There’s no good reason for the US to be in either the Middle East or NATO. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:
Syria has been turned into the most wretched of neighborhoods on the planet by Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists. From its pre-2011 population of 23 million, more than 6.7 million have fled to countries such as Lebanon (1 million), Jordan (700,000), Turkey (3.6 million), Europe and elsewhere.
At the same time, more than 6.5 million Syrians are internal refugees, driven from their homes and towns by a so-called “civil” war that wouldn’t have lasted more than a few months save for the billions of arms, training and walking around money that Washington and its Persian Gulf allies have supplied to the violent opposition.
Owing to these billions of aid to armed insurrection, however, the Syrian economy has been turned to shambles and its ancient cities and towns have been reduced to steaming piles of rubble. Disease, malnutrition, lack of safe drinking water and medical supplies and treatments stalk the land.
And Washington’s objective was exactly what?
Well, to remove from power the Assad family regime that had ruled Syria since 1978 with reasonable economic stewardship and a mildly authoritarian writ that was slightly better than par for the course by Middle East standards, and not because the Assads posed any threat to America’s homeland security whatsoever.
To the contrary, the Alawite-based (a branch of Shiite Islam) Assad clan was an inherent barrier to the spread of Sunni jihadism and had ruled Syria under a secularist policy of tolerance for the scores of ethnic and religious minorities that populated the artificial geography of Syria including Christians, Druze, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Jews, Yazidis, Twelvers, Ismailis, and numerous more.
So Assad’s real sin was that he was aligned with his Shiite co-religionists in Iran – but that the War Party in Israel and Washington could not abide. That’s because the threat of a falsely demonized Iran is what kept Bibi Netanyahu in power and the US military/industrial/surveillance/interventionist complex in budgetary clover.
Accordingly, the utterly illegitimate Empire First objective of regime change in Damascus led to Washington stumbling around in the complex ethnic and religious stew of the now shattered state of Syria like the proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop. At length, it ended up arming two bitter enemies as its “allies” in the battle against the ISIS caliphate that Washington itself had birthed when it destroyed and then abandoned the similarly-shattered state of Iraq.
As we detailed last week, in fact, Senator John McCain had personally recruited, organized, funded and sponsored the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to help overthrow Assad and bring about regime change in Damascus. To that end, McCain and his CIA factotums had stood-up the FSA – composed of Sunni Arabs, many of who had jihadist sympathies – in camps in Turkey for the alleged purpose of fighting the ISIS caliphate which had overrun the Syrian northeast.
But the battle between the Washington-sponsored FSA and the Washington-fostered ISIS Caliphate soon spilled over into the Kurdish communities that had historically populated the regions along the Syria-Turkey border east of the Euphrates River.
Needless to say, when Assad could no longer protect his own territory and borders owning to the Washington/Saudi/Qatar funded armed insurrection in the Syrian north and east – the desperate Kurds, who had become collateral damage, turned to Washington for arms, training and money. The latter was soon flowing to the Kurds in the billions to defend themselves from the ISIS plague that Washington had spawned from the wreckage of Iraq and the massive stores of US weapons left behind.
Thus, after the 2014 ISIS capture of Mosul in Iraq and establishment of the Islamic Caliphate in Raqqa (Syria), Washington had armed three different forces – ISIS, the FSA and the Kurdish Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) to duke it out in northern Syria: One and all were aligned against the nation’s legitimate government in Damascus – even as they sometimes fought each other, other times made tactical alliances and frequently sold to the highest bidder the Washington/Saudi supplied weapons which were abundant in the region.
Why this is timely, of course, stems from the fact that Washington’s FSA mercenaries (Sunni Arabs from many countries no just Syria) and its Turkish NATO “ally” are now threatening to annihilate its other “allies” in the Kurdish/SDF army. Yet from the very beginning, Washington’s feckless arming of the Kurdish minority in Syria (about 2 million people) was seen as a mortal threat by Ankara after its decades of struggle with the much larger separatist-oriented Kurdish population of about 15 million within its own borders.
Alas, as we predicted last week, the Kurds had no logical choice but to quickly make a deal with Assad for protection from the NATO/FSA “invaders”. And they now have with alacrity.
So in short order, Assad will be back in control of the Kurdish lands northeast of the Euphrates and the whole purpose of the Washington instigated Syrian civil war – an epic economic, social and human calamity – will have been for naught.
Still, it doesn’t even end there because it is likely that Cool Hand Vlad Putin will arrange a ceasefire and peaceful resolution of the incipient war between Washington’s two allies.
That is, he will help his longtime ally in Damascus reassert control over the Syrian northeast. At the same time, he will likely supply his more recent partner in Ankara (Erdogan) with a “safe zone” along the border where the Kurdish SDF will be banned and the massive Syrian refugees population in Turkey can be processes and camped as they begin to return home, thereby eventually relieving Turkey of the massive fiscal and political burden posed by the millions of Syrian refugees now within his borders because Washington’s neocon warmongers wrecked their own country.
Moreover, there is a still larger rebuke to Imperial Washington in the unfolding and history changing events on the Turkey-Syria border. Putin will have stopped NATO member, Turkey, from invading its neighbor (Syria) in order to remove an armed threat that Washington had stood up on its own borders.
Stated differently, until the last 24 hours or so, the whole predicate of NATO was about to be slammed by a lunatic conflict of Washington’s own making. We are referring to the Article 5 “collective defense” proviso of the NATO treaty which,
….. means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies. The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
So had Turkey invoked Article 5, Washington would have been obligated to join its Turkish and FSA “allies” in attacking its Kurdish/SDF “allies”; or in the alternative, had Washington invoked Article 5 – presumably Turkey would have been obligated to make war on itself!
Needless to say, if Putin succeeds in arranging a settlement between the Turks, Kurds and Assad, he will also have prevented NATO from attacking itself!
Then again, allegedly NATO exists to stop Putin from invading Europe and the Middle East, too. Perhaps the Donald’s wise move to remove a few dozen American soldiers from the Syrian-Turkish border, therefore, will have a much greater silver-lining.
To wit, maybe it will remind that NATO is absolutely pointless and has been since the Soviet Union disappeared from the face of the earth more than 28 years ago.
As we explained at length at the recent Ron Paul conference, the time for a NATO mercy killing is long overdue, and the current contretemps in the dusty plains east of the Euphrates might finally be the wake-up call that crystalizes the reasons why.
David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.