Could Syria’s revolution have been different?

Middle East
on 138 Comments

The following is the Afterword to Charles Glass’s new book Syria Burning from Or Books. In it, Glass puts the failure of the Syria revolution into a broader historical context where the United States, with its European and Arab allies, have manipulated and subverted movements for change in the Middle East for decades. You can buy Syria Burning here.  

Could Syria’s revolution have been different? At its birth in the spring of 2011, it promised hope for a better, freer life for Syria’s people. Syrian aspirations resonated with lovers of liberty everywhere: an end to governmental corruption and arbitrary arrest; an independent judiciary; a free press; equality before the law; abolition of torture; genuine elections leading to legitimate authority; and democratic institutions responsible to the governed. The state responded with arrests and violence. Dissidence evolved into war. Those who eventually captured the revolution dropped its original objectives in favor of supplanting a secular dictatorship with a dictatorial theocracy. The revolution was defeated from within, albeit with much assistance from outside powers motivated by anything but the good of the Syrian people.

Thirty-five years earlier, a coalition of progressive movements in neighboring Lebanon issued similar demands for reform. It may be helpful to recall what happened in Lebanon during a 15-year civil war that, despite an estimated 150,000 deaths and the transfer of populations into sectarian ghettos, left the corrupt antebellum system intact. In 1975, the year that Lebanon’s war erupted, there seemed nothing incongruous about a revolution led by what the French press called Islamo-progressites. The world had yet to witness the Islamic revolutions in Iran, Sudan, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. Those movements were more reactionary than progressive, less liberating than despotic. Yet, in those naïve times, progress and Islam did not seem self-contradictory. Indeed, Lebanon’s Christian parties, despite having sponsored social security and pension reform in parliament, resisted change, while Muslim militias waved the banner of revolutionary progress. It was a time when a Marxist historian, Maxime Rodinson, could write about Islam both critically and sympathetically without fear of assassination.

Syria Burning from Or Books

Syria Burning cover

Revolutions that begin with the goal of liberating people from the dead weight of an oppressive past often lead to a more oppressive present. Ideals give way to expediency. Those most likely to seize control of popular forces are pitiless rather than compassionate, well financed rather than independent, more conspiratorial than collaborative. Those who trust their fellow revolutionaries suffer for it, while the victors are those who first destroy the enemies on their own side. So it was in Lebanon; so it would be in Syria.

The Palestinian commando groups that had been expelled from Jordan in 1970 took their revolution to Lebanon, where it flourished. Initially secular, democratic and socialist, the Palestinian national movement threatened the sectarian, dictatorial and pseudo-capitalist oligarchies of the Arab world more than it ever did its ostensible enemy, Israel. The rich Arab oil states, notably Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, funded nationalist Palestinians like Yasser Arafat of Al Fateh as a counterweight to the more dynamic socialist movements led by George Habash and Nayef Hawatmeh. The leaders of the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine happened to be Christians and secularists, whose followers included more Muslims than Christians. The princes, sheikhs and mullahs of the Arabian Peninsula rejected them and their philosophy. Saudi financing enabled Arafat’s Fateh, with its incoherent ideology and tensions between its secular and Islamist adherents, to claim the leadership of all Palestinians. Al Fateh used Saudi money to dominate its rivals in the Palestinian movement and to lead the Lebanese Left to self-destruction.

The idealists who demanded structural change in Lebanon’s body politic lost ground to the partisans of sectarian identity. From seeking an end to the distribution of political spoils from the presidency down to postal clerks by sect, they demanded merely a larger share of the spoils for Muslims, specifically Sunni Muslims from outside the traditional elite that had shared power with the Maronite Christians since the state’s independence. Instead of making all Lebanese equal before the law, as the socialists had proposed, they would recalibrate the distribution of state offices to reflect changed demographics. What had been a principle surrendered to the familiar horse-trading that Lebanon had inherited from the Ottoman Empire and the French Mandate. It was barely reform, certainly not worth killing or dying for.

In the mid-1970s, the Left in Lebanon, as in Chile and other countries where popular movements challenged oligarchies dependent on the United States, met overwhelming external resistance. The US approved Saudi Arabia’s policy of co-opting and taming the Palestinian revolution and, with it, Lebanon’s National Movement. Saudi Arabia would go on to fund opposition to social change as far afield as Nicaragua, Afghanistan and, most recently, Syria.

As well as bolstering nationalist opposition to socialism, Saudi Arabia used the Islamists to undercut nationalism. Islamic revanchist movements funded by Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth resisted economic and social reform in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt in the 1950s and opposed education for women in Syria 20 years later. In Lebanon, they failed to represent the most impoverished segment of society, the Shiite Muslim peasantry whom Israel in its military onslaught against the Palestinians was exiling to the shanty towns of Beirut’s southern outskirts.

Arab nationalism, with its commitment to equality among Muslims, Christians and Jews, died in the Arab versus Arab bloodletting on the streets of Beirut in the 1970s. One motivating idea remained: Islam in political forms dictated by Saudi Arabia for the Sunnis and by Iran, after its 1979 revolution, for the Shiites. A political division within Islam that had lain dormant for centuries would torment Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.

In the spring of 1976, the western half of Beirut was infected with the revolutionary ethos that saw the rich, like Italians fearful of the Brigate Rosse in the same era, hiding their jewelry and luxury cars from the envious glare of a roused proletariat. There were echoes of Orwell’s Catalonia in both the idealism of young zealots and the cynicism of power-hungry aspiring dictators. The US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, recognized the threat to American dominance, as he did in so many other countries, and fashioned a solution in the form of a Syrian invasion to protect the embattled old guard and control the excesses of the Palestinian-Lebanese rebels. The revolution died, but the war raged for another 14 years. The war ended, but only after two Israeli invasions and countless massacres. Foreign powers imposed a settlement at a conference in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in October 1989. By then, most Lebanese were willing to accept any outcome that allowed them to drive to work without fear of snipers, car bombs, artillery or kidnapping.

Lebanon, like Syria, saw democratic, secular dreams vanish into a sectarian maelstrom that ravaged the country and left it vulnerable to foreign invasion and local brutality. Yes, Lebanon’s old system encouraged corruption. Yes, there was injustice. Yes, a majority suffered from inequalities. Yet changing the system was no excuse to shred the fabric of a society that, for all its flaws, was tolerant of different creeds and political beliefs. Two revolutions perished in Lebanon, the Palestinian and the Lebanese. Security became more important than freedom, if only because so much freedom permitted the anarchic rule of kidnappers, gangsters, drug dealers, gun runners and fanatics. In the absence of central authority, the only states on Lebanon’s borders, Syria and Israel, occupied different halves of the country. The only militia to survive the war as an armed force was Hezballah, a sectarian grouping of religious Shiite Muslims that represents Iran and the perpetuation of sectarian politics in Lebanon.

One way to view the fanatic Islamicization of the Syrian revolution after 2011 is that it was the inevitable form of a rebellion inspired and financed by Saudi Wahhabism that sought not democracy but the elimination of rule by Alawite “infidels.” Another is that fratricidal violence marginalizes moderation, renders compromise impossible and pushes forward the most brutal actors. What was more surprising than the rise of fanatics within the revolution was that such disparate opposition forces had found any common ground at all. Like the leftists opposed to the Shah of Iran in 1979, Syria’s democrats saw their Islamist allies dispose of them and their beliefs when they were no longer needed. If the regime fell, the victors would replace it with a theocratic dictatorship that would purge the country of its diversity, its minorities, its dissidents and its tolerance.

The Syrian revolution lacked strategic vision because it began without any objective beyond reforming or replacing a regime that had nurtured as many allies as enemies. Too many rebel leaders sold themselves, as most Palestinian leaders did, to external paymasters for any one of them to establish popular, unifying credentials. Hundreds of armed groups came into being, sponsored by the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The regime, which had almost 50 years to perfect mechanisms of control, played its cards better than rebels with no experience of government, no roots in social work and little experience of combat. Fighters with battle scars from Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria and Libya dominated the rebel side of battlefield. When they trod across the border into Iraq and threatened American interests, the Obama administration responded with air strikes. Yet it did not admit it was wrong about Syria, the strength of the regime or the relative strength of fanaticism within the opposition. That would have meant admitting it was wrong to assume the regime was so unpopular and weak it would fall with a small push before the opposition turned from early reformist demands to radical Islamism.

Robert Ford, the former US ambassador to Syria who had championed the revolution and encouraged its militarization, was a rare official who admitted that the policy he had espoused was mistaken. He told a conference in Washington in January 2015, after nearly 200,000 Syrian deaths and the displacement of a third of the population, “The people we have backed have not been strong enough to hold their ground against the Nusra Front.” If the US could not achieve its goals in Syria, he added, “then we have to just walk away and say there’s nothing we can do about Syria.” This is rich coming from an ambassador whose policies helped to create the fanatic groups controlling large regions of Syria and Iraq. To America’s policymaking adolescents, the world is a plaything to abandon when it breaks.

The rebels, using weapons made in America, paid for by Saudi Arabia and funneled through Turkey, imposed a vision of society that took no account of Syrian diversity and mutual respect among its peoples. Syria, as history records, welcomed the Armenian victims of Turkey’s genocide after the First World War and had long been home to heterodox forms of Islam. The goal of the self-proclaimed Islamic State and Jebhat an-Nusra was to make Syria something it never was: an extension of Saudi Arabia. No one heeded Nietzsche’s warning, quoted early in the revolution by Masalit Mati, writer of the satirical, anti-Assad Top Goon puppet show: “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.”

The United States, with its European and Arab allies, had its own purposes in Syria. It strains belief that the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar opposed Bashar al-Assad because he was a dictator or because his cousins were taking the lion’s share of the country’s wealth. The countries that crushed popular dissent against the royal family in Bahrain could not claim to believe in democracy for any Arab country. The US opposed Assad, as did the Saudis and Qataris, because he would not relinquish the alliance with Iran that gave him a strategic asset against Israel. Israel had occupied part of Syria since 1967 and showed no sign of relinquishing its hold or permitting the exiled inhabitants and their descendants to return. The Arab monarchies, which had sought to dominate Syria since it achieved independence from France in 1946, saw in Iran an adversary for control of Syria and, through Hezballah, Lebanon. To remove Assad was to eliminate Iranian influence in the Arab world.

In the midst of the Syrian war and despite Israel’s desire to humiliate Iran, the US opened a door to the regime in Tehran. Negotiations to regulate the Iranian nuclear program improved relations between the longtime adversaries. As American business scented an opportunity to return to the lucrative Iranian market, the raison d’être for America to eliminate Iran’s only Arab ally evaporated. US policy in Syria has floundered ever since.

Hopes for a negotiated end to the war receded with the deterioration in America’s relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Assad’s only ally apart from Iran and the regime in Baghdad, over Ukraine and the eastern expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The US, Russia, the Syrian regime and much of the Syrian opposition came to Geneva in January 2014 with no plan, no inclination to end Syrian agony and no purpose other than pushing their own goals to the detriment of a population that was enduring the daily reality of death, maiming, exodus and oppression from both camps. The dominant force in the Syrian revolution proclaimed itself a caliphate, beheaded innocent prisoners, raped and enslaved women, hurled young men from towers because of their sexual preferences and burned alive a young Jordanian soldier who fought for his country. This is where superpower, Turkish and Arab policies have led. Where will they take Syria next?

About Charles Glass

Charles Glass is an author, journalist and broadcaster, who specializes in the Middle East. He made headlines when taken hostage for 62 days in Lebanon by Shi’a militants in 1987, while writing a book during his time as ABC’s News chief Middle East correspondent. He writes regularly for the New York Review of Books, Harper’s, the London Review of Books and The Spectator. He is the author of Tribes with Flags, Money for Old Rope, The Tribes Triumphant, The Northern Front, Americans in Paris and Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II.

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138 Responses

  1. Atlantaiconoclast
    September 10, 2015, 3:37 pm

    Excellent, very interesting piece. Would love to hear more from Mr. Glass, though, about Israel’s role in stimulating and sustaining the conflict. What is the extent of Israeli support for this rebellion? For Al Nusra? Is Israel supporting the rebels by pushing for American intervention, or is the support more direct, if secret? Why does Israel never attack ISIS? Why has ISIS never attacked Israel? Is what we see in Syria connected to Likud’s Oded Yinon’s vision of a destabilized Middle East, with Israel as the regional hegemon?

    Few Americans would be surprised to learn that Saudi Arabia is up to no good in Syria. But what about Israel? I think that few Americans would put up with Israel if they saw evidence to indicate that Israel has intentionally sought to destabilize the Middle East. We need these questioned investigated. Exposing Israel’s role in this catastrophe is a great possible opportunity to not only help bring an end to the war in Syria, but to help the Palestinians as well.

    • Bandolero
      September 10, 2015, 6:05 pm

      Atlantaiconoclast

      Israel used the same means of power against Syria as usual: it’s agents of influence, the lobby and the great pro-Israel influence on mass media in the western world.

      First of all, the US state department which was in the hand of pro-Israel partisans for many years before the war on Syria started, prepared the string of regime changes in the MENA region by training local propagandists and recruiting agents for several years in the frame of it’s MEPI programme. Obama than gave the start sign for the regime changes in August 2010 with his Presidential Study Directive 11. David Ignatius confessed to this in the run-up of the war on Libya:

      Obama’s Calculated Gamble

      By David Ignatius – March 6, 2011

      … 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.”

      Six months later, street demonstrations were toppling autocratic leaders …

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

      Regaridng Syria, pro-Israel partisans in the west employed a simple scheme. Whenever the wahhabi terrorists paid for by the Saudi and Qatari GCC friends of Israel committed acts of terrorism, murder, robbery and other violence, the pro Israel media in the west said Syrian government supporters perpretrated the crime, and the crime is just another proof of how evil the Syrian government is so regime change is needed. So, western pro-Israel partisans and GCC-backed wahhabi terrorists enraged the population inside and outside Syria with a string of false flag terror attacks, massacres and other violence. This, including the incitement of sectarianism, was planned years ago by neocons and other pro-Israel partisans in te US government, as US diplomatic cables leaked by CHelsea Manning and published by wikileaks clearly show:

      https://www.rt.com/news/314852-assange-wikileaks-us-syria/

      In the last big false flag massacre in Syria, the Ghouta chemical terror attack in August 2013 perpetrated by the chemical brigade of Saudi-paid “Islam army” terrorist outfit, however, Israel did more. Here Israel directly participated in the terror attack not only with the lobby and false flag propaganda by western pro-Israeli media, but also by trying to trick the US governemnt with evidence faked by Israeli intelligence and officially provided by israel to the US into believing the the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical terror attack. But chemcial analysis proved it a lie before Israel reached the goal of heaving the US tricked into bombing Syria by chemical sample analysis taken at the site of the Saudi-sponsored chemcial attack. The rest is history: Obama reacted not as desired by Israel, but made a chemcial disarmament deal with Syria and a nuclear deal with Iran. Vice president Biden later said: the problem in Syria is with our allies.

