How America Armed Terrorists in Syria

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” to curb weapons going to Al Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria, has attracted only 14 co-sponsors pointing to hypocrisy in the “war on terror,” as Gareth Porter explained at The American Conservative.

By Gareth Porter

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

President Barack Obama walks along the Colonnade at the White House with then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Dec. 7, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups — meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history.  The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism” — the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies — Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama administration official involved in Middle East issues.

Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi.

Shipments from Benghazi

CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo.

That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from October 2011 through August 2012.  More likely it was a multiple of that figure.

The CIA’s covert arms shipments from Libya came to an abrupt halt in September 2012 when Libyan militants attacked and burned the embassy annex in Benghazi that had been used to support the operation. By then, however, a much larger channel for arming anti-government forces was opening up.

The CIA put the Saudis in touch with a senior Croatian official who had offered to sell large quantities of arms left over from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. And the CIA helped them shop for weapons from arms dealers and governments in several other former Soviet bloc countries.

Flush with weapons acquired from both the CIA’s Libya program and from the Croatians, the Saudis and Qataris dramatically increased the number of flights by military cargo planes to Turkey in December 2012 and continued that intensive pace for the next two and a half months.

The New York Times reported a total 160 such flights through mid-March 2013. The most common cargo plane in use in the Gulf, the Ilyushin IL-76, can carry roughly 50 tons of cargo on a flight, which would indicate that as much as 8,000 tons of weapons poured across the Turkish border into Syria just in late 2012 and in 2013.

One U.S. official called the new level of arms deliveries to Syrian rebels a “cataract of weaponry.” And a year-long investigation by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project revealed that the Saudis were intent on building up a powerful conventional army in Syria.

A Flood of Weapons

The “end-use certificate” for weapons purchased from an arms company in Belgrade, Serbia, in May 2013 includes 500 Soviet-designed PG-7VR rocket launchers that can penetrate even heavily-armored tanks, along with two million rounds; 50 Konkurs anti-tank missile launchers and 500 missiles, 50 anti-aircraft guns mounted on armored vehicles, 10,000 fragmentation rounds for OG-7 rocket launchers capable of piercing heavy body armor; four truck-mounted BM-21 GRAD multiple rocket launchers, each of which fires 40 rockets at a time with a range of 12 to 19 miles, along with 20,000 GRAD rockets.

Smoke billows skyward as homes and buildings are shelled in the city of Homs, Syria. June 9, 2012. (Photo from the United Nations)

The end-user document for another Saudi order from the same Serbian company listed 300 tanks, 2,000 RPG launchers, and 16,500 other rocket launchers, one million rounds for ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns, and 315 million cartridges for various other guns.

Those two purchases were only a fraction of the totality of the arms obtained by the Saudis over the next few years from eight Balkan nations. Investigators found that the Saudis made their biggest arms deals with former Soviet bloc states in 2015, and that the weapons included many that had just come off factory production lines.

Nearly 40 percent of the arms the Saudis purchased from those countries, moreover, still had not been delivered by early 2017.  So the Saudis had already contracted for enough weaponry to keep a large-scale conventional war in Syria going for several more years.

By far the most consequential single Saudi arms purchase was not from the Balkans, however, but from the United States. It was the December 2013 U.S. sale of 15,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the Saudis at a cost of about $1 billion — the result of Obama’s decision earlier that year to reverse his ban on lethal assistance to anti-Assad armed groups.

The Saudis had agreed, moreover, that those anti-tank missiles would be doled out to Syrian groups only at U.S. discretion. The TOW missiles began to arrive in Syria in 2014 and soon had a major impact on the military balance.

This flood of weapons into Syria, along with the entry of 20,000 foreign fighters into the country — primarily through Turkey — largely defined the nature of the conflict. These armaments helped make al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra Front (now renamed Tahrir al-Sham or Levant Liberation Organization) and its close allies by far the most powerful anti-Assad forces in Syria — and gave rise to the Islamic State.

