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The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria

Middle East
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The crisis in Syria is still in full throttle. President Obama pretends to be a powerless bystander in Syria when in fact US policy has played an important role in creating the quagmire now playing out. For example, the events of this past weekend present a microcosm of how US policy has failed and it’s time for the US president to take responsibility and to change US policy while he still has a chance.

Let’s start by taking a look at the last few days.

Last week news came out that “Division 30”, a heavily criticized $500 million plan approved by Congress as a last ditch effort to recruit a U.S.-trained fighting force of “moderate rebels” to take on ISIS in Syria, had produced “just four or five American-trained fighters.” Then over the weekend news broke that a group of 75 US-trained rebels entered Syria from Turkey to join Division 30 but several of the US-trained fighters instead joined a group called Suqur al-Jabal instead.

Now, news is coming out that none of the US-trained force actually made it to Division 30 and instead “betrayed their American backers and handed their weapons over to al-Qaeda in Syria immediately after re-entering the country.”

From The Telegraph:

Fighters with Division 30, the “moderate” rebel division favoured by the United States, surrendered to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, a raft of sources claimed on Monday night.

Division 30 was the first faction whose fighters graduated from a US-led training programme in Turkey which aims to forge a force on the ground in Syria to fight against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

A statement on Twitter by a man calling himself Abu Fahd al-Tunisi, a member of al-Qaeda’s local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, read: “A strong slap for America… the new group from Division 30 that entered yesterday hands over all of its weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra after being granted safe passage.

“They handed over a very large amount of ammunition and medium weaponry and a number of pick-ups.”

Abu Khattab al-Maqdisi, who also purports to be a Jabhat al-Nusra member, added that Division 30’s commander, Anas Ibrahim Obaid,had explained to Jabhat al-Nusra’s leaders that he had tricked the coalition because he needed weapons.

“He promised to issue a statement… repudiating Division 30, the coalition, and those who trained him,” he tweeted. “And he also gave a large amount of weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.”

If that wasn’t enough of  a black eye for the already dysfunctional US program, the chief of staff of “Division 30” had announced his resignation on Saturday:

Colonel Mohammad al-Daher, Division 30’s chief of staff, said in a statement published on social media platforms Saturday that he resigned due to six factors, including slow implementation of the unit’s training program, a lack of a sufficient number of trainees and failure to provide the basic needs required for the group’s work. He also cited a “lack of seriousness” in implementing the program that established Division 30.

So who is left to take over the Division 30 program? At the State Department press briefing Monday spokesperson Admiral John Kirby responded to related queries:

QUESTION: You said the Secretary is very focused on this and there’s just a need to support the opposition. Were there any Syrian opposition figures in the group that he met yesterday from Syria, or were these just —

MR KIRBY: No, no.

QUESTION: Do you know off the top of your head even roughly when the last time the Secretary either met with or spoke with someone who is – would be considered a leader of the moderate Syrian opposition?

MR KIRBY: I’ll have to get back to you, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay.

Obama has washed his hands of blame over this ongoing fiasco. Last week New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker’s, Finger-Pointing, but Few Answers, After a Syria Solution Fails, got a lot of attention, from American Enterprise Institute[T]hey made me do it“, to Mother Jones’ “[T]he buck stops in the Oval Office”. Baker reported Obama had always been skeptical of training Syrian rebels and “the White House says it is not to blame.”

The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place — a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

…. The military was correct in concluding that “this was a more difficult endeavor than we assumed and that we need to make some changes to that program,” Mr. Earnest said. “But I think it’s also time for our critics to ‘fess up in this regard as well. They were wrong.”……

“It is true that we have found this to be a difficult challenge,” Mr. Earnest said. “But it is also true that many of our critics had proposed this specific option as essentially the cure-all for all of the policy challenges that we’re facing in Syria right now. That is not something that this administration ever believed, but it is something that our critics will have to answer for.”

I agree with Obama’s critics, he should own up. It’s not enough to just say ‘I was always skeptical and this proves I was right all along’. The outcome of the program should not come as a surprise to the administration. A classified 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report (PDF), recently released by Judicial Watch, warned that empowering opposition forces would strengthen Islamist forces. And this is exactly what has happened. Regardless of who ever pushed this plan (“Exactly what the supporting powers of the opposition want”), Obama approved it. 

Division 30 is just part of a massive influx of resources the US is putting towards the fighting in Syria. At Monday’s press briefing John Kirby stated we had, thus far, invested $4.5 billion since the start of the refugee crisis. David Ignatius reported in August that Division 30, the overt Special Operations program, was separate from the “parallel covert program run by the CIA” in Syria. According to Washington Post’s Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung that program “has become one the agency’s largest covert operations, with a budget approaching $1 billion a year.” But whatever we spend pales in comparison to the suffering on the ground.

Meanwhile, GOP politicians including several presidential candidates are blaming Obama for the Russian build up in Syria. At Monday’s State Department press briefing Admiral Kirby parried questions about Russia’s “expanding their military presence on the ground”, U.S. intentions regarding Assad’s departure/”political transition,” concerns about the US negotiations regarding Syria with Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the acknowledgement that “Iran would have to be a part of the process”:

MR KIRBY: I didn’t see Ambassador Crocker’s comments. I would just tell you that our relationship with Russia exists on many levels. Russia was very cooperative in achieving the Iran deal. There are issues where we agree and issues where we can work together, and obviously, there are issues of concern and disagreement, not to mention what’s going on in Ukraine, which the Secretary hasn’t clearly lost focus on.

So it’s a complicated relationship. There are areas where we can cooperate; areas where, obviously, we have to express our differences.

QUESTION: John?

QUESTION: Can I ask a question on —

MR KIRBY: Yeah. Samir.

QUESTION: Yes. The Secretary said that Assad departure will – should come as a result of the negotiations. Is this position came as a result from the talks with the Russians, or did the Secretary believe in this position from before?

MR KIRBY: He’s – no, it’s not something that resulted from recent discussions with Lavrov. What he said was we’re prepared to negotiate. The question is, are – is Assad, and are the Russians, and are the Iranians? And those are, again, discussions that haven’t been had yet.

QUESTION: So always he thought that Assad – Assad’s departure should come as a result of negotiations?

MR KIRBY: There’s been no change in the Secretary’s position in terms of a transition away from Assad and how that has to happen. It has to happen – it’s got to be a political transition, right? Political solution. You’re not going to get at a political transition or solution without talk, without conversation, without dialogue, without negotiation.

QUESTION: Well, when he came here in February, 2013, I think it was his first kind of talk, was about changing Assad’s calculus by supporting a more active and stronger opposition against him. And that’s different from working with the Russians and the Iranians on some sort of transition strategy. Do you see —

MR KIRBY: Not necessarily.

QUESTION: Not necessarily?

MR KIRBY: No, Brad. It can be inclusive. It can be inclusive of also working to strengthen and bolster the opposition. I’ve said many times, and certainly since Doha, that one of the things that Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States have already discussed is: How do you continue to work with the opposition? How do you bolster them in their position? How do you help unify them? All of that’s a part of this discussion. I mean – don’t – but —

QUESTION: Right, but —

QUESTION: Two and a half years later, the opposition’s a lot weaker than it was even when he first came in. So that —

QUESTION: And it was about changing his calculus – it was about changing the battlefield situation on the ground so then in turn that would change his calculus, that he had to go. So now you have the Russians – are changing his calculus; they are changing the battlefield situation, because they’re expanding their military presence on the ground. So that does change his calculus, just in the opposite direction.

MR KIRBY: Well, the worry, the concern, the reason why we want to continue to have these conversations is because of the potential for this activity to be designed more about propping up Assad than about going after extremists.

But back to your point that you – we want to change his calculus is still true. There’s many ways to do that, and nobody’s lost sight of the need to continue to work with and for a moderate opposition that could work towards helping bring about this political transition. So just that – just the fact that we’re talking with the Russians and the Saudis about this doesn’t mean that we’ve given up any desire to continue to work with and for a moderate opposition.

QUESTION: Just with respect – on Syria?

MR KIRBY: Sure.

QUESTION: Okay. First of all, is still the level of communication and your relationship with the opposition is the same, or it’s changed? Syrian opposition, I mean.

MR KIRBY: We continue to engage the Syrian opposition on many levels. One of the challenges is that it’s not a homogenous organization and not all of them have the same exact goals.

QUESTION: Are there – are they – are – they are part of this process that you are taking place – is taking place —

MR KIRBY: Well, as I said, coming out of Doha, one of the things that the Secretary wanted to see was a way to move forward in such a way that the opposition could be a part of this process.

QUESTION: And the last one. You are mentioning Russia and Saudi Arabia are part of this process. Do you see any – foresee any role for Iran or Turkey to play in this process?

MR KIRBY: Both the President and the Secretary have talked about the fact that at some point, Iran would have to be a part of this. And I – we’re just not there yet, but I think he’s acknowledged – he acknowledged it again over the weekend, that Iran would have to be a part of the process. And if there’s room for that and – then he’s willing to work towards that and consider it.

Imagine that. There’s only one person at the helm of U.S. foreign policy and that’s President Obama. He’s got another 15 months in office. If the U.S. can be part of a diplomatic solution to bring stability to Syria, this would be the time to do it.

Own up Obama, to your mistakes and your power.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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238 Responses

  1. Blownaway
    September 23, 2015, 3:17 pm

    Sorry Annie ain’t gonna happen. Owning up to the mess Obama has created will require him to acknowledge that this is all about regime change to benefit Israel and the Qatari pipeline that Assad said no to passing through Syria to break the hold Russia had on gas to Europe. Oh what a tangled web we weave

    • Annie Robbins
      September 23, 2015, 3:49 pm

      i’m crossing my fingers he will surprise us. just the idea that the state department is stating Iran would have to be a part of a diplomatic and/or negotiation process with russia over syria is a big deal.

      also, obama inherited this syria policy imho as US regime change policy started before the protests. so if he pushed against it, as he claimed he did, maybe he will take action to stop a process that appears to be empowering nusra, hence AQ.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 25, 2015, 12:07 am

        I get the feeling that Obama has farmed out foreign policy to the neocons and “humanitarian”interventionists only later to have doubts about those people. But does he ever can anyone, or own up to mistakes in policy? No. Why in the world is Victoria Nuland, the wife of arch neocon Robert Kagan in an Obama State Dept? This tells us enough about Obama.

      • CigarGod
        September 25, 2015, 2:36 am

        I wonder who her biggest adversary is? (Nuland)

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2015, 7:17 pm

        Quite awhile back Kerry said the U.S. needed to negotiate with Assad. A bit late in this horrific debacle in Syria…http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/03/15/393174770/we-have-to-negotiate-in-the-end-with-syrias-assad-kerry-says

    • echinococcus
      September 23, 2015, 4:39 pm

      I would see the Qatari pipeline part of it as more of a fig leaf than anything else. It won’t be able to hide the fact that the destruction of Syria and utter chaos in that country, too, i.e. specifically what our zigzag policy is producing, is exactly what is required in the PNAC plan, drawn by Feith & Co. for the Israelis, and proceeding according to plan.

    • pabelmont
      September 24, 2015, 9:46 am

      A pipeline through the very worst war-zone? Great idea. But an idea for the future. As to pipeline, “follow the money”.

      I do wish the money we spent on wars would be spent instead on humanitarian relief.

      • mijj
        September 24, 2015, 11:26 am

        magnified benefit: spending less on war would mean less need for humanitarian relief!

    • traintosiberia
      October 6, 2015, 10:23 pm

      The New York Times recently reported about the:
      As Syria Reels, Israel Looks to Expand Settlements in Golan Heights

      “…many Israeli leaders and thinkers seizing on the chaos in Syria to solidify Israel’s hold on Golan.”

      Advocates of the new Golan settlements defend them by citing the chaos in Syria:

      “With Syria ‘disintegrating’ after years of civil war, they argue, it is hard to imagine a stable state to which the territory could be returned.”

      The Times quotes Israeli MP Michael Oren suggesting settlements and eventual recognition of the illegal activities by US.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/03/world/middleeast/syria-civil-war-israel-golan-heights.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

      May be the motive of Israel was never anything other than profiting from the deadly chaos that it created.

    • ADCvet
      October 10, 2015, 9:27 am

      Well hey, word is Obama will announce the end of official US training of ‘moderate’ puppet ‘rebels’.

      Of course, the spies will continue similar programs secretly, but still, significant

      • CigarGod
        October 10, 2015, 10:27 am

        And lest we miss it…contracted security is not listed as u.s. combat forces.
        This outsourcing b.s. is a multi-headed beast.

  2. Blownaway
    September 23, 2015, 4:07 pm

    I disagree that Obama inherited the regime change policy, he fully embraced it and in a most confusing way allying with the worst of the worst of Islamist radicals leading to the death and suffering of millions from counterpunch.org full article at the link
    This notion that Obama was a reluctant warrior who only got involved in Syria recently is a fiction.

    From the very beginning of the phony Arab spring actions in Syria, it was not even necessary for former general Wesley Clark to reveal that Syria was on a hit-list of governments slated for subversion to see the reactionary presence of U.S. intelligence agencies in the “rebellion” in Syria.

    Former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas blew the whistle on Western war plans against Syria, long before the first “spontaneous” protests erupted in 2011. While Dumas told a story of British and French intrigue, it was always clear that those two sub-imperialist nations would not have been engaged in anything of that magnitude and sensitivity without a green light from the U.S. hegemon.

    WikiLeaks conformed those plans when it released over 7000 secret diplomatic cables that documented that from 2006 to 2010, the US spent 12 million dollars in order to support and instigate demonstrations and propaganda against the Syrian government.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/the-obama-two-step-on-syria/

    • Annie Robbins
      September 23, 2015, 4:14 pm

      by inherited, i simply mean it was already in full swing (for reasons you mentioned) when he entered into office. either way, whether he is telling the truth or not (that he was reluctant to go along with it) if that’s the public position he’s taking now, as he claims to be via these recent statements, then all the more reason to put weight behind these statements and call off programs he claims he doesn’t like and never liked. he should be called on it to do something other than what they’ve been doing.

      also, these statements were made by him the week before. and then it happened again right afterwards. it perfectly demonstrates how US is not empowering anything remotely resembling “moderate” here, quite the opposite. and people can go on believing time and again this is some sort of anomaly here but it’s not. it’s repeatedly.

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2015, 7:27 pm

        So if he “inherited” the all ready underway foreign policy strategy. Why not pivot and use the Leverett’s advised strategy from five years ago. Sit down and negotiate with Assad through back doors etc. He was offering a power sharing deal which could have also lead to a slow squeezing him out without such death and destruction.

        Not sure what former Secretary of Defense Hagel’s stance was on all of this. Have not read. However Clinton certainly seemed to be pushing for interventions in Libya and Syria.

        http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/leverett030310p.html
        “As Presidents Assad and Ahmadinejad signed agreements suspending visa requirements for Syrian nationals traveling to Iran and Iranians traveling to Syria, the Syrian leader responded to Secretary Clinton’s demand that Syria roll back its relations with the Islamic Republic:

        We must have understood Clinton wrong because of bad translation or our limited understanding, so we signed the agreements to cancel the visas. I find it strange that they [Americans] talk about Middle East stability and peace and the other beautiful principles and call for two countries to move away from each other.

        A week before Ahmadinejad’s arrival in Damascus, we had our own conversation with President Assad — a conversation that came one day after U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns met with the Syrian leader. In our session with him, Assad expressed satisfaction over his meeting with Undersecretary Burns. However, Assad also made clear that Syria’s relations with Iran, as well as its ties to Hizballah and HAMAS, are not on the table.

        Syria’s relationship with the Islamic Republic seems increasingly strategic in character. Over the past year, key advisers to President Assad have told us as much; one of them went so far as to describe Syrian-Iranian relations with the French adjective “intime.” If the Obama Administration is unable or unwilling to acknowledge this reality and the regional dynamics that have given rise to it, the already limited effectiveness of American diplomacy in the Middle East will be further undermined.

        To understand Syria’s increasingly strategic partnership with Iran, a bit of history is in order. The late Hafiz al-Assad inaugurated Syria’s relationship with the Islamic Republic during the Iran-Iraq war. The elder Assad was motivated to side with the Islamic Republic by several considerations, including his interest in winning Iranian clerical endorsement for his Alawi sect’s Islamic legitimacy while he confronted a Sunni Islamist insurgency at home and his interest in resisting American efforts to bolster Iraq as a bulwark against Iran. This latter interest flowed naturally from Assad’s chronic concern about his country’s potential strategic marginalization by the United States and Israel. As Flynt described this concern five years ago in his Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial by Fire,

        The Assad regime’s inclination to challenge U.S. Middle East policy has not stemmed primarily from the personal obstreperousness of Syrian leaders, but from a particular assessment of what defending Syrian interests required in the face of the U.S. posture toward the region. The United States is, of course, the chief external backer of the state of Israel — from a Syrian perspective, an expansive power seeking regional hegemony. U.S. military and political support has been critical to allowing Israel to expand its territorial holdings and occupy these lands in defiance of what Syrian leaders frequently describe as “international legitimacy.” From a Syrian vantage point, U.S. policy in the Middle East for much of the last thirty-five years has aimed principally at ensuring Israel’s ability to consolidate and maintain its hegemonic position in the region.

        Given this interpretation of the underlying rationale for America’s Middle East policy, the Assad regime has long been concerned to forestall a worst-case scenario in which Syria would be encircled by regimes hostile to its interests, allied to the United States, and docile toward Israel (that is, a Lebanon that has made a separate peace with Israel, a pro-Western Turkey cooperating strategically with the Jewish state, an Iraq with a regime supported by and supportive of the United States, a Jordan ruled by pro-American Hashemites who have sold out the Palestinian cause and forged security ties to Israel, and a rump Palestinian entity). Under these conditions, Syria would be marginalized in regional affairs, with other states free to ignore or undermine its interests.”

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2015, 7:35 pm

        Former Secretary of Defense Hagel’s stance on Syria. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/us/hagel-said-to-be-stepping-down-as-defense-chief-under-pressure.html?_r=0

        “Aides said Mr. Obama made the decision to remove his defense secretary on Friday after weeks of rising tension over a variety of issues, including what administration officials said were Mr. Hagel’s delays in transferring detainees from the military prison in Guantánamo Bay and a dispute with Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, over Syria policy.”

        So Hagel and Rice went head to head over Syria strategy.

        “White House officials also expressed annoyance over a sharply critical two-page memo that Mr. Hagel sent to Ms. Rice last month, in which he warned that the administration’s Syria policy was in danger of unraveling because of its failure to clarify its intentions toward President Bashar al-Assad. Senior officials complained that Mr. Hagel had never made such a case in internal debates, suggesting that he was trying to position himself for history on a crucial issue as he was talking to Mr. Obama about leaving his job. Mr. Hagel’s defenders said he stayed quiet to avoid leaks.”

    • Annie Robbins
      September 23, 2015, 4:29 pm

      oh that’s a great article blownaway.

      • Bandolero
        September 23, 2015, 6:06 pm

        Annie

        What I think what’s missing here is the US presidential election 2012. To me it looks like the history of Obama’s presidency is quite different. What I think is:

        After Obama failed in 2010 to get a two state solution or even a settlement stop from Netanyahu he unleashed the so-called Arab Spring with his “Presidential Study Directive 11.” The Arab spring was prepared by GWB under the MEPI programme, but Obama’s calculus was that it will empower the Muslim Brotherhood in large parts of the arab world in a democratic way, and that the Muslim Brotherhood will be as fiercely opposed to Israel as Hamas is, thereby bringing pressure on Israel.

        However, things did not work out as desired, and Obama made cruel mistakes in Libya. Obama likely saw Gaddafi’s Libya as an obstacle to empowering MB and jihadi elements opposed to Israel and crushed Gaddafi therefore. However, as it only turned out later, the Muslim Brotherhood was a Qatari proxy working for Israeli interests, as well as Al Qaeda was a Saudi and GCC proxy force, with Hamas being a lonely execption in it’s true opposition to Israel.

        As it was understood in 2012 that the Muslim Brotherhood & the jihadis were in the end proxies of Netanyahu it was too late for Obama to stop the war on Syria, because he was in an election cycle and very much dependent on the goodwill of at least some parts of the israel lobby to have a chance to get re-elected.

