Tag Archives: Syria

Washington’s Endless Policy Bankruptcy in Syria, by Doug Bandow

The fiasco in Syria easily makes the list of the ten dumbest things the US government has done since the turn of the century. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

US Should Avoid Other Nation’s Civil Wars

It took a particularly perverse and misguided mindset to watch the tragic collapse of Syria and insist that Washington intervene. One of the most important benefits of living in a nation that is stable politically (well, sort of these days!) and prosperous economically is to escape precisely that sort of devastating collapse. The U.S. government’s job is to protect its own people, and that should mean avoiding unnecessary involvement in destructive wars, not embracing them.

Yet in the nation’s capital foreign conflict attracts armchair field marshals like lights draw moths. There is an overwhelming desire throughout government bureaucracies, think tanks, and media newsrooms to get involved or, more accurately, to make others get involved. Opinion leaders rarely go themselves. But they are only too happy to send others to do the dirty work. Successive administrations have imposed sanctions, provided weapons, trained soldier, introduced troops, launched bombing raids, seized resources, occupied territory, and done more in assorted civil wars, including Syria.

The latter is a terrible tragedy, with an estimated half million deaths. It is not genocide, however, as oft-claimed. It is a civil war. And one with multiple factions, many if not most ugly, brutal, and murderous. Unfortunately, President Bashar al-Assad has no monopoly on evil. Yet the US cheerfully collaborated with most any killer of most any ideology if he opposed Assad, a perverse policy of dubious morality and dismal effectiveness.

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Has the S-400 System Made Trump a President of Peace? by Tim Kirby

Many times political strategies have been dictated by the weapons of war. From Tim Kirby at strategic-culture.com:

The historical legacy of these four unusual years of Trump’s reign over America can and will be debated endlessly, but he does have one inarguable achievement that no other recent U.S. President has – he didn’t start any new wars. Trump certainly made lots of cartoonish threats at nations like North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and China during his time in office, but ultimately he never pulled the trigger. Furthermore, the military situations he did inherit more or less sat stagnant with no “surges” or escalation. On the surface it looks as though Trump kept his anti-war promises by talking like a warhawk, yet ultimately doing nothing. Conscious inaction in this case may have been a powerful form of direct action to keep the U.S. out of some new quagmire with uncertain victory conditions. We should also not forget the President upon taking the Oval Office immediately raised the annual budget for the Armed Forces. This could have been a form of bribery to keep the Military Industrial Complex fed on dry food so it wouldn’t go out hunting for fresh meat. That was probably the “cost” for four years of nonintervention. However, there may be an alternative view as to why the Trump era was so unusually gun shy.

If we go back to 2017 there was one moment when Donald Trump truly “became President of the United States” according to Fareed Zakaria. On April 7th, to Mainstream Media delight, Trump greenlit the launch of 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at various targets in Syria. This was a rare act of true blunt aggression by Trump, but what was even more unusual was that there was no follow up strike, there was not step two on a roadmap, there was just nothing. After this strike there was no follow up of any relevance. The only thing American forces in Syria seem to have accomplished is playing chicken with the Russians out of boredom.

Image: This unassuming weapon could be an international game changer.

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Oligarchic Imperialism Is The New Dominant World Religion, by Caitlin Johnstone

Borrowing from a Thomas Sowell book title; the vision of the anointed: a world run by a small elite at the point of a gun. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

I was just watching a gaggle of blue-checkmarked narrative managers attack progressive commentators Katie Halper and Briahna Joy Gray on Twitter for platforming antiwar journalist Rania Khalek on the grounds that Khalek is an “Assadist”, which is imperialist for “someone who opposes western imperialism in Syria”.

At no point do any of these narrative managers bother to address the actual things these women were discussing together or why anything Khalek was saying in their video conference was wrong. They do not feel the need to do such a thing, because they have this label, “Assadist”, which they can pin on one of the speakers and thereby reject one hundred percent of her work and one hundred percent of the people who give her a platform from which to speak. They feel no need to address the arguments, because they have a label which they all agree means they can completely un-person someone who opposes western regime change agendas in a specific region.

There are many such labels that are used to exclude people from positions of influence and power for simply disagreeing with the official doctrine of status quo oligarchic imperialism in any way. “Assadist” is one of them; it allows someone to be completely marginalized from platforms of significant influence without anyone ever needing to admit that they’re simply depriving anyone of a platform who criticized the way the US power alliance used proxy armies and propaganda campaigns in a campaign to topple Damascus. “Kremlin asset” is another, as are “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie”, or “[insert imperialism-targeted leader] apologist”.

