The Fraudulent Case for a Syrian Escalation

Exclusive: Washington’s armchair warriors are pounding the drums for a major U.S. military escalation in Syria but a new report shows there’s little reason to think that would help, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

The recent call by 51 dissenting State Department officials for U.S. military escalation in Syria is merely one of dozens of similar demands by neoconservatives and anguished liberals who accuse President Obama of moral failure for not dictating peace in Syria at the end of a gun.

At almost the same time as the dissent went public, in fact, the hawkish Center for New American Security issued similar recommendations under the auspices of Michele Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s likely pick for Secretary of Defense. Its report called for more “arming and training” of anti-government rebels, launching of “limited military strikes” against the Assad regime, and eliminating “artificial manpower limitations” on military missions in the country.

A Russian orchestra performs a concert at Palmyra's ancient Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT's live-streaming of the event)

A Russian orchestra performs a concert at Palmyra’s ancient Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event)

Critics warn that such policies would violate international law, in the absence of any United Nations authorization for intervention, and risk a dangerous confrontation with Russia. But the slew of reports, speeches and columns calling for “limited” and “judicious” military escalation have an even bigger flaw: they never make even the slightest case for thinking such interventions could work.

Their claims reflect magical thinking. Champions of intervention cling to the wishful belief that if the world’s one superpower wants something badly enough, we must be able to attain it. But as our disastrous experiences in Iraq and Libya — not to mention Vietnam — should have made abundantly clear to any sentient being, America simply lacks the capability to find and empower suitable local partners and then dictate political outcomes.

Our experience in Syria itself should have made the same lesson clear. President Obama ordered the Pentagon to spend $500 million to “train-and-equip” anti-regime “moderates.” The program graduated all of 54 recruits, most of whom were promptly kidnapped by the local Al Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra (possibly at the instigation of Turkey). Similarly, U.S. arms for “moderate” rebels have consistently fallen into the hands of al-Nusra.

A Contradictory Report

But don’t take my word for it. Consider the spectacularly contradictory new report by the “progressive” Century Foundation, called “The Case for a More Robust U.S. Intervention in Syria.” Despite its conventional recommendations, author Thanassis Cambanis offers reason after reason to question how U.S. escalation could possibly make things better.

As Cambanis admits, the Obama administration has been “funding, training, and arming parts of the opposition” for several years now. And he acknowledges that “Most of the armed opposition has survived only because of foreign intervention — the exceptions being the most distressing elements: Islamic State and Nusra.”

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John.

Unfortunately, he adds, Washington’s favored allies are “disconnected from the most important groups doing the fighting and delivering services in rebel-controlled territory.”

Some Kurdish groups — bitterly opposed by Turkey — have shown great prowess in the field. But America’s favored local force, the Free Syrian Army, is a mish-mash of “citizens’ militias, local mafia and gangster groupings, and semi-professional forces” whose promise “never materialized,” Cambanis writes. “Free Syrian Army brigades remain as bitterly fragmented today as they were in 2011–12 — perhaps even more so. No amount of cajoling by the United States . . . has persuaded even the most minute brigades to submit to an umbrella command.”

Worse yet, “Many Free Syrian Army groups have been guilty of corruption, brutality, torture, and other crimes,” Cambanis writes.

Moderates, it seems, make bad fighters. In contrast, Cambanis says our allies like Saudi Arabia and Turkey have funded “other more Islamist fighting forces, including the Army of Islam around Damascus and Ahrar al-Sham, a group with both jihadist and nationalist pedigrees that is probably the single most powerful militant rebel force in northern Syria, outside of Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State group. Few of these groups . . . can be described as ‘moderate.’ . . . The only unitary actors with discernible chains of command are the Islamist-jihadist hardline groups: Islamic State, Nusra, and Ahrar el Sham.”

Dominant Islamists

In fact, Islamists are so dominant, Cambanis acknowledges, that “In most of rebel-held northern Syria, the Free Syrian Army groups exist largely at the pleasure of Ahrar or Nusra, and in some areas face the specter of destruction by Islamic State.”

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other heads of state and delegations, observe a minute of silence for the Paris attack victims on Nov. 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other heads of state and delegations, observe a minute of silence for the Paris attack victims on Nov. 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Bottom line, he admits, “There is no sizable ‘moderate,’ nationalist, or secular faction that could lead a military offensive, much less claim to represent the opposition in a negotiating setting. Any anti-Assad intervention will, in the short-term, benefit the most powerful factions on the ground — the extremists and the jihadists.”

