What is the U.S. Fighting for in Syria?

The U.S. and Russia share strategic goals in Syria and the wider region, but Washington ideologues persist in unwelcome intervention that has led to disaster, argues Graham E.Fuller

By Graham E. Fuller

The Trump administration delivered several dozen military strikes against Syria purportedly aimed at chemical production and storage facilities. It was an act the international community feared might lead to overt war in Syria between the US, Iran and Russia, but it came off a bit better: the strike seems to have been carefully calibrated, involved care to avoid casualties and seemed largely symbolic in nature. The strikes did not meaningfully change facts on the ground.

What sense can we make out of all these strategic events in Syria? We encounter a baffling array of players: Syrian troops, Syrian insurgents, jihadis of varying ideologies, Iranians, Russians, Americans, Israelis, Turks, Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis, Shi’ite militias, Iraqis, Kurds, Hizballah—all locked in a deadly dance. But as complex as it may be, this seven-year bloody conflict still continues to pose the very same long-term fundamental questions to US policy in Syria and the region. These questions demand an answer. 

Does the U.S. Want the War to End? 

In principle yes, but only under its own rigid terms which call for an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule and the elimination of Russian and Iranian power in Syria. None of this is within the realm of reality.

The power struggle between the Assad regime and the array of diverse insurgents has oscillated over seven years. Initially, when the government faced the first outbreak of domestic insurgency in 2011, it appeared that he might not last long in the evolving Arab Spring. But he proved resilient.

He was willing to strike back ruthlessly at the early uprisings and nip them in the bud. He was aided by the fact that the Syrian population was itself highly ambivalent about any collapse of his government. As regional regimes went it was unquestionably autocratic but not more brutal than usual in the region —at least not until early insurgent forces challenged the regime’s existence and  Damascus began to show real teeth.

The Assads: Autocratic but not more brutal than usual in the region.

In fact many Syrians did not want civil war—understandably enough since the human and material costs would be devastating. Second, large numbers of Syrians who had no fondness for Assad had even greater reason to fear what might come after him: very likely some combination of radical jihadi forces. Indeed, victorious jihadis might likely then have gone on to wage an internecine power struggle among themselves, just like the civil war among the Afghan mujahideen after the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1988; it all but destroyed the country .

Indeed from the comfort of our own American isolation such issues more closely resemble an electronic war game, or armchair strategizing. But for people who live in war zones, stakes are overwhelmingly real. At some point almost any peace is better than almost any war. Washington might be willing to fight to the last Syrian, but most Syrians are not willing to do so when most outcomes offer only death and destruction. 

But the time for speculation about the regime’s fate is now past: Assad is close to restoring his control over the whole country. Ambivalence on the part of so many Syrians, the fecklessness and divisions of so many of the anti-Assad forces, and above all serious Russian and Iranian assistance to Damascus constituted the final tipping point.

But is Washington willing to accept, however reluctantly, Assad’s restoration of control over his own country? (It’s worth noting that whatever the issues at stake in Syria, Russia and Iran were legally invited by the Syrian government to provide military assistance. The US on the other hand was not invited to intervene in Syria, and on legal grounds is fighting in Syria “illegally.”)  Indeed, Washington’s goal all along has been to notch up one more “regime change by force” in the region that has included Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and perhaps Somalia, among other conflicts.

So is it justifiable, even ethical, to fight till the last Syrian? Or should the US reluctantly accept the desperately needed end to the war, and to allow restoration of public security, food, medicine, and a chance for the devastated country to rebuild itself?  From a humanitarian perspective the choice would seem clear.

So What is the U.S. Fighting For?

Washington has sought to isolate or overthrow the Assads, father and son, for over forty years; it perceived them as representing staunch (secular) anti-colonial Arab nationalism, resistance to U.S. goals, and a refusal to bow to Israel’s ever expanding borders and oppression of the Palestinians.

The world has learned that any state that does not accept the U.S.-designed order in the Middle East by definition becomes a “rogue regime”—hence losing any sovereign rights on the international scene. And Washington’s policies have all along been heavily driven by Israel’s own regional agenda. It’s a bitter pill then: acceptance of Assad’s remaining in power until the international order can eventually craft some new political process that offers more representative government there.

But U.S. policy, for all its talk of human rights and welfare, has no interest in an end to the war on anything except its own terms. It ceases to be about Syria at all any more. Syria is fated to remain the arena for grander U.S. strategic interests: the checking of Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East. The Syrians themselves will pay the price—but they do not matter. 

Yet the reality is that Washington can no longer single-handedly determine the strategic shape of the Middle East. All efforts to do so over the past fifteen years have ended in disaster for virtually everyone including the U.S.

Another reality is the presence of Russia as a diplomatic and strategic power in the Middle East. It has a history of several hundred years presence there, long before the U.S. or even Britain; even under the Russian Tsars Moscow was the official protector of Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Levant.

Russia and U.S. Share Mideast Goals

Russian church on the Mount of Olives (Wikipedia)

After a hiatus of some two decades after the fall of the USSR and the collapse of the Russian economic order, Russia is now back again as a player. That fact will not change. Nor should a Russian presence in the Middle East represent an intolerable affront to U.S. interests. Indeed, Russia and the U.S. share many common goals, not least of which is a need for regional stability, the peaceful  flow of energy, and suppression of violent jihadi movements such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.  

But if neo-con and “liberal interventionist” ideologues in Washington have their way—and their power is growing—America’s supreme interest in the Middle East centers on checking Russia—amounting to a self-fulfilling prophesy of confrontation. For these ideologues there can be no accommodation:  it becomes a zero-sum game, not a win-win but a win-lose game.

This U.S. posture is also designed to perpetuate Washington’s military presence in Syria for a long time to come—with strikingly little to show for it. Russia will not be going anywhere. And Iran, now gradually normalizing its relations with most of the world, will also be resuming its place as a major Middle Eastern player. Yet Iran remains a point of obsession with Washington—equally seen as a “rogue” state— and here again reflecting Israel’s own determination to strategically dominate the Middle East itself. 

Does Iran constitute a “sectarian threat” as the Saudis have it? Iran reacts as a “Shi’ite force” to the degree that it is attacked as an “illegitimate,” that is, Shi’ite force by rival ultra-conservative Wahhabi Saudi forces. Iran views itself primarily not as a Shiite state but as a Muslim state—one intent on further blocking western interventionism in the Middle East. And it does not believe that monarchies represent the wave of the Middle Eastern future.

So the question remains: does Washington truly seek an end to the war—a war that it cannot win? Or will it fight on in a losing, devastating situation in a country to which it was not invited? Will it continue to seek “regime change” in yet another state with all the subsequent chaos, instability, and openings for the region’s most radical jihadi forces? 

And are we ourselves to be manipulated as instruments for the achievement of local Israeli and Saudi strategic goals in the region? 

This piece originally appeared on http://grahamefuller.com/blog/

Graham E. Fuller is a former senior CIA official, author of numerous books on the Muslim World; including “Breaking Faith: A novel of espionage and an American’s crisis of conscience in Pakistan,” and most recently “BEAR.” (Amazon, Kindle) grahamefuller.com

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73 comments for “What is the U.S. Fighting for in Syria?

  1. Bill Rood
    April 22, 2018 at 9:28 am

    I respectfully disagree with a couple things Mr. Fuller says here.

