Tag Archives: Iran

Good Riddance to General Mattis and the Rest of Washington’s Mad Dogs of War, by David Stockman

A pretty good measure of the value of President Trump’s initiatives is how load Washington screams about them. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

From the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the mainstream media and officialdom over General Mattis’ (welcome) departure, you would think that the Rapture had come and Washington’s ruling class was being unjustly left behind to eternal perdition. And if not that, then the Mattis Affair is alleged to be at least its secular equivalent – an unwarranted and unforgivable affront to the good and the brave of the Imperial City.

Then again, exactly what was so existentially harmful to America’s security about Trump’s decision to get out of Syria – the apparent reason for Mattis’ ballyhooed resignation?

The fact is, you can’t find a trace of threat to America on the map. Syria is now a tiny, broken country of ruin and rubble with a vastly diminished religiously and ethnically fractured population of 18 million; GDP of barely $60 billion; per capita income of only $3,000; a trickle of oil production (25k barrel/day); and a depleted and battle-ravaged military that cannot possibly operate outside of its own borders and barely controls the lands inside them.

In short, Syria has no economic, strategic or military relevance whatsoever to the safety and security of the American homeland. And that’s as in none, nada, nichts and nugatory.

If you are not looking through the distorted lens of Imperial Washington’s group think, in fact, the whole brouhaha over getting out of Syria is not even a close call; it’s inexplicable.

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Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Is a Simple Case of Foreign Policy Realism, by Patrick Cockburn

If you’re in a game that you can’t win, one that’s wasting your time and resources, why not declare victory and quit? From Patrick Cockburn at unz.com:

President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran – as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis.

The pullout may be one or all of these things, but above all it is a recognition of what is really happening on the ground in Syria and the Middle East in general.

This point has not come across clearly enough because of the undiluted loathing for Trump among most of the American and British media. They act as a conduit for the views of diverse figures who condemn the withdrawal and include members of the imperially-minded foreign policy establishment in Washington and terrified Kurds living in north-east Syria who fear ethnic cleansing by an invading Turkish army.

Opposition to Trump’s decision was supercharged by the resignation of Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis which came after he failed to persuade the president to rescind his order. Mattis does not mention Syria or Afghanistan in his letter of resignation, but he makes clear his disagreement with the general direction of Trump’s foreign policy in not confronting Russia and China and ignoring traditional allies and alliances.

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Trump Pulls Fast One Pulling Out of Syria, by Tom Luongo

The nearly universal outrage in Washington, Europe, and the media about Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria is the on-the-money indicator that it’s the right move. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

I’ve been hard on President Trump recently. He’s deserved it. But, his decision to announce without any prearranged warning a complete pullout of all U.S. forces in Syria is something I can unreservedly applaud.

Whether he actually goes through with it or not is another story.

But even just his tweaking the D.C. establishment on this issue is enough for at least a golf clap. Nothing unites D.C. like the start of a new war or the threat of ending an old one.

And apparently Trump blind-sided nearly everyone on this. From the our NATO allies like France and the U.K. to his outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of them found out when Trump took the bully pulpit and informed the world.

This is the guy we elected. This is Loki-like behavior, not the weak-kneed appeaser that we’ve seen since Helsinki, tweeting like a madman trapped in a cage of his own making.

So, keep doing this Don and you might earn some trust.

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Will Trump Hold Firm on Syrian Pullout? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Let’s hope Trump holds firm; it would be a sea change in American policy. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there,” wrote President Donald Trump, as he ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, stunning the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

Trump overruled his secretaries of state and defense, and jolted this city and capitals across NATO Europe and the Middle East.

Yet, Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do in his campaign. And what his decision seems to say is this:

We are extricating America from the forever war of the Middle East so foolishly begun by previous presidents. We are coming home. The rulers and peoples of this region are going to have to find their own way and fight their own wars. We are not so powerful that we can fight their wars while we also confront Iran and North Korea and face new Cold Wars with Russia and China.

As for the terrorists of ISIS, says Trump, they are defeated.

Yet, despite the heavy casualties and lost battles ISIS has suffered, the collapse of the caliphate, expulsion from its Syrian capital Raqqa and Iraqi capital Mosul, and from almost all territories it controlled in both countries, ISIS is not dead. It lives on in thousands of true believers hidden in those countries. And, like al-Qaida, it has followers across the Middle East and inspires haters of the West living in the West.

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Overreach: Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Order Came as Reaction to Admin Hawks Demanding Forever War, by Russia Insider

Pompeo, Bolton, and cohorts may have pushed too hard for war in the Middle East. From Russia Insider at lewrockwell.com:

This time it’s real. It isn’t entirely impossible Trump will reverse himself later on yet again, or qualify the withdrawal in some other way, but for now it is clear that he has indeed given the order to Pentagon to get all its forces out of Syria. This has always been his instinct and inclination, but until now the Empire-first hawks he has surrounded himself with always in the end convinced him to keep the soldiers there after all:

“We know Trump’s instincts from the get-go were to get these guys out of Syria,” Tamara Wittes, a former State Department Middle East official now with the Brookings Institution, told Al-Monitor. “And yet, he has clearly been persuaded at several points ‘not yet, ISIS is not quite defeated, but we can use [the troop presence] as leverage against Iran.’ He becomes persuaded, and then at a certain point, … he decides enough is enough. He just changes his mind.”

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New Rules of engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its position, by Elijah J. Magnier

Israel can no longer bomb Syria with impunity. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:

Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

This Syrian political decision is based on a clear position taken by Russia in Syria following the downing of its aircraft on September 18 this year. In 2015 when the Russian military landed in Syria, it informed the parties concerned (i.e. Syria, Iran and Israel) that it had no intention to interfere in the conflict between them and Hezbollah and that it would not stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s planes bombing Hezbollah military convoys on their way to Lebanon or Iranian military warehouses not allocated to the war in Syria. This was a commitment to remain an onlooker if Israel hit Iranian military objectives or Hezbollah convoys transporting arms to Hezbollah from Syria to Lebanon, within Syrian territory. It also informed Israel that it would not accept any attacks on its allies (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies) engaged in fighting ISIS, al-Qaeda and its allies.

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A Vital Primer on the Push for War in Iran, by Conn Hallinan

Books could be written about what Americans don’t know about Iran, and now one has been written. From Conn Hallinan at antiwar.com:

Americans – including those in the White House – know little about Iran and its history with the United States. A new book wants to change that.

Want another thing to keep you up at night?

Consider a conversation between longtime Middle East reporter Reese Erlich and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, Jr. on the people currently directing the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran.

Commenting on National Security Advisor John Bolton’s defense of the invasion of Iraq, Freeman says “The neoconservative group think their good ideas were poorly implemented in Iraq,” and that the lesson of the 2003 invasion that killed upwards of 500,000 people and destabilized an entire region is, “If at first you don’t succeed, do the same thing again somewhere else.”

That “somewhere else” is Iran, and Bolton is one of the leading voices calling for confronting the Teheran regime and squeezing Iran through draconian sanctions “until the pips squeak.” Since sanctions are unlikely to have much effect – they didn’t work on North Korea, have had little effect on Russia, and failed to produce regime change in Cuba – the next logical step, Erlich suggests, is a military attack on Iran.

Such an attack would be a leap into darkness, since most Americans – and their government in particular – are virtually clueless about the country we seem bound to go to war with.

Throwing a little light on that darkness is a major reason Erlich wrote the book. For over 18 years he has reported on Iran, talking with important government figures and everyday people and writing articles on the country that increasingly looks to be our next little war.

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