A New Anti-Assad Propaganda Offensive

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. media, including the “liberal” New Yorker, is reprising its propagandistic role before the Iraq War now in Syria with a new round of one-sided reporting, as Daniel Lazare explains.

By Daniel Lazare

Now that Syria’s “cessation of hostilities” appears to be crumbling and rebel forces are gearing up for a fresh offensive, the mighty U.S. propaganda machine is once again up and running.

A case in point is “The Assad Files,” an 11,000-word article in last week’s New Yorker that is as willfully misrepresentative as anything published about Syria in the last five years or so, which is saying a great deal.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Written by a young Columbia Journalism School graduate named Ben Taub, it tells of a Canadian political entrepreneur named William Wiley who, starting in 2012, persuaded the European Union and the German, Swiss, Norwegian, Danish and Canadian governments to give him millions of dollars so he could begin building a criminal case against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

To that end, Wiley hired lawyers, translators, and analysts and sent investigators into Syria itself alongside “moderate” rebels so that they could rifle security and intelligence installations in search of incriminating evidence. Once they got what they were looking for, they either squirreled it away locally or spirited it over the border to an undisclosed location in Western Europe where the documents could be scanned, bar-coded, and safely secured.

The upshot is a 400-page legal brief that Taub says “links the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of Syrians to a written policy approved by President Bashar al-Assad, coordinated among his security-intelligence agencies, and implemented by regime operatives.” It is “a record of state-sponsored torture,” he adds, “that is almost unimaginable in its scope and its cruelty.”

Taub fills his article with lots of J-school-style color, informing us that Wiley is “a field guy, not an office guy”; that he “handles the considerable stress of his profession with Cuban cigarillos, gallows humor, and exercise,” and that, at age 52, “he bench-presses more than three hundred and fifty pounds.” He describes in vivid detail one of Wiley’s associates negotiating his way through 11 rebel checkpoints while transporting a truckload of captured Syrian government documents. But for all his diligence, he manages to overlook the blindingly obvious problems that Wiley’s activities raise. For instance:

–He notes that no international judicial body has jurisdiction over Syrian war crimes and that, in May 2014, Russia and China specifically vetoed a UN resolution assigning the International Criminal Court such a role. So what’s the point of a 400-page legal brief if there’s no court to present it to? Is this a genuine pursuit of legal truth or just another propaganda exercise funded by the West?

–Waving such objections aside, Taub quotes Wiley as saying: “We’re simply confident – and I don’t think it’s hubris – that our work will see the light of day, in court, in relatively short order.” But what on earth does this mean? That Wiley has inside knowledge that Assad is about to fall?

Western Crimes

–By zeroing in on Assad alone, the investigation ignores malfeasance by other players. Arming rebels and sending them to spread terror across the Syrian countryside, for example, is a straight-out violation of the UN Charter, which declares that “all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

Photo from Wikipedia: Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Yet Wiley says nothing about such crimes even though the U.S. and Saudi Arabia commit them daily. The same goes for bombing Syrian targets without express Syrian government permission. That, too, is illegal. Yet Wiley remains silent about that as well.

–Sending investigators into Syria without express government approval is likewise a violation, which means that Wiley and his group are also complicit. Washington would not like it if Syria sent “investigators” to this country to break into FBI offices and rifle through CIA files. So what gives Wiley the right to do the same? And given the intensity of the propaganda war surrounding Syria, what weight should one give to the purported evidence?

Although you wouldn’t know it from a travesty like “The Assad Files,” the facts about Syria have long been clear. In August 2012, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency issued a report stating that Al Qaeda, the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood were “the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” that their goal was to establish a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria, and that this is “exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition” – which is to say Turkey, the Arab Gulf states, and the Western powers – “want in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

In October 2014, Vice President Joe Biden told students at Harvard’s Kennedy School that “the Saudis, the emirates, etc. were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war [that] they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda.”  (See quote starting at 53:20.)

In October 2015, a New York Times editorial noted that private donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait were continuing to channel funds to ISIS (also known as ISIL, Islamic State, and Daesh), while, in January 2016, the newspaper reported that Saudi aid to Islamist rebels in Syria has totaled not hundreds of millions of dollars as Joe Biden had stated, but billions.