    First, “He was willing to strike back ruthlessly at the early uprisings and nip them in the bud.” In truth, Assad has been criticized by a number of hard liners for not being forceful enough during the initial protests. He has also been accused of having deliberately encouraged the jihadis by releasing a number of political prisoners who then joined the violent opposition. (Many of those critics are the very ones who demanded that he release political prisoners. Nor were government security forces allowed to use fire arms until after a number of them had been assassinated. Now that Syrians have seen the brutality of the opposition, this “softness” is turned to his advantage through a generous reconciliation program.

    Second, “…acceptance of Assad’s remaining in power until the international order can eventually craft some new political process that offers more representative government there.” Assad has already taken steps to open the political process to a “more representative government,” and whether or not he remains in power should be left strictly to the Syrians living in Syria and perhaps those temporarily seeking refuge in other countries. It’s not the business of “the international order” to make decisions for Syrians regardless of what is occurring within Syria. The R2P sham is what led to 500,000 deaths and 7 years of suffering for Syria, failed states in Libya and South Sudan, the continuation of Somalian suffering for 11 years after the brief stability of the Islamic Courts Union and 15 years of sectarian strife in Iraq.

    Nevertheless, for all his devotion to the Empire and its fundamental narratives, Mr. Fuller’s basic rationality is welcome and should be heeded.

  2. Piotr Berman
    April 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    I think that we should be a bit more charitable to Mr. Fuller. Yes, he is a former CIA senior official who was personally engaged in many project that most of us detest, although in some cases, in retrospect. But the road to Damascus is known to change minds (wow, the same Damascus after all these years, nearly 2000?). Yes, he does not mention what is “unimportant”, but he is entitled to select what is important for him — and perhaps this is the money quote:

    “Yet the reality is that Washington can no longer single-handedly determine the strategic shape of the Middle East. All efforts to do so over the past fifteen years have ended in disaster for virtually everyone including the U.S.”

    Whatever the reasons, human rights, security of Israel, pipelines, take your pick, nothing will be achieved in this manner. What remains is job security for warriors of the “permanent/deep state” and parasitical profits of companies that provide weapons, logistics, and stuff that we are better off not knowing about. However, Graham Fuller is probably not even interested in lucrative company jobs given his age and, well, disillusion.

    To paraphrase a French politician, this endeavor is a crime, but even worse, it is a mistake.

    It is still pertinent if the stuff is criminal. Were our founding fathers, diplomats etc. deluded when they decided on Constitution clauses, treaties etc, or it is our current crop of politicians and “permanent staters” that is deluded?

    • Bill Rood
      April 22, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Yes, Piotr. The institutional imperatives that drive everything are the 3 Ps: Profits (for military contractors), Promotions (for military brass and civilian employees of Pentagon, State, NGOs and think tanks) and Pork (for Congress to bring home to districts and states). In that sense, the policies are unfortunately not mistakes but are fulfilling their fundamental purpose from the point of view of the elites who are in control. They are, however, criminally depraved.

  3. Jeff
    April 19, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    This is all about American global hegemony. There are a number of countries who will not recognize American suzerainty over their own sovereignty. Clearly, that’s unacceptable to the United States. That will mean war and, unlike all our other wars of the last century or so, this one will not be fought exclusively on somebody else’s territory and with somebody else’s population dying. What goes around will come around and for the first time since the civil war we will be treated with the destruction of our infrastructure and the slaughter of our civilian population. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. Lots of cliches but they’re cliches because that’s what happens.

  4. April 19, 2018 at 10:03 am

    What For?

    Because FSB, unlike their opposite numbers at CIA, are competent. They gave Tam Tsarnaev a shoulder to cry on when CIA frogmarched him through a cheesy jihadi vaudeville routine to set him up for their domestic strategy of tension attack in Boston. Russia knows Tsarnaev’s handlers and his handlers’ handlers. Hell, everybody knows who they are. CIA’s illegal domestic agents got lazy with their OPSEC on their Bay State turf. The cat was already out of the bag when CIA dispatched its domestic death squad of Cinelli, Gagne, and McFarlane to kill Ibragim Todashev.

    CIA is anxious to make an enemy of Russia so Russia’s meticulously-sourced evidence of CIA murder can be suppressed as propaganda.

    That’s what for.

  5. Piotr Berman
    April 19, 2018 at 9:48 am

    The goals of “the West” in Syria are sadly simple. Baath government is not friendly with Israel, alternative is jihadists who are not friendly either, so it is calculated that internal war lasting forever, or until the country is depleted of all resources is the best of “bad options”.

    As a bonus, the carnage in Syria defuses attention to Israeli atrocities. Israel must carry the title of “the only democracy in the Middle East”, other countries the have to be vilified. It is a bit grotesque in the case of KSA, because they are both vilification targets and clients.

  6. Daniel
    April 18, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    Abe, great comments I should have read them before posting mine.

    But I recommend you be careful with Sibel Edmonds. She’s shown herself to be something other than a truth-telling whistle blower…. especially since her incoherent attacks on journalists who’ve exposed the “propaganda construct” of the White helmets leading to: “Syria Under Siege.”

    James Corbett did an excellent rebuttal (and he’s had a log collaborative relationship with Edmonds):

    https://www.corbettreport.com/fact-checking-newsbuds-syria-under-siege-video/

    truthseekereport dug deeper:

    https://steemit.com/politics/@truthseekereport/debunking-newsbud-lies-against-eva-bartlett-and-beeley

    Even her FBI “career” was really only about a year, working part time – just enough to build a “Controlled Opposition” cover?

    Is it a coincidence that she suddenly came out attacking white helmets exposers just as the latest “CW attack” by Russia and “animal Assad” were being orchestrated?

    • Abby
      April 19, 2018 at 1:31 am

      Thank you for posting the links. I had heard that Sibel had gone off the deed end from how she used to be. Greenwald also said that Assad gassed his own people. This was very disappointing to hear.

      One thing I’d like to see is people stop calling the Syrian war a “civil war.” It’s not one. The war started when we started paying terrorists to help us overthrow Assad. They were the same people that were used to overthrow Libya. There might have been some people protesting against Assad, but we then used the terrorists to blow the country up. There are videos showing how they would go into buildings to rehearse their roles for the protests. And as you stated, the White Helmets were being paid to spread propaganda about their false flag events.m

      Obama was doing his part to continue PNAC’s goals in the Middle East which was Libya and Syria for his tenure. He paid the terrorists $1 billion a year for their help. How to get the message out on what is actually happening in Syria is what needs to happen next.m

      • john wilson
        April 19, 2018 at 4:40 am

        Yes, Abby, the story about peaceful protesters is just a pack of lies. We have had many demonstrations here in London about various things, anti war, the economy etc, but apart from a few stones chucked at police and some street furniture broken, that was all there was to the demo. We did not return a couple of days later with thousands of automatic rifles, RPGs, shoulder mounted missiles etc, which is what happened in Syria because the whole thing was pre-planned by the Americans. It wasn’t a demonstration it was a planned attack.

        • xun pomponio
          April 19, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          Is there any documents prove of what you said? That was what happened in Ukraine’s coop. I actually followed Consoriumnews while Ukraine’s whole scenes unfolded and I got informed on Ukraine coop by this site. I believe that Syria’s unrest which quickly lead to the “civil war” had similar story line with Ukraine.

