Hagel, Livni and Free Syrian Army commanders reported to gather in D.C. at behest of Israel lobby

on 21 Comments

The U.S. is evidently closely coordinating its policy toward the Syrian civil war with Israel.

On May 9, for instance, the Israel lobby group WINEP will hold an annual symposium in Washington. Reports have it here and here that speakers include Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, two commanders of the Free Syrian Army, and Tzipi Livni, an architect of the 2008-09 assault on Gaza. (The WINEP description of its conference appears to have been scrubbed of the information.) 

The 2013′ SOREF Symposium will feature many Senior US, Israeli civilian & defense officials, along with representatives of the FSA, namely (in the statement) ‘Colonel Abdul Hamid Zakaria, the commander & spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, and Colonel Abdul-Jabbar Aqidi commander and head of the Military Revolutionary Council in Aleppo. They will attend a special session on “The situation in Syria and the war against the regime of (President Bashar) Assad,”. This session will be off-the record & not for publication.Speaking at the symposium will be U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel & … Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni

WINEP is of course the offspring of the Israel lobby group AIPAC.

More coordination: Here was the New York Times lead on Friday about Israel’s latest round of Syrian strikes:

Israel aircraft bombed a target in Syria overnight Thursday, an Obama administration official said Friday night, as United States officials said they were considering military options, including carrying out their own airstrikes. 

Does anyone think that intimately coordinating American policy on Syria with Israel is going to build the credibility of whatever regime replaces Assad? (H/t Annie Robbins and Ira Glunts).

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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21 Responses

  1. Citizen
    May 5, 2013, 12:50 pm

    It does not matter in a way; the whole point is to cement US-Israeli interests. The Cable TV news shows like MSNBC on the left, and Fox News on the right, are speaking with one voice to Dick and Jane now, as I type. The message is clear: There’s no sky between the US and Israel’s best interests. PNAC is alive, well, and thriving, even though the neocons are not officially in the liberal Obama regime–they are in fact. The difference is that the right is straightforward on its rubber-stamping of Israel, in this latest case, Israeli bombing Syria regime targets while it is weak, fighting a civil war, while the Obama regime, and the likes of MSNBC, use more coded language, an abstract wordy version of shedding tears while shooting–at anyone, in this case, Assad’s regime, as a means to support Israel’s proxy war against Iran. PNAC is alive and well, with liberal Democrats now on board too.

  2. Annie Robbins
    May 5, 2013, 1:53 pm

    speaking of Hagel, Livni and Free Syrian Army…specifically the power behind the FSA, which is not a lot, it should go without saying at this juncture. a week ago moa published this:

    (b’s bold)

    NYT Starts Telling The Truth About Syria

    After more than two years of obfuscating the obvious the New York Times finally decided to write something truthful about the Syrian insurgency:

    Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.

    The Islamist character of the opposition reflects the main constituency of the rebellion, which has been led since its start by Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, mostly in conservative, marginalized areas.

    From the very start in Daraa the violent protests started at mosques. In late March 2011 a weapon cache was found inside the Omari mosque in Daraa. All of the “battalions” founded by the various insurgent groups were named after venerated Sunni figures or themes. It was therefore absolutely clear that this was a sectarian insurgency, with foreign support, from the very beginning.

    The U.S., as the NYT, so far promoted this sectarian monster as some kind of civil rights movement. As the NYT now removed that mask (likely due to some White House proding), how long will it take until it helps to kill it off?

    so the cat’s out of the bag when the nyt writes “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of. “

    • Philip Weiss
      May 5, 2013, 2:58 pm

      And I’d add that Joshua Landis characterizes this as a sectarian conflict. It didn’t begin that way, he says; it is now.

      • biorabbi
        May 5, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Was Hafez Assad’s attack on Hamma sectarian? Many Syrians would argue sectarianism has been alive and well in Syria for forty years! Gamel Nasser accused Hafez Assad of creating a sectarian conflict within Syria before I was born.

