blood is flowing, small children in the arms of their hopeless and hapless parents – crying, not understanding the cruel world they have been born into – and will have to endure. Misery for millions in a world where injustice is ever more becoming the order of the day. – And we are blinded to it. Cohabitation with misery and injustice by millions has become the new normal.

    Misery, hardship and submission are part of the dogma of the neoliberal masters we have allowed to take over our western world in the last 30 years. Our comfort and obscene consumerism has blinded us – and is still blinding us – to the drip-by-drip brainwashing MSM propaganda. The neocons are in the driver’s seat and will remain there until We, The People – the vast majority of the planet – 99.99% – show them the way to get lost – lost for good. Yes we can. We really can. But we have to become conscious of what’s going on and transpose our conscience to a level of non-acceptance.

    Individual faces of those poor souls on the run don’t count. Small children, women, old men – thousands and thousands die en route to a ‘more decent life’; they are mere statistics, faceless numbers. They are used as weapons to destabilize, to weaken other nations, to soften them, so to speak, for easier dominance and digestion of the hungry arrogant, outsized beast, appearing in the form of the United States of America, but representing a global, Zionist-led elite, with an intimidating, scary killer army that absorbs more than half of the world’s military budget.

    Obey or you will be sanctioned. Economically or by forced regime change. Either you follow the dictate, or a false flag will make you guilty deserving of punishment and annihilation. Europe has been ‘bought’, coerced and manipulated into this humiliation.

    Why can’t we admit to the falsehood of things? – In our deep conscience we all know that ‘something is wrong’. Millions of refugees suddenly flooding the European Continent – something must be wrong. Does anybody see the systematic destruction of the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region – and make the connection to the refugees?

    The propaganda lies of the media are ever bolder, more flagrant. We sense it. But we don’t do anything about it. If we were, we would not live in a world of permanent war, conflicts, killing for power, dominance and greed, exploitation – endless egocentricity. We would not believe the barrage of lies we are showered with day-by-day by the corrupt mainstream media. We would not be forced to run from one fire to the next. There would be no refugees, but, instead, these proud and honest people would be building their countries there cultures and strive for living well – which is the right of every human being.

    We do not seem to see through the scheme, a multi-faceted Machiavellian plan:

    Refugees are becoming the new slaves. Many are highly educated, but poor, hungry and without shelter. They will work for peanuts just to feed their families, pressing on local wages, increasing unemployment – destroying local economies, creating fear, anxieties among locals – anxious people have no energy to stand up for their rights – defend themselves their sovereignty. They are easy prey. That’s what Washington and its associated vassal dictators want.

    The exit of millions from Syria, Iraq, Libya – the MENA Region as a whole, is a brain drain for the refugees’ home countries, creating a ’brain-overflow’ in Europe, in Germany in particular – competing with locals, demoralizing, fomenting jealousy, dividing communities and entire societies – breaking down livelihoods.

    These educated refugees are fleeing north, a few to Sweden Denmark, Norway, but the vast majority to the assumed heaven of well-being – Germany, where cheap labor and low-wage academics may eventually replace locals, increasing unemployment, lowering production costs, boosting profits and widening the gap between rich and poor, rapidly increasing social inequity.

    Why is Germany singled out by the overseas masters? Is it still the old Churchill saying, “keep Americans in, Germans down and Russians out (of Europe)?”- Does Madame Merkel not understand this – the strongest link in Europe has to be weakened on as many fronts as possible, to make it vulnerable for easy takeover by the Washington masters. If you control Germany, you control Europe. That dogma appears not having changed since Churchill.

    The flood of refugees may also contain large numbers of disguised jihadists, Islamists (some estimates say at least 10%, but there is no proof, of course), with the intent of establishing cells in Europe – explosive cells to create unrest when needed by the Big Dictator, à la failed Arab Spring and the infamous so-called ‘Colour Revolutions’ – remember? – For which we know by now infiltrated ‘sleeper’ cells were responsible.

    These are Zionist-Washington’s well-targeted challenges for Europe. Challenges Europe is unable to cope with. One wonders what these lackeys in Brussels and the newly ‘elected’ neolibs in the so-called EU member-countries were told, when they were given the marching orders – or else. They must have been given some incentives, because any halfwit would understand that this – plus the TTIP – ah yes, the TTIP – will have Europe crumble economically, if not by WWIII, and also crumble would their careers and livelihoods. Perhaps they were given the promise of a free ticket to Florida – “The Sunshine State” – or the Bahamas, when the moment comes.

    UNHCR carries in its worldwide statistics about 50 million refugees (people at risk) – but in reality by now they are more like 60-70 million. Imagine these refugees as hordes of poor homeless, roofless, hapless, hungry and often sick and desperate people – a pool of cheap labor – called otherwise SLAVES. All the system needs to do is direct them to the ‘right’ countries, those on the list of having to be subdued. Germany has Europe’s lowest unemployment rate of 4.5%. If Germany ‘falls’, Russia becomes considerably more vulnerable. Russia will have to fight for Germany, for Europe’s survival, and Vladimir Putin knows it and is already doing it.

