Tag Archives: Syria

‘The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time’ — Interview with Flemish Priest in Syria, by wierd duk

It is easiest for the mainstream media to lie about events in the more remote and inhospitable corners of the world, like Syria. According to a Flemish priest, presumably a fairly reliable source, US media reports out of Syria have been nonstop lies. From wierd duk at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Flemish Father Daniël Maes (78) lives in Syria in the sixth-century-old Mar Yakub monastery in the city of Qara, 90 kilometers north of the capital Damascus. Father Daniel has been a witness to the “civil war” and according to him, Western reports on the conflict in Syria are very misleading. In short: “the Americans and their allies want to completely ruin the country.”

Interviewer: You are very critical of the media coverage on Syria. What is bothering you?

Father Daniel: “The idea that a popular uprising took place against President Assad is completely false. I’ve been in Qara since 2010 and I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. That was filmed and aired by Al Jazeera to give the impression that a rebellion was taking place. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people. While in my experience, the Syrian people were actually very united.

Before the war, this was a harmonious country: a secular state in which different religious communities lived side by side peacefully. There was hardly any poverty, education was free, and health care was good. It was only not possible to freely express your political views. But most people did not care about that.”

Interviewer: Mother Agnès-Mariam, of your Mar Yakub (“Saint Jacob”) monastery, is accused of siding with the regime. She has friends at the highest level.

Father Daniel: “Mother Agnès-Mariam helps the population: she has recently opened a soup kitchen in Aleppo, where 25,000 meals are prepared five times a week. Look, it is miraculous that we are still alive. We owe that to the army of Assad’s government and to Vladimir Putin, because he decided to intervene when the rebels threatened to take power.

When thousands of terrorists settled in Qara, we became afraid for our lives. They came from the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Turkey, Libya, there were many Chechens. They formed a foreign occupation force, all allied to al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Armed to the teeth by the West and their allies with the intention to act against us, they literally said: “This country belongs to us now.” Often, they were drugged, they fought each other, in the evening they fired randomly. We had to hide in the crypts of the monastery for a long time. When the Syrian army chased them away, everybody was happy: the Syrian citizens because they hate the foreign rebels, and we because peace had returned.”

To continue reading: ‘The Media Coverage on Syria is the Biggest Media Lie of our Time’ — Interview with Flemish Priest in Syria

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Has Trump – Who Ran On an Anti-War Platform – Already Sold Out to the Warmongers … Or Is He Just Playing for Leverage?

This is a questions we’ll be asking frequently about Trump on a variety of issues: what does he really want? From George Washington at zerohedge.com:

Conservative Patrick Buchanan – who endorsed Trump for president – writes:

High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq.
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Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this.

Trump’s anti-war, anti-interventionist statements appealed to many Americans. Indeed, quite a few Sanders supporters switched to Trump (or stayed home on election day) because of Trump’s anti-war promises … and Clinton’s record as a warmonger.

Buchanan expresses disappointment that Trump is already saber-rattling:

It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Former long-time Congressman Ron Paul notes that Trump has already engaged in bombings in Yemen:

Andrew Spannaus notes:

The early Trump administration has sent mixed signals regarding relations with Russia. Trump’s initial comments indicated that the U.S. would seek a diplomatic deal to reduce tensions around Ukraine, including by potentially recognizing the pro-Russian referendum in Crimea, in exchange for a broader deal with Russia involving cooperation against terrorism or nuclear arms reduction. However, Trump’s United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on Thursday vowed to continue sanctions against Russia until it surrendered Crimea.

Brandon Turbeville says, “The new boss is now starting to look extremely similar to the old boss.” Turbeville also points out that Trump appears to be mucking about in Syria.

And since Trump took the helm, war with China is looking increasingly likely.

To continue reading: Has Trump – Who Ran On an Anti-War Platform – Already Sold Out to the Warmongers … Or Is He Just Playing for Leverage?

Riptide, by Robert Gore

If President Trump is to put America first, he must end its offensive wars.

For most of human history, the costs of waging offensive war have been roughly equivalent to the costs of defending against it. Since World War II, costs have shifted dramatically in favor of defense. Ironically, during this time the US has waged more offensive wars than any other nation. Although members of the military recognize the shift, it is seldom acknowledged by the civilian command structure. Even those who understand generally assume that greater US resources and wealth make up for the cost disparity.

In football or basketball, if your team has the ball, you are the offense. In warfare, if you are in another country, you are the offense. An invasion, difficult as it may be, is invariably the easy part. Anyone who knew military history winced when President George W. Bush gave his 2003 Iraq victory speech, Mission Accomplished banner stretched behind him on an upper deck of an aircraft carrier. If, to give the neoconservatives their stated case, the mission was to convert Iraq to a thriving, peaceful, multicultural democracy, fourteen years later that mission remains unaccomplished, the prospect just as remote as it was before the US invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein.

