Tag Archives: Islamic State

Nicholas Kristof: War Crimes Enabler, by Justin Raimondo

It seems like every six months or somebody publishes a photograph that goes viral and makes Americans realize there is a “situation” in the Middle East. It creates a furor for a few days, but since the analyses connected with the photos never rise above slogans, America quickly diverts its attention away from what it has done and continues to do in the Middle East. Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com provides valuable context on the latest photo:

We all saw the little Syrian boy in besieged Aleppo, wiping blood from his forehead, covered in dust and clearly in shock. How could we help it? Practically every newspaper in the country printed his photo, along with a caption blaming the Syrian military and/or the Russians for his plight. The video is all over the Internet. By the way, little Omran Dagnish is still alive, and is fine physically. But there’s another little boy, a prepubescent child, who hasn’t been dignified with a name, who is also a victim of this war – and he’s dead, beheaded by US-backed Islamist rebels of the “al-Zenki” movement. And the rebels didn’t try to hide this atrocity: they filmed it and put it on the Internet.

These are the people who are defending Aleppo, the rebels we are being told are fighting for “freedom” against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and those dastardly Russians.

The video of Omran went “viral,” while the video of the nameless beheaded boy didn’t. Why is that?

The US media isn’t very interested in publicizing the latter atrocity – because in the information war to provoke US intervention in Syria on behalf of head-chopping Islamists, some children are more equal than others.

And make no mistake: the propaganda campaign is now in full swing, being pushed by the same media outlets openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton – who is on record as calling for funding of Islamist groups in Syria and overthrowing Assad. If she is elected, we’re very likely to see a full-scale US intervention, with US forces openly and aggressively confronting not only Syrian government forces but also facing off with the Russians.

The New York Times, which makes no bones about its political sympathies in this presidential contest, has unleashed well-known “humanitarian” Nicholas Kristof in the effort to gin up sympathy for the “moderate” rebels and force Washington’s hand. He babbles on about the death of his dog and the sympathy he received when he wrote about it, and then writes: “If only, I thought, we valued kids in Aleppo as much as we did our terriers!”

Not that he’s trying to manipulate us or anything.

“For five years the world has been largely paralyzed as President Bashar al-Assad has massacred his people, nurturing in turn the rise of ISIS and what the U.S. government calls genocide by ISIS. That’s why I argued in my column a week ago that President Obama’s passivity on Syria was his worst mistake, a shadow over his legacy.”

More than half of those killed in the Syrian civil war were massacred by the rebel forces, none of whose depredations are so much as mentioned by Kristof. And who, exactly, is “nurturing” ISIS – isn’t it the Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti, and other pro-head- chopper Muslim states in the Gulf? In the Kristofian lexicon, you’re “nurturing” ISIS if you fight them and prevent them from taking over your country. As for President Obama’s alleged “passivity,” if only it were so! Under his regime, US taxpayer dollars financed and “nurtured” Islamist rebels who valorize Osama bin Laden and want to turn Syria into an Islamist theocracy. Kristof’s complaint is that he didn’t send them enough money, guns, and sharper knives to chop off the heads of yet more nameless boys.

Yes, this is “humanitarianism,” Kristof-style.

To continue reading: Nicholas Kristof: War Crimes Enabler

Advertisements

Behold, a Pale Horse and its Rider’s Name Was Death, by Paul Craig Roberts

It’s been years since Washington told even half-truths about the Middle East. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

I just listened to Obama give Washington’s account of the situation with ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

In Obama’s account, Washington is defeating ISIL in Iraq, but Russia and Assad are defeating the Syrian people in Syria. Obama denounced Russia and the Syrian government—but not ISIL—as barbaric. The message was clear: Washington still intends to overthrow Assad and turn Syria into another Libya and another Iraq, formerly stable and prosperous countries where war now rages continually.

It sickens me to hear the President of the United States lie and construct a false reality, so I turned off the broadcast. I believe it was a press conference, and I am confident that no meaningful questions were asked.

If Helen Thomas were still there, she would ask the Liar-in-Chief what went wrong with Washington’s policy in Iraq. We were promised that a low-cost “cakewalk” war of three or six weeks duration would bring “freedom and democracy” to Iraq. Why is it that 13 years later Iraq is a hellhole of war and destruction?

What happened to the “freedom and democracy?” And the “Cakewalk”?

You can bet your life that no presstitute asked Obama this question.

No one asked the Liar-in-Chief why the Russians and Syrians could clear ISIL out of most of Syria in a couple of months, but Washington has been struggling for several years to clear ISIL out of Iraq. Is it possible that Washington did not want to clear ISIL out of Iraq because Washington intended to use ISIL to clear Assad out of Syria?