In other words, the U.S. and its Arab Gulf allies lavished immense funds on a Sunni fundamentalist rebellion from the start, they encouraged the growth of Salafist caliphate, and they stood by as private money flowed to Al Qaeda and Islamic State.

This is a scandal that people should be shouting about from the rooftops. Standing reality on its head, however, The New Yorker wants us to believe that the only person to blame for this debacle is Assad. If he hadn’t disregarded Barack Obama’s order to step down in August 2011, then America and its allies would not have been obliged to fund jihadists bent on installing a Sunni dictatorship in Damascus.

Through his obstinacy, Assad forced the U.S. to back a religious war of extermination against Alawites, Christians and other minorities, which is why Washington now has no choice but to arrest him, give him a fair trial and then find him guilty as charged.

Cooking the Books

Taub cooks the books in various ways. He devotes much of his article to a 38-year-old dissident named Mazen al-Hamada who says he spent a year in Assad’s prisons, suffering repeated beatings and emerging a broken man as a consequence.

“People went crazy,” he tells Taub of his time inside. “People would lose their memories, people would lose their minds.” Even though Hamada was eventually able to leave Syria and join his sister in the Netherlands, he spends his days agonizing over the friends and relatives he left behind.

“Where are they?” he cries. “Are they alive? Are they dead?” Every day is “misery,” he tells Taub. “It’s misery. It’s misery. It’s death. It’s a life of death.”

This is powerful stuff, especially for those who enjoy reading about evil Arab dictators. But the careful reader will notice that Hamada has no connection to Wiley’s campaign and that his role, rather, is to put flesh on the bones of Wiley’s dry legal arguments by describing what’s at stake.

Taub thus goes into painful detail about the tortures that Hamada says he endured – beatings, burnings, electric shock, and so on. It’s gruesome stuff, and, according to Taub, Hamada “sobbed desperately” in recounting it.

A general view showing damages after what activists said was an airstrike with explosive barrels from forces loyal to President al-Assad in Al-Shaar area in Aleppo

A general view showing damages after what activists said was an airstrike with explosive barrels from forces loyal to President al-Assad in Al-Shaar area in Aleppo

But what did Hamada do to merit such treatment, if indeed such abuses were inflicted? The article says only that he comes from an educated middle-class family in the city of Deir Ezzor and that members “were outspoken critics of the government, and even before the revolution they were routinely followed and periodically arrested. They were especially outraged by the government’s failure to do anything about the widening gap between the rich and the poor. ‘It was all organized to benefit the élites,’ Hamada said.”

This makes them sound like Bernie Sanders supporters. Taub adds that Hamada also organized inside a local mosque but assures us that it was just a matter of convenience.

“It was a logistical issue,” he quotes Hamada as saying. “Everyone went to the mosque on a Friday, everyone came out. …  If we could have come out of churches, we would have come out of churches!”

But is that really all there is to it? In fact, Deir Ezzor is part of Syria’s wild east, a tribal region that was an Al Qaeda stronghold following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and then again after the Arab Spring beginning in early 2011.

“The religious and tribal powers in the [border] regions began to sympathize with the sectarian uprising,” states the 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report, written just a few months after Hamada’s arrest the following March. (emphasis added). “This sympathy appeared in Friday prayer sermons, which called for volunteers to support the Sunni’s [sic] in Syria.”

So what The New Yorker doesn’t tell us is that Hamada agitated inside mosques at a time when they were resounding with calls for holy war against Assad and his fellow Alawites. This doesn’t prove that Hamada is not a liberal, a social democrat, or some other mild-mannered sort. But it raises the possibility that he’s something else – a Salafist, perhaps, a Wahhabist, or a supporter of Al Qaeda.

A One-Sided Morality Play 

If Taub seems stingy with the details, it’s most likely because he doesn’t want anything getting in the way of his simple-minded morality play about a noble dissident suffering at the hands of a cruel and vicious tyrant.

But how do we know Hamada suffered at all? How do we know he’s not making it all up? Taub summons up bits and pieces of corroborative evidence in an effort to buttress his account, none of it terribly convincing.

Hamada says that after he and his fellow prisoners were transferred to an air base at Al-Mezzeh, a few kilometers west of Damascus, guards taunted them by saying that the Americans would soon bomb the installation, killing them all.

