Tag Archives: Syria

US’ Main Target in Syria is Iran, ISIS Comes Second, by Melkulangara Bhadrakumar

The US foreign policy establishment may have dropped, or at least put on hold, its longstanding desire to depose Syrian leader Assad. However, that has not apparently made ridding Syria and Iraq of ISIS job one. The US emphasis has switched to ridding Syria and Iraq of Iran, which, incidentally, is fighting ISIS. From Melkulangara Bhadrakumar at strategic-culture.org:

The common thread running through the two major ‘hot spots’ in the Middle East today – the conflicts in Syria and Libya – is undoubtedly the threat to international security from the extremist groups operating in these theatres. Therefore, Syria and Libya become test cases of the efficacy of the international community – Russia and the United States in particular – working together to steer these conflicts toward a denouement that results in the elimination of the terrorist threat and the stabilization of the situation in the two countries.

There is a history of Russian-American engagement over Syria during the Barack Obama administration, which was surprisingly intense at times – and productive too occasionally, such as over the removal of chemical weapons from Syria or in the creation of the International Syria Support Group as a platform for a peace process.

In the final analysis, of course, the Russian-American engagement over Syria turned out to be sub-optimal in results, which is not surprising, given the steady erosion of mutual trust in the overall relationship as a result of the Obama administration’s containment strategies toward Russia through the last year or two of his presidency.

Plainly put, it will not be an exaggeration to say that Russia and the US are virtually in ground zero today in terms of their cooperation and coordination in meeting the terrorist challenges in Syria. The final months of the Barack Obama presidency witnessed even a calamitous decline in the US-Russia ties.

To continue reading: US’ Main Target in Syria is Iran, ISIS Comes Second

 

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From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth, by Paul Craig Roberts

Truth, and respect for it, is vanishing. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

When one gives so much scarce time and energy from one’s life to a large and unknown public, one needs to know that it is sufficiently appreciated to be a worthwhile use of one’s time and energy. This is especially the case when there are large costs associated with the commitment.

Your response to my quarterly request for donations showed me that enough of you value what I am doing to justify its continuation.

I am convinced that the US, and probably the entire Western world, that is, the American Empire, has entered an era in which respect for truth does not exist in public and private institutions. We have been watching this develop for some time. Think, for example, back to August 3, 2002, a recent time in terms of our present predicament, but a time prior to political consciousness of anyone younger today than 33 years old. In the summer of 2002, the world was being prepared by propaganda for a US invasion of Iraq. On August 3 of that year, the prestigous British publication, The Economist, summed up the consensus of ruling opinion in two sentences: “The honest choices now are to give up and give in, or to remove Mr. Hussein before he gets his [nuclear] bomb. Painful as it is, our vote is for war.”

As Lewis Lapham, myself and others asked at the time, what bomb? The only evidence of a bomb was fabricated and known to be fabricated. The UN weapons inspectors concluded that the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction were a creation of US propaganda. President George W. Bush eventually acknowledged that Iraq had no such weapons. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the lies he was deceived by the Bush regime into telling the UN about Saddam Hussein’s WMD are a stain on his career.

Despite the 2003 US invasion known to have been based entirely on lies, US troops were not pulled out of Iraq until 2011, and whether or not they were pulled out, they are back in Iraq now. None of these facts has had any impact on the good opinion that Washington and the media have of themselves.

To continue reading: From Nuisance to Threat: The High Cost of Truth

Why Trump’s Syria ‘Surge’ Will Fail, by Ron Paul

The only easier prediction than the one Ron Paul makes here is that a 16th seed won’t win the NCAA tournament. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Last week President Trump significantly escalated the US military presence in Syria, sending some 400 Marines to the ISIS-controlled Raqqa, and several dozen Army Rangers to the contested area around Manbij. According to press reports he will also station some 2,500 more US troops in Kuwait to be used as he wishes in Iraq and Syria.

Not only is it illegal under international law to send troops into another country without permission, it is also against US law for President Trump to take the country to war without a declaration. But not only is Trump’s first big war illegal: it is doomed to failure because it makes no sense.

President Trump says the purpose of the escalation is to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, its headquarters in Syria. However the Syrian Army with its allies Russia and Iran are already close to defeating ISIS in Syria. Why must the US military be sent in when the Syrian army is already winning? Does Trump wish to occupy eastern Syria and put a Washington-backed rebel government in charge? Has anyone told President Trump what that would to cost in dollars and lives – including American lives? How would this US-backed rebel government respond to the approach of a Syrian army backed up by the Russian military?

Is Trump planning on handing eastern Syria over to the Kurds, who have been doing much of the fighting in the area? How does he think NATO-ally Turkey would take a de facto Kurdistan carved out of Syria with its eyes on Kurdish-inhabited southern Turkey?

And besides, by what rights would Washington carve up Syria or any other country?

To continue reading: Why Trump’s Syria ‘Surge’ Will Fail

 

What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant, by Eric Margolis

Someday, in the distant future, the US will have lost so much in the Middle East that it will try something completely different. It will get out and stay out. The denizens of that region can’t eat their oil, they must sell it to someone, and the US is the world’s largest market. Israel has a nuclear arsenal and can take care of itself. A US withdrawal from the Middle East would be the first glimmer of sanity in US foreign policy in quite some time. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

We are now moving rapidly into stage II of Levantine Madness as the US boosts its intervention in the war-torn Mideast.

Five thousand US troops are back in Iraq to bolster the shattered nation’s puppet regime that is propped up by American bayonets. New Iraqi military formations have been formed, totally equipped with modern US M1 Abrams tanks, Humvees, and fleets of trucks. More US forces are on the way.