      That all said, I think it’s hard to convince the US public on the crimes perpretrated by Israel and the neocons in Syria, because the false Israeli narrative on Syria is too much entrenched. Holding the Israeli-Saudi terror alliance accountable for the 9/11 attack, whcih seemed to have been a model cooperation for the Ghouta attack, seem an easier task. But however, the Obama administration seems to prefer to go a different way and try to make the Saudis an ally in the fight against bigger fish to fry: Bibi and the crazies.

      • RoHa
        September 10, 2015, 8:11 pm

        “The rest is history: Obama reacted not as desired by Israel, but made a chemcial disarmament deal with Syria ”

        The way I recall it, Putin made the deal, and Obama had to go along.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 10, 2015, 9:15 pm

        Thanks for dropping truth here. I still think, however, that exposing Israel’s intentional destabilization could pay major dividends. Too many Americans think Israel is the poor little victim. I have been watching the Palestinian struggle for years. The current approach of focusing only on the occupation has reaped no tangible change for the Palestinians. When activists stop being afraid to tell the full truth about Israel, like the damage done to the US and Israel’s neighbors by Israel’s destabilizing influence, we will see Americans changing their minds. Am I calling for demonization of Israel? Technically no, but I can see how people would think that. But if Israel can reap benefits demonizing Iran, maybe its time to emulate them, and learn to demonize away.

      • Bandolero
        September 10, 2015, 10:53 pm

        RoHa

        The way I recall it, Putin made the deal, and Obama had to go along.

        Certainly, Putin was very engaged and helpful to have Obama not bomb Syria. But at the end, it was Obama who defied the lobby and the crazies and killed the bombing frenzy with his surprising demand for a very special AUMF from Congress to persue the perpetrators of the Ghouta attack, whereever they may be found, by the sole discretion of the US President.

        Some of that history of how bombing Syria was averted in summer 2013 is still not publicly known, and there are also conflicting public accounts on what really happened. I know for example that there were unconfirmed public reports that Obama had already started cruise missiles against Syria, but after Russian missile defense ships in the mediterranian sea intercepted them, Obama got convinced that bombing Syria will lead to a direct war against Russia, likely leading to nothing or even to become a nuclear war. But I don’t think that this story is credible.

        As for Kerry’s alleged “gaffe” offering Syria to not bomb it if Syria gives away it’s chemical weapons, and Putin’s following quick offer to do exactly this, I’m convinced that this was no gaffe, but a carefully orchestrated PR manover happening long after Obama and Putin already agreed on the future proceeding with regard to Syria. It’s long been revealed – and this I think is a credible account of events – that the US and Russia had already talks on Syria’s chemical weapons for quite some time before, and basically all sides, the US, Russia and Syria, had already agreed in principle that for safety reasons it would be best for all if Syria got rid of them and replace them by a Russian security umbrella long before the Ghouta chemical false flag happened.

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2015, 10:59 am

        I recall it as Obama was getting OK from Congress to go in to Syria, but so many plain folks called into their reps against the initiative that Obama hesitated; next thing I knew, Kerry said something that allowed Putin to grab the reins, and Obama acquiesced.

    • lproyect
      September 11, 2015, 4:27 pm

      All this blather about Syria and Israel being on a collision course. Don’t any of you people know that Syria intervened against Palestinians in Lebanon? It is scary to see how “anti-imperialists” know so little about Middle East history.

      • echinococcus
        September 11, 2015, 4:51 pm

        It is scary how much “interventionist”-antimperialists can cherry-pick and ignore both the general context and what counts right now.
        Not that anyone proposed the canonization of Asad jr. as patron saint of Palestine or suchlike.

      • Bandolero
        September 11, 2015, 5:54 pm

        lproyect

        All this blather about Syria and Israel being on a collision course. Don’t any of you people know that Syria intervened against Palestinians in Lebanon? It is scary to see how “anti-imperialists” know so little about Middle East history.

        That’s a funny one. What will you try to tell us next to spin your stupid imperial propaganda dressed in a lefty anti-imperialist garb? Will you tell us that the Syrian-Egyptian 1973 war against Israel and Syrian-Israeli air fights over Lebanon were friendly encounters, that Syria is an enemy of Hezbollah and therefore loved by Israel and that Syria is OK with Israel trying to rob the Syrian Golan heights because Syria doesn’t like it’s national territory anyway?

        Of course, Israel wants regime change in Syria to legitimize the grab on the Golan heights and to weaken the Iran-led axis of resistance and the anti-Zionist resistance in Palestine and Lebanon.

        And Israel is largely on record with that, see eg the former Mossad boss Efraim Halevy in the New York Times on Feb. 7, 2012, quote:

        Iran’s Achilles’ Heel

        … Ensuring that Iran is evicted from its regional hub in Damascus would cut off Iran’s access to its proxies (Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza) and visibly dent its domestic and international prestige, possibly forcing a hemorrhaging regime in Tehran to suspend its nuclear policies. This would be a safer and more rewarding option than the military one.

        As President Bashar al-Assad’s government falters, Syria is becoming Iran’s Achilles’ heel. Iran has poured a vast array of resources into the country. There are Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps encampments and Iranian weapons and advisers throughout Syria. And Iranian-controlled Hezbollah forces from Lebanon have joined in butchering the Syrians who have risen up against Mr. Assad. Iran is intent on assuring its hold over the country regardless of what happens to Mr. Assad — and Israel and the West must prevent this at all costs.

        At this stage, there is no turning back; Mr. Assad must step down. For Israel, the crucial question is not whether he falls but whether the Iranian presence in Syria will outlive his government. Getting Iran booted out of Syria is essential for Israel’s security. And if Mr. Assad goes, Iranian hegemony over Syria must go with him. Anything less would rob Mr. Assad’s departure of any significance.

        Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/opinion/to-weaken-iran-start-with-syria.html?_r=0

        Facts are stupid things, lproyect, they fly in your face when you are trying to turn them on their head with propaganda.

  2. piotr
    September 10, 2015, 7:23 pm

    The goals of American (Western in general) policy in Syria are truly macabre.
    Dan Drezner:

    [T]his is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years. To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible. This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

    This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources. A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict. In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.

    ====

    In other words, “we” want the mayhem to continue forever, and when “we” aid regimes of Syria and Iraq by attacking ISIS, “we” are very careful not to be overly effective. Now “mayhem forever” is also extended to Yemen (American aid GCC coalition in bombing schools, hospitals, other assorted civilian infrastructure, and of course try to soften the “rebels” by massive hunger, but when the latter tactic will show to be too effective, we can expect some short break so supply a certain amount of food.) Worst come to worst, GCC will win eventually, but not before shelling a hundred billion dollars for weapons (hopefully, more).

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      September 10, 2015, 9:18 pm

      Wow, another truth dropper! I am impressed with Mondoweiss more than ever. Hopefully, the contributors to Mondoweiss will do more articles focusing on the angles provided in your and Bandolero’s post.

      • lproyect
        September 11, 2015, 4:28 pm

        Actually Bandolero has about as much credibility as Alex Jones.

      • Danaa
        September 12, 2015, 4:10 pm

        Iproyect, actually it is you who has little credibility on these matters. I don’t recall you ever showing much gravitas or matters of Syria, Lebanbon, Iran or anything Middle east other than israel.

        Even if you had shown any powers of analysis (which in this case you haven’t – spreading opinionated droppings does not qualify), [….]

        Bandolero and piotr in particular (just to mention two here) have offered especially illuminating viewpoints that seem to derive from sources as varied as the Middle east itself.

        I don’t know whether the author of this piece, Charles Glass, is jewish or not. I usually try to read things without knowing – at first. Then, if and when I note comments or gratuitous set-asides that call attention to some things omitted and/or some things over-emphasized (example – the great western-style democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. Really?) then I look deeper into who the writer is and what their associations are. One particular item that always gets my ears perk up is mention of certain NGOs, or sources that are funded by them (like the infamous misnomer “Syrian Observatory” operating from a house in London, mostly a one man operation that is primarily “humanitarian interventionist” source funded).

        In any case, bandolero appears to be extremely well-informed and roundly so, especially on Syria matters. Everything he writes conforms with what I read or know about from my sources. Should he turn out to be Jewish (in whole or in part – and I am decidedly not asking),I’ll be surprised (for the reasons outlined above) but the tribe should be most proud and I should add pronto a name to my not very long list of exceptions (that prove the rule).

  3. tokyobk
    September 10, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Thanks for publishing this here. I look forward to reading the book.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    September 10, 2015, 11:10 pm

    RE: “The following is the Afterword to Charles Glass’s new book ‘Syria Burning’ from Or Books.”

    ■ KINDLE SAMPLE (‘Send a free sample’ button is to the right) – http://www.amazon.com/Syria-Burning-ISIS-Death-Spring-ebook/dp/B00ZGISODG

  5. JLewisDickerson
    September 10, 2015, 11:49 pm

    RE: “As well as bolstering nationalist opposition to socialism, Saudi Arabia used the Islamists to undercut nationalism. Islamic revanchist movements funded by Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth resisted economic and social reform in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt in the 1950s and opposed education for women in Syria 20 years later.” ~ Charles Glass

    MY COMMENT: Saudi Arabia wasn’t the only country that used Islamists to undercut nationalism!*

    * SEE: “The CIA and The Muslim Brotherhood: How the CIA Set The Stage for September 11” (Martin A. Lee – Razor Magazine 2004)

    [EXCERPTS] The CIA often works in mysterious ways – and so it was with this little-known cloak-and-dagger caper that set the stage for extensive collaboration between US intelligence and Islamic extremists. The genesis of this ill-starred alliance dates back to Egypt in the mid-1950s, when the CIA made discrete overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, the influential Sunni fundamentalist movement that fostered Islamic militancy throughout the Middle East. What started as a quiet American flirtation with political Islam became a Cold War love affair on the sly – an affair that would turn out disastrously for the United States. Nearly all of today’s radical Islamic groups, including al-Qaeda, trace their lineage to the Brotherhood. . .
    . . . For many years, the American espionage establishment had operated on the assumption that Islam was inherently anti-communist and therefore could be harnessed to facilitate US objectives. American officials viewed the Muslim Brotherhood as “a secret weapon” in the shadow war against the Soviet Union and it’s Arab allies, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA case officer who was right in the thick of things in the Middle East and Central Asia during his 21 year career as a spy. In “Sleeping with the Devil”, a book he wrote after quitting the CIA Baer explains how the United States “made common cause with the Brothers” and used them “to do our dirty work in Yemen, Afghanistan and plenty of other places”.
    This covert relationship; unraveled when the Cold War ended, whereupon an Islamic Frankenstein named Osama bin Laden lurched into existence. . .

    SOURCE – http://ce399fascism.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/the-cia-and-the-muslim-brotherhood-how-the-cia-set-the-stage-for-september-11-martin-a-lee-razor-magazine-2004/

    * AND SEE: “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas”, By Andrew Higgins, The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/09

    [EXCERPT] Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor’s bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile’s trajectory back to an “enormous, stupid mistake” made 30 years ago.
    “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
    Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. . .
    . . . When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.
    “When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake,” says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early ’90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. “But at the time nobody thought about the possible results.” . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

    • Bandolero
      September 11, 2015, 8:02 am

      JLewisDickerson

      Regarding the US/Israeli strategy of using Islamists to fight against Moscow-backed infidels, I also find an article in the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper helpful. That strategy was not only applied in Afghanistan, Palestine and regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, but also applied on Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. Remember that Ayatollah Khomeini was flown into Tehran from NATO-country France after the US told France to do so at the G7 conference in Guadaloupe.

      Quote Hurriyet:

      It could be argued as well that apart from the poisoning effects of the Middle East problem, the “Green Belt Strategy,” drafted by Zbigniev Brezinski and applied by the Jimmy Carter and Ronal Reagan administrations, played a major role in the development of what Samuel Huntington described as the “Confrontation of Civilizations”.

      Though even today many people still firmly believe that the United States brought the end of the Soviet Union greatly by applying the Brezinski’s “Green Belt Strategy,” that is to establish a belt of countries, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran to Turkey, all ruled by political Islam to contain advance of the Soviets, in reality the ultimate product of that strategy was the Islamic revolution in Iran, an end to Soviet occupation in Afghanistan but continued suffering and instability in the impoverished country threatening global peace since then, Pakistan turning into an Islamic republic where civilian politics have become hostage of political Islam and Turkey gradually consolidating what is described as a “moderate Islamic” governance.

      The “Green Belt Strategy” was a social engineering project of Washington that failed to produce desired results, it created a “terrorism factory” in Afghanistan, an instable and nuclear Pakistan, a die-hard Islamist regime in Iran and a Turkey on its way becoming gradually a moderate Islamist alternative to the oppressive Wahhabi Islamist autocratic model.

      This “moderate Islamist” role that the United States has been promoting for Turkey as part of its Wider Middle East Project, of which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan boasts of being co-chairman, is no less than the “Green Belt” social engineering project of Brezinski and is as short sighted.

      Source: http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/opinion/10809118.asp

      AIPAC/WINEP’s Soner Cagaptay also wrote about this strategy in Hurriyet:

      Known as the “Green Belt Theory,” this strategy was devised by the Western intelligence community to immunize these four nations against communism. But the strategy, which worked, has had unintended consequences: Religion has become the moral compass of these societies, long outlasting communism. Today, political Islam has penetrated thefabric of each of the four countries in unique ways: Pakistan is an Islamist republic, Afghanistan had become Talibanized, Iran fell prey to an Islamist revolution and Turkey, though a democracy, is under what is slowly becoming the ever-more permanent rule of the authoritarian and Islamist-inspired Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

      Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=jinnah8217s-nightmare-what-went-wrong-in-pakistan-2011-05-19

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2015, 11:29 pm

        “JL”, as I’m sure you know, the US military’s position, it’s doctrine, as laid out since the fall of the Soviet Union, is that they are entitled to be continuously involved in wars all over the world. That it is necessary for them to be continuously involved in wars all over the world. Something bad, will happen if they aren’t. Can’t say what it is, but why take a chance, say the scholastic military geniuses at West Point. So Obama, no matter what his own inclinations, has that obligation to contend with. And all the intelligence he gets is probably shaped with that end in mind. And a big “we can do that, sir”! for every harebrained scheme.
        Maybe that’s why some of the US actions are so contradictory, or work at cross-purposes. Just got to throw matches and gasoline, in any direction, till you get something going.

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 13, 2015, 4:03 pm

        RE: ” ‘JL’, as I’m sure you know, the US military’s position, it’s doctrine, as laid out since the fall of the Soviet Union, is that they are entitled to be continuously involved in wars all over the world. . . So Obama, no matter what his own inclinations, has that obligation to contend with.” ~ Mooser

        MY REPLY: Yes, Robert Parry makes much the same point in a recent article (“The Riddle of Obama’s Foreign Policy”) that I posted an excerpt of below. – http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/syrias-revolution-different#comment-796350

    • JLewisDickerson
      September 12, 2015, 4:18 pm

      Thanks for these two “Green Belt Theory/Strategy” articles. The U.S. just can’t seem to get enough blowback!