      • rws450
        May 6, 2013, 2:11 am

        Academic Syria expert Joshua Landis has been largely supportive of the ‘rebels’. He gave a glowing description of Ajami’s “The Syrian Rebellion” published by Hoover Press and his blog has mostly condemned the Assad government. He has joined or led many false reports, at one time suggesting the Assad was preparing to depart Damascus to hole up in a separatist Alawi enclave.

      • Bandolero
        May 7, 2013, 8:28 am

        The Syrian government is doing its’ best to prevent the promotion a sectarian view on the conflict. It instead describes the conflict as a conspiracy led by the US and Israel to weaken and undermine Syria and the axis of resistance.

        It’s only one side in this conflict seeing it as a sectarian conflict and promoting a sectarian view on the conflict: the rebels and their supporters. I think promoting a sectarian view is deliberate war strategy likely cooked up in Tel Aviv and Washington. AIPAC started promoting a sectarian view on the conflict in Syria mid 2012 when Israel became desperate that the rebels might fail to overthrow the Syrian government with mesages like this:

        “The violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime has reached new heights, as President Assad turns to a sectarian strategy, pitting his Alawite sect against the Sunni majority.” Source: AIPAC
        (deleted there since)

        After AIPAC started it, the promotion of a sectarian view to the conflict in Syria was in almost each and every news from all major western news outlets.

        The idea behind promoting a sectarian view on Syria is, that ~80% of Syria is Sunni, and when the conflict is seen and promoted as Sunni versus Shia, the rebels will likely finally win and manage to overthrow the Syrian government. So, that’s why I believe it’s a deliberate stretegy of warfare – and one of the biggest crimes of the western propaganda backing the rebels.

        In my opinion Joshua Landis knowingly or unknowingly (maybe he is just a racist?) does his best in helping the rebels with propaganda to create more sectarian warfare in Syria.

  3. Blownaway
    May 5, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Its amazing to me that all these PNAC adherents want to execute on their plan no matter the consequences. They don’t realize that they have not endeared themselves to the masses after supporting these dictators for so long and replacing secularists with Islamist will not turn out well for anyone. I cant wait for McCain and Netanyahu and Obama to start supporting islamists in Bahrain Saudi and Jordan next.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    May 5, 2013, 6:40 pm

    RE: “Does anyone think that intimately coordinating American policy on Syria with Israel is going to build the credibility of whatever regime replaces Assad?” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Building the credibility of whatever regime replaces Assad is just a sales pitch for U.S. military intervention (much like WMDs in Iraq was). It’s not really anything the advocates for intervention really care that much about. Mostly what they really care about is “carrying water” for* Israel.

    * REGARDING “CARRYING WATER”, THIS IS FROM word-detective.com:

    [EXCERPTS] ● Somebody call the ASPCA.

    Dear Word Detective: I have been seeing the phrase “to carry water” on a large number of mostly political weblogs, generally used in a pejorative sense to imply that the person referred to is a lackey or toady to a bad person or for an unrighteous cause . . .

    Good question. . . “To carry someone’s water” does indeed mean to occupy a subservient position, to do the bidding, the menial tasks, and frequently the dirty work, of a more powerful person, and is most often used in a political context. A junior member of Congress, for instance, who calls a press conference to vigorously denounce criticisms of party elders might be said to be “carrying water” for those criticized. The implication of “carrying someone’s water” is that the underling is acting not on personal initiative but at the behest, either explicit or perceived, of more powerful figures. To describe a person as “carrying water for” someone else is pejorative and a subjective judgment, implying that the person is acting only as a proxy for a more important person, so one person’s “water carrier” may well be another’s “loyal ally.”

    “To carry someone’s water” seems to have appeared in the late 1970s in the figurative sense in which it is now most often used, and almost certainly sprang from sports, where the position of “water boy,” charged with catering to the players’ comfort (including supplying them with water and the like), is the lowest rung in the team hierarchy. . .