THE FOLLY OF WAR

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The US “victory” in Iraq created winners and losers. Previously marginalized Shiites who formed the new government were the winners. Ousted Sunni Ba’athists who had stocked Hussein’s government and military were the losers, and set about upending the new order. In their war against the US and its newly installed Iraqi government, they had every advantage defenders have playing on their home territory. They knew the territory and the language, drew on local Sunni support, blended in with the “civilian” population, and used women and children operationally, pages straight from the Viet Cong playbook.

Which brings up “asymmetric warfare,” modern code for the perpetual invader lament that the other side doesn’t play by the rules. (Dating back to at least the American revolution, when British formations were decimated by “terrorist” revolutionaries hiding behind trees.) In the Middle East there are no enemy tank brigades, regular combat units, air forces, or navies in which the US can engage decisive battles a la World War II. It’s guerrilla warfare: the enemy plants IEDs or land mines; shoots down expensive tanks and helicopters with shoulder-fired missiles; inflicts random terror and mayhem; petrifies opponents with beheadings and torture; amasses for battles in which they fiercely fight and often inflict costly losses, and if they ultimately lose, a month or two later return to contest the same territory with the same ferocity.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the home field defenders have staying power; it’s their country and they aren’t going anywhere. As Vietnam and the Middle East demonstrate, invaders get tired of wasting blood and treasure. Their populations reject the government’s tired assurances of just-around-the-corner victory and political support evaporates. A substantial portion of the population the invaders are supposedly liberating doesn’t support them. The governments that host the invaders are invariably corrupt puppets. The guerrillas may never win a straight-up battle (the US has batted a thousand in straight-up battles in Vietnam and the Middle East), but if they inflict enough pain, the invaders eventually leave.

It is a mistake to assume the outcomes of US interventions are different from the real, as opposed to the stated, intentions of their proponents. The military and intelligence sector has become the biggest annex of the welfare state, enjoying the advantage that most people don’t even realize it feeds from that trough. US military and intelligence budgets are huge in comparison to other nations’, far in excess of what would be necessary if the “defense” function was limited to defense of our country, and President Trump has vowed to increase them. Long-lasting offensive wars are the ultimate crony socialist boondoggle and jobs program.

Then there are the lucrative opportunities interventions present for corruption, extortion, theft, and other criminal enterprises (US drug dealing was rife during the Vietnam war). That the military-industrial-intelligence complex is willing to sacrifice the lives of US soldiers and innocent civilian populations to line their own pockets tells you all you need to know about its morality. That’s an ethic compatible with residence on Death Row, not a free, peaceful, and just society.

In his first few days in office, President Trump has perhaps avoided one interventionist pitfall, but not another.

First, as I wrote about in my last column, the initial draft of the executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Attacks From Foreign Nationals” contained a section raising the possibility of creating “safe zones” in Syria. The final version omits this dangerous plan. This is significant: what it means is that the Trump administration is going to resist calls by the interventionist media to “do something” about the Syrian civil war and is opting instead to keep its footprint in the region lighter than the War Party would prefer. “Safe zones” are off the table, at least for now.

Justin Raimondo, “Spare Us the Theatrics,” (1/30/17, antiwar.com

This is encouraging, but if Trump does disengage from the Middle East, it’s likely to be two steps forward, one step back. The administration has still not entirely renounced the Syrian safe zone idea. And the first US soldier killed on Trump’s watch was with a special forces commando team in Yemen, on an operation Trump authorized. What are special forces doing in Yemen? It’s a country of no strategic importance to the US embroiled in essentially a Shiite-Sunni sectarian war, the local factions serving as proxies for Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia (to which the US has supplied billions worth of armaments). The US is grabbing the same tar baby on which it’s stuck in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia

Those last five countries (and Yemen and Iran), are on Trump’s executive order banning travel by their citizens to the US. In the weird world of John McCain and his neoconservative cohorts, the ban will stoke terrorism against the US, but commando raids, bombs, and drone strikes are met with no-blowback equanimity by the raided, bombed, and droned. The thousands protesting the ban have shown a similar unconcern for all the non-immigrating victims, alive or dead, of US offensive wars. These wars were perhaps questioned by some of the protestors when they were Bush’s, but endorsed or silently acquiesced to when they were Obama’s. They have left the US caught in the riptide of a historic shift in the relative costs of offensive and defensive warfare.

The only way to avoid being carried further out to sea is to quit waging offensive wars. The marker of his foreign policy success will be the extent to which President Trump frees the US from its many tar babies and avoids getting stuck on new ones. If he fails and adds to the blood and treasure the US has already lost, he will have failed to put America first.