Al Qaeda’s Benefit

By late 2012, it became clear to U.S. officials that the largest share of the arms that began flowing into Syria early in the year were going to the rapidly growing al Qaeda presence in the country. In October 2012, U.S. officials acknowledged off the record for the first time to the New York Times that “most” of the arms that had been shipped to armed opposition groups in Syria with U.S. logistical assistance during the previous year had gone to “hardline Islamic jihadists” — obviously meaning al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra.

A heart-rending propaganda image designed to justify a major U.S. military operation inside Syria against the Syrian military.

Al Nusra Front and its allies became the main recipients of the weapons because the Saudis, Turks, and Qataris wanted the arms to go to the military units that were most successful in attacking government targets. And by the summer of 2012, al Nusra Front, buttressed by the thousands of foreign jihadists pouring into the country across the Turkish border, was already taking the lead in attacks on the Syrian government in coordination with “Free Syrian Army” brigades.

In November and December 2012, al Nusra Front began establishing formal “joint operations rooms” with those calling themselves “Free Syrian Army” on several battlefronts, as Charles Lister chronicles in his book The Syrian Jihad. One such commander favored by Washington was Col. Abdul Jabbar al-Oqaidi, a former Syrian army officer who headed something called the Aleppo Revolutionary Military Council. Ambassador Robert Ford, who continued to hold that position even after he had been withdrawn from Syria, publicly visited Oqaidi in May 2013 to express U.S. support for him and the FSA.

But Oqaidi and his troops were junior partners in a coalition in Aleppo in which al Nusra was by far the strongest element. That reality is clearly reflected in a video in which Oqaidi describes his good relations with officials of the “Islamic State” and is shown joining the main jihadist commander in the Aleppo region celebrating the capture of the Syrian government’s Menagh Air Base in September 2013.

By early 2013, in fact, the “Free Syrian Army,” which had never actually been a military organization with any troops, had ceased to have any real significance in the Syria conflict. New anti-Assad armed groups had stopped using the name even as a “brand” to identify themselves, as a leading specialist on the conflict observed.

The ‘Moderate’ Fiction

So, when weapons from Turkey arrived at the various battlefronts, it was understood by all the non-jihadist groups that they would be shared with al Nusra Front and its close allies. A report by McClatchy in early 2013, on a town in north central Syria, showed how the military arrangements between al Nusra and those brigades calling themselves “Free Syrian Army” governed the distribution of weapons.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

One of those units, the Victory Brigade, had participated in a “joint operations room” with al Qaeda’s most important military ally, Ahrar al Sham, in a successful attack on a strategic town a few weeks earlier. A visiting reporter watched that brigade and Ahrar al Sham show off new sophisticated weapons that included Russian-made RPG27 shoulder-fired rocket-propelled anti-tank grenades and RG6 grenade launchers.

When asked if the Victory Brigade had shared its new weapons with Ahrar al Sham, the latter’s spokesman responded, “Of course they share their weapons with us. We fight together.”

Turkey and Qatar consciously chose al Qaeda and its closest ally, Ahrar al Sham, as the recipients of weapons systems. In late 2013 and early 2014, several truckloads of arms bound for the province of Hatay, just south of the Turkish border, were intercepted by Turkish police. They had Turkish intelligence personnel on board, according to later Turkish police court testimony.

The province was controlled by Ahrar al Sham. In fact Turkey soon began to treat Ahrar al Sham as its primary client in Syria, according to Faysal Itani, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

A Qatari intelligence operative who had been involved in shipping arms to extremist groups in Libya was a key figure in directing the flow of arms from Turkey into Syria. An Arab intelligence source familiar with the discussions among the external suppliers near the Syrian border in Turkey during those years told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius that when one of the participants warned that the outside powers were building up the jihadists while the non-Islamist groups were withering away, the Qatari operative responded, “I will send weapons to al Qaeda if it will help.”