    SOURCE – http://www.word-detective.com/072104.html

  5. Abdul-Rahman
    May 5, 2013, 8:28 pm

    A good analysis of current events in Syria from “The Real News” network http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cnpS4shHVFk

    “US Syria Policy Promotes Endless Civil War”

    Omar Dahi: Daniel Pipes, neo-con and ultra Zionist, spells out US policy towards Syria – let both sides destroy each other

    As for any of these people in the Free Syrian Army that Western or Zionist groups meet with, I would think they are pretty much just Syrian versions of Ahmed Chalabi pre-2003. As for who holds actual sway on the ground in Syria among the rebels themselves, the strongest and most effective fighting force by far is the group known as Jabhat Al-Nusra (usually given in English as the Al-Nusra Front) which is known to be significantly linked operationally to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) aka Al-Qaeda in Iraq and to have officially “signed up” as an Al-Qaeda affiliate with a pledge of loyalty to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

  6. shachalnur
    May 6, 2013, 2:51 am

    US’s interest is that the rebels overthrow Assad.
    Obama said all options are on the table,besides boots on the ground.

    Israel’s interest is calm on the Syrian and Lebanon border.
    AlQaida-Rebels taking control of Syria is not good for Israel.

    Can’t see anything Israel and the US can agree on.
    Let alone creating a common strategy.

    Looks to me Israel is aware that the US will not gonna do a thing if it comes to Iran or Syria.
    The sooner these Rebels are whiped out ,the better for Israel.
    Calm will return and US look like idiots.

    Obama must be fuming right now.

    Chess is a Persian invention

    • Bandolero
      May 7, 2013, 9:25 am

      Israel’s interest is calm on the Syrian and Lebanon border.
      AlQaida-Rebels taking control of Syria is not good for Israel.

      The sooner these Rebels are whiped out ,the better for Israel.

      That is not true. Israel is doing it’s very best to overthrow Assad. Israels officials are mostly quiet about this, because they fear saying that Israel is the main backer of the Syrian rebels will hamper their war efforts, but Israel says and acts as much as it can to overthrow Assad using mainly Israels lobby and propaganda means.

      Just listen what WINEPs expert and Israel firsters like John McCain tell all around: it’s all the same message: intervention for rebels needed, arm rebels, make no fly zone etc. Hardcore zionist Michael Weiss from “Henry Jackson Society” wrote the first plan for military intervention for the Syrian rebels in late 2011.

      Read what ex-mossad boss Efraim Halevy wrote in the NYT in the beginning of 2012 in “Iran’s Achilles’ Heel”:

      Ensuring that Iran is evicted from its regional hub in Damascus would cut off Iran’s access to its proxies (Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza) and visibly dent its domestic and international prestige, possibly forcing a hemorrhaging regime in Tehran to suspend its nuclear policies. … At this stage, there is no turning back; Mr. Assad must step down. For Israel, the crucial question is not whether he falls but whether the Iranian presence in Syria will outlive his government. Getting Iran booted out of Syria is essential for Israel’s security. And if Mr. Assad goes, Iranian hegemony over Syria must go with him. Anything less would rob Mr. Assad’s departure of any significance. But Israel should not be the lone or even the principal actor in speeding his exit.

      Contrary to many propaganda claims Israel does not prefer Assad against wahhabi extremists on it’s Syrian border. Read Blomberg 12.12.2012 “Israeli Envoy Sees Radicals Risk Preferable to Assad“:

      Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be a boon to Israel and the Mideast, even if radical Islamists try to fill the vacuum left by his departure.

      “There’s the possibility that you’ll have Sunni extremist elements who will try to come to the fore,” Oren said yesterday in Washington. “Our opinion is that any situation would be better than the current situation” in which the Syrian regime has a strategic alliance with Iran and the Lebanese Shiite Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah, he said.

      This is Israels position. Better to have Al Qaeda on it’s borders than Assad, Hisbollah and Iran.

      And this Israeli position did not change much. Israel is very angry with Obama and Hagel that they do not use US military assets (besides operative satellite intel they provide to “rebels” in Syria) to help them overthrow Assad and give Iran the boot in Syria.

      See the CW false flag stunt from the Israeli general last weak how desparate Israel is to get the US militarily more engaged on Syria. The Israeli airstrikes on Damascus show that Israel is now even using it’s war planes to support FSA & Al Qaeda in their common fight against Syria, Hezbollah and Iran’s IRGC.