        After his re-election Obama understood that not the Muslim Brotherhood, but Iran and liberals are the main powers opposed to Israel, and he moved to strengthen them in a systematic manner. Obama did invest huge political capital to rehabilitate Iran with the nuke deal, he helped Sisi, who is in his core a liberal follower of Nasser, to replace Mursi, he pushed the Qatari ruler and Al Qaeda backer from his throne and he empowered the Houthis in Yemen by greenlighting the alliance of US-equipped Yemeni anti-terror forces with them.

        Now, after the Iran deal is completed, Obama works to get Israel and Israel’s MB and Al Qaeda stooges defeated in Syria, and then that will be hopefully followed by action to defeat the Saudis in Yemen, and the jihadis in Libya. Meanwhile Obama helped to defeat Israel’s stooge Jonathan Goodwill in Nigeria and encouraged Pakistan to join the SCO. Netanyahu tried a distraction, putting a wedge between the US, EU and Russia, by empowering Nazis in Ukraine, but to no avail, Obama & Putin proceed to change the world in a strategic way to the displeasure of Netanyahu and it’s stooges.

        Hopefully, Obama also manages to pass the baton to crash Bibi and the Neocons to his successor.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 23, 2015, 6:37 pm

        Bandolero, wow. that’s a lot of information. i had not even heard of the “Presidential Study Directive 11.” but just googled it and read a brief article.

        i think i’d have to study a lot more information to fully understand what you mean. ie:
        how did he push the Qatari ruler from his throne? and if he empowered the Houthis in Yemen why is he now supporting SA killing so many of them? and that’s the tip of the iceberg.

      • lysias
        September 23, 2015, 6:32 pm

        The Muslim Brotherhood was working for Israeli interests? That wasn’t how Morsi’s government struck me. And why do you suppose Israel so welcomed the coup in Egypt and has supported the military government there ever since?

      • Bandolero
        September 23, 2015, 7:05 pm

        lysias

        Yes, the Brotherhood worked for Israeli interests. It wasn’t clear for quite some time how the Brotherhood government in Egypt would play out, but in it’s last days it unmasked itself clearly as working for Israeli interests, whether they did it consciously or not.

        The main point here is that the Brotherhood called for a sectarian war Sunni against Shia. Mursi himself in his last days as president of Egypt stood on a stage in a large crowded stadium directly after preacers called for war on Shia, thereby endorsing it. There could not be more benefit to Israel than calling for jihad on Shia. That is exactly what Israel wants: Muslims killing MUslims for sectarian reasons. And all the while looking for Israel to be the power making the winner. To underline his view Morsi also decided to close the embassy of Syria, instead of closing the embasy of Israel.

        And also, the World Muslim League led by Qaradawi, which seemed to act like Mursi’s superior, has close relations to Israel’s best buddy in the region, the Saudis. Qaradawi also called for war on Shia, thereby pleasing Israel.

        The Brotherhood coming out as a force working for Israel’s interests was surprising to many, Iran, and many others, including to me. Some others were not so surprised, like the Syrian government, who saw the Brotherhood long as Israeli proxies, and similar goes for Gaddafi’s followers or the Houthis. The background is that the Qatari backers of the Brotherhood had always a very close, but hidden connection to the Israel lobby, mainly through the City of London. Some say even, the inofficial, but real seat of Qatar’s government is London. Today, I think, Al Jazeera’s connection to the Brotherhood and the Israel lobby is quite clear, as lot’s of their analysis providers and honored discussion guests were from the Israel lobby in recent years.

        Sisi instead is, despite depending on Saudi money, quite close to Russia, and he has also developed, though unofficially, quite good relations to Syria, I think. Of course, one may say, OK, the Brotherhood is so large that it has several wings, some, as the Syrian wing, are quite close to Israel, but others, as Hamas, quite distanced, really fighting Israel. It’s true. But it doesn’t change the fact that the wing working for Israeli interests proved the stronger one, in Syria, in Egypt, in Yemen, in Libya, and so on – except in Palestine.

        Turkey though remains to be seen. Where Turkey’s Brotherhood wing led by Erdogan really stands we will see in the future, but Erdogan’s war on Syria suggests he’s also doing Israel’s bidding. If he finally leads Turkey out of NATO into SCO that may prove me wrong however.

      • Bandolero
        September 23, 2015, 9:22 pm

        Annie

        As I believe that whenever I put more than two links two sources in a comment that leads me to te spam filter let me answer you with a couple of comments backing up what I said with serious sources one topic after the other. I hope you don’t mind if I mention in these comments sometimes myself and my own history.

        First of all, I think, Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” is an important key to understand what’s called the Arab spring. To understand the significance of Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” – which in it’s full content is still secret as far as I know – I think it’s neccessary to know that George W. Bush’s administration created a State Department program called “Middle East Partnership Initiative” – in short MEPI – and what it basically contains.

        Let me quote some phrases from the current Wikipedia Article on “Middle East Partnership Initiative” that you may find interesting:

        The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a U.S. State Department program that supports organizations and individuals in their efforts to promote political, economic, and social reform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

        … In 2002, Elizabeth Cheney, known as Liz, and daughter of Vice-President Dick Cheney, was appointed U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and tasked with supervising MEPI. Cheney explained that under MEPI, the US administration funded programs as diverse as training Arab journalists to revising current teaching methods from rote learning to more child-oriented teaching methods. Additionally, MEPI supported countries seeking to sign Free Trade Agreements with the United States to meet President Bush’s goal to establish a joint Middle East Free Trade zone by 2013.

        … MEPI is located within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the U.S. State Department. In addition to its Washington, D.C. headquarters, MEPI has regional offices in the MENA region.

        … MEPI’s gradual, “bottom-up” public diplomacy approach is a process to create conditions where the pressure for change will come from Arabs themselves. A rapid transition to democracy risks destabilizing autocratic regimes and unintentionally empowering anti-U.S. Islamists who would exploit their position to oppose the existing regime. …

        If you don’t know MEPI, google the Wikipedia Article on “Middle East Partnership Initiative” yourself, I’ld deem it very important to understand what was going on. I could hardly describe better the forces unleashed by the events called the “Arab Spring.” Of course, in 2010/2011 the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the U.S. State Department was led by no other than Jeffrey Feltman, a leading neocon operative who is particularly well known in Lebanon. If you don’t know him, he’s famous, google him, he’s now Dep Sec Gen at the UN.

        http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/22410

        After the regime change in Tunisia, billed as a revolution but in reality a US-backed putsch, former Bush operatives took credit. And then came the putsch in Egypt, openly billed as putsch, and with an US aircraft carrier off the Egypt coast to enforce it. However, most people were so euphorized by “Change” – may I say Regime Change – in the arab world that they didn’t notice this reality. Gaddafi noticed, btw, and spoke out.

        MEPI has managed to tool many people who wanted for better for the interests of the lobby, many of them “grassroot activists” from the left wing. To see how it worked – and likely recognize some popular names you heard in regard to the so-called arab spring – I suggest a blog article from a strange anonymous German blog called Noch ein Parteibuch “Another Parteibuch” called “How US-led regime change warriors train and misuse bloggers for their dirty games”:

        https://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/how-us-led-regime-change-warriors-train-and-misuse-bloggers-for-their-dirty-games/

        Personal disclosure: Many people in Germany know me, now editor of Net News Global, as blogger at Mein Parteibuch, who has given up that blog because in Germany it’s the way that there exist lawyers who promise their wealthy clients – not without reason – that they are able to take down anything published they don’t like, and I had received about two letters from such lawyers per week, some strong zionists, and quite expensive, at least for those who received their letters and lawsuits, so I closed the blog. One of these lawyers, Gravenreuth, who battled me, killed himself when he was exposed as a fraudster winning his lawsuits with lies afterwards, but that didn’t help me much. His friend, a leading Mossad op in Berlin, who regularly contacted me to spy on me, of course without telling me his affiliation, closed his shop in Berlin about the same time. But that didn’t help me and it helped me neither that I defeated a lawsuit of the current vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. There came always more and more lawsuits each weak, I guess in English it’s called lawfare.

        Somehow some anonymous poeple, whom I tell every judge in the world I don’t know much about, first pubished articles on a Malaysian hosted blog that was DDoSed down, and now publish articles in the spirit of Mein Parteibuch at an anonymous WordPress blog called nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com

        So, however, I had some alarm signals more than other bloggers which didn’t make such experiences. As I saw the “Arab Spring” unleash, I was first quite happy, that all that activism meant really a difference, and though I saw GWBush operatives had their fingers in regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt, it took some weeks longer before I understood that the Arab Spring was not grassroots, but US policy. It was when I first read about Obama’s PSD 11, issued in August 2010.

        And that’s for the next comment here.

      • just
        September 23, 2015, 9:50 pm

        WOW, Bandolero.

        just wow.

      • Bandolero
        September 23, 2015, 10:12 pm

        Annie

        Now a 2nd comment dealing with “Presidential Study Directive 11” (PSD 11).

        I just tried to google it and it seems to me extreme rightwing outlets flooded Google with obvious anti-muslim garbage regarding Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11.”

        So let me introduce two serious links regarding Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” here.

        1st: David Ignatius from March 4, 2011: “Obama’s Calculated Gamble” at realclearpolitics.com:

        President Obama has been so low-key in his pronouncements about events in Egypt and Libya that it’s easy to miss the extent of the shift in U.S. strategy. .. The roots of the policy shift go back to Obama’s first days in office and his feeling that America’s relationship with the Arab world was broken. Though Obama seemed to be accommodating the region’s authoritarian leaders, in August 2010, he issued Presidential Study Directive 11, asking agencies to prepare for change. This document cited “evidence of growing citizen discontent with the region’s regimes” and warned that “the region is entering a critical period of transition.” The president asked his advisers to “manage these risks by demonstrating to the people of the Middle East and North Africa the gradual but real prospect of greater political openness and improved governance. …

        http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/03/06/obamas_calculated_gamble_109123.html

        As you may know David Ignatius is seen by some people as something as the inofficial spokesperson of the CIA. Wikipedia bills David Ignatius as someone who’s quite close to the CIA:

        Ignatius’s coverage of the CIA has been criticized as being defensive and overly positive. Melvin A. Goodman, a 42-year CIA veteran, Johns Hopkins professor, and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, has called Ignatius “the mainstream media’s apologist for the Central Intelligence Agency,” citing as examples Ignatius’s criticism of the Obama administration for investigating the CIA’s role in the use of torture in interrogations during the Iraq War, and his charitable defense of the agency’s motivations for outsourcing such activities to private contractors. Columnist Glenn Greenwald has levied similar criticism against Ignatius.

        I think David Ignatius would be more aptly described as an Israeli hasbara operative with close connections to the CIA and his paper, the Washington Post, as the leading Neocon hasbara outfit in the world. The Washington Post, where David Ignatius’ article was first published, and where I read it under that title changed the title after a couple of days. It seems someone complained about the title. Now the Washington Post has the article under the title “Obama’s low-key strategy for the Middle East”. You may google it.

        The NY Times also reported about Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” although usually not mentioning it by name, just calling it a report, but obviously meaning the same:

        By MARK LANDLERFEB. 16, 2011

        WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered his advisers last August to produce a secret report on unrest in the Arab world, which concluded that without sweeping political changes, countries from Bahrain to Yemen were ripe for popular revolt, administration officials said Wednesday.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/world/middleeast/17diplomacy.html

        Their also exist an official US statement saying more or less that while Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” is secret in detail, it’s real, but the rightwing spammers flooded google so I can’t find it anymore.

        My point is that Obama’s “Presidential Study Directive 11” dates to August 2010, however the Arab Spring started just in December 2010. How could he have known that allegedly big surprise months before it happened? I think the only plausible answer is that Obama ordered that surprise himself. And when one looks at all the MEPI protagonists name by name and teir roles country by country it becomes very clear that the Arab Spring was prepared with MEPI.

      • Bandolero
        September 23, 2015, 11:38 pm

        Annie (answer part 3)

        Regarding the abdication of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani from the throne of Qatar, which happened a few days before Morsi was taken down in Egypt, I basically know two stories.

        Al Manar reported Obama took him down by threatening to impose sanctions on Qatars money for supporting Al Qaeda:

        The decision made by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to cede power in Qatar was not a personal decision to be justified by ‘health reasons’ suffered by the man who plays serious roles in recent years, whether at the Arab level or at the international level, Lebanese Assafir daily reported Thursday. … Some of those who have had access to the details of US decision summarized the message delivered by the presidential envoy to Sheikh Hamad as follows: … “You have one specific choice, either we impose seizure over your money around the world, or you leave your position for one of your sons that we name to be the ruler after you.” … When the Emir tried to discuss the matter, the special envoy replied:
        “I’m not authorized to negotiate with you, but I’ve come to inform you about our decision.”

        http://english.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?fromval=1&cid=31&frid=31&eid=97469

        The New York Times reported the 61 year old ruler of Qatar suddenly resigned in the middle of a terror war on Syria because he loves to see the youth ruling:

        “He’s been working on this for the past three years,” the official said, adding: “He thinks this is a good time for the younger generation to take over. The emir himself was very young when he came to power 18 years ago, and he wants to continue that.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/world/middleeast/qatar-transfer-of-power.html

        And in a way, for people with some understanding the NYT may have even ackowledged in the very same article that the US had some trouble with him leading him to step down:

        … while it is allied with Washington, it has also raised the West’s ire by financing radical Islamist rebels in various arenas. …

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 12:10 am

        Annie

        Here’s my answer part 4:

        … and if he (Obama) empowered the Houthis in Yemen why is he now supporting SA killing so many of them? ..

        Of course, on the why I can only speculate. I’m not in his head. However, that Obama empowered the Houthis, is, I think, a hard fact.

        The Houthis are a quite strong militia in north-western Yemen, but they are far not strong enough to be the real power brokers of Yemen. The real power broker are the Yemen armed forces, who are a multitude more in numbers than Houthis and much better equipped.

        And the elite forces in Yemen are almost all US trained, and of those they all back the so-called Houthi “revolution”, though in reality, the commander of the revolution forces is the interior minister, who presides over the US- and EU-trained Special Security Forces (SSF). The US and EU trained these forces to fight against Al Qaeda. And, in collaboration with the Houthis, they were quite successful in doing that. These SSF are in number about as much as the Yemen army. In Southern Yemen, as they came under pressure from Saudi backed Al Qaeda forces in March, they all fled to the Anad airbase, which was also the base of the US forces. When the Saudis made clear in March they are gonna fly bomb runs to support Hadi’s legitimacy (an euphemism for supporting Al Qaeda) the US troops in Yemen pulled out – however, it’s clear that the US knows very well what’s going on, because the US forces were under combined Saudi-Al-Qaeda-attacks, defending the base together with Yemen army brigades and SSF who are now billed as Houthis. If you want I can look up the brigade numbers. US policy to align Yemen’s army and US trained SSF with Houthis in fighting Al Qaeda made perfectly sense, because the Houthis were the only capable group in Yemen who were really opposed to Al Qaeda and all it’s surrogates.

        So, now, what do I think why the US currently and publicly backs the Saudi-Al-Qaeda alliance in Yemen, while, of course, in reality Obama does almost nothing for that backing? I think Obama is trying to let the Sauds go into a bloody swamp in Yemen where the don’t find an exit alone anymore. When the Saudis are deep enough in that swamp that they are unable to help themselves he’ll either ask for lot’s of favors from the Saudis, or crush the Saudi regime, whatever him pleases more at that time.

        And, before you may ask, oh, yes, I do think, it’s deeply cynical by Obama to do nothing seeing thousands of Yemenis literally slaughtered by Saudi air attacks to get the Zionist-Wahhabi forces at their balls, but I do think that’s what’S going on.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2015, 1:37 am

        hi bandolero, just coming up for air to let you know i am in the middle of following all your links and all their embeds. it’s been hours and will probably be several more. thanks! — i’ll be back to comment later. this may be an all nighter ;)

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 10:22 am

        Annie

        A big thanks for offering me so mcuh of your time. Regarding Yemen, here are some very important links regarding whom the Saudis fight in Yemen with and against. The first is a Reuters interview from April 1, 2015, with Hadi’s foreign minister in Riyad where he admits that the Houthis are only few and lightly armed, and that the real enemy of the Saudis are he armed forces of Yemen – almost all of them – whom he describes as loyal to Saleh, a claim I doubt:

        … “The main thing now is if Ali Abdullah Saleh forces stop fighting with them, I think they (the Houthis) will start to retreat. Our main problem now is not the Houthis. They are few, they have only light weapons,” Abdulla said. … Although the only forces in Aden still loyal to the Saudi-backed Hadi are from local militias, some parts of the army continue to back him elsewhere including the eastern province of Hadramawt and near Marib, he said.

        Source:

        http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/01/uk-yemen-security-foreign-minister-idUKKBN0MS4X820150401

        So, basically Hadi’s foreign minister in Riyadh confirmed that all the armed forces of Yemen, except “some parts of the army” in “the eastern province of Hadramawt and near Marib” back the “Houthi government” in Sanaa.

        As a leaked email (sent at the beginning of September 2015) from Special Envoy for Yemen of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to Under Secretary General Jeffrey Feltman (the US neocon once responsible for MEPI I mentioned already above) shows, the situation that Hadi and the Saudis have almost none of Yemen’s official military (and paramilitary) on their side, has not changed:

        … The instability and violence which have plagued Aden following its capture is likely also a source of concern. The mostly pro-independence Hiraak fighters are unwilling to cooperate fully with the GoY in attempts to expand northward. This leaves the coalition dependent on ground troops from Islah, Salafi and AQAP related groups, which UAE is reluctant to support. …

        Source:

        http://www.innercitypress.com/yemen58fishy091015.html

        So Hadi (GoY) and the Saudi-GCC coalition are supported on the ground in Yemen by militias from the Southern Separatist movement Hirak, the party of Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood Islah, Wahhabi Salafi militias and Al Qaeda (AQAP). US-trained units of Yemen’s army or US-trained Yemen’s paramilitary forces of the Interior ministry (Special Security Forces) are not in the list of forces fighting side by side with the Saudis in Yemen, but Al Qaeda is fighting side by side with the Saudis backed by the US. And that’s not Houthi or Iranian propaganda, but that’s what the UN special envoy says, who was installed according to Saudi wishes after his predecessor left post because the Saudis didn’t like him.

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 10:37 am

        Annie

        In the sixth and last comment of this series, let me put up two links on who is really ruling Sanaa at the moment. It’s a guy called Jalal Al-Rowaishan. Jalal Al-Rowaishan an officer of the Special Security Forces of the Interior Ministry, very well trained and equipped paramilitary forces that were supplied with western military aid for the fight against Al Qaeda. Jalal Al-Rowaishan was named minister of interior by Hadi, and he fights against al Qaeda to this day, while Hadi (and by extension the US) is now with Al Qaeda in Yemen, though the US still kills some Al Qaeda ops with drone strikes in Yemen.

        Here are the names of the de facto ruling council in Sanaa:

        http://www.sabanews.net/en/news387214.htm

        There are two changes in the list to reality now: AFAIK Dr. Ali Hassan Al-Ahmadi rejected his post in this Supreme Security Committee, while the council leader Maj. Gen. Mahmoud al-Subeihi defected to Hadi in March. He was replaced by Jalal Al-Rowaishan on March 9:

        http://www.yementimes.com/en/1866/news/4956/New-Supreme-Security-head-appointed-after-Al-Subaihi%E2%80%99s-escape.htm

        So the de facto government in Sanaa is neither dominated by Houthis nor is it forces loyal to Ali Saleh. What it is is a broad military junta, stuffed with lot’s of officers of different security branches, many of the trained and equipped by the US in the name of fighting against Al Qaeda. I have a very hard time to believe, that such a council of US-trained officers could be formed without backing by the US. And, what’s also fact, is that while that council was already in charge, it coordinated well with US forces in Yemen’s Al Anad airbase in the fight against Al Qaeda and other MB/Salafi militias which now described by the UN envoy as President Hadi’s forces.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2015, 10:57 am

        bandolero, i’m in total awe you keep all this sorted out. and yes, it’s literally taken up hours of my time! ;) it’s been another couple hours this morning. it’s rather addicting. will be back after clearing some more comments. thank you so much.

        oh, and who runs that nocheinparteibuch blog now?