          • Bill Rood
            April 22, 2018 at 9:53 am

            Take a look at some of the early YouTube videos from Syriana Analysis (Kevork Almassian). The Muslim Brotherhood had weapons stored in mosques before the start of the demonstrations. Also, I read an article several years ago by Thierry Meyssan at Voltaire Network about how the French transported Libyan jihadis to Syria before the outbreak of violence. Sorry, I don’t have the link for that, but Syriana Analysis is easy to find on YT.

      • Daniel
        April 19, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        Yes! The “civil war” term is deliberate disinformation. Kevork Almassian put together videos from the start of the war that show quite clearly what was really happening.

        Syria: NOT A Revolution! XLNT!!!

        Part One:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=31&v=8prwbWLa7f0&has_verified=1

        Part Two:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIEeZ3WOVsI&feature=youtu.be&has_verified=1

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIEeZ3WOVsI&feature=youtu.be

    • Abe
      April 19, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Daniel and CN Readers,

      On l’affaire des “wolves in sheep’s clothing”

      Newsbud’s over-the-top Twitter-rage infused video mirrors numerous so-called “debunking” foisted by fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins, ringleader of bogus “open-source investigations” and propagandist “online research” at the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat disinformation site.

      In addition to James Corbett’s rebuttal, Eva Bartlett has directly addressed (13 April 2018) the “silly drama” with Newsbud. Highly recommended
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ah_tDPV1yc

      The bottom line: Engage you brain. Use critical thinking.

      P.S. The information about Fuller has been documented and independently verified. So… Engage your brain. Use critical thinking.

      • Abe
        April 19, 2018 at 2:46 pm

        November 2017 interview with Eva Bartlett by James Corbett
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN1VH38NYb4

      • Abe
        April 19, 2018 at 5:49 pm

        February 2018 Corbett Report: The White Helmets Are A Propaganda Construct
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=106&v=3vNwe7yKbwo

      • Daniel
        April 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm

        I don’t get your point. You posted Edmonds stuff without critical evaluation,which, especially since she came out as an attack dog for Empire, I suggested you be careful about.

        I posted information about Fuller before reading your posts, and my comments mirrored your take on Fuller. Actually, I’ve posted critically evaluations oh Fuller here at Cn multiple times over the years.

    • Abe
      April 19, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      Newsbud’s purported campaign for “decency” and “professional” avoidance of “profanity” obviously missed this notorious li’l Twitter potty mouth:
      https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/983478064100331520

  7. Gregory Herr
    April 18, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    Oh yes, Fuller, it’s all so “baffling” and “complex”. And the Syrian people are “ambivalent”, with “large numbers” showing no fondness for Assad. Gee whiz, Fuller, you make it appear almost as a revelation when you say “in fact, many Syrians did not want civil war”. And let’s please stop repeating the tripe about the “brutal” autocrat who “was willing to strike back ruthlessly at the early uprisings”.

    The reality is the Syrian people never developed a home-grown insurgency or uprising. The perpetration of violence was from the outside-in and this was never a civil war. The Syrian people were and are proud to define their home in terms of secular Arab nationalism and Baathist socialism. Naturally, a politically aware and generally well-educated citizenry produced calls for reforms, much in the same way grassroots political processes in the U.S. take place…but in no way were the Syrian people itching for any violent uprising, radical change, or the removal of Assad. If anything, Assad was a bit slow to react to the violent provocateurs. And you know as well as I the history of the CIA in arming sectarian fundamentalists to cause problems in Syria (and elsewhere). And you know what that “game” is about as well.

    Larry Larsen on a CN thread several days ago recommended a book by Stephen Gowans, “Wahington’s Long War on Syria”. For an understanding of Syria and “what the U.S. is fighting for”, I can’t recommend it highly enough. There is so much “meat” on its bones and because the exposition builds the explanation, I hate to have to severely limit passages to cite, but here’s one:

    “Drafting a constitution that mandated that the government maintain a role in guiding the economy on behalf of Syrian interests, and that the Syrian government would not make Syrians work for the interests of Western banks, corporations, and investors, was a prospect hardly encouraging to the Wall Street financial interests that dominated decision-making in Washington. Ba’ath socialism had long irritated Washington. The Ba’athist state had exercised considerable influence over the Syrian economy, through ownership of enterprises, subsidies to privately-owned domestic firms, limits on foreign investment, and restrictions on imports. The Ba’athists regarded these measures as necessary economic tools of a post-colonial state trying to wrest its economic life from the grips of former colonial powers and to chart a course of development free from the domination of foreign interests.
    On top of all this, Assad underscored his allegiance to socialist values against what Washington had once called the “moral imperative” of “economic freedom,” by writing certain social rights into the constitution: security against sickness, disability and old age; access to health care; and free education at all levels. These rights would continue to be placed beyond the easy reach of legislators and politicians who could sacrifice them on the altar of creating a low-tax, foreign-investment-friendly climate. As a further affront against Washington’s pro-business orthodoxy, Assad retained the 1973 constitution’s commitment to progressive taxation. Finally, the Ba’athist leader included in his updated constitution, a provision that had been introduced by his father in 1973, a step toward real, genuine democracy—a provision which decision-makers in Washington, with their myriad connections to the banking and corporate worlds, could hardly tolerate: The constitution would require that at minimum half the members of the People’s Assembly be drawn from the ranks of peasants and workers.”

    • WC
      April 18, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      How far do you expect Fuller to go, all things considered? If you want to look for a second message in what he wrote, that’s there too. Enough that he said the US wasn’t going to abandon their overall objective. If he is correct, what happens next is the question. :)

      • Gregory Herr
        April 19, 2018 at 4:43 am

        Fuller said:

        “But if neo-con and “liberal interventionist” ideologues in Washington have their way—and their power is growing—America’s supreme interest in the Middle East centers on checking Russia—amounting to a self-fulfilling prophesy of confrontation. For these ideologues there can be no accommodation: it becomes a zero-sum game, not a win-win but a win-lose game.

        This U.S. posture is also designed to perpetuate Washington’s military presence in Syria for a long time to come—with strikingly little to show for it. Russia will not be going anywhere. And Iran, now gradually normalizing its relations with most of the world, will also be resuming its place as a major Middle Eastern player. Yet Iran remains a point of obsession with Washington—equally seen as a “rogue” state— and here again reflecting Israel’s own determination to strategically dominate the Middle East itself.”

        Those two paragraphs constitute a viable “message” that I can agree with.

        Fuller also said:

        “Russia and the U.S. share many common goals, not least of which is a need for regional stability, the peaceful flow of energy, and suppression of violent jihadi movements such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.”

        This skews reality….much in the same way Fuller skews reality about the drivers of the war on Syria and the nature of the Syrian government. It’s never been about regional stability and the peaceful flow of energy. We are not dependent upon the energy resources in the Middle East. It is about who profits the most from those resources. It’s about who makes the money. The U.S. uses sectarian fundamentalists to sow division….violently. It’s reprehensible and should not be “covered up”.

