Tag Archives: Syria

Could Trump End the Syrian War? by Eric Margolis

As Eric Margolis notes, the US has no real business being in Syria, no strategic interests. However, if Trump actually ends the Syrian war, there’ll be hell to pay with the Deep State, which will not realize its cherished goal of deposing Assad. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel.

President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria’s jihadist rebels that have fuelled the bloody six-year conflict. Washington, and its allies Britain and France, have persistently denied arming Syria’s jihadist rebels fighting to bring down the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar Assad.

Former President George W. Bush actively considered invading Syria around 2008 in collusion with Israel. But the Israelis then pointed out that there were no Western-friendly groups to replace Assad, only extreme militant Sunni Muslim groups. Even the usually reckless Bush called off the invasion of Syria.

By contrast, Barack Obama gave a green light to the CIA to arm, train and logistically support anti-Assad jihadist rebels in Syria. Arms poured in from Lebanon and, later, Turkey, paid for by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Small numbers of US, British and French advisors went to Syria to teach the jihadists how to use mortars, explosives, and anti-tank weapons. The media’s claim that the fighting in Syria was due to a spontaneous popular uprising was false. The repressive Assad government was widely unpopular but the uprising was another CIA ‘color-style’ operation.

The object of this operation was to overthrow President Assad and his Shiite-leaning regime, which was supported by Iran, a bogeyman to all the US-backed feudal Arab oil monarchies. Syria was also to be punished because it refused Washington’s demands to sever ties with Iran and accept US tutelage.

To continue reading: Could Trump End the Syrian War?

 

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Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction, by Tom Englehardt

In large part, the outcome of US policy in the Middle East and Northern Africa has been destruction and rubble, and nothing more. An excellent article from Tom Englehardt at antiwar.com:

You remember. It was supposed to be twenty-first-century war, American-style: precise beyond imagining; smart bombs; drones capable of taking out a carefully identified and tracked human being just about anywhere on Earth; special operations raids so pinpoint-accurate that they would represent a triumph of modern military science.  Everything “networked.”  It was to be a glorious dream of limited destruction combined with unlimited power and success.  In reality, it would prove to be a nightmare of the first order.

If you want a single word to summarize American war-making in this last decade and a half, I would suggest rubble. It’s been a painfully apt term since September 11, 2001. In addition, to catch the essence of such war in this century, two new words might be useful: rubblize and rubblization. Let me explain what I mean.

In recent weeks, another major city in Iraq has officially been “liberated” (almost) from the militants of the Islamic State.  However, the results of the U.S.-backed Iraqi military campaign to retake Mosul, that country’s second largest city, don’t fit any ordinary definition of triumph or victory.  It began in October 2016 and, at nine months and counting, has been longer than the World War II battle of Stalingrad.  Week after week, in street to street fighting, with U.S. airstrikes repeatedly called in on neighborhoods still filled with terrified Mosulites, unknown but potentially staggering numbers of civilians have died.  More than a million people – yes, you read that figure correctly – were uprooted from their homes and major portions of the Western half of the city they fled, including its ancient historic sections, have been turned into rubble.

This should be the definition of victory as defeat, success as disaster.  It’s also a pattern.  It’s been the essential story of the American war on terror since, in the month after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush loosed American air power on Afghanistan.  That first air campaign began what has increasingly come to look like the full-scale rubblization of significant parts of the Greater Middle East.

By not simply going after the crew who committed those attacks but deciding to take down the Taliban, occupy Afghanistan, and in 2003, invade Iraq, Bush’s administration opened the proverbial can of worms in that vast region. An imperial urge to overthrow Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, who had once been Washington’s guy in the Middle East only to become its mortal enemy (and who had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11), proved one of the fatal miscalculations of the imperial era.