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 1:47 pm

        Annie

        I’m speechless. nocheinparteibuch has no imprint, I guess it’s intentional, so all cease & desist letter, injunctions and lawsuits go to the wordpress Bloghoster Automattic. :-)

        At Automattic they seem to know how & have enough resources to deal with such folks, just as they have proven to be able to fight off all DDoS attacks. DDoS attacks seem now quite commonplace to suppress unwanted information, wikileaks had problems with huge DDoS attacks, the Syrian news agency SANA was shot down with DDoS for many weeks and even RT was out sometimes for a couple of hours. Automattic even managed to keep the grep on the State Dept Files for “strictly protect” online:

        https://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/more-than-2000-world-wide-us-collaborators-publicly-exposed/

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2015, 2:11 pm

        i’m not understanding what you mean by “no imprint”. currently it looks like this https://nocheinparteibuch.wordpress.com/

        STRUCK ZIONIST-WAHHABI AXIS
        Published on September 19, 2015
        14 years after the Zionist – Wahhabi version of the Reichstag fire, the global is the axis of terror come under heavy pressure.

        READ MORE STRUCK ZIONIST-WAHHABI AXIS

        Tagged with Afghanistan, Al Arab Emirates, Wahhabism, World War II, YPG, Zionism 21 Comments

        i’m not very techie. i guess i mean, when you left who is writing for this site now?

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 2:20 pm

        Annie

        “i guess i mean, when you left who is writing for this site now?”

        It’s a secret, the writers/editors of nocheinparteibuch don’t reveal their name.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2015, 4:28 pm

        thank you. and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. MEPI i knew about periphery. i knew liz cheney had been in charge of ‘democracy building’ in syria from many years before the ‘revolution'(in fact i mentioned it here last week in some post) and i knew it was around 1/2 billion. i’m also familiar w/the color revolutions and the way we ‘soften the target’ with these kinds of programs to insert ourselves into the body politic and then instigate regime change that way and if war is a byproduct of all that then fine. and if war is the end goal (because i firmly believe cheney, dick/liz, intended to trash iraq) that’s fine w/them too — as a means to and end. wiping out historic districts etc. a lot of the stuff in the excellent lebanon post i knew about (although i still get confused w/lebanon). i knew about us supporting march 14th, SA influence/support for salifists there, the salafists in tripoli (they were wreaking havoc while i was there last) but i didn’t know about a lot of stuff, like march 14 being merged w/MB. i really didn’t know the extent of obama’s admin supporting MB although i had heard about it.

        and with the MEPI program, i wasn’t sure how it worked. i don’t fully understand the extent of it but i’d watched a movie about it before a long time ago and couldn’t find it again. the orange networks branching out by the keyboard warriors.

        what i always figure is they use snipers to get things really bad like the did in romania w/all the false flagging. also once i watched a bunch of episodes of a conference from NED or winep (can’t recall) and there was one presentation about a phone or cell phone that bypasses all local satellite and goes directly to a satellite feed outside the country automatically in real time. i think this is the same type unit that american spy/contractor in cuba was busted for trying to import into the country. he’s now been released on some deal. during the first phases of the syria war i was watching all those videos b at moon of alabama was posting. i remember when he located the same actor in many of those movies. so i assumed they had operatives feeding footage from the streets right into these fake studios set up on london or florida — who knows where and had really formulated a very developed psychop campaign on the outside world (as well as syrians). and similar to the green revolution in iran they tried to control all the media surrounding the war. but how those two operations merged, if they merged within mepi or cia mined mepi –that part and how it was done has always had an air of mystery for me. anyway i’ve saved this movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d7VqNyTHLw , just watched the first 6 minutes. can’t wait. really good stuff. thank you. so much i have to learn. Tunisia/Egypt, i didn’t see that coming. gotta go.

      • Bandolero
        September 24, 2015, 9:50 pm

        Annie

        Thanks a lot again for taking so much time to read what I wrote.

        My view on geopolitics was sharped a lot by doing the Net News Global site for a couple of years, thereby scanning through literally hundreds of alternative or non-western media items from all over the world each day. The most important what I learned is that the western media is an unbelievable shame, and very often the opposite is true of what the media is trying to tell. But that’s not all.The most scary thing is that there exist global situations where media from non-western countries like Russia and Iran go along with false western narratives, and then there is a very scary phenomen I’ld call something like a global media blackout on some topics. The other side of the story of the war against Libya was such a case.

        Currently an almost complete blackout is on what’s happening in south western Saudi Arabia close to the Yemen border, only Yemeni, Iranian and Hezbollah media report on that. The Saudi war on Yemen is going on badly from a Saudi point of view, and the Yemeni army – supported by the Houthis – makes inroads in Saudi Arabia. Here for example is the latest report from Yemen’s “Houthi TV” Al Masirah, reporting from Saudi Arabia:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVJFKKwgpkA

        One doesn’t need to understand Arabic to understand that this is a major story, but there is total western media silence on that the Saudi forces are losing battle after battle on the ground inside Saudi Arabia. But this important story is totally suppressed in almost all media.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2015, 10:53 pm

        inside saudi arabia? i had no idea! the google translate says ” the center of the moon village in Al Khubah…Yemeni army control of the People’s Committees”. . here’s a map i found https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A9_(%D8%AC%D8%A7%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%86)
        Al Khubah a plowing province of southern Jizan region in southwestern Saudi Arabia, which is the main center of the province and is located near the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Al Khubah away from about 90 kilometers southeast of Jazan.

        i checked out Net News Global last night and again today. that’s a lot of news. omg. it’s like kate’s list only for whole world. ;) thanks for all you do. my brains a little fried or i’d say more. sometimes it leaks information like a sieve. i know nothing about what’s going on in yemen, just the slightest amount. thanks, i’ll start keeping my mind on it. and the 717 who got crushed today? how does that even happen?

      • Bandolero
        September 25, 2015, 8:21 am

        Annie

        Regarding the deadly stampede near Mecca: At the hajj huge numbers of people, this year about two million, come together on very limited space. It’s a tough logistical challenge to ensure there are no stampedes for such an event. Obviously, Saudi Arabia didn’t manage this challenge well, once again. The result will likely be that the image of the Saudi king as the self-declared “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” takes a hit in the Muslim world.

        Iranian media also spread the rumor that a motorcade of the king’s son, deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, was the reason for crucial roads being blocked, so the crowd got stuck and the deadly stampede occured. I don’t give much on such a rumor, because the Iranians dislike the Salmans for their anti-Iranian hatred and anti-Shia sectarianism, but if such a rumor would turn out to be true, the stampede could also lead to serious political consequences in Saudi Arabia.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 25, 2015, 8:58 am

        the king’s son, deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, was the reason …. the deadly stampede occured.

        i read that this morning on net news global and followed the link. still, it is hard to fathom a human stampede of this magnitude.

      • Bumblebye
        September 25, 2015, 9:08 am

        In the wake of the current Hajj tragedy, bbc4 lunchtime news was reporting on serious discontent among the Saudi princes over King Salman and his appointees to govt posts (such as – they felt ‘passed over’ when it should have been their turn for the goodies, one was too young at 28, should not be above more senior princes, etc). Upshot being, rumblings of a palace coup in the offing.

      • CigarGod
        September 25, 2015, 9:44 am

        The power of chaos.

        Just heard…another opportunity for chaos is john boehners resignation.

    • italian ex-pat
      September 24, 2015, 7:55 pm

      Syria=Libya redux. How is it that the US is always backing the wrong side?

      • yonah fredman
        September 24, 2015, 8:49 pm

        italian ex pat- What would be the right side in these two cases: Assad and Gaddafi? Maybe America should have stayed on the sidelines, for the results are pretty awful. But to suggest that Assad and Gaddafi were the right side, that is just plain confused.

  3. lysias
    September 23, 2015, 4:16 pm

    b of Moon of Alabama thinks this debacle is what forced the resignation of General John R. Allen: <a href="http://www.govexec.com/defense/2015/09/allen-quits-isis-war-envoy-job/121730/"Allen Quits ISIS War Envoy Job.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    September 23, 2015, 4:26 pm

    RE: Obama has washed his hands of blame over this ongoing fiasco. . . Baker reported Obama had always been skeptical of training Syrian rebels and “the White House says it is not to blame.”

    SEE: “The Riddle of Obama’s Foreign Policy”, By Robert Parry, 21 August 2015
    • Exclusive: For nearly seven years of his presidency, Barack Obama has zigzagged from military interventionist to pragmatic negotiator, leaving little sense of what he truly believes. Yet, there may be some consistent threads to his inconsistencies, writes Robert Parry.

    [EXCERPT] Nearing the last year of his presidency, Barack Obama and his foreign policy remain an enigma. At times, he seems to be the “realist,” working constructively with other nations to achieve positive solutions, as with the Iran nuclear deal and his rapprochement with Cuba. Other times, he slides into line with the neocons and liberal hawks, provoking ugly crises, such as his “regime change” tactics in Honduras (2009), Libya (2011), Syria (over several years) and Ukraine (2014).

    Yet, even in some of those “regime change” scenarios, Obama pulls back from the crazier “tough guy/gal” ideas and recognizes the catastrophes such schemes could create. In 2013, he called off a planned bombing campaign against the Syrian military (which could have led to a victory for Al Qaeda or the Islamic State), and in 2014, he resisted a full-scale escalation of Ukraine’s war against ethnic Russian rebels resisting the new U.S.-backed political order in Kiev (which could have pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear war).

    Yet, Obama also won’t stand up to the neocons and liberal hawks by sharing crucial information with the American people that could undermine pro-intervention narratives.

    For instance, Obama has held back the latest U.S. intelligence analysis describing who was responsible for the Aug. 21, 2013 sarin attack that almost precipitated the U.S. war on the Syrian military, and he won’t release the intelligence assessment on who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014, the tragedy which ratcheted up the crisis with Russia over Ukraine.

    In both cases, I’m told U.S. intelligence analysts have backed off early rushes to judgment blaming the Syrian government for the sarin attack, which killed hundreds, and the Russian-backed eastern Ukrainian rebels for the MH-17 crash, which killed 298 people. But Obama has left standing the earlier propaganda themes blaming the Syrian and Russian governments, all the better to apply American “soft power” pressure against Damascus and Moscow.

    Thus, Obama’s foreign policy has a decidedly zigzag nature to it. Or as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently described Obama: “On the prudential level he’s a realist. But his vision is more ideological than strategic,” a typically cryptic Kissingerian phrasing that I interpret to mean that Obama is a prudent realist when it comes to major military actions but – short of all-out war – ideologically embraces neocon/liberal-hawk interventionism.

    My view of Obama is somewhat different. It strikes me that Obama is what you might call a “closet realist.” He understands the limits of American power and wants to avoid costly military entanglements. But he also doesn’t want to challenge the neocon/liberal-hawk dominance of Official Washington.

    In other words, he’s a timid opportunist when it comes to reshaping the parameters of the prevailing “group think.” He’s afraid of being cast as the “outsider,” so he only occasionally tests the limits of what the neocon/liberal-hawk “big thinkers” will permit, as with Cuba and Iran. . .

    SOURCE – https://consortiumnews.com/2015/08/21/the-riddle-of-obamas-foreign-policy/

  5. ritzl
    September 23, 2015, 4:37 pm

    Heh.

    “this was a more difficult endeavor than we assumed and that we need to make some changes to that program,” Mr. Earnest said. …

    “Assumed,” past tense?

    Make it “assume,” present tense, and you have a perfect description of the complete circular obliviousness of Beltway group-think and policy formation.

    ▶“this was a more difficult endeavor than we assume and that we need to make some changes to that program,” Mr. Earnest said.◀

    Since no policy change appears to be forthcoming, the admission it is/was a bad assumption is blather. They still assume it and plan accordingly. That means they’re completely incapable of change, despite harming Millions of people for no apparent reason.

  6. Mikesailor
    September 23, 2015, 4:38 pm

    Does anyone remember the story, promulgated by the Bush administration and amplified by the media, that Saddam’s WMD’s somehow went to Syria for safekeeping? And that Syria was facilitating the entry of Sunni warriors into Iraq and that was why we actually attacked Syria and killed some of their border troops? Funny when you look at it but these same Sunni “jihadists” entering Iraq were joining “Al Qaeda in Iraq” which has now evolved into the Al Nusra front in Syria, same commanders and same troops. And of course the same funders-Saudi Arabia. The “Arab Spring” in Syria was a joke. It was funded by the Saudis with the implicit objective of overthrowing the “heretical” Assad regime.Why do you think a well-funded military insurgence was waiting in the wings so quickly? The wild card was ISIS which arose in Iraq and was funded by-who exactly? It wasn’t the Saudi government. I would say it was the Gulf States aided by the Turks who wanted an ally against the Kurds but watched the movement get out of control. We played with the Saudis but wouldn’t admit it. Israel became involved because they want to keep the Golan and it was promised to them as long as they sided with “Al-Nusra”. That is why they attacked Syria at times and also gave medical and other help to the “insurgents”. Such blatant help ended when the Druse found out and lynched a couple of wounded Al-Nusra fighters in Israel. Israel didn’t really want it known how much they were assisting the Saudis so now they supposedly “ended” such help but I wouldn’t believe it for they still want to Golan. And now Petraeus, among others, want us to arm Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) militants. This is Obama’s policy, no doubt. It is a continuation of the “Defense of the Realm” papers given to Netanyahu by the neocons before the first hostilities broke out with the 911 attacks. How many more have to die for the monumental mistakes of the Bush, and now the Obama, administrations. I have no idea.

    • Citizen
      September 24, 2015, 11:33 am

      The Israelis will do anything to keep the Syrian land they now occupy. They will do anything to knock of Assad–PNAC plan never died; just reincorporated its entity. US will support anybody it thinks will morph to new puppet states favored by US corporate business, MIC–except US will not favor these interests if AIPAC/Israel nixes it.

  7. Mikesailor
    September 23, 2015, 6:39 pm

    Sorry but my phraseology was incorrect The reported paper for Netanyahu was titled “A Clean Break” and can be located at :
    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=a%20clean%20break%20.
    Unfortunately, the phrase “Defense of the Realm” was a subtitle of the paper and stuck in my head. Read and enjoy.

  8. lysias
    September 23, 2015, 7:10 pm

    b’s thread on Syria in Moon of Alabama: Syria: The End Of The “Vetted Rebels” Scam.

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 1:05 pm

      Moon of Alabama, Informed Comment, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett and yes former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer, Electronic Intifada, are all incredible resources for understanding U.S. middle east politics

  9. Boomer
    September 24, 2015, 5:47 am

    Yes. Ditto Iraq. Ditto, on a smaller scale, Ukraine. And, as we all know, the Obama administration also needs to own up to the catastrophe the U.S. actively enables and supports and Israel/Palestine.

    • Citizen
      September 24, 2015, 11:36 am

      US favors anybody who will be most profitable to US business interests, MIC sector of same–except Israel had de facto veto power of even those interests via AIPAC matrix.

  10. CigarGod
    September 24, 2015, 10:33 am

    Perhaps the ultimate anti-war protest/action is to blow $500 million on training 4 or 5 fighters.

    That may be the way to change the system from within;-)

    • lysias
      September 24, 2015, 10:34 am

      Maybe only 4 or 5 fighters were enriched, but a lot of defense contractors were as well.

      • CigarGod
        September 24, 2015, 10:39 am

        Yep…but if you amd me formed a biz like that…we could divert and fund peace.

        Remember the student in utah that bid up and bought oil/gas leases away from drilling companies…in order to protest drilling in some of our most fragile and beautiful lands.

        I’m just having a little contrary/creative thinking.

  11. lysias
    September 24, 2015, 10:33 am

    After the disastrous results of toppling relatively secularist regimes in Iraq and Libya, it should have been obvious how disastrous toppling or attempting to topple the relatively secularist regime in Syria would be, especially for religious minorities there, like the Christians. Nevertheless, our government went ahead. Why?

    • eljay
      September 24, 2015, 10:41 am

      || lysias: After the disastrous results of toppling relatively secularist regimes in Iraq and Libya, it should have been obvious how disastrous toppling or attempting to topple the relatively secularist regime in Syria would be, especially for religious minorities there, like the Christians. Nevertheless, our government went ahead. Why? ||

      Greed, hubris, megalomania, zealotry, stupidity…

      • CigarGod
        September 24, 2015, 10:56 am

        Risk/reward analysis.
        Who risks and who gets the reward.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 24, 2015, 11:06 am

      i don’t think they cared if it would be disastrous for syrians.

      • lysias
        September 24, 2015, 11:17 am

        But the anarchy in Iraq and Libya have not been helpful to the U.S. either, and neither is the anarchy in Syria now turning out to be helpful.

      • eljay
        September 24, 2015, 11:31 am

        || lysias: But the anarchy in Iraq and Libya have not been helpful to the U.S. either, and neither is the anarchy in Syria now turning out to be helpful. ||

        Why assume that these interventions were intended to be helpful to the U.S.?

        Surely there are people/companies/countries that benefit from it in the short term (such as weapons manufacturers, military contractors, etc.) and who will benefit from it in the long term (through reconstruction contracts, access to previously limited markets, etc.). And, who knows, perhaps even the U.S. will benefit! :-)

      • Citizen
        September 24, 2015, 11:40 am

        US government does not care about what any state does to its own people; it’s only interested in supporting any regime that is most profitable to US business, including MIC–except when Israel nixes such. The pattern’s been clear for over half a century. Saudi Arabia anyone?

  12. mijj
    September 24, 2015, 11:30 am

    the same mistakes perpetuate: creating pseudo “rebel” organizations and channelling to them money, intelligence, supplies and training .. who then switch sides to join (one way or another) openly terrorist organizations (who don’t feel the need to dress themselves up as “rebel”.)

    If you keep making the same “mistakes”, they’re not mistakes.

  13. Bandolero
    September 24, 2015, 2:34 pm

    Breaking: Merkel & Erdogan call for talks with/transition role of Assad:

    Merkel says Assad must have role in Syria talks

    Assad may take part in Syria transition, Erdoğan says

    • Annie Robbins
      September 24, 2015, 2:42 pm

      fantastic. in my notes from the 1000 embed evening i had last night (i’m exaggerating) i happened to copy this: http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48514

      PLATFORM

      Policy Toward the Crisis

      *Original Damascus Declaration rejected foreign interference, but as part of the Syrian National Council the signatories call for external military intervention

      *Original Damascus Declaration prioritized peaceful transition, but as part of the Syrian National Council the signatories call for arming the opposition

      *Rejects dialogue with the regime

      *Supports the Annan peace plan

      Political Objectives

      *Original Damascus Declaration sought gradual and peaceful transition to democracy, but as part of the Syrian National Council the signatories prioritize the fall of the regime

      *Equality of rights and duties of all citizens, including the freedom and equality of minorities, within the framework of a national unity constitution

      *A secular state, which recognizes Islam as the “more prominent cultural component in the life of the nation and the people”

      Foreign Policy Issues

      *Liberation of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
      *“Correction” of the relationship with Lebanon

      you can believe “Rejects dialogue with the regime” stood out. i thought, oh that’s a winning way to bring democratic reform/NOT

      oh, and did i mention:

      exciting.

      • lysias
        September 24, 2015, 3:34 pm

        And that meeting ends a long period when Obama refused to meet with Putin. The White House is saying Putin requested the meeting, but that is avoiding having to admit that it was the U.S. that had to climb down.

        NYT: White House Says Obama and Putin Will Meet Next Week.

      • a4tech
        September 25, 2015, 9:56 am

        Pathetic, no principled leader would recognize a regime that happily bombs it’s own citizenry to hold onto the power. But then again, it’s Merkel and Erdogan who will do everything Assad doing albeit in the political stage.

        Also I’m curious on why would rejecting dialogue with the regime stood out for you?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 28, 2015, 11:45 pm

        I’m curious on why would rejecting dialogue with the regime stood out for you?

        did you open the link?

        The Damascus Declaration (DD) is a secular umbrella opposition coalition named after a statement drafted in 2005 by numerous opposition groups and individuals demanding a multiparty democracy in Syria. It calls for a gradual and peaceful transition to democracy and the equality of all citizens in a secular and sovereign Syria….

        The Damascus Declaration was signed on October 16, 2005, as an attempt to unite the fractured Syrian opposition.

        because it seemed rather early to rejecting dialogue. there was no ‘bombs his own people’ in 2005. that was the year cheney’s daughter’s group started pumping 400 million plus a year into rousting up “fractured syrian opposition”.

