Lost on the ‘Dark Side’ in Syria

The full story of how the U.S. ended up allied with some Sunni extremists in Syria while at war with others is a convoluted tale dating back to President George W. Bush’s neocons venturing off into Vice President Cheney’s “dark side” to work with violent jihadists, writes British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

When, in early August, the Pentagon’s former highest ranking intelligence official, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said that it had been a “willful decision” by the “West” to back the establishment of “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria” in order to bring pressure on the Syrian government, and then went on to confirm that the recently declassified 2012 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report on the rise of ISIS in Syria, had explicitly warned of the possibility of “an Islamic State” being declared “through a union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria,” there was almost silence in the mainstream media.

No one wanted to touch the “live wire” of possible U.S. collusion with Caliphate forces. But it was clear enough what the American General was saying: the jihadification of the Syrian conflict had been a “willful” policy decision, and that since Al Qaeda and the ISIS embryo were the only movements capable of establishing such a Caliphate across Syria and Iraq, then it plainly followed that the U.S. administration, and its allies, tacitly accepted this outcome, in the interests of weakening, or of overthrowing, the Syrian state.

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015, for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015, for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Many in the West found General Flynn’s comments hard to believe in spite of his direct knowledge of events. How could this be? It must have seemed so counter-intuitive to most viewers or readers. And it is something which touches on a still suppurating wound to the Western psyche: 9/11.

But now, with Russia and Iran’s military intervention, the Syria mess in which the West finds itself is only too evident: Russia is providing air cover to the Syrian army, intent on severing the insurgent supply lines from Turkey, on the one hand, and to cutting the Mosul to Aleppo supply route, on the other – as a precursor to the strategic defeat of ISIS.

But in face of these actions, Western leaders are widely seen to be prevaricating, and even seem to wish to impede, and to inflict direct pain, on Russian and others’ attempts to defeat the radical Caliphate forces, by endorsing a wave of TOW missiles and MANPADS reaching Syria from their Gulf suppliers. So where exactly does the West stand?

The forces which the 4+1 Alliance (Russia, Syria Iran and Iraq plus Hezbollah) has to defeat sometimes are not ISIS, but Al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham — jihadist, Caliphate forces, in short, that have absolutely no interest in any political settlement other than their own victory. Yet Western leaders shout “foul,” and imply that these are somehow “our boys” and should not be attacked.

The West’s Mess

The “mess” that the West is in is apparent to all across the region: the U.S. and its allies are both ostensibly “at war” with head-chopping, radical Sunni forces, and “in bed” with them, at the same time.  How could this have happened? How can this mess be resolved?

The roots to U.S. ambivalence towards fired-up radical Sunni Islam (as I have previously noted) lie primarily with the group of American neoconservatives who formed an influential “Cold-Warrior” nexus around Vice President Dick Cheney, and who were obsessed with rolling-back Soviet influence in the Middle East, and in overturning the Arab socialist-nationalist states who were viewed both as Soviet clients, and as threats to Israel.

David Wurmser, Cheney’s Middle East adviser, stressed (in 1996) that “limiting and expediting the chaotic collapse” of Ba’athism must be America’s foremost priority in the region. Secular-Arab nationalism should be given no quarter, not even, he added, for the sake of stemming the tide of Islamic fundamentalism.

In setting the destruction of secular nationalism as its overwhelming priority, America by default found itself compelled to be allied with the Gulf Kings and Emirs who traditionally have resorted to Sunni jihadism as the inoculation against democracy.

But America’s (and Britain’s) use of radical Sunni jihadist movements for their “greater geo-political ends” was already well-embedded long before 1996.  When asked whether he regretted the CIA giving covert support to jihadists in Afghanistan six months prior to the Soviet military intervention (at Kabul’s request), President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbig Brzezinski, replied:

“Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul [the Soviets intervened on Dec. 24, 1979]. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid [to radical Islamic forces] was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [in Afghanistan].”

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war, and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic mujahedeen, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense!

The Neocon Scheme

Though the principle of using fired-up Sunni jihadism for U.S. geopolitical ends was already well-established, the roots to today’s American Syria imbroglio lie more with the events of 2006 and 2007:  the 2003 war in Iraq had not brought about the pro-Israeli, pro-American regional bloc that had been foreseen by the neocons, but rather, it had stimulated a powerful “Shia Crescent” of resistance stretching from Iran to the Mediterranean — and Gulf leaders had become frightened.