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Declassify America’s Dirty Secrets in Syria to Stop a Biden War, by James Bovard

If people knew the truth about the US government’s travesty in Syria, the pressure would be on Biden, if he’s the president, to get out rather than send in more troops. From James Bovard at consortiumnews.com:

Jim Bovard urges Trump to open the files to provide activism ammo for the vast numbers of Americans who vehemently oppose forever  wars. 

Sen. Kamala Harris, at left, accepts the Democratic Party’s nomination as vice president, Wilmington, Delaware, Aug. 19, 2020. (Lawrence Jackson, Biden for President, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

How many Syrians did you vote to kill on Election Day? Thanks to our perverse political system, the answer will be revealed over the next four years if the Biden administration drags the U.S. back into the Syrian Civil War. But there are steps that President Donald Trump can take in his final months in office to deter such follies.

Syria was not an issue in the presidential campaign and there were no foreign policy questions in the two presidential debates. That won’t stop the Biden team from claiming a mandate to spread truth and justice via bombs and bribes any place on the globe.

The Biden campaign promised to “increase pressure” on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad – presumably by providing more arms and money to his violent opponents. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris declared that the U.S. government “will once again stand with civil society and pro-democracy partners in Syria and help advance a political settlement where the Syrian people have a voice.”

Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms observed, “Every foreign policy ‘expert’ being floated for Biden’s cabinet supported toppling the governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria, helping Al Qaeda and jihadist friends, ravaging the countries, uprooting millions of refugees from their homes.”

Syria policy has long exemplified the depravity of Washington politicians and policymakers and the venality of much of the American media.

The same “Hitler storyline” that American politicians invoked to justify ravaging Serbia, Iraq and Libya was applied to Assad by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013. Once a foreign leader is irrevocably tagged with the scarlet H, the U.S. government is automatically entitled to take any action against his nation that would purportedly undermine his regime.

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Wild Conspiracy Theory? The Truth Behind the Biggest Threat to the ‘War on Terror’ Narrative, by Cynthia Chung

The Obama administration’s conduct in Libya and Syria were both scandals of the first order. From Cynthia Chung at strategic-culture.org:

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.”

– Julius Caesar

The illegal invasion of Libya, in which Britain was complicit and a British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s report confirmed as an illegal act sanctioned by the UK government, over which Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister (weeks before the release of the UK parliament report), occurred from March – Oct, 2011.

Muammar al-Gaddafi was assassinated on Oct. 20th, 2011.

On Sept 11-12th, 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at two U.S. government facilities in Benghazi.

It is officially denied to this date that al-Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization participated in the Benghazi attack. It is also officially denied that the attack was pre-meditated.

On the 6th year anniversary of the Benghazi attack, Barack Obama stated at a partisan speech on Sept 10th, 2018, delivered at the University of Illinois, that the outrage over the details concerning the Benghazi attack were the result of “wild conspiracy theory” perpetrated by conservatives and Republican members of Congress.

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged By Western Govt Contractors & Media, by Ben Gray

The Syrian war has always been an Anglo-American regime change operation. From Ben Gray at grayzone.com:

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

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The Syria Boondoggle: Who’s Ready to Die in Vain? by Danny Sjursen

It’s a senseless tragedy when a soldier dies in conflict that has no goal or end-state. Such is the fate of many of America’s forever war fighters. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Mark my words: an American soldier will soon die for next to nothing in Syria. Here’s a mission that takes all the absurdity of America’s post-9/11 wars of choice to their logical conclusion. As such, this muddled and aimless operation must stand forever tall in the pantheon of U.S. foreign policy folly – right up there with the three Seminole Wars (1817-18, 1835-42, 1855-58, 1,608 dead troops); Nicaraguan “Banana Wars” (1910, 1912-25, 1927-33, 159 dead); the Russian Civil War’s “Siberia” intervention (1918-20, 424 dead); “Desert One” botched Iran hostage rescue (1980, 8 dead); Beirut “peacekeeping” (1982-84, 265 dead); the Grenada invasion (1983, 19 dead); and Somalia (1992-94, 43 dead). So, in Trump’s defense – and that of the Washington crowd that’s repeatedly pressured him to stay the Syria course – his latest folly is in good company.

Of course, US service-members have already died in Syria – about ten so far. Not that many Americans much noticed. When the last soldier died in a “very unfortunate mishap,” General Kenneth P. Ekman, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (the ongoing mission in Iraq and Syria) assured reporters that there were “no indications that any Russian activity existed in the area” or that the patrol was “anything other than a normal patrol.” Have no fear though, since Ekman added that the deceased was “important to the mission.”