  14. David Doppler
    September 25, 2015, 12:10 am

    Historical dysfunction, I would say. The most powerful man in the world wastes $500M on a plan that he has his press secretary say “my advisers made me do it, they should own up,” as a sorry political chapter in a tale of such woeful destruction, barely hinted at in the image of a small, drowned boy on the beach, or the videos of dying bodies, twitching, foaming at the mouth from chemical weapons being deployed on civilians by whom? There are conflicting stories, but no civic will to get to the bottom of it, just political claptrap. Those who persuaded the President to paint himself into a corner over use of chemical weapons, and then complain bitterly when he failed to act on his “redline,” look suspicious in their constant warmongering, but no one takes them on. Then all these revelations from Bandolero make one’s head spin: the layers of deception, false flags, turncoats, indirection.

    If Obama is at war with Netanyahu, why the hell doesn’t he fight?

    • Bandolero
      September 25, 2015, 8:28 am

      David

      “If Obama is at war with Netanyahu, why the hell doesn’t he fight?”

      Obama does fight Netanyahu, even very serious, didn’t you remark his epic battle against Netanyahu over the Iran deal?

      Obama’s fight against Netanyahu is not easy because Netanyahu owns more than half of the US Congress and Netanyahu and the pro-Israel crazies have also lot’s of support from the US media, the US public and rich money bags.

  15. Bandolero
    September 25, 2015, 12:44 pm

    Philip Gordon, special assistant to the president and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region from 2013–15, lays out how the White House policy change on Syria may be sold:

    It’s Time to Rethink Syria

  16. Bandolero
    September 25, 2015, 2:08 pm

    Tectonic shift continuing:

    German vice chancellor Gabriel calls for end of sanctions against Russia: “one cannot sanction Russia on the one hand and ask for cooperation (on other issues like Syria) on the other hand.

    A better relation with Russia starts with a new German-Russian gaspipeline and ends with removing the sanctions.”

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/moskaus-rolle-im-syrien-krieg-gabriel-wirbt-fuer-aufhebung-der-sanktionen-gegen-russland-1.2666045

    • piotr
      September 30, 2015, 9:21 am

      Arrest warrant for Bandolero from Grammar Police: confusing misspelling!

      There is no “Tectonic shift” of German policy, but “Teutonic shift”, named after a tribe that kept issuing contradicting statements, usually in the same week.

      Apart from that, Germany is indeed curiously dependent on Russian natural gas. I do not have stats at hand, but German government has to satisfy two constituencies that pull in somewhat opposite direction: “sensible economic growth” and Green tendency of opposing carbon emissions AND nuclear energy. So Germany is energetically pushing “renewable energy”, quite a lot of wind power installed, many types of sensible energy savings, but there is still a yawning gap that can be filled only with natural gas. Historically, east Germany relied on lignite, a fuel with particularly bad CO2 to energy ratio, and the west on coal with is not as bad but quite bad, while natural gas gives a ratio which is better, if not that spectacular (nukes have much lower emissions). So natural gas is the only way to fix the energy balance, and if Poles and Ukrainians stand in the way, bad luck for them.

      New sources of gas may appear of course, but elimination of coal + growth will use all that.

      Apart from that, Germans know very well to what extend extreme Ukrainian nationalists are Nazi, and to what extend they are not. But since WWII, the impulse to follow American foreign policy, with some necessary exceptions dictated by the economy, became so ingrained that so far, we see “Teutonic shifts” only.

  17. Bandolero
    September 25, 2015, 8:00 pm

    The Pentagon just confirmed, Friday evening, of course, that their newly US-trained anti-ISIS-fighters gave a part of their US-supplied eqipment to Al Qaeda:

    U.S.-trained Syrian rebels gave equipment to Nusra – U.S. military

    To me that looks pretty much like that that’s “game over” for any further US plans to train and arm more “moderate rebels” in Syria.

  18. Bandolero
    September 26, 2015, 5:02 am

    I think this is a huge story: Donald Trump breaks ranks with the Israel lobby on Syria. As per the Washington Post:

    Donald Trump: Let Russia fight the Islamic State in Syria

    Donald Trump accused his Republican presidential rivals on Friday night of wanting to “start World War III over Syria,” and suggested that the United States should instead let Russia deal with the problem. …

    Trump then used a child-like voice to imitate those who have questioned the depth of his global expertise. He switched to a deeply serious voice to imitate his rivals who have provided details: “If I’m president, I will engage the sixth fleet. I will do this, I will do that, I will attack Russia and Syria.”

    “This is what they say,” Trump said. “They want to start World War III over Syria. Give me a break. You know, Russia wants to get ISIS, right? We want to get ISIS. Russia is in Syria — maybe we should let them do it? Let them do it.” …

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/09/25/donald-trump-let-russia-fight-the-islamic-state-in-syria/

    Of course, that’s exactly what Russia, Iran and Syria want, and what the Israel lobby hates. If the US pulls away from Syria, it means the resistance has won, and Israel and the neocons hate. Obama has now cover from the top Republican Presidential contender to drop out, to drop regime change policy on Syria and to let Russia help the Syrian government fight ISIS.

    Remember, the Forward recently reported: Donald Trump’s Rise Sparks Widespread Angst Among Jewish Republicans

  19. lysias
    September 26, 2015, 7:03 pm

    The story about U.S.-trained fighters that were inserted into Syria defecting to Al Nusra that the Pentagon was calling a lie just a day or two ago they now admit is true. Only the Washington Post buries the story on page A20. U.S.-trained fighters in Syria gave equipment to al-Qaeda affiliate.

  20. lproyect
    September 27, 2015, 9:16 am

    So fascinating to see so little acknowledgement of the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump affinities. Everybody else except the Baathist amen corner seems to understand that the “war on terror” against the horrid anti-Baathist revolt is in the capable hands of Hezbollah, Iran, the Baathist barrel-bombers and the Russian military with Israel cheering them on. An “anti-imperialist” bloc in Orwellian terms:

    What about Bashar al-Assad, the expert says that the Israeli authorities realized that only his army can oppose the radical Islam, and he is the only intelligible negotiation leverage in Syria. Jihadists, which are currently in the Golan Heights (a disputed area between Israel and Syria) for instance, are backed by the US, and attack the Israeli territory.

    The US losses its interest to the Arab sheikhs, the Saudi Arabia, and shifts to the cooperation with Iran, as it has industrial potential. In any case, Washington will keep loosing [sic] its influence in the Middle East, while Russia will be increasing it.

    Understanding between the Russian and Israeli leaders is at its top, Avigdor Eskin noted. Thus, the creation of a joint military group is a revolutionary and historical event. Russia and Israel organized a duet, and if it works out, Syria will be soon under control of its legitimate power within its former borders. Israel and Syria will maintain “neutral relations”, Eskin concluded.

    http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/23-09-2015/132088-israel-0/

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 10:20 am

      are you quoting this israeli publicist seriously lproyect, or is this a joke? and what’s this:

      Everybody else except the Baathist amen corner seems to understand that the “war on terror” against the horrid anti-Baathist revolt is in the capable hands of Hezbollah, Iran, the Baathist barrel-bombers and the Russian military with Israel cheering them on.

      does this mean ‘everybody understands that the war against the syrian opposition is in the hands of hezbollah, iran, assad and the syrian army, and russia’ (and israel cheers on this coalition) except the so called “Baathist amen corner” doesn’t understand this? because i think everyone pretty much understands by now the coalition of hezbollah, iran, assad/syrian army, and russia are fighting the opposition (which you fail to mention is dominated by jhiadists fighters, which should be abundantly clear by now, read exwhite house advisor >> http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/its-time-to-rethink-syria-213184 ) and israel has been supporting that opposition in the border region btw. which i read this morning iranian troops are going to be fighting (the opposition in the golan — not israel). and you’re also saying “everybody” understands israel is cheering on this coalition?

      and this is a fantasy of gargantuan proportion:

      Understanding between the Russian and Israeli leaders is at its top, Avigdor Eskin noted. Thus, the creation of a joint military group is a revolutionary and historical event. Russia and Israel organized a duet, and if it works out, Syria will be soon under control of its legitimate power

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 11:26 am

      btw:

      The recent arrival of Russian military personnel to the Syrian port-city of Tartous has allowed for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the civilian-led “National Defense Forces” (NDF) to concentrate their military units to a number of different fronts outside of the Syrian Government stronghold of Latakia.

      With much of the SAA and NDF units deployed to more volatile fronts, the Russian Marines and Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) have relieved their positions by installing military checkpoints inside the cities of Slunfeh (east Latakia Governorate), Masyaf (east Tartous Governorate) and Ras Al-Bassit (Latakia coastal city).

      According to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army, at least 2,800 soldiers from the Special Forces have been redeployed from their base at Slunfeh; this allowed for the Russian Marines and Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen to build fortifications around this mountainous city that overlooks the Al-Ghaab Plains.

      The Russian Marines and IRG replacing the Syrian Army in Slunfeh is imperative for two reasons:

      The Islamist rebels would have to go through Slunfeh if they wanted to cross into Latakia from the Al-Ghaab Plains – meaning, they will have to go through the Russian and Iranian defenses.
      Their presence in east Latakia is a clear warning to the Islamist rebels that Latakia is off limits for their military endeavors.
      Ras Al-Bassit is another important site; however, not because it is in any-kind of danger, but rather, due to the fact its the 4th Mechanized Division’s headquarters in northern Syria (main HQ is in Yafour, Damascus).

      The Russian Marines and IRG stationed at Ras Al-Bassit will likely travel back and forth to the predominately Armenian city of Kassab on the Syrian-Turkish border – another warning to the Islamist rebels that this area off limits.

      Finally, there is Masyaf in east Tartous; this city is the National Defense Forces’ headquarters, as it houses the largest number of militiamen (est. 12,000-16,000) in Syria.

      East of Masyaf are the predominately Christian cities of Al-Sqaylabiyah and Mhardeh; these two cities have been under attack by the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”; however, the civilian militiamen inside these two cities were able to fight off every attack.

      Once again, the Russians and Iranians form this protectorate around Masyaf to deter any Islamist rebels from entering the Tartous Governorate.

      Whether or not the Islamist rebels harbor these military aspirations is unknown; but they have been given a fair warning by the Iranians and Russians to not expand west. http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/russian-marines-and-iranian-revolutionary-guardsmen-build-a-protectorate-in-western-syria/

      it looks like there may be some vital organizing going on sans the russia/israel nexus (snark).

      i went over to your site and saw your crazy post w/I can just see the military brass from each side sharing vodka and pickled herring.

      maybe you forget the several “experts” touting the advantages of cozying up to AQ as a tactic to overthrow the regime. the quotes are endless. here’s just one https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-03-09/accepting-al-qaeda

      But the instability in the Middle East following the Arab revolutions and the meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) require that Washington rethink its policy toward al Qaeda, particularly its targeting of Zawahiri. Destabilizing al Qaeda at this time may in fact work against U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS.

      or maybe you recall elizabeth o’bagy’s extensive study, playing front man for the kagan’s institute of war? the idea there’s ever been a viable strong moderate opposition that could take over and stabilize syria if/when the regime fell is a fantasy and has always been a fantasy simply because the jhiadist are the strength of the opposition. and to imagine russia and israel have formed an alliance and they are going to rout this jhiadist element, after years of statement by their think tanks and cronies pushing to align with their proxies. is just nutzoid.

      netanyahu ran to russia as soon as he found out putin and obama were going to meet. he wanted in on some action so he wouldn’t look like he was sitting it out on the sidelines and russia accommodated him. that’s all. after the iran deal was ironed out, washington has moved on.

      “Kerry had not wanted to discuss Syria at the same time as the negotiations on an Iran nuclear deal, which concluded in July, because he didn’t want Tehran to think it could trade concessions on Syria, U.S. officials said.”

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/25/us-syria-crisis-kerry-idUSKCN0RP2IJ20150925

      and after netanyahu’s (and the lobbies) complete assault on that deal, why would the US even think about including israel in any deal they were trying to make w/russia and iran? so netanyahu knows this. he just wants to pretend he’s in the big leagues. like when he whined about not being in the P5+1. he wants to think israel is a world power. they aren’t. and they won’t be part of the solution in syria either.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 11:34 am

        oh, and hezbollah just got 75 tanks. do you think israel is cheering this on too?

        was this part of the coordinated russia/israel plan to win the day in syria. do tell.

      • CigarGod
        September 27, 2015, 11:58 am

        Bibi has been backed into so many corners, he’s just trying to find one he can bribe for 5 minutes so he can sit on his stool and collect his thoughts.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 11:40 am

        “…and after netanyahu’s (and the lobbies) complete assault on that deal, why would the US even think about including israel in any deal they were trying to make w/russia and iran? so netanyahu knows this. he just wants to pretend he’s in the big leagues. like when he whined about not being in the P5+1. he wants to think israel is a world power. they aren’t.”

        Bingo, Annie.

        (lol to your 11:34 coup de grâce, too)

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 12:26 pm

        ;) thanks just.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 12:05 pm

        I think he’s also sitting in his stool, CG.

        (he’s cornered alright~ it explains his abominable shoot to kill orders for only Palestinian stone- throwers and long prison sentences for those that are only maimed by the eager and bloodthirsty IOF ‘sharpshooters’)

      • CigarGod
        September 27, 2015, 12:14 pm

        But, dominant powers (as opposed to civilized nations…whatever the hell that is) have left him an escape route. Full equality within the borders of the mandate. He could win the Nobel.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 12:41 pm

        he’s just trying to find one he can bribe for 5 minutes so he can sit on his stool and collect his thoughts.

        he’s the royal king of slaughtering civilians in a prison. his military is good at one thing, sharp shooters killing protestors with rocks and an airforce pounding civilian neighborhoods where they can’t get their hands dirty, because when they’re on the ground they’re so afraid of taking on armed resistance they bomb whole neighborhoods to smithereens to make they’re sure their own soldiers are killed so’s not be be held captive. they make up silly lies about tunnels into kindergartens to keep the masses frothing at the mouth. he’s a genocidal joke. and now he’s authorized live fire on civilians with rocks!

        running off to russia for the headlines. gag me. ‘oh, we’re coordinating airstrikes!’

      • CigarGod
        September 27, 2015, 1:07 pm

        Every rat has his day.
        Give a guy enough rope…

        Wish those sayings were always true.
        I wish karma was true.

        Instead, we have MW and others who work toward bringing justice in a less magical way…but hopefully just as final.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 12:42 pm

        Sorry about cutting off your great comment in my post and not putting quotes around it, Annie. (I got distracted while posting… ;-)

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 1:13 pm

        lol, no worries just! i put quote marks around it for you and closed the sentence [y aren’t.]

        all better. ;)

      • a4tech
        September 27, 2015, 12:52 pm

        “he’s the royal king of slaughtering civilians in a prison. his military is good at one thing, sharp shooters killing protestors with rocks and an airforce pounding civilian neighborhoods where they can’t get their hands dirty, because when they’re on the ground they’re so afraid of taking on armed resistance – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/own-up-obama#comment-798991

        Annie everything you said in that post can be said about Obama too, although I think Obama’s a lot worse for constantly putting on a peace-lover public face.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 1:02 pm

        zzzzzz

      • CigarGod
        September 27, 2015, 1:11 pm

        Not true in the slightest.
        Where is that stuff happening within the borders of the usa?

        You probably mean our influence in other countries…directly or by proxy…the same Israel does.

        Again, you are incorrect.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 1:12 pm

        …” everything you said in that post can be said about Obama too, although I think Obama’s a lot worse for constantly putting on a peace-lover public face.”

        That’s bs, a4tech.

      • a4tech
        September 27, 2015, 1:20 pm

        Going into various sovereign countries assassinating “targets” using super-accurate drones,spying on his own citizens (especially Muslims), jailing and torturing civilians in hidden sites all over the world, keeping Guantanamo open, creating and supporting ISIS and many more. The death and destruction caused by your dear leader far far far outnumber whatever the chump Netanyahu can muster.

        But anything dear leader does must be for the greater good for you huh.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 1:22 pm

        You are a peach, Annie. Thank you.

      • oldgeezer
        September 27, 2015, 1:55 pm

        @just
        “That’s bs, a4tech.”

        +1

        Sometimes a detailed explanatory response is desirable and deserved. Other times they just aren’t.

        Good call.

      • lproyect
        September 27, 2015, 3:57 pm

        the idea there’s ever been a viable strong moderate opposition that could take over and stabilize syria if/when the regime fell is a fantasy

        Is that what you are for, Annie? Armed groups that can take over and stabilize a country? Is that the way that young leftists think today? How depressing.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 5:40 pm

        i really can’t figure out why you keep beating your wife lproyect. Is that what you are for, lproyect? wife beating? how depressing.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 12:54 pm

      More on the Israel-Russia-Saudi Arabia-Iran-Annie Robbins axis of resistance.

      there is no “axis” of Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran as far as i am concerned.

      your point? are you claiming General Azer Tsfrir is in the “Baathist amen corner” now? and what’s this

      The Israelis will be looking for the Russians to restrict Iranian terror against Israel from Syrian territory.

      as i recall it was israel that bombed the convoy. the only measures taken against israel in the golan was a day or two after israel initiated it. there’s been no danger to israel during this war in syria as far as i recall. all these jhiadists on the border don’t seem very interested in attacking israel. in fact, they’ve been quite cozy w/israel. but this is impressive:

      Israel has quality intelligence on everything that is taking place in Syria and as time goes by the Russian army might need Israel’s assistance in confronting the complexities of the fighting there.

      what a generous offer. yes, we all read the many many news articles flooding the press last week when netanyahu ran over to russia on a moments notice to pre empt the powers negotiations coming up and make headlines. i heard kerry was meeting w/a bunch of states on tuesday, was israel invited to that? israel is just trying to make itself sound relevant.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 2:11 pm

      yes i saw that. i even quoted from it earlier remember:

      I can just see the military brass from each side sharing vodka and pickled herring.

      not too impressed w/the analysis — sorry!

  21. just
    September 27, 2015, 1:41 pm

    Julian Borger’s article:

    “UN’s 70th general assembly: the greatest political show on earth …

    In geopolitics, this is the greatest show on earth. For the best part of a week, the world’s leaders – more than 150 of them – will mingle, bargain and argue over the state of the world at the UN general assembly in New York.

    For much of the proceedings, “show” is the operative word. When the presidents and prime ministers mount the green marble podium, there will be a strong element of theatre. They will be playing to different galleries, declaiming their positions to their peers in the chamber, but also to domestic audiences.

    The drama will be greater than ever this year, at the 70th session of the UN general assembly, known inside the institution by its acronym Unga (rhyming with hunger). Within the space of two hours on Monday morning, Presidents Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani and François Hollande will take their turn to speak. Each will try to anticipate and respond to the other, seeking rhetorical advantage and one-upmanship in their claims to global leadership. The global balance of power will be laid out in the open. …”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/27/un-70th-general-assembly-new-york-putin-obama-syria

    Nary a mention of Israel or Netanyahu…. not even a whimper.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Nary a mention of Israel or Netanyahu…. not even a whimper.

      no more wile e coyote cartoons to thrill world leaders with? too bad the UN isn’t more like congress jumping up and down clapping for him every other second. maybe they can come up with a UN equivalent of the golden raspberry award to present netanyahu.

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 7:18 am

      Thanks Just

  22. lproyect
    September 27, 2015, 1:43 pm

    Annie Robbins: “he’s the royal king of slaughtering civilians in a prison. his military is good at one thing, sharp shooters killing protestors with rocks and an airforce pounding civilian neighborhoods where they can’t get their hands dirty, because when they’re on the ground they’re so afraid of taking on armed resistance they bomb whole neighborhoods to smithereens to make they’re sure their own soldiers are killed so’s not be be held captive.”

    Gratified to see her finally understanding Bashar al-Assad.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 2:00 pm

      oh please, what a joke. assad has been fighting well armed and heavily supported jhiadists for over 4 years (granted, thousands of civilians dying in the process). netanyahu was sweating bullets not knowing how long hamas (a legit resistance operating in a blockaded fishbowl) could hold out summer 2014, how many rockets they had or what arsenal they had (for 51 days). there is no comparison whatsoever.

      • a4tech
        September 27, 2015, 4:00 pm

        Yeah cause fighting a tyrannical government headed by a dynastic despot is so much fun right, that’s why these “jihadist” are all up in arms to fight? For the fun of it?

        The whole government body of Syria is a remnant of colonial times where the minority Alawites was put onto power by a foreign force. Why is it any more legitimate than Israel? Why are Hamas lauded for their struggles but not Syrians?