To continue reading: Bombing the Rubble, Empire of Destruction

Washington’s Good Terrorists, Bad Terrorists Policy in Middle East, by Nauman SADIQ

The only difference between “good” terrorists and “bad” terrorists is that the former are used by Washington for its political and military goals, while the latter are not. However, they are both usually Islamic extremists who kill innocent people for their own political and military goals. From Nauman SADIQ at orientalreview.org:

Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. The only difference between the Afghan jihad back in the ‘80s that spawned Islamic jihadists like the Taliban and al Qaeda for the first time in history and the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, 2011-onward, is that the Afghan jihad was an overt jihad: back then, the Western political establishments and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media, used to openly brag that the CIA provides all those AK-47s, RPGs and stingers to the Afghan so-called “freedom fighters” to combat the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

A page of British The Independent newspaper, issued Dec 6, 1993

After the 9/11 tragedy, however, the Western political establishments and corporate media have become a lot more circumspect, therefore this time around, they have waged covert jihads against the Arab-nationalist Gaddafi regime in Libya and Assad regime in Syria, in which Islamic jihadists (aka terrorists) have been sold as “moderate rebels” with secular and nationalist ambitions to the Western audience.

Since the regime change objective in those hapless countries went against the mainstream narrative of ostensibly fighting a war against terrorism, therefore the Western political establishments and the corporate media are now trying to muddle the reality by offering color-coded schemes to identify myriads of militant and terrorist outfits that are operating in Syria: such as the red militants of the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, which the Western powers want to eliminate; the yellow Islamic jihadists, like Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, with whom the Western powers can collaborate under desperate circumstances; and the green militants of the Free Syria Army (FSA) and a few other inconsequential outfits, which together comprise the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition.

If we were to draw parallels between the Soviet-Afghan jihad of the ‘80s and the Syrian civil war of today, the Western powers used the training camps located in the Af-Pak border regions to train and arm Afghan “Mujahideen” against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

Similarly, the training camps located in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan are being used to provide training and weapons to Sunni Arab militants to battle the Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime with the collaboration of Turkish, Jordanian and Saudi intelligence agencies.

To continue reading: Washington’s Good Terrorists, Bad Terrorists Policy in Middle East

 

Seismic Shift In Syria: Trump Ends Covert Obama-era CIA Program Which Sent Arms To Jihadists, by Tyler Durden

It’s hard to believe the CIA won’t undermine this one. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In what may be one of the most significant foreign policy decisions of his first year in office, Trump is shutting down the CIA’s covert program to arm rebels fighting the Syrian government. This would constitute a monumental shift in terms of US priorities in Syria which throughout most of the 6-year long war have focused on removing Bashar al-Assad. The Washington Post reports:

Officials said Trump made the decision to scrap the CIA program nearly a month ago, after an Oval Office meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster ahead of a July 7 meeting in Germany with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The move is consistent with signals coming out of the White House over the past months, as well as in keeping with Trump’s early campaign promises that he would seek to wind down the war in Syria by making ISIS the only objective, and not the removal of Assad. There have been additional hints at willingness to work closer with Russia in a strategic anti-terror partnership in Syria.  Secretary of State Tillerson’s said in an April interview with ABC News, as well several weeks ago, that Assad’s fate would be up for the Syrian people to decide, adding that:

In that regard, we are hopeful that we can work with Russia and use their influence to achieve areas of stabilization throughout Syria and create the conditions for a political process through Geneva in which we can engage all of the parties on the way forward, and it is through that political process that we believe the Syrian people will lawfully be able to decide the fate of Bashar al-Assad.

The US takes Rebranded Al-Nusra Front off Terror Watch-lists, by Nauman Sadiq

The US is bending over backward to prevent it from becoming general knowledge that it has been aiding al-Qaeda linked terrorists in Syria the last several years. From Nauman Sadiq at orientalreview.org:

According to a recent report by CBC Canada, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front and then Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) since July 2016, has been removed from the terror watch-lists of the US and Canada after it merged with fighters from Zenki Brigade and hardline jihadists from Ahrar al-Sham and rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January this year.

The US State Department is hesitant to label Tahrir al-Sham a terror group, despite the group’s link to al-Qaeda, as the US government has directly funded and armed the Zenki Brigade, one of the constituents of Tahrir al-Sham, with sophisticated weaponry including the US-made antitank TOW missiles.

Ahmed Hussein al-Shar’a aka Abu Mohammad al-Julani

The overall military commander of Tahrir al-Sham continues to be Abu Mohammad al-Julani, whom the US has branded a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million bounty. But for the US to designate Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons to terrorists, and draw attention to the fact that the US continues to arm Islamic jihadists in Syria.

In order to understand the bloody history of al-Nusra Front during the Syrian civil war, bear in mind that since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in August 2011 to April 2013, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front were a single organization that chose the banner of “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Although al-Nusra Front has been led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani but he was appointed as the emir of al-Nusra Front by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, in January 2012.

To continue reading: The US takes Rebranded Al-Nusra Front off Terror Watch-lists

Murder Of Green Berets In Jordan Exposed Secretive CIA Syria Program Details, by Tyler Durden

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this story is that America’s military is arming and training Syrians who are part of ISIS, al Qaeda, and other terrorist armies, not the supposed “moderate” Syrian revolutionaries, and the military and the CIA are well aware of it. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

“The Jordanian government had a strong incentive to gloss over the murders of the three Green Berets.  Likewise, the CIA was scared of potential blowback and the exposing of their covert program,” says investigative journalist Jack Murphy, himself an Army special forces veteran.

A premeditated green-on-blue attack in Jordan outside of King Faisal Air Base (at al-Jafr in Southern Jordan) late last year resulted in the deaths of three elite US Green Berets in what the media initially dubbed a mere unfortunate gate incident and what the Jordanian government dismissed as a “a tragic accident devoid of any terrorist motives”. But the whole event and subsequent attempts at cover-up just as Obama was leaving office enraged both the families of the slain and the US special forces community; and it further threatened to blow wide open the CIA’s illegal Syrian regime change operation, called Timber Sycamore, which involved American special ops soldiers being tasked with training so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels in Jordan and Turkey as part of an inter-agency program.

As details of the court case involving the shooter continue to emerge this week, the media continues to misreport the true nature of the what the US special forces personnel were doing in Jordan in the first place, and how a CIA secret program put them at risk.

On Monday (July 17) a Jordanian military court sentenced the attacker, a Jordanian soldier named Marik al-Tuwayha, to life in prison with hard labor for the premeditated murder of Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27, of Kirksville, Missouri; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Arizona; and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas. In Jordan a “life sentence” can mean the possibility of being set free after serving 20 years for good behavior.

To continue reading: Murder Of Green Berets In Jordan Exposed Secretive CIA Syria Program Details

Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars, by Robert Parry

Israel plays the same game it and many other US allies have played for years: get America to fight your wars for you. From Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: Russia-gate is empowering Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to strong-arm President Trump into escalating the Syrian war by abandoning a recent cease-fire and challenging Iran and Russia, reports Robert Parry.

A weakened, even desperate President Donald Trump must decide whether to stand up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or to repudiate the Syrian partial ceasefire, which Trump hammered out with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7.

Whether intentionally or not, this crossroads is where the months of Russia-gate hysteria have led the United States, making Trump even more vulnerable to Israeli and neoconservative pressure and making any cooperation with Russia more dangerous for him politically.

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Sunday, Netanyahu declared that Israel was totally opposed to the Trump-Putin cease-fire deal in southern Syria because it perpetuates Iranian presence in Syria in support of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Netanyahu’s position increases pressure on Trump to escalate U.S. military involvement in Syria and possibly move toward war against Iran and even Russia. The American neocons, who generally move in sync with Netanyahu’s wishes, already have as their list of current goals “regime changes” in Damascus, Tehran and Moscow – regardless of the dangers to the Middle East and indeed the world.

At the G-20 summit on July 7, Trump met for several hours with Putin coming away with an agreed-upon cease-fire for southwestern Syria, an accord that has proven more successful than previous efforts to reduce the violence that has torn the country apart since 2011.

But that limited peace could mean failure for the proxy war that Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional players helped launch six years ago with the goal of removing Assad from power and shattering the so-called “Shiite crescent”from Tehran through Damascus to Beirut. Instead, that “crescent” appears more firmly in place, with Assad’s military bolstered by Shiite militia forces from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In other words, the “regime change” gambit against Assad’s government would have backfired, with Iranian and Hezbollah forces arrayed along Israel’s border with Syria. And instead of accepting that reversal and seeking some modus vivendi with Iran, Netanyahu and his Sunni-Arab allies (most notably the Saudi monarchy) have decided to go in the other direction (a wider war) and to bring President Trump along with them.

To continue reading: Netanyahu Pushes Trump Toward Wider Wars