      AND, LET’S NOT LET THE UK OFF THE HOOK!
      “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, By Mark Curtis, Reviewed by Kim Sengupta, The Independent, 7/30/10

      [EXCERPTS] For years, violent Islamist groups were allowed to settle in Britain, using the country as a base to carry out attacks abroad. This was tolerated in the belief that they would not bomb the country where they lived and that, as long as they are here, the security service would be able to infiltrate them. At the same time mosque after mosque was taken over through intimidation by the fundamentalists. Police and others in authority refused pleas from moderate Muslims with the excuse that they did not want to interfere.
      There was even a name for this amoral accommodation: the “covenant of security”. We now know that jihadists will indeed blow up their home country and that the security agencies signally failed to infiltrate the terrorist cells while they had the chance.
      The part played by officials in the growth of terrorism in Britain is a relatively small-scale affair compared to what went on abroad. Successive UK governments had nurtured and promoted extremists for reasons of realpolitik often at a terrible cost to the population of those countries. Mark Curtis, in his book on “Britain’s collusion with radical Islam”, charts this liaison. He points out how reactionary and violent Muslim groups were used against secular nationalists at the time of empire and continued afterwards to back UK and Western interests.
      The price for this is now being paid at home and abroad. I am writing this review in Helmand, where a few days ago I went on an operation with British and Afghan troops against insurgents whose paymasters, across the border in Pakistan, have been the beneficiaries of US and British largesse.
      Curtis points out that two of the most active Islamist commanders carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalalludin Haqqani, had particularly close contacts with the UK in the past. Hekmatyar met Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street when he was a favourite of MI6 and the CIA in the war against the Russians. Haqqani, while not the “Taliban’s overall military commander fighting the British” as Curtis says (he runs his own network parallel to the Taliban), was viewed as a highly useful tool in that conflict.
      The Western use of the Mujaheddin as proxy fighters is well documented. It resulted in the spawning of al-Qa’ida, the spread of international terrorism, and the empowering of ISI, the Pakistani secret police, who became their sponsors. Curtis examines the lesser known by-products of this jihad: the dispatch of Afghan Islamist veterans, with the connivance of Britain and the US, to the wars in the Balkans and the former Soviet republics in central Asia, and ethnic Muslim areas of China. Vast sums of money from the West’s great ally, Saudi Arabia, helped fund the Reagan administration’s clandestine war in support of repressive military juntas in Latin America while, at the same time, buttressing the aggressive Wahabi faith embraced by many terrorist groups.
      The use of hardline Islam by the West was particularly prevalent at the time of the Cold War. In many instances, however, the targets for destabilisation were not Communist regimes but leaders who had adopted left-wing policies deemed to pose a threat to Western influence and interests.
      The UK attempted to combat “virus of Arab nationalism”, after Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in Egypt and nationalised the Suez Canal, by forging links with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation involved in terrorism. The nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company by the democratically elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadeq led to a British-American organised coup which was facilitated by Ayatollah Seyyed Kashani, one of whose followers was the young Ruhollah Khomeini. In Indonesia, the removal of Ahmed Sukarno in another military coup by the UK-US was carried out with the help of Darul Islam. Its followers went on to massacre socialists and trade unionists.
      In each of these cases the clandestine backing of Britain and the US strengthened Islamist groups at the expense of secular bodies and moderate Muslims. These groups then went to form terrorist groups whom the West would later have to confront in the “War on Terror”. . .

      ENTIRE BOOK REVIEW – http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/secret-affairs-by-mark-curtis-2038691.html

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 12, 2015, 4:32 pm

        P.S. A COUPLE OF RELATED BOOKS:
        Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (American Empire Project)
        Hardcover – October 13, 2005
        by Robert Dreyfuss (Author)
        The first complete account of America’s most
        dangerous foreign policy miscalculation: sixty years of support for Islamic fundamentalism
        Devil’s Game is the gripping story of America’s misguided efforts, stretching across decades, to dominate the strategically vital Middle East by courting and cultivating Islamic fundamentalism. Among all the books about Islam, this is the first comprehensive inquiry into the touchiest issue: How and why did the United States encourage and finance the spread of radical political Islam?
        LINK – http://www.amazon.com/Devils-Game-Unleash-Fundamentalist-American/dp/0805076522

        A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West
        Hardcover – May 4, 2010
        by Ian Johnson (Author)
        In the wake of the news that the 9/11 hijackers had lived in Europe, journalist Ian Johnson wondered how such a radical group could sink roots into Western soil. Most accounts reached back twenty years, to U.S. support of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan. But Johnson dug deeper, to the start of the Cold War, uncovering the untold story of a group of ex-Soviet Muslims who had defected to Germany during World War II. There, they had been fashioned into a well-oiled anti-Soviet propaganda machine. As that war ended and the Cold War began, West German and U.S. intelligence agents vied for control of this influential group, and at the center of the covert tug of war was a quiet mosque in Munich—radical Islam’s first beachhead in the West.
        LINK – http://www.amazon.com/Mosque-Munich-Nazis-Muslim-Brotherhood/dp/0151014183

      • Bandolero
        September 12, 2015, 5:25 pm

        JLewisDickerson

        Thanks for adding the sources. Though I know many of the historical secret alliances of the west with radical Islam to fight communist “infidels” the role of Darul Islam in the very bloody CIA “Gestapu” coup (Hundreds of thousands of “communist infidels” were slaughtered) in Indonesia was new to me. I think Obama probably knows this part of history well since his step father Lolo Soetoro seems to have been a leading protagonist of the CIA-sponsored massacres there and his mother was there working in CIA-connnected USAID “economic development” efforts under the guidance of the father of Barack Obama’s seretary of finance. Intersting that their son Barack Obama now seems to come out in the Syrian replay of that propaganda driven Indonesian massacres on the opposite side of the line, effectively sabotaging that US/Israeli regime change effort in Syria.

        But back to the subject: Syria. Without me being able to give a written source now, I remember that the 70s Brotherhood insurgency there was led by Brotherhood leaders residing in Brussels close to the NATO headquarter, before they moved back to Syria and their elimination happened in Hama 1982 – shortly after Israel and Syria had air fights – in which Syria badly lost – over Lebanon.

  6. lproyect
    September 11, 2015, 9:45 am

    Why do all these people like Seymour Hersh, Charles Glass, David Bromwich, Patrick Cockburn, and the Angry Arab insist on depicting the USA as having the same agenda in Syria as it did in Iraq? After 4 years I still see nonsense written about “regime change” with the most tortured attempts to portray, for example, bombing of ISIS as really meant to topple Assad. Do these people really believe their own propaganda?

    To start with, there was never any intention by Barack Obama to launch a “humanitarian intervention” in Syria whatever people like Nicholas Kristof or Samantha Power sought. On October 22nd, 2013, the NY Times reported that “from the beginning, Mr. Obama made it clear to his aides that he did not envision an American military intervention, even as public calls mounted that year for a no-fly zone to protect Syrian civilians from bombings.” The article stressed the role of White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, who had frequently clashed with the hawkish Samantha Power. In contrast to Power and others with a more overtly “humanitarian intervention” perspective, McDonough “who had perhaps the closest ties to Mr. Obama, remained skeptical.” The Times added, “He questioned how much it was in America’s interest to tamp down the violence in Syria.”

    • Bandolero
      September 11, 2015, 10:48 am

      lproyect

      Why do all these people like Seymour Hersh, Charles Glass, David Bromwich, Patrick Cockburn, and the Angry Arab insist on depicting the USA as having the same agenda in Syria as it did in Iraq?

      Because official US policy in regard to Syria is the same as in Iraq: violent “regime change”, which is illegal under international law. And the reasons for the policy of regime change in Syria and Iraq are also largely the same: pleasing the apartheid regime of Tel Aviv and it’s lobby and fifth column of “crazies” in Washington.

      There exist some differences between US policies regarding Iraq and Syria, though. Regarding Iraq, the US followed, after arming and instigating terrorists to foment regime change in Iraq, a path of regime change by military invasion, where as in regard to Syria US policy follows the dogma that regime change in Syria shall come cheaper in terms of US treasuries and with fewer US bodybags coming home than as what the US spent for regime change in Iraq. Inside the US regime and the opposition there are also some minor differences as what violent tools the US shall employ to have “Assad go” – ie do regime change – in Syria.

      While most US elites agree to support terrorists with a friendly view on the west in Syria, some US elites, Israel’s great friend Petraeus for example, also want the US to support terrorists with more unfreindly views of the west like terrorists of the Al Qaeda brand. Some US elites inside the Obama regime, eg Hillary Clinton, and outside the Obama regime also wanted or still want the US to run an aerial bombing campaign against the Syrian military, while others, including Obama himself, think bombing the Syrian army to do regime change in Syria is too risky and too costly in the long term.

      And, yes, in one notation you may be true: there are some signs that Obama himself has silently left the regime change crowd and – though his official policy is still regime change in Syria – he prepares for a change of that stupid and self defeating warmongering policy of regime change in Syria, which he once adopted to please Bibi, the lobby and the crazies.

      • lproyect
        September 11, 2015, 4:30 pm

        Because official US policy in regard to Syria is the same as in Iraq: violent “regime change”, which is illegal under international law.

        It is really quite breathtaking to observe Bimbolero’s evasions. I offer documentation that Obama had no interest in regime change and he simply ignores what I wrote. I can’t blame him. The truth is an inconvenience of the worst kind to Baathist tools.

      • Keith
        September 11, 2015, 8:19 pm

        LPROYECT- “It is really quite breathtaking to observe Bimbolero’s evasions. I offer documentation that Obama had no interest in regime change and he simply ignores what I wrote.”

        Yes, yes, Louis, words speak louder than actions! Forget the Wikileaks disclosures, the history of overt and covert support for the Mujahadeen (which begot al Qaeda), the acknowledged funding and training of “moderate” Syrian “freedom fighters,” the observed and reported infiltration of Syria by radical Islamists from Turkey, if the New York Times claims that “Mr. Obama made it clear to his aides that he did not envision an (overt) American military intervention,” then that’s that. I mean, who can imagine the President telling self-serving fibs? Or the NYT printing anything other than the unvarnished truth? Are you really hanging your hat on the second hand public PR statements of this shameless warmonger?

      • Bandolero
        September 11, 2015, 9:46 pm

        lproyect

        It is really quite breathtaking to observe Bimbolero’s evasions.

        Bimbolero? Bimbo-lero you call me? Bimbo? And all the while you pretend to be a marxist disgusted with Israeli racism? And at the same time you try to suggest not supporting the Israel lobby’s bloody regime change attempts is harming the Palestinian cause?

        I think that your expression – Bimbolero – exposed your true racist point of view as opposed to your claimed Marxist point of view enough to not further bother with your conflating of an US driven violent regime change by the means of supporting terrorism with an official US military campaign.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2015, 10:26 pm

        It is really quite breathtaking to observe….It astonishes me

        hey lp, could you quit with the drama queen opening acts prefacing your lame arguments please. it doesn’t enhance the deliveries in the least, nor an argument make.

        I offer documentation that Obama had no interest in regime change

        no actually, you did not. you offered no “documentation” whatsoever. you offered cherry picked quotes.

        here’s the link you referenced, alluded to and quoted from but didn’t link to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/world/middleeast/obamas-uncertain-path-amid-syria-bloodshed.html?_r=0 (probably because it held this damning info)

        two years after Mr. Obama publicly declared that Mr. Assad had to go,

        get it? that’s called regime change. one would have to have their head in the sand to forget both of obama’s sec of states, clinton and kerry ginning for regime change. so don’t try pushing off this hogwash he had no interest in it, he simply wasn’t about to commit american forces to make it happen.

        all your bs bloviation doesn’t make up for what you lack in logic.

        and bandolero, you’re right he exposed his “true racist point of view”, sexist too btw.

    • Keith
      September 11, 2015, 11:46 am

      LPROYECT- “To start with, there was never any intention by Barack Obama to launch a “humanitarian intervention” in Syria….”

      No, the initial intent was regime change, however, failing that, the goal is now (rather obviously) to destroy Syria like Libya was destroyed, and Iraq was destroyed, and the Ukraine was destroyed. Why commit US combat troops when our paid terrorists (ISIS, et al), supported by special operation forces and the US, NATO, Israeli air forces, etc, can get the job done? What is going on now is so widespread and obvious that it takes talent to miss it. This is the neocon long war come to fruition.

      “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” (Michael Ledeen)

      • K Renner
        September 11, 2015, 2:46 pm

        ” No, the initial intent was regime change, however, failing that, the goal is now (rather obviously) to destroy Syria like Libya was destroyed, ”

        More delusional nonsense from the apologist for Russia and Serbian Milosevites in Bosnia and Kosovo, and for the likes of Gaddafi and Assad.

        Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt were both American-backed autocrats. They were autocrats, and they were tossed out by the people, but I see no wild conspiracy theories coming from your mouth in these cases, slandering the people who got rid of them?

        The reasons were and are the same.

        The real issues are American carelessness, incompetence, and simply lack of interest after the fact. This condemns America in Libya and Syria but it sure as hell doesn’t absolve Gaddafi or Assad like you so want it to.

        “and Iraq was destroyed”

        This is true, but you’ll engage in rampant apologia for Saddam because at one point in his rule he was anti-American.

        Conveniently forgetting that he was historically an asset and ally of America, especially as far as Iran was concerned.

        ” and the Ukraine was destroyed”

        Russia and that state’s dupes are objectively doing more to “destroy” Ukraine.

        I condemn American and Russian imperialism and war crimes both. You, proud hypocrite that you are, deify Russia and the worst idiots under that state’s command.

        “when our paid terrorists (ISIS, et al),”

        ISIS doesn’t work for America. Conspiracy theories and further evidence that you should be blackballed.

        “operation forces and the US, NATO, Israeli air forces, etc, can get the job done?”

        More conspiracy theories.

        Israel doesn’t bomb ISIS because it only cares about itself and Jewish lives. That’s bad enough without making up whackadoo theories– but you are you, after all.

        ” What is going on now is so widespread and obvious that it takes talent to miss it. This is the neocon long war come to fruition.”

        You lose anything you may have had once it becomes clear that all you want to do is absolve the disgusting war criminal Assad.

      • lproyect
        September 11, 2015, 4:22 pm

        “Why commit US combat troops when our paid terrorists (ISIS, et al), supported by special operation forces and the US, NATO, Israeli air forces, etc, can get the job done?”

        It astonishes me to see such wild claims about the USA paying ISIS. This sort of conspiracy-mongering has infected the left like a gonorrhea strain resistant to antibiotics.

      • Keith
        September 11, 2015, 5:56 pm

        LPROYECT- “It astonishes me to see such wild claims about the USA paying ISIS. This sort of conspiracy-mongering has infected the left like a gonorrhea strain resistant to antibiotics.”