The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” a U.S. government consultant said at the time. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”

It had been Israel’s failure in its 2006 war to seriously damage Hezbollah, that had been the straw, as it were, that broke the camel’s back — so unnerving Israel and Gulf leaders.  And it provoked, too, a fierce debate within Washington:

“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger,Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told Seymour Hersh: “The Saudis and some in the administration, have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran; and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

It was also, in a sense, a victory for the closely, Saudi-aligned Sunni leadership of Lebanon, which over the preceding years, had deepened its connection with Sunni extremist groups that espoused a militant vision of Islam (such as Fatah al-Islam), and were hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

These covert allies of March 14th [a Lebanese anti-Syrian coalition named after the date of the so-called Cedar Revolution ] were viewed by the Lebanese Sunni élite as the putative foot soldiers “war experienced” from the Iraq conflict who could be nurtured, and eventually would rise sufficiently in their capabilities, to take on Hezbollah militarily in Lebanon: they were to be March 14th’s Sunni shock-troops, in other words, who would contain Shia influence, and perhaps even ultimately defeat it.

This Lebanese experience was held up to the U.S. administration by those such as Jeff Feltman (then U.S. ambassador in Beirut) as the “pilot” strategy for what could be achieved in Syria. March 14th leaders argued that they could safely manage these radical elements: that despite inclining towards an al-Qaeda orientation, they stood somehow within the broad Sunni “tent,” erected and led by Saad Hariri and Saudi Arabia.

The fall of Syria held out the prospect of a wedge being jammed in between Iran and Israel’s nemesis: Hezbollah.  It was a prospect that enticed the U.S. administration: “This time, the U.S. government consultant told me,” wrote Seymour Hersh, “Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that ‘they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was “We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.” It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at, [they should throw them at] Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians  – [should] they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.’”

‘Sick and Hateful’

Not all Saudis however were so sure: one former Saudi diplomat, speaking to Hersh, accused Hezbollah’s leader, Nasrallah, of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon: “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

Cheney and his team nevertheless were intrigued by Bandar’s ideas for Syria, but remained cautious: “We need to do everything possible to destabilize the Syrian regime and exploit every single moment they strategically overstep.” (As Cheney famously said, “We also have to work – though sort of on the dark side – if you will.”)

In an interview with the Telegraph in 2007, David Wurmser (former adviser to Cheney and John Bolton) confirmed, “that [this] would include the willingness to escalate as far as we need to go to topple the [Syrian] regime if necessary.” He said that “an end to Baathist rule in Damascus could trigger a domino effect that would then bring down the Teheran regime.”

Bandar had boasted of his ability to manage the jihadists: “Leave that aspect to me.” Cheney’s then National Security Adviser, John Hannah, later noted the consensus at the time: “Bandar working without reference to U.S. interests is clearly cause for concern. But Bandar working as a partner against a common Iranian enemy is a major strategic asset.”

This point the entry of Saudi Arabia into a major initiative against Syria – also marked the start of the strategic alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, united in their common hostility to Iran.

In fact, the former Saudi diplomat had been right. Neither Hariri, nor Prince Bandar, was able to control the inflamed Caliphate forces with which they were working.  What moderates there were, simply kept migrating politically towards the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS Caliphate camp and CIA-supplied weapons migrated too. The Syrian conflict was becoming, in character, increasingly jihadist, just as General Flynn was warning as early as 2012.

President Barack Obama is clear that, from the outset, he never believed in the notion of “moderates.”  In 2012, he told Jeffrey Goldberg, “When you have a professional army that is well-armed and sponsored by two large states who have huge stakes in this, and they are fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict , the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.” (Emphasis added).

Obama did not believe in the moderates, but was under pressure from the “hawks,” including his own envoys, Fred Hof and General Allen, to expedite President Assad’s ouster. But the President was adamant that “We’re not going to just dive in and get involved with a civil war that in fact involves some elements of people who are genuinely trying to get a better life but also involve some folks who would over the long term do the United States harm.”