        I’m curious why a person so dedicated for the pursuit of justice and peace would be so inclined to supporting Assad and his regime.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 5:28 pm

        you mean as opposed to the caliphate?

        Why are Hamas lauded for their struggles but not Syrians?

        i think we can laud syrians for their struggle while recognizing there’s no viable syrian opposition that could topple assad and bring stability to the nation. experts agree. polls also support the notion assad is supported by the majority of syrians. if you really think the only people supporting assad are “minority Alawites” you’ve got your head in the sand.

        this is a humanitarian disaster. the war needs to stop. i didn’t support saddam either but i’d much rather we had not invaded iraq. were people suffering? yes. did more people suffer as a result of our invasion? undoubtedly. i’m not afraid of bullies like you. syria, as bad as it might have been, was not an apartheid state and was one of the most stable counties in the ME.

      • echinococcus
        September 27, 2015, 6:09 pm

        4-Tech:

        fighting a tyrannical government headed by a dynastic despot is so much fun right, that’s why these “jihadist” are all up in arms to fight? For the fun of it?

        For $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
        Duh.

        Same as their Western supporters.

      • gamal
        September 28, 2015, 5:33 am

        “The whole government body of Syria is a remnant of colonial times where the minority Alawites was put onto power by a foreign force”

        Are you the Louis Proyect Professor of Knowing Stuff About the Middle-East?

        It is requirement of Islam that one not lie, 4:135, except in certain circumstances, and such a stupid puerile lie too, if you argue on the basis that your interlocutors know nothing of a subject and are way too lazy to read then such an idiotic lie may be a good idea, its not an error or a difference of opinion your statement above is a foolish lie with no basis in reality at all, please read, a very shallow though good brief breakdown on the emergence of the Syrian state, it includes context, can you give a timeline of the Alawite domination, you are very foolish, do you read Arabic?

        Can any one tell me what Ideological purity is for, its been worrying me, what does it do.

        http://sam.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/katarzyna_krokowska.pdf

      • a4tech
        September 28, 2015, 9:21 am

        Gamal, I concede that maybe the whole government body is too much of a generalisation. However, the ascension of the Alawites into the ruling class of Syria was definitely part of a colonial project which effects we are witnessing today.

      • gamal
        September 28, 2015, 10:36 am

        “However, the ascension of the Alawites into the ruling class of Syria was definitely part of a colonial project”

        ok, lets try again, brief and really simple, Dr. Fildis does “Roots of Sunni-Alawi Rivalry”, you will notice the absence of a French installed Alawite Autocracy, for the current regime to be a descendant of. Needless to say I have differences with the good professor but we do occupy the same universe.

        there was a throw away line in the Charlie Glass article, re:sunni/shia, which no one picked up on, there are few things as immovable as ignorant assumptions, whatever utility they may have in destroying this months ultimate evil, Assad, to save Syria and Syrians, any one wonder why all those folk suddenly rushed Europes borders, they were in camps, something happen?

        There is a lot that could be said of the whole Arab Dictator meme, any one actually interested who believes that stuff could blow their very own minds with moderate study in English, i cant be bothered to get into any of this anymore, its like Netanyahu’s UN cartoon, your knowledge of Syria’s political economy is non-existent, this is tedious and silly.

        Do you have anything to show the France-Alawite-Assad lineage of the current regime?

        http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/roots-alawite-sunni-rivalry-syria

      • lysias
        September 28, 2015, 11:09 am

        From the Wikipedia entry Alawites:

        The French encouraged Alawites to join their military forces, in part to provide a counterweight to the Sunni majority (which was more hostile to their rule). According to a 1935 letter by the French minister of war, the French considered the Alawites and the Druze the only “warlike races” in the Mandate territories.[47]

        . . .

        Syria became independent on 17 April 1946. In 1949, after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Syria experienced a number of military coups and the rise of the Ba’ath Party.

        In 1958, Syria and Egypt were united by a political agreement into the United Arab Republic. The UAR lasted for three years, breaking apart in 1961 when a group of army officers seized power and declared Syria independent.

        A succession of coups ensued until, in 1963, a secretive military committee (including Alawite officers Hafez al-Assad and Salah Jadid) helped the Ba’ath Party seize power. In 1966 Alawite-affiliated military officers successfully rebelled and expelled the Ba’ath Party old guard followers of Greek Orthodox Christian Michel Aflaq and Sunni Muslim Salah ad-Din al-Bitar, calling Zaki al-Arsuzi the “Socrates” of the reconstituted Ba’ath Party.

        So, whatever the French may or may not have intended, the rise of the Assad/Baathist regime in Syria is causally connected with the way the French favored Alawites in the Syrian army during the mandate period.

      • Bandolero
        September 28, 2015, 11:41 am

        gamal

        “… minority Alawites was put onto power by a foreign force …”

        This whole discourse of Sunni versus Allawites is sectarian from A to Z. And that’s what always was the real colonial plot: to devide the people along sects, races, ethinics etc. Divide and rule.

        The simple fact is that there is no a monolithic bloc “Allawites” versus a monolithic bloc “Sunnis.” If one would believe that then the Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad (Allawite) is currently at war with his wife (Sunni), his defense minister (Sunni), his foreign minister (Sunni) and so on. Of course, that’s gross nonsense, like the whole theory of an Allawite versus Sunni war. The colonialists, their heirs and their stooges try to portray it that way to create more bloodshed, but it’s not the truth.

        What is true however is that some prominent members of quite privileged clans in Syria wanted more power, and to achieve this, they aligned with NATO, GCC and Israel and started lot’s of bloodshed. Read for example the Wikipedia article on the Atassi family:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atassi_family

        IThe family was not marginalized, quite the opposite. However, one finds quite a lot of people of that family in leading positions aligned with NATO-GCC countries trying to do bloody regime change in Syria.

      • a4tech
        September 28, 2015, 12:31 pm

        Bondoralo do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? Commenting on Syria’s political arrangement on the internet tantamounts to divide and conquer for you? Not the overrepresentation of certain communities in the powerful positions of the state? Not the violent suppression of any opposition to the state? Not painting everyone critical of the state in broad strokes as terrorists that need to be neutralized?

        By the way, the whole “us against the evil imperialists trying to subjugate us” trope have been repeated ad nauseum by your camp ever since the coup in 60’s to justify the regime’s grip onto power. Is that the only excuse you have to support the regime, at the cost of so many lives?

        It is clear that the regime is desperate to maintain the status quo by any means necessary, thus it is too convenient to blame everything on the imperialists and terrorists for the current ills in Syria.

      • Bandolero
        September 28, 2015, 1:48 pm

        a4tech

        Gotcha!

        Your ignorance of the government opponents’ crimes of terrorism against the Syrian people and their crime of collaborating with imperial war on Syria speak for itself, but these facts won’t go away by your ignorance.

        And the justification of these crimes you gave – in your terms: “overrepresentation of certain communities in the powerful positions” – is not only sectarianism in the service of imperialists but also the main reason why your neocon-wahhabi likeminds lose their war on Syria, because a clear majority of the Syrian people rejects this.

        Do you have any idea how miserable you sound?

      • gamal
        September 28, 2015, 1:58 pm

        “This whole discourse of Sunni versus Allawites is sectarian from A to Z. And that’s what always was the real colonial plot”

        absolutely, the French had an Alawite state, for sometime.

        (I am busy Bandolero, and was interested in your stuff above will follow links when able)

        the divisions within the Syria Muslim Brotherhood are of course famous, northern and southern Axes and the failure of Attar etc, the ingress of Saudi money and influence to Aleppines, many of whom were naqshbandi’s, the simple prism of sectarianism is not very enlightening, in my opinion.

        anyway one aspect of Syrias travails overlooked was the disastrous (for Syria) dawla al wahida Suriya wa Misr, episode, sadly Nassers Egypt in the 1313 days of union did Syria no good whatsoever, my passport still says U.A.R. (united arab republic) , the sound of cosmic laughter rings in my ears whenever i look at it, the Syrians got out just in time.

      • a4tech
        September 28, 2015, 2:34 pm

        No doubt there are elements of real terrorism in Syria trying to exploit the chaotic circumstances for their own selfish gains including genuine jihadist loons. But this is part and parcel of global geopolitics, everyone plays a role in exploiting the situation to their advantage, through covert and overt means. Some are called terrorists, some are called foreign allies and some imperialists and some are called the government.

        That does not change the fact that there are fundamental internal issues that are contributing to 80% of the current ordeal in Syria. A core element of this is the disproportionate distribution of governmental power among the various communities in Syria. This by itself is sectarianism in practice, but since I’m guessing addressing it would mean giving up some power by people in your camp, any calls for the revision of the status quo is labelled spreading sectarianism instead.

        I suppose an American analogy would be like when the black people express their legitimate grievances against the government through rallies and riots, they are labelled as thugs and their actions as race-baiting.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 28, 2015, 2:52 pm

        everyone plays a role in exploiting the situation to their advantage, through covert and overt means.

        saying something doesn’t make it true. not everyone is exploiting the situation in syria to their advantage. and if you think they are why not just start w/yourself and explain how your exploitation of syria works to your advantage.

        the fact that there are fundamental internal issues that are contributing to 80% of the current ordeal in Syria.

        do you have a source for that or are you just throwing the term “the fact” in front of one of your opinions and adding a specific percentage to make it more impressive?

        I suppose an American analogy would be like when the black people express their legitimate grievances against the government through rallies and riots, they are labelled as thugs and their actions as race-baiting.

        not really. black people in this country don’t have militias backed and supported by foreign entities/militias. plus, i don’t think anyone here is claiming the legitimate syrian opposition (syrian citizens vs foreigners, and/or syrian “moderate” rebels) are thugs or race – baiting. you seem to be ignoring the information of many analysts as well as our own pentagon assessment the most powerful force fighting assad in syria is al nusra (who had joined w/AQ btw). black people in this country are not associated w/ anything like that as far as i know.

        and from a comment below, i decided to place it here:

        For you to paint all of them as simply being terrorists from AQ or Al-Nusra is plainly disingenuous.

        strawman. you’re really scrapping the bottom of the barrel for arguments aren’t you?

      • Bandolero
        September 28, 2015, 5:31 pm

        a4tech

        Yes, there are elements of real terrorism in Syria. And, together with a bunch of mercenaries paid and equipped by zionist and wahhabi enemies of Syria, they gave themselves hundreds of fancyful names like Free Syrian Army, Islamic Movement of the Freeman of Sham, Army of Conquest, Islamic Front, Victory Front or Islamic State.

        And if you want to have an American analogy, the comparison with peaceful black people in the US is completely wrong, because the black people in the US demand equality instead of racism, they do it not with terrorist means and they are not paid and equipped by enemies of the US. A much better US analogy would be to compare the sectarian “revolution” of the “armed Syrian opposition” with a US “revolution” led by white power groups and the US militia movement demanding an end to the corrupt jewish regime and their black collaborateurs in Washington. And that movement for the rights of “white Christians” against the jewish oppression would then by spearheaded by terrorists like Timothy McVeigh. While they fight for power, refusing any dialogue with the “jewish regime” they would of course not chant “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave” – like the Syrian “revolutionaries” celebrated it, but something like “Blacks to Africa, Jews to the Gallows.” Would such a bunch of racist and sectarian terrorists and their followers be able to do a successful “revolution” in the US? Of course not, even if they were gioven lot’s of weapons from Russia and China, because the US people would not accept it.

        And that’s exactly what happened in Syria to the bunch of foreign backed sectarian terrorists claiming to do a “revolution” while singing “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave.” These bunch of terrorists and traitors bet that the US, Israel, Turkey,the Sauds and other leading imperial powers would help them to victory, so that they wouldn’t be held responsible for all their crimes and terrorists acts, but they grossly miscalulated, because a clear majority of the Syrian people didn’t accept their claimed revolution, which had no other tangible objectives than to deliver the independence of Syria to foreign powers aligned with Israel and to wallow themselves in their sectarianism.

        What do you think, why the so-called Syrian revolution failed? I tell you why: these sectarian terrorists, foreign agents and their fellows calling themselves letter soups like FSA; SNC and so on got plenty of support like money, weapons and media power from the enemies of Syria, who are much more rich and powerful countries than the friends of Syria, but they still failed their task of regime change, because they lacked the support of the Syrian people, becauss they had no worthy ideals, just wanting power betting on foreign backed violence and terrorism.

    • a4tech
      September 27, 2015, 5:53 pm

      I have a hard time believing the majority of Syrians support the Assad government.Perhaps the majority of the people surveyed does but without knowing the methodology and sample size of the survey, even that is subject to debate.

      I have no idea why opposing Assad makes me a bully, but I note that you are an acquaintance of Maher Arar’s wife and I guess Maher himself too. Do you know that Maher, like most educated, free-thinking Syrians oppose the regime as well?

      Lastly I fully agree with you that there is a humanitarian disaster in Syria. But please consider that no disaster with human casualties as high as those in Syria can arise from some loony jihadist group trying to restore the caliphate. This trope is no different from the Israelis labelling the genuine uprising by the Palestinians as Arab or Muslim terrorism.

      This great humanitarian disaster is the culmination of decades of repression and misrule by the regime, who hardly came to power by popular will of the Syrians. Like it or not, Assad and his regime will fall, just as Israel will and countless other tyrannical states have in history.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 6:39 pm

        you didn’t answer my question. you asked me “I’m curious why a person so dedicated for the pursuit of justice and peace would be so inclined to supporting Assad and his regime. ” and i answered “you mean as opposed to the caliphate?”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 6:53 pm

        The majority of Syrians interviewed said they believe that the situation is worsening, and only 21 percent said they preferred their life today than when Syria was fully controlled by Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Nearly half of Syrians surveyed said they opposed U.S.-coalition airstrikes, and nearly 80 percent said that the war has gotten worse because of the influx of foreign fighters. Yet there is also sense of hope: The majority of Syrians surveyed said a diplomatic solution was possible to end the war, and that Syrians can set aside their difference and live side by side again.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/15/one-in-five-syrians-say-islamic-state-is-a-good-thing-poll-says/

      • a4tech
        September 27, 2015, 6:57 pm

        Hmmm so the only alternative to an oppressive regime is a caliphate? Anyways, I agree there is no structured opposition party to replace Assad as of yet, which of course by design! When you are part of an oppressive state that have no qualms of arresting you without charge or bombing your entire village for dissent, it’s pretty hard to form a viable political bloc against the ruling party.

        FYI, I oppose any forceful implementation of governance, be it secular or a theocratic caliphate.

      • oldgeezer
        September 27, 2015, 7:31 pm

        Yes lets question the methodolgy and sample size. Clearly something must be wrong if it conflicts with your beleif system.

        Wait is that a supermoon i see through my livingroom window or the glow of your ego.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 7:43 pm

        @ oldgeezer @ 7:31:

        Thanks for that.

        (And thank you for bringing the facts to the table as usual, Annie. I admire your stamina and patience.)

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 8:19 pm

        which of course by design! When you are part of an oppressive state that have no qualms of arresting you without charge ….. it’s pretty hard to form a viable political bloc against the ruling party.

        it’s also pretty hard when al nusra of AQ arrests you and takes all your weapons or worse (we still don’t know what happened to the 50 guys who were kidnapped last summer), which is the case that happened last weekend. the US has spent a lot of energy attempting to put together a syrian opposition they could work with. but apparently those guys keep flipping over. are you also going to blame that on the assad regime?

      • a4tech
        September 27, 2015, 8:39 pm

        The opposition to the government is made up from a wide range of people from across all levels of Syrian society. For you to paint all of them as simply being terrorists from AQ or Al-Nusra is plainly disingenuous.

        It is also clear you have zero background knowledge on how the entire Syrian political system was established post-independence hence your rehashing of common media tropes about the war.

      • bryan
        September 28, 2015, 7:07 am

        “which of course by design! When you are part of an oppressive state that have no qualms of arresting you without charge ….. it’s pretty hard to form a viable political bloc against the ruling party”

        Not sure if you are referring to Israel, Syria, Egypt, or elsewhere in the Middle East, but I’m inclined to agree.

      • traintosiberia
        October 2, 2015, 5:39 am

        No one is suggesting that Assad is a saint . What most of us feel disgusted about is this western abuse of underlying tension to feed the instincts of Israeli beast .

        How would some body feel if Pinochet inserted himself ,to cure black poverty, dispossession of Mexican from Texas-Arizona-Nevada and discrimination against Native American , in American corrupt political system to feed the Mexican drug cartel business?

        After Vietnam,Granada,Panama,Iraq war 1 and 2 , Venezuela and varying level of antidemocratic pro corporatist behaviors at home why should America be trusted ?

    • a4tech
      September 28, 2015, 3:26 pm

      Annie, always nitpicking on little words used in arguments rather than focusing on the main body of it. By “everyone”, I didn’t mean each and every one of the current human population, I meant each stakeholder or players in the geopolitical game involving Syria. And yeah, morality has no place in this, every stakeholder will act upon ways to maximize the benefit to itself first and foremost. Obviously since everyone’s circumstances are vastly different, so will the overall strategy in terms of scale, timeframe, public acceptance, effectiveness etc. This is more of an academic point, but you’re welcome to disagree.

      Secondly, the 80% is from my own personal assessment of the situation. Obviously it mean’s jack in the academic arena, but I thought it’d be a useful way to summarize my stand on the matter within this discussion. In fact, everyone can come up with their own number, maybe it’ll help to form sides for a team discussion on the issue.

  23. lproyect
    September 27, 2015, 2:10 pm

    I think that Netanyahu would certainly be envious of Assad who has tortured more than 300 Palestinians to death in his prisons without hearing a single complaint from the axis of resistance. Here are just two of them.

    https://www.oximity.com/article/On-Hassan-Hassan-or-the-most-beautiful-1

    http://syrianobserver.com/EN/News/28136/

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 2:26 pm

      do you think they were tortured because they were palestinians? anyway, nice bait n switch.

      • lproyect
        September 27, 2015, 3:33 pm

        No. I think that they were tortured because they were Palestinians who got on the wrong side of a dictator not just because they were Palestinians. In fact that is how most Palestinians end up being tortured in Israeli prisons, because they were seen as troublemakers.

      • Bandolero
        September 27, 2015, 4:39 pm

        Annie

        The main question is: are these torture reports true at all or are they the usual false-flag-massacre fairy tales spread by Israeli- NATO- and GCC-backed terrorists?

        The so-called opposition group invented virtually thousands of such false-flag-torture-and-massacre fairy tales, often backing it’s claims up by videos of people tortured and killed by themselves in most cruel ways. These false reports in the style of the incubator baby lies – a meme CNN and the opposition also used – were a major method of warfare by the foreign backed terrorists in the first years of the war. These stories lack basic logic as the Syrian government had, of course, absolutely no interest in torturing people to make them even more angry as they were.

        One of the first big successes for the terrorists was the false torture story of Hamza Al Khateeb. SANA reported a much more likely story of these events, but many people in the west chose not to listen to SANA:

        http://web.archive.org/web/20110604140542/http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/06/01/350065.htm

        It was a time when Hillary Clinton and the US state department called the world for saving the blogging “gay girl in Damascus” – which was later revealed as a hoax from Tom MacMaster blogging from Scotland.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 5:08 pm

        i have no idea bandelero. i just recall the US renditioned people to be tortured by proxy back in the day, the cia program and i think syria was one of those countries. so i know they do it. i traveled to gaza with maher arar’s wife https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar as far as i know most or all world powers do it (including the US). but i didn’t keep track of all the stories in syria, i read enough to know i was reading a lot of lies. as far as torturing 300 palestinians to death i never heard this particular allegation until today. and if i had i wouldn’t trust the information anyway because there’s so much lying going on.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 5:46 pm

        edit. i changed my mind and decided not to buy into your bait and switch lproyect. stop trying to highjack the thread.

      • echinococcus
        September 27, 2015, 6:14 pm

        What’s tortured, traditionally by now, is the (in this case properly named) conspiracy theories coming from Louis. In support, mind you, of US foreign policy.

      • Bandolero
        September 27, 2015, 8:54 pm

        Annie

        From what I know from people in Syria Syria’s policy is good treatment to prisoners and no torture. I’m also told that like in all 3rd world countries the fight against tortue is and was never easy and there are some a**holes working as interrogators who use dirty tricks when they deal with people they don’t like, like pushing someone stairs down and then say it was the prisoners own fault. It’s hard to go against such behaviour as inquiries, and many political or terror related trials, are generally not public due to fear of revealing valuable intel information for Israel by doing so. Sometimes, tribal and clan structures also prevent an improvement in the situation regarding torture, but generally, the situation is not that bad. If a prisoner dies (except for lawful execution of capital punishment) or is seriously harmed, the responsible offial will be in serious trouble.