The Qataris did funnel arms to both al Nusra Front and Ahrar al Sham, according to a Middle Eastern diplomatic source. The Obama administration’s National Security Council staff proposed in 2013 that the United States signal U.S. displeasure with Qatar over its arming of extremists in both Syria and Libya by withdrawing a squadron of fighter planes from the U.S. airbase at al-Udeid, Qatar. The Pentagon vetoed that mild form of pressure, however, to protect its access to its bases in Qatar.

Turkey’s Game

President Obama himself confronted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over his government’s support for the jihadists at a private White House dinner in May 2013, as recounted by Hersh. “We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria,” he quotes Obama as saying to Erdogan.

President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, attends a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The administration addressed Turkey’s cooperation with the al Nusra publicly, however, only fleetingly in late 2014. Shortly after leaving Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey from 2011 through mid-2014, told The Daily Telegraph of London that Turkey had “worked with groups, frankly, for a period, including al Nusra.”

The closest Washington came to a public reprimand of its allies over the arming of terrorists in Syria was when Vice President Joe Biden criticized their role in October 2014. In impromptu remarks at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Biden complained that “our biggest problem is our allies.” The forces they had supplied with arms, he said, were “al Nusra and al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

Biden quickly apologized for the remarks, explaining that he didn’t mean that U.S. allies had deliberately helped the jihadists. But Ambassador Ford confirmed his complaint, telling BBC, “What Biden said about the allies aggravating the problem of extremism is true.”

In June 2013, Obama approved the first direct U.S. lethal military aid to rebel brigades that had been vetted by the CIA. By spring 2014, the U.S.-made BGM-71E anti-tank missiles from the 15,000 transferred to the Saudis began to appear in the hands of selected anti-Assad groups. But the CIA imposed the condition that the group receiving them would not cooperate with the al Nusra Front or its allies.

That condition implied that Washington was supplying military groups that were strong enough to maintain their independence from al Nusra Front. But the groups on the CIA’s list of vetted “relatively moderate” armed groups were all highly vulnerable to takeover by the al Qaeda affiliate.

In November 2014, al Nusra Front troops struck the two strongest CIA-supported armed groups, Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front on successive days and seized their heavy weapons, including both TOW anti-tank missiles and GRAD rockets.

In early March 2015, the Harakat Hazm Aleppo branch dissolved itself, and al Nusra Front promptly showed off photos of the TOW missiles and other equipment they had captured from it. And in March 2016, al Nusra Front troops attacked the headquarters of the 13th Division in northwestern Idlib province and seized all of its TOW missiles. Later that month, al Nusra Front released a video of its troops using the TOW missiles it had captured.

CIA’s Largesse

But that wasn’t the only way for al Nusra Front to benefit from the CIA’s largesse. Along with its close ally Ahrar al Sham, the terrorist organization began planning for a campaign to take complete control of Idlib province in the winter of 2014-15.

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Abandoning any pretense of distance from al Qaeda, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar worked with al Nusra on the creation of a new military formation for Idlib called the “Army of Conquest,” consisting of the al Qaeda affiliate and its closest allies. Saudi Arabia and Qatar provided more weapons for the campaign, while Turkey facilitated their passage. On March 28, just four days after launching the campaign, the Army of Conquest successfully gained control of Idlib City.

The non-jihadist armed groups getting advanced weapons from the CIA assistance were not part of the initial assault on Idlib City. After the capture of Idlib the U.S.-led operations room for Syria in southern Turkey signaled to the CIA-supported groups in Idlib that they could now participate in the campaign to consolidate control over the rest of the province.

According to Lister, the British researcher on jihadists in Syria who maintains contacts with both jihadist and other armed groups, recipients of CIA weapons, such as the Fursan al haq brigade and Division 13, did join the Idlib campaign alongside al Nusra Front without any move by the CIA to cut them off.