        Is it possible that you are this poorly informed? You are the Counterpunch movie critic, do you ever read the articles other than your own? If you did, then you would know that this is common knowledge and common sense as well. Perhaps you are unaware that the CIA recruited Osama bin Laden and created, funded and trained the Afghanistan Mujahadeen? Or that al Qaeda is an offshoot of the Mujahadeen? Or that ISIS/ISIL/IS is a rebranding of the al Qaeda franchise which the empire utilized in the destabilization of Libya? Where do you think that this ‘new’ group is getting its equipment and funding? No doubt, much of it comes from Saudi Arabia at the empire’s request, but the US is in charge.

        Rather than perusing the Counterpunch archives (you should, however), I will rely on a few quotes I came upon today alone. Just how out of touch with reality are you, anyway?

        ” For instance, there is no mention of the US’ long-standing effort (in co-ordination with Saudi Arabia) to encourage Islamic fundamentalism and sectarianism in Syria in order to weaken the Syrian Government at any cost (as revealed by WikiLeaks) and no mention of the CIA’s enormous Syria operation that has cost at least $1bn and trained and armed nearly 10,000 fighters sent to fight in Syria since the war began.” (Louis Allday) http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/11/want-to-know-whats-really-going-on-in-syria-warning-itll-take-you-more-than-5-minutes/

        “That was the training and beginning of the ISIS brand. It started as ISIL and then turned to ISIS and now for short IS. This was completed by design, it was created and the people who are part of the so called ISIS they were carefully selected, brought into the U.S. NATO base in Turkey, they were trained they were funnelled, and this is what they were told to do. They created a new brand and a new brand with purpose of replacing the old brand: Al Qaeda.

        Think about it, how does that happen? How can in two years some ferocious terror group get to form and they have all these guns all these bombs, and they have range rovers and they have jeeps, and they have all this sophisticated training, military and paramilitary training. They have two billion dollars plus. They have IT networks and they are the worlds scariest terror organization. That is the hallmark of Operation Gladio B. That is what they have been doing since the 1950’s and now with people getting likely to buy they types of brands and subscribe to these types of brands to them, they are being marketed to the consumers in the west. They are gobbling it up with the mainstream media about this ISIS. They even have uniform like looks with the special bandanas. They look like ninja turtles.” (Sibel Edmonds) http://www.globalresearch.ca/silencing-a-whistle-blower-gladio-b-and-the-origins-of-isis-sibel-edmonds/5475126

        I conclude with an interview with Julian Assange where he reveals that a Wikileaks leaked cable from 2006 indicates US plans to destabilize Syria. It surely strain credulity to suggest that the CIA wouldn’t provide the necessary funding to support these activities. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2015/09/09/julian-assange-on-the-us-empire-plans-on-overthrowing-assad-the-wikileaks-files/#more-174898

      • Keith
        September 11, 2015, 6:08 pm

        K RENNER- “ISIS doesn’t work for America.”

        The Islamic State is an imperial asset which engages in terrorist operations. The only good parts of your incoherent and dishonest rant are your quotes of me. You don’t really think that I will waste a lot of time responding to your garbage, do you?

      • Danaa
        September 12, 2015, 6:13 pm

        Great comments Keith (you are now branded as a “Putin Apologist” – congrats! almost as good as the AS tatoo – -).

    • echinococcus
      September 11, 2015, 8:50 pm

      Louis,

      It’s like having the same record stuck at the same place over years and years: when one discounts the nice phrases and irrelevant past events you write around it, at the end of the day, the part that calls for the bare yes/no decision sounds exactly like official government propaganda.

      • echinococcus
        September 12, 2015, 1:39 am

        PS to Louis — It also creates this uncanny feeling of déjà vu –was it with Hitchens?

    • ivri
      September 12, 2015, 10:13 am

      @Iproyect: “why all these people….”
      I think the answer is in fact simple. There is this desire to be novel, provocative, shocking – come up with some super-smart overview-theory for the grand-design. But, in reality it is just a conspiracy-theory like nonsense – a retrospective sewing of already revealed developments into an own conceived plot. The intentional use of a random selection of real events projects, deceptively and intentionally, an aura of reality into what is essentially pure fiction – the writing category where it really belongs.
      In some cases this is not done just a self-aggrandizing exercise – in the usual competition arena among people looking for fame or money – but serves outright interests. The blaming of the US as the mastermind of all dark events in the world is a favorite practice by all those that see themselves or their favorite case at the sort end of what the US promotes (in reality or how they perceive it).

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2015, 12:55 pm

        “Irvi” “@Iproyect: “why all these people….”

        “I think the answer is in fact simple. There is this desire to be novel…”

        Ah yes, here’s another two minds I was pretty sure would meet up as a band of bothers.

    • JLewisDickerson
      September 12, 2015, 5:06 pm

      RE: “To start with, there was never any intention by Barack Obama to launch a ‘humanitarian intervention’ in Syria . . .” ~ lproyect

      REGARDING OBAMA’S “INTENTIONS”, 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/

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 12, 2015, 5:15 pm

        P.S. EVERYBODY CHILL OR I’M GONNA KNOCK SOME HEADS TOGETHER (DER FÜHRER’S “LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE”)! ! !

      • JLewisDickerson
        September 12, 2015, 5:40 pm

        P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Neocons Blame Obama for Syria”, By Jonathan Marshall, Consortiumnews.com 11 September 2015
        • Exclusive: Neocons are so obsessed with their dream of Syrian “regime change” that they are castigating President Obama for not sharing their hallucination of nearly invisible “moderates” taking power when the near-certain result would be a victory for Sunni terrorists, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

        [EXCERPT] President Barack Obama has an unfortunate genius for picking advisers who oppose his better instincts. Recall his choice of General Stanley McChrystal, who was openly contemptuous of the President and other civilian leaders, to head operations in Afghanistan; and his appointment of the hawkish Victoria Nuland, one of Dick Cheney’s top foreign policy advisers, to oversee policy in Eastern Europe. She systematically sabotaged U.S.-Russia relations over the issue of Ukraine, just when the United States needed Moscow’s cooperation on a range of vital issues from Afghanistan to Iran to Syria.

        Add now to the long list of examples Frederic Hof, who was appointed by Obama in 2012 as “special adviser for transition in Syria” with the rank of ambassador. He’s currently a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, named after a corrupt business tycoon and former Saudi adviser who became prime minister of Lebanon in the mid-1990s (and died in a still-unsolved bombing in Beirut in 2005).

        Hof is today busy churning out emotional articles blaming Obama for “a humanitarian abomination and policy catastrophe” in Syria. Blasting the administration for “leav[ing] millions of Syrians subject to barrel bombs, starvation sieges, mass terrorism, and collective punishment so as not to offend Iran,” he lays the horrendous Syrian refugee crisis — “pictures of dead children” and all — directly at Obama’s door.

        The source of the administration’s fecklessness, he asserts, is Obama’s single-minded “courtship” of Iran to achieve a dubious nuclear deal at the expense of “fully enabling the mass homicide strategy of its Syrian client.” He adds, “Iranian policies in Syria and Iraq have made vast swaths of both countries safe for jihadis,” a remarkable conclusion that must please the Atlantic Council’s Saudi government funders.

        You would never know from his writing that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are the main backers of radical Islamists in Syria and indeed throughout the world. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observed in a 2009 cable, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

        Hof, like other neo-conservatives, insists that “removing Assad” must be “the first step” in a fundamental reorientation of U.S. policy toward Syria. He maintains that grassroots democracy would then flourish thanks to “hundreds of local councils” and “a vast network of civil society organizations — the kinds of voluntary professional associations that undergird Western democracies.”

        You really have to wonder what planet he’s on (i.e., Planet Ziocaine – J.L.D.) . . .

        ENTIRE COMMENTARY – https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/11/neocons-blame-obama-for-syria/

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2015, 11:42 am

        You nailed Obama mindset

  7. rws450
    September 11, 2015, 9:50 am

    Some good insights and historical perspectives. The references to Lebanon are worthwhile. For those interested in Saudi Arabia’s promotion of reactionary sectarianism, Nir Rosen’s book “Aftermath” is fascinating and much more current than Glass’s comments. For example, Rosen talks about Saudi wahabi promotion in Lebanon in the mid 2000’s before they did the same in Syria.

    While there is much good in his short book, Glass fails to challenge the overall false narrative of the Syrian “revolution”. According to credible eye witnesses and reports there was opposition violence and instigation from the start. Sharmine Narwani has documented this and there is great first person eye witness reports from the Dutch-Syrian priest in Homs and others.

    The importance of foreign governments saudi, turkish, us, israeli, uk, france etc in the start and continuation of the conflict is mentioned but downplayed. That’s a big problem and shortcoming because that points to the solution to the conflict.

    • lproyect
      September 11, 2015, 4:24 pm

      The importance of foreign governments saudi, turkish, us, israeli, uk, france etc in the start and continuation of the conflict is mentioned but downplayed.

      I guess that this means the territories of Russia and Iran have been airlifted into Syria.

  8. James Canning
    September 11, 2015, 1:07 pm

    I continue to think the US should have done its best to prevent eruption of revolt in Syria.

    • lproyect
      September 11, 2015, 4:33 pm

      I continue to think the US should have done its best to prevent eruption of revolt in Syria.

      At least this guy comes out and says what most of you feel in your heart but are too embarrassed to admit.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2015, 10:43 pm

        At least this guy comes out and says what most of you feel in your heart but are too embarrassed to admit.

        please explain? why, after hundreds of thousands of deaths, would someone be embarrassed to say they wished the US had tried to prevent the revolt (the one our taxes funded by way of “democracy building” aid – cheney’s daughter was in charge of it, or don’t you recall).

        do you also think we’d be embarrassed to “admit” (see pt scoring 101) we wished saddam was still in power? because i’d so like those million plus dead iraqis back in trade for resurrecting saddam.

        what planet are you even on? “everything happened spontaneously… or so they say”:

      • italian ex-pat
        September 12, 2015, 9:55 pm

        Preface: I hope I’m not being too presumptuous in inserting my voice into such a powerful discussion, as I am certainly no authority on such matters, but here goes:

        I am one of those not at all embarrassed to say that, from the very beginning, I viewed the Syrian insurgency as a disaster, and time has only proven that to be a certainty.
        I don’t know if the US could have prevented it, or how. What is clear is that they have aided and abetted it, and if they didn’t actually start the fire, they surely added fuel to it. I thought the powers that be would have learned a bitter lesson after the Iraq and Libya fiascos: you don’t remove a dictator – I don’t care how bad – and let an unruly mob of thugs fighting for power, resulting in a bloody civil war, with innocent civilians the worst affected .
        If the US and other western powers, in their determined pursuit of regime change, had not (as they still do) armed the various rebel factions to the teeth, the insurgency would have been squashed in a couple of months, and there would be no refugee problem. Disappointing for many? Perhaps. But there will come a day when the Syrian people will want freedom badly enough to fight AS ONE for it, and be ready to handle their newfound freedom with law and order, like all western nations did.
        Instead, the world is now faced with a refugee crisis of epic proportions. Actually, Europe mostly is. As a human being my heart goes out to those pathetic, desperate people risking their lives trying to survive – who wouldn’t cry at the picture of a tiny body washed up on a foreign beach? As a European, my heart cries at the blow this forced migration – invasion – is inflicting on my home country and the inevitable destruction of the way of life I used to know. And yes, I am full of hate towards those responsible for this double human tragedy, it is not an ‘act of God’, it is entirely another crime by man.

  9. echinococcus
    September 11, 2015, 1:41 pm

    As with any US action outside our borders, I prefer the principle: “please don’t ‘help’ in any way or wise, just keep away”.

    • K Renner
      September 11, 2015, 2:50 pm

      If you make excuses for Gaddafi or Assad, or pretend that they’re “legitimate rulers” (were in the case of knife-up-the-butt), then you lose any moral authority even when you’re making valid criticisms of the failings of American interventionist attempts.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2015, 2:59 pm

        for you anyway. as in ‘lose any moral authority for me’.

        just thought i’d mention in case you’re operating under some delusional nonsense pretending your opinion regarding “legitimate rulers” represented all or most syrians and/or libyans — or everyone here for that matter.

        also, i’m not even sure what you mean by “moral authority”. what moral authority do you have here, aside from the authority one has over one’s own opinion.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2015, 3:20 pm

        (were in the case of knife-up-the-butt)

        i’m not even sure what that means but if it’s referencing torture the same argument could be made about many american and israeli leaders. unless one qualifying this by including everyone whose regime included torture as non legitimate rulers wouldn’t ones ‘moral authority’ be put into question? what’s your standard for “legitimate”. anyway?

      • eljay
        September 11, 2015, 3:44 pm

        K Renner, I have a sincere question for you.

        I agree that Gaddafi, Assad and Hussein were/are dictators – men who did/do not stand for, advocate or support justice, accountability and equality in their respective countries.

        I believe that the citizens of those countries deserved better. I honestly don’t know how they were supposed to achieve that “better” situation, but I don’t believe that foreign-devised and implemented assaults on sovereign states, regime change and wholesale destabilization – including arming and funding known terrorist groups – were the correct or moral way to go about it.

        In your opinion, what would have been the correct – and, ideally, moral – way to go about it?

        This is not a trick question. In light of the recent posts of yours that I’ve read, I’m genuinely curious to know what your approach would have been.

      • echinococcus
        September 11, 2015, 7:52 pm

        Renner,

        We hear nonsense like that 24 hours a day on all main media, no need to drag that nauseating refuse into MW –some of us may just have eaten. Any f*&^ television will do if we feel masochistic. International law forbids intervention, and whoever breaks it under any stupid excuse should be hanged at Nuremberg, period.

      • Danaa
        September 12, 2015, 9:26 pm

        I love it when I see some like K Renner hold themselves up as bastions and dispensers of “moral authority”, as the strive to criticize – quite selectively – certain tyrants and despots. That while ensconced in the comfort of a cushy chair or plush sofa, somewhere 1000’s of miles away from the conflict zone, with nary a friend, relative or acquaintance who might, just might, be subjected to the downsides of “regime change”.

        This is what they did when they – and we know who they are – advocated removing the great dictator sadaam, later to wash their hands clean as a whistle from the blood of 100’s of thousands, their “moral authority’ managed to dispose of (on top of over million wounded and many more dispossed). Compared with what the war criminal gangs of Bush (yes, those neocons) and now a similarly criminal gang inside the Obama administration , have done to destroy countless lives and countries, frankly, some of them “tyrants” look quite good by comparison. What has Assad for example done that in any way comparable in atrocity, blood thirstiness and destruction brought forth and promulgated by the current Obama regime minions, for example?

        Could you blame anyone in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Mali or Afganistan were they to call for the immediate arrest and trials of the Washington and new York humanitarian tyrants, who caused countless loss of life and continue to advocate for more? the ones who brought about the refugee migration we now see?