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The Benghazi Attack: The Forgotten History of the 2012 Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, by Sam Jacobs

There’s another 9/11 that’s important. From Sam Jacobs at ammo.com:

The Benghazi Attack: The Forgotten History of the 2012 Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya

If you say “September 11” most people automatically think of the attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. What they probably don’t even remember happened on September 11, were the attacks on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

Once the Libyan Revolution began in February 2011, the CIA began placing assets in the region, attempting to make contacts within the region. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, whose name and image would soon become synonymous with the Benghazi attacks, was the first liaison between the United States and the rebels. The task before the American intelligence community at that time was securing arms in the country, most notably shoulder-fired missiles, taken from the Libyan military.

Eastern Libya and Benghazi were the primary focal points of intelligence-gathering in the country. But there was something else at work here: The CIA was using the country as a base to funnel weapons to anti-Assad forces in Syria, as well as their alleged diplomatic mission.

Early Rumblings of Disorder in Benghazi

Trouble started in April 2012. This was when two former security guards of the consulate threw an IED over the fence. No casualties were reported, but another bomb was thrown at a convoy just four days later. Soon after, in May, the office of the International Red Cross in Benghazi was attacked and the local al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility. On August 6, the Red Cross suspended operations in Libya.
This was all part of a troubling escalation of violence in the region. The British Ambassador Dominic Asquith was the victim of an assassination attempt on June 10, 2012. As a result of this and of rocket attacks on convoys, the British withdrew their entire consular staff from Libya in late June of that year.

Get Out of Syria, by Daniel Larison

The thinking of the American military-industrial-intelligence complex is that once you’re in a country, you can’t just say it was a mistake getting in and get out. From Daniel Larison at theamericanconservative.com:

Having failed to overthrow the government there, we’re now penalizing the civilian population for our failure. Enough is enough.

AFP via Getty Images

Why are there still thousands of American troops in Syria? The government offers up an official counter-terrorism justification for maintaining an illegal military presence in the country, and the president will sometimes talk about “keeping the oil” there, but the real answer is that no one with any authority or influence in Washington wants to bring them home. The usual mix of inertia, cowardice, and ideology that defines so many of our foreign policy debates also creates perverse incentives for politicians in both parties to defend an illegal, unauthorized mission that has nothing to do with American security.

U.S. troops are in harm’s way in Syria, and they are occasionally engaged in hostilities with pro-regime forces. Four American soldiers were injured in a collision last Wednesday between their armored vehicle and a Russian one. That was just the latest in a string of clashes between U.S. forces and Syrian and Russian government forces that has been going on for months. Last month, a group of American troops came under fire from Syrian government forces. The Syrians claim that a U.S. helicopter had attacked a Syrian government outpost and killed one of their soldiers. There was a bigger clash in February of this year that also resulted in at least one Syrian fatality. These have all been minor incidents, but they show how potentially dangerous it is to keep these troops there.

The longer those troops remain in a country where they aren’t wanted, the more likely it is that some of them will end up getting seriously injured or killed. That would be a senseless waste of lives, and could trigger a larger conflict that could claim many more. Even if the U.S. avoids the worst-case scenario of a new war, there is still no good reason for American troops to be in Syria. All of them need to be pulled out as soon as possible.

 

Where Will All These War Games Lead? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Sometimes pretends wars become real ones. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

In northeast Syria last week, a U.S. military vehicle collided with a Russian armored vehicle, injuring four American soldiers.

Both the Americans and Russians blame each other for failing to follow established rules of the road. Had an American been killed, we could have had a crisis on our hands.

Query: With the ISIS caliphate dead and buried, why are 500 U.S. troops still in Syria a year after Donald Trump said we would be pulling them out? What are they doing there to justify risking a clash with Russian troops who are in Syria as the invited allies of the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad, whether we approve of his regime or not?

Nor was this the only U.S.-Russian faceoff last week.

Over the Black Sea, two Russian military jets swept past the nose of an American B-52, one of the bombers on which the airborne leg of our strategic deterrent depends. The Russian Su-27s flew so close to the B-52 that their afterburners shook the eight-engine bomber.

What was a nuclear-capable B-52 doing over the Black Sea, which is to Russia what the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are to us?

That B-52 overflight of the Black Sea was part of an exercise in which six U.S. B-52s overflew all 30 NATO nations in one day — from the U.S. and Canada to Spain and the Balkans and to the eastern Baltic Sea — in a military exercise to test Russian air defenses.

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