    There are also the artificial ‘economic crises’ all instigated by the Washington Consensus, the western fraudulent fiat monetary system, managed and directed by the FED, Wall Street, BIS (Bank for International Settlement) and IMF. These crises maintain and accelerate the rate of unemployment in Europe which, according to Eurostat has been hovering on average between 9% and 11% over the last 20 years.

    New work forces, like the slaves made from refugees will increase unemployment, lower production costs, increase corporate profits – create human misery on the one end of the spectrum and capital gains for the elite.

    Marx in his Das Kapital called unemployment the ‘cushion’ for capital that presses wages down. The cushion needs to become greater in as much as capital grows. – Unemployment and underemployment embody the concept of the “industrial reserve army”. The larger the cushion, the better for the capitalists, for the investors. Others, like Keynes, have countered that capitalism could survive practically with full employment. That’s a nice thought, but unsuitable for today’s no holds-barred capitalism – called neoliberalism.

    Please do understand – this has been said and repeated many times – as long as we are hooked to the western monetary and linear, growth-bound economic system we are cooked. We are economically powerless and in the hands of the globalized Washington directed ZAS elite which are marching rapidly towards Full Spectrum Dominance.

    No – this is not conspiracy – read up on it. There are many internet sites that give you plenty of background information on this and other burning subjects – Global Research, Information Clearing House, CounterPunch, VNN, New Eastern Outlook-NEO, to name just a few – for you to form your own ideas and opinion.

    For example, the FED has just sanctioned Deutsche Bank with 250 million dollars for violating the US-imposed sanction regime, i.e. for dealing with such sanctioned countries as Iran, Syria and Libya. DB is also being probed for ‘illegal’ business with Russia. Earlier, BNP Paribas, France, was fined US$ 8.9 billion and Crédit Agricole US$ 800 million for dealing with ‘sanctioned’ countries. You may say that’s peanuts for such banks. That’s not the point. The point is: Is it right that they have to follow Washington’s dictate?

    Why do they not just ignore the fines? – Simply because if they don’t pay, they would be barred from using the privately owned international transaction clearing system, SWIFT / BIS which is so far the only system for western monetary transfers. Not paying the fines would put them out of business in the western world. So – the banks almost immediately acquiesce and pay. That’s the extent to which Washington-FED is coercing its fraudulent corrupt system upon the world.

    Back to the refugees cum new slaves. President Hollande has just announced that French labor laws are to be revised. The sacrosanct 35 h week is being questioned, among other hard-fought for union gains over the last half a century. This means, future labor contracts may be negotiated directly between workers unions and corporations, without the backing of the government as a regulatory body behind the workers. Hence, deregulating labor laws will be playing directly into the hands of the new arriving labor force in the form of refugees – and into the possible future playing field of the TTIP.

    Now you compound all these tentacles of destabilization with the nefarious and secretly negotiated TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – which we all hope will not pass despite of Brussels and thanks to the German public which demonstrates ferociously against it. But if it does pass, with corporations dictating labor laws, unemployment in Europe may increase exponentially with good jobs switching to the US as labor standards are lower there than they are in Europe; and with the TTIP imposed private corporate courts that would have supremacy over national legislation — if that happens, the continent will be further destabilized. Europe ceases to be the way we know it. It may be reduced to just a geographic land mass. Future generations may be enslaved by globalized corporate power not much different from what the wave of refugees will be – if they, the refugees, stay in Europe.

    Apropos staying in Europe – Madame Merkel recently negotiated a deal with Turkish President Erdogan, basically telling him, you keep the refugees locked away in your refugee camps, we will give you 3 billion euros and may reconsider Turkey’s membership in the EU. That, in itself sounds like a deal made by mafia. Instead of seeking a treaty with untrustworthy terrorist supporting Turkey, Madame Merkel may contemplate talking to Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new Prime Minister. He may want to consider settling the vast, fertile and unpopulated western Canada with refugees from the Middle East. The 3 billion euros Merkel promised Erdogan could become a joint German-Canada cooperation project to help develop the basic infrastructure to accommodate the new settlers. This could become a huge ‘win-win’ situation: economic development for Canada and well-being for Middle-Eastern migrants chased from their lands by empirical wars.

    There may be, after all, a light at the end of the tunnel for Germany and even Europe, for those willing to abandon Washington vassal-hood. And this with regard to the new wave of migration and all its implications, as well as a new approach to national economies, for which the East may offer an alternative.

    Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance

  2. Abe
    November 8, 2015 at 13:04

    Before Graham E. Fuller dumps his typical load of ex-CIA analyst horse manure on the subject, here’s an accurate assessment of how Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan’s party won the November 2015 snap elections in Turkey:

    Notwithstanding Erdogan’s dictatorial methods of politics against opposition forces, his tactical moves on military-front also helped him clench victory. The fact that Erdogan actually started military campaign against Kurds and (supposedly) against ISIS when his party had initially failed to gain outright majority in June elections sheds some light on how this “external front of war” has helped him in manipulating domestic politics.


    Given the loss suffered by HDP and the victory secured by AKP, it seems that Erdogan has now a clear way to prevent the prospects of a Kurdish autonomous region coming into being in the wake of the on-going crisis in Syria and the way foreign powers, especially the U.S., continue to support Syrian Kurds as a proxy group, putting Erdogan in a conflicting position vis-à-vis the United States.