The answer as so often was to move to more covert means in order to mollify the “hawks” by increasing the clandestine operations in support of the opposition including the jihadists:

President Obama: And it is our estimation that [President Bashar al-Assad’s] days are numbered. It’s a matter not of if, but when. Now, can we accelerate that? We’re working with the world community to try to do that. ()

Goldberg: Is there anything you could do to move it faster?

President Obama: Well, nothing that I can tell you, because your classified clearance isn’t good enough. (Laughter.)

No ‘Clean Way’

But plainly, the administration could see how others not in “a clean way” were changing “the equation on the ground.” In 2014, Vice President Biden was rather more candid:

“The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was , there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers 

“And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies , our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks  the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world

“And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden I don’t want to be too facetious but they had seen the Lord [that is to say, the Gulf States said they would join a coalition against ISIS]. Now we have the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization.”

Paradoxically, John Hannah perhaps with the benefit of experience had this to say about Obama’s Syria policy, referring to Obama’s June 2015 meeting with Gulf leaders at Camp David. Hannah noted that having “stressed his understanding of the threat Iran poses to the region”:

“[Obama] let loose with this little gem: The Arabs, according to the president of the United States, need to learn from Iran’s example. In fact, they need to take a page out of the playbook of the Qods Force, by which he meant developing their own local proxies capable of going toe-to-toe with Iran’s agents and defeating them. The president seemed to marvel at the fact that from Hezbollah to the Houthis to the Iraqi militias, Iran has such a deep bench of effective proxies willing to advance its interests.

“Where, he asked, are their equivalent on the Sunni side? Why, he wanted to know in particular, have the Saudis and their partners not been able to cultivate enough Yemenis to carry the burden of the fight against the Houthis? The Arabs, Obama suggested, badly need to develop a toolbox that goes beyond the brute force of direct intervention. Instead, they need to, be subtler, sneakier, more effective, well, just more like Iran.”

To which John Hannah reflected (clearly now with the benefit of experience):

“Think about it. Feeling threatened, desperate, uncertain of U.S. support, and in an existential death match with an intensely sectarian Shiite Iran, who do you think the Wahhabis are most likely to turn to as potential proxies in a pinch? AQAP in Yemen? Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria? The Islamic State in Iraq? Impossible, you say? Maybe. But maybe not.

“The past isn’t necessarily prologue, but it’s certainly reason to proceed very, very cautiously. The president appears to have a special infatuation with the relatively low cost, under-the-radar utility of black ops, covert action, and paramilitary activities. He also seems eager, even desperate, to ease the burdens of U.S. global leadership by compelling difficult allies to step up and police their own neighborhoods.

“Combine these impulses together and it all sounds great in theory as a means of countering Iran. But this is the Middle East and the coming jihad vs. jihad sectarian conflagration is only just getting started. So be careful what you wish for.”

Obama’s Muddle

Hence the nature of the mess in Syria: Sometimes it is just not possible to “square a circle” by conceding a little to all sides to domestic “hawks,” to the Special Ops industry, to Gulf allies – whilst trying to hold on to the line of no decisive U.S. military intervention. Semantics and “horse-trading” aside, no matter how frequent the re-branding, Al-Qaeda/Al-Nusra and their ilk (Ahrar Ash-Sham, etc.), cannot be conceived as “moderate” in a peculiarly British “Weybridge” sense, nor in any other sense.

Tom Friedman put it well: “Obama has been right in his ambivalence about getting deeply involved in Syria. But he’s never had the courage of his own ambivalence to spell out his reasoning to the American people. He keeps letting himself get pummeled into doing and saying things that his gut tells him won’t work, so he gets the worst of all worlds: His rhetoric exceeds the policy, and the policy doesn’t work.”

Not surprisingly, then, some in America are (cautiously) beginning to see President Putin’s military initiative as the only way to cut the Gordian knot and release President Obama from his “knot” of ambivalence: Let Russia and its allies defeat ISIS, and let “the farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict” – in Obama’s words become somehow assimilated into the political process.

Now that could become an “achievement.”

Alastair Crooke is a British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum, which advocates for engagement between political Islam and the West. [This article previously appeared at the Conflicts Forum’s Web site and is republished with permission.]