        • WC
          April 19, 2018 at 5:03 pm

          Fuller’s article was literally filled with agreeable points. But if the US has zero intention of leaving brings up the WHY question. Is this only for Israel’s expansionary aims as many here believe? Fuller says this is really all about Russia and turning them into another vassal state, as PCR would say. That points to way bigger intentions than just the regional squabbles in the middle east.

          My method of approach on these issues is to first remove any idealistic and moral thoughts from the equation, except for how it is used as BS to justify their actions. So, for the sake of argument, say the US & Co. can knock off Russia. This still does nothing to solve our present financial crisis that Bill Gates recently said is “a certainty” it will melt down again. And he is hardly alone in that assessment. With all that in mind, I find myself asking what’s the plan for that elephant in the room, and how and to whose benefit will it be structured to serve? That question has been repeatedly attacked on this comments section as being a distraction from Israel and Zionist influence on American politics. And while there may be some validity to Zionist influence, etc., I see this as a rather narrow view of the bigger picture.

          • Gregory Herr
            April 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

            Follow the campaign “contributions”, sources and influences of “think tanks”, the many ziocon “players” that have held or hold prominent positions in government/foreign policy establishment, the Zionist money connected with big media, and actual policy implementations…and yes, WC, Israel most obviously has a “big time” influence on American “politics”. That’s not a narrow view of anything…it’s simply a factual ongoing reality. Of course that factual reality is not all-encompassing, isn’t “all things considered”, nor is it intended as an expression of the “big picture” in its totality. But it’s importance should not be understated or minimized.

            Market and resource exploitation. War for profit and as a tool to enable that exploitation. Partners in crime. Entanglements, bribery, and coercion. Get it? Or are you going to repeatedly ask the WHY question as if all this hasn’t been gone over again and again? Please don’t plan on it.

          • WC
            April 19, 2018 at 6:18 pm

            Here’s a view of the “bigger picture” no one wants to think about.

            Winter Is Coming
            https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/04/jim-quinn/winter-is-coming/

    • April 19, 2018 at 7:59 am

      BIG fail by Consortium News carrying articles by CIA asset Graham Fuller. BIG attitude. CN stinks.

    • Quixotic1
      April 19, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Excellent comment Gregory Herr. I couldn’t agree more. In addition to the book you suggested I would like to recommend a couple of others to CN readers: The Dirty War on Syria, Washington, Regime Change and Resistance by professor Tim Anderson, and War on Syria, Gateway to WWIII by Tony Cartalucci and Nile Bowie.

      Both of these books do a good job of presenting evidence that counters the predominant narrative in the West that it was the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators by the Syrian government that led to the radicalization of the opposition and caused them to turn to violence; when instead, the violent aspects of the protest movement was introduced by outside forces, and preceded, and were the catalyst for, the government reaction.

      Both books speak of weapons smuggled into Syria from the very inception of the uprising — some even preceding the 2011 events — and of rooftop snipers firing on security forces and protesters alike in order to provoke a crackdown by the government — as well as other violent provocations.

      In the Cartalucci-Bowie book they make reference to the Arab League Observer Mission Report conducted between December 2011 and January 2012 that concluded the Syrian government was not conducting a campaign of repression against peaceful protesters and acknowledges acts of violence and sabotage carried out by armed groups in opposition to the government. One of the reasons why the report didn’t get more play in the mainstream media is because Qatar disputed its findings (the only nation in the Arab League to do so) (and probably for obvious reasons — since they were one of the main foreign backers of the Salafi jihadists in Syria) and the report was effectively buried.

      The Anderson book cites UN statistics that indicated the casualty count during the first year of the conflict was evenly divided between government forces and the opposition, with slightly more than half sustained by government forces — which gives the lie to the notion that the government was massacring unarmed civilians.

      Both books treat with biased reporting in Western media and discuss some of the various controversial incidents (focusing mainly on Houla and East Ghouta) that were exploited for propaganda purposes — which subsequent evidence point to the likelihood, that more than biased reporting, were actually contrived with intent to deceive — i.e., false flags — such as the mass killings at Aqrab and Daraya, as well as Houla and East Ghouta. (These books were written before Khan Sheikoun and the most recent incident that took place a couple of weeks ago — both of which also seem to fall within the same pattern).

      Both books describe some of the more positive aspects of Syrian government and society and discuss some of the reforms recently undertaken by the Assad government, which I think is important for a deeper understanding of that society and to counter the rampant campaign of demonization so prevalent in the West. If peace is ever to come, it will only come through understanding.

      If you rely on the MSM you are being totally misled. I highly recommend these books.

  8. Daniel
    April 18, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    The author of this article, Graham Fuller was also the author of this declassified September 14, 1983 CIA document planning “regime change” in Syria:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP88B00443R001404090133-0.pdf

    Fuller was also the father-in-law of a Chechen named Ruslan Tsarni whom many recognize if you saw a photo.

    “Uncle Ruslan,” was all over the TV coverage after his nephews, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev were named as the perpetrators of the “Boston Marathon Bombing.” He was the one who ridiculed them as “losers,” and created much of what would become their official backstory. This was especially true as their mother (who said Tamerlan was connected to FBI, and being set up as a patsy) was soon disappeared from MSM coverage and refused entry into the US to attend her surviving son’s trial.

    In fact, Uncle Ruslan ran an operation out of the Fuller home address that worked with CIA that may have funded Chechen Terrorist Groups who have been fighting against Russia since the 1990s.

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2013/05/03/uncle-ruslan-tsarnis-organization-may-have-funded-terrorists/

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/29/bos2-j29.html

    http://www.voltairenet.org/article178524.html

    From his official biography, we learn Graham Fuller was “the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at CIA, and in 1986 (after planning regime change in Syria using both Muslim Brotherhood and foreign Jihadists) was promoted to Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA, with overall responsibility for national level strategic forecasting.”

    Later, he “joined the CIA-founded and funded RAND Corporation where he was a senior political scientist for 12 years. His research focused primarily on the Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and the politics of ethnicity and religion.”

    You know, things like Chechen Muslims and their decades-long war against Russia, and Shia/Sunni/Alawi in Syria.
    http://grahamefuller.com/about/

  9. Michael
    April 18, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for interessting article and comments.
    I would like to share with you some aspects and would be glad to know your opinion about that:
    1- They are reasonable evidences to be convinced that the actual targets of the US policy for the conflicts and wars in the middle east are Russia, Iran and possibly Turkey.
    2- The wars and interventions of the US in Afghanistan and Iraq were just tactical military measures in oder to attack finally Iran from two fronts and to pursue the offensive to the capital city and performe a regime change by force. This plan was failed even in the time of Bush.
    3- The creation of ISIS is actualy a more complicated matter. Many players were involved with their own interessts. However, these interessts are somehow converged:
    – Qatar had have plans to place gas pipelines via Syria to Turkey and Europe.
    – Turkey’s plan was to import the gas of Qatar for suitable price, earn money for gas transit to Europe and to be independent of energy sources of Russia and Iran. Futhermore Turkey has armed the terrorists to fight and weaken the Kurds.
    – The Saudis wanted to create, support and arm the ISIS in Syria and Iraq within a five years program to threaten Iran and start a war with Iran in an appropriate situation and time point from the Syria and Iraq.
    – Furthermore the US and Israel’s plan was to get rid of Assad in order to weaken and eliminate Hezbollah in favor of Israel.
    – The role of Europe is extremely curious. By request and pressure of the US the European have opened the EU borders for Syrian refugees to make the battlefield suitable and empty for the ISIS fighters. The most refugees were young men who actualy have been fighted for their country instead of flight to the EU. These young men were encouraged by social media and TV channels to leave Syria for alleged birilliant perspectives in Europe.
    – Due to the influence of the US in the EU policy the long-term plan of Europe is to reduce significantly the gas import from Russia and move to gas ressources of Qatar and Israel.
    4- Approximately more than 140 billions USD are spent in Syria by Saudis, Qatar, UAE and US. But Assad is still in power and the plan is obviously failed.

