Tag Archives: Iran

Our Rush to War in Syria, by Justin Raimondo

The US is supposedly allied with a group of rebels fighting both Bashar Assad and ISIS and its offshoots. The only problem is that such a group of rebels barely exists. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the United States – and, more recently, of an Iranian drone – augurs a confrontation that could take us down the road to World War III. The US media is echoing the Pentagon’s explanation, which is that the Syrian jet bombed (or was threatening to bomb) units of the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) around the town of Tanf. The Syrians say they were attacking forces aligned with ISIS, which both the US and the Syrian government are supposedly fighting.

The reality is that there is no such entity as the “Syrian Democratic Forces.” There are only loosely aligned groups, factions and splinters of factions, which proliferate seemingly on a daily basis in a mosaic of ethno-religious-ideological conflicts that reflect the chaos that has enveloped that country. The failure of the US to unite these various factions into the so-called Free Syrian Army – large units of which kept defecting to the various radical Islamist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda – led to an explosion of smaller groups centered around local, tribal, ethnic, and religious affiliations. The SDF is an attempt to solder these groups together in a military force capable of fighting and defeating the “Caliphate” established by ISIS – an effort that is far less successful than it seems.

The main military component of the SDF is the People’s Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel/YPG), consisting of about 45,000 fighters, including the all-female unit. The YPG is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, a far-leftist formation which adheres to the “democratic confederalist” vision of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan, who in turn credits anarcho-communist theoretician Murray Bookchin as his inspiration. The YPG is the official army of “Rojava,” a non-contiguous union of Kurdish-controlled territories that is supposedly secular, egalitarian, and socialist. However, the alleged ideals of this ostensibly leftist configuration haven’t always translated into practice: the YPG regularly enforces conscription on areas under its control, seizing property and persecuting Assyrian and Armenian Christians, and engaging in ethnic cleansing of Arab villages. The YPG is viewed by Arabs as a separatist movement, while the Arabs oppose any effort to divide Syria along ethnic lines. As a result, there is considerable hostility between the Arab fighters, organizing in tribal and regional outfits, and the Kurds, despite American efforts to unify these groups into a grand anti-ISIS coalition.

To continue reading: Our Rush to War in Syria

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Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria, by Robert Parry

The neocons won’t back off in Syria until they get regime change. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: America’s neocons are back pounding the war drums, urging President Trump to escalate U.S. military attacks inside Syria even if that means hitting Russian targets and risking a new world war, reports Robert Parry.

The U.S. mainstream media’s near universal demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin – along with similar hatred directed toward Iran and Hezbollah – has put the world on a path toward World War III.

Ironically, the best hope for averting a dangerous escalation into a global conflict is to rely on Assad, Putin, Iran and Hezbollah to show restraint in the face of illegal military attacks by the United States and its Mideast allies inside Syria.

In other words, after the U.S. military has bombed Syrian government forces on their own territory and shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday – and after Israel has launched its own strikes inside Syria and after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have financed and armed jihadists to overthrow Assad – it is now up to the Syrian government and its allies to turn the other cheek.

Of course, there is also a danger that comes from such self-control, in that it may encourage the aggressors to test the limits even further, seeing restraint as an acceptance of their impunity and a reason to ignore whatever warnings are issued and red lines drawn.

Indeed, if you follow The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other big U.S. news outlets, perhaps the most striking groupthink that they all share is that the U.S. government and its allies have the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world. Their slogan could be summed up as: “International law – that’s for the other guy!”

In this upside-down world of American hegemony, Assad becomes the “aggressor” when he seeks to regain control of Syrian territory against armed insurgents, dominated by Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), or when he protests the invasion of Syrian territory by foreign forces.

When Assad legally seeks help from Russia and Iran to defeat these foreign-armed and foreign-backed jihadists, the U.S. mainstream media and politicians treat his alliances as improper and troublemaking. Yet, the uninvited interventions into Syria by the United States and its various allies, including Turkey and Israel, are treated as normal and expected.

To continue reading: Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria

Why Are We Attacking the Syrians Who Are Fighting ISIS? by Ron Paul

The Syria policy satirized in Prime Deceit is more coherent that present real-life US Syria policy. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org: 

Just when you thought our Syria policy could not get any worse, last week it did. The US military twice attacked Syrian government forces from a military base it illegally occupies inside Syria. According to the Pentagon, the attacks on Syrian government-backed forces were “defensive” because the Syrian fighters were approaching a US self-declared “de-confliction” zone inside Syria. The Syrian forces were pursuing ISIS in the area, but the US attacked anyway.