        In my simple mindedness, I tend to measure “moral authority’ against the number of lives the promulgators of mayhem and destruction are happy to sacrifice,. What authority “moral” or otherwise, bloody-minded individuals like Renner and Iproyect have, I can’t begin to imagine. But they must be pulling it out from somewhere, may be a place of fervent imagination re their own selves position in the world.

        The most outrageous part of the hypocrisy we see on display, not just here but all over the MSM, is the way the humanitarian-murder-minded regime changers manage to never call out the worst tyrants and mayhem perpetrators in the world today. That includes the Saudi “kings”, the Emiratis, the Bahraini chief henchmen. Oh yes, and while we are at it, add to the murderous hordes they unleash, these inventers and financiers of ISIS and Al-Quaeda, a few “democratically elected” ones – be they in Israel or Turkey. perfectly fair, if it is dead bodies we are counting.

        Something tells me that neither Renner nor Iproyect would be so nonchalant about “regime change” were it they and their family lives on the line. Just a wild guess there.

      • gamal
        September 13, 2015, 6:31 am

        “i’m not even sure what that means”

        Renner is making humorous reference to the fact that Gadaffi, a wounded and defenseless 69 year old was sodomized with a bayonet prior to being shot in the temple. You have sense of humour dont you.

    • PeaceThroughJustice
      September 12, 2015, 3:56 am

      “As with any US action outside our borders, I prefer the principle: “please don’t ‘help’ in any way or wise, just keep away”.”

      And this goes double when the country we’re supposed to be “helping” is unfortunate enough to be situated next door to the Zionist entity. For some mysterious reason, things just seem to always go wrong.

      • K Renner
        September 12, 2015, 6:35 pm

        American interventionism for the wrong reasons is definitely something that’s worth criticizing.

        America engaging in a comprehensive, legitimately humanitarian initiative, primarily for the sake of the Syrian people?

        This is, strictly speaking a pipe dream that would never work out without the direct cooperation of all neighbouring countries, sans the so-called “Jewish state” (as it only cares for itself) on the ground in Syria. But such a hypothetical initiative, at the idealistic level at any rate, wouldn’t be a bad or morally bankrupt thing.

  10. MHughes976
    September 11, 2015, 5:28 pm

    I don’t think interventions are always morally wrong: it’s conceivable that they will reduce suffering by a very large margin and permit a legitimate regime to emerge. The attacks on the Axis countries in WW2 were acts of war against them but were also interventions in their internal affairs and more legitimate regimes did emerge from them.
    However, the track record of interventions is very poor and many conditions have to be met if yet another is contemplated: having a serious chance of making things better is very important among these – and I can’t believe it’s met in the case of Syria. This does give a certain limited legitimacy to tyrants: if it would be morally wrong to overthrow them then it becomes necessary to make treaties or at least promises to them which become morally binding on us.
    Another problem with intervention is that great power rivalry becomes involved. If there is, in the near future, to be a better situation in Syria it would have to come, I think, from Russian-American dialogue, but this would inevitably be a dialogue about great power interests and thus look very like sharing out the spoils. Still, I hope Obama is, in all the circumstances, thinking along these lines.
    I think we may sometimes have to discuss the context, as well as the substance, of the Palestine question. But I hope that Phil and the Mods will prevent us from ever treating Palestine as just another element of world politics, the merit (almost the glory, to lapse into religious language) of Mondoweiss is that it does not let us forget Palestine and the ‘fundamental oppression’ (to quote Beinart) that occurs there.

  11. mcohen.
    September 11, 2015, 10:59 pm

    the charle,s glass society….i will drink to that

    stay out of syria,i would advise,let arab nationalism evolve,in yemen the saudi,s are going to reap the rewards of wahhabism…….the genie is out the box,……the gulf arabs have fiddled but now they will find that money,is not enough,you need boots on the ground.and obama is smart enough to make sure that this time around it is not american boots.

    the straits the straits…….hurry hurry

    • Mooser
      September 11, 2015, 11:44 pm

      “the straits the straits…….hurry hurry”

      Oh lard, back to the ellipses and cryptic phrases. Who the hell are you supposed to be, the Ghost of Frumah Sara?

  12. lproyect
    September 12, 2015, 9:06 am

    Robbins: “no actually, you did not. you offered no “documentation” whatsoever. you offered cherry picked quotes.”

    Forget about the quotes. Look at the evidence. The Baathist air force has made Aleppo, Homs and the suburbs of Damascus look like Stalingrad in 1943 or Grozny in the 1990s or Gaza. And when MANPAD’s were sent from Libya to Syria to help bring down MIGs firing rockets and helicopters dropping barrel bombs, the CIA set up a task force with the participation of the states that supposedly were part of the imperialist war on Syria to keep them out of the hands of the FSA. [….]

    • Annie Robbins
      September 12, 2015, 8:15 pm

      Forget about the quotes. Look at the evidence.

      so that would mean ‘you’re right robbins, i never provided an iota of documentation, i merely claimed i did for the purpose making my allegations seem verifiable.’

      and your “evidence” obama “had no interest in regime change” is

      The Baathist air force has made Aleppo, Homs and the suburbs of Damascus look like Stalingrad in 1943 or Grozny in the 1990s or Gaza.

      color me unimpressed.

  13. Atlantaiconoclast
    September 12, 2015, 3:06 pm

    How many here who demonize Assad, hold Abraham Lincoln to the same standard? And please don’t say, well Lincoln was fighting to free the slaves. That is hogwash. General Grant owned slaves, during the war! Lincoln’s army destroyed the South. Atlanta was burned. The University of Alabama was almost completely destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Southern civilians and soldiers died. But you want to condemn Assad, whose nation is under relentless attack from Islamic jihadists and “moderate” rebels who sure don’t seem to mind working with extremist rebels.

    What would Obama or Bush do, if we were being ripped apart by rebellion?

    • MHughes976
      September 12, 2015, 4:30 pm

      It might be argued that a legitimate ruler, like Lincoln or Obama, is allowed to use violence in a way that a tyrant is not. Assad is not a legitimate ruler in the sense of acting with the consent of freely elected representatives, the standard for which Locke argued. However, it seems that there is no clearly better alternative and one, Islamic State, which seems much worse (and not to be under Western control!) and this fact seems to me to create a degree of legitimacy in Assad until things change and the better possibility comes to exist. This is enough to make intervention morally questionable.
      I too wish that the Syrian civil war had not broken out , but then I don’t call for more violence in Palestine either even though I do think that the Israeli regime in Palestine fails Locke’s test. This doesn’t imply rejoicing in violence on Assad’s part.
      In retrospect I am glad, as I think Atlanta is, that Lincoln defeated the Confederacy but I’m aware of the dangerous nature of the ‘total war’ or ‘terrible swift sword’ idea that the conflict engendered.

    • yonah fredman
      September 13, 2015, 12:58 am

      Previous to the armed rebellion, those who opposed Assad’s nondemocratic rule took to the streets to protest. In those protests, unarmed protesters were shot and killed by Assad’s soldiers. Did the south attempt to sway the republic with street demonstrations? No. They seceded and attacked the duly elected government. (fort sumter) When street protests are met with the force of arms, this “justifies” the use of force. there were no such street protests in the case of the confederate states. They lost an election and were not willing to abide by the election results. Assad never held any real elections. They say war is hell. So are analogies between Lincoln and Assad.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2015, 1:09 am

        In those protests, unarmed protesters were shot and killed by Assad’s soldiers.

        or so they say. unarmed protesters were shot and killed but no one really knows who shot them.

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

        Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group[edit]
        Elizabeth Cheney also headed the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), established in March 2006, a unit within the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
        In April 2006, The New York Times published a story critical of Cheney’s work, particularly with respect to Iran. Of particular scrutiny was a grants program administered by Elizabeth Cheney’s unit, in collaboration with a Republican-affiliated foundation, the International Republican Institute.[20] The Times maintained that when the group became controversial, with critics saying that it was plotting covert actions that could escalate into war with Iran and Syria, the group was disbanded, by May 2006. Shortly before the ISOG group was dissolved, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice initiated a major effort to engage Iran and Syria in efforts to stabilize Iraq.[21] As late as April 11, 2009, Iranian officials investigating “cyber-crimes” cited Cheney’s efforts in the daily newspaper Iran, specifically the “Democracy Program” [sic] initiative as parallel to a Netherlands-funded push for a “velvet revolution” accomplished by a media campaign to polarize the country, “despite the 1981 Algiers Accords signed between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran.”[22]

      • Bandolero
        September 13, 2015, 1:40 am

        yonah fredman

        Previous to the armed rebellion, those who opposed Assad’s nondemocratic rule took to the streets to protest. In those protests, unarmed protesters were shot and killed by Assad’s soldiers.

        If one was to believe that story, one had to have an explanation of how seven police died and a party building was torched in the very first protest – alledgedly previous to the armed rebellion. As reported by Arutz Sheva on 21/3/2011:

        Syria: Seven Police Killed, Buildings Torched in Protests
        Continued protests in Syria claim lives of seven police and four protesters, and result in burning a courthouse and Baath Party HQ in Daraa. …

        Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143026

        The potential explanation that Arutz Sheva is an Assadist propaganda outlet and therefore distorts truth to match Assad’s phantasy world I would not find credible in this regard.

        My explanation to that news is that the war on Syria was from the very first day an armed struggle which was covered up by some peaceful protests for the western media.

      • Mooser
        September 13, 2015, 1:49 am

        ” there were no such street protests in the case of the confederate states. They lost an election and were not willing to abide by the election results.”

        Which election are you talking about “Yonah”? Lincoln’s?

        ” Did the south attempt to sway the republic with street demonstrations? No. They seceded and attacked the duly elected government.”

        “When street protests are met with the force of arms, this “justifies” the use of force.”

        That’s right! Our valiant Southern boys don’t have no truck with them street demonstrations! That’s for Northern agitators and Syrians! It’s them street demonstrations which “justify” violence! Why can’t the Syrians be more like the Confederacy?

      • yonah fredman
        September 13, 2015, 2:36 am

        here’s from nyt on march 26, 2011:
        Human rights groups said that since protests began seven days ago in the south, 38 people had been killed by government forces — and it appeared that many more were killed on Friday. Precise details were hard to obtain because the government sealed off the area to reporters and would not let foreign news media into the country.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/world/middleeast/26syria.html?_r=0

        Apparently when it is to your advantage: annie and bandolero you trust the reports of human rights groups, but when it is not to your advantage you trust Arutz Sheva or become an agnostic.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2015, 8:55 am

        oh thanks yonah, i recall how helpful the nyt was in the run up to the iraq war. btw, notice how they didn’t mention which human rights groups said gov forces had killed 38 people since protests began 7 days ago. i wonder if it was one of liz cheney’s:

        http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Cheney_Elizabeth

        The New York Times reported that the State Department requested $85 million for a Liz Cheney-run program “for scholarships, exchange programs, radio and television broadcasts, and other activities aimed at shaking up Iran’s political system.” But observers were sceptical about the program’s impact. Said Vali Nasr, an Iranian-born professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.: “It sounds good to fund civil society groups, but not when you don’t know who the groups are. No real group wants a direct affiliation with the United States. It will just get them into trouble with the government.”[26]

        Cheney’s “unpublicized” meetings with Syrian dissidents in early 2005 also spurred speculation that the administration was repeating the strategy it followed with former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi, who helped feed misleading information to the United States about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs. The meetings were first reported in the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, which claimed to have received confirmation of them from the State Department. According to an Agence France Presse account, Cheney, Hannah, and several Pentagon and National Security Council officials met with the dissidents to “discuss ways of ‘weakening the Syrian regime.'”[27]

        Among those participating on the Syrian side was Farid Ghadry, a U.S.-based businessman who headed the Reform Party of Syria. According to Robert Dreyfuss, Ghadry is “a pro-Israeli Syrian who’s maintained ties to neoconservatives in Washington and who is close to [David] Wurmser and his wife, Meyrav Wurmser, the director of Middle East affairs for the Hudson Institute.”[28]

        Mourhaf Jouejati, a Syria specialist at George Washington University, called Ghadry a “mini-me of Ahmed Chalabi.” Jouejati also claimed that Liz Cheney, Hannah, and the Wurmsers “are the backbone for Farid Ghadry’s movement. The question is, are they just seeking leverage with Syria, or is it a serious option? If it is the latter, I would be scared, because that means that they don’t know what they are doing.”[29]

        or maybe those people took their marbles and went home, dried up and disappeared off the scene?

        and what a coincidence, it was all part of the plan:

        “We are calling all Syrian opposition groups together for a national conference to create a parliament in exile and draft a new, secular constitution for Syria,” said Ghadry. “Then, take people to streets. Some people get killed. The international community gets further angry at the regime. Then, have NATO forces protect a safe zone in northern Syria,” on the border with NATO member Turkey. He grinned and concluded, “This way we will move right away into Syria.”

        http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/farid-ghadry-syrias-chalabi-from-washington-to-damascus-by-salim-abraham/

        “some people get killed”. hmm. that was from 07. all they had to do was wait for the right moment for people to amass in the streets. when egypt erupted it blended right in, didn’t it? spontaneously.

      • Mooser
        September 13, 2015, 2:59 am

        “Did the south attempt to sway the republic with street demonstrations?”

        Well, yes, they sorta did. They took a Rebel stand! Just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave!

      • Bandolero
        September 13, 2015, 11:14 am

        yonah fredman

        Apparently when it is to your advantage: annie and bandolero you trust the reports of human rights groups, but when it is not to your advantage you trust Arutz Sheva or become an agnostic.

        See, historians and those who seek the truth work with all kinds of sources. What’s important is to understand what kind of interest or bias the source has. I quoted Arutz Sheva in my comment because Arutz Sheva is hardly a media outfit with a pro-Assad bias. HRW, which you quoted from NYTimes on Syria, has become the laughing stock as HRW director Ken Roth is so obsessed portraying Syria’s president in a bad light that he even used photos from Israeli-bombed Gaza and government-held Aleppo to claim the destruction is the work of the Syrian air force. So HRW obviously does little checks on what assertions it spreads and spreads everything serving it’s agenda, and HRWs agenda is to get the US military to bomb Syrian government forces, as Ken Roth has repeatedly clear.

        Your quoting of the New York Times is not very valuable either because the NYTimes has always shown a clear bias pro-Israel and anti-Syrian government, too. However, while the report of the NYTimes is obviously one-sided as it fails to mention arms in the hands of anti-government forces and several killed Syrian policemen, it even has a short quote contradicting your argument:

        President Assad “doesn’t want the bloodshed at all, and I witnessed his directives on not using live bullets whatever the circumstances as he is keen on every citizen,” Ms. Shaaban said. “This doesn’t mean that there are no mistakes or practices which were not unsatisfactory and not up to the required level,” she said.

        So the Syrian government claims President Assad issued a directive of not using live ammo whatever the circumstances. There exists a logical explanation how it’s possible that protestors are unarmed and police have orders not to shoot but at the end of the day people got killed, peaceful demonstrators as well as police. Some guys just fire from afar on peaceful people as well as police to stir up the pot. Syrian media and Iranian Press TV reported that this happened in Daraa in this days. Quote Press TV, Mar 23, 2011:

        Five killed in Syria violence

        At least five people have been killed after unknown gunmen opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the southern Syrian city of Deraa.