    In fact, the very reason why Erdogan was able to secure an alliance with ultra-nationalists and Islmaists—another important pre-poll political reason of his victory— was his anti-KKP drive and the supposed battle against ISIS. Recent wave of bombing and massive killings in Turkey did, in fact, go a long way in “convincing” the people of the utmost necessity of rallying behind a party capable of “effectively” dealing with “terrorist” organizations such as KPP. It is, as such, no coincidence that a sudden turn of Turkey’s political Islamist leaders to a stridently anti-Western discourse with a special focus on anti-American narrative reflected by and large the growing alliance between them and President Erdogan.

    In the polarizing environment of the conflict, shadowy ultra-nationalist figures had already started to feature more prominently in everyday public life before elections took place. A particularly controversial figure who has re-emerged as a die-hard supporter of President ErdoÄŸan is the pan-Turkist mafia boss Sedat Peker. A convicted criminal who first rose to fame during the 90s, Peker initially received a 10-year prison sentence in the Ergenekon trial but walked free soon afterwards.

    It was just a day before the Ankara bombing that Peker organized an “anti-terror” rally in Erdogan’s hometown of Rize, where he was reported to have threatened the enemies of the state with “rivers of blood” before praising Erdogan and asking the crowd to vote for the AKP in the upcoming election. The rally took place under full police protection, displaying a stark contrast with the demonstrations held by opposition parties, especially the HDP, where the police, if at all present, was more of an ominous sign—a semblance of insecurity than security.

    As far as Erdogan’s own politics is concerned, policy of intimidation and manipulation, of fear and divided, has proven to be highly successful in terms of enabling him to re-capture the seat of power and thereby re-casting himself as the “savior” of Turkey. These elections have now made the way clear for him to push his agendas at both domestic and regional levels. Regionally, he is going to push ahead with an anti-Kurdish drive. Domestically he is expected to push forward his agenda of constitutional reform to establish a presidential form of government as a means to materialize what has satirically been called his ‘neo-Ottoman’ slant.

    Intimidation and Manipulation: Erdogan’s AKP wins Election
    By Salman Rafi Sheikh

  3. Abe
    November 7, 2015 at 20:43

    The strategic Jarablus corridor, a 60 mile wide stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border, is the logistical aorta of the ISIS and al Qaeda/Nusra terrorist formations pouring into Syria from Erdogan’s jihadi sanctuaries in southern Turkey.

    Webster Tarpley reports:

    “South from Turkey flow the truck convoys loaded with food, munitions, refined petroleum products, Saudi and Gulf money, and new fanatical recruits for the ISIS and al Qaeda genocide cults. These terrorist formations are largely organized by Erdogan’s Turkish military with the help of CIA, MI6, DGSE, and other defectors from western civilization.

    “North through the Jarablus corridor go the tank trucks bearing oil stolen by ISIS in northern Iraq in a smuggling operation directed by Erdogan’s own son. Along with the oil go wounded terrorists, some of them heading for a hospital reserved for terrorists and directed by Erdogan’s daughter.

    The Jarablus corridor can be considered the Ho Chi Minh trail of the Syrian terrorist rebels. If it is blocked and the supply lines cut, ISIS will not survive another month as an effective fighting force. If Obama can muster enough authority to force utopian pedant Ashton Carter to interdict the Jarablus corridor, he can redeem his own passivity and defeatism, sweeping aside 14 months of phony war demanded by the disloyal Petraeus-Allen clique in their dishonorable attempt to preserve ISIS as a classic CIA secret army for future use against Iran, Russia, and central Asia. Obama can end the humiliation of failure against ISIS by proving wrong his own pessimistic forecast that it will take years to wipe out ISIS.”

    The Jarablus corridor is precisely where Obama wants to erect a no-fly zone in order to prevent Russian and Syrian air interdiction of of ISIS’ logistics in northern Syria.

    More on the Jarablus corridor:

    • Abe
      November 7, 2015 at 21:00

      Please note: I do not agree with all of Tarpley’s comments. I particularly disagree with his aside that Obama ought to magnanimously endorse a Kurdish state in northern Syria, because the dismemberment of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey has long been a stated goal of the regime change enthusiasts (yes, virtually all of whom are Israel enthusiasts) who fomented and financed this terrorist war. Nevertheless, Tarpley is quite accurate in his focus on the vital strategic significance of the Jarablus corridor.

      • Stefan
        November 7, 2015 at 22:29

        Israeli and Kurdish alliance (most notably the Barzani kurdish clan)goes back to the 60s and continues on today. The ultimate goal is the formation and finalisation of a Kurdish regional enclave, in northern Syria and Iraq, possibly also parts of turkey,as a hub bordering Syria, Iraq, turkey, Iran. This state would be armed to the teeth by USA and ISRAEL+ their allies. Kurdistan would be a client state of Israel and USA. The landgrab aims to intensify division in the region and offer pretexts for USA and ISRAEL to step in as the conflict over this stolen land will mirror the situation in Palestine. Kurdistan will be a client state of Israel and USA, whereby the former will aim to control and dominate its adversaries from “behind”. The Kurds thrust the knife in the back of Iraq in the 2003 invasion. If and when the landgrab and arab genocide and/or ethnic cleansing is complete in the formation of greater Kurdistan, then consider Kurdistan as essentially a military extension of Israel, much like South Sudan – aimed to control its enemies from behind.