The typical proponent of more U.S. military intervention is as oblivious to the realities of the regime as to those of its opposition. Unlike them, Cambanis concedes that Assad does not simply rule through terror.

Assad’s government “possesses significant wells of legitimacy,” Cambanis writes, “his rule has maintained some degree of buy-in from millions of Sunni Arabs, as well as thousands of Kurds. . . .

“Conversations suggest there are plenty more, perhaps numbering in the millions, who do not like the way Assad runs Syria but prefer his secular, pluralistic dictatorship to the alternative they believe the rebellion offers: violence, anarchy, or a Sunni theocracy. . . . The alternative, in their view, is the kind of unchecked sectarianism they have heard about in areas controlled by Islamic State, Nusra, Ahrar, . . .  even supposedly moderate Free Syrian Army-branded groups.”

So here you have it: Millions of Syrian support Assad, or prefer him to the alternative. His armed opponents are mainly radical Islamists, varying only in their willingness to make tactical compromises. All previous U.S. efforts to rally an effective force of “moderates” have failed utterly.

So what exactly makes interventionists think that doubling down on a failed strategy will produce a different and better outcome? In light of these failures, how dare they claim the moral high ground? What gives them the right even to be taken seriously as foreign policy experts? It’s time to call most of these armchair warriors what they are: frauds.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; “Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War”; and “Israel Covets Golan’s Water and Now Oil.”]

40 comments for “The Fraudulent Case for a Syrian Escalation

  1. Hans Meyer
    July 2, 2016 at 21:52

    Very good article and as such it rises several questions.
    (This is not a political attack against the US – citizens) I wonder about the meaning of the only world power remaining after the cold war. The debt that the neocons contracted for the US people is tremendous. A large chunk is owned by China. It would be interesting to know the long term effects of this dependency.
    The ridiculous military spending is killing the US economy, kind of a situation similar to the last decades of the Soviet Union. The economy is much dependent on external actors than during ww2. Since they are pushing Russia and China in the same direction, what would be the consequences of a conflict with one or another. Russia seems to be the primary target, and in the case of adirect conflict with Russia, China would assume that it will be next. I would assume that a crippling of the US and western economies by China would present more advantages than inconveniences (on a strategic level, the insistence of the US to have Europe relies on Iranian gas may be perceived by the Russians as a preparation for war after what happened in Ukraine and the redistribution of NATO forces). Syria for the Russians is a strategic access to the Mediterranean, it may be a pain in the ass for the western oil companies, but it could be the last straw that Russia is willing to accept!

    Also a lot of domestic electronics in the US is made in China ( I hope that the US military body kept a private production line at home (well at least; The point I am trying to make is that the US workforce is not the same as the one that was during the second world war. The actual manufacturing branch of the workforce is depressed by a lack of job, adding up to the increase in poverty of the workforce (not everybody can or want to be in sale or a white-collar job). I think that manufacturing in a society is indirectly linked to a form of expression that culminates with art. For example, the quality of tool making decreased greatly with the “Walmart effect” All this to say that the neocons do not have at their disposition an independent (on the global stage) greatly qualified workforce that allowed the US to lead two wars during ww2, which like you makes me wonder about their sanity. Rebuilding upon the damages inflicted by the neocons on the manufacturing sector of the US economy would require a major effort like a Roosevelt’plan while going against the corporate globalization and neocons ideology.

    To finish, the “Islamist” extremists are receiving help from Israel right wing government (medical, refuge,… which is not negligeable) in their fight against the Syrian government. The main target of these fanatical groups are essentially Muslim populations (Iraq, Lybia, Syria,…). Sure, the West is subjected to act of terrorism, but nothing that can be compared to the damages inflicted on these countries (that said a victim of senseless murder is still a victim be it in Miami or Beirut). The point that I am trying to make is who is controlling these extremist groups. It seems to me that they are actually the “moderates” that the neocons intend to use. In this case, we may end up in a situation similar to the Rise of Shiite extremists in Irak that escaped neocons’control (another gem of neocon competency , if you want to crush Irak”s Sunny, arm fanatical Shiite groups in a country bordering Iran – a major center of the Shiite branch of Islam).

  2. June 24, 2016 at 16:27

    Criminal syndicate.