    The conflict in Syria will be shaped possibly in new conflicts, may be in new conflicts with Israel or Turkey. A direct confrontation with Russia and Iran can’t be also excluded. It seems that the Gulf States, Europe and Israel are motivated even more than Trump to prevent an end of the conflict in Syria, an end of war in favor of Russia, Iran and Syria.

  10. April 18, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks, Abe, your valuable information brings questions on the intents and motivation of the author of this piece. Where is the mea culpa?
    .
    I do not wish to divert from this important topic, but i mention a peculiar artifact that occurred on my CN comment thread today: Each individual commenter has a specific colored mandala pattern graphic affixed to the top upper left of the commenter’s identifier. Everybody’s mandala identifier is different but specific to that person. I wonder if Google is doing this to create some kind of code system? I am using an android phone with Internet operator Google.

  11. It's Not Equal
    April 18, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Let’s not for a second pretend US-Israel-KSA are on equal footing. Here’s the pecking order: Israel>USA>KSA.

    That’s why:
    – Netanyahu gets 100 standing ovations every time he speaks before Congress
    – Spies like Jonathan Pollard are released from life sentences after committing highest treason
    – Every President has to make a speech to AIPAC before being elected
    – Israel can attack the US and never be investigated (USS Liberty, Lavon Affair, 9/11)
    – The US fights Israel’s wars while bleeding the taxpayer to subsidize their economy

  12. WC
    April 18, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    I can see a trend beginning here to undermine Fuller’s article. Abe is quick to say Fuller was too good at his job at the CIA, and some other book burners wonder why he is allowed to have his opinions heard on the Consortium News at all.

    Fuller pointed out what he sees as the end game in the middle east, and for whom. He is saying basically what Abe has been saying – “The Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis project’s geo-strategic objectives obviously include control over Eurasian energy resources and transit corridors, and an increasingly desperate effort to preserve petro-dollar hegemony”.

    Fuller’s piece was a good editorial choice and of the 22 comments so far no one is really disagreeing with him.

    • April 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      I think Fuller’s right. The US/Israel/Saudi triumvirate don’t want Assad to stay and will continue to fight to the last Syrian if they can, but Washington’s immorality is becoming increasingly clear to the rest of the world. The Trump attack, moreover, seems to suggest that for all his bluster, Trump was apparently talked into a “surgical strike” that apparently killed no one. The next step will be what happens with Iran in May.

      • April 18, 2018 at 7:56 pm

        Several posts suggest that the authors distrust Fuller because he’s CIA, but I think he’s right in suggesting mutual interests of US and Russia. Putin and Russia fear war because of their long experience with it. The US doesn’t because it’s never been invaded, never suffered twenty million deaths in war, etc. So one party needs to play the reasonable partner in this dance, and it’s Russia. In March, obviously, Putin also made it clear he’ll fight if absolutely necessary against the US, but he’s in no hurry.

        • April 19, 2018 at 8:03 am

          Maybe the idea is to get us to simply throw up our hands and except, totally, all of Consortium New’s deep state connected journos. Some I distrust more than others. But, even those whose reportage I have found to be mostly solid (Seymour Hersh), I don’t trust. Sorry. And I don’t think that I should, unless you are looking at a deep state connected journo, like William Binney, who has proven himself, blown the whistle and continues to, for example.

          So what’s CN’s problem with genuinely independent journos?

    • Anon
      April 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      But the article says nothing new except that Fuller himself has come around to the obvious interpretation, or more likely to claiming that he agrees. Not very useful material for this site.

      • WC
        April 18, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        The importance of Fuller’s piece is confirmation of what we already suspect. Same as lots of articles on CN.

      • Anon
        April 19, 2018 at 6:25 am

        Fuller cannot confirm anything because he is a propagandist and nothing more. He speaks only for Fuller.

        • WC
          April 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm

          When Gen. Wesley Clark came out and told the American people the status quo was planning to knock off seven countries, was he a whistle blower or was he just priming the sheep for what was coming?

          If, as you believe, Fuller is nothing more than a propagandist, I want to hear everything he has to say. :)

    • Abe
      April 18, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      Our hapless Hasbara propaganda troll “WC” predictably spins “Fuller’s piece” as “confirmation” of something.

      Our hapless ex-CIA analyst Fuller predictably spins his own li’l “piece” in the decades long “dirty war” to dismember the Syrian state, and pretends that he’s “breaking faith” with something.

      Fuller, who basically sucks at asking questions, repeatedly demonstrates that he’s much better at asking questions than answering them:

      “are we ourselves to be manipulated as instruments for the achievement of local Israeli and Saudi strategic goals in the region?”

      Hilarity ensues.

      • WC
        April 19, 2018 at 12:05 am

        It is confirmation from an individual, that you see as being far too good on his job, that this Syrian story is far from over and the US has full intention of seeing the game through to the end. Since this is what you believe as well, are you now arguing with yourself??

  13. Abe
    April 18, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    So the real question is:

    What is fighting for the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis in Syria (and elsewhere)?

    Answer: Al Qaeda nom du jour [Team A} & ISIS [Team B]

  14. Abe
    April 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Fuller knows very well the name of this tune:

    US PLAYS AN OLD SWEET SONG

    For decades, the CIA has funded and trained terrorists in order to destabilize countries.

    Part of he US policy of promoting regional separatism in the North Caucasus region, terrorist training bases were first set up by US intelligence in Georgia in the 1990s.

    By 2001, the Georgian and international media were reporting the presence of Chechens and terrorist training programs supported by Western intelligence agencies.

    The key areas of Western-backed terrorist organization in Georgia are the isolated Pankisi Gorge in the Tusheti region (bordered by the Russian republics of Chechnya), Adjara (bordered by Azerbaijan), and Kvemo Kartli (bordered by Turkey).

    These three Georgian regions are current suppliers of terrorist manpower for Islamic State units operating in Syria and Iraq.

    On March 11 2001, US President George W. Bush stated that “Terrorists working closely with Al Qaeda operate in the Pankisi Gorge.”

    By that time, the multiple terrorist training operations in Georgia were functioning well, and serving too many political and financial interests, especially those of Turkish intelligence, to just be closed down.

    TERRORIST TRAIN AND EQUIP I: GEORGIA

    In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, international media focused on Pankisi Gorge as a “terrorist haven”.

    In February 2002, President Bush announced the dispatch of approximately two hundred United States Army Special Forces soldiers to train the Georgian armed forces.

    President Vladimir Putin pledged his support for the American military initiative, citing Russia’s interest in promoting stability in the region. Russia long accused Georgia of allowing Chechen terrorists to operate on Georgian territory and permitting the flow of militants and materiel across the Georgian border with Russia.