        However, the situation with Maher Arar and a couple of other guys thought to be related to Al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhodd was likely different. Syria feared at that time very much to be invaded by the US, and strange as it was, US intel people sent suspects there to be imprisoned and treated badly in the name of gathering info on Al Qaeda, while other Bush administration officials wanted to wage war on Syria. So, in that specific time, treating these prisoners badly was seen by Syria as a means to avert a full scale US attack on Syria on behalf of Israel. Of course, that made all a mockery of the noble goals of fighting against to torture.

        Seymour Hersh had pinned around that time when Maher Arar and some of his acquaintances with Afghanistan experience were held in Syria a long article about US intel coop with Syria, which sheds some light into that dark chapter of history:

        http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/07/28/the-syrian-bet

        I know and understand that Maher Arar hates Syria for that experience, and I hope he was not too badly hurt to be able to continue his life.

      • just
        September 27, 2015, 9:13 pm

        Thanks very much for that information, Bandolero.

      • RoHa
        September 27, 2015, 10:05 pm

        “there are some a**holes working as interrogators who use dirty tricks when they deal with people they don’t like, like pushing someone stairs down and then say it was the prisoners own fault. ”

        I should note that this sort of thing would never, ever, happen in Britain or Australia.

        Straight up, it wouldn’t.

        No, not ever.

        Honest.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 28, 2015, 3:48 pm

        thanks bandolero, for the new yorker link especially. finally got around to reading it (again) i think i read it when it first came out.

      • Donald
        September 28, 2015, 11:06 pm

        http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Documents/A.HRC.30.48_AEV.pdf

        That’s a link to the latest UN human rights report on Syria which came out a few weeks ago. If you read page 13, they concluded from interviewing 600 former detainees that the Syrian government commonly uses torture on its prisoners. So do the rebels.

      • Bandolero
        September 29, 2015, 3:46 am

        Donald

        Sadly, the UN Human Rights Council is, just like AI, HRW and the ICC, a body almost totally under the control of those countries who wage war on Syria, especially by spreading inciting lies. Currently it’s led by Saudi Arabia. So, quite logically, Syria doesn’t let them into the country.

        The result are lot’s of reports, which seem to be done by running around refugee camps in Turkey & Jordan, asking people: “Anyone here to tell us a torture story helping us to get a no-fly-zone on Syria?” And lot’s of people tell them then the blue from the sky and they write it in their reports at face value. In 2011/2012 I helped to debunk the nonsense in these reports, but not anymore: they are so obviously baseless and unverifyable propaganda, that I don’t think it’s worth my time anymore.

        If you don’t know people in Syria, to get an idea what’s really going on, I would suggest to read reports of more independent reporters like Lizzie Phelan, Eva Bartlett or even Franklin Lamb.

        Though, sometimes, I make still fun with the Zionist PR operative Kenneth Roth, who, among other things, claims Gaza to be in Syria:

        https://interventionswatch.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/ceo-of-human-rights-watch-misattributes-video-of-gaza-destruction/

      • CigarGod
        September 29, 2015, 6:16 am

        Not only that, but offers or hints at better conditions and even moving up on the list is incentive to make up or embellish stories. I’ve witnessed both government and ngo workers coach applicants so they have better success. Explains why stories are so often similar. Word spreads fast. Tell people what they want to hear.

      • Bandolero
        September 29, 2015, 4:00 am

        Donald

        PS: And, btw, yes, I know some serious human rights violations by some former Nusra Front guys who defected to the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor after being routed by ISIS, and the Syrian army has both hands full to do with stopping them with that violations against ISIS fighters, but don’t expect to read about this in reports by the UN HR council.

      • just
        September 29, 2015, 7:07 am

        Here’s Roth’s latest bashing of Bashar:

        “Before we negotiate with Assad, he has to stop the atrocities against Syrian civilians

        he need to negotiate with leaders as unsavoury as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is an unfortunate reality of diplomacy. But western leaders should be careful not to confuse that necessity with the idea promoted by Russia that the Syrian crisis can be resolved only if Assad stays in power. Nor should they believe that Assad’s ongoing rule is the only way to prevent the collapse of the Syrian state and protect Syria’s diverse communities.

        Vladimir Putin has long sought to portray Assad as a bulwark against the self-declared Islamic State. But far from a stabilising factor or a solution to the Isis threat to basic rights, Assad is a major reason for the rise of extremist groups in Syria. In the early days of Syria’s uprising, between July and October 2011, Assad released from prison a number of jihadists who had fought in Iraq, many of whom went on to play leading roles in militant Islamist groups. These releases were part of broader amnesties, but Assad kept in prison those who backed the peaceful uprising.

        These releases helped to change the complexion of the Syrian rebellion from one with largely democratic aims, to one dominated by jihadists. That transformation has enabled Assad to refocus the narrative from his vicious rule to his claimed indispensability in the fight against Isis.

        Once Isis became a significant force following its takeover of Raqqa in 2013, Assad’s military largely avoided confronting it. Conflict between the two has increased since the summer of 2014, but for many critical months, Assad largely left Isis alone, allowing it to consolidate its “caliphate”. Instead, Assad focused his firepower on other elements of the armed opposition.

        Ending Assad’s systematic attacks on civilians is key to any realistic strategy for containing Isis

        Most important, Assad’s atrocities have been a recruitment bonanza for Isis and other extremist groups. The Syrian war has been so extraordinarily ugly because Assad has chosen to fight it not by simply targeting opposing combatants – the essence of wars fought in compliance with the Geneva Conventions – but by conducting indiscriminate attacks against civilians in opposition-held territory. His tools have ranged from denying civilians food and medical care to his notorious barrel bombs. The result has been the utter devastation of broad swaths of Ghouta, Aleppo, Idlib, Daraa and other areas held by the opposition. This warfare against civilians is a central reason for the flight of Syrian refugees, since it means that many can find no safe place within their country. …”

        more @ http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/28/negotiate-assad-atrocities-syrian-civilians-isis

        Then there’s this from Ian Black:

        “Syria crisis: where do the major countries stand?

        Some states, like the US and UK, are subtly shifting their positions, while others, such as Russia and Iran, are holding firm …”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/29/syria-crisis-where-do-the-major-countries-stand

        Not so sure that “subtly” is the word to use…

        Meanwhile:

        “Death toll from airstrike on Yemen wedding hits 131

        Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Houthi rebels denies firing missiles at Red Sea village where wedding reception was being held

        … Residents said on Monday that two missiles tore through tents in the Red Sea village of Al-Wahijah, near the port of Al-Mokha. A local man affiliated with the Houthis – the Shia rebel group who are fighting the coalition – was holding his wedding reception. …”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/29/death-toll-from-airstrike-on-yemen-wedding-hits-131

      • just
        September 29, 2015, 7:24 am

        Simon Jenkins:

        “Putin is right. Everyone knows Putin is right, that the only way forward in Syria, if not to eternal slaughter, is via the established government of Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese and Iranian allies.

        That is the realpolitik. That is what pragmatism dictates. In the secure west, foreign policy has long been a branch of domestic politics, with added sermonising. “What to do”, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, even Ukraine, has been dictated not by what might work but what looks good. The megaphone is mightier than the brain. …

        … The true nature of the west’s commitment in Syria was revealed in Barack Obama’s remark to the UN that “because alternatives are surely worse” is no reason to support tyrants. In other words, American feelgood is more important than Syrian lives. That cosy maxim has guided western policy in the region for over a decade. It has been a disaster. If we have nothing more intelligent to say on Syria, we should listen to Putin. He has.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/29/west-vladmir-putin-syria-us-assad

      • Donald
        September 30, 2015, 6:39 am

        The alleged control of the UN human rights council by the Saudis hasn’t stopped the UN from criticizing the bombing of civilians in Yemen by the Saudis.

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34388463

    • traintosiberia
      October 2, 2015, 5:57 am

      You dont know how to argue with facts. Fcats to you have an end in itself.
      The difference between Assad and Netanyahu are quite a few
      Let’s just focus on Plaestine

      Assad will kill torture anybody who happens to pose a threat to the existing society and political arrangements . and wont complain against unrelated State torture in Tibet or Kashmir Netanhyhu will target only Palestinian boys,girls,women,and elderly and not Jewsih women or children . He will target the Palestinian men and not Jewish men . He then will compalin : ” What is happening in Darfur ? What is happening in N Korea? Why is evrbody silent on repression in Tibet?”
      Sunnis and Shias and Christian could be in military,politics,business ,corruption and in crimes in Syria . Not in Israel. Syria doesn’t describe itself a republic or dictatorship based on ethnic purity and doesn’t claim that Syria is meant to protect certain ethnic purity.
      Palestinian has never offered and pursued the policy of religious and ethnic cleansing on contrast to the polices of ISIS or al-Nusra .
      And no one is supplying arms ,ammunition, dollars ,trainings ,and no fly zone to Hamas to weaken Netanyahu so that Egypt could move in and capture Haifa and create a security ring for Hamas around the Mediterranean shore of Israel to guard Egyptian interesrs

  24. just
    September 27, 2015, 2:26 pm

    “REUTERS – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday branded U.S. support for rebel forces in Syria as illegal and ineffective, saying U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join Islamic State with weapons supplied by Washington. 

    In an interview with U.S. networks recorded ahead of a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Putin said Syrian President Bashar Assad deserved international support as he was fighting terrorist organizations. 

    Obama and Putin are scheduled to talk on Monday after Putin addresses the United Nations, although White House and Kremlin officials have disagreed on what the two leaders will discuss and even who initiated the meeting. 

    “In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” he said in an excerpt of an interview with U.S. television networks CBS and PBS released by the Kremlin. 

    Russia has stepped up its military involvement in Syria in recent weeks, with U.S. officials accusing Moscow of sending combat aircraft, tanks and other equipment to help the Syrian army. …

    … Putin said Russia’s support for the Assad government was based on the UN Charter. 

    “We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only,” he said. “As of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.” ”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.677743

    I had to read it twice:

    “Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday branded U.S. support for rebel forces in Syria as illegal and ineffective, saying U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join Islamic State with weapons supplied by Washington.”

    He’s got a point, eh? Who screamed the loudest to arm the “rebels”? iirc, it was McCain and Graham and Hillary Clinton. Who started the chorus to get rid of Assad… Hillary Clinton and Co.

    The neocons at work and up to their old tricks~ neocons both in and out of the US government.

    {“In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” he said in an excerpt of an interview with U.S. television networks CBS and PBS released by the Kremlin.”

    Listen up, USA and Occupation/ War Criminal Israel. He’s talking about YOU.}

    • Sibiriak
      September 27, 2015, 3:00 pm

      just: “Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday branded U.S. support for rebel forces in Syria as illegal and ineffective, saying U.S.-trained rebels were leaving to join Islamic State with weapons supplied by Washington.”

      He’s got a point, eh?
      ——————————–

      Yes. An absolutely valid point.

      But this is problematic:

      Putin said Syrian President Bashar Assad deserved international support as he was fighting terrorist organizations.

      […]

      “In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter,” he said…

      […]

      “We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only,”

      ——————-

      But what if a state systematically engages in terrorism–deliberately inflicting harm on civilians in order to further political aims? Is it not also a “terrorist organization”? Why should states, for no other reason than being recognized states, be immune from the ultra-demonizing “terrorist” epithet?

      If the Syrian government deserves international support simply because it is fighting terrorist organizations , then, logically, Israel must deserve international support for the same reason.

      I’m not buying this “fighting terrorism” justification for supporting the Syrian government. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think such support has morally compelling practical justifications.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 27, 2015, 3:25 pm

        deliberately inflicting harm on civilians in order to further political aims? Is it not also a “terrorist organization”?

        yes i think it would be. but the term ‘political aims’ is a little confusing in the context of war, especially when ones intent is not to conquer territory.

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2015, 7:12 pm

        The Leverett’s wrote long ago that Assad had the support of at least 50% of the Syrian people.

        Have you read any human rights reports that verify that Assad has “deliberately”inflicted harm on civilians?

      • Donald
        September 28, 2015, 11:20 pm

        “Have you read any human rights reports that verify that Assad has deliberately inflicted harm in civilians?”

        http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Documents/A.HRC.30.48_AEV.pdf

        It might be hard to find a human rights report on Syria that didn’t claim this.

        One can think that an Assad victory would be the lesser of two evils, but since their main opponents are ISIS and a branch of Al Qaeda, they can still torture captives, shoot civilians and use indiscriminate firepower in urban areas and meet that criterion.

      • yonah fredman
        September 29, 2015, 2:28 am

        Kathleen- (Assuming this so called support for Assad dates back to 2011, rather than the lesser of evils of 2015) this statement by the Leveretts does not reflect well on them. Please link to them saying that, because that means that they are full of it. On what did they base this statement? On a telephone poll?
        Any list that I’ve seen that tries to rate the democratic or undemocratic tendencies or actions of a government always rates Syria very near the bottom. Do you know of any list of human rights and democracy (pre 2011) that lists Syria higher than the bottom ten per cent?

        I grant that US involvement overseas has not had good results, but if we are going to listen to someone say that 50% of the Syrian people back Assad, then we might as well throw mudpies at each other and run around in circles like the loons on Monty Python foaming at the mouth, because that’s when we leave the realm of ideas and enter into the realm of (Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs) fantasyland.

      • Donald
        September 29, 2015, 6:59 pm

        Yonah— I could believe that 50 percent or more of Syrians prefer an Assad victory because in their shoes I imagine I would as well (unless I had been tortured or my family blown up by an Syrian government air strike or something of that nature). The realistic choice seems to be between Assad, who at least let people live their lives if they avoided political dissent, vs. the jihadists with their utter fanaticism.

        My impression from reading the human rights reports that Bandolero rejects is that the Syrian government actually kills more civilians because they have the greater firepower and often use it in urban areas. I don’t know if anyone has a reliable count–probably not. But even if that’s true, it seems clear that a jihadist victory would be worse for most people than an Assad victory. Lesser of two evils would lead to a preference for Assad.

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 7:27 am

      Just do you have a clear handle on exactly where Hagel stood on the “Assad has to go” strategy of the Obama administration? From what I have read not a unified stance at all. Sounds like Clinton pushed hard for interventions in both Libya and Syria. Also Rice and Hagel went head to head on the Syria strategy.

      • just
        September 29, 2015, 7:42 am

        Kathleen~ you have it right, imho. I don’t think he was ever part of the “Assad has to go” cabal.

        Hagel was critical of US ‘policy and strategy’ on Syria. Hagel was right to be.

        Hagel is no longer SecDef. That pretty much says it all, eh?

      • just
        September 29, 2015, 7:59 am

        Here’s an interesting article from Gary Leupp:

        “Hagel’s Syria Memo”

        http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/05/hagels-syria-memo/

        Then there’s this from ‘The Emergency Committee for Israel’

        “HAGEL ON SYRIA”

        http://www.chuckhagel.com/syria/

        Their campaign to demonize Hagel because he wanted to engage Syria (and Iran) made me support him as SecDef even more. Just have a peek at it…

      • Kathleen
        September 30, 2015, 6:48 pm

        Thanks Just. Was able to ask Hagel some direct questions about Iran when he was the main speaker at Univ of Colorado during a World Conference some years ago. He was very clear on diplomacy with Iran. Syria did not come up at the time.

        Just wondering if that is part of the reason for his departure…wanting to use diplomacy with Assad.

        You really do have to wonder if chaos and destruction was the decided upon track for Iraq, Libya, Syria etc. Create an environment where Muslims were killing Muslims. My dear friend Peggy Gish (member of Christian Peace Maker Team) who spent six years cumulatively in Iraq before and after invasion said many Iraqi people believed that was exactly what was happening. Disbanding of the Iraqi army by Bush administration’s Paul Bremmer, setting the men in the Iraq army out on the streets without work. Later to form IS and also join Al Qeada. Too few troops to maintain a semblance of peace in Iraq etc. Similar situation in LIbya. So much death and destruction taking place in the path of the neocons agenda being implemented. On Syria, Libya sure looks like Obama and most of the team went right along.

  25. lproyect
    September 27, 2015, 3:52 pm

    Bandolero: “After Obama failed in 2010 to get a two state solution or even a settlement stop from Netanyahu he unleashed the so-called Arab Spring with his “Presidential Study Directive 11.”

    This is so interesting. Obama “unleashed” the Arab Spring. I am not surprised that […] thinker would have such strong affinities with Global Research’s Anthony Carlucci who wrote that the Arab Spring was a CIA plot. Bandolero’s proof for this is Presidential Study Directive #11 that nobody has read except for an outfit in Washington DC that has never released it to the public. I guess when it comes to defending the Baathist dictatorship, scholarship goes out the window.

    • Bandolero
      September 29, 2015, 3:14 am

      lproyect

      If you’ld read my comments above you’ld see that my source for the content of Presidential Study Directive 11 is not Global Research’s Anthony Carlucci, but David Ignatius, who is close to the CIA. See the main link I gave for my assertion here again

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2011/03/06/obamas_calculated_gamble_109123.html

      • traintosiberia
        September 29, 2015, 6:42 am

        Syrian revolt or Arab spring was definitely in the works for sometime. Neocons knew it and subverted it . It is no different than the earlier attempts at other counties from Kirgistan to Georgia to Serbia .
        Middle class in Arab counties are no different than their counterparts in Russia and India . Revolution coud also happen there if there were fossilized institution ,established nepotism ,family rules,and above all animosity at government levels .
        Ths regime change could have happened in India if this were 1980 of Indira Ghandhi .
        Changing government doesn’t hurt neocons at all. It cements the partnership with rogue elements within intelligence,State department,Defense,Pentagon,and opens opportunities for personal growth and brings those countries closer to the same sections within US that is most pro Israeli . A new ruler bought and brought by neocon would repay the debt most ardently if it meant to be limited to being avid pro Israeli in foreign policy .

        Neocons have been trying since 1996 to depose Syrian regime and turn it into Jordan or Egypt . The Plan-B was anarchy and fragmentation. Neocon as a movement was permeated and suffused with visceral ant Muslim,anti Arab hatred with options of inflicting multiple plans of different severities and cruelties contingent on the available opportunities . They had different beliefs on other matters and on other issues and ven on their religious affiliations,on personal choices on sexual gender,racial,climatic,educational,economic matters . But they were untied and are still by two strands of the thickest steel ropes – anti Arab and pro Israel. They might show differences here and there and now and then but like the water finds the lowest point. they find their lowest denominator at a given context and wait for the next move . In that paradigm today’s friend like Egypt or Jordan could be sacrificed tomorrow if a better Jordan or Egypt could be expected tomorrow . A better Egypt or Jordan is what is good for the Jews at a particular given moment .

        Your analysis is correct . But Syrian or Ghaddafi regime failed because the rulers did not allow political aspirations of the rivals to have any say . System prevented any opportunity for opponents to come to power .

        The regime was not poor or repressive in the sense Ethiopian,Hnduran,Mynamar,Congolese,Taliban,Haitians,or N Koreans or Nigerian are. But the rest have no enemy by name neocons ( even hatred against N Korean is nothing but a charade as far as neocon is concerned. It is kind of a stepping stone or stabilizing stone . Their selective animosities would otherwise get exposed if they didnot join anti Korean crusade. It also provides them the justification that they badly needs)

      • lproyect
        September 29, 2015, 8:19 am

        We have different standards, I guess. I don’t take other peoples’ words on what is in a document. I have to read it myself. Of course, when a document is purported to buttress your own ideological convictions, there is a strong temptation to take it as gospel even if it does not. There’s something fishy about this Presidential directive #11. As I have pointed out in an article on the Baathist amen corner, there is zero interest on the class dynamics of the revolt and 100 percent interest in “false flag” operations, CIA conspiracies and the like. I guess young people today have little use for reading Marx. Sad really.

        http://louisproyect.org/2015/09/19/baathist-truthers/

      • echinococcus
        September 29, 2015, 9:41 am

        Louis, you’re so predictable. Whenever a US intervention is unmasked it’s time for a condescending recommendation for a Marxist analysis according to St. Leon.