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 Sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base.

The controversial map developed by Human Rights Watch and embraced by the New York Times, supposedly showing the flight paths of two missiles from the Aug. 21 sarin attack intersecting at a Syrian military base. The map’s claims ultimately collapsed when inspectors could find no sarin or other chemical weapons agent in the rocket to the west and the rocket to the east, which did carry sarin, was discovered to have a range of only two kilometers, with the base nine kilometers away.

Since Obama was threatening to retaliate against Syria for the use of sarin gas a few days earlier and “at least one of the sarin-gas rockets is believed to have been launched from the base at al-Mezzeh,” according to Taub, the story seems to make sense.

But there’s a problem: Taub’s statement about al-Mezzeh is dubious at best. In contrast to the Aug. 21, 2013, sarin-gas attack at the Ein Tarma/Zamalka area, located to the east of Damascus, the sarin-gas attack at Al Moadamiyah, located near al-Mezzeh to the west, is so poorly documented that it’s unclear whether it occurred at all.

Members of the United Nations inspection team, which gained access to the site five days later, found no evidence of sarin from their field tests, a result later confirmed by two U.N. labs, which reported no sarin or other chemical weapons agents present, although the two labs had conflicting findings on whether a trace chemical from the area might have resulted from degraded sarin.

But even that suspicion was undercut by the fact that a second rocket recovered in the Ein Tarma/Zamalka area several days later tested positive for actual sarin (though it had been exposed to the elements even longer). That crude second rocket was later determined to have a range of only about two kilometers, meaning that it could not have come from the Syrian base and more likely came from rebel-controlled territory. Later evidence, including a report by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, pointed to the likelihood that it was launched by rebel jihadists as a provocation to draw the U.S. military into the conflict on their side.

There was also the question of why Assad would have invited in U.N. inspectors to examine a prior chemical attack against his troops and then launch a large-scale sarin attack on a nearby location just as the investigative team was settling into a Damascus hotel.

As the excellent open-source “WhoGhouta” blog points out, it doesn’t make sense unless the Baathists were bent on suicide – and if there’s one thing we know after five years of civil war, it is that the Damascus regime’s goal is not suicide but survival.  [See also Consortiumnews.com’s “A Call for Proof on Syria-Sarin Attack.”]

Of course, it is possible that Hamada’s Syrian guards might have anticipated a U.S. attack even if Assad’s government had nothing to do with the sarin attack. But the dubious case surrounding the sarin gas incident leaves his account sounding contrived and unsubstantiated, an example of old anti-Assad propaganda being dredged up in support of yet another round of lies and distortions.

Dubious Photos

Taub also invokes the famous “Caesar,” the pseudonym of a Syrian army photographer who caused a sensation in early 2014 by defecting with 55,000 photographs purportedly documenting the torture and killing of 11,000 detainees at the hands of the Syrian security establishment.

Where Hamada says he was assigned a four-digit identification number during his confinement, many of Caesar’s victims were also tagged with a four-digit ID, which makes Hamada seem more plausible. Where Hamada reported a pile-up of dead bodies at the hospital in which he was interned, Caesar, clicking away at the same facility, also reported a gruesome pile-up. If Caesar is believable, then Hamada is as well.

But Caesar’s tale fairly cries out skepticism.  For instance:

–His publicity campaign was paid for and organized by Qatar, a key backer of Islamist rebel groups, which also engaged a London law firm to testify that the photos were genuine.

–The photos were hurriedly released just as peace talks in Geneva were about to begin, talks that Qatar and its rebel allies both opposed.

–Rather than victims of the regime, an examination by Human Rights Watch found that nearly half the pictures were of dead army soldiers, members of the security services, or victims of fires and car bombs – i.e. victims not of the government, but of the rebels.

–A further examination by the Syria Solidarity Movement found that significant numbers of photos showed fresh bullet or shrapnel wounds suggesting that the victims had died in combat rather than in prison; signs of bloating suggesting that they had also perished in conflict zones; or bandages indicating that they had died after receiving medical treatment.