        Hundreds of people gathered in the streets outside the Omari Mosque on Wednesday, demanding political reforms when the shooting occurred.

        Witnesses say a doctor who had rushed to the area to help victims of the violence was shot dead by a sniper. A member of Syrian security forces has also been killed.

        Syrian authorities have blamed armed gangs for the deadly attack and said several perpetrators have been arrested.

        Rights activists say at least six people were killed in the violence.

        Meanwhile, local residents say foreign elements have been behind the violence. Syria has been the scene of anti-government protests since last week.

        Source: http://web.archive.org/web/20110325142242/http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171343.html

        So while HRW and the NYTimes fails to report that the Syrian authorities blame snipers for firing on protestors as well as police to spark confrontation, this string of events fits perfectly the logic of the US policy of regime change in Syria by creating protests and blood on te streets as Annie just quoted the US intentions to have been.

        And there was arms smuggling going on over the Syrian border to anti-government forces before the start of the demonstrations, too. SANA for example reported shortly before the troubles in Syria started that security forces intercepted a huge arms smuggling attempt in a lorry with a fridge on the southern border:

        http://web.archive.org/web/20110312225758/http://sana.sy/ara/2/2011/03/10/336140.htm

        The New York Times reported that too, at that time, but after arms were in deadly action in Daraa it has forgotten to inform readers that before protests in Syria started, arms smuggling into Syria was going on.

        So, make long short: it’s a fairy-tale that the anti-government activity in Syria was peaceful and unarmed in the first days, weeks or months. The truth is that there were some peaceful protests, but there was also armed activity to destabilize Syria going on from day one – just as it was planned in advance by the pro-israel partisans like Cheney and the neocons and their partners in crime. And, as the NYTimes article you cited makes clear by it’s failure in objective reporting, their was also a campaign of deception run in leading western media like the NYT to distort and hide the truth.

      • Keith
        September 13, 2015, 2:01 pm

        BANDOLERO- “There exists a logical explanation how it’s possible that protestors are unarmed and police have orders not to shoot but at the end of the day people got killed, peaceful demonstrators as well as police. Some guys just fire from afar on peaceful people as well as police to stir up the pot.”

        This is how the “color revolution” destabilizations have evolved. Peaceful demonstrations are organized with Western NGO assistance along with armed, hard core Salafist or neo-Nazi thugs nearby to instigate violence, frequently with false flag atrocities, such as the sniper killings at the Maidan protests acknowledged to have been done by the neo-Nazis. The Western media will, of course, misrepresent events and the defenders of empire will have their quotes. With a little effort, it is possible to see through the propaganda, however, most just go along, particularly when it reinforces an existing bias.

    • Mooser
      September 13, 2015, 2:05 am

      “Lincoln’s army destroyed the South.”

      Them durned Yankees! It was a war of Nothern Agression, a total war on the South, sir! In the winter of ’65, we were hungry, just barely alive, by May the tenth, Richmond had fell, (it’s a time I remember, oh so well!) The night they drove old Dixie down, the bells were ringing, people were saying genug iz genug, already! It was a hell of a hefker.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 14, 2015, 1:00 pm

        As a Southerner, I don’t appreciate your flippant treatment of this topic. Again, the Union army was headed by a slave owner. There were five slave holding Union states. Lincoln supported the Corwin Amendment, which would have made slavery forever legal in the South. He did this to entice the South into staying in the Union. But it didn’t work, cause slavery was not the only reason for secession. The fact that the South was paying the majority of the federal government revenue, despite being a much smaller region (population), was another motive forgotten or ignored by people today. The South rarely attacked the North. It wanted to be left alone. And yes, I do believe slavery would have ended on its own. Lincoln’s vicious war was not any better than Assad’s.

      • James Canning
        September 14, 2015, 1:27 pm

        I agree that slavery in the US would have died a natural death, and that no civil war was necessary for this to have come about.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 2:53 pm

        “As a Southerner, I don’t appreciate your flippant treatment of this topic.”

        As an American, I resent the South running an international kidnapping-and-chattel-slavery and murder scheme. Do you expect US Navy to protect slaving vessels at sea, if they are manned by Americans?
        And those who pay people (or get payed for work) are supposed to compete with slave labor, and like it?
        Oh yeah, seceding from the Union and making war on it leaves a bad taste in American’s mouths.
        Not to mention 150 years of trying to re-establish slavery, and maintained a tiered rights system, real American!

        “I agree that slavery in the US would have died a natural death,….”

        Sure, while how many kidnapped chattel slaves died unnatural deaths? Or is that just what those people are for? There’s no danger it would ever spread to white people.

        And you figure the US could do just fine with chattel slavery until it “died out naturally”? Okay, you be the slave, and I’ll free you when I get tired of your services, okay. Oh whoops, you’re mine, I can just kill you or sell you to somebody else. That’s your vision of the US? Great.

        But you know, maybe you guys have a point. Maybe we should just wait until the Israeli Occupation “naturally dies out”

        “As a Southerner, I don’t appreciate your flippant treatment of this topic”

        And the people sang: Nah, nah-nah, nah-nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah,nah,nah,nah!

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 3:01 pm

        “The South rarely attacked the North.”

        And then we insisted on taking secession as in insult! And stop calling us “The North”, Beauregard! The name is The United States of America. Try to remember it.

        Why, you might even try to rejoin it someday!

    • Bill
      September 13, 2015, 2:52 am

      Grant’s wife Julia came from a slave owning family. Julia Grant owned slaves during the war. In 1859, Grant owned freed the only slave he is known to have owned.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 14, 2015, 1:02 pm

        Wrong, he didn’t free his family’s slaves till well into the war. Lee on the other hand, had already freed his well before the war. He also insisted that slavery would end in the South.

    • lproyect
      September 13, 2015, 8:28 am

      The ideological muck that appears in the comments section here is frightening. Comparing Lincoln to Assad? The United States was a parliamentary democracy in 1860. In Syria attempts to form parties that were opposed to the Baathist machine would result in imprisonment, torture and death. The Arab Spring was an attempt to achieve democracy. Most people understood that when Syrians took to the streets in April 2011, it was to bring down a dictatorship based on a family dynasty. How otherwise progressive-minded people can take the side of a torture state that sent its snipers against these protests is perhaps something that defies political analysis and requires an expert in abnormal psychology instead.

      • Keith
        September 13, 2015, 12:59 pm

        LPROYECT- “The ideological muck that appears in the comments section here is frightening.”

        So sayeth an imperial ideologue camouflaged in lefty drag. A stealth neocon, as it were. A shameless imperial interventionist to the core. The empire has to destroy these countries to save them! Again and again and again. Tough to make a living when Marxism came a cropper. Best to jump on board the neoliberal bandwagon hoping that your lefty credentials prove useful as an imperial propagandist. Truth is irrelevant when you are desperate to secure your new niche.

      • Keith
        September 13, 2015, 1:00 pm

        LPROYECT- “Comparing Lincoln to Assad? The United States was a parliamentary democracy in 1860.”

        Which enabled us to bestow the blessings of liberty upon the Black slaves and the Native American population. Curiously, the natives were unable to deal with all of that freedom and opportunity and seem to have mostly disappeared. Perhaps they were too dumbstruck by that shining city on the hill? By the way, I was unaware that the Syrian economy under Assad was dependent upon slavery. Perhaps it and the rest of the global economy soon will be as neoliberalism makes debt slaves of the 99%. Except, of course, for stalwarts of the doctrinal system such as yourself.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 14, 2015, 1:05 pm

        Lincoln too acted in tyrannical ways. Learn a little forbidden history. Learn what Lincoln did to journalists who dared go against the war. I recommend Thomas De Lorenzo . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbFty9nZUac And I don’t justify what Assad may or may not have done. I simply point out the hypocrisy of people like yourself who think its ok for a leader to wage a vicious assault on a region as long as they are democratically elected. Oh by the way, do you support the Palestinian right to violently resist Israeli oppression? If not, why not?

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 1:31 pm

        ” Learn what Lincoln did to journalists who dared go against the war.”

        He ‘sold ’em down the river’, didn’t he?

    • Citizen
      September 13, 2015, 3:17 pm

      Yes, but here’s the nuance in both Grant and Lee owning slaves, a norm of the times: http://www.american-presidents.org/2007/02/grant-was-slave-owner.html
      Easy to be righteous, look and see how many years later, and would you have done what they did with their slaves, back then? http://www.american-presidents.org/2007/02/grant-was-slave-owner.html

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 14, 2015, 1:09 pm

        Right, but my larger point was that the war was not about slavery. Secession was to a degree. But the war was not. What Lincoln did to the South was more severe than what Assad has done to the rebel regions. Especially given the inferior military technology of the day.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 3:05 pm

        “Easy to be righteous, look and see how many years later, and would you have done what they did with their slaves, back then?”

        I don’t know. I like to think of myself as monogamous, and pretty much straight. I can’t say I’ve always been above every temptation, so perhaps you have a point.

  14. gamal
    September 13, 2015, 7:55 am

    for those who want to both learn a little of Syria and political Islam, I recommend the introduction which can read free.

    The Ashes of Hama: The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria

    https://books.google.ie/books?id=UQixAAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

  15. lproyect
    September 13, 2015, 8:37 am

    I understand that Bandolero’s role here is to operate as a Baathist propagandist. I only wish that he would do a better job in order to make the debate worthwhile. He cites the death of 7 Baathist cops in late April when the dictatorship had been murdering peaceful protesters for at least a month as Wikipedia reports:

    “On 20 March, thousands took to the streets of Daraa for the third straight day, shouting slogans against the country’s emergency law. Fifteen persons were killed and scores injured as security forces opened fire on protesters. The courthouse, the Ba’ath party headquarters in the city, and the Syriatel building owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of President Assad, were then all set on fire. During these clashes, 7 policemen were killed.[8]

    How can you people live with yourself?

    • Annie Robbins
      September 13, 2015, 9:24 am

      lp, i understand your role here is to operate as a neocon propagandist. I only wish that you would do a better job in order to make the debate worthwhile.
      wiki’s source for your quote > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Daraa is arutz sheva. yonah doesn’t think we should use that source. can you find another? and do you think assad forces killed the 7 police too? and were they included in the 15 people killed that day? it wasn’t clear from that quote.

      and what a coincidence how closely this scenario perfectly matches Ghadry’s wet dream i posted a little up thread. the same Ghadry working w/cheney. you don’t happen to think any of his goons could have been involved in instigating the murders that day, killing the policemen, or burning the buildings do you? because i dare say, if US dissidents started burning gov buildings in the US i can’t imagine a situation in which our government wouldn’t violently respond.

      btw, did you get a chance to view the checkmate video i posted up thread. i recommend the whole movie. they interview cia/neocons too. you might like it. it explains how to dispose a dictator and make it look as tho it was homegrown, when it wasn’t.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2015, 10:11 am

        this is a little OT but here’s something interesting. on that same wiki page was another quote:

        Another resident of Daraa said over the phone, according to Arizona Daily Star: “Let Obama come and take Syria. Let Israel come and take Syria. Let the Jews come. Anything is better than Bashar Assad.”[15]

        i followed the source and it was an op ed in the arizona star http://tucson.com/news/article_3a963d62-cefd-5fe0-a081-d5911fe77e46.html sans any author whatsoever. the ‘resident’ was a ‘human rights activist’ and the same story was widely published internationally, again, no author. the activists name was Razan Zeitounia. googling her name i found she was widely quoted in similar articles. read this for more of her quotes: https://www.wordnik.com/words/Razan

        the very last quote on the page says this:

        Lawyers, activists and human-rights monitors such as Razan Zeitouneh, known in pro-democracy circles before the uprising, and Wissam Tarif, executive director of human-rights group Insan, both 35 years old—rare activists who use their own names—have monitored events from inside the country, and pushed them into public view.

        Insan?

        Insan Foundation Trust » Cause Categories » Syria
        http://www.insanfoundationtrust.org/?cause_category=syria
        Insan Foundation Trust (IFT) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) partner … “Insan” is an Urdu word that stands for “human” and serves as the basic …

        you can read more about NED here: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/National_Endowment_for_Democracy

        Allen Weinstein, a member of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) working group known as the Democracy Group, which first proposed the formation of a quasi-governmental group to channel U.S. political aid, served as NED’s acting president during its first year. Talking about the role of NED, Weinstein told the Washington Post in 1991 that “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”[9]

        Under NED’s elaborate structure, designed to veil U.S. government funding, U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and USAID funding did not flow directly to foreign political parties, unions, business associations, and civic groups, but was instead routed through the AFL-CIO, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the IRI and NDIIA. NED’s origins go back to a bipartisan commission called the American Political Foundation established by the State Department that began to address the problem of having U.S.-funded “soft-side” overseas operations perceived as CIA fronts.[10]

        – See more at: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/National_Endowment_for_Democracy#sthash.HbzxAFCI.dpuf

        the news coming out of syria from ned and cia backed fronts and fed to the international community, the framing cannot be trusted.

      • Sibiriak
        September 13, 2015, 12:24 pm

        Annie Robbins: the news coming out of syria from ned and cia backed fronts and fed to the international community, the framing cannot be trusted.

        ——————–

        Great post. At a minimum, given the history and modus operandi of U.S. -orchestrated “democracy promotion”/ “color revolutions”, a high degree of skepticism is in order.

        And yet we have lproyect resorting to malicious attacks and vile calumny against those trying to look at the evidence with an open mind.

      • Danaa
        September 13, 2015, 2:08 pm

        Annie, fantastic links from you and some serious excellent googling too. All nicely condensed to put IProyect where he belongs – the neocon (now morphed into “humanitarian” interventionist) chair.

        I agree he does not do a very good job for the crowd promoting the regime change meme. May be IProyct is lazy as he does not answer any of the substance brought before him. Seems to resort to instantaneous name calling (Bandolero the local “Assad and/or baathist propagandist”, “Assad apologist”, etc.). He cites poorly researched snippets from sources that are easily found on line and readily debunked. That when he is not putting out one-liners casting aspersions on any and all who would seek to debate his points.

        I wonder whether he is actually paid to spread some of these false memes on-line. We know the progressive Saudi regime has been funding and paying a lot of these “democracy promoting” institutes as well as generously supporting – selectively – various publications. What makes me wonder whether he is actually paid – one way or another – is the simple fact that his heart does not seem to be in the astute defense of regime changers world wide. He does not check the references brought in front of him, or reads widely, or even make a single enlightening point about Syria as an actual country with actual people. rather it seems he is trying to cobble together a few talking points, issue them without his own analysis, then, when called upon the falsity of some of his claims, dismissing the responders as ‘apologists” and whatever other names he gets from his shill notes.