As the Idlib offensive began, the CIA-supported groups were getting TOW missiles in larger numbers, and they now used them with great effectiveness against the Syrian army tanks. That was the beginning of a new phase of the war, in which U.S. policy was to support an alliance between “relatively moderate” groups and the al Nusra Front.

The new alliance was carried over to Aleppo, where jihadist groups close to Nusra Front formed a new command called Fateh Halab (“Aleppo Conquest”) with nine armed groups in Aleppo province, which were getting CIA assistance. The CIA-supported groups could claim that they weren’t cooperating with al Nusra Front because the al Qaeda franchise was not officially on the list of participants in the command. But as the report on the new command clearly implied, this was merely a way of allowing the CIA to continue providing weapons to its clients, despite their de facto alliance with al Qaeda.

The significance of all this is clear: by helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to al Nusra Front and its allies and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapons that were bound to fall into al Nusra hands or strengthen their overall military position, U.S. policy has been largely responsible for having extended al Qaeda’s power across a significant part of Syrian territory.

The CIA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to tolerate such a betrayal of America’s stated counter-terrorism mission. Unless either Congress or the White House confronts that betrayal explicitly, as Tulsi Gabbard’s legislation would force them to do, U.S. policy will continue to be complicit in the consolidation of power by al Qaeda in Syria, even if the Islamic State is defeated there. 

Gareth Porter is an independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of numerous books, including Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014). [This article originally appeared at The American Conservative, http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-armed-terrorists-in-syria/]

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31 comments for “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria

  1. Anon
    June 23, 2017 at 10:58 am

    With today’s Saudi threat giving Qatar ten days to change policies, and Qatar’s refusal, the US may well be planning to take over Qatar with the Turks and Saudis, as it is little more than a province with a large US military base. This would silence AlJazeera, no doubt a US goal, unify the US/Israeli forces of AlQaeda & Isis against any dissenters., and allow the US base to threaten Iran.

    Iran and Russia would do well to move forces to Qatar very quickly, and make counterthreats.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Anon – I’ve got to wonder: is Qatar part of this grand scheme? Purposely acting like they don’t want to change policy in order to give the U.S. an excuse to take over Qatar? What do you think? Because things always have to look on the up-and-up (to the Western voters and taxpayers), as if there’s a big, bag enemy. Is Qatar a part of a set-up?

      • Anon
        June 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm

        I cannot speculate on a Qatar resignation of sovereignty, unless it were temporary to permit a profitably expanded US base to threaten Iran. Those who know Qatar’s sponsorship of insurgents in Syria could track whether it changed under US control.

        It seems more sensible to use the base to take over KSA and UAE, knocking out funding of most Syria insurgents, but not many Muslims would want Israel managing their shrines. So give Israel to AlQaeda and Isis, managed by Walt Disney.

        • backwardsevolution
          June 23, 2017 at 9:03 pm

          Anon – yes, that’s what I mean, a temporary, but planned takeover in order to get to Iran.

      • Dave P.
        June 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Anon – It seems like it as you said a part of set-up. Turkey may be on the board too. Recep Erdogan was here in Washington not too long ago. Seems like they are trying pull a surprise – to corner Iran, and Russia.

  2. June 23, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Good article:
    —————————————————
    Perhaps we could call those that do this: “The Scumbags of the Western World and Their ‘Allies’ that Fund and Arm Terrorists”
    [Much more info on this at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/03/the-scumbags-of-western-world-and-their.html

    • backwardsevolution
      June 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Stephen – good writing. Paints an ugly picture, doesn’t it?

      “There is mountains of evidence that our so-called ‘leaders’ (past and present) are up to their dirty political necks along with their head chopping ‘allies’ in funding, supporting, arming, and funding the terrorists they are supposed to be fighting. They really are ‘The Scumbags of the Earth.'”