      • Bandolero
        September 29, 2015, 10:52 am

        echinococcus

        Yes, the claimed ignorance of Louis – while working for his alleged class enemy – is breathtaking. He doesn’t even mind that many of the people organising the fake revolutions he and his alleged class enemies support have admitted in front of the camera what they are doing

      • Mooser
        September 29, 2015, 4:15 pm

        “I guess young people today have little use for reading Marx. Sad really.”

        I beg your pardon? I, for your information, read his autobiography, and have seen every one of his movies, several times.

  26. just
    September 27, 2015, 6:01 pm

    “Israel Fires at Syria Army in Response to Mortar Fire …

    Israel fired artillery shells at two targets in Syria on Sunday evening after two Syrian mortar shells landed in Israeli territory in the past two days, the IDF said.

    One mortar shell landed earlier on Sunday in an open area in the northern Golan Heights, after another round hit the same area on Saturday. They caused no damage or injuries.

    The two rounds, the Israeli army said, were likely errant fire from the fighting between regime and rebel forces close to the border.

    The targets of the Israeli strike were two army posts in the central Golan Heights on the Syrian side of the border, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

    The Israeli army said it holds the Syrian army responsible for the incident and that it “will not tolerate any attempt to breach the sovereignty of the State of Israel.”

    Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said following the Israeli attack that Israel considers the errant fire from Syria as “crossing a red line.” “The State of Israel has no intention of tolerating such incidents, and therefore the IDF attacked two Syrian army cannons this evening,” Ya’alon said.

    “We see the Syrian regime and its military as responsible for what occurs in their territory,” Ya’alon said, adding that Israel would act to prevent any attempt to harm the safety of its citizens. 

    Syrian President Bashar Assad’s military has in recent days renewed his campaign against rebel forces near the town of Quneitra, located near the border with Israel. Last year rebel groups, including the Al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front took control of the area and cornered forces loyal to Assad to a bloc comprising some 10 percent of the border with Israel.”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.677798

    So many “red lines” and fulminating violence and threats from the Occupier.

  27. Kathleen
    September 27, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Great piece Annie. However the time for Obama to work on a “diplomatic solution” was over five years ago when Assad was offering a power sharing deal. Hundreds of thousands of dead and injured later, millions of people displaced is a bit late in the “diplomatic” approach.

    Professor Juan Cole has an interesting read up about Israel, U.S. Russia and Syria. http://www.juancole.com/2015/09/russia-syria-israel.html

    Clinton’s role in pushing for military interventions in Libya and Syria have yet to become part of the very serious issues to look at when it comes to Clinton’s run for the Presidency. Along with her vote for the 2002 Iraq war resolution. She is a war hawk

    • Annie Robbins
      September 27, 2015, 8:27 pm

      kathleen, i don’t think the time for diplomacy is over. do i think he should of done it 5 years ago, of course. but that’s over now. i think there’s an opportunity now.

      • Kathleen
        September 27, 2015, 11:39 pm

        Never said the time for diplomacy is “over” Did say “the time for Obama to work on a “diplomatic solution” was over five years ago” Hundreds of thousands of lives would have been saved. Millions would not be refugees. . I also said it was a “bit late” in the diplomatic approach. We sure have a habit of doing things ass backwards. Unless that is the agenda was catastrophe for Syria

        I agree never too late. But so terribly brutal and sad that “diplomacy” was not the approach. Just demonstrating once again U.S. officials are not concerned with the lives of others.

        On the “that’s over now” Sounds a bit like Obama at the beginning of his administration when many of us were calling for holding the Iraq warmongers accountable. Obama and team were repeating, “turn the page”…”next chapter” …”don’t be about revenge” Critical to know just how Syria ended up in the terrible situation it is in. In fact that is the very premise of your piece. Sure that if your relatives were refugees or dead most would want to know just how this came dire situation came to be.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 28, 2015, 11:33 pm

        Sounds a bit like Obama at the beginning of his administration when many of us were calling for holding the Iraq warmongers accountable….. Sure that if your relatives were refugees or dead most would want to know just how this came dire situation came to be.

        i wasn’t responding to any reference of accountability. i want the killing to stop. that’s what i was referencing. sorry my response wasn’t to your liking.

      • RoHa
        September 29, 2015, 12:00 am

        And regarding Iraq warmongers:

        https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/108495

        “Arrest Tony Blair for war crimes in the middle east and misleading the public.”

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 7:10 am

      Sorry it offends you when someone does not fall into line with your opinions

      • Kathleen
        September 29, 2015, 7:32 am

        Annie “But that’s over now” Holding those responsible for creating a devastating human rights issue which in Syria includes hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees is never over. Never.

        That is what I have always thought Mondoweiss was about. Not only pushing for halting human rights and social justice crimes but pushing for understanding those crimes and pushing for accountability.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 29, 2015, 11:19 am

        Annie “But that’s over now” Holding those responsible for creating a devastating human rights issue

        in your dreams. kathleen, please review your original comment i responded to. here’s what i responded to:

        the time for Obama to work on a “diplomatic solution” was over five years ago……..is a bit late in the “diplomatic” approach.

        sounds more (to me) like ‘But that’s over now” too late for diplomacy.’ too bad you can’t retroactively change your opening words, it would be so much easier to put words in my mouth i never said. this is really getting fun.

        i responded “that’s over now. i think there’s an opportunity now.”

        and here is the focus of my article, for your review:

        (opening paragraph)

        The crisis in Syria is still in full throttle. …… the events of this past weekend present a microcosm of how US policy has failed and it’s time for the US president to take responsibility and to change US policy while he still has a chance.

        (closing paragraph):

        There’s only one person at the helm of U.S. foreign policy and that’s President Obama. He’s got another 15 months in office. If the U.S. can be part of a diplomatic solution to bring stability to Syria, this would be the time to do it.

        iow, my focus in this article is what action can take place now, looking forward. the information in the press briefing (2nd blockquote) is that the US may be entering into negotiations w/russia and iran (and others). iow, i see an opportunity to make choices that preference a diplomatic vs military approach/solution for syria. my focus at this time and in my article is not how to hold those accountable for all the death. however, i would strongly urge you to write your own article focusing on, prioritizing and preferencing > how to hold people (including the US) accountable for the destruction and death this far while the civil war is raging. (in fact there are a lot of people who agree with you, they want assad to be tried for war crimes and their focus is on blaming him) thus far if that is what you believe will best serve the situation occurring right now, or for any other reason.

        Sorry it offends you when someone does not fall into line with your opinions

        i am not offended by your pot shots. you can tell me i remind you of obama not holding the Iraq warmongers accountable til the cows come home. heck, you can advocate holding senate hearings on who started this war at this very moment while people are dying left and right. but my point in highlighting the events of last weekend was not to hold those accountable for their crimes. the reason it is “Critical to know just how Syria ended up in the terrible situation it is in” is so it will not be repeated going forward at this juncture. iow, ‘take responsibility for what’s happened under your watch, don’t think you can keep pumping billions into the opposition and saying ‘wow, we are just trying to support moderate rebels’ without being aware nobody will be buying that hogwash anymore so stop doing it because we’re not idiots, we are in a crisis so come up w/a plan NOW that deescalates the violence, immediately. ‘

        there’s no reason for you to “fall into line” with my opinions, in the least. i’m not the one hammering you and guilt tripping you w/bs like “That is what I have always thought Mondoweiss was about.” nor am i conflating your position to be the opposite of mine because it’s not your primary focus (as in gee kathleen, i always thought advocacy for diplomacy at any junction would be preferable to a military solution, i bet if your relatives were at risk of dying in this war you’d prioritize stopping it now with a diplomatic solution vs pushing war crime trials for obama and dick cheney, or whatever it is you have in mind).

        knock yourself out kathleen. seriously, i’m finding your approach amusing. especially the part implying i support shielding warmongers. just..go for it. alternately you could take a chill pill. the choice is yours.

      • Kathleen
        September 29, 2015, 12:53 pm

        Annie what you deem “as getting fun” I actually find rather pathetic. We are on the same page wanting the killing and displacement of Syrians to stop. That I think we can agree on. However many of us are deeply concerned about accountability too.

        I thought your dismissive tone “that’s over” was unnecessary and arrogant. If you actually read the sentence in context your dismissive tone is apparent. I find this argument silly so

        The Obama administration is never going to admit their devastating strategy in Syria. Although examining how this all came about is important This latest move by Russia is what is making the possibility of negotiations surface once again. A constructive change. Not one initiated by the Obama administration

      • Kathleen
        September 29, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Also Annie don’t think for one minute that I don’t respect and promote what you and Mondoweiss are attempting to do. Although clearly felt part of your comment was dismissive. You are a great writer and compiler. I have acted on my political and moral principles in other ways. Which has continued for decades.

        I believe we are on the same page when it comes to the principles of stopping the killing, pre-emptively doing all we can to stop more U.S. interventions and also U.S. support for Israel’s crimes. Along with doing what we can when it comes to serious accountability for crimes committed.

        Peace

      • Annie Robbins
        September 29, 2015, 4:36 pm

        i’m sorry you interpreted “but that’s over now” as arrogant, dismissive and unnecessary in relation to your concern for accountability (which you had yet to express in our initial exchange). it wasn’t my intention to offend you when i wrote it, i was simply stating it as what i thought of as a matter of reality wrt the discussion i (wrongly?)assumed we were having regarding diplomacy. again, your concern for accountability was not even highlighted in your original comment therefore i’m not sure how or why you would interpret my words as addressing that concern kathleen.

        mentioning accountability repeatedly now will not serve to implicate my reference (to past diplomatic opportunities) as being transferrable to your concerns expressed later in the exchange. it may behoove you to consider my intent rather than your interpretation of it regardless of what you deem to be “apparent” when i made the comment.

        but, i will admit, after your insulting backhanded swings about how i reminded you of a excuser of warmongers (speaking of pathetic over reach) and this condescending uncalled for crap; “if your relatives were refugees or dead most would want to know just how this came dire situation came to be” perhaps i have been a little dismissive and arrogant regarding what i perceive as an uncalled for hissyfit. for review, is this all it takes to set you off:

        i don’t think the time for diplomacy is over. do i think he should of done it 5 years ago, of course. but that’s over now. i think there’s an opportunity now.

        again, sorry you interpreted that as rude, it wasn’t my intent.

        also, i just noticed the comments you added to the top of the thread on the 27th re “Why not pivot and use the Leverett’s advised strategy from five years ago. ” i think that’s a great idea.

        i’ll let you have the last word here. or several if it pleases you.

        ps, i think were on the same page too and i think your an awesome activist always adding great things to the threads. look on the bright side, i never tried to imply you were morally deficient (excusing war criminals etc)– to make my point.

      • MHughes976
        September 29, 2015, 5:22 pm

        I understand you to say, annie, that the diplomatic possibilities of five years ago will not recur in their original form but that there are now certain diplomatic possibilities for seeking what is most urgent, ie the ending of the war, which should be explored. Reminding Obama of his responsibilities is a way of pressing for this to happen urgently. I agree. So does the London Evening Standard, which I was reading on the way home tonight.
        I don’t actually think that arrogant dismissiveness is within your repertoire – anyway not unless you’re very seriously provoked.
        I share your admiration for Kathleen’s contributions to the cause.

  28. just
    September 27, 2015, 8:03 pm

    “Iran’s Rohani: Defeating ISIS in Syria Is ‘Top Priority,’ Assad Can’t Be Weakened

    Iran’s President Hassan Rohani said on Sunday fighting radical militants like Islamic State in Syria is the top priority and if they are to be defeated then President Bashar Assad’s government “can’t be weakened.”

    “This does not mean that the Syrian government does not need reform … Of course it does,” Rohani told an audience of U.S. think-tanks and journalists, but he added that the removal of his ally Assad would turn Syria into an extremist safe haven.

    Referring to air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition on Islamic State targets in Syria, Rohani said defeating the militants was “not feasible through air operations only.” He said Russia “is ready to fight terrorism.”

    The Iranian president met his French counterpart Francois Hollande earlier in New York, where Hollande reportedly told him that Iran can be a facilitator in a political solution in Syria but Assad cannot be part of it.

    “Iran is a player (in the region), but also a facilitator,” said a French official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “(Hollande) said that the question of Assad could not be offered as an answer.” 

    The meeting, the first between the two leaders since a nuclear deal was reached in July between six global powers and Iran, was aimed to help prepare a scheduled state visit by Iranian President Hassan Rohani to France in mid-November to boost business and political relations. 

    Despite a long history of commercial, political and social links with Iran – in the 1970s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei lived in exile near Paris – France took one of the hardest lines of the six powers negotiating the landmark nuclear accord. 

    The official said the two presidents had discussed the situation in Yemen, Lebanon as well as Syria, adding that while Hollande had offered his condolences to Rohani over the Haj tragedy, he cautioned that the incident should not add to tension between Shi’ite-dominated Iran and its Sunni rival Saudi Arabia. 

    “What Rohani wanted was to show that Franco-Iran relations have restarted bilaterally at a high-level after the nuclear deal and so that in Paris we can talk in-depth about the other subjects.” …”

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.677812?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

    Hollande and others still demonstrate incredible hubris, arrogance, and unmitigated Western colonialism and imperialistic gall.

    It makes me sick.

  29. Bandolero
    September 27, 2015, 11:13 pm

    Btw, just in, Israel continues to fire on Syrian army positions:

    Israel strikes Syria military posts after errant rocket hit its territory
    English.news.cn 2015-09-28 03:55:24

    JERUSALEM/DAMASCUS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — The Israeli army said Sunday night that it fired artillery into Syria in response to an errant projectile that hit earlier the Golan Heights, in a second such incident in two days.

    Earlier this evening, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that a rocket landed in an open field in the northern Golan Heights. No injuries or damages were reported.

    The rocket was launched from the war-torn Syria and “was due to the internal fighting in Syria,” a military statement said. …

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-09/28/c_134665268.htm

    • bryan
      September 28, 2015, 5:00 am

      Having learned that his car was accidentally bumped whilst illegally parked in someone else’s drive, but that no damage or injury caused to anything or anyone, Lt Col Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, immediately responded that whoever the perpetrator was would be held “responsible and accountable for any aggression” He made no apology for driving his tanks onto someone else’s lawn, or for robbing the kids of there football practice area, or for stealing the produce of the vegetable garden. He has consistently refused to cooperate with the forces of law and order, responding merely that “might is right” and “the law sucks”.

  30. lproyect
    September 28, 2015, 8:16 am

    as far as torturing 300 palestinians to death i never heard this particular allegation until today. and if i had i wouldn’t trust the information anyway because there’s so much lying going on.\\

    —-

    https://electronicintifada.net/content/syrias-disappeared-palestinians/14283

    • Annie Robbins
      September 28, 2015, 11:19 pm

      thanks for getting back to me with a source lproyect. to clarify what i meant by not trusting information i thought i would elaborate. first of all, i trust the writer of this article is being completely truthful wrt what he believes to be true about the information he is providing.

      it appears the only person the author is interviewing in person and identifying in the article is Aidah Tayem, a Palestinian woman from Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus now living in the occupied West Bank village of Beitin near Ramallah. he reports her child is being held by Nusra (hopefully, alive).

      the second source is “The Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, a London-based monitoring organization founded in 2012”. iow, they are not in syria. they have a “Monitoring and documentation team in the working group for the Palestinians in Syria”. It doesn’t say how large this working group is. it could be 20 people, it could be 3.

      according to the NGO, (google translate/my bold), and one assumes “the group” is the “Monitoring and documentation team” working group :

      That made ​​it clear to the group that most of the bodies of the victims have not been handed over to their relatives, and that the connection is only one of the members of the victim’s family, to inform him to go to the headquarters of the security and the receipt of belongings that allow detention without asking about his body.

      And the renewal of «working group for the Palestinians, Syria» claim the Syrian regime to disclose the fate of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who are deemed unaccounted for, stressing that what is going on inside Syrian prisons for Palestinians “a war crime by any standard

      – See more at: http://www.actionpal.org.uk/ar/post.php?id=683#sthash.VDs7BtTg.dpuf

      the director of the jafra froundation is also a source for this article http://de.storyclash.com/Education-a-Key-to-Defeating-IS-NGOs-Say-4399090
      by Bureau Chief/Correspondent at Voice of America Sharon Behn from their german website.

      finally, i have no reason to doubt the author spoke to the anonymous person in germany. also, i have no reason to doubt that 3000 palestinians from syria have died in the war.

      none the less, i don’t trust the vast majority of information i read about personal stories from syria, because there’s so much lying going on. i have no reason not to believe there is torture going on in syrian prisons, and no reason not to believe there was torture going on at abu ghraib or guantanamo by american forces. no reason not to believe in cia death squads in south america. no reason not to believe lots of things. but do i trust the ngo sources from that particular article? it’s a war. lots of people are dying. i don’t think there’s anything going on in syria, by the regime, that we wouldn’t do if we were in charge. nothing i can think of we didn’t do in iraq. we bombed places and killed lots of civilians for democracy. lots of moderate rebels died there. we called them insurgents.

  31. Spring Renouncer
    September 28, 2015, 1:54 pm

    This is a bit off topic. It is a link to a Vox interview highlighting the common origin of Hungarian xenophobia against the Syrian refugees and antisemitism. http://www.vox.com/2015/9/18/9349081/syrian-refugees-hungary-viktor-orban

  32. gamal
    September 28, 2015, 5:48 pm

    just for fun what Stefan has got from his reading, an UQAM scholar, the sensitive reader will by the end of this short piece realize why MSM level analysis so often produces disappointing results, its mostly bullshit, as Zaid brusquely pointed out to me we love narrative histories in the ME, which are also quite often plagued issues of accuracy, bullshit in other words, quite a lot of it anyway.

    Allawis in the Ottoman Period

    “One of the most durable myths of Ottoman history is that religious minorities were organized in so-called millets which enjoyed fiscal and legal autonomy within the Empire. In fact no such system ever existed: while individual communities were indeed sometimes mandated to collect taxes and practise traditional law among their members, the vast majority of Christian and Muslim subjects paid their taxes to Ottoman government agents or tax farmers and took recourse when necessary to the imperial shar‘iyya courts.

    As such it is not surprising that the ‘Alawis and other Shi‘i denominations were not recognized as an independent corporation either. So long as they did not engage in overtly sectarian acts (such as calumniating the orthodox Sunni caliphs) they were legally assimilated to the Empire’s Muslim population. Ibn Taymiyya’s fatwa was never referenced by Ottoman jurists, and unlike the Kızılbaş Shi‘is who actively revolted against Ottoman rule in Anatolia in the sixteenth century, the ‘Alawis (Nusayris) and other quietist Shi‘is were never the object of a formal condemnation.”

    http://www.academia.edu/9620678/The_Alawis_in_the_Ottoman_Period

  33. kalithea
    September 28, 2015, 7:48 pm

    Remember the Arab Spring? What a hoax that was! Just ask the CIA…

    Here’s what I think of Obama-Bush – he’s a lying ass, and still people are holding out for the hopey changey. When Bush said farewell on the capitol steps and passed the mantle to Obama he whispered in his ear: don’t forget…Syria next.

    Obama’s proxy war in Syria is an even bigger disaster than Iraq was and y’all thought that could never happen again! Well welcome to the real world. The Israelis have been pushing for regime change in Syria since Assad was in the cradle, but Bush wanted Saddam and so they got involved there first. But Syria was number 1. Target for Zionists. Israel and the neocons have been leading U.S. foreign policy into the gutter since before Iraq. Syria was supposed to be the road to Iran’s destruction; and if Assad fell, Iran’s influence would be marginalized; the Ayatollah would be weakened, another fake revolution, regime change, more bloodshed and the usual chaos was to follow in incremental steps inside Iran. PIPE DREAM. That’s what Zionists and neocons do: they manufacture wars based on pipe dreams.

    The first time the Syrian rebels held their peacefulArab spring protests, I thought; how many Israelis camouflaged to look like Arabs and CIA shit disturbers are in that group? From that very moment, years ago, I predicted on another site that the so-called opposition was going to be made up of al-Qaeda, other even more extremist Salafist factions aka ISIS backed by the Gulf States, and a sprinkling of confused moderate rebels led by a whole lot of covert Israeli/U.S. operatives. This was all planned on different levels with each party having their own selfish agenda. Never mind the consequences to ordinary Syrians; they were going to pin everything on Assad. At that time, sites would be overrun with hasbara weeping over the Syrians slaughtered by Assad – the propaganda then was so thick you could cut it with a knife. But here’s what: SYRIA IS IRAQ! That’s all you need to know to understand what happened in Syria. Syria was a continuation of Zionist-led U.S. policy except that Syria was supposed to come first but took a back seat to Saddam’s WMDs. Even as Zionists and neocons were cooking up casus belli for Iraq, Israeli operatives were and had been in Syria for decades conducting some extra-judicial operations there and the goal was clear all along.