Where Hamada, moreover, said that dead bodies were stored in toilets of all places – guards instructed him to “pee on top of the bodies,” he assures a credulous Taub – the bodies that Caesar photographed were stored in a morgue or in a garage bay.

Caesar’s photos thus prove absolutely nothing about the Assad regime in general or about Hamada’s experience in particular. Since their evidentiary value is nil, we have no reason to believe that he is telling the truth as opposed to filling a young reporter’s head with stuff and nonsense designed to set his editor’s pulse racing back in New York.

The result is every bit as outrageous as the articles The New Yorker ran prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq alleging collusion between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

The Christian Science Monitor, one of the few publications not to tumble into bed with Caesar and his photos, described them as “a well-timed propaganda exercise funded by Qatar, a regime opponent who has funded rebels fighting Assad who have committed war crimes of their own.”

With the White House preparing to up the ante in Syria by possibly supplying the rebels with portable anti-aircraft missiles weapons that will almost inevitably find their way into the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda – is there any reason to regard “The Assad Files” as anything other than a well-timed propaganda exercise as well?

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “How The New Yorker Mis-Reports Syria.”]

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

 

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27 comments for “A New Anti-Assad Propaganda Offensive

  1. Tom Welsh
    April 21, 2016 at 11:31 am

    “Once they got what they were looking for, they either squirreled it away locally or spirited it over the border to an undisclosed location in Western Europe…”

    Where I come from, that is known as “theft”. So, while we cannot be sure if President al-Assad has committed any crimes, we know for sure that this clown Wiley has.

    So I can safely assume that Western governments are prosecuting him.

  2. Tom Welsh
    April 21, 2016 at 11:38 am

    “…he assures a credulous Taub…”

    No, I don’t think so. More likely that “a cynical Taub assures his credulous readers”.

  3. April 21, 2016 at 11:55 am

    The wicked are allways quick to spread False Doctrine. The Truth will allways set you free of all the false accusations. I am in support of all the fine work that the Assad Administration has been able to accomplish. In spite of the deliberate opposition brought on by OUTSIDE interferers. As well as the Clear support of Putin Administration. Bully for them! I too refuse to give in to threats of intimidation.

  4. julian lobato
    April 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    It is tragic how Americans are proudly ignorant of these truths, worse still the truthteller is condemned for their lack of patriotism and love of terrorists.

    • Joe L.
      April 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act …George Orwell

  5. rick sterling
    April 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    excellent article!

    couple additional points:
    * the “assad files” project is american inspired and initially funded until they got some other ‘friends of syria’ to help with costs and help cover the US control. behind the search for “justice and accountability” is american ‘ambassador’ stephen rapp, former head of the US State Dept’s “office of global criminal justice” established by secy of state madeleine albright.

    * the exercise is part of clinton’s ‘smart power’ where the State Dept funds many operations previously done by the CIA. that includes training, organizing and paying on-the-ground agents, propangandists, and provocateurs.

    * PBSNewshour featured a report on the ‘assad files’ including the author.

    the title of the article is spot on.

  6. Realist
    April 21, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Washington already knows about torture in Syrian prisons. The Dubya administration employed the Assad government to carry out such tasks for it under its “extreme rendition” program. It also employed such rabidly anti-Russian countries such as “freedom-loving” Poland for the task. By all means prosecute Assad for such crimes against humanity, but charge Bush, Cheney, the Polish hypocrites and everyone else involved on the same dock in the Hague. Then Obama, Biden and Killary can stand for crimes committed in the Libyan war they cooked up and for the numerous murders of innocents throughout the Middle East in America’s drone program. If justice were truly done, Nuland and Pyatt would swing from ropes alongside Yats and Porky for all the innocent people killed in the Donbass and Odessa.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    April 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I’m tired of it. Babies thrown from incubators, invading a sovereign nation suspected of having WMD’s, saving people from soldiers heaped up on Viagra, and all the while still in Afghanistan even though Osama bin Laden is supposedly dead, is the American norm. So what if Assad is a bad guy? Why is it the responsibility of the United States, and not a UN coalition, who should rein in these so called bad dictators? We have gone from chasing the terrorist, to now arming them, and this we are all suppose to accept as policy. To further compound this deceptive narrative, we Americans ally with some of the worst of the worst. What is the difference between ISIS and Saudi rule? While we are constantly reminded of how bad Assad is to his people, should we always overlook what Netanyahu does to Israel’s Palestinian population? Finally why isn’t Erdogan in jail? Oh but wait, possibly soon America will have a new meddler in chief, and I will bet she is foaming at the mouth just waiting for her chance to jump into the ring. After all this is what exceptional people do…just ask them.