    Why ISIS Exists: The Double Game

  3. June 24, 2016 at 06:43

    This only proves the whole charade is crumbling right in front of their ne-con/liberal interventionist eyes. The anglo-zionist r desperate they r doubling down for they know very well that they have lost. Further more their is no civil war in Syria . The vast majority of these Takfiris r all foreigners being brought in via Turkey and Jordan. If the Sunni/Wahabist mania\cs were to fight with only their local citezenry they wouldn’t even be able to maintain a suburb in Raqa let alone a street, So its all out in the open. Obama along with all his administration should be sanctioned for going against UN charter that no state shall enable any forcefull change of its Government. But we all know that will not happen. If Hitlary gets to take the reigns it will be more of the same only on steroids, so look out world for nuclear winter is getting closer and we the sheeple just sit their and eat our buttered popcorn.

  4. Mark McCarty
    June 23, 2016 at 23:27

    Every person who signed that declaration is a war criminal who should be sent to the Hague for trial and lifetime imprisonment.

  5. Rick Moore
    June 23, 2016 at 22:18

    The other aspect to this debate is “who are the moderates?” Those of us outside of the diplomatic profession are stifled by this term. Those resisting Obama’s “stay the course” “stay out” policy are frauds because they would hire anyone to remove Assad, this includes extremists who we would be told were moderates. US backing Al Qaeda still seems unbelievable, even a conspiracy. Just remember that Britain and France went to the “aid” of Ottomans in “jihad” against Russia during the Crimean war of 1856. Line this fact up with the US backing the Mujaheddin in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the 1980’s and it makes sense. The moderates and extremists in the Middle East are means to an end. Some are more likely to bite their paymaster than others.

  6. Taras77
    June 23, 2016 at 21:29

    To further add to the fraud and outright pandering, the kagan clan will host a fund raiser for clinton-this observer becomes nauseous at the prospect of the kagan clan further worming itself into the impending clinton admin:

  7. June 23, 2016 at 19:53

    I find it sickening what NATO countries are doing; they’re balkanizing the country. They don’t ask for anybody’s permission – they just send in their troops to back their islamist factions. And I would guess with the biggest backing (no doubt) because Murdoch and Rothschild are going to drill for oil in the Golan. But check this: NATO special forces backing islamist groups in the country (might as well be the provinces of plan B):

  8. June 23, 2016 at 19:29

    Excellent article. I think the Syrian episode (not yet at its end) must rank among the most immoral and destructive acts of US foreign policy since the Cold War ended. Second to just Iraq for the number of deaths, refugees, and pain it has brought to people we’re told we’re “saving”.

    Had the US bombed Syria in 2012, when there was still something of a secular opposition, it would have been illegal and utterly immoral. But to do so now, after having stoked the flames of war for 5 years and caused 250,000+ deaths when the only likely result will be the take over of Syria’s large cities by violent jihadists and a vicious round of ethnic cleansing and genocide, is plainly and purely evil. Assuming, of course, that it doesn’t immediately cause a crisis of a global scale between ourselves, Iran, Russia, and maybe even China.

    The United States, in its efforts to bring the entire world to heel, is presently engaged in a series of Machiavellian foreign policy projects that are every bit as bloody and dangerous as anything seen during the Cold War. The Obama-Clinton/Kerry administration has conducted itself in ways that would make the Eisenhower-Dulles tandem blush. Not that you’ll ever hear that from the controlled, contained, and condensed American media.

  9. Pablo Diablo
    June 23, 2016 at 18:06

    As President, Hillary will give the Neoconservatives and their corporate backers EVERYTHING they want.

  10. Mark Taliano
    June 23, 2016 at 16:07

    Assad isn’t a dictator. Hugely popular amongst Syrians. If Western illegal “regime change”/war of aggression succeeds (which is unlikely), then the void will be filled by Wahhabi freaks. Libya is now an ISIS stronghold. Iraq remains destroyed, and home to ISIS. Ukraine is destroyed. Similar stories.

    Reformer President Assad’s government is democratic, pluralist, non-secular. All of the demonization psyops/lies have been discounted with sustainable evidence. Lies are a staple of Western foreign wars of aggression.

  11. OH
    June 23, 2016 at 13:15

    All wars the USA gets involved in are ultimately wars to undercut US workers wages and respect. If war wasn’t so good for that, AIPACs thralls would have to do some other chore to prove their worth. The war they outlined in the PNAC “Rebuilding” document and been trying to start since then, is a war big enough to set back US workers for 40 years!