The US is training yet another rebel group fighting from that base, located near the border of Iraq at al-Tanf, and it claims that Syrian government forces pose a threat to the US military presence there. But the Pentagon has forgotten one thing: it has no authority to be in Syria in the first place! Neither the US Congress nor the UN Security Council has authorized a US military presence inside Syria.

So what gives the Trump Administration the right to set up military bases on foreign soil without the permission of that government? Why are we violating the sovereignty of Syria and attacking its military as they are fighting ISIS? Why does Washington claim that its primary mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS while taking military actions that benefit ISIS?

The Pentagon issued a statement saying its presence in Syria is necessary because the Syrian government is not strong enough to defeat ISIS on its own. But the “de-escalation zones” agreed upon by the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Turks have led to a reduction in fighting and a possible end to the six-year war. Even if true that the Syrian military is weakened, its weakness is due to six years of US-sponsored rebels fighting to overthrow it!

What is this really all about? Why does the US military occupy this base inside Syria? It’s partly about preventing the Syrians and Iraqis from working together to fight ISIS, but I think it’s mostly about Iran. If the Syrians and Iraqis join up to fight ISIS with the help of Iranian-allied Shia militia, the US believes it will strengthen Iran’s hand in the region. President Trump has recently returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia where he swore he would not allow that to happen.

To continue reading: Why Are We Attacking the Syrians Who Are Fighting ISIS?

The Iranian Question (and the Same Old Saudi Answers), by JP Sottile

It’s no contest: Saudi Arabia is far more of a state sponsor of terrorism than Iran. From J.P. Settle at antiwar.com:

When was the last time you heard of an Iranian running down people on a London bridge? Or stabbing Parisians? Or attacking Canadians? Or murdering American club-goers?

What was the last terrorist plot you can recall being “inspired” by Iran or by an Iranian proxy or by Shia Islam? How many of the 9/11 hijackers were Iranian? How much money have Iranians given Al-Qaeda? Or ISIS?

Now ask yourself why US officials and politicians and the news media reflexively label Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism”? Is it just because of Hamas (contained in Gaza) and Hezbollah (rooted in Lebanon)? Is that enough to make Iran, which isn’t Salafist or Wahhabi or even Sunni, such a perennial target? Why isn’t Saudi Arabia also demonized for its behaviors and for its funding and for actively exporting a peculiar Islamic sect’s specific religious ideology to those who often end up “inspired” to commit the terrorism against which we are fighting a seemingly endless war?

And how it is that everything we hear said about “The Mullahs” of Iran is actually true of the Saudis, but the Saudis get baskets filled with carrots … while Iran is repeatedly threatened with sticks?

Of course, there is the issue of Iraq and the fact that Iran has actively supported the Shiites in its neighbor. But it wasn’t Iran that invaded Iraq under false pretenses. It sure seems pretty rich to criticize Iran for trying to solidify its allies next door, particularly given America’s bloodstained support for Saddam Hussein and the growing encirclement of Iran with US bases. Was their support for Shia militias “terrorism” or really just a sound strategy in a war that threatened them? What would the US do if Iran invaded Mexico to stop a mythical WMD program?

So, is it Iran’s fault that the US completely effed-up the Middle East by wantonly destroying a bystander nation? They didn’t create ISIS … or the conditions that made ISIS possible. That rare honor goes to the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

To continue reading: The Iranian Question (and the Same Old Saudi Answers)

The Shocking Trigger Behind Today’s Gulf Scandal: Qatar Paid Al-Qaeda, Iran $1BN In Hostage Deal, by Tyler Durden

Here’s one way to fund terrorists: pay their ransom demands. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The FT has unveiled what its believes is the key trigger behind the shocking overnight collapse in diplomatic relations between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors. According to the FT, the catalyst that forced the Saudis and their allies to unveil the cut in diplomatic and economic ties, is that Qatar allegedly paid up to $1 billion to Iran and al-Qaeda affiliates “to release members of the Gulf state’s royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal“; the secret deal was allegedly one of the triggers behind Gulf states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with Doha.