    • Rob Roy
      April 21, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      Good one, Joe.

      • alexander
        April 21, 2016 at 8:23 pm

        Good article…and ditto on Joe’s comment, too.

    • Harry Shade
      April 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Excellently put, Joe.

    • John P
      April 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Well put Joe, and as for the lady in question read this from Mondoweiss. She collecting funds in Israel ! I would have thought that illegal but I’m not an American.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2016/04/clinton-will-hold-fundraiser-in-tel-aviv/

      • SFOMARCO
        April 22, 2016 at 12:34 am

        There are plenty of persons with dual citizenship living in Israel. Sycophantic Hillary stooped to travel to Tel Aviv to personally fawn over those donors, rather than merely ask for wire transfers to her super-PAC.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      It is good to hear how some of you may agree with my comments. Here is an article by Martin Berger which describes more of what we are all commenting about here at this time;

      http://journal-neo.org/2016/04/21/so-whos-the-ultimate-villian-assad-or-erdogan/

    • TellTheTruth-2
      April 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      Sad. Very sad.

  8. April 21, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    am waiting for the historically belated report on the murderous butcher, abraham lincoln, and his brutal slaughter of 500,000 americans in his wretched suppression of a rebellious attempt to radically change the united states of america..will not hang by my lip waiting.

  9. Au
    April 21, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Enjoyed this article, thank you.

  10. Abe
    April 21, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    In September 2015, Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, was elected Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) panel that appoints independent experts. A few weeks later, on Sept. 30, Riyadh blocked a draft resolution put forward by the Netherlands that called for an international inquiry into the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen.

    UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said: “It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel. Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.” In January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr who had called for free elections in Saudi Arabia.

  11. Secret Agent
    April 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Yes the war drums are beating again and hostilities will break out soon. The Takafiri lunatics have been resupplied with powerful weapons including MANPADs.

    The Syrian government and their Russian supporters know who they are dealing with and they have also prepared.

    The guardian is reporting that the Russians are flying artillery to Aleppo. Artillery is a Russian speciality so get ready for a convincing demonstration of how to effectively use artillery against entrenched positions.

    The end game of this phase of the war will be to seal the Syrian Turkish border and eradicate the terrorists in northern Syria. Then there will be another round of talks.

    My question is this: Why is the CIA prompting the terrorists to start fighting in the north just as the Syrian Arab Army was preparing to crush ISIS in the east? This operation has forced Syria to put off the assault on ISIS. The CIA just saved ISIS it seems.

  12. Peter Loeb
    April 22, 2016 at 5:52 am

    THE NEW US-ISRAELI-EU ATTACK….

    All of the above is no “news” as it is a repetition of US-ISRAELI PR
    as described with reference to Iran in detail by Gareth Porter’s
    book, MANUFACTURED CRISIS…

    As a brief supposed summary of a “summit” in Saudi Arabia, President
    Obama pronounced that despite the Iran deal Iran continues its
    “destabilizing behaviors”. As though the US, Israel, and Saudi
    Arabia were not involved in any such behaviors at all!

    What one has again is a distorted view attempting to lay the
    groundwork for “regime change” in Syria and Iran. This
    PR blitz will be heard more and more as we continue into
    years of threat and military action against Syria and Iran.
    With Saudi Arabia and the EU powers at the beck and
    call of the US.

    In preparation for what Obama perceives as the Netanyahu-
    friendly era of President Hillary Clinton to provide even more grounds
    for the destruction of nations, lives in nations of Israeli
    PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice.

    An interesting note to this so-called “summit” is that Syria and
    Iran were not included at all. Neither were other members of the
    P5+1, signatories of the Iran deal. They were not included
    as though their views of planned destruction of their societies
    were not even relevant issues. Also not included were
    Russia or China. They are not even, well, European!

    Hail Netanyahu, Netanyahu rules the world! It is especially of
    interest to warlike Americans and selected EU nations.
    Those that can be “bribed”.