  12. Mary in Las Vegas
    June 23, 2016 at 11:52

    Well, let’s just go back in time here and look at what really caused this whole violent mess: The US State Dept and CIA
    (Washington) want regime change in vulnerable countries possessing vast amounts of oil……assasinations and atrocities via terrorism. .The US is obsessed with ruling the world by whatever means they deem necessary to make it happen. All they accomplish is the deaths of thousands of human beings, half of which are civilians and countries left in devastatsion with no governments or institutions to sustain them. WA and its military (led by CIA) are the villains of the world and are the worst of the worst when it comes to terrorism…because they caused it and are financing it. All that money and lives gone to secure the main natural resource of these countries; OIL……..and now they are thinking about Russia and China! That won’t happen without nuclear war so they better be careful what they war for.

  13. Abe
    June 23, 2016 at 11:48

    “The next step of this War is Iran… The road to Tehran goes through Damascus.”

    As NATO forces conduct full-scale military exercises on Russia’s doorstep, the world’s attention once again turns to Eastern Europe. But as Professor Michel Chossudovsky, author of Towards A WWIII Scenario and The Globalization of War points out, in this era of total warfare the real threat is not just a military one and its scope is truly global.

  14. Drew Hunkins
    June 23, 2016 at 11:43

    Escalating the war in Syria (read: a direct bombing campaign against Damascus to remove Assad) is the height of insanity. Washington’s CIA created ISIS/al Nusra/al Qaeda are what will quickly swoop in to fill the vacuum.

    If Europe thinks it’s witnessing a troubling refugee crisis now, just wait until Washington obliterates Damascus and sends tens of thousands of more innocent Syrians fleeing for their lives. ISIS affiliated religious sociopaths with a toehold in Syria’s major city will wreak all kinds of havoc across the globe.

    Moreover, bombing Damascus to remove Assad (a leader who garners much popular support from ordinary Syrians) puts us on the brink of a major conflagration with Russia. A truly frightening prospect indeed.

    Here’s what to watch out for in the coming months, if the corporate media are all in a virtual hysterical state over the ‘right to protect’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’, watch out. This type of subtle – and not so subtle – propaganda language is greasing the skids for a public relations campaign to dupe the American public into supporting a potentially violent intervention that could spell disaster for millions.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      June 23, 2016 at 14:29

      You’re correct in that call. They’ve started testing the waters already with those 51 so called diplomats(?) . Now that HRC is the presumptive nominee for the presidency….they’ll be ramping up plans to escalate intervention in Syria. I’m fed up with this constant war and propaganda BS by the radical elements in various positions of power. The damn Congress should be reigning in these elementsand certainly BO …if he’s to have any “GOOD” legacy has to make it happen now.

    • Sam F
      June 23, 2016 at 14:48

      Don’t worry, when Damascus falls the DemRep neocons will bomb those they now support, for their unpredictable lack of moderation, and collect more billions in campaign money from their billions to Israel. When everyone is dead they will declare peace and the restoration of democracy, and will need a new war, and Israel will always have plenty of targets for them. When our neocons make friends like Israel for us, who needs enemies?

      • Joe Tedesky
        June 23, 2016 at 22:40

        Sam F I think what you are describing is very near becoming the reality. Once the Yinon Plan is accomplished, what else could be left to do, but string a chain link fence around the Shia Crescent and then institute a killing zone. With all of what has, and still is going on in that part of the world, why should it surprise anyone to at least consider the motives and the possible outcomes as a result of how all of this has gone down so far. My paying my taxes is a sin of omission, and for this I ask forgiveness. What is wrong with our American society, that not even one presidential, senatorial, or congressional candidate, that I can think of, is crying out for compassion for these Middle Eastern victims we have produced. If this is the meaning of being exceptional, then count me as one of the ‘not-so exceptional’.

      • Bertiz Benhamid
        June 27, 2016 at 10:21

        Former US Ambassador: Americans Are a Killer Nation. The reputation of America abroad is that of a killer nation and a danger to world society; it has practically no allies, and those countries who claim to be as such take the US side only in an attempt to exercise some sort of control over their homicidal tendencies.

  15. Gregory Kruse
    June 23, 2016 at 11:26

    Articles like this should always mention the Oded Yinon Plan for Greater Israel in the Middle East. It is the plan advanced by virtually all the non-Muslim (Western) countries, and some of the Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf States. The goal is to divide up the Arab nations into small enclaves of various ethnic and religious identities so that Israel will have hegemony in the ME along with their ally Saudi Arabia, and therefore be “secure”. This plan fits “hand-in-glove” with the Plan for a New American Century, which is at the base of all US foreign policy even to this day, and will be followed by the new Clinton Administration to the letter. Only Iran and Russia, and possibly China, stand in the way of its success. This is the reason for the aggressive stance against Russia and China, and the bullying of Iran. It is ironic that Israel has copied the tactics and strategy of the German state when it was under the control of the National Socialist Party. Once they get their Greater Israel, won’t it be natural for them to go for an Even Greater Israel?