No one asked the Liar-in-Chief why Washington sent ISIL to Syria and Iraq in the first place, or why the Syrians and Russians keep finding US weapons In ISIL’s military depots, or why Washington’s allies were funding ISIL by purchasing the oil ISIL is stealing from Iraq.

It seems to be the case that ISIL originated in the mercenaries that Washington organized to overthrow Gaddafi in Libya and were sent to Syria to overthrow Assad when the UK Parliament refused to participate in Washington’s invasion of Syria and the Russians put a stop to it.

All of the violence in the Middle East, violence that has consumed countless lives and produced millions of war refugees now overrunning Washington’s NATO vassals in Europe, is 100 percent the fault of Washington, not the fault of ISIL, or Assad, or Russia. Washington and only Washington is to blame.

Washington produced this violence. Where is the question: “Why, Mr. President, did Washington introduce 15 years of massive and ongoing violence into the Middle East and then expect us to believe that it was the fault of someone else?”

If Helen Thomas were there, she would ask the relevent questions. But the pussies that comprise the American press corps are merely an audience that validates the false reality spun by Washington by accepting it without question.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Beijing have understood the message. Washington intends war. The purpose of Washington’s lies is to prepare the insouciant Western peoples for war against the two countries that Washington cannot subjugate except by victory in war.

By faithful vassalage to Washington, Europe is bringing death and destruction to the world.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/08/05/behold-a-pale-horse-and-its-riders-name-was-death-paul-craig-roberts/

Declassifying the Syrian Jihad: CIA vs. the Pentagon, by Brad Hoff

For anyone undertaking the daunting task of trying to understand how the US got itself stuck in a Syrian quagmire, this article is invaluable. From Brad Hoff at antiwar.com:

On a Monday morning in September of 2014 White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stepped out in front of cameras to respond to questions of “intelligence failure” and explained that both the administration and intelligence community were caught completely “surprised” over the shocking and “rapid advance” of ISIS into Iraq over the course of that summer. However, two years prior in August 2012, an intelligence official with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) stationed in Iraq had written an incredibly prescient classified report predicting that out of the Syrian war could emerge “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…”

It seems the analyst’s chief concern, from his or her vantage point in Iraq, was that the international coalition fueling the rebel insurgency across the border in Syria to effect regime change in Damascus could produce a monster capable to devouring large territory. The intelligence report forecast that “ISI [Islamic State in Iraq] could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

The memo specifically names Ramadi and Mosul as among the first Iraqi cities to potentially fall victim to what it calls “unifying the jihad” under the banner of an Islamic State. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) would capture Mosul in June 2014, and in a seemingly unprecedented blitz across Anbar, seize Ramadi on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Ironically, the intelligence report itself would hit public view in heavily redacted form on Monday, May 18, 2015 – just as the world was receiving news of the fall of Ramadi.

Soon after it was written, the 2012 IIR (Intelligence Information Report) landed on the desks of Congressional Intelligence Committee members, but more importantly it would be used to argue policy at the White House – this according to the DoD’s chief of military intelligence at the time the memo was produced.

Director of the DIA at the time of the memo’s drafting and former Sr. Intelligence Officer for JSOC, Michael Flynn, has repeatedly affirmed the report’s accuracy in public statements. But now for the first time a CIA perspective has been offered: former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell recently took to Politico to weigh in on controversy surrounding the now declassified 2012 memo which further warned that “the Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” and that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition.”

Ex-CIA #2 Morell contradicts Flynn’s account of the intelligence report, writing that “it was simply wrong in its facts when it indicated that the West was supporting extremists in Syria.” Morell wants you to take his word for it: “The administration went to great lengths to ensure that any aid provided by the United States to the opposition would not fall into the hands of extremists, including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.” Morell adds his voice and insider credentials to a chorus of others assuring the public that Trump is spouting debunked conspiracy theories in claiming the memo points to Obama and Hillary “support” for ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria.

To continue reading: Declassifying the Syrian Jihad: CIA vs. the Pentagon

 

ISIS Suffers Major Blow As Assad, Russia, Hezbollah Drive Terrorists From Ancient Syrian City, by Tyler Durden

ISIS suffers a major defeat and the US government is not pleased. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com (the video is a prime demonstration of a weasel in action):

“You know I mean look… broadly speaking …. you know… it’s not a great choice… an either/or… but… you know…”

That was the response from State Department spokesman Mark Toner when two reporters asked him whether the US was pleased that the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah ground forces and Russian airstrikes was set to retake the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State.

The lack of enthusiasm for the Russian-backed effort made for an amusing soundbite and might have come as a surprise to the uninitiated. But for those who follow the conflict in Syria it was par for the course in Washington. As recently as last August The Pentagon and CIA were still holding out some hope that rebel forces might manage to oust Assad and that somehow, ISIS and al-Nusra would subsequently be subdued. The worst case scenario would have seen ISIS itself march into Damascus and take control of the country, but that would have been fine too because then the Marines would simply march in and promptly eliminate the group paving the way for Washington and Riyadh to step in and install a puppet government.