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20 comments for “Lost on the ‘Dark Side’ in Syria

  1. Bob
    November 18, 2015 at 12:22 am

    The biggest threat according to the CFR. Iran or Sunni Radicals. How ironic the western powers created these threats through decades of foreign policy blunders that continue to this day. CFR and organizations like it are directly responsible for aggressive and illegal military police actions designed to benefit a relatively small number of wealthy individuals who believe in fascism.

  2. Joe Tedesky
    November 18, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Is ISIS going global? Over the last month, ISIS has claimed the bombings in Ankara, Beirut, Bagdad, Paris, and of course the tragic downing of the Russian passenger plane, as being examples of their work of terror. Certainly ISIS sees the hand writing on the wall, when it comes to their future in Syria. Will ISIS now take their battle to the very nations, who are now attacking them from air, land, and sea? Simply bombing ISIS in Syria will not destroy this organization. The most important way to eliminate these monsters, will be to prosecute their benefactors. ISIS, as it stands is not the head of this serpent that now threatens the world. The real evil ones aren’t even necessarily on any battle field, but they are hidden away in some plush spaces, far from their profitable bombs and bullets they arm their terrorist mercenaries with. If, you are looking for some names to associate to my comments, then read Mr. Crooke’s article again, and there you will find them.

  3. Abe
    November 18, 2015 at 3:39 am

    David Wurmser, a neoconservative, served as the Middle East Adviser to US Vice President Dick Cheney. A Swiss-American dual citizen, Wurmser, had previously served as special assistant to John R. Bolton at the State Department and was a former research fellow on the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

    Wurmser was a key contributor to A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a policy document that was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel. The Clean Break report advocated an aggressive new approach to solving Israel’s security problems in the Middle East, including the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare.

    In 2000, Wurmser helped draft a document entitled “Ending Syria’s Occupation of Lebanon: the US Role?”, which called for a confrontation with the regime in Damascus. The document said that Syria was developing “weapons of mass destruction”.

    After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith appointed Wurmser and veteran defense analyst Michael Maloof as a secret two-man Pentagon intelligence unit. One of their products, days after the attacks, was a memo that suggested “hitting targets outside the Middle East in the initial offensive” or a “non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq.”

    In September 2004, the Washington Post reported that FBI counterintelligence investigators had questioned Wurmser, along with Feith, Harold Rhode, and Paul Wolfowitz about the passing of classified information to Ahmad Chalabi and/or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

    Wurmser’s wife, Dr. Meyrav Wurmser, co-founded the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

    http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=neoconinfluence&neoconinfluence_prominent_neoconservatives=neoconinfluence_david_wurmser

    • alexander
      November 18, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Really good.

      I think its very important to understand the emergence of “the clean break strategy” as a ” rejection” of the universal mandates for conflict resolution that “already “existed and were required by the U.N.S.C.

      Since” territory is forbidden to be acquired by force”, Israel was required (by the world) to return the “Golan Heights” to Syria, after which, the state of belligerence between the two countries would cease to exist.

      Israel didn’t want to.

      Israel’s “clean break strategy” emerged as an alternate strategy… a strategy not of peace but of war….keep the “Golan” and destroy “Syria” through the use of ‘proxy forces”.

      The result is what we have now…..the catastrophic fiasco that is the Syrian conflict.

      The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians,

      The complete dislocation and dispossession of millions of its people,…

      .. The shattering of a nation,its cultural heritage and its infrastructure,

      a massive refugee crisis,

      and the rise of ISIS….

      What a disaster.

    • Bart
      November 22, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Following your link, Wurmser’s plan would ensure that “…fighting either the United States or Israel is suicidal.” Wurmser urges both the US and Israel to be watchful for a crisis, writing, “Crises can be opportunities.”

      That last quote could be the epitaph of neoconservatives, should they ever die out.

  4. James lake
    November 18, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Joe Tedelsky makes an excellent point about cutting off the benefactors of I S I L.