The details of the payoff: “around $700m was paid both to Iranian figures and the regional Shia militias they support, according to regional government officials. They added that $200m to $300m went to Islamist groups in Syria, most of that to Tahrir al-Sham, a group with links to al-Qaeda.

A regional Arab official said the total paid to jihadi groups was closer to $300m. “So, if you add that up to the other $700m they paid to Iran and its proxies, that means Qatar actually spent about a billion dollars on this crazy deal,” he said.

* * *

The Iraqi Shia militia commanders in Iraq, all from hardline Iranian-backed groups, said that, to their knowledge, Iran had obtained around $400m after giving them a payment they would not disclose. They agreed to share some details because they were unhappy about their share of the payment.

“They [the Iranians] took the lion’s share,” said a member of one of the Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq. “That’s caused some of us to be frustrated, because that was not the deal.”

The “ransom payments are the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said one Gulf observer.

Not to be confused with the Obama administration secretly airlifting crates full of $1.7 billion in cash to Tehran to release five US hostages held by Iran, the FT writes that commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that “Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari hunting party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria.”

To continue reading: The Shocking Trigger Behind Today’s Gulf Scandal: Qatar Paid Al-Qaeda, Iran $1BN In Hostage Deal

Iran’s Shockingly Honest Reaction to Trump’s Visit to Saudi Arabia, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

A reminder from Iran that just because a government can buy a lot of arms from the US is no guarantee those arms will keep that government in power. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) While Donald Trump was in Riyadh, raving incessantly about the over-hyped Iran threat, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif was trolling America’s foreign policy establishment. He advised Trump to discuss with Saudi Arabia how to avoid another 9/11 atrocity rather than making baseless claims against Iran.

Zarif said:

[Trump] must enter into dialogue with them [the Saudis] about ways to prevent terrorists from continuing to fuel the fire in the region and repeating the likes of the September 11 incident by their sponsors in Western countries.”

He added:

You will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Centre because they have papers out there that are very secret. You will find it’s the Saudis, you will find that is the case.”

As the Independent has noted:

Most of the 19 terrorists who murdered nearly 3,000 people in New York in 2001 were Saudi citizens and there have [sic] repeated accusations that members of the Saudi hierarchy were complicit in the attack.[emphasis added]

Foreign Policy, among many other mainstream outlets, has documented many instances of reported Saudi government officials’ role in the 2001 terror attack — and even President Trump has promulgated these claims.

As Anti-Media has pointed out multiple times, the U.S. government cannot claim the moral high ground in combatting terrorism while signing multi-billion dollar arms deals with the birthplace of radical Islam (not to mention, one of ISIS’ core sponsors). In this context, the Iranian foreign minister’s advice to Donald Trump is actually quite honest.

However, what was really stunning about the Iranian reaction to Trump’s sword-dancing visit to Saudi Arabia was its outright warning to the Saudi Kingdom.

To continue reading: Iran’s Shockingly Honest Reaction to Trump’s Visit to Saudi Arabia

Trump’s Islam Speech in Saudi Arabia Paves Way for America’s next Big War, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

In choosing Saudi Arabia over Iran, the US is allying with the more repressive government and the one that has fomented more terrorism. From  at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) The American public is most likely unaware of the giant stranglehold Saudi Arabia has on the U.S. government. Saudi Arabia uses its vast riches to manipulate the U.N., which explains how a country that brutally oppresses its female population was recently gifted a seat on the organization’s women’s rights commission. The Islamic Kingdom also wields incredible control over international media and has arguably had an increasingly unwelcome position of power in America’s foreign policy decision-making. As such, Donald Trump’s political career, in part, rests on appeasing his Saudi Arabian counterparts.

And appeasing the Saudis is exactly what Trump has done. Trump’s speech regarding Islam was delivered to the leaders of 55 Muslim-majority nations, including Saudi Arabia. However, he conveniently ignored the troves of evidence that show Saudi Arabia directly sponsors the terror groups al-Qaeda and ISIS – two groups the U.S. claims to be at war with — as well as the fact that Saudi Arabia has been directly implicated in the 9/11 terror attacks. Instead, Donald Trump framed the entire issue of radicalization as a problem that rests with Iran. As he stated in Riyadh:

“But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

To continue reading: Trump’s Islam Speech In Saudi Arabia Paves Way for War With Iran