    • J'hon Doe II
      June 23, 2016 at 12:50

      Israel’s Fear Of The ‘Desert’ Jews In Its Midst in Palestine —
      by Jonathan Cook —
      June 23, 2016

      In a little-noticed move last week, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman barred an official close to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas from entering Israel. Mohammed Madani is accused of “subversive activity” and “political terror”.

      His crimes, as defined by Lieberman, are worth pondering. They suggest that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians is rooted less in security issues and more in European colonialism.

      In his role as chair of the Palestinian committee for interaction with Israeli society, Madani had understandably used his visits to Israel to meet Israeli Jews – but he chose the wrong kind.

      He tried to open a dialogue with what are known in Israel as Mizrahim, Israelis descended from the Jews who emigrated from Arab states following Israel’s creation in 1948. Today these Arab Jews comprise about half of Israel’s population. Abbas is known to be keen to forge ties with them.

      Most of the country’s rulers identify as European Jews, or Ashkenazim. From the outset, this European elite distrusted the Arab Jews, seeing them as a “backward” population that might undermine Israel’s claim to be an outpost in the Middle East of the “civilised” west.

      But more specifically the Ashkenazim feared that one day the Arab Jews might make a political alliance with the native population, the Palestinians. Then the Ashkenazim would be outnumbered. The Mizrahim, who came from countries as diverse as Morocco and Iraq, had a lot more in common with Palestinians than they did with the recently arrived Europeans.

      Originally, Israel’s founders had intended not to include the Arab Jews in their nation-building project. They were forced to reconsider only because Hitler’s genocide in Europe deprived them of sufficient numbers of “civilised” Jews.

      The archives reveal that Israel engineered much of the migration of Arab Jews, inducing them with false promises or conducting false-flag operations to foment suspicion of them in their home countries. They were seen as a useful cheap labour force, to replace the Palestinians who had been expelled.

      David Ben Gurion, a Pole who became the first prime minister, described the Mizrahim in exclusively negative terms, as a “rabble” and “human dust”. They were a “generation of the desert”. Mizrahi immigrants were subjected to a programme of “de-Arabisation”, their presumed backwardness treated no differently from the diseases they supposedly carried. They were smothered in DDT on the flights to Israel.

      Documents show the army vigorously debating whether their new Arab Jewish conscripts were mentally retarded, making them a lost cause, or simply primitive, a condition that might be uprooted over time.

      Israel’s struggle, according to Ben Gurion, was to “fight against the spirit of the Levant that corrupts individuals and society … We do not want the Israelis to become Arabs”.

      That task was made harder because, despite an aggressive expulsion campaign in 1948, Israel still included a significant population of Palestinians who had become citizens.

      Israel kept them apart from the Mizrahim through segregation – separate communities and education systems. Mizrahi children were forbidden to speak Arabic in their Jewish schools, and made to feel ashamed of their parents’ benighted ways.

      There were always those who resisted the negative stereotypes. In the 1970s some even set up a local chapter of the Black Panthers, named after the militant African-American group in the United States and echoing its demands for revolutionary change.

      Today, that is ancient history. A small number of Mizrahim have joined the Democratic Rainbow, which focuses on social justice for Arab Jews. Others have sought solace in religious fundamentalism.

      • J'hon Doe II
        June 23, 2016 at 13:02

        I’m a Mizrahi Jew. Do I Count as a Person of Color?
        Sigal SamuelAugust 10, 2015
        Anya Ulinich

        Am I a person of color?

        You’d think there would be a straightforward answer to a question like that. And for a while, I thought there was. I thought the answer was yes.

        When I look at my grandparents — four Mizrahim, or Jews from Arab lands — I see people who were born in India and Iraq and Morocco, who grew up speaking Hindi and Arabic. When I stand in Sephora buying makeup, the shade I choose is closer to “ebony” than to “petal.” When I walk down the street, perfect strangers routinely stop me to ask: “Where are you from? Are you Persian? Indian? Arab? Latina?” When I go through airport security, I always — always — get “randomly selected” for additional screening.