    President Putin stated at the G20 that they have information on 40 individuals some of whom are from G20 countries who fund ISIL. This information he stated was supplied to all at the G20.
    The press conference was not reported on by the western MSM. Why? It is reported in full on Soutnik and RT and is in Youtube.
    Also lavrov has given an interview which they have evidence of the U.S. campaign and analysis of the so called air strikes and he states the U.S. are not serious about fighting ISIL which supports this article completelyb

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 18, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Thank you James Lake and Joe Tedesky, I very much agree Joe that the focus needs to be further up the chain. Brzezinski, has gotten my attention for some time as particularly influential and, of course, wrong…
      I am reading an article by Sergey Lavrov that seems to me to be clear and sensible here:

      http://www.voltairenet.org/article189247.html

      • Joe Tedesky
        November 18, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        Bob, allow me to add a couple more thoughts, if I may. When it comes to arming moderate Syrians, I would suggest that there are no moderates inside Syria any longer, that the moderate Syrians are more than likely now to be found in Europe. The more well known name of these moderates I’am referring too, are called Syrian refugees (& they are not all Syrian). If we, John Q. Public were to arrest and prosecute the ISIS hierarchy, this would mean we topple the supreme heads of governments that sit at the very top, of the NATO/GCC/Israeli coalition. I also have come to a point, where I believe that the war on terror, has been no more than another way for the elite to gain control over the masses of it’s vast domain. The elite want to gain so much control, so much that you won’t be able to throw a tubberware party, without a permission slip. Just like after 9/11, when we Americans saw the rolling out of the Patriot Act, now France and the rest of Europe are doing the very same thing. With the ever expanding world population, the elite seem to want too guarantee their hold over all of humanity. To this elite crowd, they want to own every natural resource and mineral, that is still left on this dear planet earth. These elitist need to control the herd, because then they can control the profits. It’s all a scam, and we are all a part of it. The one huge problem we all have, is we have no say in where we are going. We need a better MSM in order to inform the public at large, to what is really going on. I hope that sites such as this one are growing in popularity, then we might stand a chance to change this direction we are all heading in. Keep, the faith, and may you find peace!

  5. Mortimer
    November 18, 2015 at 9:58 am

    The ISIS’ ‘Management of Savagery’ in Iraq
    Alastair Crooke
    06/30/2014
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-cooke/iraq-isis-alqaeda_b_5542575.html

    • D5-5
      November 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you for this link to a second piece by this author which helps understand ISIS in terms of its fanatical, ancient roots, and its aims including its critical view of Saudi Arabia. Also, the “management of savagery” indicates its deliberate strategy as part of pursuing various phases to its ultimate goals. The Lords of Mammon in seeking to use this force for their own political-economic goals apparently have no idea what they’re fooling with. I found both these pieces by this author Alastair Crooke clear and helpful.

  6. Mortimer
    November 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

    Tom Friedman put it well: “Obama has been right in his ambivalence about getting deeply involved in Syria. But he’s never had the courage of his own ambivalence to spell out his reasoning to the American people. He keeps letting himself get pummeled into doing and saying things that his gut tells him won’t work, so he gets the worst of all worlds: His rhetoric exceeds the policy, and the policy doesn’t work.”

    .
    What “ambivalence” !?

    Assad must go has been Obama’s mantra from the beginning of this ‘regime change’ overthrow.

    Bob’s comment at the top are on point, and there is no dark side except that which exists in the dis-informative propaganda we’re bombarded with hour-by-hour, day-by-day on/ thru public media.

    The US provoked and funded the Syrian “civil war” – that’s Light of Day reality.
    The lies and Subterfuge are owned and controlled by the ‘dark side’ –

    • alexander
      November 18, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      “The U.S. provoked and funded the Syrian Civil War- that ‘s Light of Day reality.”

      It sure is.

      And how awful that Syria never once threatened the United States….and here it is war torn , shattered with ISIS metastasizing by the day…

      How awful.

  7. MEexpert
    November 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

    It is very easy to list the countries supporting ISIS and AL-Qaeda. Here they are:

    Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Israel, The United States, England, Canada, and France. The west needs to put squeeze on Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Turkey to stop funding and arming these Jihadis. The west also needs to stop selling arms to these Arab countries because the eventually end up in jihadi hands. Also stop the buyers of the illegal sale of Iraqi oil by ISIS. The US knows who they are. Problem is the west is not interested in defeating ISIS.

  8. Abe
    November 18, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    The terrorist attacks carried out in the heart of the French capital, either coincidentally or intentionally, have served as the perfect point of leverage for the West on the very eve of the so-called “Vienna talks” regarding Syria.

