For the Trump administration the best Syria is a zombie Syria. From Edward Hunt at antiwar.com:
The Trump administration is doing its best to keep Syria dismembered and near death
The Syrian civil war, which has been raging since 2011, is one of the worst tragedies of the early twenty-first century. Approximately half a million people have died, about six million people have fled the country, and another six million people remain internally displaced. Much of the country lies in ruins, perhaps never again to recover.
The war is also far from over. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been gaining momentum, but his regime has failed to recapture many parts of the country. Multiple foreign powers remain active in Syria, including Iran, Russia, Turkey, Israel, and the United States. In the northwest, Idlib Province is dominated by tens of thousands of Islamist militants, many of whom are active in al-Qaeda-style terrorist organizations.
“It’s a kind of conflict where the kindling is sufficient for it to burn for decade after decade and continue to be an engine of jihadism and instability for the entire region and beyond,” a senior State Department official said early last year.
Tom Luongo is in desperate need of a copy editor. As a writer who not always correctly edits my own stuff, I sympathize. But whatever his writing miscues, he always has a unique and provocative viewpoint. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:
he future of the U.S.’s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.
Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump’s lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.
The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.
The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.
Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.
Yet another theory on the murder of Qassem Soleimani and its implications going forward. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:
It was not the US decision to fire missiles against the IRGC commander Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani that killed the Iranian officer and his companions in Baghdad. Yes, of course, the order that was given to launch missiles from the two drones (which destroyed the two cars carrying Sardar Soleimani and his companion the Iraqi commander in al-Hashd al-Shaabi Jamal Jaafar Al-Tamimi aka Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and burned their bodies in the vehicle) came from US command and control. However, the reason President Donald Trump made this decision derives from the weakness of the “axis of resistance”, which has completely retreated from the level of performance that Iran believed it was capable of after decades of work to strengthen this “axis”.
A close companion of Major General Qassim Soleimani, to whom he spoke hours before boarding the plane that took him from Damascus to Baghdad, told me: “The nobleman died. Palestine above all has lost Hajj Qassem (Soleimani). He was the “King” of the Axis of the Resistance and its leader. He was assassinated and this is exactly what he was hoping to reach in this life (Martyrdom). However, this axis will live and will not die. No doubt, the Axis of the Resistance needs to review its policy and regenerate itself to correct its path. This was what Hajj Qassim was complaining about and planning to work on and strategizing about in his last hours. ”
Suleimani had laid the groundwork for the extension of Iranian influence into Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Now that work is threatened. From Hassan Hassan at theguardian.com:
His experience was invaluable in Tehran’s effort to extend its reach into Lebanon and Yemen. So, for many, there are few tears to be shed
The killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani could prove to be the most consequential US slaying of an enemy operative in recent memory. It will eclipse in its significance the killing of Osama bin Laden almost a decade ago or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October. Not because it might spark another Middle East war, as many have warned, or merely because Suleimani was irreplaceable. Rather, his killing came at a time when the project he had led – to create an Iranian hegemony in the region – is facing unprecedented challenges in Iraq and Lebanon, through cross-sectarian and grassroots protests, while in Syria the project is still in its infancy. One can add to this picture a more aggressive policy adopted by the US.
Indeed, Suleimani was killed while he was trying to deal with these very challenges. His successor is unlikely to be able to complete that mission and contain the spiral of events in countries where, only a year ago, Iran declared major victories – in Syria against the rebels, in Lebanon through a Hezbollah-friendly government and in Iraq and Syria against Isis.
This new WikiLeaks drop includes an email from the OPCW Chief of Cabinet Sebastien Braha (who is reportedly so detested by organisation inspectors that they code named him “Voldemort”) throwing a fit over the Ian Henderson Engineering Assessment which found that the Douma incident was likely a staged event. Braha is seen ordering OPCW staff to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever” from the organisation’s secure registry.
Nothing has ever been done to address this extensively documented and indisputable fact. No laws were ever changed. No war crimes tribunals were ever held. No policies or procedures were ever revised. No one was ever even fired. No changes were implemented to prevent the Iraq deceptionfrom happening again, and, when it happened again, no changes were implemented to prevent the Libya deception from happening again.
When you make a mistake, you take measures afterward to ensure that you never make the same mistake again. When you do something on purpose, and you intend on doing it again, you do not take any such measures.
You don’t hear much about where the Middle Eastern oil the US “secures” in its regime change operations ends up. From Agha Hussain and Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:
The outsized role of U.S. Israel lobby operatives in abetting the theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil reveals how this powerful lobby also facilitates more covert aspects of U.S.-Israeli cooperation and the implementation of policies that favor Israel.
IRKUK, IRAQ — “We want to bring our soldiers home. But we did leave soldiers because we’re keeping the oil,” President Trump stated on November 3, before adding, “I like oil. We’re keeping the oil.”
Though he had promised a withdrawal of U.S. troops from their illegal occupation of Syria, Trump shocked many with his blunt admission that troops were being left behind to prevent Syrian oil resources from being developed by the Syrian government and, instead, kept in the hands of whomever the U.S. deemed fit to control them, in this case, the U.S.-backed Kurdish-majority militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Though Trump himself received all of the credit — and the scorn — for this controversial new policy, what has been left out of the media coverage is the fact that key players in the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby played a major role in its creation with the purpose of selling Syrian oil to the state of Israel. While recent developments in the Syrian conflict may have hindered such a plan from becoming reality, it nonetheless offers a telling example of the covert role often played by the U.S.’ pro-Israel lobby in shaping key elements of U.S. foreign policy and closed-door deals with major regional implications.
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