      • l. Green
        November 8, 2015 at 09:13

        Absolutely correct. I do not believe US will ever cooperate in any talks with Russia especially in closing Jarablus corridor though . And why should they destroy their beloved child ? This is crazy neocon’s war with Russia . Do not forget about that American hubris too.

        thanks for the link.

  4. Mortimer
    November 7, 2015 at 16:31

    Thank You, Garath Porter for the years of standing against the Intolerably dissembling ‘news’ we are force fed.


  5. F. G. Sanford
    November 7, 2015 at 15:01

    A realistic Vietnam analogy to the current Neocon strategy in Syria would work like this:

    North Vietnam is ideologically motivated to fight due to its cultural and political ties to North Korea, which serves as the inspirational model for the Vietnamese insurgency. The North Vietnamese are actually Jeffersonian Democrats, but they are held hostage by a regime that does not represent their interests. They would willingly align themselves with South Korea, but they are historically crippled by their memories of the Japanese invasion of China in 1936. So, Until North Korea can be militarily defeated and China can be incentivized to surrender to the Nationalists on Taiwan, the South Vietnamese will continue to lack the political will to pursue their rightful place as a colony of Cambodia ruled by a coalition of Laotian monks and South Korean Buddhists.

    I apologize for not being able to create an analogy quite as bizarre as the Obama administration has concocted, but it’s a daunting task. Now, as far as strategy is concerned, and I think I actually have the prerequisites to comment, here’s how Putin might look at it:

    Failure to achieve victory spells the end of national sovereignty, secular humanity and civilization for more than half the world’s population. Defeat spells entrenched suzerainty for the most heinous medieval potentates on the planet and subjugation to unfettered neocolonial – NOT capitalist – exploitation by the world’s most notorious human rights abusers in the modern era. Such defeat would institutionalize economic and political mechanisms which would become irreversible in the absence of cataclysmic natural disaster or some “black swan” event. Putin believes he must win, as civilization hangs in the balance. Strategic obstacles to victory include NATO ally Turkey, sacred cow Israel and the anti-civilizational grotesqueries conglomerated around Saudi Arabia. Europe has become a politically castrated eunuch which can neither politically or militarily act in any cohesive way. The obvious path to victory which avoids outright WWIII is therefore the political, economic or military neutering of Saudi Arabia. That in turn spells economic collapse for USA. It’s probably time Neocons started cooking up better analogies.

    • Mortimer
      November 7, 2015 at 18:17

      Your words are lucid paintings of things you’ve seen with your eyes, Sanford.
      Each paragraph is a mural of a snapshot in your memory.
      “black swan” event is huge metaphor of economic distortion as free enterprise.

      • F. G. Sanford
        November 7, 2015 at 18:58

        I don’t know that I fully deserve your kind words, but I actually have been around the world…a couple of times. I don’t have high hopes for a good outcome in all of this barring a dramatic sea change or an epiphany among the American public. Duck Dynasty gets a lot more attention than I do…

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 7, 2015 at 20:01

        Mortimer, F.G., did you ever think that an episode of SNL could be a ‘must see’ event, in order to stay relevant with the world news?

        • Mortimer
          November 8, 2015 at 08:21

          Joe, that’s the tragic state of affairs in somnambulant America… .

          Russia and China challenging world order: US defense secretary
          NOVEMBER 7, 2015

          The US military “do not seek” a new Cold War but it is determined to oppose the rising global powers – Russia and China – to protect the US-dominated “international order,” US Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said.

          Carter accused Russia of “nuclear saber-rattling” and “violating sovereignty” of US allies at the Reagan National Defence Forum in California, AP reported Saturday.

          He put Russia and China in the same league as Islamic State (IS) when listing America’s top-ranked bogeymen.

          “Terror elements like IS, of course, stand entirely opposed to our values. But other challenges are more complicated, and given their size and capabilities, potentially more damaging,” he said.

          “Some actors appear intent on eroding these principles and undercutting the international order that helps enforce them… Of course, neither Russia nor China can overturn that order. But both present different challenges for it,” he said.

          Russia and China are challenging “American pre-eminence” and Washington’s so-called “stewardship of the world order” as they reassert themselves on the international arena as serious military powers, he said.

          According to Carter, their “challenging activities” can be seen at every possible level, be it at sea, in the air, in space – or even in cyberspace.

          “Most disturbing” for the US official, however, is what he called “Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling,” which in his view “raises questions about Russian leaders’ commitment to strategic stability, their respect for norms against the use of nuclear weapons, and whether they respect the profound caution nuclear-age leaders showed with regard to the brandishing of nuclear weapons.”

          He may be referring to a recent Russian reaction to US plans to deploy advanced nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base in Germany, part of a joint NATO nuclear sharing program which involves non-nuclear NATO states hosting more than 200 US nuclear warheads.

          The Kremlin then said the new US nukes deployed in Europe would destroy the strategic balance in the region and force Russia to take similar measures.