    The Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) was an 18-month, $64-million program ostensibly aimed at enhancing Georgia’s counter-terrorism capabilities and addressing the situation in the Pankisi Gorge.

    The GTEP program expedited funding for the Georgian military for Operation Enduring Freedom. Responsibility for training Georgian armed forces was eventually handed off to the US Marine Corps in conjunction with the British Army.

    US-backed Mikheil Saakashvili came to power after Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” in 2004, which ousted president Eduard Shevardnadze. Restoring South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Georgian control was a top-priority of Saakashvili’s.

    Georgia subsequently initiated the Russo-Georgian War in 2008.

    TERRORIST TRAIN AND EQUIP II: SYRIA

    The Syria Train and Equip Program officially is an ongoing $500 million United States-led operation to identify and train “moderate” Syrian anti-government forces inside Jordan, Turkey, and other allied states, who will then return to Syria to fight the Islamic State forces.

    In late June 2015, a hundred men completed a 54-day training program in Jordan and returned to Syria in late June 2015.

    In July 2015, the first class of 54 fighters of the New Syrian Forces trained in Turkey crossed the border back into Syria. Despite extensive US-air support, within the first 24 hours of their deployment the majority of the recruits were either dead or missing and their leader had been captured by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. Al-Nusra posted photos on social media the next day showing American weapons and equipment that they had captured from the group.

    In September 2015, 75 additional fighters trained by the United States and its allies entered northern Syria from Turkey. Almost immediately, the group handed over their brand-new trucks, weapons and ammunition to Al-Nusra.

    The Pentagon acknowledged that there were only “four or five” US-backed Train and Equip Program fighters left in Syria, all the rest having defected to Al-Qaeda.

    TERRORIST TRAIN AND EQUIP III: WHO CREATED ISIS?

    Fighters of Georgian and Chechen origin, many former members of the Georgian armed forces and veterans of the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, are prominent in Islamic State (Daesh) forces battling the governments of Syria and Iraq.

    Local Islamic State units and networks in the Caucasus provide a further threat to the stability of Georgia and other countries.

    Georgia continues to be used as a base for, and conduit of, terrorism in countries targeted for “regime change” by the United States.

    The US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel all support terrorist forces in Syria.

    The 17 September 2016 US Coalition air attack on Syrian Arab Army troops in Deir ez Zor province was coordinated in support of an Islamic State ground attack.

    Despite limited financial resources and lack of passports, Georgian and Chechen fighters have managed to fly directly from Tbilisi to Istanbul, or cross Georgia’s land borders with Turkey, and enter territory controlled by Islamic State forces.

    Despite increasingly hysterical Western government and media accusations that Syria and Russia are allied with ISIS, the Islamic State fighters appear to operate under the control of US intelligence as assets.

    Putin has spoken frankly about the matter:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQuceU3x2Ww

    Meanwhile, terror continues in Syria and Iraq as the US sings that familiar refrain:

    “Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find.
    Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind”

    • April 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm

      Abe, …I find the Georgia connection particularly interesting(and ominous) since Georgia always considered itself a Christian nation and I believe the Ossetian minority Saakashvili warred against were at least nominally Muslim. Now that Saakashvili is no longer president, is this still an issue?

      • Piotr Berman
        April 19, 2018 at 9:40 am

        No, Ossetians, like Georgians and Russian, are Greek Orthodox. The Muslim minorities are Adjarians on Turkish border — they speak Georgian language (seceded, re-incorporated by Saakashvili), Abkhaz of Abhazia (seceded, Georgian speakers expelled), Chechens of Pankisi George in Caucasus near Azerbaijan. Frankly, I never heard of Georgians among jihadists, coupled with a mistake about Adjaria (small region on Black Sea, bordering Turkey) I suspect a mistake — Chechens from Pankisi perhaps, and an occasional Adjarian?

        • April 19, 2018 at 10:09 am

          Thanks

    • Gregory Herr
      April 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

      An “old, sweet song” indeed. CIA-trained paramilitary, the Muslim Brotherhood, and foreign machine guns to the hilt for a bloody romp in Hama 1982.

  15. KiwiAntz
    April 18, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    What is the US fighting for in Syria? This is what they are fighting for???
    1. The preservation of the US Petrodollar, oil for dollars system, that perpetuate’s & enables the domination of the US dollar as the Worlds reserve currency? This system means the US Federal Resrve can print trillions of dollars of worthless fiat paper, backed by nothing & not attached to a security such as Gold, without facing hyperinflation & can perpetuately fund its MIC & economy without bankrupting the Nation!
    2. The Theft & stealing of Syrian Land & Oil resources!
    3. US Unipolar Prestige as the “Exceptional Hegemonic Nation” & the preservation of itself as the top dog, sole superpower in a changing Multipolar World?
    4. The US illogical protection of the Nation of Israel because they believe that this race & people are God’s chosen people & that protecting them curries favor & divine approval from God? But Israel lost that favoured position, being totally rejected as a Nation by God!
    5. The US has a list of regime change agenda starting with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Nth Korea, then they want to destroy Russia & China? They know they can’t destroy Russia & China militarily so they will try economically by Trade Wars, Crooked Banks & Financial Terrorism & sanctions?
    6. Giving their bloated Military something to justify their existence by bombing the crap out of someone & weapon testing?
    7. The CIA , America’s Intelligence dog, aiding & abetting Terrorists as proxy armies, just as they have done in every country on Earth from Cuba to Syria to maintain their American Empire?
    That’s just 7 x reasons why they are in Syria? America is a disfunctional, dying Empire in its death throes!

    • KiwiAntz
      April 18, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Sorry I’ve got one more?
      8. The humiliation of Putin & Russia as a rival Superpower?

  16. Dag
    April 18, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    What’s with the red font? Rather distracting if you ask me.

  17. michael crockett
    April 18, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you Abe for the information you have provided in your comments. You have really provided a lot of valuable context. Well done.

  18. Oakland Pete
    April 18, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    As soon as I saw the lead-in remarks “The U.S. and Russia share strategic goals in Syria and the wider region”, I knew something unsavory was afoot. That should alert Consortium readers to be careful in their reading of this article. So thanks to Abe for alerting us to the truth: Fuller is an agent for something other than what he appears to be. The real question now is: Why is Consortium giving him a platform to promote himself under false pretenses? Not that all he writes is false; much, or even most of it is very true. But he leads us in a wrong direction. The U.S. is in Syria to further its imperial project, and we must resist that – not twist and turn to comprehend some underlying common purpose that doesn’t exist.

  19. mike k
    April 18, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    The US Empire seeks to dominate the world. That is all you need to know about US policy. Forget the gruesome details, just keep that in mind.

  20. mike k
    April 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    What on Earth has fuller got to do with being on CN? Besides that, he really doesn’t have a damn thing to say. This guy is the definition of irrelevant.

    • Oakland Pete
      April 18, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Mike, glad to read that you saw through this. Too many others swallowed it, but not Abe! He got it spot on.