        I was pretty sure all this made me a person of color.

        And then an acquaintance, who is Jewish and African-American, told me in the course of a casual conversation that no, actually, I don’t count.

        This was news to me. At first, I admit, the statement got my hackles up. Who gave this person the right to police my identity? But then I started to wonder: Was I, a woman who sometimes gets read as white and therefore benefits from white privilege, wrongly co-opting the “of color” label in everything from internal monologues to health insurance forms?

        To find out, I spent weeks talking to people in the black, biracial and Mizrahi communities. What I learned surprised me. Turns out, nobody quite knows how to categorize Mizrahi Jews.

        My family doesn’t know.

        My HR department doesn’t know.

        Even the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t know.

        Eye of the Beholder: Sigal Samuel has been considered white and non-white, depending on who’s looking.

        Eye of the Beholder: Sigal Samuel has been considered white and non-white, depending on who’s looking.

        Right now, the census question asking about ethnic and racial designation gives you limited options to choose from: white, black, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. If you’re a Mizrahi Jew — or, for that matter, an Arab American — chances are you’re going to check “white.” But is that accurate?

        According to some Arab-American groups, it’s not. The census bureau currently defines “white” as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa,” but these groups are lobbying for a change to the survey, which would make Middle Eastern and North African descent a separate category.

        Starting in August, the bureau will test new census content on a representative sample of the population. If the MENA category gets approved, Mizrahi Jews could be checking this box alongside Arab Muslims by 2020. Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, told me that while “there hasn’t been a lot of active participation of Jews from MENA origin at the forefront of the campaign,” she would “absolutely” be glad to see us join.

        My parents’ and grandparents’ generations — who worked hard in Israel and North America to shed their Arab identities in favor of more socially beneficial white ones — will probably rebuff her invitation. Millennials are another story.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 23, 2016 at 22:46

      Gregory thanks for bringing up the Yinon Plan. What really is a concern when it comes to the aspirations of Israel’s desires, is us electing into office a President Hillary Clinton. After reading some of her exposed emails, and especially after hearing her rousing AIPAC speech….well, need I go on? Thanks for mentioning the Yinon Plan, it’s important.

    • Kiza
      June 24, 2016 at 06:12

      Love your conclusion Gregory: “once they get their Greater Israel, won’t it be natural for them to go for an Even Greater Israel?”

      The Israeli flag represents the Greater (Ersatz) Israel, by a Star of David between two blue rivers, Tigris & Euphrates in the North East and Nile in the South West. But the blue stripes could easily start symbolising the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans and further. As long as they are getting away with it, and they have been, why not continue on?

    • Bill Rood
      June 25, 2016 at 09:45

      The plan is at least 50 years older than the Oded Yinon Plan. From Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On and Eyal Naveh, Side by Side, Parallel Histories of Israel-Palestine:

      … a high committee of seven European countries (called together by Britain) … submitted its report in 1907 to British Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. The report asserted that the Arab countries and the Muslim-Arab people living in the Ottoman Empire presented a very real threat to the colonial countries. The report made the following recommendations:

      1. To promote a state of disintegration, division and separation in the region.
      2. To establish puppet political entities under the aegis of the European imperialist countries.
      3. To combat all kinds of unity (intellectual, spiritual, religious, or historical) and find practical means to divide the region and in­habitants from each other.
      4. To ensure the implementation of the previous recommendations, to create in Palestine a “buffer state” which would be populated by a strong, foreign human presence hostile to its neighbors and friendly to European countries and their interests.

      It could be strongly concluded, beyond any doubt, that the recommen­dations of the Campbell-Bannerman High Committee did in fact pave the way to Palestine for the Jews. They also gave British foreign policy and the Zionist movement the green light to annex Palestine from the other Arab lands and thereby create the nucleus of a colonial entity that would ensure the colonialists’ influence in the region.

      This is essentially the policy promulgated by Bernard Lewis’s “arc of crisis” and Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “arc of instability.” All — the Campbell-Bannerman High Committee (1907), Lewis and Brzezinski (1979) — predate the 1982 Yinon Plan. Israel is a vile, apartheid state, but it is not the root of all evil.