          Although, in this contest, the US appears to be pushing Russia toward arms race, Carter thinks the other way.

          “We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia. We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all,”Carter said.

          According to him, Russia is stirring conflicts in Europe and the Middle East.

          “In Europe, Russia has been violating sovereignty in Ukraine and Georgia and actively trying to intimidate the Baltic states. Meanwhile, in Syria, Russia is throwing gasoline on an already dangerous fire, prolonging a civil war that fuels the very extremism Russia claims to oppose,” he told the forum.

          He accused Russia and China of not following the principles of the global order: peaceful resolution of disputes, freedom from coercion, respect for state sovereignty, and freedom of navigation.

          • Andrew Nichols
            November 9, 2015 at 02:49

            I would love to be able to ask Carter as a typical US official how, given he is clearly not a madman who would believe a single word he spouts, can present such risible hypocritical BS day after day with a straight face. Are they trained? What techniques do they employ? Drugs? Meditation? It’d make a wonderful research topic in psychology or political science.

  6. David Smith
    November 7, 2015 at 14:01

    Hey Schwere Punkt do ya Mockingbird much? If you are a real person which you are not; I am sure you believe Kursk was ” Germany’s Lost Victory”

    • Schwere Punkt
      November 7, 2015 at 15:14

      On the contrary, I’ve always derided revisionists who expended copious brain cells seeking to contrive ‘what if’ scenarios that would have resulted in a NAZI victory in WW2. I am also a real person who expresses his own opinions. So we can all dispense with the name-calling.

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 7, 2015 at 19:55

        I won’t call you any names, other than Schwere Punkt, I promise. Also, I won’t attempt to rewrite the history of WW2. What, I would like to question though, is why is all this war being waged to oust a man, such as Assad? If, the U.S. and it’s coalition were to strictly make this about protecting innocent citizens, then why stop this valiant quest by just going after Assad? What U.S. leader ever took a fall for Kent State? What American leader got impeached for the police brutality used against the protesting students, who were thrown through plate glass windows, at the 1968 Democratic Convention? Who, in America is taking the responsibility for the average of three American citizens, who die each day, at the end of a policeman’s gun barrel? Do the Israeli’s have any better of an explanation, when it comes to why Rachael Corrie died, other than that she was obstructing an Israeli bulldozer from doing it’s job, of destroying a Palestian’s home? Is there any reality based reason, of why on earth Israel should demand the U.S. give it a ten year fifty billion dollar military aid package, when Israel is merely defending itself from rock throwing street fighters? Is there some kind of sick humor, about a Palestinian bringing a knife, to a high tech gun fight? Once having served in the U.S. Navy, I personally take exception to Israel’s tired explanations to why they attacked the USS Liberty, back in 1967. There is still to this day, a blanket of fog protectively covering this tragic incident, and no one takes responsibility for this attack upon a U.S. Navy vessel very seriously, and that is regretful. Should not the United States oust Netanyahu over his mowing the lawn? So, why is the focus only on Assad? Could it be the Oded Yinon Plan, needs fulfilled? Would Assad’s removal clear away to a greater goal, of Israel’s bringing down Iran? This isn’t about Assad, as much as it is about Israel, and their allied Gulf States. I will close by saying this, the day the U.S. makes nice with a bunch of fake religious proxy head choppers, because these crazies overthrew Assad, will not be a day to celebrate, but a day to cry into our once proud, red, white, and blue American flag, because we were capable of being much more too the world than this.

        • Joe Tedesky
          November 8, 2015 at 02:01

          Sorry, but one word, about saying that Assad is a bad man. I’m a wounded news creature, with a hang over from hearing about these said bad men. Back, when Muammar Gaddafi was all the craze, I’ll admit, I believe the media. I thought I was smarter than that, but I got fooled again, apparently. Now, I hear about a Gaddafi I never heard about before. Did he really have healthcare for all? Is, it true he gave up all WMD, to Bush when he was president? Seriously, we sponsored a sovereign state leader’s assassination, and put it on YouTube. Cue, too Hillary’s laughter. I mean, is this what we have become? So, excuse my Italian ass, when I don’t jump on board with this bad guy thing….talk about name calling!

          • Greg
            November 8, 2015 at 09:01

            Yes, correct – universal health care for all, free education, and many other social programs, all instituted by Ghaddafi. He gave up his WMD’s and openly offered to help the US in it’s fight against Al Quada. And the US was pleased, at least for awhile. It wasn’t until Ghaddafi decided to nationalize his country’s oil fields and switch from the US Dollar to the Euro in selling his oil that the US decided he “must go.”

            A more important question is: why does the US get to decide which country’s leaders should “stay or go?” Where do we get the right? Was Lybia threatening the U.S., or any of our allies? No. Was its military encroaching on us, or our allies? No. Ghadaffi did try to take down some terrorist extremists in the east of Lybia that were threatening his citizens and government, but that’s his fucking business – it’s his country and he has the right to defend his own national security as he sees fit – whether the US likes it or not. Did Ghadaffi commit human rights violations against his own citizens? I don’t know. All I have heard is the U.S. media propaganda – which I automatically take with a grain of sand. But even if he DID – that is not for the US to automatically go in and “Take him out.” There are plenty of other countries with horrible dictators that treat their citizens horribly – Saudia Arabia is a good example – but we don’t even mention it, because they are our puppets and we get something we want from them. Bottom line is that the US has no fucking business in any other country on earth. WE wouldn’t like it if other countries came inside OUR sovereign borders without our permission. So why do we seem to think we can do that?