Then the entire calculus changed when Russia entered the fray on September 30. From October on, Washington struggled with how to respond to gains made by Hezbollah and Russia. On the one hand, Moscow was hitting ISIS and al-Nusra hard from the air and the US couldn’t very well condemn that without admitting that “the terrorists” serve a purpose in Syria. On the other hand, relentless bombing runs by Russian warplanes paved the way for Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militias to lay waste to the “moderate” rebels that stood between Assad and Aleppo and that, the US said, was “no fair.” Once Aleppo proper (i.e. the city itself) was surrounded, the rebels basically surrendered (that’s not what they’ll say, nor is it the line you’ll get from Washington and Riyadh, but it’s no coincidence that the ceasefire was agreed at the exact same time that the city was surrounded).

And so, with that bit of messy business out of the way, and with the rebels having agreed to lay down their weapons in exchange for Russia’s promise that the air force wouldn’t seek to wipe them out entirely, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah did exactly what we said they would do: turned their sights east towards Palmyra, Deir el-Zour, and Raqqa. Here’s what we said in October:

“Hezbollah and Iranian troops are advancing on Aleppo and Moscow is backing the offensive from the sky which means that the hodgepodge of anti-regime forces that control Syria’s largest city will almost (and we say “almost” because there are no sure things in war) certainly be routed, which would effectively serve to restore the Assad regime in Syria.

After that, the Russian bear and Qasem Soleimani will turn their eyes to the East of the country and at that point, it is game over for ISIS.

Well, we hate to say “we told you so,” but that assessment has proven to be 100% accurate and after a weeks long siege, Bashar al-Assad announced on Sunday that with the help of Russia and Hezbollah, the Syrian army has driven ISIS from Palmyra.

To continue reading: ISIS Suffers Major Blow As Assad, Russia, Hezbollah Drive Terrorists From Ancient Syrian City

War Is Easy When There Is Nothing to Learn, by Lucy Steigerwald

From Lucy Steigerwald at antiwar.com:

March 19 was the 13th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq. Today, as noted by Antiwar News’ Jason Ditz, US Marines have been deployed in Kurdistan in order to aid Iraqi forces as they attempt to take back oil fields from the Islamic State. In full, shameless JFK-in-Vietnam mode, the fact that there are combat troops in Iraq is not to be mentioned or overstressed. No, these aren’t advisers, they’re just helping the Iraqi forces, these marines. Who are on the front lines.

This is our Iraq in 2016, starring some 3200 American soldiers. This is the nation that has suffered the deaths of up to 175,000 civilians since the US decided Saddam Hussein had to go. This is the war which Barack Obama allegedly ended in 2011. This is the war that was sold as a heroic intervention to prevent a mad dictator from using weapons of mass destruction, and dipped an entire region into civil war and gave us a new theocratic mob that scares even Al-Qaeda.

And damn, the Islamic State is chilling. They appear to be both more brutal and potentially more competent than Al-Qaeda, in that they’ve discovered the savvy tactic of decentralized terror attacks that require only a few people to pull off. It would be great if something or someone stopped their spread.

And yet, is the US slowly dribbling back into a war it never really stopped fighting going to do that? Remember when the Taliban was the worst group possible? And then Al-Qaeda? Remember, before that, when the Mujahideen could save Afghanistan from the horrible, Godless Soviets?

The biggest enemy conceivable to the US tends to change with a baffling cynicism. The most honest of the imperialist cynics admit this, and say that nothing matters except for the current convenience of the United States and its foreign policy. But most politicians and the pundits who echo them simply depend on outrage and demonization to drive policy – we must invade, Saddam is a villain, the USSR is full of monsters and communism must be contained. There is often some truth to this, in that foreign dictators or oppressive, collectivist nations and groups hurt people. However, it does not follow – and it never will follow – that a coup, a bombing campaign, or a full-force invasion will change anything for the better, or can be done without myriad civilians casualties. Nor is it true that such actions – even when done by the pure and noble West – will lead to regional stability, or, to use a now-cliché, a population that will welcome us with flowers.

How much proof do we need before people believe that intervention makes things worse? How can we try everything except for leaving, and not starting any more wars? Why is the answer always that we didn’t fight hard enough, when we should never have fought at all?

To continue reading: War Is Easy When There Is Nothing to Learn

World War 3 Could Start This Month: 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria, by Michael Snyder

Click the below link and read this article to the end. Michael Snyder’s comments on the brain dead absence of coverage of what may well be the most important story of this year are acerbic and spot on. From Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:

350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”. According to the official announcement, forces are being contributed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and several other nations. This exercise will reportedly last for 18 days, and during that time the airspace over northern Saudi Arabia will be closed to air traffic. This will be the largest military exercise in the history of the region, and it comes amid rumors that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are preparing for a massive ground invasion of Syria.