    As this writer has mentioned before, the Iran agreement has
    never been treated as an agreement at all but as a weapon
    over Iran (and now Syria) to be wielded at the pleasure of
    the US. There has never been any announcement of the
    elimination of sanctions which were to be the core of
    the Iran agreement. There will never be one, be assured.

    Meanwhile, Israel continues to violate so many crimes.itself,
    crimes buried in international consciousness,
    But as we are told again and again Israel has a “right”.
    Its impunity is divinely and secularly guaranteed.

    While it may be necessary to go through the particulars of each
    and every fabricated piece of US-Israeli PR and is more
    than professional, it is hardly required to discern the
    outlines of today’s policies and those to come.

    [In he case of Iran, Gareth Porter mentions that it was at
    one point being considered as to whether or not Iran
    should withdraw completely from the Nuclear Nonproliferation
    Treaty (NPT). Instead, Iran decided to play the game. What
    has it received in return? These are decisions for the government
    of Syria and its allies to make. I would make continuing as
    a member of the NPT ONLY on condition that Israel has ratified
    NPT and is subject to the identical terms, Additional Protocols.
    Israeli “capacity” for making any nuclear weapon on any site
    as well as its ability to make weapons of mass destruction
    must be eliminated completely.Israel should be subject to
    random and complete inspections by the UN’s IAEA. This is not
    a new idea but has been proposed time and again by the UN
    General Assembly and always blocked by the US and friends
    in the Security Council. Israeli’s and the US consider it
    perhaps “anti-semitic” in Israel but have no qualms if the
    nation is a proclaimed “enemy”. And if the US continues
    to protect them.

    The bases of Israeli exclusivism are discussed in Norman
    Finkelstein’s IMAGINE AND REALITY IN THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE
    CONFLICT, See especially Chapter l and footnotes.]

    • incontinent reader
      April 22, 2016 at 7:26 am

      Your suggestion about conditioning membership in the NPT on Israel being required to join and be subjected to the same rules is valid, but the rationale behind Hillary’s infamous email advocating the overthrow of Assad, was to weaken Iran so that Israel’s nuclear monopoly would not be threatened. Thus, notwithstanding the reasonableness of your proposal, it is unfortunately not something one should expect our present or future Administrations to adopt willingly. Nor, is it something that the Russians and Chinese, who are pushing for it, will have enough leverage to force its implementation.

  13. Anthony Shaker
    April 22, 2016 at 8:23 am

    If the United States does not quickly cut its losses and stop enouraging international terrorists who have blood dripping out of their mouths (the game has become so obvious to everyone!)–those same Wahhabi terrorists that it and its Gulf client states and Israel are financing and coordinating–then this war will take a very nasty turn.

    I can assure you and the readers that it will rival the Vietnam. It has already expanded Turkey and, as predicted, to Azerbaijan, where Turkey is heavily involved and Israel maintains an intelligence-gathering hub with the US right on the border with Russia. No one in his right mind thinks that Russia would ever buckle in on its border, if it refused to do so during Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasions.

    An escalation by the West in Syria would also have repercussion in the Far East, where the US is engaged in a test of wills with China and, increasingly the Russian Federation too. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the dean of the Atlanticist tribe, has been warning for years about letting tensions spiral out of control in that region, because any accidental trigger could lead to a WWI-like regional conflagration, this time with nuclear weapons. Moreover, India and Pakistan are closely intertwined through diplomatic and economic relations, but also through demographic overlaps with that region. And this would open an additional channel feeding straight back into a Middle East already in flames by then.

    If anyone thinks that the United States would be safe and snug on its private island, that person–if he or she works anywhere around government–should be put in a straight jacket and sent to an insane asylum. The fire has already been lit inside the house of the EU, which is now unstable. Too many powerful forces all around are completely out of its control. Britons and other member nations are pondering jumping ship before the whole ship sinks with them aboard. But that too is wishful thinking, since there would be no escape for anyone.