    With its serendipitously strengthened hand and with France taking a more prominent role, the West is attempting to reassert not only its narrative, but its agenda regarding the ongoing conflict in Syria, an agenda that has – as of late – been derailed by Russia’s military intervention and recent gains made on the battlefield by Syrian military forces.

    […]

    Using Another 9/11 to Justify Creating Another Libya

    NATO’s intervention and regime change in Libya did not avert a refugee crisis, it helped create one. NATO’s intervention and successful regime change in Libya did not make the region or the world safer, it turned the entire nation into a breeding ground for terrorist organizations with so-far unprecedented reach and operational capacity. NATO’s goals in Libya did not prevent the refugee crisis, it helped start it. And with all of this in mind, having seen this and taken full stock of Libya’s outcome, the West has nonetheless moved forward with precisely the same agenda in Syria.

    In all reality, the West has no intention of bringing peace or stability to Syria. Their goal is to leave Syria as divided and destroyed as Libya, and to use the chaos and instability fostered there as a springboard for other targets of the West’s proxy warfare – most likely Iran, Russia, and targets deeper in Central Asia.

    The West promises that it will end the chaos in Syria, just like they promised it would end in Libya. It will not end in either.

    With Libya’s fate in mind, and a repeat performance clearly taking shape in Syria should the West get its way, it must be made clear that no matter how many innocent people are killed by terrorists the West itself helped create and perpetuate, they will not get an opportunity to turn Syria into the “Libya of the Levant,” no matter how convenient and well-timed these killings are, no matter how deep they are within the heart of Europe or North America, and no matter how tragic and regrettable the aftermath is.

    West Leverages Paris Attacks for Syria Endgame
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/11/west-leverages-paris-attacks-for-syria.html

  9. Abe
    November 18, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    As Russia’s warplanes are destroying anti-government forces in Syria, while relying on the Syrian armed troops, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and the Lebanese “Hezbollah”, and Shia volunteers from Afghanistan and Pakistan, a number of influential international and regional players are desperate to get their foot in the door to prevent the utter and complete defeat of ISIL and other radical Islamist groups in Syria. Among these players one can easily find the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    […]

    To cut the long story short, it should be noted that Western countries have decided to go on with these negotiation only due to Russia’s military operations in Syria. They are hardly interested in a peaceful solution that will take into consideration national interests of all the players involved. In essence, the Vienna format differs from all the previous formats in the number of countries attending the talk, and there’s a number of states that the West and the Arabian monarchies have previously ignored. The fact that Iran has joined the negotiations is a clear diplomatic victory for Moscow. Yet, as the future of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still being disputed, any positive outcome of these talks can be easily derailed by the West.

    There’s no use hoping that at some point Riyadh and Doha will turn their backs on their Syrian war plan, since they have already invested tens of billions of dollars in it. This means that the basis for constructive talks could be created only when the regular Syrian troops score a considerable number of victories on the battlefield.

    Who is Derailing Syrian Reconciliation?
    By Viktor Titov
    First appeared: http://journal-neo.org/2015/11/18/who-is-syrian-reconciliation/

  10. Abe
    November 18, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks to pressure from numerous quarters, US policy is evolving toward the goal of closing the infamous Jarablus corridor, where the supply lines serving ISIS in northern Syria come across the border from Turkey. Kerry has finally identified the central military strategic question of the current phase of hostilities in Syria: this is that the easiest, quickest, most economical, most humane, and most elegant way of crushing the ISIS Islamic State is to cut off the ammunition, food, medicine, fuel, and recruits which come into Syria from Turkey, across the section of border which stretches approximately 100 km or 60 miles west from the city of Jarablus on the Euphrates River to the Efrin-Aleppo area.

    […]

    Observers of the Syrian conflict cannot forget the cynical and treacherous bait and switch carried out by Turkish President Erdogan, with the help of now-ousted US ISIS Czar John Allen at the end of July. Just after the YPG Kurds liberated the town of Tel Abyad and thus took control of the entire Turkish-Syrian border from the far eastern corner all the way to the Euphrates, Erdogan proclaimed that he would now start attacking ISIS, and would allow the United States to use the important Incirlik air base to attack ISIS. But it soon became apparent that the devious Erdogan, the true heir to the Byzantine tradition of trickery and manipulation, was bombing the Kurds, especially the PKK, while maintaining the outrageous scandal of Turkish logistical support for ISIS through the Jarablus corridor.