  7. Whizdom
    May 6, 2013, 7:08 am

    The FSA is WINEP’s and NeoCon pick for international support and to lead transition after Assad.

    They are composed of senior level defectors from the Syrian Army. Think Somoza.

    Unfortunately they have little popular support or combat effectiveness. If they prevail, with international assistance, in toppling Assad, a brutal sectarian civil war will follow.

    Which they would lose, unless they had massive foreign military support and probably presence.

    The coalition is falling apart, but Assad is irreversibly weakened. There will be a transition. Russia will be the key International player in brokering the transition.

    Kerry headed to Russia this week.

    • seafoid
      May 7, 2013, 4:36 am

      Why would the Yanks invade Syria? It has very little oil and a broken economy. The plutocrats have no interest in Syria.
      Rearranging the Levant to suit Israel doesn’t work- see 1956, 1982, 2003.

  8. seafoid
    May 6, 2013, 8:45 am

    It all reminds me of Ahmad Chalabi. Connected brown people telling the powerful whites what they want to hear. Why weren’t the jihadis invited, BTW? They do most of the fighting.

    I think whatever the Yanks do will be no better than pushing on a string.
    They were very eager to help in Lebanon in 82 but a bomb changed the calculations.

    • marc b.
      May 6, 2013, 9:07 am

      It all reminds me of Ahmad Chalabi.

      you’re not alone. aqidi has the feel of the typical 3%-ters that the US and Israel like to showcase as representatives of ‘the people’, like Fayyad or the hack of the month in Haiti, who couldn’t win a fair and democratic election in a phone booth filled with close relatives. see this summary from cannonfire:

      In the coming days, you may be seeing more journalistic puff pieces focusing on a Syrian Army defector named Colonel Abdul-Jabbar Mohammed Aqidi, who heads up an anti-Assad umbrella group called the Military Revolutionary Council in Aleppo. The media will try to convince you that he’s the Charles de Gaulle of this war. We’re supposed to think of him as a moderate leader, not at all connected to those awful, awful radical jihadis.

      Israel seems to be backing Aqidi and his group.

      I advise caution. This LAT story from last year indicates that Aqidi resembles Ahmed Chelabi a lot more than he resembles de Gaulle. The U.S. may consider Aqidi a future leader of Syria — but how many people in Syria feel that way?

      • seafoid
        May 6, 2013, 4:19 pm

        “The U.S. may consider Aqidi a future leader of Syria ”

        Bashir Gemayel was a future Israel approved leader of Lebanon back in 1982. For a month.
        His death eventually lead to Begin’s breakdown and retirement from politics.

  9. amigo
    May 6, 2013, 8:54 am

    UN is reporting that they believe Syrian rebels used chemical weapons .


    This would certainly put a spanner in the works for Israel,s plans for Israel.

  10. Stephen Shenfield
    May 6, 2013, 11:39 am

    What the US and Israel care about is not whether a political force is secular or Islamist, national or sectarian etc., but whether it is subservient to US and Israeli interests. They ask themselves, for instance, what the policy of a new government is likely to be toward Iran, Lebanon, Golan. Turkey is no doubt trying to get its own concerns taken into account (Kurds, water etc.), though it is evidently not fully in the loop.

    The opposition in Syria includes forces that are at least as anti-US/Israel as Assad, probably more, so perhaps these forces have been growing in strength and the motive for Israel/US to intervene now is to halt this process before it goes “too far” and ensure that the new government is made up of people dependent on them.

    • seafoid
      May 6, 2013, 4:21 pm

      A government may be subservient to global capitalism but you won’t get one to love Israel in a million years.

      The bots never worked on winning the neighbours over. Too late now.

  11. MK_Ultra
    May 6, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Well, it’s a good thing Hagel is the hero of the Left (and the Left too) or we may have to point fingers at him for being a hypocrite and a warmonger.

  12. Dutch
    May 6, 2013, 8:07 pm

    So, who’s next on the show? Curveball?

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