    I and other specialists of the Middle East have always known what foreign meddling in Syria would do. Syria is not just another country. And now Israel is telling the world that the Golan will “forever” be part of Israel. This would be true only if Israel lived for forever. There is not even a chance of that. Fatal mistake that probably broke the camel’s back for the Geneva negotiations with the Ryadh-based terrorist front. This whole war in Syria is more Israel’s bidding than Saudi Arabia. During negotiations in the last days of the Clinton administration, it refused even to acknowledge the principle of returning the Golan Height to Syria. and then turned around with Clinton to place the blame on both Syria and the Palestinians for refusing “the best offer they will ever get.”

    When the Syrian signaled interest in renewing negotiations, the trap had already been lain. The response of Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia was the deadly assault against Lebanon in 2006. Yes, Saudi Arabia was already on board to destroy Lebanon then Syria in order to get to Iran. At the height of the invasion, Saudi Arabia was even cheerleading Israel.

    Transforming Syria into yet another of the Neocons’ “failed states” and balkanizing the region further (in keeping with the original English, Zionist and Wahhabi-Saudi plan for the Middle East, which plan dates back to the early 20th century), would remove a key cog in the geopolitical, cultural, historical and religious complex of international relations and order. I have argued endlessly in articles, conferences and forums that the consequences for the rest of the world of removing this cog would be incalculable and long term.

    As the EU has discovered, the Ukraine plays such a role regionally. It resembles Syria in being a cog. More meddling there, after the miserable Western-orchestrated coup d’état that has produced nothing but corruption and more tension and violence, risks lighting up the EU house from that end too, not Russia.

    In short, the West (US, England and France) has left itself surrounded, not by “hostiles,” as in a cowboy flick, but by forces it cannot even see and which its policies have been unleashing for decades. These are not armies but events. One may want to trace it all back to the rise of Western world domination in the last century and half. That too has been unraveling quickly, not gaining momentum, as one might imagine when contemplating the look of pure arrogance on the faces of Western leaders. Behind that look is nothing but panic.

    The question is how all this will be settled. Syria is probably the clearest indicator at the moment, but if all this does not slow down or stop, there will be plenty more indicators. Let us hope that sanity will prevail inside the destructive Atlanticist alliance (NATO) which, morally speaking, has been brain dead for some time.

    • Peter Loeb
      April 24, 2016 at 5:47 am

      ANTHONY SHAKER’S REFOCUSING…

      I am deeply gratified for Mr. Shaker’s clarification of points I
      tried to make.

      I would suggest that there are more who do not share your
      views. To the point, a recent article in another electronic
      journal which has indicated that Bashir al Assad was not
      entirely to blame for the massacres, rapes, murders,
      and destruction of Yarmouk. My underlining
      these points was not accepted as appropriate to print.
      where Palestinians might read it. (PR in preparation
      for “regime change”?)

      In reviewing material at my disposal, I still find the
      words of the late historian Gabriel Kolko most relevant.
      They were written before the end (for the US)of the Viet Nam
      war in 1975. Kolko’s words were as pointed with reference
      toward “the Left”, “radicals”,progressives and liberals
      and their illusions. This never gained him the fame he more than
      deserved as the so-called “left” was uncomfortable
      with criticism and it still is.

      In his early work THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN FOREIGN
      POLICY…he makes clear many of these concerns. His
      epilogue, a very few pages, still makes for profound
      analysis of our conduct, strategies, assumptions.

      Once more, a deep thanks for your reply to my
      comment.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • TellTheTruth-2
      April 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you for a well thought out post. NATO is more than brain dead. I call it the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization, which better describes an organization the US uses to hide behind as it executes its’ wars for Israel. Cindy Sheehan said it, “My son died for Israel.” Did she have a reason to be so unhappy? Yep! And I love her for it and voted for her for Vice President in the 2012 election.

  14. AriusArmenian
    April 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I have learned the hard way over a lifetime that organizations in the west are top heavy from lies within lies and have the primary purpose of expanding the Empire of Corporate States.

  15. Jay
    April 22, 2016 at 10:45 am

    That claim of dead bodies stacked in the bathroom stalls of the hospital, or “hospital”, doesn’t add a lot of credence to the New Yorker “reporting”.

  16. TellTheTruth-2
    April 24, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    The amount and quality of the neoCON Zionist propaganda and lies makes Hitler and Goebbels (who were good at the time) look like 5th graders. http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/

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