      And:

      “Last year the chiefs of staff of the US, Britain, France, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey met in Jordan; and a report by UAE’s newspaper… also mentions the existence of a secret command center in Jordan which is staffed by military officials from 14 Western and Arab countries including Israel. This command center coordinates the operations of the rebels (jihadis) in southern Syria; while the operations of the jihadis in northern Syria are coordinated by similar command centers and bases in Turkey.”

      Not only are towns and cities destroyed in Syria and innocent lives lost, but then the surrounding countries who are part of this scheme to take out Assad then have the audacity to cry out, “Help us with the refugees. Send us money.” So unsuspecting and ignorant taxpayers in the West not only pay for the weapons, training and salaries for these jihadis, but they pay again for the refugees in the form of aid to the refugee camps. And then when a few refugees are taken in by the West, the taxpayers pay again.

      And all for people who, if our countries had not been intent on taking their leaders out (7 countries in 5 years), would still be in their villages, their children would still be going to school, and life would have gone on. But, no, we just couldn’t have that!

      Good job, Stephen.

      • June 23, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        Thanks backwardsevolution: I believe these treacherous people in positions of power (past and present) should be put on trial for their treacherous acts.
        Cheers Stephen.

  3. Abe
    June 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    “We must keep in mind that all serious terrorist organizations are state-sponsored. All. Whether DAESH or Al Nusra or Mujahideen in Afghanistan or Maute Group in Philippines. The relevant question is which states sponsor which terrorists. Today NATO is the one most complicit in sponsoring terrorism as a weapon of their geopolitical designs. And within NATO the United States is sponsor number one, often using Saudi money and until recently, ironically, Qatari funds.

    “My newest book, The Lost Hegemon: Whom the Gods Would Destroy, gives a far more detailed road-map of the use made by both British intelligence, by the Third Reich under Himmler, and since the 1950s, by the CIA, of especially the Muslim Brotherhood and its later ‘offspring’ including Afghan Mujahideen of Osama bin Laden – a part of CIA’s Operation Cyclone to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s.

    “The CIA’s Mujahideen, trained by Pakistan’s ISI and recruited for the CIA by Osama bin Laden under the supervision of Prince Turki al-Faisal, the notorious head of Saudi Intelligence, were then brought by CIA private airlines after the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, into former Soviet Union republics to sow trouble. This included Azerbaijan, where the CIA used them to topple the government in favor of the Aliyev dictatorship that was amenable to giving oil rights to BP and American companies and to abandoning using the Soviet era oil pipeline through Russia’s Chechnya.

    “Then the CIA brought the Afghan Mujahideen veteran terrorists they had trained – including Osama bin Laden – they brought them into Chechnya to destabilize Russia’s oil pipeline route from Baku across Russia. That was to open the way for the Anglo-American Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Control the oil.

    “In my book, The Lost Hegemon–the United States as Sole Superpower after 1990 is meant – I trace the evolution of these CIA mercenary terrorists who hide behind the facade of being ‘devout Muslim fundamentalists.’ The CIA and Pentagon brought them into Iraq after 2003 where US military operations under General David Petraeus, in effect created Al Qaeda in Iraq. Then the US launched the Arab Spring in 2011 to force regime change across the entire Muslim world, in a move to militarily control all oil and gas resources there, long a dream of the CIA and what some call the US ‘Deep State.’

    “When the Washington Arab Spring could not bring down Libya’s Qaddafi by peaceful protests as in Tunisia or Egypt, Washington opted for a military solution using France and NATO bombs as the up front actor. However, when they then tried the same in Syria against Bashar Al Assad, who opposed the Washington agenda, they were unable to do so, mainly because of UN security council vetoes by Russia and China. After September 2015 when Russia answered Assad’s plea for help against foreign terrorists and Russia brilliantly and swiftly responded, it exposed for all the world to see that Washington had been lying about trying to defeat DAESH or the so-called Islamic State.