    So anyone who thinks this war was initiated by Assad needs a reality check. This war is Obama’s baby – he’s responsible for the catastrophic consequences we’re witnessing although it’s not surprising the lady hawk Hillary was involved as well as Republicans; I’m assuming the likes of Graham and McCain and other such idiots. Let’s face, it Obama’s a weakling who capitulated from day one when he was anointed by the Lobby in Rahm’s presence.

    The person on the misinformation main stream who said that Putin is holding a royal flush to Obama’s pair of tens is still underestimating how deep in sh#t Obama is.

    Putin watched, Putin waited and Putin will conquer in Syria allying himself with Iraq, Iran and Syrian forces. He watched the U.S. screw up royally in Iraq, although the outcome is more suitable to him than the U.S. thinks; he watched how the U.S. destroyed Libya and because Russia has more at stake in Syria than any other place in the Middle East right now, Putin waited until Obama was in over his head to take command and believe me; this move was in the works.

    Trump stated in other words recently that he would hand the Syrian problem over to Putin and then when the Syrian government and the Russians were spent doing most of the heavy lifting he’d send in the U.S. cavalry no doubt, to to pick up the remnants. He’s dreaming in technicolor.

    Does the U.S. really think Putin’s going to let anyone else get to the spoils or squeeze out Assad and install their puppet if Putin succeeds in cleaning up the mess? Uh-uh! Let’s just say that whomever ends up governing in Syria, and everyone might have to swallow the Assad pill, it’s going to be someone heavily in Putin’s debt. This is a win-win for Putin; he’s going to help get rid of the bad guys, clean up the mess, re-establish order and the best the U.S. can hope for is Lebanon with the caveat that the Sunnis never get too much power and with another twist – a Russian twist.

    • RoHa
      September 29, 2015, 12:35 am

      I think that Putin has made his point. The coalition fighting ISIS is now Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq. If rumours are true, China will be added shortly. And it seems that the bright sparks in the Pentagon have had another look at the list of Greatest Ideas of All Time and noticed that war with Russia isn’t one of the top ten. They will be pressing that point on the politicians.

      So unless the US politicians are more stupid that US politicians usually are (a possibility not, alas, to be discounted) they will just have to grin and bear it.

      And I hope (not least because the Australian Government has its own collection of total nongs who follow the US slavishly) that they do.

  34. lproyect
    September 29, 2015, 8:10 am

    Remember the Arab Spring? What a hoax that was! Just ask the CIA…

    —-

    I see that this person agrees with Bandolero. It is really remarkable the degree to which conspiracy theories have taken root among the “anti-imperialist” left and how they are deployed with so little concern for scholarly rigor. So when a Tunisian fruit vendor burned himself to death to protest corruption and economic hardship, he was actually a CIA agent just like the men who flew into the WTC and Pentagon? It really takes one breath away to read such nonsense, especially on a website committed to social justice in the Middle East.

    • traintosiberia
      September 29, 2015, 9:25 am

      Street vendor is not the agent .He looked up for guidance ( he did not but his class) and he saw teh divine figure of CIA in the mask of Islam .His student sympathizers looked up for support and they saw the divine figures this time in the garb of democracy singing western music known as freedom . Out of nowhere ex Ghaddafi confidant and Chad invader rescued by CIA ,shipped to US and then marinated for 30 odd years suddenly become the leader of the movement or one fraction of the movements .At the least US could have stopped his departure and could have prevented the rise of the conspiracy theory . But the US has only the conspiracy to offer and only this piece of ghoulish platform to operate on. So It can’t.
      It reminds me the “occupy Wall Street” . The Democrats ( one of Obama’s nominees not nominated because he signed some letter asking for more 911 investigation ) suggested that the movement should be shepherded by the political elite .
      Peoples frustration ,anger,and fear have been exploited throughout the human history . But only the prepared ,informed,and with followers can seize the opportunity . In this age of internet,witters,You Tube,and mass E mail and texting the moneyed men and women could create the digital movement and virtual followers . It can amplify the magnitude and the dimension . US exactly followed this paradigm unsuccessfully in Cuba in its efforts to create flash mob and digital AstroTurf movement masquerading as native grassroots genuine legit agitation only about 2 ? 3 years ago. It can also inflate the casualties .It can also swing back and forth like a pendulum between possibility of truth and lies like it did when the West preached to the choir of the impending genocide in Libya and Sarin Gas attacks in Syria . Conspiratorial mechanism also include the act of sowing the doubt , turning that doubt into event or incipient possibility and rallying the crowd into all kind of preventing homework .

    • CigarGod
      September 29, 2015, 9:48 am

      Ha!
      Forget reading government documents, and testimonies of those who participated in such operations. You’ve already made your mind up.

    • traintosiberia
      September 29, 2015, 10:06 am

      In reality conspiracy isnt that uncommon if we stick to the definition . It is defined as planning and execution of one or more illegal,or unethical,or immoral or harmful activities by 2 or more people under secrecy when transparency could have prevented the execution.

      But nowadays it (conspiracy theory ) is given an aura of magic ,something happening out of blue and developing out of vacuum and being orchestrated by “ugly beast with one eye and 2 horns” ( as the designation was belittled by a neocon ) . Then it is slaughtered or to be precise the accusation against the perpetrators and beneficiaries of hatching a plot and executing the plans with state level preparedness , are brushed away ,swept under the carpet and ridiculed because “its a conspiracy theory ” ! The Holy Grail of the right to ridicule and to ignore !

      Conspiracy survives on the culture of ignorance,suppression,hiding,and on the availability of power to push the agenda . This is why the Oslo peace process hater neoocns with missing 2 horns and 1 eye can come on teh TV and inflame the passion against Iran by claiming that Iran is against Oslo peace process. There is nobody to correct them,show them the door,and prosecute them for challenging a treaty signed at the behest of US in US and underwritten by US in addition to false framing of another country.
      They also can in same breath say that Saddam would attack US if US did not attack now but wont attack if we attacked Saddam first! Again there is nobody to correct them and show the door and shut the door on their faces for good. In US conspiracy theory is not required .It is brazenly pushed and promoted in the process hiding,suppressing,ignoring and plain lying about everything that could expose their schemes .

    • kalithea
      September 29, 2015, 10:58 am

      So there were no CIA operatives in Libya and Syria?….lolol!

      One fruit vendor alone does not an entire Arab Spring make!

      I just want to add to my other comment, this: In his speech to the UN, Obama rails against Assad calling him amongst other things: a tyrant who killed children.

      Well what about Obama the drone king who slaughtered hundreds of children with drones in the name of the war on terror? Putin knows Obama has plenty of civilian blood on his hands to be swayed by that one.

      I’m not defending Assad, I’m just comparing who killed more civilians the U.S. or the Syrian government, and the U.S. wasn’t even dragged into a civil war; it invaded other countries! If we go back a mere 15 years, the U.S. killed hundreds of thousands: men, women and children and some sources claim close to a million people.

      • CigarGod
        September 29, 2015, 11:08 am

        Yet the complete silence of this – coincidence – in the msm isn’t a conspiracy.

      • Kathleen
        October 2, 2015, 12:09 pm

        And the Obama administration’s what appeared to be a united front (wonder about Hagel) on repeating “Assad must go” while supplying arms to rebels that they had little to no idea who they were/are. This is the way this madness in Syria was fueled from the beginning.

        A few days ago Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that the Russian bombings of non Is targets would fuel the chaos in Syria. What has the U.S. been doing for four long years? Or is it five?

        Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed. How many millions…I have read 10 million displaced. Half of the population. Obama and team are in a very big way partially responsible for this debacle. Yet the host of media outlets seldom address this. Death and destruction all over the Obama administration.

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 2:13 pm

      It was amazing and twisted to watch the promotion of the Arab Spring on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel would jump from Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, jump over Palestine and Israel and go to Iran. Maddow and Engel both repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran at the time.

      Barely a peep out of those MSNBC outlets on the overthrow of Morsi, or the U.S. role in fomenting the civil war in Syria by supplying rebels with arms. Many of the rebels from outside of the country.

      Would say the outlets that were on top of this Syria debacle were Going To Tehran, Moon of Alabama, Al Jazeera, Informed Comment and Michael Scheuer’s Non Intervention website.

      Huff Po has been amazing on covering the Syrian refugee crisis. But did not cover what the U.S. was doing much four years ago. Huff Po and MSNBC seemed to go along with promoting the “Assad must go” Obama administration chant.

      • lproyect
        September 29, 2015, 6:47 pm

        Barely a peep out of those MSNBC outlets on the overthrow of Morsi, or the U.S. role in fomenting the civil war in Syria by supplying rebels with arms. Many of the rebels from outside of the country.

        This is really frightening if I understand it correctly. People here believe that the overthrow of Morsi was a bad thing? What terrible shape the left is in if this is what someone here believes. I have been told that the CIA is responsible for the Arab Spring and now that the overthrow of Morsi was part of that CIA plot. Pinch me. I’m having a bad nightmare.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 29, 2015, 7:41 pm

        lproyect: “This is really frightening … , blah blah blah.”

        Why do you hang around here if you find the ideas of “young people today” so frightening? You wouldn’t be just trolling for attention would you?

      • echinococcus
        September 29, 2015, 9:59 pm

        At a certain moment it becomes extremely boring, Louis, as the Troskyist line is too easy to guess in any situation. Lots of undirected talk, support of the American imperialist line no matter what but for a lofty and worthy reason, and always cheering for the illegal, violent overthrow of elected people. You can set your clock by it.

      • Keith
        September 30, 2015, 4:26 pm

        LPROYECT- “People here believe that the overthrow of Morsi was a bad thing?”

        An unrepentant Marxist for el-Sisi. No surprise there.

      • Kathleen
        September 30, 2015, 6:34 pm

        Ech and the media so fell in line with the endless coverage of the Arab Spring. Then stopped coverage on a dime when things were not going the way the U.S. wanted. Not a peep out of most of them about the coup in Egypt, the horrific mess in Libya etc. As if all was well.

        Of course never mentioning the push for freedom for Palestinians over decades. Total silence

  35. kalithea
    September 29, 2015, 11:35 am

    So again, regarding the CIAs role. One of the roles, responsibilities of the CIA is to enter a country covertly and either help squash a revolt like in Chile for example, most probably Egypt (remember Israel was diametrically opposed to the Egypt spring), and most certainly squash it in Yemen, or it goes in and lights the fuse to make a small revolt explode into chaos, anarchy and hopefully – coup i.e. Libya, Syria, Ukraine. Right now Obama has another proxy war going on in Yemen. Civilians are being slaughtered every day there by the Gulf States with U.S. WEAPONRY. So, HELLO?

    And one could say that the most authentic Arab Spring really began in Palestine and it is the longest running Arab Spring happening in the Middle East where people are trying to free themselves from the oppressive, tyrant state of Israel, and there too the revolt is being squashed by U.S. WEAPONRY. But the Israelis don’t need the CIA ; they have their own equivalent; Mossad.

  36. lproyect
    September 29, 2015, 12:18 pm

    And one could say that the most authentic Arab Spring really began in Palestine and it is the longest running Arab Spring happening in the Middle East where people are trying to free themselves from the oppressive, tyrant state of Israel, and there too the revolt is being squashed by U.S.

    And don’t forget about the role of Syria in the Palestinian resistance:

    https://electronicintifada.net/content/abu-mazen-americas-tribute-hafez-assad/6364

    • Kathleen
      September 29, 2015, 3:15 pm

      And Ipro as I pointed out above MSNBC (the alleged most liberal outlet on Cable) hopped right over the protest against Israeli occupation and human rights crimes that have been taking place for decades (the ones the IDF have not shut down) with Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel’s help and covered protest in Egypt, Libya, etc.

      Rather calculated

  37. kalithea
    September 29, 2015, 8:41 pm

    I have been told that the CIA is responsible for the Arab Spring and now that the overthrow of Morsi was part of that CIA plot. Pinch me. I’m having a bad nightmare.

    That, or you’re naïve. The CIA doesn’t discriminate when it comes to who gets to rule as long as the people don’t rule, the people must remain subjects of U.S. hubris; their will suppressed, and don’t tell me that’s not the way it works! Here’s what you don’t get: the will of the people of any country where U.S. interests lie is the biggest threat to U.S. power. The U.S. doesn’t give a damn about what the people want or their freedom and democracy – that’s all bullshet; a SHAM! So when the will of the people starts to impose itself, the CIA switches to the party that is being favored by the political winds, making empty promises while ensuring that party understands the price of power and who’s the boss. But obviously sometimes that party goes rogue and when that happens then it’s time to cut that party off. What happened with the people in Egypt was real unlike Syria, their revolution was real and the U.S. and Israel were very scared that’s why Obama hesitated to support the revolution until he realized Mubarak was no longer viable. So Egypt’s military had to soften up temporarily as a pretense. The only reason the MB surfaced temporarily was to dupe the Egyptian people into believing that the power was really theirs. The strongest ally of the CIA in Egypt are Egypt’s Armed Forces; they were never a friend to the people and had Morsi on a short leash all the time. Egypt’s Armed Forces are a corrupt group of thugs financed by the U.S. and will always rule. So Egyptians are screwed; they’ll never be free; let’s not forget; their neighbor is ISRAEL, U.S. interests bla-bla-bla. And in turn, as long as Egyptians are controlled this way; Palestinians will never be free either. Israel is calling the shots; and because Israel is a U.S. interest the status quo will remain.

  38. just
    September 29, 2015, 9:06 pm

    My, my:

    “Saudi Arabia says there is ‘no future’ for Assad in Syria

    Foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir says there are no circumstances where Bashar al-Assad can remain in power – whether that exit is through politics or by force

    Saudi Arabia has called on Bashar al-Assad to give up power or be removed by force, raising the global stakes at a time when the Russians are shipping troops and military hardware to Syria in an effort to prop up its beleaguered leader.

    The threat was made on Tuesday by Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir.

    “There is no future for Assad in Syria,” Jubeir told journalists at the UN general assembly. “There are two options for a settlement in Syria. One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council. The other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.”

    “This could be a more lengthy process and a more destructive process but the choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad.” The foreign minister did not specify how Assad would be forcibly removed, but pointed out that Saudi Arabia is already backing “moderate rebels” in the civil war.

    The Saudi intervention fuelled an already heated row at the UN over Syria’s future, where the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, issued a forthright defence of the Syrian regime, describing it as fighting a lonely and “valiant” battle against Islamic State extremists. …”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/30/saudi-arabia-warns-there-is-no-future-for-assad-in-syria#comment-60472239

    Oh yeah? All the while KSA and its “allies” are bombing Yemen. Everyone’s singing from the same old rotten hymnbook and crowing about being the bestest at killing… I guess this was bound to happen when rapprochement with Iran happened. Now Assad is the prime target~ again, but it’s really Iran.

    *&^%$

    (Kerry’s expression is grave in the accompanying photo…)

    • Kathleen
      October 2, 2015, 12:15 pm

      Just can not forget when former Bush 43’s Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neil stated in Ron Susskind’s book “The Price of Loyalty” that he was basically shown the back door of the White House when he started investigating Saud family money making it to 9/11 terrorist. How many of those madmen were from SA?

  39. kalithea
    September 29, 2015, 9:10 pm

    People here believe that the overthrow of Morsi was a bad thing? What terrible shape the left is in if this is what someone here believes.

    Oh and Al-Sisi is better??? I can’t speak for others, but for me it’s not necessarily the overthrow of Morsi that bothers me; it’s the overthrow of the Egyptian people’s power and will. Because that’s the role the CIA plays in Egypt. So you don’t have a problem with that, huh?

    • just
      September 29, 2015, 11:07 pm

      More on KSA and the US:

      “U.S. Judge Throws Out 9/11 Victims’ Case Against Saudi Arabia

      Sovereign immunity prevents damage claims by families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks to move forward.

      REUTERS – A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks, who accused the country of providing material support to Al-Qaida. 

      U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity from damage claims by families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses. 

      “The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants,” Daniels wrote. 

      The victims had sought to supplement their case with new allegations to avoid that result, including based on testimony they secured from Zacarias Moussaoui, a former Al-Qaida operative imprisoned for his role in the attacks. 

      Daniels said even if he allowed the plaintiffs to assert those new claims, doing so would be “futile, however, because the additional allegations do not strip defendants of sovereign immunity.” 

      Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they would appeal. Sean Carter, one the lawyers, said he believed the ruling was also the consequence of the U.S. government’s decision to keep classified evidence that could be favorable to their cause.

      “Obviously, we respectfully disagree with Judge Daniels’ ruling,” he said

      A lawyer for Saudi Arabia declined comment.
      The ruling came just over 14 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which airliners hijacked by Al-Qaida militants brought death and destruction upon the United States. 

      Most of the 19 attackers were Saudi nationals who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers revolted. 

      The case against Saudi Arabia has had a complicated history, with trial judges including Daniels twice before ruling that Saudi Arabia was entitled to immunity under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. 

      But in 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York revived the lawsuit, in light of a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to proceed against Afghanistan. …”

      read more: http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.678115?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      So Afghanistan and the Palestine Authority can be held responsible for stuff, but KSA and Israel are immune.

      “New York jury finds Palestinian Authority liable for “terrorism””

      https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/new-york-jury-finds-palestinian-authority-liable-terrorism

      Neat, eh?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 29, 2015, 11:30 pm

        one the lawyers, said he believed the ruling was also the consequence of the U.S. government’s decision to keep classified evidence that could be favorable to their cause.

        Saudi Arabia probably has intel the US public doesn’t have. trying to implicate them might lead to disclosures certain actors(the US gov) would rather remain hidden.

      • CigarGod
        September 30, 2015, 5:35 am

        FSIA is a sneaky little law, isn’t it?
        Protecting nations at the expense of people.
        In return, it is hard for citizens of other nations to sue USA…which is no doubt liable for much more damage.

      • just
        September 29, 2015, 11:55 pm

        yep.

  40. traintosiberia
    October 2, 2015, 6:57 am

    For neoocns it was never about IS or al Nusra . It was all about the security and the hegemony pf Israel.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/10/01/lebanon-reaps-windfall-from-congress

    Otherwise these dangerous people in charge of foreign affairs would have been called on the carpet to explain why they disagreed over America offering trainings and logistics to Lebanon to fight ISIS

  41. lysias
    October 4, 2015, 7:40 pm

    Sea change in the air war over Syria: Air Duel between the Sukhoi Su – 30 Russian SM and Israeli F-15:

    EXCLUSIVE-Strategika 51: Six Russian fighter jets type Multirole Sukhoi SU – 30 SM have intercepted 4 Israeli McDonnell Douglas F-15’s fighter bombers attempting to infiltrate the Syrian coast.The Israeli F 15 warplanes have been flying over Syrian airspace for months and in particular the coast of Latakia, which is now the bridgehead of the Russian forces in Syria.

    The Israeli jets would generally follow a fairly complex flight plan and approach Latakia from the sea

    On the night of 1 October 02, 2015, six Sukhoi SU-30 Russian SM fighters took off from the Syrian Hmimim airbase in the direction of Cyprus, before changing course and intercepting the four Israeli F-15 fighters off the coast of Syria, that were flying in attack formation.

    Surprised by a situation as unexpected and probably not prepared for a dogfight with one of the best Russian multipurpose fighters, Israeli pilots have quickly turned back South at high speed over the Lebanon.

    • ckg
      October 4, 2015, 9:46 pm

      Netanyahu must be miffed that he now won’t be able to send bombers over Syria to attack Iran. He’ll have to send them over Jordan, which will greatly embarass King PlayStation and Queen YouTube.

    • RoHa
      October 5, 2015, 12:09 am

      If you wear boots, I think you can safely bet them on the Russians having the airspace completely covered with their land and ship-borne radar, ECMs, and S-300 and S-400 systems, as well as the Air Force. They have a lot invested in reputation, as well as equipment, so they are going to set up the best protection they can.

      (I wonder if I could persuade that nice Mr. Putin to help in enforcing correct punctuation. I’m sure the prospect of a visit from a Spetsnaz team or a couple of SU25s would make people think seriously about their commas.)

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