    Erdogan’s late July bait and switch was his attempt at damage control, just after the liberation of Tel Abyad. Probably as part of a secret and very dirty deal between Erdogan and the warmonger ISIS Czar Allen, it was noted that the US was not supporting the advance of the Kurds west of the Euphrates River:

    ‘…Kurdish forces in northern Syria have disclosed that they were no longer receiving U.S. air support in their ground offensive against Islamic State forces in Jarablus. This city is the last major border crossing between Syria and Turkey still controlled by Islamic State and is critical to the flow of Jihadists into Syria as well as a key conduit for IS smuggling operations. The Pentagon has declined to either confirm or deny the Kurdish claim that they are no longer receiving American air support for operations west of the Euphrates River.’

    Russian President Putin has ordered his military forces in the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant to cooperate with French forces as allies. Unfortunately, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook today announced that the United States was not interested in such cooperation because Putin does not share the US obsession with overthrowing President Assad of Syria

    At this point, the Turkish attempt to interfere with this operation would face the combined power of Russia, the United States, France and other nations. If Erdogan tries to stonewall, he will be crushed.

    This was a stab in the back to the Kurds, who have been the most capable opponents of the ISIS fanatics, and have done most to dismantle the myth of ISIS invincibility purveyed by the controlled media of the NATO countries. But now, ISIS Czar Allen has been forced out, so his secret deals are worthless, and the United States should start supporting the Kurds in a major thrust to capture Jarablus and push further west of the Euphrates.

    Therefore, Erdogan is falling back on strategic deception, first of all by promising Kerry that Turkey will do something to cut the ISIS supply lines. This is unlikely in the extreme, as will probably be seen in a few days. But Erdogan is also preparing to depict his phantomatic crackdown on ISIS logistics in the form of a dog and pony show for international dupes.

    http://tarpley.net/kerry-announces-plan-for-u.s.-and-turkey-to-close-jarablus-corridor/

    • Abe
      November 18, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Tarpley correctly highlights the immediate strategic imperative to interdict the Jarablus corridor where ISIS supply lines from Erdogan’s Turkey cross into Syria.

      The Russians are getting the job done and we can’t have that. So boom goes Paris.

      While much of Tarpley’s analysis is cogent, I strongly disagree with his view that the “obvious danger is that Kerry will be duped by the wily Erdogan”.

      The U.S. deep state relationship with Erdogan’s Turkey is entirely cooperative vis-à-vis the assault on Syria.

      The hackneyed “wily Erdogan” meme, a staple of Graham E. Fuller’s screeds on Consortium News, is de la merde israélienne et la CIA.

      • Brad Owen
        November 19, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        This is why I say the REAL global conflict is between a trans-national (new kind of Empire) Deep State and the several National Democracies with Parliaments and elections and such (USA, UK, France, Turkey, Syria, Russia, China, Iran, even Israel, etc…). This is ultimately a war upon National Democracies, and all the N.D.’s should be allied against this trans-national threat. Terrorists, some think tanks, some lobbyists, some financiers, some bought-off politicians, some treasonous military officers (and police-types) of high rank, some “National” Security operatives and bureaucrats, among other “players”, constitute The Deep State, and are in cahoots with one another, across National boundaries (which they hold in contempt), to execute some kind of extensive power-play that is treasonous, and contemptible of Democracy and the general citizenry of all Nations. All Nations should be allied against this dire threat that Eisenhower warned about, ESPECIALLY USA, Russia, and China; the heavyweights of the World. The problem is knowing friend-from-foe, as they all could be working in the same offices, wearing the same uniforms, speaking the same languages, etc…This new Empire works like a biological virus, having very little of its’ own substance, and USING the very substances of its’ victims/hosts. That’s what I think is sizing up here, in all of these reports.

  11. Abe
    November 18, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    French and German police and intelligence were reportedly meeting in the weeks prior to the Paris attacks “to discuss an imminent pre-planned terrorist attack in Paris.” French security services were only wondering “whether or not the target would be soft (civilian) or hard (military, government, industrial) in nature.” The bomb threat that forced Germany’s national football team to evacuate their Paris hotel on the morning of the attacks should have raised red flags.