        • Greg
          November 8, 2015 at 08:51

          Very well-said, Joe. Right on the money.

          • Joe L.
            November 9, 2015 at 01:22

            Greg… Wasn’t Gaddafi planning on all of Africa switching to a gold dinar to sell oil instead of US dollars? I believe that Iraq stopped selling oil in US dollars back in 2001 and was invaded in 2003 (instead selling oil for food and euros). Also, I believe that Iran stopped selling oil in US dollars back in 2007 and hence the WMD stories along with calls for “regime change” such as McCain’s “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” ditty.

          • Greg
            November 9, 2015 at 13:40

            Joe L., this is in response to your post in response to mine – for some reason it won’t let me “reply” to yours. Yes, you are correct, it was the Dinar, not the Euro, thank you for that correction. And you are correct about Iraq and Iran as well. I.e., the main reason for “regime change” was their undermining the US dollar’s hegemony as global reserve currency – and nothing more.

          • Joe L.
            November 9, 2015 at 22:23

            Greg… Overall, I agree with everything you said but I thought Gaddafi switching to Euros did not match up with what I read and I was kind of curious to see if you read something that I did not. Protecting the US Petrodollar is definitely one of the major reasons for the US’ continued “regime change” strategy in the Middle East since it supports the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Cheers.

  7. Zachary Smith
    November 7, 2015 at 13:33

    I have bad ‘vibes’ about the situation in Syria. Sending in those Special Forces troops as hostages and stationing dedicated air-superiority F-15c fighters in Turkey make me wonder of the neocons are going to throw the dice and try to squash Russia’s intervention in Syria. Turkey has a very large air force, and simply don’t need any more advanced airplanes for purposes of defense. Obama may be once again following neocon orders and attempting to declare a no-fly zone in northern Syria.

    These people are nuts, and are simply ignoring the potential for a major conflict.

  8. Abe
    November 7, 2015 at 13:20

    Rolling in Drums of Gasoline to “Fight the Fire”

    Nothing about the US’ recent moves have been honest. US policymakers have openly conspired to commit to strategies not aimed at actually fighting ISIS or ending the destructive conflict in Syria they themselves have started, but instead to counter Russia’s attempts to do so, merely under the guise of fighting ISIS, or helping refugees, or virtually any excuse they believe the public might support.

    The truth has begun to emerge even in the West’s own newspapers. The Washington Post in an article titled, “Obama has strategy for Syria, but it faces major obstacles.” states explicitly that:

    “[The US] will increase air operations in northern Syria, particularly in the Turkish border area to cut the flow of foreign fighters, money and materiel coming in to support the Islamic State.”

    Here, the Washington Post openly admits that support for the Islamic State is flowing out of NATO-member Turkey. It is clear that to stop this “flow,” efforts should be concentrated on the Turkish-Syrian border before supplies and reinforcements reach Syria. It is clear that ISIS is intentionally being allowed to resupply and reinforce its fighting capacity within Syria from NATO territory, specifically to serve as a pretext for wider and more direct Western intervention in Syria itself as was noted in June of 2014 when ISIS first appeared in Iraq.

    ISIS represents the drums of gasoline, rolled in by the US intentionally not to extinguish the flames, but to compound them into an inferno greater still.

    US in Syria: Stopping the “Arsonist-Firefighter”
    By Tony Cartalucci

  9. Schwere Punkt
    November 7, 2015 at 12:00

    This site is just wrong about Syria. Assad must go. Period. The writers here, obviously, do not know many Syrians personally. Assad’s regime rests quite narrowly on the self-interested support of three minority groups (Alawites, Druzes and Christians). A fourth group, wealthy and well-connected Sunnis in the Damascus region, are ready to shift allegiance to various rebel groups depending on the situation on the ground. The vast majority of Syrians want Assad out. Why is that fact lost on all the naysayers here who intimate that the US should drop its objections to Assad and his ilk remaining in power? I believe the US missed its window of opportunity surrounding the CW crisis in the summer of 2013. The Obama Administration should have launched a decapitation attack on the regime’s command and control infrastructure. Had that attack occurred, the regime would have collapsed within months and the country today would be run by a coalition of Sunni Islamists that are far less radical than ISIS or the Nusra Front. An argument can be made that they would also be somewhat beholden to Washington for shattering the regime and, therefore, willing to cooperate with the US on a host of issues. ISIS had not emerged as the force it is today and, perhaps, they could have been held in check by the new rulers in Damascus with US assistance. The situation today is such that I believe it is only a matter of time (and mountains of dead) before Syria will be ruled by the winner of a cage-match between ISIS and the Nusra Front. Assad will be forced out of Damascus before 2016 is over. The carnage will be extreme and, if Assad holds out too long, he may be pushed off this mortal coil entirely. The best he can hope for is preservation of an Alawite rump state along the Mediterranean coast supported by his Russian allies.