  21. AshenLight
    April 18, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Empire, what else?

  22. michael crockett
    April 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    I agree with many of the points made in this very fine article. That we have allowed the KSA and Isreal to craft our ME policy, where we destroy secular countries and support terrorists, is maddening and beyond belief. How many dead? Altogether, could it be over 2,000,000? How many injured, maimed, and permanently disabled? How many millions of refugees have been created? What concerns has the US shown these victims and their families? My answer to this last question: None! We have left the region in chaos and ruins. However, to Grahams statement “Its a bitter pill then: acceptance of Assad’s remaining in power until the international order can eventually craft some new political process that offers more representative government there.” This comes off as a bit patronizing and condescending. Assad has been elected twice with international observers stating the elections were fair. He remains very popular with the Syrian people. Let them decide whether or not their political process needs any changes. How about our political process? To quote Greg Pallast “Its the best democracy money can buy.”

  23. Zachary Christian
    April 18, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    In 1992 Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis publishes an article in the influential journal Foreign Affairs called “Rethinking the Middle East.” In it, he advocates a policy he calls “Lebanonization.” He says, “[A] possibility, which could even be precipitated by [Islamic] fundamentalism, is what has late been fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity.… Then state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.” Lewis, a British Jew, is well known as a longtime supporter of the Israeli right wing. Since the 1950s, he has argued that the West and Islam have been engaged in a titanic “clash of civilizations” and that the US should take a hard line against all Arab countries. Lewis is considered a highly influential figure to the neoconservative movement, and some neoconservatives such as Richard Perle and Harold Rhode consider him a mentor. In 1996, Perle and others influenced by Lewis will write a paper for right wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu entitled “A Clean Break” that advocates the “Lebanonization” of countries like Iraq and Syria. Lewis will remain influential after 9/11. For instance, he will have dinner with Vice President Cheney shortly before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some will later suspect that Cheney and others were actually implementing Lewis’s idea by invading Iraq. Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will say in May 2003, just after the invasion, “The neoconservatives’ intention in Iraq was never to truly build democracy there. Their intention was to flatten it, to remove Iraq as a regional threat to Israel.”

  24. John Neal Spangler
    April 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Nice to see Mr Fuller somewhat repent of his past, but he should admit that ISIS and Al-Qaeda are US proxies used in illegal and immoral war of aggression on Syria. Could be useful for whole country if he admitted his role in the Boston Marathon bombing. Good he figured out finally that the “clever” US policy of using “political Islam” was actually being manipulated by theocrats in KSA and Israel for their own purposes, causing death and destruction and bankrupting the USA.

    • April 18, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Exactly

      Russia warned the FBI about the Russian bombers and they ignored it

      As they did with the Florida shooter

      It’s a pattern

    • Anon
      April 18, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      It doesn’t sound like much of a repentance though. He merely admits a little of what readers here already know.
      Not sure why CN would give such a longterm warmonger an audience, as he adds nothing to the discussion.
      He would be useful only if he admitted the destruction of Brzezinkiism, Iran-Contra, etc and his real motives.
      Not sure why Robert Parry published Fuller’s stories, given the Iran-Contra connection.
      Fuller might want to let us know the truth of the Gulenist coup attempt in Turkey, and the Boston bombings.

  25. April 18, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    All you need to know

    It was all planned

    Wesley Clark explains the entire plan.

    The only conversation that you need to see to understand that this is all planned and who is in charge.

    Democracy Now in 2007 about a conversation he had with a general in 2001:

    “About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in.
    He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.”

    I said, “Well, you’re too busy.”

    He said, “No, no.”

    He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.”

    This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?”

    He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.”

    So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?”

    He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.”

    He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”

    So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?”

    And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.”

    He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs”?—?meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office?—?“today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

    https://youtu.be/r8FhZnFZ6TY

    Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

    • KiwiAntz
      April 18, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Then you can add Russia & China to that US shopping list of Terror, chaos & destruction? America & Israel, Saudi Arabia, this satanic trio are the greatest Terrorist Nations on Earth!

  26. Yinon Plan
    April 18, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Israel to expand. Now that they have stolen all of Palestine, they’re expanding to Syria and Lebanon next. Everyone outside the US and Europe knows this.

  27. Zachary Christian
    April 18, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis publishes an article in the influential journal Foreign Affairs called “Rethinking the Middle East.” In it, he advocates a policy he calls “Lebanonization.” He says, “[A] possibility, which could even be precipitated by [Islamic] fundamentalism, is what has late been fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common identity.… Then state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions, and parties.” Lewis, a British Jew, is well known as a longtime supporter of the Israeli right wing. Since the 1950s, he has argued that the West and Islam have been engaged in a titanic “clash of civilizations” and that the US should take a hard line against all Arab countries. Lewis is considered a highly influential figure to the neoconservative movement, and some neoconservatives such as Richard Perle and Harold Rhode consider him a mentor. In 1996, Perle and others influenced by Lewis will write a paper for right wing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu entitled “A Clean Break” that advocates the “Lebanonization” of countries like Iraq and Syria. Lewis will remain influential after 9/11. For instance, he will have dinner with Vice President Cheney shortly before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some will later suspect that Cheney and others were actually implementing Lewis’s idea by invading Iraq. Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will say in May 2003, just after the invasion, “The neoconservatives’ intention in Iraq was never to truly build democracy there. Their intention was to flatten it, to remove Iraq as a regional threat to Israel.”

  28. Abe
    April 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    CIA documents from the US National Archives illustrate how the singular agenda to “blow up” Syria “real good” stretches back decades.

    A 1983 document signed by former CIA officer Graham Fuller titled, “Bringing Real Muscle to Bear Against Syria” states:

    “Syria at present has a hammerlock on US interests both in Lebanon and in the Gulf — through closure of Iraq’s pipeline thereby threatening Iraqi internationalization of the [Iran-Iraq] war. The US should consider sharply escalating the pressures against Assad [Sr.] through covertly orchestrating simultaneous military threats against Syria from three border states hostile to Syria: Iraq, Israel and Turkey.”

    https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP88B00443R001404090133-0.pdf

    The report also states:

    “If Israel were to increase tensions against Syria simultaneously with an Iraqi initiative, the pressures on Assad would escalate rapidly. A Turkish move would psychologically press him further. ”

    Also mentioned in the document are a variety of manufactured pretexts listed to justify a unilateral military strike on northern Syria by Turkey. The document explains:

    “Turkey has considered undertaking a unilateral military strike against terrorist camps in northern Syria and would not hesitate from using menacing diplomatic language against Syria on these issues.”

    Comparing this 1983 US CIA document to more recent US policy papers and revelations of US funding of so-called activists prior to 2011, reveals not only continuity of agenda – but that attempts to portray the 2011 “uprising” in Syria as spontaneous and as merely exploited by the US are disingenuous.

    Judicial Watch, a US-based foundation seeking “transparency” in government, released a 7 page document dated 2012, detailing the background and status of the Syrian conflict. It admitted that the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda formed the basis of the “opposition.” It then admitted that “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered t he strategic depth of the Shia Expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

    That “Salafist principality” mentioned by the DoD in 2012 came to be known the “Islamic State.” The DoD at the time openly admitted that the opposition’s foreign sponsors supported the creation of such a principality, and clearly ISIS must have had such support to maintain its hold on vast expanses of territory in both Syria and Iraq, while propping up a military machine capable of fighting the combined forces of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Indeed, the DoD’s admissions in this document explain precisely how ISIS has been able to perpetuate its activities throughout the region – with “Western countries, the Gulf States, and Turkey” supporting these efforts.