    “The real story behind the rise of so-called Islamic Terrorism is the increasingly desperate attempt of the Anglo-American Deep State to control the rise of Eurasia, especially of China in combination now with Russia, and increasingly with Iran and Central Asian republics as well as South Asian. Without understanding this, none of the recent events in the Middle East make sense.

    “Washington strategists today foolishly believe that if they get choke point control of all Middle East oil and gas, they can, as Henry Kissinger stated back in the 1970’s ‘control the oil and thus, control entire nations,’ especially China and Russia and also Germany and Europe. Their strategy has failed but Washington and the Pentagon refuse to see the reasons for their repeated filed wars. The hidden reality of American global power is that the American ‘giant’ today is a bankrupt superpower, much like Great Britain after their Great Depression of 1873 up to 1914. Britain triggered a world war in 1914 to desperately try to retain their global power. They failed […]

    “we are in the midst of the disintegration of the old world order, an order dominated for the past two hundred years since the British victory at Waterloo, by first, a British Empire, and after 1945, by an Anglo-American syndicated empire based on soft power, control of NATO, control of the IMF and World Bank and supreme or nearly supreme military power.

    “That order today is bankrupt. The downfall of American power in my view began in August 1971 when President Nixon tore up the solemn Bretton Woods Treaty obligations of the United States and shut the Federal Reserve Gold Discount Window. Since then Wall Street money power has made a silent coup in transforming the United States that I knew as a yound man in the 1950s and 1960s, from a more-or-less functioning democratic republic into an Oligarchy where money controls all, from Presidents like Obama or Trump to Congressmen who make the laws. That is a very dangerous state of affairs for Americans and for the entire world.

    “We may never know who was behind the London or Teheran attacks but a strong finger of suspicion must point to Washington, or the Mossad or their Saudi proxy in the case of Teheran.

    “Resort to terrorism to advance national interests by any nation is a sign not of fundamental strength but of pathetic weakness. Today our world is in the midst of the most profound paradigm shift, a truly tectonic geopolitical shift away from a system where one nation dictates to the entire world, the US version of globalization and New World Order as the late David Rockefeller proudly called it.That system may well have died with him and his long-time adviser Brzezinski […]

    “For more than the past two decades all the USA has offered the world is a foreign policy of wars and destruction of any and all threats to her power, to her failing hegemony.”

    Washington’s Dangerous Middle East Agenda
    By F. William Engdahl
    http://www.williamengdahl.com/englishNEO17June2017.php

    • turk151
      June 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Abe, while I have no question of Turkey’s involvement, I see them as just the mercenary army of the darker forces you highlighted above. US/UK/France and Israel gave Erdogan the carrot of ruling the Sunni world if he takes out Assad. Clinton, Allen and Petraeus / CIA were deeply involved in Syrian regime change plans, it seems that Obama was a moderating voice, but nevertheless complicit. When the UK and Obama pulled out over the Syrian Ratline, Clinton, et.al, went rogue and Turkey aligned with France and Israel who were still pursuing Assad regime change.

      Turkey has been operating as a CIA playground since the start of the Cold War and it wasn’t until his former partners in crime decided to dispose of Erdogan last June, that we can say that he is acting with any type of autonomy. I think Gulen was a CIA asset and this partnership is how Erdogan ascended to power in the first place, now he is using that legitimate threat to purge all political opposition along with Gulen’s minions.

      Terror and chaos in the middle east, is not an unforeseen accident, it is the strategic objective of the US UK/France & Israel which serves numerous hegemonic goals.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Abe – thank you for that article. Brilliant writing by William Engdahl.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

      Engdahl’s book is a great read and there are several crucial points in this article, especially the idea of curtailing or controlling the rise of Eurasia…but I’d like to highlight: “We may never know who was behind the London or Teheran attacks but a strong finger of suspicion must point to Washington, or the Mossad or their Saudi proxy in the case of Teheran.” One of the tougher pills to swallow for many is the idea or reality of false flag terrorism, that “terrorist events” are often not “blowback”, but are rather something else altogether.