    • Harry
      November 7, 2015 at 12:23

      You forgot to mention that Assad has the support of the Shia, obviously, and the Kurds, as well as all of the moderate and secular Sunnis in Syria who are justifiably terrified by the Takfiri crazies we are supporting directly and/or indirectly (Al Qaeda/Al Nusra/Al Sham/ Army of Conquest, ISIS — it’s really pettifogging to discriminate among them.) The Syrian government represents the only secular, religiously tolerant, moderate option and hope for the Syrian people, with or without Assad. But his presence will be necessary until the situation is stabilized enough for elections. That has been Assad’s and Russia’s position all along: that only the Syrian people are the legitimate source of regime change.

      By the way, how does it feel to have the US overtly supporting Al Qaeda terrorists? Do you have any difficulty compartmentalizing this traitorous and barbarous fact?

    • Abe
      November 7, 2015 at 13:13

      The commenter “Schwere Punkt” promptly regurgitates Israeli political talking points on Syria.

      “The mamzer Obama interfered with our plan for a decapitation attack in 2013. Now the Russians have entered and it’s fercockt.”

      Pure Hasbara boilerplate shite.

      • Zachary Smith
        November 7, 2015 at 13:42

        “Pure Hasbara boilerplate shite”

        Probably right – the fellow has an amazing amount of BS contained in his post.

        The people who speak for the shitty little apartheid state of Israel have nothing but contempt for Obama, and of course for the US in general.

        If the folks in DC had a shred of self-respect, they’d cancel any further visits by Head Dingleberry Netanyahu until he 1) fires his new “chief spokesman” Ran Baratz and 2) totally disavows the man’s remarks.

        I don’t expect any such thing to happen.

        • Schwere Punkt
          November 7, 2015 at 14:47

          Really guys? You don’t know shit about me. The last thing I would ever do is spout hasbara agitprop. Your failure to recognize the most obvious fact about the civil war in Syria — that Assad has lost the support of the majority of Syrians and is barely holding on to power, despite killing 200k+ of its citizens — proves the idiocy of your “analysis.” Assad is willing to kill seven-in-ten Syrians to retain power. He holds less than 25% of the country even though he has IRGC, Hezbollah, various Shi’a militias from as far as Afghanistan, and now Russian airpower/ISR directly involved in the fight in support of the increasingly weak and sectarian SAA. As far as the Kurds, they’re playing their own separatist/irredentist game in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. As such, they cannot be considered a Syrian force. Rather, their desire is to dismember the country and help fulfill Israel’s longstanding goal of Balkanising the entire region. Once Syria is liberated from the Assad regime, scores will be settled with the Alawites, Kurds, Druzes and Christians who collaborated with the beast. It will be horrible and wrong, but as inevitable as day follows night. You can hate the Sunni opposition all you like, but your opinions are IRRELEVANT! They will be victorious in the end and the world will have to come to terms with that reality. The only real question is whether IS, the Nusra Front or the mainstream Sunni opposition wins out. Have a nice day.

          • Joe Tedesky
            November 8, 2015 at 17:01

            I’m glad you said the part where you describe the Sunni win over the Alawites, Kurds, Druzes, and Christians as, it is going to be ‘horrible and wrong’. But then you sound like you are running the Sunni victorious battle flag up the new Syrian government flag pole, and all is irrelevant to that fact. Aren’t you tired of this, eye for an eye thing? In another comment you stated how the U.S. should have bombed Assad’s Syria back in 2013. Does it not matter, that Assad gave up all of Syria’s chemical weapons? Even the UN came to the conclusion that this chemical weapon attack, wasn’t Assad’s doing. Schwere, you are apparently a Sunni supporter, and there is nothing else to be said.

            Here is a link which compares Israeli deaths up against the Palestinians death toll. This link isn’t a anti-Israeli link as you will see, but at least take the time to study what is going on here. Again, if it is the mission of the U.S. to protect all innocents, then why is the U.S. not attempting to oust Netanyahu?


          • Zak
            November 8, 2015 at 20:04

            To Schwere Punkt
            What is irrelevant is really your comments about the situation in Syria> You talk as if you are an expert when you do not know your elbow from the other parts of you anatomy. On what bases you are saying “Assad has lost the support of the majority of Syrians and barely holding to power”. Can you tell us where did you get that piece of information and if that is the case why on earth your experts and the like refuse the ballot box to decide that one a ceasefire can be established and Syria is put on the route of political solution? Why you and your likes insist on the departure of Assad? I think you and your likes especially the Saudi Royal family and your friend Erdogan will be shocked by the outcome and that surely will not be a nice day for you

      • Stefan
        November 7, 2015 at 19:01

        Exactly, “Pure Hasbara boilerplate shite” – couldn’t have framed it better.

        He managed to squeeze all of that garbage into the above little passage. Quite a feat actually.

    • ltr
      November 7, 2015 at 20:26

      What offensive garbage.

    • ltr
      November 7, 2015 at 20:29

      I can assure you, that the Syrian government will not fall but the crazed sectarian insurgents will be slowly destroyed. Russia has completely changed things and the crazed insurgents will not be defeating Russia, not ever.