If you were going to gather forces for an invasion, this is precisely how you would do it. Governments never come out and publicly admit that forces are moving into position for an invasion ahead of time, so “military exercises” are a common excuse that gets used for this sort of thing.

If these exercises are actually being used as an excuse to mass forces near the northern Saudi border, then we should expect an invasion to begin within the next couple of weeks. If it happens, we should expect to see the Saudi coalition storm through western Iraq and into Syria from the south, and it is likely that Turkey will come in from the north.

The goal would be to take out the Assad regime before Russia, Iran and Hezbollah could react. For the past couple of years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have been funding the Sunni insurgency in Syria, and they were counting on those insurgents to be able to take down the Assad regime by themselves.

You see, the truth is that ISIS was never supposed to lose in Syria. Saudi Arabia and her allies have been funneling massive amounts of money to ISIS, and hundreds of millions of dollars of ISIS oil has been shipped into Turkey where it is sold to the rest of the world.

The major Sunni nations wanted ISIS and the other Sunni insurgent groups to take down Assad. In the aftermath, Saudi Arabia and her allies intended to transform Syria into a full-blown Sunni nation.

But then Russia, Iran and Hezbollah stepped forward to assist the Assad regime. Russian air support completely turned the tide of the war, and now the Sunni insurgents are on the brink of losing.

Aleppo was once the largest city in Syria, and Sunni insurgents have controlled it since 2012. But now relentless Russian airstrikes have made it possible for Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah ground forces to surround the city, and it is about to fall back into the hands of the Syrian government.

If this happens, the war will essentially be over.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have invested massive amounts of time, money and effort into overthrowing Assad, and they aren’t about to walk away now.

If the war was to end right at this moment, a weakened Assad regime would remain in power, and Iran and Hezbollah would be the dominant powers in the country for years to come. And once Assad died, it would be inevitable that Iran and Hezbollah would attempt to transform Syria into a full-blown Shiite nation. This is something that Saudi Arabia and Turkey want to avoid at all costs.

So they are actually considering what was once absolutely unthinkable – a massive ground invasion of Syria.

To continue reading: World War 3 Could Start This Month: 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria

A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria, by Jeffrey St. Clair

From Jeffrey St. Clair at counterpunch.org:

Poor ISIS. Try as they might, the men in black still can’t out-terrorize their enemies or, more pointedly, even their patrons. For the past three years, decapitations have served as the money shots for ISIS’s theater of cruelty. Then on New Year’s Day the Saudis upstaged ISIS by audaciously chopping off the heads of 47 men, including a prominent Shia cleric.

This act of brazen butchery is made all the more horrific by virtue of the fact that the Saudi head-slicers recently landed a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, largely at the insistence of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who personally vouched for the petro-autocracy’s acute sensitivity to matters of civil liberties and the humane treatment of prisoners. Then again the drone-troika of Britain, France and the U.S. also enjoy seats on the council, so perhaps the Saudis have earned their slot after all.

With his peculiar fondness for porcine heads, Cameron is probably the Kingdom’s most un-kosher ally, but he is far from Saudi Arabia’s only political cheerleader. Showing a stunning lack of judgment, Comandante Bernie Sanders says his Syrian strategy relies on the Saudis taking the lead in the fight against ISIS. “They’ve got to get their hands dirty,” Sanders inveighed to Wolf Blitzer on CNN. “They’ve got to get their troops on the ground. They’ve got to win that war with our support. We cannot be leading the effort.”

Apparently Sanders skipped the briefing on how ISIS’s apocalyptic ideology has been fueled by fire-breathing Wahhabi preachers financed by the Saudi royal family. The red senator also seems ignorant of the fact that ISIS functions as shock troops for the House of Saud in its proxy war against Iran, now raging in Yemen and Iraq, as well as Syria. You’d think that Bernie would be getting better advice from his friends in Israeli intelligence.

Sanders’ policy on Syria is naïve to the point of doltishness. But Hillary’s Syrian war plan—shared by most of her Republican rivals—borders on the pathological. Having not missed a minute of sleep haunted by the corpses of Libya, Mrs. Clinton is now stumping for the dismantling of Syria, using the carefully cultivated domestic anxiety over ISIS as the pretext. The cornerstone of Hillary’s rogue scheme is the imposition of a no fly zone over that embattled country.

Sounds like a relatively benign plan, right? But wait. ISIS doesn’t have an air force. They don’t even a have drone. Russia, of course, is flying daily sorties in Syrian air space, at the invitation of the Syrian government, such as it is, and some kind of confrontation would be inevitable. Still, Hillary doesn’t flinch. She has zealously vowed to shoot down any Russian plane that violated her unilateral ban.

To continue reading: A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria