Tag Archives: Syria

Bombshell Report Confirms US Coalition Struck A Deal With ISIS, by Tyler Durden

Although former US ally ISIS is now almost defeated, mostly by Syria, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, the US is going to use the group as its excuse to maintain a military presence in Syria, a nation that doesn’t want any US presence. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

At a moment of widespread acknowledgement that the short-lived Islamic State is no longer a reality, and as ISIS is about to be defeated by the Syrian Army in its last urban holdout of Abu Kamal City in eastern Syria, the US is signalling an open-ended military presence in Syria. On Monday Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon that the US is preparing for a long term military commitment in Syria to fight ISIS “as long as they want to fight.”

Mattis indicated that even should ISIS loose all of its territory there would still be a dangerous insurgency that could morph into an “ISIS 2.0” which he said the US would seek to prevent. “The enemy hasn’t declared that they’re done with the area yet, so we’ll keep fighting as long as they want to fight,” Mattis said. “We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction.”


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stands in front of a map of Syria and Iraq.

Mattis was referring to the stalled peace talks in Geneva which some analysts have described as a complete failure (especially as the Geneva process unrealistically stipulates the departure of Assad), as the future of Syria has of late been increasingly decided militarily on the battlefield, with the Syrian government now controlling the vast majority of the country’s most populated centers.

Ironically just as some degree of stability and normalcy has returned to many parts of the county now under government control, Mattis coupled the idea of a permanent US military presence with the goal of allowing Syrians to return to their homes. He said, “You keep broadening them. Try to (demilitarize) one area then (demilitarize) another and just keep it going, try to do the things that will allow people to return to their homes.”

Meanwhile Turkey once again reiterated that the US has 13 bases in Syria, though the US-backed Syrian YPG has previously indicated seven US military bases in northern Syria. The Pentagon, however, would not confirm base locations or numbers – though only a year-and-a-half ago the American public was being assured that there would be “no boots on the ground” due to mission creep in Syria.

To continue reading: Bombshell Report Confirms US Coalition Struck A Deal With ISIS

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US Sells Out the Kurds – Again, by Reese Erlich

Historically, if you want the Kurds on your side you promise them their own country. After the fight is offer, you “forget” the promise. The US plays this game well. From Reese Erlich at antiwar.com:

I stood at a border crossing as thousands of Yazidis and other refugees fled ISIS attacks on Mosul and nearby cities. Tens of thousands of refugees flooded into the Kurdish Region of Iraq as Kurdish relief workers greeted them with water and food.

It was August 2014, and I was there on assignment as a freelance correspondent. The Obama administration had started bombing northern Iraq just a few days earlier. The explanation given at the time, now long forgotten, was the US would bomb for a limited time to protect the Kurdish capital of Erbil and stop the attacks on Yazidis.

A Kurdish horseman. Photo by Reese Erlich.

Those goals were accomplished within a matter of weeks as the ISIS offensive stopped. But the bombing continues to this day. The US eventually sent 5,000 troops to Iraq and then 1,500 troops to Syria.

Neither the Obama nor Trump administrations have made a convincing argument on the constitutionally of these new wars. They cite a Congressional resolution passed after 9/11 calling on the US to pursue Al Qaeda and the Taliban. ISIS and other groups the US is fighting are not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, and in fact, didn’t exist in 2011.

But the events of 2014 did cement closer ties between the US and Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) led by President Masoud Barzani. The Iraqi Army had collapsed in the face of the ISIS offensive. The Kurdish armed forces, known as peshmerga, were the only reliable Iraqi fighters allied with the US in 2014. The peshmerga moved into the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas, expanding the Kurdish Region by 40% with the tacit approval of the US.

“We now genuinely know the United States supports us,” said Fuad Hussein at the time. He was Barzani’s chief of staff.

To continue reading: US Sells Out the Kurds – Again

Red Lines & Lost Credibility, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The US is losing face in the world…and its empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

A major goal of this Asia trip, said National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster, is to rally allies to achieve the “complete, verifiable and permanent denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

Yet Kim Jong Un has said he will never give up his nuclear weapons. He believes the survival of his dynastic regime depends upon them.

Hence we are headed for confrontation. Either the U.S. or North Korea backs down, as Nikita Khrushchev did in the Cuban missile crisis, or there will be war.

In this new century, U.S. leaders continue to draw red lines that threaten acts of war that the nation is unprepared to back up.

Recall President Obama’s, “Assad must go!” and the warning that any use of chemical weapons would cross his personal “red line.”

Result: After chemical weapons were used, Americans rose in united opposition to a retaliatory strike. Congress refused to authorize any attack. Obama and John Kerry were left with egg all over their faces. And the credibility of the country was commensurately damaged.

There was a time when U.S. words were taken seriously, and we heeded Theodore Roosevelt’s dictum: “Speak softly, and carry a big stick.”

After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1991, George H.W. Bush said simply: “This will not stand.” The world understood that if Saddam did not withdraw from Kuwait, his army would be thrown out. As it was.

But in the post-Cold War era, the rhetoric of U.S. statesmen has grown ever more blustery, even as U.S. relative power has declined. Our goal is “ending tyranny in our world,” bellowed George W. Bush in his second inaugural.

Consider Rex Tillerson’s recent trip. In Saudi Arabia, he declared, “Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against … ISIS is coming to a close … need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home.”

The next day, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi responded:

“We wonder about the statements attributed to the American secretary of state about the popular mobilization forces. … No side has the right to intervene in Iraq’s affairs or decide what Iraqis do.”

This slap across the face comes from a regime that rules as a result of 4,500 U.S. dead, tens of thousands wounded and $1 trillion invested in the nation’s rebuilding after 15 years of war.

To continue reading: Red Lines & Lost Credibility

In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War, by Tyler Durden

A top Qatari official disclosed that Qatar funded ISIS and a regime change effort in Syria…with the full knowledge and support of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.

 And according to a well-known Syria analyst and economic adviser with close contacts in the Syrian government, the explosive interview constitutes a high level “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilize an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda.” Importantly, “this admission will help build case for what Damascus sees as an attack on its security & sovereignty. It will form basis for compensation claims.”

A 2013 London press conference: Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. A 2014 Hillary Clinton email confirmed Qatar as a state-sponsor of ISIS during that same time period. 

As the war in Syria continues slowly winding down, it seems new source material comes out on an almost a weekly basis in the form of testimonials of top officials involved in destabilizing Syria, and even occasional leaked emails and documentswhich further detail covert regime change operations against the Assad government. Though much of this content serves to confirm what has already long been known by those who have never accepted the simplistic propaganda which has dominated mainstream media, details continue to fall in place, providing future historians with a clearer picture of the true nature of the war.

This process of clarity has been aided – as predicted – by the continued infighting among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) former allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with each side accusing the other of funding Islamic State and al-Qaeda terrorists (ironically, both true). Increasingly, the world watches as more dirty laundry is aired and the GCC implodes after years of nearly all the gulf monarchies funding jihadist movements in places like Syria, Iraq, and Libya.

To continue reading: In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

Bombshell NSA Memo: Saudi Arabia Ordered Attack On Damascus International Airport With US Knowledge, by Tyler Durden

The US and Saudi Arabia fomented rebellion in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The rebels went after civilian targets, including the Damascus Airport. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The Intercept has just released a new top-secret NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals in stunning clarity that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the warwhich has now claimed half a million lives.

The US intelligence memo – marked “Top Secret” – is arguably the most damning piece of evidence to date which gives internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling an armed insurgency which launched massive and well-coordinated attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of regime change. The NSA report is sourced to the intelligence agency’s controversial PRISM program – which gives the NSA the ability to sweep up all communications and data exchanged through major US internet service providers like Google. The memo focuses on events that unfolded outside Damascus in March of 2013.

Damascus International Airport: a major civilian transport hub targeted by the Saudi government with knowledge of US intelligence. Image source: AFP/Getty

One of the videos that Saudi-backed FSA fighters uploaded to YouTube identified by The Intercept as showing rockets launched on civilian areas of Damascus on March 18, 2013. US intelligence knew of the secret operation three days in advance yet did not stop it. 

According to the document, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was ordered to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the Syrian capital’s international airport by Prince Salman bin Sultan – a prominent member of the Saudi royal family tasked with overseeing operations in Syria as a top Saudi intelligence officer. The document further reveals that the “Saudis sent 120 tons of explosives/weapons to opposition forces” – presumably in the lead up to the operation.

To continue reading: Bombshell NSA Memo: Saudi Arabia Ordered Attack On Damascus International Airport With US Knowledge

Pay Any Price, by Robert Gore

 

Empires get stupider and more corrupt as they age.

Why are US Green Berets, four of whom were recently killed, in Niger? Why does the US have at least 36 bases, outposts, and staging areas in Africa, located in 24 countries? Why does a website, TomDispatch, have to file a Freedom of Information Act request to get that information, which contradicts years of assurances from AFRICOM, the US’s African military command, that the US has only one base in Africa, in the Republic of Djibouti? Why is AFRICOM headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany? How does anything that happens in Niger, or most of the rest of Africa for that matter, affect anyone’s way of life in the US? Why do we say the dead were heroes protecting our way of life when the country where they died poses no threat?

From the AFRICOM website:

The United States and Niger have a long-standing bilateral relationship. Our militaries have been stalwart allies focused on working together to deter and to defeat terrorist threats in the West African nation and across the Sahel region.

A war on a tactic, terror, can provide the rationale for anything. Terror is ubiquitous, it can be fought anywhere. Anyone who uses or threatens to use violence in furtherance of political or economic ends can be deemed a terrorist. Any “terrorist” who yells, “Death to the United States!” can be deemed a threat to Americans. Terrorism will never be eradicated, so the war against it is perpetual. President George W. Bush even arrogated the right to wage that war preemptively, before terrorists actually struck the US or its citizens. And that’s how the US finds itself in Niger, its “long-standing” and “stalwart” ally that 999,999 out of a million Americans can’t find on an unlabeled map.

The noninterventionist counsel in George Washington’s Farewell Address and John Quincy’s “In Search of Monsters to Destroy” speech has been relegated to the historical dustbin. The latest in a long line of justifications for America making the world safe for democracy, liberty, global order, or some other good thing came from John McCain. It might have come from McCain’s hero, Theodore Roosevelt (except that Roosevelt made no attempt to hide his disdain for those he regarded as inferior races). Or it might have come from Woodrow Wilson, either of the Bushes, or John F. Kennedy.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

When a nation has 36 military outposts on the least developed continent and over 800 around the globe, its running an empire, not Kennedy’s altruistic crusade. It’s an empire for which the US can no longer afford to “pay any price,” if it ever could. The proponents and many beneficiaries of America’s imperial power recoil at mundane accounting considerations. However, the US government has over $20 trillion in debt, a fair proportion of which funded its empire, and over $200 trillion in unfunded pension and medical-care promises. Its biggest adversary may one day be the credit markets.

Costs are not just reckoned in treasure and blood, but the erosion of the US and its government’s stature in the world, encouraged and hastened by the two countries the US regards as its most threatening adversaries: Russia and China. This week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson journeys to Pakistan “…with a demand that Islamabad do more to eliminate militant havens on its territory…” (Wall Street Journal, “U.S. Refocuses on Pakistan ‘Havens’,” 10/21-22/17 ) Outside of Washington most of us have to offer something to get something. Washington’s potentates demand, with an implicit or explicit “or else.” Military and intelligence capabilities that dwarf the rest of the world’s underwrites the hubris and the “or else.”

It’s ironic that the former exemplars of collectivist command economies, Russia and China, are offering the nations in their Eurasian orbit all sorts of goodies in furtherance of their Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China will upgrade and expand Gwadar, Pakistan’s Indian Ocean port, and has given Pakistan $230 million to build a new international airport there. A 2,282-acre free-trade area is being established, with the China Overseas Port Holding Company holding a 43-year lease. Quite a contrast to the “demands” of the former exemplar of free trade and voluntary exchange, the US.

There are caveats concerning the BRI. It is being spearheaded by the Chinese and Russian governments. The book Successful Government Projects is thin; Government Boondoggles is a multi-volume set. China will write most of the checks, but it’s carrying a huge debt load that will one day implode. Historically the Eurasian region has been riven with conflict, and it’s not clear if those animosities can be submerged. India is leery of playing ball with long-time rival China.

Europe is the terminus for many proposed BRI infrastructure projects, giving the Europeans yet another reason to question their fealty to the US (see “Europe’s Lost Testicles,” SLL). Job-creating and wealth-building trade with the Eurasian axis, including a shot at BRI contracts, or more terrorism and unwanted immigration from getting along and going along with US interventionism in the Middle East and Africa?

The US’s ham-handed Middle Eastern forays have many nations in that region questioning their allegiance to the US and its petrodollar regime. Strategy regarding ISIS in Syria and Iraq has been particularly maladroit. The US was ostensibly fighting ISIS but actually using it as a regime change agent in Syria. With this contradictory policy the US has simultaneously managed to disappoint and anger both its allies favoring regime change via ISIS: Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey, and Israel, and its allies fighting ISIS: Syrian rebels, the Kurds, and Iraq. Sunday Tillerson demanded that Iraq expel the Iranian militias that have so effectively fought ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Russia stood by long-time ally Syria and its leader, Bashar al-Assad, allied with Iran and Hezbollah, turned the battle against ISIS, and revealed US prevarications and ineptitude. Is it any wonder that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and some of the Gulf states are making friendly overtures towards Russia and buying its weaponry, while edging toward the exit on the US and its petrodollar?

And that’s how you lose an empire. Impose prices you cannot pay and burdens you cannot bear upon yourself and your allies. Overestimate your strengths and underestimate your weaknesses. Do the opposite with your adversaries. Demand instead of listen, borrow instead of save, bully instead of bargain, bomb instead of negotiate.

The US could read the writing on the wall, let go of empire, accept inevitable multipolarity, and play a large and constructive role in it. Or it can suffer the fate its tired, delusional Deep State ordains: decay, defeat, the loss of the world’s admiration and respect, and moral, intellectual, and financial bankruptcy. There’s no cause for optimism. On historical form empires get stupider and more corrupt as they age.

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The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered, by Eric Margolis

For years the US used ISIS as a regime-change agent in Syria, all the while claiming they were tough, tenacious, and hard to beat. Then Russia came along, and with allies Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah, started pushing ISIS around. All of sudden, the US started having some success against ISIS, too. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers.  I’ve been saying this for the last four years.

I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.  This week, the western powers and their local satraps finally took action and stormed the last IS stronghold at Raqqa.  To no surprise, IS put up almost no resistance and ran for its miserable life.

The much-dreaded IS was never more than a bunch of young hooligans and religious fanatics who were as militarily effective as the medieval Children’s Crusade.

In the west, IS was blown up by media and governments into a giant monster that was coming to cut the throats of honest folk in the suburbs.

IS did stage some very bloody and grisly attacks – that’s what put it on the map.   But none of them posed any mortal threat or really endangered our national security.   In fact, the primary target of IS attacks has been Shia Muslims in the Mideast.

Many of the IS attacks in North America and Europe were done by mentally deranged individuals or were initiated by under-cover government provocateurs, such as the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center.  IS was notorious for falsely taking credit for attacks it did not commit.

Other ‘lone wolf’ attacks were made by Mideasterners driven to revenge after watching the destruction by the US and its allies of substantial parts of their region.  Think Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, and the murderous brutality of Egypt’s-US backed regime.

IS appears to have been shaped by western intelligence in an effort to duplicate its success with the Afghan mujahidin in the mid 1980’s that helped defeat the Soviet Union.  CIA, Pakistani and Saudi intelligence, and Britain’s MI-6 recruited some 100,000 volunteers from across the Muslim world to wage jihad in Afghanistan.  I observed this brilliant success first hand from the ranks of the mujahidin.

To continue reading: The Phony Islamic State Gets Plastered