These US-financed Iraqi units are euphemistically called ‘anti-terrorism forces’ and are supervised by US officers. In fact, what we see is the old British Imperial Raj formula of white officers commanding native mercenary troops.

These Iraqi units are now assaulting ISIS-held Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and smaller towns. Most of America’s Iraqi ‘sepoys’ (as native troops in the British Indian Raj were known) are Shia bitterly opposed to the nation’s minority Sunnis. After its 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US encouraged animosity between Shia and Sunni as a way of breaking resistance to foreign occupation – ‘divide et impera’ as the Romans used to say.

Interestingly, the backbone of ISIS leadership is made up of senior officers of Saddam Hussein’s old Iraqi army. The ‘Mother of All Battles’ continues, as President Saddam predicted shortly before he was lynched.

Meanwhile, thousands of US troops and Special Forces are now also engaged in Syria though just whom they are battling remains confused. Syria has become a mad house of warring factions backed by outside powers – a sort of modern version of Germany’s dreadful 30 Year’s War of the 1600’s.

To continue reading: What a Mess: The US Blunders Deeper Into The Mysterious Levant

Into the Syrian Quagmire, by Justin Raimondo

Just because you recognize a quagmire doesn’t mean you can get out of it, as Trump may well discover in Syria. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Donald Trump thinks he’s going to get rid of ISIS in Syria “quickly,” and then we’ll be on our way to making America great again – but already he’s finding that the terrain there is a bit crowded, and that he has a bit more than the fast-dissipating “Caliphate” to contend with.

According to reports, the Pentagon has come up with a plan to carry out Trump’s pledge, as ordered, but reality is racing ahead of the generals – and auguring a clash of civilizations in the midst of Syria’s blasted out cities.

The plan involves an unspecified increase in the number of US Special Forces and a qualitative uptick in heavy armaments: this is to be accompanied by a loosening of the rules of engagement previously imposed by the Obama administration. The cap on US ground forces will be lifted, and arms previously withheld will be put in the hands of Kurdish forces, the “People’s Protection Units” (YPG), in the midst of which US advisors are now embedded. The plan is to use the Arab-Kurdish coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as ground troops, backed up by “U.S. fixed-wing aircraft and attack helicopters.” In tandem with this effort, US forces will move into Syria deploying heavy artillery, “while more Special Operations troops would move closer to the front lines – requiring more US military assets to protect them.”

The goal is Raqqa, the Syrian equivalent of Mordor, where ISIS is ensconced. But the focus of the military situation is currently on the other side of the country, close to the Turkish border, where Turkish troops are moving toward the town of Manbij, with their Islamist allies in tow, and a looming confrontation with Kurdish fighters is eclipsing the now delayed siege of Raqqa.

To continue reading: Into the Syrian Quagmire

Tulsi Gabbard: To Solve Refugee Crisis, Stop Funding Terrorism, by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Tulsi Gabbard refuses to toe the Deep State party line on the Middle East. From Darius Shahtahmasebi at theantimedia.org:

Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the politician who previously accused the U.S. of arming ISIS, is still calling on the U.S. government to stop its disastrous regime change policies in the Middle East.

According to a press release made public on Tuesday, Gabbard has again called for the U.S. to stop aiding terrorists like al-Qaeda and ISIS. Gabbard’s guest at the presidential address to Congress, a Kurdish refugee activist, also called for an end to the U.S. policy of “regime change in Syria.”

“In the face of unimaginable heartbreak, Tima has been a voice for the voiceless, a champion for refugees worldwide, and a strong advocate for ending the regime change war in Syria. I am honored to welcome her to Washington tonight as we raise our voices to call on our nation’s leaders to end the counterproductive regime change war in Syria that has caused great human suffering, refugees, loss of life, and devastation. We urge leaders in Congress to pass the Stop Arming Terrorists Act and end our destructive policy of using American taxpayer dollars to provide direct and indirect support to armed militants allied with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria, who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.”

“For years, our government has been providing both direct and indirect support to these armed militant groups, who are working directly with or under the command of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, all in their effort and fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”

The activist, Tima Kurdi, is more widely known as the aunt of a three-year-old boy who drowned on the shores of Turkey in September 2015. The image went viral on social media and was easily manipulated by the mainstream media to further the United States’ agenda in the region, never once laying blame to the U.S. military establishment for spending over $1 billion a year arming Syrian rebels.

To continue reading: Tulsi Gabbard: To Solve Refugee Crisis, Stop Funding Terrorism

Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion? by Ron Paul

The military wants to send thousands of troops to Syria. That would be incredibly stupid. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Just over a week into the Trump Administration, the President issued an Executive Order giving Defense Secretary James Mattis 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat ISIS. According to the Order, the plan should make recommendations on military actions, diplomatic actions, partners, strategies, and how to pay for the operation.

As we approach the president’s deadline it looks like the military is going to present Trump with a plan to do a whole lot more of what we’ve been doing and somehow expect different results. Proving the old saying that when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, we are hearing increasing reports that the military will recommend sending thousands of US troops into Syria and Iraq.

This would be a significant escalation in both countries, as currently there are about 5,000 US troops still fighting our 13-year war in Iraq, and some 500 special forces soldiers operating in Syria.

The current Syria ceasefire, brokered without US involvement at the end of 2016, is producing positive results and the opposing groups are talking with each other under Russian and Iranian sponsorship. Does anyone think sending thousands of US troops into a situation that is already being resolved without us is a good idea?

In language reminiscent of his plans to build a wall on the Mexican border, the president told a political rally in Florida over the weekend that he was going to set up “safe zones” in Syria and would make the Gulf States pay for them. There are several problems with this plan.

To continue reading: Trump’s ISIS Plan: Another US Invasion?