    • ltr
      November 7, 2015 at 20:37

      This comment tells me just how desperate the situation of the crazed insurgents has become since Russia came to the war. No matter, I should not be angy, the crazed insurgents are slowly being trapped and will be destroyed.

    • ltr
      November 7, 2015 at 22:24

      The Punkedy Punk comment is simply propaganda and no more, desperate losing porpaganda that will make not a whit of difference as the crazily violent insurgents of Syria are eliminated. I repeat crazy, because if ever thwere were crazed insurgents the ones in Syria are of course them. The crazies are being destroyed and such desperater propaganda will make no difference.

      I really am angered by such bloody writing as that of Punky Punk.

    • LGreen
      November 8, 2015 at 07:39

      And who are you to decide who should be Syrian president ? What do you mean by that fascist demand – “Assad must go. Period.” ???
      Are you aware that presidents are elected by people of Syria , and that majority was more than 80% ? What all this has to do with ” Syrians personally ” ? Hey , STOP THAT STUPID BULLSHIT. Enough that American propaganda about “democracy”. We know very well how those ISIS terrorists were created and financed by US ,Israel and Saudis to fight Assad regime to make profit on illegal oil and gas.
      The real reason Russia and Syria are being targeted right now. http://stormcloudsgathering.com/the-geopolitics-of-world-war-iii

    • L.Green
      November 8, 2015 at 07:51

      Hey, Schwere minded , look here .

      Real Terrorists Detected —- http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/11/03/syrian-crisis-real-terrorists-detected/

    • Greg
      November 8, 2015 at 08:47

      It is not up to the U.S. – or any other country, for that matter – to determine if Syria’s leader should “go” or “stay.” A perfect example of BS U.S. “exceptionalism.” It is up the Syrian people to manage their own affairs. Syria is a sovereign nation. The U.S. is there in violation of International Law – it is literally a crime for us to enter a sovereign nation’s borders without explicit permission by the internationally recognized sovereign government of that country – in this case, Assad. Yet – as always – the U.S. ignores such trivialities as law, and goes wherever the hell it pleases, sovereign borders and law be damned.

      What would Americans say if a coalition of foreign countries decided that the President of the U.S. “should go?” And then banded together and brought their militaries inside our borders to begin “regime change” to accomplish that? LOL We all know what every single American would say: “war crimes! violation of American sovereign borders!! Invasion!!” Because it’s always DIFFERENT and perfectly ACCEPTABLE when we do it to anyone else, but completely unacceptable if it is done to us. The U.S.: the ultimate hypocritical double-standard of the globe.

      As far as our allying with Al-Nusra (Al Queda) to accomplish our illegal goal, it is the height of horrifying that more Americans aren’t completely up in arms that our own government is colluding with the very group that killed 3,000 Americans on September 11. That fact, alone, aside from the obvious violation of international law in invading Syria, should cause most Americans to rise up in angry horror at their government’s actions. Yet more hypocrisy: it’s ok for us to declare a “War on Terror” and spend trillions over 15 years to “Defeat Al Queda” anywhere on earth – – – except when we need Al Queda, in which case we buddy up with them to accomplish a goal we have.

      America, thy name is evil.

    • Peter Loeb
      November 8, 2015 at 17:18


      With usual plaudits to Gareth Porter for his article
      commenters would do well to concentrate on his
      insightful analysis of the US “sham”.

      In other words, it does not help readers to
      throw epithets at each other. Even if they are
      “true”. The very same commenters I have always
      relied on are denigrating themselves in such

      Some see reason in many of Mr. Porter’s
      points. My Congressional Representative
      Michael Capuano of Massachusetts has
      recently written a letter to the President. I have
      forwarded a copy to Robert Parry having no
      email for any other analyst. Admittedly
      it is not as accurate as Mr. Porter’s
      analysis. Capuano has made several statements
      publicly opposing military aid and serious questions.
      (His letter is printed in his Legislative Report.
      It is not an “Act of Congress” etc.) I emailed
      my thanks to Mr. Capuano as a constituent.

      As any and all politicians in this state are beholden
      to AIPAC, I do not thereby “endorse” (nor will I
      vote for) Capuano of course.) I think those who join
      in his sentiments should be encouraged.

      The basic reasons such as are presented by
      Gareth Porter (remember him??) are not
      in Capuano’s letter to Obama.

      That is why Gareth Porter’s article is
      so very central for us all to understand.

      As for “self-interest”, I doubt that there is
      any country on earth without it. If
      there are one or two tiny ones, I have
      failed to see them.

      Once more, my appreciation to Gareth
      Porter and his Consortium article.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Joe L.
      November 9, 2015 at 01:02

      Schwere Punkt… You say “Assad must go, period” and I would ask what gives us the right to say who should rule in a “sovereign” nation? Also are we not forgetting US 4-star General Wesley Clark speaking in 2007, about plans from before 9/11, to overthrow the governments of 7 countries in 5 years with Syria (and Assad) being one of those countries? So how can I trust anyone, or any country, that has been openly calling for Assad’s removal especially when I can tick off the countries from Wesley Clark’s list which have undergone “regime change”? Also from what I have read Assad has a fair amount of support in Syria, so the only people who have the “right” to say if Assad should stay or go are the Syrian people – Period!

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