    Instead of holding intelligence agencies to account for failing to prevent terrorist attacks at home while supporting terrorists in Syria and elsewhere, the response to the Paris attacks will likely entail even greater powers for security services and more support for the “Syrian rebels” under the guise of fighting ISIS.

    There is a certain irony in the fact that individuals like former senior CIA official Graham Fuller are now calling for the elimination of ISIS. After all, Fuller has been one of the leading proponents of using jihadists against adversaries of the United States. He is credited with saying, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvellously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”

    Fuller himself has been heavily involved in these operations. Therefore, it came as a surprise when he called for ending Operation Cyclone 2.0 in Syria and conceded that ISIS is “made in the USA.”

    After facilitating the rise of ISIS “in order to isolate the Syrian regime,” the U.S. and its allies are now stepping up their fight against the terrorist group. But as Graham Fuller noted, the real target is somebody else and the Paris attacks may prove very useful in this regard:

    “Ironically the enormity of the ISIS/ al-Qaeda alternative to Asad had lately sparked some western hesitation in pursuing his overthrow, but now, through its massacres in Paris, ISIS may now have dealt Asad the death blow.”

    Paris Attacks: Western Intelligence’s Vision Blinded by Allah?
    By Christoph Germann
    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/11/17/bfp-exclusive-paris-attacks-western-intelligences-vision-blinded-by-allah/

    • Evangelista
      November 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      The Carter and Reagan Administrations era aid to the Afghan Mujahadeen (Taliban) worked well because it was aid to Islamic forces interested to evict a foreign-design government; period. The focus of the aiding parties was to ousting the Soviet supported government. No thought was given then to replacing the Soviet supported government. Thus, the aid was not tied to ‘westernizing’ and the Taliban could, and did, assume the aid was to help them establish an Islamic-culture government for their Islamic nation, which they did.

      The Afghan Taliban expressed their gratitude to the US and West by eliminating Opium production in Afghanistan, which was in keeping with their Islamic values, but would also, very foreseeably, invoke economic hardships, removing a major source for foreign currency, a consequence they apparently accepted as a part of de-corrupting Afghanistan.

      The Taliban had not reckoned on the importance of heroin-trafficking to some of the most influential Middle-East players, who have been from their beginnings dependent on an international gangster network of international gangsters who control illegal opiate trade in all countries where their local subsidiaries operate, and have, or (in the case of Russia) had strong influence in the governments where their lucrative underworld activities, including drug-trafficking, provided them wherewithal to both finance and purchase politicians and political influence, and build up ‘legal’ business empires, within borders and international.

      Thus, the Afghan Taliban government’s apparent gesture of gratitude was a step off more than only a financial cliff: The opiate-trade had to be resurrected, which meant the only in the world and first ever really effective halt ever imposed on a sector of the illegal opiate trade (even the Chinese failed when they tried to halt the British Empire’s Indian Opium trade), and the government that accomplished the feat, ‘had to be’ crushed. The instrument used was the same power whose aid had enabled the opiate-trade stopping government to power and ability to get itself into such really big trouble naively believing its benefactor would appreciate it saying ‘thank-you’ by helping it to be able to do what it said (and says) it wanted (wants), to end drug-trafficking, instead of what it, or its controllers, really want.

      The lesson of the US-Mujahadeen experience, if any want to take it, is that if anyone really wants to get along with Islamic cultures all that is required is to work with them. Working with them, of course, means letting them be themselves and set themselves up with their own governments,of, by and for their own peoples.

      Can they do it? Are they ‘sophisticated’ enough? Read their Qur’an; read their history. They have all they need and all the ability to do for themselves at least as well as the ‘West’, and they have ethics and principles at least equal to the West’s, in fact, way better than any the West’s In-Power are currently exhibiting.

      The West’s unprincipled and unethical behaviours, in example, its apparent acceptance of gangster-style ‘rub-out’ resolutions, using drone-terror operations, is probably the single largest factor in perpetrating and perpetuating the escalating gang-style warfare presently boiling in Europe and the Middle-East.

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