  16. Knomore
    June 23, 2016 at 10:52

    Frauds? They are more than that: They are criminal frauds. Let’s go back to where this began at the time of another major disastrous foreign policy fraud these miscreants who should be in jail (if they’re lucky) have created (we don’t forget Afghanistan, the Ukraine, Libya or Yemen). It started with Iraq under knowably (at least to our policy “experts”) phony circumstances. At the time, a list was produced of seven countries that were to be taken down in five years. Syria was on that list. In other words, this whole thing has been phony from the get-go. There is no reason to take down Assad other than Israel’s pretension to own the Middle East and certain crazy Americans who feel that we are joined at the hip with Israel. These people are more than criminal frauds, they are traitors — and if the United States doesn’t begin cleaning house soon, we will have no house left to clean.

    And since we now know how contrived the policies of our State Department “experts” are, let’s stop giving them credence on any future plan. Iran is not our enemy. The US State Department and its out-of-control Neo-Con occupants is our greatest enemy. We must get rid of them.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 23, 2016 at 12:09

      Thank you Susan Raikes Sugar. Criminal Frauds, I like that and agree. If we could only get a criminal hearing. Thanks for the reminder; I remember the sneering Cheney as he pointed out all of our enemies, and then all of the oil exploration maps showed up from his secret Energy task force. Total scam.

      • Knomore
        June 23, 2016 at 13:48

        How hopeless is it? I posted on the next Syrian piece here (or the last one on Agit Prop) my reasons for deciding Trump is to be preferred over Hillary… I suspect that line-up is in itself a scam, but Trump may incite a general uprising. I don’t see any way (other than the mass economic crisis that’s being predicted everywhere now) to get these scoundrels out of the capitol. But… I also gave my reasons somewhere here why prosecuting these people as war criminals is the only answer. First of all, because they are war criminals. Secondly, because they have destroyed the reputation of the United States in perpetuity. It was far from great to begin with, but that’s not an excuse for hanging us up to dry. However,

        Now that’s it’s been done, every thinking, caring American should be contemplating what our replacement will be. Given what we’ve shown the world about ourselves under the Neo-agenda, no one with any sense is ever going to believe anything we have to say about anything anyway. And a soulless vampire intent upon world empire and loaded down with far too many weapons is a very dangerous thing. Haven’t we learned that lesson many times already?

        And back to Syria: Do you remember the uprising in 2013 when Obama was trying so hard to get us further involved in Syria? He was threatened with impeachment, as I recall. Washington has taken a lesson from Monsanto (or vice-versa). They come back at you in a million different ways.

      • Knomore
        June 23, 2016 at 14:27

        One more thing I just learned that literally freezes my soul: Did I say the US State Department is our greatest enemy? Well, maybe second only to Israel and the R2Pr’s. (Susan, Samantha and the third? Forgot!) Just learned that Susan Rice has promised $40Billion in aide to Israel. She must be vying with Victoria Nuland for the Secretary of State position.

        Now it becomes imperative to vote for Trump.

        Or will he just make it worse…? give them 50B?

        The other thing I learned is that we’re talking about setting up government on Mars. Does this mean that all those who have the wherewithal can begin planning to leave what is left of the beloved, beautiful planet Earth?

        • Bob Van Noy
          June 23, 2016 at 17:30

          Obviously sincere thoughts Susan Raikes Sugar. The only peaceful days I have any longer are the few where I think about what those trials would look like, and how they might be both decent and just. I think that Nelson Mandela must have spent many hours and days doing similar thinking. I always think of an American future as more than capable of righting its own injustice even in the midst of international ridicule. I’ve read nearly all of Joan Mellen’s writing on Jim Garrison and understand the immense dignity that one can achieve in the quest for truth and justice. We seem to be at a turning point. We’ll see…

          • Knomore
            June 24, 2016 at 00:29

            I posted this link to Michel Chossudovsky (below); it explains how Syria is crucial to our next intended target: Iran.

            The American people are apparently not considered important enough for explanations as to why Iran threatens our security or why we need to fork over billions of our tax dollars to Israel and to the Neocon warmongers who love Israel and who would seem to be a fifth column in this country who should be expelled — if our better instincts prevail.


          • Knomore
            June 24, 2016 at 01:52

            I hear your plea for kindness, for gentleness and I’d like to go there with you… but even though I’m a practicing Buddhist (would you believe) and know the strong prohibitions against “harsh words,” I can’t get past what we’ve done. I can’t square that with kindness and gentleness.