    • Dave P.
      June 24, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Abe, Thanks for this excellent post. But it seems clear that this AmerIca’s drive to keep its hegemony is backed by U.K., Germany, France, and the rest of Western European Nations, and they are going to back it up to the End, They are fully complicit in this project. This excellent article about CIA, and other Actors, including Terrorist Organizations in Syria is just one theater of operations.

      Middle East and Afghanistan is just the beginning. The next stop Iran, Central Asian Nations, and Russia; it is going to be something else. The Middle East Operation is going to look like a picnic compared to what is coming. I say it because, with the exception of Nazi Germany the World has not seen anything like this Necon’s Ideology of ” Full Spectrum Dominance” to impose NeoLiberal Economic Order under U.S. hegemony, and they are determined to do it – at any cost. Just think of it, how can this $1.2 trillion Wrecking Machine – Defense and intelligence Apparatus – U,S. has built can sit idle. It is any thing but a benign force. There is no opposition – in Congress or outside – who even remotely questions or says anything about it.
      There is no end in sight. Unfortunately, this wrecking of Nations, and death, and destruction is going to continue, There is lot of suffering ahead for the vulnerable Nations and their people.

      • Dave P.
        June 24, 2017 at 1:47 am

        Correction to comments: ” . . . death and destruction is going to continue”

      • backwardsevolution
        June 24, 2017 at 5:51 am

        Dave P. – yes, it has me worried too. They are just going to keep pushing and pushing. Something is going to snap.

  4. Sally Snyder
    June 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Here is an article that looks at the value of arms that Washington sold to Qatar in the closing days of the Obama Administration:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/06/qatar-and-washington-bedfellows-in.html

    While, on one hand, Washington condemns Qatar for its links to terrorism, they are only too happy to grant the nation significant armaments sourced from America’s military-industrial complex.

  5. Mike K.
    June 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    ‘instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies’

    For the love of God. Primarily its about ISRAEL.

    It isnt a disproportionate amount of Arab Muslims in State and Treasury and the Executive Branch: it’s Jewish Zionists, many with dual citizenship.

    This is objective, empirical *fact*.

    ISIS is and has been a US/Saudi/Israeli proxy – Israel’s significant support for Al Qaeda and ISIS seems to be largely memory-holed lest someone cry ‘anti-Semite’ even as criticism of ANY OTHER govt on earth is deemed absolutely fine, even as the media, which is also disproportionately Zionist, promulgates naked, insidious, warmongering lies to engender wars Ionists have been yearning for for decades.

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article178638.html
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/12/us-caught-faking-it-in-syria/

    Time to start being blunt and honest about both the Saudis AND the Israelis.

    • mike k
      June 23, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      (capital) Mike K is not me – mike k.

      • mike k
        June 23, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        But I agree with his comment.

    • backwardsevolution
      June 23, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Mike K. – good comments, I agree. Thanks for posting.

      • backwardsevolution
        June 23, 2017 at 6:20 pm

        Mike K. – like the writing of Thomas Harrington in his 2015 article entitled “U.S. Caught Faking it in Syria”:

        “The great danger of faking your ability to do something in the public square is that someone with an actual desire to the job you are pretending to do might come along and show you up.

        This is what has just happened to the US in Syria with the entrance of Russia into the fight against ISIL.

        And as is generally the case with posers caught with their pants down, the US policy elites are not happy about it.”

        Yes, the world saw what happened when someone actually tried (Russia). Made the U.S. look like idiots. Not only has Syria, Russia and Iran been fighting ISIS, but they’ve really been fighting the U.S. and their western puppet governments.

        And that writer in the Voltaire Network article, Laurent Guyénot, is such a good writer. I’ve read several of his articles and they are all well done.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 23, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      For the love of God. Primarily its about ISRAEL.

      Yes, but not all the authors here can bring themselves to even mention that word.