        Very similar methods to those used by the zionist promoting crowd. Almost verbatum sometimes.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2015, 2:43 pm

        it required no serious googling in the least danaa. common sense 101 demands when someone quotes wiki about a controversy sans any link whatsoever (especially when he got caught doing the same thing upthread w/cherry picked quotes claiming he provided “documentation”!) one merely has to copy/paste a segment of the quote, go to the wiki page, and see what the hoots up. and so i did. and low and behold i noticed he chopped off the quote midrange (shockingly he skipped the part about the baathist headquarters being burned and the 7 cops killed!) so i merely helpfully enhanced his blockquote, for context of course. and checked the source wiki used (israeli settler site).

        anyway, since i was there i briefly skimmed the page..why not! and who could miss that quote from Zeitounia (talk about red flag). so curious where it came from i checked the source and curiously arizona?? w/no author? so, googling i found out the unsourced article had thoroughly SATURATED the msm internationally. it was like — everywhere. so who has that kind of access? hmm. also, US publications by law are not supposed to allow planted disinformation in the press here. but they can publish it once it’s published internationally and this was. from there it was easy. googling her name and finding out she was a stalwart source used repeatedly. so naturally i assumed she was an operative. normal people do not have that sort of access.

        anyway, the disinformation coming out of syria for years was a huge red flag. i followed b at moon of alabama as he thoroughly busted the fake video making operation. and i recalled early on how cheney’s daughter got this 100mil portfolio for regime change in syria. this is like what we do, no different than victoria nolan in the ukraine, only nolan was more successful. and one would have to be an idiot not to know by now after intervention after intervention, that the US doesn’t balk using unsavory characters to destabilize regimes it doesn’t like.

        anyway, seriously, it took no time at all. when you find or hear of an unknown or unfamiliar foreign group just google the name w/NED or USAID. take 2 seconds. ;)

        also, i noticed the reference to ‘human rights groups’ making some claim unsourced, iow, i figured it was probably some democracy building group funded by USAID at the get go. that’s the way dan senor’s press operation operation in iraq used to insert lies all the time. and then directly after they’d name HRW or some other known group and kind of merge the info as if the lie also came from that group. so, i glummed onto that name of hers, the lucky girl who got her quote inserted into the article. all of that part took about 30 seconds til i googled her name.

        one might think editors at wiki could check this stuff? but noooo. anything w/neocon interests out of wiki is bad news bears.

      • gamal
        September 13, 2015, 4:26 pm

        “Insan” is an Urdu word that stands for “human” ” its Arabic, the title of a Sura, there is no Urdu in the Quran.

    • Dan
      September 13, 2015, 10:17 am

      lproyect – Two articles you might find interesting the beginnings in Syria
      Re the first – the relevant sections are 1 What is the revolution and 2. Palestinian involvement… – Daraa City

      http://www.prc.org.uk/portal/index.php/english-media/jprs-magazine/2889-the-impact-of-the-syrian-revolution-on-palestinian-refugees.

      http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/04/201141918352728300.html

    • Mooser
      September 13, 2015, 12:56 pm

      “I understand that Bandolero’s role here is to operate as a Baathist propagandist.”

      “A Baathist propagandist”? “L. Proyect”, you are a “True Detective”!

  16. Donald
    September 13, 2015, 1:47 pm

    For those interested, here is the UN human rights commission’s latest report on Syria ( written about a month ago)

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

  17. tree
    September 13, 2015, 7:42 pm

    Beezlebubelaroo..

    Really? You feel the need to resort to serial name calling to make your points? Give it up. You aren’t impressing anyone here with your name calling and comparisons to Stalin. Why make this so personal? Either you have the facts or you don’t. And right now your name calling only leads me to believe you don’t.

    • Mooser
      September 13, 2015, 8:39 pm

      “You aren’t impressing anyone here with your name calling and comparisons to Stalin.”

      Well, there might be one person who likes it. “Yonah Fredman” has really got a down on for this “Stalin” guy, also. Oh and Assad, too! “Yonah” and “Proyect” should get together on this. Together, perhaps they could break Stalin’s vise-like grip on the Left! And shower the Baathists in calumny lotion so victory won’t smell of defeat.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 13, 2015, 8:52 pm

      i just deleted it. not sure who let that thru moderation.

      • lproyect
        September 14, 2015, 8:34 am

        It is really quite sad to see so many people here, including an “editor-at-large”, doing the heavy lifting for a Baathist goon like Assad all in the name of a dubious “anti-imperialism” and “Palestinian solidarity” which doesn’t meet the most elementary evidentiary test. When Bandelero shamelessly condemned anti-dictatorship activists for killing 7 cops in late April without mentioning the events that led up to that, he must have assumed that everybody here was a member of the Baathist amen corner. Defense of the Baathist torture state can only be sustained through lies. You people are much better at lying to each other than to people who have bothered to look closely at what is taking place in Syria for the past 30 years or so. Radical politics has to be based on the truth, not lies. As Karl Marx said, we need ruthless criticism of the existing order. That includes the filthy, blood-stained, torturing, neoliberal, sectarian Baathist state.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 7:31 pm

        “As Karl Marx said, we need ruthless criticism of the existing order.”

        Yes, but we didn’t get that until Stalin destroyed the revisionists and wreckers of the old existing order what they was undermining the Marxist State! Who would remember Marx, if it wasn’t for Stalin? Russia would be part of Germany.

  18. Danaa
    September 13, 2015, 7:44 pm

    IProyect – again I ask – are you a paid shill for saudi Arabia/Israel/US neocon-humanitarian?

    Something is seriously wrong with all your posts here. So far, let’s see – you have denounced individual commenters as:

    1. Baathist propagandist (2-3 times)
    2. Assad worshippers/pimpers
    3. crypto-stalinists (I put the crypto in there, just to be helpful)
    4. Goon defenders

    Did I miss anything?

    More tell-tale signs of being on payroll of certain PTBs (here, there, elsewhere) – twisting the screen names of posters who bring timely information debunking the talking points (signs of desperation – paymasters may not be pleased!).

    Examples: bimbolero, beezelbaboolero (did I get the spelling right? must be a new twist on “beelzebub” a famous biblical demonite. Or was it kryptonite?).

    Finally, when that does not get a rise, try accusing people of being “sock puppets” as Iproyect has just referred to annie. A case of projection, obviously.

    Are things really that dire, Iproyect? we could start a fund raiser for you, if it’ll help, you know…

    • echinococcus
      September 13, 2015, 7:58 pm

      Danaa,

      Nothing so abstruse, it’s just case of common-or-garden Trotskyism.

      • lproyect
        September 14, 2015, 8:41 am

        Oooh. Trotskyism. So scary. We know that the Trotskyites were in league with Hitler and the Mikado. It was necessary to imprison or execute such traitors in the name of stability and building socialism.

        So weird to see a leftist website overflowing with comments so filled with sentiments belonging to a bygone era of cult worship of the Divine Leader. No wonder you are susceptible to Baathist talking points.

      • echinococcus
        September 14, 2015, 7:03 pm

        Don’t exaggerate your importance, Louis.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 7:46 pm

        “So weird to see a leftist website overflowing with comments so filled with sentiments belonging to a bygone era….”

        Oh, is that what it is? Okay, I see what the problem is. Louis, see the “ABOUT” page, and all will be made clear. You need to know where you are.

    • Mooser
      September 13, 2015, 9:22 pm

      “Did I miss anything?”

      Well I would only add one thing. “L. Proyect” , without fail, makes a very disparaging diagnosis of the mental health of anybody who questions him. Another technique sure to endear him to the masses and workers.

  19. Mooser
    September 13, 2015, 8:29 pm

    “Ican’t understand why Robbins writes so many words to put a positive spin on the distortions of Beezlebubelaroo. He (or she, maybe a Robbins sock puppet?)…..”

    Proyect, I feel it is only fair to warn you that everything you have written here is saved in an easily accessible, searchable archive. So if you have the idea that comments just evaporate into the air like ill-chosen and ridiculous spoken words, you might want to think about that.

    • lproyect
      September 14, 2015, 8:38 am

      What is this warning supposed to accomplish? You are not in Syria where dissidents can be hauled off to prison and be tortured for months on end. The CIA must have understood how skilled the Baathists were in the art of torture when they sent a Canadian citizen off to Syria under the “extraordinary rendition” provisions of the war on terror.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 14, 2015, 1:12 pm

        Lincoln had people arrested during the war for not supporting it. Stop being inconsistent. I don’t justify any violence done by Assad, I simply point out that its what leaders do when their nations are under extreme danger. Lincoln’s Union states were in no real danger of being invaded. Syria’s regime held territory on the other hand, is under relentless assault.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 1:39 pm

        “What is this warning supposed to accomplish?”

        Well, I was sorta hoping that when you saw it in the aggregate, and reflected on the fact that it will be there, accessible, for a long, long time, you might reconsider.

        But if you are trying to move up from film reviewing to political writing, this isn’t the way to do it. And if you do ever try to do it the right way, there your Mondo archive will be, a weight around your neck. I would find that very discouraging. Just trying to help, Lou.

      • Mooser
        September 14, 2015, 7:40 pm

        “Lincoln’s Union states were in no real danger of being invaded. “

        Maybe, but who wants to be plagued with Southron slave-raiders coming over the borders and kidnapping Americans into slavery?
        They would probably try to get women and children, that’s the usual pattern. Who needs that?

  20. gamal
    September 13, 2015, 11:01 pm

    Washingtons blog, Unmasking ISIS

    “Michael Shank – Adjunct Faculty and Board Member at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and director of foreign policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation – warned a year ago:

    The Senate and House Intelligence committees’ about-face decision last week to arm the rebels in Syria is dangerous and disconcerting. The weapons will assuredly end up in the wrong hands and will only escalate the slaughter in Syria. Regardless of the vetting procedures in place, the sheer factionalized nature of the opposition guarantees that the arms will end up in some unsavory hands. The same militant fighters who have committed gross atrocities are among the best-positioned of the rebel groups to seize the weapons that the United States sends to Syria.

    ***

    Arming one side of Syria’s multi-sided and bloody civil war will come back to haunt us. Past decisions by the U.S. to arm insurgencies in Libya, Angola, Central America and Afghanistan helped sustain brutal conflicts in those regions for decades. In the case of Afghanistan, arming the mujahideen in the 1980s created the instability that emboldened extreme militant groups and gave rise to the Taliban, which ultimately created an environment for al Qaeda to thrive.

    ***

    Arming the enemies of our enemies hasn’t made the U.S. more friends; it has made the U.S. more enemies.

    ***

    Some armed opposition factions, including powerful Islamist coalitions, reject negotiation altogether. Yet these are the same groups that will likely seize control of U.S.-supplied weapons, just as they’ve already seized control of the bulk of the rebels’ weaponry.

    ***

    When you lift the curtain on the armed groups with the most formidable military presence on the ground in Syria, you find the Al Nusra Front and Al Farough Brigades. Both groups are closely aligned with Al Qaeda and have directly perpetrated barbaric atrocities. The Al Nusra Front has been charged with beheadings of civilians, while a commander from the Al Farough Brigades reportedly ate the heart of a pro-Assad soldier.

    Shank’s warning was ignored, and his worst fears came to pass. And since the Obama administration is doubling-down on the same moronic policy, it will happen again …

    And it’s not as if we only started supporting the rebels after the Syrian civil war started. Rather, the U.S. started funding the Syrian opposition 5 years before the civil war started … and started arming them 4 years beforehand.

    And a leaked 2006 U.S. State Department Cable from the U.S. Ambassador to Syria discussed plans to overthrow the Syrian government.”

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/09/unmasking-isis.html

  21. gamal
    September 13, 2015, 11:28 pm

    When discussing imperialism sometimes a few facts can help, R2R, the right to rob is a cherished European custom, Gadaffi interfered, you know the rest.

    “Colonial Tax in Billions

    As of January 2014, 14 african countries are obliged by France, through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control.They are effectively putting in 500 Billion dollars every year to the French treasury. African leaders who refuse are killed or victim of coup. Those who obey are supported and rewarded by France with lavish lifestyle while their people endure extreme poverty, and desperation.

    There are a number of components of the colonisation pact that has been in effect since the 1950’s. The main points being that the African countries should deposit their national monetary reserves in the France Central Bank. France has been holding the national reserves of fourteen african countries since 1961: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

    Despite the two main African banks having African names, they have no monetary policies of their own. In fact France allows them to access only 15% of the money in any given year. If there is need for any more, they need to borrow the extra money from their own 65% from the French Treasury at commercial rates.

    The pact also included claused that Africa had an obligation to make French the official language of the country and the language for education and an obligation to use France colonial money FCFA (the Nordic countries tried unsuccessfully to get rid of this system when they discovered this).Also, they were obliged to send France an annual balance and reserve report. If they refused to send it, they would not be entitled to any money .”

    http://www.worldbulletin.net/haber/152967/french-colonial-tax-still-enforce-for-africa

  22. Bandolero
    September 14, 2015, 5:59 am

    Thank you all for that surprisingly emotional discussion here to the subject of the Syrian war and it’s roots. Those who know me and my comments a bit longer know that my primary concern with Israel and the crazies is their contribution to seemingly endless US-driven wars in Western Asia and Northern Africa in the assumed interest of Israel.

    Now that the Iran deal has passed congress the discussion over the most heated of these war theaters, Syria, seems to heat up again, not only here at Mondo Weiss, but also in the mainstream media. The Wall Street Journal, well-known for it’s often neocon point of view, has just published a dramatic editorial on Syria, demanding Obama to militarily confront Russia and the Syrian government in Syria. Here is what the WSJ says is at stake there now:

    Putin’s Syria Play

    Obama’s vacuum helps Russia reverse 70 years of U.S. Mideast policy.

    For 70 years American Presidents from both parties have sought to thwart Russian influence in the Middle East. … Last month the Israeli website Ynet reported that the Kremlin planned to deploy combat aircraft to Syria to help the Assad regime. The Russians are also sending an “expeditionary force” of “advisers, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and pilots who will operate the aircraft.” That deployment is now underway. … So what is the Obama Administration to do? … The thinking seems to be that the U.S. has a chance to turn a lemon into lemonade by accepting Russia’s intervention as a fait accompli while defeating a common enemy. Now that would be a sight: American F-18 pilots becoming wingmen to Russian MiGs to help a blood-soaked dictator stay in power. … Russian intervention will not defeat the Islamic State. But it might save the Assad regime, while giving Moscow a new sphere of influence in the Middle East. … The best option now for the U.S. would be to work with Turkey, Israel and Jordan to establish no-fly zones along their respective borders with Syria, along with protected “no-drive” zones in designated civilian safe havens. …Russian pilots will not lightly risk a confrontation against superior American firepower and technology. A no-fly zone would also put some teeth into Mr. Obama’s promise to continue to oppose Iran’s regional behavior. Even better would be for the Administration finally to get serious about arming and training a viable Syrian opposition force, but don’t hold your breath. …

    Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/putins-syria-play-1442181358

    I agree with the WSJ editorial that what is at stake now in Syria is a “reverse 70 years of U.S. Mideast policy” and “giving Moscow a new sphere of influence in the Middle East.” However, I disagree that this is a bad thing. It’s also in line with stated US strategic policy, namely the “pivot to Asia” – that is putting less US forces and less US influence into Western Asia.