            Unfortunately, I’m very good at “harsh words.” And none of it helps. The harsh words make you like the people you condemn. I find myself wondering about those who do achieve a more-or-less permanent distance from the trials and tribulations of samsara and ask how they maintain their equanimity. Could it be that they just don’t see what we others see? Or that something in the mind equalizes it…? I just finished a book by John Perkins called The World Is As You Dream It. It’s about shamans in Ecuador and the necessity of maintaining balance. We have become more and more unbalanced. And more out of control. So it would seem imperative that the people, that is, we the citizens, achieve the sense of balance that our leadership seems intent upon destroying.

            But abstractions don’t work either. You have to do it, to live it. If you generate peace, peace will come back to you. That I do believe.

        • Curious
          June 23, 2016 at 22:37

          Thank you SRS for a passionate plea for sanity, and tying into that plea the $40 billion for a country the size smaller than our Delaware (by .029% in some estimates). I can predict that Bibi will still think it’s not enough, and by way of a “thank you” he will murmur “it should have been done long ago” and “make sure it’s more later”.

          Your saddest line is “now it becomes imperative to vote for Trump” and this line shows how far we have regressed as a country.

          To be given the options of voting for a blood-soaked warmonger who can only talk about “glass ceilings” to those who follow or listen to her, against the tired frain or refrain of a TV reality figure who knew how to play the game the GOP itself had created is about as bad as this country can get.

          I can’t play the vulgarian like a Donald, but to be given the choice between ‘cat poo’ or ‘dog poo’ to ‘lead’ this country does indeed also freeze my soul.

          • Knomore
            June 24, 2016 at 00:16

            Is it possible to be sane in the midst of so much insanity? I have my doubts. I did find this today and want to share it with you. There’s so much feeling against Trump and we are pushed there because the alternative is almost unthinkable.

            Here are some good people who have some good things to say about Mr. Trump.


  17. mvlazysusan
    June 23, 2016 at 09:50

    Two things the warhawks will never mention:

    1: Exactly who the warhawks want to place as head of the Government of Syria.

    2: Elections.

    It is widely known that the vast majority of Syrian people want Assad to be the President of Syria. In fact, Assad’s popularity has increased since the war on Syria began.

    This whole thing is about getting a gas pipeline from Qatar and an oil pipeline from Saudi-Land to cross Syria and on to Western Europe to displace Russian market share of energy sales in order to deprive Russia’s ability to fund a military capable of standing against US world domination. But don’t forget that Russia doesn’t want an Iranian set of pipelines anymore than Qatari/Saudi pipelines, so don’t expect Russia to intervene to the extent of actually ending the war.

  18. Kiza
    June 23, 2016 at 09:30

    It has been totally clear that the said memo was not a policy recommendation then a group job application for the positions in the forthcoming Killary administration. The memo was leaked by the signers, but the names are secret from the US citizens whose interests this group is supposed to work for. But AIPAC has both the list of the signatories and of the non-signatories. Guess which list will not keep their jobs,

  19. Erik
    June 23, 2016 at 09:29

    Very well written and well argued. But why are they frauds? Some are merely careerists in the military, industry, administration, etc. Most appear to be directly or indirectly serving Israel and its paid operatives among politicians, think tanks, and the press. Some are leftover loony armchair cold-warriors. Others are the warmonger tyrants against whom Aristotle warned, who must have foreign wars to demand domestic power.

    Federal investigation of the forces defining US mideast policy would be very interesting, and the absence thereof tells a great deal.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 23, 2016 at 10:09

      Erik, I agree with your comment, especially the last sentence. Surely it is the very lack of a comprehensive investigation either internal, or by our conspicuously absent Forth Estate, into what is clearly policy that is not in the best interest of the United States, that is the heart of our disfunction. One can feel tension building as we continue toward political collapse. With the exception of Bernie Sanders; political leadership seems to be absent. This is most likely the consequence of a generation of illegal government enterprise.

      • Sam F
        June 23, 2016 at 21:26

        I would call “illegal government enterprise” corruption, but we legalized that and set up the campaign paybacks-for-aid and so forth, so we are now quite corruption-free. Anyway the judges are the most dedicated to corruption of all. I wish that I saw political collapse in our future, something to get the historical compost heap warmed up to speed up our recycing into something better. But I fear that collapse would require Joe Sixpack to be deprived of his sixpacks long enough to attack the innocent and scare or destabilize the oligarchy by accident. Likely it would rebrand itself and resurface as the new political product, and Joe would soon have his sixpacks and stay home.

    • June 23, 2016 at 20:16

      Erik, the US, UK, France (and now Germany), and Turkey, have no authority to operate inside of that country. In fact, they don’t even ask for it. They all have special forces operating inside the country right now – that’s illegal.

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