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They Said That? 1/28/17

Representative Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii, D) recently took a trip to Syria and talked to Syrians who have lost everything on up to Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. CNN’s Jake Tapper got more than he bargained for during his interview with Gabbard.

Trump’s First Big Mistake, by Justin Raimondo

Setting up a “safe space” in Syria may be far more ludicrous than safe spaces on college campuses. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The text of a draft executive order on “Protecting the Nation From Terrorist Attacks From Foreign Nationals,” expected to be signed by President Trump, which deals primarily with excluding citizens of selected countries from entering the United States, includes what may be the biggest mistake the newly elected President will ever make:

“Sec. 6. Establishment of Safe Zones to Protect Vulnerable Syrian Populations. Pursuant to the cessation of refugee processing for Syrian nationals, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, is directed within 90 days of the date of this order to produce a plan to provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement, such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement.”

As of this writing, such an order has not been signed by the President, but Trump told reporters “I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people.”

This idea is a disaster waiting to happen, and could augur the unraveling of the President’s “America First” foreign policy, which supposedly abjures regime change operations in the Middle East and elsewhere. In 2013 testimony submitted to Congress by then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, the reality of what this would have to mean was outlined:

“Thousands of U.S. ground forces would be needed, even if positioned outside Syria, to support those physically defending the zones. A limited no-fly zone coupled with US ground forces would push the costs over one billion dollars per month.”

John Kerry, citing Department of Defense estimates, testified that “safe zones” would require up to 30,000 troops on the ground.

This wacky idea is something Trump floated during the campaign, when he averred that he would create a “big beautiful safe zone” in war-torn Syria. Vice President Pence also endorsed the idea in his debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine. And the neoconservative faction of the GOP – which bitterly opposed Trump during the campaign, and continues to do so to this day – issued one of their frequent “open letters” demanding the establishment of a safe zone in conjunction with increased support for the “moderate” Islamist rebel campaign to overthrow the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

To continue reading: Trump’s First Big Mistake

Trump Bull in the Mideast China Shop, by Eric Margolis

If President Trump goes ahead with a plan to establish some sort of safe zone in Syria, it will be the next US mistake in a long line of US blunders stretching back to George W. Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump is getting ready to plunge into the burning Mideast with all the zeal and arrogance of a medieval crusader. The new administration’s knowledge of the region is a thousand miles wide and two inches deep.

Reviving a truly terrible idea originated by know-nothing Congressional Republicans, Trump proposes US-run safe zones in Syria for refugees from that nation’s conflict. The president went out of his way to insist that such safe zones would spare the United States from having to shelter Syrian refugees.

He should better worry about Chicago where 762 citizens were murdered last year.

At the same time, Trump, declaiming from his new Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower, vowed to impose a 30-day halt on immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to ‘protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals.’

 

Former President Barack Obama shied away from direct military intervention in Syria, preferring stealthy warfare, drones and hit squads. He had the sense to know that US military intervention in the heart of the Mideast would be fraught with danger, not the least clashes between US and Russian forces. History shows it’s easy to invade into unstable areas but hard to get out.

But not so for bull in the Mideast china shop Trump as he charges into the Levant, advised by generals who made a mess in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Trump’s ardently pro-Israel cabinet must be rubbing their hands in glee as they see Syria in his cross hairs. The destruction of Syria’s regime and fragmenting that nation is an Israeli strategic priority.

To continue reading: Trump Bull in the Mideast China Shop

 

The Syrian People Desperately Want Peace, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Representative Tulsi Gabbard is the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, and only member of Rational Democrat Congresscritters Who Use Their Brains. She visited Syria and asked actual Syrians, not American diplomats or spooks, what they thought was best for Syria. The overwhelming answer: peace. From Gabbard at antiwar.com:

As much of Washington prepared for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace.

It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.

I traveled throughout Damascus and Aleppo, listening to Syrians from different parts of the country. I met with displaced families from the eastern part of Aleppo, Raqqah, Zabadani, Latakia, and the outskirts of Damascus. I met Syrian opposition leaders who led protests in 2011, widows and children of men fighting for the government and widows of those fighting against the government. I met Lebanon’s newly-elected President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, Syrian President Assad, Grand Mufti Hassoun, Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda of Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, humanitarian workers, academics, college students, small business owners, and more.

Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between “moderate” rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS – they are all the same. This is a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government. They cry out for the U.S. and other countries to stop supporting those who are destroying Syria and her people.

I heard this message over and over again from those who have suffered and survived unspeakable horrors. They asked that I share their voice with the world; frustrated voices which have not been heard due to the false, one-sided biased reports pushing a narrative that supports this regime change war at the expense of Syrian lives.

To continue reading: The Syrian People Desperately Want Peace