    However, for the guys running the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv, having fewer US forces and influence in Western Asia and the void being filled by Russia and Iran seems to be a nightmare. Without the US running their neighborhood they feel very uncomfortable.

    I think that is exactly the reason why Obama is doing this. It’s among other reasons, a kind of payback, and now payback time has come for Netanyahu.

  23. lproyect
    September 14, 2015, 8:50 am

    Bandolero, did the WSJ editorial mention anything about Baathist snipers killing 15 protesters peacefully protesting against the dictatorship on March 7th 2011? I hope for your sake that it did since then you can “explain” that it could not have happened because the WSJ said it did. What a wonderfully wacky way of explaining the world. If the bourgeois media says that burning jet fuel brought down the WTC, it can’t be true. If the bourgeois media says that Trotsky was not a paid agent of Adolph Hitler, that proves he was a traitor. If the bourgeois media states that the Baathist prisons were filled with people whose only crime was opposing a system that was no different than any typical 3rd world mafia state, the state must be defended. Pretzel logic incarnate.

    • Bandolero
      September 14, 2015, 9:03 pm

      Louis

      It seems to me you are very assertive, but while you are emotional and personal, even insulting, you have a serious problem with getting your facts right – even if they are presented before your eyes.

      See, I quoted part of an article from “Arutz Sheva on 21/3/2011” claiming seven Syrian policemen and four protesters were killed in Daraa as a source backing up my opinion that “the war on Syria was from the very first day an armed struggle.”

      Your reply to that was to claim that I cite “the death of 7 Baathist cops in late April when the dictatorship had been murdering peaceful protesters for at least a month.” And then, to prove your point, you quoted an assertation from Wikipedia referenced with the very same Arutz Sheva article from 21st of March 2011 that I used.

      After calling me names, now you “hope for (my) sake” a WSJ editorial I quoted should mention something “about Baathist snipers killing 15 protesters peacefully protesting against the dictatorship on March 7th 2011.”

      So, you are very emotional to the topic of how the Syrian war started, but obviously you have got a major problem to remember a basic timeline on that – even in your own comments. Look, of course, at the end of April 2011 a lot more people were already killed in Syria, civilians and security forces, for example those who didn’t survive an ambush on April 10, 2011 in Baniyas. If you don’t know about that ambush, you may find out more here:

      http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-baniyas-ambush-of-syrian-soldiers.html

      In the comment section of that article you find more references on more deadly ambushes on Syrian security forces in the first month of the war.

      Btw: Are you this Louis Proyect? If so, if I were in your shoes I’d likely take a time out from asserting facts in public writing.

  24. Atlantaiconoclast
    September 14, 2015, 1:15 pm

    lyproyect, Do you support Israel’s use of violence against Palestinian resistance? If so, why? I thought you consider Assad’s violence illegitimate. Did the Palestinians get to vote in Israeli elections? How is Israel’s use of force in any way more legitimate than that done by Assad? And again, which regime is in greater danger? Israel or Syria’s Assad regime? If Assad had non violent protestors killed, that is wrong, but if his nation is under attack from Islamic extremists, should he just sit down and allow the extremists to take over? And please don’t pretend that there are true moderates in the Syrian opposition.

  25. Mooser
    September 14, 2015, 1:51 pm

    “Lproyect” (if that is indeed your real name) I will give you one more caution. There is nobody at Moderation who will bounce it back and say ‘calm down, dude, and try again’ or ‘please check your facts and write again’. Not going to happen. You have given the Mods no reason to do you any favors. They will probably just keep on passing your stuff, and then, boom, there it is.

    Okay, I’ve done my best for you, Proyect. My principles are satisfied, you are on your own.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 14, 2015, 8:31 pm

      it would be loverly to stay on topic & steer clear of the tit for tats for — a little while.

  26. piotr
    September 14, 2015, 9:41 pm

    There are still serious doubts raised how large Russian involvement will become. Probably it will not be small: so far, not many new weapons were reported, but Russian are building two extended runway to enable landing of huge Antonov transport planes. Skeptics doubt if Russia can afford it, but these weapons are almost entirely made in Russia, starting from metals and chemicals used to make explosives. Antonovs can land “almost anywhere”, but the airports with new runways are small, so even dirt runways require some earth moving.

    WSJ columnist lives in an alternative universe where civilized high tech America can impose its will on the lesser folks. But shooting down Russian planes is WWIII scenario, e.g. they can nuke Diego Garcia. Shooting down Syrian planes using air force will increase air defenses, and the use of long range missiles can be counteracted with, you guessed that, long range missiles. We just witnessed how much havoc as single “dot” can do (Tochka in Russian). There are no easy alternatives to sh..t that is done already, supplying weapons to proxies.

    But what happens next? “Southern front” advances at regime lines. Well armed, all vetted, Free Syrian Army, moderate to the last men. However, these people are common brigands, loyal to the heads of their smallish units. More often then not, offensive stalls among the losses. Some moderates “radicalize” and defect to al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) and to ISIS, with weapons and ammo. Wash, repeat and turn your head with amazement: how ISIS gets weapons and ammo? My impression is that in South Syria, mostly through defections. In the north, also by direct trucking through Turkish border. Then there is trade etc.

    So these offensives go back and forth, ISIS grows and we wonder why refugees are so desperate.

    Concerning “legitimacy”, I would recommend Gandhi to lead Syria as soon as it will be realistic. In the meantime, it is worthwhile to compare “the tyrant” with “our allies”. Kerry commended al-Sisi for his strides toward democracy, which makes the fascist leader a bit miffed — why “progress toward” when Egyptians already have all the rights that they should have! The right to public order is secured by mowing the protesters, and anyone who dares to schlep through the countryside without authorization (like Mexican tourists). The right to be entertained wholesomely is enforced by incarceration of dancers whose videos offended good taste and sharia. The right to sound information is similarly enforced, this time without any references to good taste and sharia.

    No such commendations for progress were addressed to our friendly if temperamental absolute monarchs who could take exception to any suggestions that democracy is a good idea. Here the “warriors for high moral ground” fight with each other quite spectacularly: one camp despises public hanging in Iran, and Iranian PressTV regularly is aghast about all the beheadings in KSA, our most favored absolute monarchy. American official policy is firmly on the side of beheading, burqas rather than chadors etc. (Who do Chinese think about beheadings and hangings, being, partial to firing squads?)

    Ah, we talk about legitimacy. Is there some number of victims of slaughter that would make a leader “illegitimate”, even if that leader is friendly and cooperative, like Indonesian Suharto in his days? If so, it has to be close to a million. So the doctrine is that multitudinous imperfect regimes are “free game” if additionally they are neither friendly nor cooperative. But if a leader is unfriendly and uncooperative but otherwise quite democratic, we remove him by gentler means, like unleashing “genocidaires”.

    • piotr
      September 14, 2015, 10:03 pm

      I recall that the term “genocidaires” was used in Haiti, but perhaps I am wrong. So this is how a misguided but not quite tyrannical government may be removed
      http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=the_2004_removal_of_jean-bertrand_aristide_672
      I think that the people responsible for our foreign policy still did not figure out why those methods work so poorly in some regions. Why there is no principle “if you can do it in Haiti, you can do it anywhere”?

    • Bandolero
      September 14, 2015, 10:55 pm

      piotr

      But what happens next?

      My reading of reports of Russian shipments of new weapons – especially state of the art anti-air-defense SA-22) or even deeper involvement in Syria is that this is done to create a unified position in NATO countries that extending the bombing of ISIS to bombing Syrian government forces is not an option.

      Regarding the “Southern Front” there the spokesman recently declared after heavy losses that their several months long offensive on Daraa ended in failure and their foreign sponsors cut the weapon supply:

      https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/NewsReports/565893-syria-rebels-end-failed-daraa-offensive

      Now the “Southern Front” favors a “political solution”, he further said, but “Assad must go.”

      So, as I see it, it may – hopefully – boil down to that at the UN SC session on ministerial level the Russians have called in for September 30 a roadmap for a solution of the international conflict in Syria can be agreed upon.

      The official US position on Syria seems anyway quite close already to the Russian and Iranian position, as the US offically says in the “Joint Statement on the Meeting between President Barack Obama and King Salman bin Abd alAziz Al Saud” that the US wants “to end the suffering of the Syrian people, maintain continuity of civilian and military government institutions, preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and ensure the emergence of a peaceful, pluralistic and democratic state free of discrimination or sectarianism.” The only real difference in public positions seems to be on the future of the person Assad. Syria, Iran and Russia want him to stay President while the US and allies want him to go. How the US can achieve that while at the same time “maintain continuity of civilian and military government institutions” remains everyones guess, but I could imagine that kind of horse trading could do the job, eg the government and the pro-Iranian and pro-Russian orientation of Syria but Assad will go at some agreed upon day in the future after the international terror war on Syria ended.

      Due to the recent refugee influx Germany and the EU will likely go now with any solution that stops the war in Syria. The largest problem to get a deal on Syria currently seem to be the Saudis who want Assad “to go” before any serious international peace negotiations which include Iran start.

      Btw: Egypt’s General Sisi is on quite good terms with Russia and the Syrian government, despite the fact that Egypt is financed by lot’s of Saudi money.

      • Danaa
        September 16, 2015, 5:59 pm

        Bandolero, I share your reading of the situation, especially the Southern Front flop, as well as the growing impatience of the Europeans seeing how they are now at the receiving end of the refugee tides.

        The only questions have to do with what hand are the hawks holding. They won’t fold so easily, alas, and we should expect some desperate measures from that corner.

        My own sense of wonderment is compounded by the tone deafness of our policy creators and disseminators. Surely, they all knew that Syria is a line in the sand for Russia, just as Crimea was, and as Nato in the Ukraine is. Yet, on our TV screens, newspapers of record and NPR stations (not to mention the right wing ones) we continue to see and hear a steady barrage of disemlers of nonsense and sing-songers of the eternal punch line “Assad must go”. It’s the final word in any exchange between pundits, each more ignorant and shrill than the other. The signs of desperation are mounting, even as the European unity is crumbling.

        Me, i just like to wonder – what will they do next to stop Obama from talking to Putin (followed by green lighting inter military co-ordination). And what can the KSA and israel (together and apart) pull out of the ever-shrinking bag of tricks?

      • Bandolero
        September 16, 2015, 8:27 pm

        Danaa

        I share your reading of the situation … The only questions have to do with what hand are the hawks holding. … And what can the KSA and israel (together and apart) pull out of the ever-shrinking bag of tricks?

        As I see it the axis of neocon-likudnik-wahhabi hawks have advantages in power in the fields of media and money. What the hawks lack is military power, since US commander in chief Obama seems determined to let the neocon-likudnik-wahhabi hawks lose all the wars where they have their dirty fingers in.

        So what will the neocon-likudnik-wahhabi hawks without much military power do? They bet all their chips on that they will conquer the position of US commander in chief at the election 2016 by using their advantage in mass media control. So long they’ll try to drag on the wars, trying to prevent a conflict solution whereever possible and throwing in as many diversions as possible. If the next US president is as committed to crush the neocon-likudnik-wahhabi hawks as Obama is in his second term their bet will have failed and they’ll gonna be completely crushed.

        In the meantime the hawks will likely try to use money tools to undermine the resistance. We see that already in the Saudi bid to use of the oil flood weapon to crush Iran and Russia. That failed because the big power behind Iran and Russia is the Communist Party of China. So what we see now is that they try to crush the Chinese economy. We’ve already seen stock markets and growth crash in China, and if they manage to get an interest hike from the FED they may generate much larger capital outflows from China and other emerging economies. However, a FED interest hike could also cause massive problems in western economies, so it would be a very risky move at this time.

      • Danaa
        September 16, 2015, 10:32 pm

        Smart read of the political game plan, Bandolero. I also see them try to get a serious go at the US presidency, whether through republican or democratic channels. Right now, it’s not looking too good for them, but lots of things can change come 2016.

        I think however that it’s not only Obama the hawks don’t have a full handle on. It’s also the US military. There’s huge resistance among the military leadership for any more adventurism. Also among the rank and file that are actually suffering from serious fatigue. Iraq and Afganistan cost a lot in terms of moral. Even if hardware can be replaced, the spirit is another matter. Through my own military channels I hear absolutely no clamoring for any boots on the ground anywhere. Even if the politicos and military appointees sing a different tune.

        As for wielding the power of money, you are right on the money again. Clearly, the hawks realized that ultimately it’s China and Russia that stand in their way. So plans are afoot indeed to cow both, one way or another. Though, if truth be said, the hawks have their work cut out for them as neither Russia not China are run by idiots. Plus those two countries don’t have to deal with the slowness of the democratic process to respond quickly. In the meantime, the PTBs succeeded in driving Russia and China into each other’s arms, a process that has yet to fully play out. When it does, and I am sure it will, the hawks may find they were too clever for their own good.

        One small example from the Chinese side – something I read about: the Chinese may not be unhappy at all to see their stock market take a little dive. If anything they were seriously concerned about too many people putting money into the stock market rather than into consumption, which they need to spur the domestic economy. By tamping on the stock market, confidence took a dive, and more Chinese are choosing to put money elsewhere, which is not a bad thing. Kind of like the decline in the value of the ruble – sure did a heck a of a job bolstering manufacturing, consumption and export.

  27. W.Jones
    September 15, 2015, 8:53 am

    The refugee problem from ISIS is probably comparable to the refugee problem from the Nakba, except that hopefully ISIS will not be anywhere as permanent.

    If you support democratic, moderates within the FSA or other rebels, it’s OK. But first, how many soldiers and what percent do those actual moderates represent? What portion of them are better than Assad? Are we talking about 50,000 pro-democracy moderate fighters, or less?

    The lion’s share of the brutality in Syria and Iraq is done by groups like ISIS, not Assad. ISIS & co. seems worse than the Taliban!

  28. piotr
    September 18, 2015, 1:05 am

    Numerically, I am not sure who killed more people, and one parse it in various ways whose atrocities are worse. Some arguments are suspicious, to put it mildly — the regime is using barrel bombs which are “inherently something”. You can use the latest precision munitions and get benefit of American targeting analysis, and as we see in Yemen, that means that you can precisely destroy a hospital, a power station, a gas station, bottling plant and so on. And if barrel bombs are evil because the are so imprecise, we should rejoice that Russians started to supply more of the precise weapon systems.

  29. mcohen.
    September 22, 2015, 10:10 am

    iran ,iraq,syria gas pipeline to europe controlled by gazprom from russia…..ports tartous and latakia now controlled by russia to be used as shipping hubs.

    thats the business side.then there,s the sunni /shia fight for hearts and minds, competeing gulf countries versus iran

    gas pipelines and water pipelines….gas to europe…water to the desert countries….a mutually secure arrangement

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