      As for the article, it turned my stomach reading about what war criminals Obama and Hillary were doing. They ought to be brought up on charges same as Bush the Dumber, and probably Trump as well. Regarding the latter person, lots of rumors are circulating that the man is fulfilling his campaign promise to resume torture in a big way.

  6. June 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Article of interest at link below
    ———————————————————–
    “Israel’s Secret Engagement”: UN Raises Alarm over “Contacts” Between Israeli Forces and Syrian Terrorists including ISIS-Daesh
    By Press TV
    Global Research, June 22, 2017
    PressTV
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/israels-secret-engagement-un-raises-alarm-over-contacts-between-israeli-forces-and-syrian-terrorists-including-isis-daesh/5595576

  7. backwardsevolution
    June 23, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Gareth Porter – what an unbelievably good writer you are! This was an excellent article, such a lot of research. Thank you.

  8. June 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    America is a NATO ally, therefore I believe NATO members should be investigated for reportedly helping Terrorists.
    “NATO is harbouring the Islamic State”
    [Much more Information at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.html

    • backwardsevolution
      June 23, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Stephen – not only are you a great writer of poems, but you are a prolific assembler of all that is rotten in Denmark. It’s good that you have your creative side, kind of balances out the muck and keeps your head screwed on the right way. I must get back to more creativity.

  9. mike k
    June 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    The failure to support Tulsi Gabbard’s anti terrorist bill tells you all you need to know about the US Congress.

    • mike k
      June 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      Cowardly criminals!

    • July 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      And the failure of the international community to get serious about UN Resolution 2253 tells you all you need to know about the US-led Corporatocracy. Eva Bartlett (a NON celebratory investigative journalist) interviews Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, an advisor to Bashar al-Assad. Here’s an excerpt:

      ======== =
      Shaaban also spoke on the West’s fight against terrorism, which she described as a “farce.” To support the assertion, Shaaban pointed to Western leaders and the UN itself disregarding UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2253, which entails stopping terrorism in Syria. At the same time, they support UNSC Resolution 2254 and NATO’s alliance plan of implementing a change of government in Syria.

      “I would like anybody in the UN to answer this question: You want to implement 2254? Why don’t you mention 2253? They should be dealt with with the intention in which they were taken: implement 2253 first, and then it would be very easy to implement 2254,” Dr. Shaaban asserted.
      = ========

      This is how the US rolls. Howard Zinn talks about how the 1st Amendment established free speech (in 1791), which the US government, seven years later, buried with the Sedition Act. I call it strategic rule-breaking (which is how unprincipled people get ahead of and over others, namely those who believe in law & order in a principled way). This is just one way that it can be done. Clearly, Those who own and run the world (into the ground) view law and order very differently than regular people, especially parents who’d love peace and security and to be free from worry about their childrens’ future. In this upside down world though, those who want homes, not bombs, are called terrorists and those calling them terrorists want to be called Benefactors and they want us to believe them when they talk about law & order. (http://bit.ly/2td7Meh)

  10. f.fong
    June 30, 2017 at 1:05 am

    ya that s the way they say north koria is a terrorust state ,,,Q…how many terrorist have they armed…how many regiem changes have they done? barrel bombs vs.hellfire missles hellfire sounds exotic..eh..and isnt NAPLAM a chemical…john macain u.s. war vet piolet dropping napalm on women and children,,,the bay of tonkin….the american I.Q…is written on the sh..ti house wall

  11. Pierre Anonymot
    July 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

    As David Talbot says in his brilliant book, THE DEVIL’S CHESSBOARD, “the CIA is the steel fist” of Deep State which I consider to be a mindset rather than a unique group of people. But if Deep State is a mind set and the MIC is an amorphus, shape-changing, faceless group, the CIA is a very well designated group of US employees.

    Isn’t it time to name those employees and charge them with the treasonable acts they are commiting or isn’t there anyone but Tulsi Gabbard with the guts to speak up?

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