    • Abe
      April 18, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Graham E. Fuller had been immersed in the CIA’s activities in steering Mujahideen and other political Islamic organizations since the 1980s. He spent 20 years as CIA operations officer in Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, and was one of the CIA’s early advocates of using the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist organizations like Gulen Cemaat to advance US foreign policy.

      Fuller helped create the policy of using trained terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia.

      Geopolitical analyst F. William Engdahl described Fulller:

      “one of the most instrumental people inside the CIA during the 1980’s who convinced CIA Director Bill Casey and the Reagan Administration to recruit fundamentalist Muslim Salafists or Jihadists from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and elsewhere, train them in techniques of guerilla insurgency and send them against the Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. They were called Mujahideen. One of the more famous of those Mujahideen was a young Saudi from a very wealthy family named Osama bin Laden. In a sense then we might call Graham Fuller the ‘Godfather of Al Qaeda.’

      “Fuller was also the key CIA figure in convincing the Reagan Administration to tip the balance in the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war by using Israel to channel weapons to Iran in what became the Iran-Contra Affair. As well, in 1999, around the time his daughter Samantha and ‘Uncle’ Ruslan Tsarni (aka Tsarnaev) lived at his home near Washington, Fuller, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s National Council on Intelligence, then a senior figure at the Pentagon and CIA-linked neo-conservative RAND corporation, advocated using Muslim forces to further US interests in Central Asia. He stated,

      “’The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against [the Russians]. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.’

      “This is precisely what happened in Chechnya with hundreds of CIA-trained Jihadists and Al Qaeda fighters sent into Chechnya, Dagestan and other parts of the former Soviet Union”

      Graham Fuller, Uncle Ruslan, the CIA and the Boston Bombings, Part I
      By F. William Engdahl
      http://www.voltairenet.org/article178524.html?var_mode=calcul

      • Eddie
        April 18, 2018 at 5:57 pm

        Interesting background on the author!

        Thanks…

        • LarcoMarco
          April 18, 2018 at 6:19 pm

          Yeah, Abe’s postings almost rise to the level of investigative reporting. {And how did Chechen “militants” become part of Fuller’s extended family??!!??}

      • April 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm

        Fuller is, by the way, a Harvard man, class of 1959. I think his views have improved now that he’s retired.

      • April 19, 2018 at 8:06 am

        Indeed. There’s also the Corbett Report show “Who is Graham Fuller?”

        https://www.corbettreport.com/who-is-graham-fuller/

        • Daniel
          April 19, 2018 at 1:42 pm

          Great video, Arby. I should have known Corbett would have been on this in real time.

    • Abe
      April 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Fuller was CIA Station Chief in Kabul, Afghanistan until 1978, on the eve of the CIA’s launch of Operation Cyclone (1979-1989), one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken. The vast CIA covert program used the Afghan Mujahedeen, and used the Saudi Osama bin Laden to recruit fanatical jihadist terrorists from the Arab world, to kill Soviet soldiers and bog the USSR in what Zbigniew Brzezinski and others referred to as the Soviet’s own Vietnam.

      Fuller was posted to CIA Langley and by 1982 was appointed National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia, which included bin Laden’s Saudi Arabia as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan and Turkey. In 1986, the CIA appointed Fuller vice-chairman of the National Intelligence Council, where he presumably was in a deciding role in the entire Afghan war and more.

      As vice-chair of the Reagan-era CIA National Intelligence Council, Fuller wrote an “instrumental” 1987 memo advising what became the explosive Iran-Contra scandal, in which the CIA would arrange covert arms sales to Iran to feed the US-orchestrated Iran-Iraq War and use the proceeds to illegally fund the Nicaragua right-wing Contras.

      In 1988, as media began to investigate the illegal Iran-Contra details, Fuller left his very senior CIA for a post with the Pentagon and CIA-tied RAND corporation where he remained until 2000. During the mid-1990s, the CIAs radical Islamist terror “assets” were re-assigned to destabilize post-Soviet Russia and China in Central Asia.

      In the US Congressional Record, Fuller is quoted as saying, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power.”

      Fuller was personally in a project that utilized Gulen schools across Central Asia as a cover for CIA agents to infiltrate Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union. Gulen was wanted by the Turkish government for subversive activities, and was unable to gain immediate US residency. Instead, Gulen fought a protracted legal battle that included reference letters from well-connected political figures, including none other than Graham Fuller.

      F William Engdahl discussed Fuller’s connection to the Boston Bombing suspects’ uncle:

      “The open press statement of denial by senior reportedly former CIA official Graham Fuller in April of a link between the Boston Bombings and the CIA, labeling the reports absurd, may go down in history as one of the worst intelligence blunders in the past century. The public admission by Fuller, on a website reported tied to the CIA, of his relationship to the Uncle of the alleged but not ever convicted Boston bombers opened a can of worms the CIA might well wish never had been opened.

      “In the first part, we discussed the role of CIAs Fuller in creating the policy of using angry Jihadist Muslims as trained terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the Soviet Union.

      “A deeper look into Fullers role reveals him to be a key figure in what FBI whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds terms American Deep State rogues. Edmonds worked as an FBI translator from Turkish, Azerbaijani and Farsi languages during and after September 11, 2001 when she uncovered damning email and other evidence of criminal networks linking the actors of 911, drug networks out of Turkey and terrorists in and around Al Qaeda together with senior Pentagon and other US Government officials. […]

      “Why would the CIA and US agencies want Central Asia? As Obama adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, notes in his now-famous book, The Grand Chessboard, for America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained It follows that America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.”

      “Washington has used Turkey and the AKP fundamentalist networks of Gulen to wreak havoc across the post-communist oil and mineral-rich regions of Central Asia. Graham Fullers foot prints are all over those covert operations as are Fethullah Gulens. In 2008 Fuller published a book titled, The New Turkish Republic: Turkey as a Pivotal State in the Muslim World. As Sibel Edmonds describes, the process involved using Turkey with assistance from ‘actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia’ as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army before 911.

      “Edmonds notes regarding US operations in Central Asia, this started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

      “What did Uncle Ruslan Tsarnaev, uncle of the Boston alleged bombers do when he was married to Graham Fuller’s daughter? Ruslan worked for companies connected to Halliburton, doing oil deals in the Caucasus and as consultant for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Russia barred USAID from its soil in late 2012, alleging USAID together with CIA was attempting to influence the internal political processes in the country.

      “Some are beginning to ask whether the Boston bombing might have been a deception operation carried out by the Rogues associated with Graham Fuller and the network within the CIA and Pentagon, to make it appear Putin was behind the ghastly events. In any case, when Graham Fuller went to the press to publicly denounce CIA links to the Tsarnaevs he made what is likely to go down as one of the greatest snafus in US intelligence history. He lost his cool, and with it, has put the spotlight on the entire CIA-sponsored Islamic Jihadist operations run through Fethullah Gulen across Turkey into Central Asia and Russia and China.”

      Boston and the CIA ‘Snafu’ Part II: CIA’s Graham Fuller- A Deep State Rogue
      By F. William Engdahl
      http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/05/22/boston-and-the-cia-snafu-part-ii-cias-graham-fuller-a-deep-state-rogue/

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